This month marks the one-year anniversary of the publication of Living Color: Angie Rubio Stories about a brown girl just wanting to be seen and heard. It’s been weird and fun, celebrating online. Each time after an event, watching faces disappear from my screen was an eerie and sad thing. At some events, the audience wasn’t visible, so it was my face and that of the one or several other participants on the program speaking into the cyber abyss until the admin zapped us off the screen, our moments of connection and conviviality abruptly terminated. And yet I am grateful for each one of those online events, even the one where only six people showed up, five of whom were related to me. Each one meant someone cared about my book. Thanks to everyone who showed up in some way to support this book.
I did have one in-person event thanks to Lily Yu whose book On Fragile Waves was also released in these pandemic times. She organized a reading this past July at the Kirkland Barnes and Noble which also included Cookie Hiponia, author of We Belong, and Sonora Jha, author of How to Raise a Feminist Son. We wore tiaras from Cookie’s selection of regal headwear and read and interviewed each other in front of a large and engaged audience.
To commemorate one year of my protagonist Angie Rubio being out in the world, I ordered custom-decorated cookies from my cousin Angela Gordillo in Glendale, Arizona who specializes in such lovely creations. She reproduced part of the book cover art as well as art created by my son-in-law Daniel Ramirez for my book trailer. You can like Angela’s Adoughable Accents Facebook page. I delivered cookies to Rob Arnold at Hugo House, Rick Simonson and Karen Maeda Allman at Elliot Bay Book Company, and Tom Nissley at Phinney Books who were among the first to help welcome my book into the world. Wish I could’ve had cookies for everyone who has read and supported my book along the way, but every cookie budget has a cap.
My deepest gratitude goes to the awesome authors who write intelligent, compassionate, insightful books and who took time from their busy schedules to read and blurb my book. If you haven’t already, please read the works of Kathleen Alcala, Soniah Kamal, Nancy Pearl, Ivelisse Rodriguez, Sharma Shields, Grace Talusan, and Kristen Millares Young.
I think Living Color has lived up to their words having received the following awards and recognitions in 2021:
- Next Generation Indie Book Award, Winner Multicultural Fiction
- International Latino Gold Medal Award for Best Collection of Short Stories
- American Fiction Award, Finalist Multicultural Fiction
- Nancy Pearl Award, Finalist Literary/Mainstream
- Washington State Book Award, Finalist Fiction
None of this would have happened if Jaded Ibis Press hadn’t chosen Living Color as one of its 2020 releases. And I’m so excited for their 2021 books: Rites by Savannah Johnston and Until We Fall by Nicole Zelniker, both out now.
Something else happened this month. I opened an email with the subject line: Invitation to Read for the PALABRA Archive – Library of Congress. Was it real or elaborately cruel spam? It was not only real but mind-blowingly so. The writers already in this archive are amazing and some are wildly famous. To be invited to join this archive is one of the great honors of my writing life, and I’m so pleased to share it with these other Washington writers who were also invited to record their work: Kathleen Alcala, Claudia Castro Luna, Casandra Lopez, and Kristen Millares Young. Many thanks to Linda Johns and Sara Peté of the Washington Center for the Book for working with Catalina Gómez of the Palabra Archive to identify writers residing in Washington who meet its curatorial scope.
September, it’s been a heckuva month. Can you hear me now?
And October? You’re the month in which I finish my new novel. Okay, maybe one of the months. Update to come in the next blog post.