The Best Love

 

So I just realized that even though I added a page for my new book, I didn’t announce it. It’s coming November 13, 2017, but I’ll be posting excerpts in the upcoming weeks. Here’s the synopsis:

The Best Love (Paperback)-2

THE BEST LOVE

“Ever since the accident…”

Julieta cringes every time she hears those words. Everything lately is a result of ‘the accident’, and she is over it: after almost losing her life, Julieta’s had to make adjustments to deal with some of the challenges she now faces – physical therapy to regain use of her leg, lost school time and lower self-esteem, among them.

However, none of those changes compare to the ones in the people around her: her brother Manny is pushing her like he’s never done before; her sister-in-law Sonia is nesting and treating her like a daughter; and Manny’s friend Alex is now offering her the attention she’s been craving from him for years. So maybe good things do come out of bad situations…

Except that when Julieta finds out why Alex has been so attentive, her world comes crashing down. With her already-fractured family now at odds with each other, she is ready to give up on the notions of fate and love and happily-ever-after’s, when another accident shows them that sometimes the best love is one that begins accidentally.

So What Had Happened Was…; or Teasing My Next Book

Ever since I started my writing career, I have adamantly subscribed to the notion that I am above having writer’s block. Not because I am better than any other writer out there, or do things differently so as not to be affected by it. I just don’t. So when I finished my last book, I did what I always do – take a break for a couple of weeks, then prepare myself for the next book. I reread the outline, go through what’s written, add in details I know will be in the book, start preparing a cover if there’s an idea burning in my mind, start jotting plotting the first chapter – I get ready. Then I start writing.

Well, I did all that. I wrote the first chapter. And got ready for the second one, wasn’t quite feeling it. So I reread it and didn’t like it and rewrote it and didn’t like it again and rewrote and took some time off and reread what I wrote and didn’t like it and quit trying to write it and did other stuff and went back to the first chapter and scrapped everything and wrote it once again and didn’t like it when I read and finally quit trying to write it.

I always thought writer’s block was not being able to come up with something to write. Apparently, it’s also writing, but not getting anywhere.

I finally gave up on that book. I still intend to write it and I believe I may have decided on a starting point, but it’s not my focus right now. Instead, I went back to a story I started years ago. I reread it and decided to keep going. It’s been hit and miss, rife with rewrites and blocks, but I can happily say I’ve completed the first draft. I’ve got some reading and some editing to do before I send it to my editor, but I can happily say I am done with my next book and anticipate releasing it.

So that’s what happened. What’s the name of my next book? What’s it about? Stay tuned. I’ll share it this weekend! Until then, keep reading!

 

 

Medium Blog

A while back, I started a blog over at Medium.com. I didn’t do too much with it for a long time, mostly because of my lack of time-management. Recently, though, I’ve started posting there, to expand my reach. It’s still fairly new, but I’ve got a few posts up – below is my latest entry. Check it out if you get a chance.

What’s Next? What We Do After The Statues and Monuments Come Down.

I lived in New Jersey up until I was fifteen-years-old, when my stepfather moved our family to Virginia and I experienced the first culture shock of my life. Rife with tobacco farms, dilapidated farmhouses and tractors as road vehicles, this was the first culture shock of my life. The most difficult thing for me to adjust to, though, was the attitude — I was suddenly ‘colored’ instead of Latina, the bars and stripes were a legitimate expression of Southern Pride and Confederate heroes were immortalized in bronze and metal. (Also, my neighbor was a Klansman, but that’s another story.) I spent two years there before determining I was moving as far away from the South as I could get.

Well, fast forward two decades, and I am now a long-time resident of North Carolina. It’s my home. And while the attitude has changed some due to the influx of Northerners (or Yankees) and the passage of time, some things to some people have not changed: I am still ‘colored’, the bars and stripes are still symbolic of the Southern way-of-life and those heroes of the South are still standing…

Except for one in Durham, which is about forty-five minutes from where I live. While I have my opinion about the way it was removed, I’m not sad to see it go. I do believe we need to honestly record history and commemorate it as appropriate, but if these monuments are celebrating an era in history marked by war and bloodshed, where brother fought against brother and half the nation seceded because they wanted to maintain their way of life (which included enslaving men, women and children all because of the color of their skin), and for some, still allows them their nationalistic pride, then they don’t need to be erected anywhere but a museum.

And I don’t think I am not the only person who feels this way. In last week alone, thirteen statues have been removed and countless others have been considered for removal…a step forward, I believe, towards healing the wounds of racism still gaping in this great country. I have a question though: What do we do from here? Once those statues come down, what happens next?

We must be realistic enough to understand the removal of these monuments will not automatically change the mindsets and attitudes that have been ingrained into our culture. If anything, it will probably open the door to more fighting, more racism. So what do we do? How do we move forward into a future free from discrimination and hate? Where racism is a thing of the past and we can fulfill the destiny and calling of this great nation as one of freedom and inclusivity?

We make peace with our past.

When we experience a traumatic event and are broken as individuals following an assault or abuse, healing is achieved through the support of family and friends and the assistance of professionals. But for all the strides we’ve made since the Reconstruction, discussions of slavery and reparation often end with, ‘Get over it.’ But there is no closure, no healing with that. We need to talk about what happened so we can release it and move forward.

Yes, even 150 years after the fact…not because we’ve been directly affected by slavery; or we’re directly responsible for it. But because this hate has seeped into the foundation of our culture. It’s not new, just the most recent incarnation of it. And because we’ve been so eager to distance ourselves from the sins of our fathers, we’ve pushed the issues under the rug and washed our hands of it. The Bible talks about the iniquities of the fathers being visited on the sons…well, here we are: 2017 and what our forefathers wouldn’t deal with, we are left to live with — protests, Neo-Nazis, police shootings, BLM, racial discrimination, gender discrimination, bullying, abuse, slavery (still!), immigration discrimination, et al and etc.

If we’re to make peace with a past as horrific as ours, we need to stop telling each other to, ‘Get over it.’ We need to listen to each other instead and acknowledge that even though our experiences are different, none are any less valid. Life is not a competition. Our pains are not a competition. We are all in this together; and if we are going to truly make this country great (continually, again or for the first time, it’s up for debate), then we need to deal with what was and start fresh. The wound will bleed again, and it may hurt for a time, but when it heals — correctly this time — we will find a foundation of love that will unite us.

‘Stay With Me’ Review

So I posted ‘Stay With Me‘ on Inkitt for their Novel Contest, and though there are some copies still available (100 total are being given out), the book has started garnering reviews. I’m not gonna lie, the positive reviews make me feel good, but this is why I write and tell the stories I do. Words are powerful and arranged properly, they can offer hope and change worlds. Here is the link to Inkitt if you want to download a copy for free:

https://www.inkitt.com/stories/romance/117308.

Screenshot (17)

The Setting of a Story

Recently, I watched a Western cable movie that left me thinking about two of the characters after the end credits rolled: what would happen to them in the aftermath of the bloody gunfight? Would their relationship develop? Or would he just drop her off at the nearest train station? Would they ride off into the sunset?

I took it a step further and started developing the idea – what was she like before the gunfight? What was he like afterward? Was there a Happily-Ever-After for them? And most importantly, can I write a western? Because I’m not adverse to writing about other time periods, I just prefer to stick to what I know.

I decided I could and everything seemed to be developing nicely. But then because my brain is alway going, I thought, what if I moved it to the Modern age instead? The characters would remain the same – names, details, circumstances – I would simply update it the setting.

That’s when something interesting happened: the story changed. The woman, whom I created as strong and proud of the scars she bore in the Western era, was now uncertain and needful in the Modern era; while the man went from emotional to emotionless.

Baffled by this change, I started a thinking exercise: what would the two become in, say, Ancient times? Or Medieval? Victorian? How different would they be then? Indeed, the end result was that no two stories were alike, regardless of their similarities. It’s a reflection of the times certainly (the definitions of gender norms/expectations and whatnot), but it also interesting to see how much of an impact setting has on a story. It sets the tone, determines who the characters are and then how they act and react to each other and to their surroundings. Undoubtedly, it’s an important component to any story.

But this does leave me somewhat stuck because I like the way both versions of my story flow. I might just have to write both.