I’m on the Tube…

Last month, Dr. Manuel Almeida,  author and professor at Universidad del Este (who also directs a bunch of  other projects) invited me to Utopística to record me talking about my writing and subVERSE.

He’s had writers I look up to as guests on this web show as well, I’m honored to be among them now.

You might want to see it (it’s in Spanish, just in case): CLICK!


Lineup for what’s left of 2015

The wait for Zuleyka’s book of short stories, Sparks, is finally OVER. Editing this book was my main (to not say only) activity during July, so I appreciate everyone who put up with my cranky scowls, and understood my declining what seemed like really fun invitations. This is the first book I edit that is not one of my own (secrets just keep on popping up, don’t they?), but I treated the project with the same obsessive drive that I would have one of my own, if not more so. (For sure I did, actually.) Our artist friends joined in and provided us with varied, unique styles that make this book absolutely loveable.

Are you interested?

Illustration is one of many by Pamela Katerina

Illustration is one of many by Pamela Katerina

You can now purchase it from the subVERSE site directly by clicking here.

It’s only about $15 including shipping (give or take, US and PR).

I am also hosting a giveaway at Goodreads that anyone can enter, as long as you’re a member.

It will be available at bookstores, eventually, as we gather more funds for printing costs. We need to give copies to our illustrators, which is why those pre-orders meant SO MUCH (thanks again). And regular orders do, too! With one purchase, you allow us to print yours and 1.5 more.

A book presentation is due, I’ll be announcing it everywhere as soon as it’s scheduled.

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About SPARKS

Author, dentist Zuleyka Robles, myself, two illustrators (Pamela and Maricarmen) and Lian, at Tintero 2015. Look at that majestic mergoat.

My eyeballs are burning and, as I told my friend Zuleyka, the author of Sparks, “I’m kind of manic” because I’ve been working on her book for so long and it is ALMOST DONE. Almost. But before I sleep, I want to share my excitement with everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This means you can get your hands on it pretty soon (July? Hopefully.) and it will be absolutely worth it.

Subverse is on facebook now, where I’ll be posting news, as well as on instagram (subversepub), please like or follow if curious.

Sparks consists of microstories (rejoice, commitment-phobic and/or lazy readers) that, in spite of being only a few sentences long, are concise and stab you right in the feels.

Our unexpected bonus was the willingness of our artist friends to collaborate with illustrations for many of the stories – as well as their enthusiasm. So this book will have tons of illustrations in a variety of styles that represent how the artist interpreted the stories. It even inspires me, so I might end up illustrating one or two.

I don’t want to share any of her stories because that will spoil the surprise. Some of the illustrations have already been shared, but there is so much more.

What I don’t mind sharing, however, is a fragment of the foreword I wrote. I’m really hoping to make you curious and want to read Sparks (as well as the rest of this introduction).

Do you remember the last time you lit sparklers? Think about it for a moment. If your memory is a recent one, you were probably in the company of other adults, laughing, cheering and having fun. Maybe you were even inebriated. If your memory is from childhood, you may remember getting accidentally burned by the crackling sparks, or having touched the glowing ember (against your better judgment). Then, lighting your sparklers with respect or apprehension, holding it a safe distance away from your body. The next day or after that special event, you may have had to dispose of the ugly, black wires making a mess on the floor, all with a hint of melancholy, now that the party is over and routine resumes.

Zuleyka’s stories exploit the moments we overlook. While we may reminisce about parties, the fun stories we prefer to tell, the sparks in this book reveal the most private events: the actions and interactions (the initial sparks) that light up fires of passion. The author leaves the fires and explosions to the reader’s imagination, but strategically so, that we may imagine an outcome according to our own values, experiences and individual traumas. Some are fires that melt away the biting cold, others, fires of shame, anger and despair that scorch the flesh and nerves. The most persistent dilemma throughout Sparks is that of love, but from different points of view: parent, small child, adult child, lover, ex-lover, spouse, friend, stranger, enemy, self. Some stories are about the strike of the match, some, about the burning. Some are about picking up the trash the day after the party.
Every story offers insight into hidden parts within our selves, even the most seemingly fantastical or unlikely. When have you not been so affected that you felt as if trapped in fiction? Overwhelmed to hyperbolic proportions, that you knew yourself to have become a beast, or have your soul float out of your body? On the other hand, there is the impossibly real: monsters in the mirror, self-injury, homicidal impulses towards those we love the most. In Sparks is a mirror: we are all neurotic. We have all had a few seconds of psychosis, of paranoid schizophrenia that, with a small change of events, revert us to mental and emotional “stability.” (…)

 

Just look at that table full of communion, friendship and beauty.

Just look at that table full of communion, friendship and beauty.

We had lots of fun at Tintero (back in March – establishing some continuity from my last post).

We could barely fit all of our stuff on the table, but mission accomplished. We took some emails from visitors interested in Sparks, gave them free stuff like pins, stickers and bookmarks (which seemed to scare most people, as in “why are you giving me things?”)… so if by chance you were one of those folks, expect some goodness coming your way soon.

 

 

… and there was subVERSE

subvThe infamous Mergoat has been making rounds since WELIF came out stamped as a subVERSE publication, hospital but no questions were asked and nothing was revealed. Yes, mycoplasmosis this is my doing. All of it, epidemic including the logo design, though it was vastly improved by graphic designer Yellowfiv3 (Daniel Hornbek), without whom this goat would look like a chunky, fluffy little nerd (yes, I mean my original drawing). The website and facebook page  have been around for a while as well, but only recently have I started plugging it, for two reasons:

1 – Ciencia Fricción. A friend of mine (let’s call him Joss Erdbrards) suggested myself and Elijah Snow team up and publish a Science Fiction anthology featuring only Puerto Rican authors. Of course, we didn’t even think about it. subVERSE was my still my little secret, with a pending project left in perpetual hiatus because of my overwhelming amount of work (as in employment), but I obviously took it. subVERSE took it. Hence, Ciencia Fricción will be coming out much later this year as an index of our coolest authors around.

2 – Sparks. IMG_1968.JPGSparks has been a project pending for a little over a year now. THE aforementioned. My friend, Zuleyka Robles-Avilés has written a beautiful collection of micro-stories that I am honored to put together in the form of a book. She came to me with the idea of combining it with illustrations by artist friends. (Ok, we’re all friends, but this buddy system has been extremely productive…) I didn’t have to think about that either. We’ve been adding illustrations by volunteer artists who keep on surprising us with their interpretations. We’re estimating this book to be published around Summer of this year. I’m not revealing names of artists – YET – because the list is rather long, but you will hear all about it soon. Some you may already know (everyone is in this book! Well, not everyone, but the artist nearest and dearest to myself and Zuleyka).

As soon as March!

Festival Tintero  We will be at Festival Tintero with all the artists who make it. Our artists will be exhibiting their artwork and selling their goodies. We will also have proof copies of Sparks that you can flip through and special guest authors and artists that are subVERSE allies and family.

I am excited about all this and spending sleepless nights plotting, scheming, stitching, sketching and work, work, working.

The only downside is I’ve had to pause the plans I had for my own projects and publications, but only for the moment.

This is going to be delicious!