Submissions call: Border Arts: Beyond the Barriers anthology
The countdown to the submissions deadline is speeding up. Only 15 days left!
We are looking for visual arts like drawing, photography, still shots from locally (from border states of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas) produced independent films, and more. Basically, if you have ever taken a good picture of your surroundings, like buildings, rivers, desert, forests, events, or life in it's everyday happenings; or if you have drawn these topics and you're connected to the border states of Cali, Texas, Arizona, and New Mex., send us your work!
Professional and amateur works are welcome and encouraged. Basically, if it is something you would share on social media freely, it's something you should send to us. If your work is selected, it will represent the arts and life of our border states as it is now for posterity. Remember, this will be a major publication project!
Send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Multiple submissions of multiple mediums are welcome. So, if you are submitting photography and have a poem, send it too!
(All visual art submissions selected for publication in the Border Arts: Beyond the Barriers anthology will be in black and white, except for works selected for the cover.)
Let's do this!
Check out our guidelines flyer on our submissions page.
We're receiving submissions from around the country by authors who have known the US-Mexico border but few are actually living here. We'd like to encourage border authors and artists to submit your works too! This bilingual English/Spanish language anthology is about you.
If you are an artist, photographer, author, or otherwise a creative with something to share on this publication, submit your work before the deadline of September 15, 2022.
Go to SUBMISSIONS for more information on the submissions guidelines.
Or simply email us at email@example.com and send us your work today!
There's No Murder in Baseball
by E. O'Neill
When the game is tied in the bottom of the ninth with one out and a runner standing on third, it's perfectly acceptable for the batter to make an out if it gets the runner home safely. It's known as a "sacrifice" and it has determined the outcome of many games. Managers examine the situation, determine the likelihood of "success", and the choice to sacrifice the possibility of a runner on first as opposed to the winning run crossing home plate.
We're faced with decisions that regard sacrifice constantly. When we take a longer route to avoid traffic we sacrifice gas to gain time. We've determined that the time gained is more important to us than the cost of the fuel we burn. Buying fresh oranges by weight will leave you with rinds going in the trash. You were aware of the cost and loss before you bought the fruit. You made the necessary sacrifice to gain fresh O.J.
The batter that hit the ground ball and drove in the winning run was not murdered upon being thrown out at first. The orange peels tossed in the trash were not tragically slain when they were ground into the juicer. Their fate was sealed when the choice was made. Those choices didn't produce victims, but very calculated outcomes. They were deemed expendable resources, making them worth the sacrifice. Allowing the sale of semiautomatic weapons to private citizens is a choice with a very predictable result.
So, in the wake of yet another mass shooting that involved military-style rifles, let's take a moment to reconsider the choices that brought us here, the people responsible for the decisions, and most importantly, those sacrificed by those decisions.
This subject is not merely "topical", but "evergreen". Mass shootings are now overlapping with funerals. Families and communities are being destroyed by AR-15 rifle rounds at a rate that reached the level of alarming twenty tragedies ago. Lawmakers seem to think that this is an acceptable trade-off. While most sane Americans would agree that this happens far too often, legislators are of a different opinion. They are in a position to react to this epidemic but believe the right for an eighteen-year-old to own a military-grade rifle is worth the lives sacrificed. And, when the senator from Texas says that we live in the "safest country" on the planet while Texans are providing DNA to be matched with slaughtered children, one has to wonder if there's a disconnect between the senator and his dwindling constituency.
There are ways to reverse the trend. The vast majority of Americans support some form of background check for gun purchases. It may be the very least that we could expect from Washington, but all attempts have been stonewalled by the right. Gun shows need to be reconsidered as well. To rent the conference center at the local Super 8 so a collection of unlicensed "pharmacists" could sell a car-load of prescription meds from card tables is nuts. But guns?! No problem. And special interest money has to be eliminated. All this does is give us a running monetary total of what our political leaders feel lives are worth.
Voting is where the change starts. Both at a state and federal level. Know who your representatives are, as well as where they stand on the issues. You may need to rearrange some priorities. You may need to vote for the gun-safety candidate, instead of the one promising a new sports arena. In other words, you may need to make a sacrifice to get change. But, the outcome will be so much better.
About the Author*
E. O'Neill is a New Jersey native that watches the world but rarely participates. His work has been rejected by some of the biggest names in publishing, and accepted by the most discerning. He stands behind every word he writes (even if it's on shaky ground), and stays in the left lane as he kicks up dust on the fast track to mediocrity. He's working on a plan.
Are you a writer, thinker, philosopher, person with thoughts and the ability to create a Word document containing a post in the range of between 300 and 600 words in length? If you submit your post, we can publish it here on TRiP Wire, the official blog of The Raving Press.
Click here to see our GUEST BLOGGER Submission Guidelines.
*The views and opinions expressed by guest bloggers are not necessarily those of The Raving Press, TRiP Wire, its editors, or affiliate entities.
We are extending the submission deadline for "Border Arts: Beyond the Barriers" to September 15. We have received great submissions but we can use more! We'd like to make this a comprehensive volume with various authors. Send us poetry, art, photography, and prose. Check out the flyer for all the details and share it with your fellow artists and writers. Let's put the border up high where it belongs.
Calling All Border Artists To Action!
The Raving Press is looking for art and photography about the U.S./Mexico border by artists and photographers who currently reside along the border or have at one point lived either on the U.S. or Mexico side of the border. Submissions will be considered for inclusion in the upcoming anthology titled "Border Arts: Beyond the Barriers".
All art and photography chosen for inclusion will be published in black and white. Only the cover art or photography will be in full color. Please indicate in your submission if you wish to have your work considered specifically for the cover. Otherwise, all submissions should be in black and white.
The purpose of this anthology is to showcase the diversity of artistic talent flourishing all along the US/Mexico border despite all of the media hyperbole over immigration and on-going humanitarian crises.
Don't miss this opportunity to be part of the voice that shapes the narrative. Help us paint the picture of the real border that we love and know better than any outsider. Submit your contribution today!
Send submissions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
This book will be more than a simple collection of art and literature to be put away on a dusty shelf, but a showcase of border artists where they will shine. This is the start of something big. Help us sound off to the world that we are here; that we are shaping the world we want by creating the works inspired by this corner of the globe.
Happy National Native American Heritage Day!
We celebrate the occasion today with the official book release of The Raving Press' Labios de Piedra/Lips of Stone: a collection of poems by Xánath Caraza in Spanish, accompanied by their English translations by Sandra Kingery. This is our first fully bilingual, single-author, poetry publication, and it is a good one!
More women and people of color's voices need to be elevated and amplified. This is the mission of The Raving Press. Help us achieve this goal by purchasing a copy of Labios de Piedra/Lips of Stone, or any other book in our list of publications.
You can also help small, independent publishers like us serving minority communities by donating to our cause.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Raving Press to Publish their latest book, a collection of bilingual poetry by a single author in more than ten years.
The book will be available beginning on November 26, 2021, to coincide with National Native American Heritage Day.
Mission, Texas, USA – November 19, 2021 – The Raving Press, a Rio Grande Valley independent book publishing press, will be publishing their first book of poetry by a single author in more than ten years. For over a decade, the publisher has been focused on poetry and prose anthologies covering the societal topics of our times. This newest publication will be a departure from that focus on anthologies to feature a renowned author of poetry, Xanath Caraza. The new book is titled Labios de Piedra (Lips of Stone) and is a fully bilingual – Spanish and English – publication.
Caraza is described in her bio as “a traveler, educator, poet, short story writer, and translator.” She writes for La Bloga, and Revista Literaria Monolito. Her various books have garnered recognition winning numerous awards, and they have been translated into English, Italian, Romanian, and Greek; and partially translated into Nahuatl, Portuguese, Hindi, and Turkish.
The description for Labios de Piedra is summarized as follows:
“Author Xanath Caraza leads the reader on a highly visual archeological dig across the strata of time and history in this poetic tour through the ethos of Mexico's ‘mother culture’: the Olmec civilization.”
To coincide with the theme of Native American history of this book, the book release is scheduled for November 26, 2021, which is National Native American Heritage Day.
The book will be available on paperback online and through the publisher's website.
Visit https://www.theravingpress.com/labios-de-piedra.html to keep track of the countdown to the book’s North American release.
For information about the book or about the publisher, write to email@example.com.
About The Raving Press:
The Raving Press is an independent publisher from the Rio Grande Valley founded in 1998. The press is focused on finding talented authors of color from across the U.S. and beyond. The primary publishing output is focused on anthologies, but on rare occasions single-author manuscripts are also considered. The Raving Press is headquartered in Mission, Texas. For more information visit www.theravingpress.com
Review of Xanath Caraza's
"Corta la piel / It Pierces the Skin"
(FlowerSong Press, 2020 Translated by Sandra Kingery)
by Gabriel Hugo
Reading Xanath Caraza’s newest collection of poetry Corta la piel/It Pierces the Skin is an experience in something that is quickly becoming unusual in this fast world of disposable memes and social media video clips. It Pierces the Skin pierces the senses as Violeta, the protagonist of this almost novelistic narrative, describes images of death from the victim’s point of view just as easily and vividly as she does images of love and desire. The smell death should have is not something we think of very often. The closest most of us in the U.S. have been to awakening in a field of dead human bodies is through images of Mel Gibson’s “Apocalypto,” a fictionalized account of brown people’s history in the Americas which fails to capture the full sense of death and dying because it never mentions the stench. Caraza is brilliant in bringing images of this and other scenes of blood, with and without the horror that can accompany them. In one poem, the blood can be the result of a violent assault by armed guerrillas upon innocent villagers in Central America, and in another, a paper cut upon the poet’s finger.
The work on which Caraza has embarked in this collection serves not only as a window into historical moments in the Americas and the world, but also as an instructional manual on how to write poetically. Poetry, the very word which inspires typical laypersons to roll our eyes into our skulls as we reach our hands at break-neck speed for a smart phone, a laptop, anything that could sooth our need for diversion if only for that very superficial moment, lest we be subjected to a heavy dousing of poetic and philosophical gasoline on the brain, which could lead to some kind of revelation or truth enveloping us as we blindly and deafly pass through this Earth.
Nonetheless, this aversion to the broad realm of poetry is not the fault of the poet or the layperson, but of society itself. Our teachers need to teach more from poetry books, as they teach from math books. Parents need to inculcate their children with the sensibilities of poets, for besides clergy, who among us is purest or more honest? Poets advocate for the victims of oppression. Figures like Caraza depict for us the contradictions in our collective history, as in “The Sword,” a poem about Christopher Columbus and the violence he and the church unleashed through evangelism. We need to see this content dramatized for us in words in poetic stanzas, because no other vehicle manages to convey those images as powerfully as does the poet through the written word.
Among bilingual Spanish/English speakers as myself, a common utterance is that Spanish presents a better experience when reading poetry, because it just sounds much more romantic, profound, and dramatic when it needs to be. For the most part, in my experience, this has been the case. Yet, this general rule does not always hold true. Such was the case when I read “Falsa Alarma/False Alarm”, and the book’s namesake “Corta la Piel/It Pierces the Skin,” two of my favorite poems in this book. The entire collection was translated by Sandra Kingery and students at Lycoming College in Williamsport, PA. The translations themselves seemed to me not as the same poems merely interpreted in another language (translated from Spanish to English), but more like a continuation of the thought process, the inspiration stretched along, spread wider to encompass territory that constitutes a separate world with separate ideas, but clearly with similar sensibilities. At times throughout the pages, I felt that the English translation surpassed the original not in skill or depth, but in magnitude and urgency.
Caraza’s poetry is emotive, powerful, and transcendental in its tone and content. Corta la piel/It Pierces the Skin is a collection worthy of collecting and passing along to the next generation. It not only shows the pictures of our current and past world history interlaced with matters of the heart and urges of the human body, but also teaches an art form that seems to be on the brink of being forgotten. Thanks to Xanath Caraza, forgetting the power of poetry we will not.
El Pasado 1º de Octubre ofreció un programa virtual dedicado al escritor, Roberto De la Torre Hurtado en memoria de recordar su obra literaria.
“Roberto fue un maestro de la palabra, orador por excelencia, tenía la habilidad de cautivar públicos de todas las edades. Atrapaba con su narrativa, poesía y su gran sentido del humor. El don de gente que lo caracterizaba lo hacía destacar entre los grupos, si tenías una inquietud enfocada a lo social o querías realizar un evento, él estaba dispuesto a colaborar contigo”. R.L.S.
Fundador del Encuentro de escritores “Voces en la Frontera”, llegando a celebrar el XV aniversario en el 2019. Autor de los títulos, “El Vampiro del Río Grande”, Antología “Mundos Extraños”, “Vuelo de dos Lunas” y un “El llanto de los murciélagos”.
Dentro del programa virtual que se llevó a cabo en el día anteriormente mencionado. Las voces de autores y artistas de Estados Unidos y México se hicieron una sola, para llevar poesía y arte hasta el cielo. Dando lectura a poemas y cuentos cuya autoría era del escritor homenajeado, así como de la creación literaria de los autores invitados.
Los participantes fueron: El antropólogo, Leonardo Nin, Dr. Octavio Quintanilla (Poeta Laureado, SA, TX) Edward Vidaurre (Poeta Laureado 2018-2019, McAllen, TX) Dra. Edna Ochoa, Dra. Loly Mendiola, Dra. Mónica Stella Cruz, Mtra. Mercedes Varela, Mtra. Edith Hernández Villanueva, Mtro. Ramiro Rodríguez, Mtra. Julieta Corpus, Mtro. Víctor Tijerina, la Pintora, Mónica Ramírez, La Mtra. Yasmín Díaz Sánchez. Los autores, Abel Badillo, Nely González y Laura García.
La música y la dramatización de cuento y poesía completaron el cálido abrazo fraterno como despedida.
Claudia De la Torre con una participación especial compartió uno de los textos de su padre. Leonado Hernández interpretó un tema musical. La dramatización estuvo a cargo del actor, Iván Orozco y del Colectivo Literario, “Alas Para Volar”.
“Déjame vivirte y revivirte en este mar de versos
que danzan como delfines…” Roberto De la Torre H. (Fragmento del poemario, Vuelo de dos Lunas).
Monday, February 10, 2020
From the TRiP Wire Opinion Desk
(TRiP Wire welcomes readers to submit opinion pieces for publication)
A funny thing happened today when I went looking up the phrase "The Emperor has no clothes". The search (which was totally unrelated to writing of this article) led me to this website in the picture above (I'll include the link at the bottom of this piece). It was funny because, as you can see, the meaning refers to people being "afraid to criticize something or someone because the perceived wisdom of the masses is that the thing or person is good or important."
Jeanine Cummins' book, "American Dirt" is very likely not the 'Masterful" work of literature that Sandra Cisneros claims it is. But because of all the online criticism and media frenzy about the book, it's now a New York Time's Best Seller, and it's #1 this week on the Amazon Charts. Nice job, activists. You made sure this silly little book made it huge when, on its own, it probably would barely have caused a ripple in the literary world. (In other words, this book has no clothes...or a jacket...like the emperor in the phrase above...)
And a whole lot of people are going to benefit from this. A lot of people that you probably didn't want to benefit. Like Cummins, the publisher of the book, and Cisneros, herself. I mean, she stuck to her guns on this. Backing the book 1000% despite all the fuss from Mexican Americans and other Latinos condemning it.
I heard an interview she did on NPR where she sounded so combative, that I thought, damn is this because she refuses to acknowledge an error in judgement on her part? Or is she positioning herself for some future purpose, some kind of gain. Very Machiavellian, Sandra. Nice.
I mean, she even went all passive-aggressive about the Latino critics, essentially saying that they should shut up and read the book, and "if you don't like it" do some introspection about what you are "really upset about" and write poetry. Write POETRY!? (Scratching my head...) Sounded to me like that was meant as a kick in the baby-making area of all the activists out there, who I guess in her mind, tend to be poets who are angry about a whole lot of things that have nothing to do with their oppressors. The publisher of the book will definitely keep this little Mexican American token girl in their pile of AFFIRMATIVE ACTION BOOK DEALS. Fo' sho'. Bravo, Sandra!
Full disclosure, I have not read the book. I tried, but I couldn't get past the first chapter. It's boring a.f. I don't know how Oprah said she was mesmerized from the first word her eyeballs fell on when she opened the book. What kind of trash have you been reading, girl? To hear her say it, it was the most captivating, enthralling story that she just couldn't put down.
Really? It was that good, Oprah? Or were you saying that because you have some deal, some bargain to live up to with the publishers and their industry. After all, you are running an empire, so I get it. It's business, baby. Truly. I'm not being facetious. Business is business. But maybe I see now why some folks on the brown side of the scale saw this reception and said, wait a minute. Something smells fishy a.f. And it's not the stink-filled shirt on my wet back, you know, since I just swam across the slimy Rio Grande River from Mejico.
I'll be honest (to my fellow brownies' scorn) I didn't buy into that whole story of appropriation and cultural insensitivity...at first. But then I read (tried really hard--forced myself to complete) the first chapter. Only then was I able to see their point. Not because of the appropriation argument, but because of the "really BAD writing" criticism of the book. It's just some cheesy writing. This is both a good and a bad thing. Good because it gives hope to many wannabe bestsellers to write without worrying about being great at it, and bad because it only reinforces the critics' argument against the book.
I think I have digressed a bit.
The point is this, the major publishers are not interested in hearing real stories of Mexican and Latino immigrants by Mexican and Latino immigrants. In that sense, Cisneros had a point in her interview, saying that Cummins could probably reach an audience (White people) that neither she, nor other authors of color can. Why? I guess because Cummins is mostly White. (She has about a plantain-peel's worth of Puerto Rican in her blood, as I understand).
BUUUT. If these a-holes in the major leagues of the publishing industry would give us a chance, give us a 7 figure book deal, we'd write kick-ass books that would take us 7 years to accomplish. 7 figures pays for barbecues and cerveza for 7 years easy! (Yes, I'm including myself here. I'm author... duuuh, I no' how to writ good-o.)
I guess what I'm saying is, yes the publishers still haven't opened the door to us. God knows we have been banging on their doors, and walls, and windows hard as hell for decades. They just keep ignoring us like we're Jehovah's Witnesses knocking on a Saturday morning. But one person who sure is going to have some sweet deals coming out of this is Sandra Cisneros for defending the book to the cost of many of her audience walking out on her. But perhaps it is a master strategy to finally break into the White reader zone and become bankable to the major publishers, who in turn, will give her a nice multiple-figure deal. Maybe she's not the hero we wanted, but the one we deserve...?
Ps. BTW, here's my book. Put your money where your activism is. Support a colored's writing career. I bet you a 7-figure book deal that my book right here opens in a much more dramatic fashion and grabs you much better than American Dirt. Just an unbiased opinion. ;)
The News and its Discontents
By Joseph S. Pete
As a city council reporter in a Midwestern suburb, I ended up covering the youngest city council member in the community's history.
He was a clean-cut Oxford shirt-wearing preppy type who often obfuscated, failed to reveal any substantial information, or claimed he wasn’t familiar with a subject and needed to research it more. If you pressed him for more detail, asked any follow-up questions, even softballs, he repeated the same vacuous platitude over and over again, enunciating it every time with a more contemptuous sneer to gloat that you weren’t getting anything else out of him. I was convinced he was going to become governor someday.
He was bespectacled and perhaps a trifle husky, but he was also tall and fit the general profile. It felt like he was going somewhere.
As a source, he was less than worthless. He would proffer nothing other than self-serving quotes that were heavy on political cliche and light on substance. He appeared to serve only his own political ambition and not the community at large or getting the truth out to people.
Often, at heated public hearings, he suggested newspaper reports were inaccurate or outright false. He would try to deflect public criticism by trying to claim the news was fake.
Eventually, I moved on to a larger media market and forgot about him.
It was with surprise and schadenfreude one day that it was revealed that the city council member was arrested and forced to step down after he was caught surreptitiously filming women changing and using the bathroom at his lakefront home. It turned out the righteous right-wing pol was a major pervert. The revelation reaffirmed my longtime belief that anyone who shied away from, hid from or maligned the media probably did so out of selfish self-interest because they were downright dishonest and hiding something.
This city council member definitely had a lot to hide. He ended up being convicted of voyeurism and sentenced to jail time.
That’s the crux of it. Politicians have every incentive to lie: to get reelected, to amass power, to conceal wrongdoing or just to save face. All journalists really have is the truth. No one becomes a newspaper reporter for money, wealth, fame, respectability, public adulation or even basic job security.
I’ve worked at multiple jobs, including journalist, soldier, janitor, and caretaker for the developmentally disabled. No profession I know has higher ethical standards than journalism. If a reporter gets it wrong, they get egg on their face and there’s a correction in the next day’s paper. A journalist who gets it seriously wrong or commits a cardinal sin like plagiarism or fabrication can get fired and blackballed from the industry for good.
Compare that with a politician who can lie routinely and get away with it indefinitely.
But that’s the rub. It’s easy and common to dismiss the media as having a liberal bias or being a corporate tool. It’s convenient to cry “fake news” if confronted with anything that even slightly challenges your ironclad worldview. But the legacy media in this country—especially at the local level—generally strives to be neutral, an objective purveyor of the facts whatever our personal beliefs.
It’s easy to become cocooned in the nests we build for ourselves in Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets. It’s quite possible to never engage with anyone with a different worldview or any media outlet that does not cater expressly to our ingrained political biases. But we can’t collectively keep the torch of democracy burning unless we subscribe to a shared notion of truth.
Joseph S. Pete is an award-winning journalist, an Iraq War veteran, an Indiana University graduate, a book reviewer for a national magazine, a photographer, and a frequent guest on Lakeshore Public Radio. He is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee who has read his work for the Fictitious series on the iO Theater stage, had a play staged at the Detroit Heritage Theatre Festival, showcased his photography at the Oddtropolis Art Show in San Francisco and was named the poet laureate of Chicago BaconFest, a feat that Geoffrey Chaucer chump never accomplished. His literary or photographic work has appeared in more than 100 journals, including The Tipton Poetry Journal, Chicago Literati, Dogzplot, Proximity Magazine, Stoneboat, The High Window, Synesthesia Literary Journal, Steep Street Journal, Beautiful Losers, New Pop Lit, The Grief Diaries, Gravel, The Offbeat, Oddball Magazine, The Perch Magazine, Bull Men's Fiction, Rising Phoenix Review, Thoughtful Dog, shufPoetry, The Roaring Muse, Prairie Winds, Blue Collar Review, The Rat's Ass Review, Euphemism, Jenny Magazine, Vending Machine Press and elsewhere. Like Bartleby, he would prefer not to.
The views and opinions expressed in this guest blog post reflect solely those of the author and
not necessarily those of TRiP Wire or The Raving Press.
The wall at the Mexico-USA border has always existed. It's nothing new. Even before any physical barriers went up (which they did long before this current push for a "wall"), it was already there.
As people of the border, we are used to this mentality about barriers between nations. That's not what is problematic about the WALL. What is difficult to accept is the narrative about what is happening at the border, which simply does not mesh with our reality. There is a simple reason for that: someone else is telling our story and they are doing it in a bad way. That is why The Raving Press has taken it upon ourselves to publish anthologies that push back on that negative narrative. That is part of the goal of these books. And we do it by involving everyone from the border and beyond to speak about the truths about border people, the truths about walls, and the dangers of toeing the line when the narrative is designed to dehumanize and vilify an otherwise virtuous group of people.
Mexicans are such people. I am a Mexican American. I'm proud of being part of this great country, the U.S.A. I am also proud of my Mexican roots, and am very familiar and knowledgeable in regards to Mexico and Mexicans, having been raised in the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas, right on the border. I got the unique privilege of experiencing both worlds simultaneously, the Mexican world and the U.S. world. And, guess what? They are both great.
Both have great, wonderful, hard-working people. People from both worlds seek the same things: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And people from these two worlds deserve to live and grow together in peace, harmony, and openness.
To say "Tear Down This Wall" is not exactly to say "OPEN BORDERS" (how spooky!). But it is to say, dial down the rhetoric, realize that we need each other (like it or not), and tear down the mental and emotional wall that exists in the hearts and minds of those who most vehemently promote this attitude of total closure between two neighbors. Ultimately, the future is going to require that we open up all borders. That is a FACT. No one will be able to advance without collaboration, resource sharing, free flow, and equal justice for all humanity.
THAT. IS. AN. UNDENIABLE. FACT!
We published this book, Poets Facing The Wall, last year (The Raving Press, 2018) in which are featured an array of highly accomplished poets from around the U.S. and the world tackling the issue of the WALL on our border. There are authors included here that have won literary prizes and acclaim in other projects. It is truly our most powerful collection yet.
But, being an independent publishing company, the funds weren't there to really promote it. So now we have finally put the book up on Kindle as an eBook as well, and in an effort to promote it further, we are giving it away for FREE for a limited time.
Help us get this book out to as many people as possible. People need to read this book. I'm serious. Not because it's poetry. Not because it's form The Raving Press. Not because of politics. But because of the truth. It speaks truth, and that is the one thing we all will need as we make our way into the future. If the truth dies today, there is no hope for tomorrow.
We are accepting submissions for novellas between 16,000 to 18,000 words max.
Must Be FICTION
Submission period is September 28, 2019 to November 3, 2019
In English or bilingual English and Spanish are accepted.
We are looking for fiction by a minority author or minority-centered pieces by authors of all backgrounds treating topics of immigration, border life, detention centers, Mexican American life and culture, Mexican folklore, Mexican American historical fiction.
Pieces must be complete and edited fully for grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Only completed works will be considered. If your submission is accepted, we will contact you by email with further instructions.
We cannot contact everyone after the initial email acknowledging the fact that we have received your submission. If you are not contacted after that, then it means we did not select it for publication. The book will be a 5x8.
GIVE US SOMETHING TOTALLY NEW AND EXCITING!
Send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions send them to us to the same email address.
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It's the 1994 La Joya Coyotes senior prom and I'm 18 years old. I got my fancy suit on, looking all GQ. On my arm, I got a pretty woman clinging to me like she's walking a tight rope. Perhaps it's the heels that can't come easy when you are wearing a tight, form-fitting dress and looking all glam yourself.
We bust through the quadruple doors of the entrance to my high school. Everybody is looking at me like, "Is that Gabriel walking in with that angel? Who is she?" They were all confused of course because my date was not one of them. She was an outsider. In fact, she was a bit older than me, so she wasn't even in high school at that point. So it's quite an impression I made coming in with what looked like my girl, since I was never seen promenading around with a girl in the hallways throughout my high school career. I never even had an "official," public girlfriend back then. I was never known for being a Casanova, in spite of the fact that most girls thought I was a player for some reason. I guess it was my quiet demeanor. My sleepy, love-me-tender eyelids. The fact that girls always found it easy to connect with me. That always raised suspicions.
"Tiene la musica por dentro," is the local saying. In other words, he's got a well-hidden bad boy side.
As we join the crowd in the cafeteria now converted into a dance hall, we see the band on stage. An unbelievable manifestation, like seeing ghosts. How was it possible that we had gotten this band of all bands to play at OUR PROM?!
And the band was?
None other than
Los Palominos were just one of many tent poles in the Tejano Music genre that swept the nation's Spanish-speaking communities throughout the 1980's and '90's. To me, they were my favorite band. It's hard to describe just what their music sounds like if you have never heard it, but it's a mix of Mexican cumbia and norteno music with a tinge of U.S. rock & roll oldies...at least in spirit.
Aside from them, those bands that seemed to be the ambassadors of a vibrant, unique, and proud (though very much humble in style and presentation) music tradition were powerhouses like el Grupo Mazz, La Mafia, Emilio Navaira, and the mega star, Selena Quintanilla. Of all of these, the three most influential in the Rio Grande Valley, as well as nationally and internationally were Mazz, Emilio, and Selena.
Let me get right down to the conspiracy theory here. In 2008, Emilio Navaira was in a terrifying bus crash that nearly took his life and survived only to be killed off by a massive heart attack eight years later. Joe Lopez, lead singer for Grupo Mazz was tried and convicted of raping his niece in 2007. He was given a 32 year sentence of which he served 10 and was released a mere ghost of his former self. And of course, Selena Quintanilla was murdered in cold blood by Yolanda Saldivar in 1995. Only a year after my prom.
Really, after the death of Selena, the Tejano Music industry took a dive. It was the beginning of the end. It is peculiar that all these (and others) Tejano singers met such negative fates. Their destinies are rivaled only by hard-core gangsta' rappers who occasionally get gunned down or o.d. Which begs the question, what's behind this very rapid death of an entire music genre? What are the forces behind it that brought about these results?
In the case of Joe Lopez of Grupo Mazz, there are still alternate versions of the rape accusation. It seems that certain evidence that could have proved his innocence was not admitted in his court case, and so he was convicted.
When it comes to Emilio, I'm always suspicious when someone of a young age, comparatively speaking, just up and croaks one regular day. He was only 53 years old! Did someone slip some poison in his Chivas Regal? He was at his home, for cryin' out loud. One of my uncles died the same way. He was found alone in his home, dead of an apparent massive heart attack. But questions remained of people that had access to him, and who might have had a motive to kill him. Did Emilio face such a danger as well? There had already been one brush with death. The media chalked it up to him driving his tour bus without a license and under the influence of alcohol. But you know what Trump says about the media, right? Hmmmm...
Selena Quintanilla, the queen of Mexican Americans, was not only at the top of her game in 1995. She was so far above all others in the genre, that she couldn't help but break the music industry into pieces, unwilling to conform to only one musical tradition. She was a true star in every way. The inspiration and hope she gave to all the millions across the U.S. and the world was really something noteworthy. Especially if it is your business to keep populations in check. After all, music has the undeniable power to move people, to create social awareness that bring about movements that lead to structural change. Someone had to do something about these bad hombres and nasty women of the Southern border.
For starters, you shoot to kill the biggest, most influential among them, because that's the way it's always done. Look at MLK, Bobby Kennedy, JFK, Lincoln. There's no other sure way but a bullet to cut down the towering figure. This was Selena's fate. Was Yolanda Saldivar a Manchurian candidate set upon the queen of Tejano to end her life? What might have been Yolanda's trigger? "Bidi bidi, bang bang?" like Howard Stern so succinctly, if disgustingly, phrased it?
And as happened to people around these powerful historical figures, those secondary influential people got dealt with in various ways. Poison, for instance, is very efficient. Some times undetectable (according to my research watching many episodes of Forensic Files, and when done correctly by professionals). It's the perfect way to quietly remove someone of prominence from the scene. Perhaps this might explain Emilio Navaira's fate?
But you can't rely on poison alone to dismantle the tent poles that keep a movement standing. That's where allegations come into play. Is Joe Lopez truly a child rapist? We know that a conviction isn't always definitive proof of guilt. Just ask the many people who have been exonerated and released from prison years or decades after being wrongfully convicted. It happens. I don't know all the facts about the Joe Lopez case, but if there are factors that were not analyzed, I think it is only fair to do due diligence because, after all, this is a person's life we are talking about.
So the question remains: who was behind the conspiracy to kill Tejano music? The US govt? The Hispanic U.S. media groups seeking to replace a strong Mexican American identity-driven music movement with a more neutral, and less potent music genre that is based on simplistic, repetitive beats that never change no matter the song, or the artist, or the passage of time?
Yes, I'm talking about you, Reggaeton. If there is such a thing as playing Mozart and Beethoven to your baby while in the womb to help her or him be born a genius, then playing Reggaeton at any stage in life has got to produce the polar opposite. (Some songs are aiight, tho ;p).
But to what end? What would those Hispanic media groups gain by killing Tejano Music? Well, it's no secret that Mexican Americans comprise the strongest (numerically speaking) category of Latinos in the U.S. Other Central and South Americans who come here represent a tiny fragment of the Latino populace, yet it may be in their interest to shape the body politic of Latinos in the U.S. by diminishing the Mexican influence and replacing it with a more universal Hispanic identity not rooted in any one Latin American nation. And the ultimate goal of such an effort, you ask? That is the million dollar question.
I tell you, this is a mystery just begging to be explored. And as the chief editor at The Raving Press, I will make a pledge to you here. If anyone out there is able to take this topic on and produce a manuscript of at least 18,000 words be it a fictional novella or non-fiction text, we will publish, promote it, and share the royalties 50/50 with you. So let's see what you got.
Gabriel H. Sanchez,
The Raving Press
P.S. I love Reggaetoneros. Where are my Reggaetoneros?
Gabriel H. Sanchez is an author, poet, actor, editor, and publisher from the Rio Grande Valley in south Texas, on the border with Mexico. Gabriel is the author of "Once Upon a Bad Hombre," "The X Series," "The Martian Ones: Tales of Human Folly," and "The Fluid Chicano." You can read more about him and his other projects at gabrielhugo.com or on his Facebook page: @gabrielhugoauthor.
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