My New Publication: Your Next Jolabokaflod Gift?

Having had my Texas Christmas early while visiting with my family, I’ve already scored some pretty awesome gifts this holiday season. But I’m excited to add one more treat to the pile… another book with my name tucked inside as an author.

A November publication, S/He: Sex & Gender in Hispanic Studies rolled off the printer in time for the holidays. So if you’re looking for a Christmas gift for the lit nerd in your life–or if you’re a celebrator of the Icelandic book-giving holiday–Jolabokaflod (A.K.A, the “Christmas Book Flood”)–you can score a copy at your nearest Amazon site!

And if feminine heroes are the recipient’s cup o’ tea, feel free to nudge them to read my installment in the anthology first: Chapter 9: “Golden Age S/heroes: Steel-Plated Petticoats: Women and Heroism in Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quijote.”

Happy Reading/Giving! Please take a moment to share in the comment section what books you’re giving or hoping to get this season! I’ve already grabbed Emma Newman’s Between Two Thorns and Rene Gutteridge’s Ghost Writer. What’s on your list?

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Rejection & Resilience

The “R” word’s an ugly one. Nobody likes talking about it. But rejection is a major part of a writer’s life. There’s not a conventionally-published author alive who hasn’t experienced that sting. Nobody–not even the J.K. Rowlings out there–make it through this biz without a few scrapes.

This week, I received a rejection letter (couldn’t we bibliophiles have come up with a less brutal term for this? What’s wrong with “No Thank You Correspondence?”) from one of the literary agencies to which I’d submitted my novel.

It was actually a relatively flattering letter as far as they go. But in the end, they still said “no.” They couldn’t offer me representation. You always know this is a possibility, of course. But you hope really, reallyreally hard that this time, the answer’ll be “yes.”

Reading the rejection, Professional Lauren appreciated the speed of the agency’s response. Treasured the compliment to my writing talents. Tucked away the constructive criticism for analysis and implementation. Continue reading “Rejection & Resilience”

Look What Came in the Mail….

Yesterday brought an exciting surprise in the mail, all the way from the U.S. of A.: my new book, Insult to Injury: Violence in Spanish, Hispanic American and Latino Art & Literature.

Right there on page 94 of the anthology, starts Chapter 7… my chapter!

“Brutality, Borderlands, and Bildungsromans: Violence and Cultural Conflict in Rodolfo Anaya’s Bless Me, Ultima and Américo Paredes’s George Washington Gómez

This may call for a celebratory class of wine with my gal-pals. (You know who are are!)

(P.S.–Aren’t I spoiled? Check out the lovely Valentine’s Day roses my husband made sure I had at my day job.)

Help me, Dear Reader. You’re my Only Hope….

A writer’s best friends are her readers and her writing community. Thus, à la Princess Leia, I’m not too proud to ask for a bit of help now and again.

Frequently, I find myself amazed by the speed with which the writing world changes. When I first ventured into publishing, eBooks were a twinkle in someone’s eye. Self-publishing meant arranging for a vanity press to print (for a fee) hard and paperback copies of your book. The standard method for seeking publication was for an author to directly submit her manuscript to a publishing house. Literary agents were a nice-to-have, rather than the (with rare exception) must-have they are today if you’re pursuing traditional publication.

In little more than a decade, all this has changed.

Now it’s almost unheard of for an author to pitch his or her own “unsolicited” manuscript directly to a publishing house. Today, common practice means landing an agent who then uses her institutional knowledge and professional credibility to act as an intermediary, approaching publishers on her author’s behalf. Continue reading “Help me, Dear Reader. You’re my Only Hope….”

A Week of Excitement

This has been an exciting week, both for me and for Paulette Jiles. Jiles is the author of News of the World, which I reviewed last week. Her happy occasion is this: News has just been named one of the five finalist for the National Book Award: Fiction. Job very well done, Ms. Jiles!

And here’s my cause for celebration: I just received word from the collaboration’s editor that INSULT TO INJURY: VIOLENCE IN SPANISH, HISPANIC AMERICAN & LATINO ART & LITERATURE–an anthology in which I have a chapter entitled “Brutality, Borderlands, and Bildungsromans: Violence and Cultural Conflict in Américo Parades’ George Washington Gómez and Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me, Última”–will be in print at the end of December.

So, yeah: a good week all around.

*Featured image property of Dixie Pixel.

Publication Tales & “Pun”-chy Cocktails

This week’s post is a celebratory one! After a journey of several years, I can, as of January 2016, officially say that my work has been published as a chapter in an anthology.

HoorayCat

The anthology?

The Body, Subject & Subjected: The Representation of the Body Itself, Illness, Injury, Treatment & Death in Spain and Indigenous and Hispanic American Art & Literature

My chapter?

Chapter XIII: The Transcendence of the Body: Gabriel García Márquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera: Love and Death as New-World Mosaic, by Lauren M. P. Derby

Sounds like a page-turner, right? Continue reading “Publication Tales & “Pun”-chy Cocktails”

Meditative Books & Movie Rights

As an aspiring novelist, I have a semi-psychotic relationship with contemporary books.

Obviously I love reading. And there are plenty of books I enjoy “well enough”–unique, entertaining reads I wouldn’t mind recommending. These are books about which I can’t complain. But there’s also not much I-wish-I’d-gotten-there-first about them, either. For me, Anita Amirrezvani’s The Blood of Flowers and Cathy Marie Buchanan’s The Painted Girls fall in that category.

Then there are the books that have my husband making this face:

Dog Hiding His Face

Why? Because for weeks days, I’ll periodically burst into a rant about how terrible Book X was. How unappealing the characters. How poorly researched. How unbelievable the conclusion. I’ll now confess that my husband was right (I really hope he doesn’t read this): the fury I felt over the ending of Veronica Roth’s Divergent Trilogy was perhaps disproportional (though not nearly so much as that of those making death threats over it). But I’ll save my Allegient thoughts for a future post. Continue reading “Meditative Books & Movie Rights”