Friday, September 24, 2010

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

If you've never heard of Hispanic Heritage Month don't feel bad, lots of people haven't. And maybe one of the reasons is that we don't actually have a "month". We have 30 days that begin on September 15th and end on October 15th.

This period of time is supposed to celebrate the contributions of Hispanic-Americans to our country. Since the USA has a long history of Hispanic possession and rule ranging from the first Spanish continuous settlement in St. Augustine, Florida to the Spanish colonial rule of much of the southwest, for those of us with Latino blood it offers a great opportunity to remind ourselves and other Americans what we've contributed to the building of our nation.

SO, I'd like to do my part by celebrating Latinas in the literary world, since this is where my personal contribution lies. I'm starting by interviewing Belinda Acosta for the Las Comadres and Friends National Latino Book Club. To register for the teleconference, click on this link:

About the author: Belinda Acosta lives and writes in Austin, Texas where she is a columnist forthe Austin Chronicle. Her non-fiction has appeared in Poets and Writers, LatinoUSA, the Radio Journal of News and Culture, AlterNet, the San Antonio Current,and Latino Magazine. She is a member of Macondo, the writers' collectivelaunched by acclaimed writer Sandra Cisneros.She loves knitting, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, chips & salsa, mariachi (good,make your soul leap from your body, mariachi); conjunto music (todo oldschool), and given the opportunity, will square dance. Damas, Dramas, and AnaRuiz is her first novel.

About the book: Sisters, Strangers, and Starting Over. When Beatriz Sanchez-Milligan turned her back on her troubled sister, sheushered in a lifetime of regret. So when the niece Beatriz never knew she hadappeares on her doorstep--announcing that her mother has died--she can't helpbut see fourteen-year-old Celeste as a chance to redo the past...despite herown family's objections.But Celeste is skittish around her new family. She can feel the tensionradiating from her uncle and cousins and, despite her aunt's enthusiasm, ishesitant to share her dreams of the traditional quinceanera she and her motherhad been planning. Overwhelmed, Celeste does what her mom did years ago: she vanishes...
In addition to blog interviews, I'll be participating in a few author panels and book signings. See dates below:
October 4th: Highland Library - 6pm
October 9th - Evening with the Authors - 6pm
October 10th - Latino Book and Family Festival - presenting Happily Ever After: Writing Women's Fiction. 1pm in the Salazar room
October 16th - Frugal Frigate Bookstore book signing in Redlands, California - 11am
Hope you'll join me at one or all of these events!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Frustration Kills Creativity

Well, we're now one month into the school year, and it's been a frustrating start. I've home schooled my kids from the beginning of their educational "career", but decided to team up with a charter school a few years back. It was a good decision in many ways. The kids did all the academic stuff at home, but got to go to fun workshops ranging from Robotics to Art study to cooking at the learning center. They met and became friends with other children whose parents also home school. And as a parent it's been helpful to connect with other parents and educators at the charter.

But as the charter expanded, they decided to add an academy where most of the "schooling" is done at their site while two days are home study days. I've decided to try it and see how the kids and I like it. But unfortunately, academically this academy is so weak that I'm having to supplement work daily and feeling like I might as well go back to home schooling.

I know that no school is perfect, and a school can't meet everyone's expectations perfectly, so I'm trying to be patient. It hasn't been easy, and it's been consuming soooo much of my time. So for the first time ever I'm sitting at my desk at night and even though I know what I want to write and am usually looking forward to it the entire day, the words just aren't coming out when I finally flip the lap top open. And the words that are stumbling off my fingertips . . . suck.

I don't believe in writer's block, but is there such a thing as life zapping out your creativity? Can you get psychological help for that? Tell a thearpist my children's education is to blame? Probably not.
This weekend, I'm taking my girls scout troop surfing in San Diego. A few days on the beach will most likely be the best therapy : )
Happy weekend to all!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Spain and Fall plans

I've decided to return to my blog after way too long an absence. I hate to neglect my blog - but it's been for good reason. Following my trip to Spain, I came home to many things the "had to be done", but mostly with renewed inspiration and have been working on a new book AND sort of reorganizing my goals and life. Will tell you about it, but first I've gotta share my pictures from Spain:

Had to include a picture of this guy who serenaded us through the streets of Seville. He was great! The food was fantastic and the architecture, especially the cathedrals, were breathtaking and made you feel like somehow modern generations have lost the ability to create the kind of art that is so grand that you feel a connection to something bigger than yourself. But I have say that the best part of the trip was spending ten days with my mom. I'm so grateful that I got to share this dream with her and I sort of found a vein of a connection to my Spanish roots that I've never felt before.

So, now, back home, I've delved into my work, trying to decide which novel I'd like to write next. I'm gearing up for Hispanic Heritage month and am planning a number of presentations in October at the Latino Book and Family Festival, the Highland Library and Environmental Center, and the Frugal Frigate Bookstore. One of my revived goals is to get out more into the community for speaking engagements to offer support to other writers and meet readers. Information about these events can be found on my website:
I've also realized that I can be ten times more productive if I get better organized. So even though I'm dying to start some of my new writing projects, I'm holding off and spending a lot of time organizing (I'm the most disorganized person in the world) and I hope that this will make my life less stressful and make me more productive.
Future travel goals? I'm thinking Italy, Argentina, and Korea. Anyone want to go with me?
Have a great weekend!