Convention Season

It's that time of year.  

The birds are singing. The orange trees are blossoming. The American Express bill is expanding, drooping under the girth of travel expenses.

Welcome to the start of convention and book fair season in the publishing industry. Now through fall is a virtual sprint through vetting, 

It's no secret that I pull double duty at Interlude Press, and the convention season poses real challenges for me. The company comes first, and that means sacrificing some opportunities as an author and acting as a de facto assistant while others get their promo on. The schedule is tight through June, and I'll be working—either as an author or a publisher—at BookCon, ALA, RT17, the LA Times Festival of Books, YALLWEST and Emerald City Comic Con. 

A breather after that, and then it starts again in fall. I'll see you at the book fairs!

Hello, 2017

In the minutes I had to spare for Twitter last night, I saw a familiar parade of New Year’s posts: of people wanting to set 2016 on fire; of authors thanking friends, readers and colleagues; of writing plans outlined; of personal goals assessed.

And in my head was that annoying little voice, telling me I was supposed to do this because that’s what authors are supposed to do.

We see these posts every year, and they tend to fall into broad categories:

The grateful: Those listing name after name of colleagues, fellow authors, readers, editors and other who brought value to their lives, with comments ranging from fine details of the contributions these people made to key smashes. They were kind, thoughtful, and occasionally sounded a bit like Academy Award acceptance speeches.

The goal-oriented: Those writing a laundry list of the books—many books, in some cases—that they planned to write in 2017. Good god, this can give a girl a complex. I’m writing a short story this year, and probably nothing else. I have ideas in the early stages of development, so it may be awhile.

The aggrieved: Those listing the things that pissed them off in 2016—and there was plenty to get cheesed off about last year.  Their lists amounted to an often well-deserved “hell no,” and a vow of how they would change things in 2017.

The remorseful: Not going to lie, I didn’t see a lot of these this year.

And of course, there are the year-in-review posts. They aren’t limited to major media. Everyone has a Top Ten, whether they realize it or not. Some have a Top Hundred, which often repeat their top ten in multiple forms.

The thing is, after a while, they tend to blur together in the cacophony of year-end lists from pundits, critics, columnists and bloggers, and it reminds me why I tend to ignore that annoying little voice in my head.

I could legitimately see myself writing all of those New Year’s lists, of course. I’m goal-oriented, pushing myself to write new things from what I hope are new angles. I’m aggrieved, over things things both public (rating from the state of American politics and to the Dodgers’ bullpen) and very private, but years in public relations has taught me to choose my public battles carefully. It doesn’t mean you don’t take them on, you just make sure that you make them count.

I am remorseful for having judged some authors on their social media personas and even on their cover art rather than on their work. I'm going to work on changing that. Never judge a book by its cover, in every sense of the expression. And I am deeply grateful, not only to Publishers Weekly for naming Luchador one of its Best Books of 2016, but to the people who helped and supported me by reading it, and giving me reasoned, professional criticism where necessary and praise when earned.

But just because it’s what everyone else is doing doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right move for you. That’s not in any way to mean that these posts don’t have interesting content, or that it’s not fun to see friends squee over each others’ work. It’s just that the creatives of the world shouldn’t feel obligated to do a thing simply because it is what everyone else is doing. 

And while I’ve never believed in New Year’s resolutions, it forced me to realize what mine have been, and continue to be.

I promise—to my editors, to my readers, to my business partners, to my loved ones, and most importantly, to myself—to be true to who I am, and to make certain that it includes challenging myself to grow in how I see and experience the world, as well as how I represent it.

I’ve never been a writer who likes to chase trends. I don’t believe in forcing myself to be so prolific that I drive myself to a quick burnout. I write because I learn from it, and get joy from it, and I share it when I feel I have something worth sharing. And I actively remind myself not to let voices—whether they are in my head or in my timeline—get me down.

So 2017, bring it on. I may not write five books this year—or even one—but I’ll work my ass off to make sure that whatever I do is authentic.

 

Miguel

Miguel, aka “La Rosa,” is a veteran exótico wrestler and wrestling gym owner in Mexico City. Over time, his role in Gabriel’s life ranges from inspiration to trainer to antagonist to father figure. I try not to pick favorites from my characters, but it is hard not to with Miguel around. I love this smart, tough, loving man.

*

Though he entrusted the development of Gabriel’s technical skills to Arturo, Miguel insisted that Gabriel continue his own, unfathomable tutoring. It was classroom work, of sorts, a training of Gabriel’s mind that only Miguel could explain—but steadfastly refused to do so.

His unconventional training included handing Gabriel a list of research assignments. Study the rise of the PRI and the role of Superbarrio in the emergence of opposition politics. Watch and compare the El Santo movies of the 1960s to the El Santo movies of the 1970s. Contrast and compare American professional wrestling performance to lucha libre.

“I know who El Santo is. My dad used to watch his movies with me when I was little. But how is watching Santo vs. las Mujeres Vampiro relevant to my getting a pro license?” Gabriel asked. He spat out his words in a rapid-fire complaint.

Miguel smirked and tossed a magazine across the room. “Read this,” he said.

Lucha Semanal?”

Miguel nodded, as if acknowledging a secret he hadn’t shared.

“A thirty-year-old magazine? I wasn’t even born yet.”

“That’s the point, college boy,” Miguel said, going back to work, smiling to himself.

 

Win a copy of Luchador on Goodreads!

Now through November 17th, enter to win a print edition of Luchador on Goodreads. Open to US readers only, but we'll also have a Rafflecopter giveaway of five eBook editions available worldwide!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Luchador by Erin Finnegan

Luchador

by Erin Finnegan

Giveaway ends November 17, 2016.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Where I'll Be...

It is book fair and convention season, and with #RT16 behind us, I have two more signings coming up in the near future.

This Sunday (May 1), I'll be at the Asheville Zine Fest in Asheville, NC. Yes, that's right, North Carolina. Interlude Press wrote up a great post about why it is standing behind its commitments in the state, and we'll not only be selling and signing our books, but we're also going to be working hard to raise some funds for Equality North Carolina, a group fighting the good fight against HB2.

And on Sunday, June 5, I'll be signing copies of Sotto Voce (and maybe talking a little about Luchador) at The Ripped Bodice in Culver City, CA. WHOOHOO! If you haven't been to the Ripped Bodice yet, it's a one-of-a-kind book store that's kind of mecca for readers of romantic fiction. I'll be there with Christopher Rice and IP's own C.B. Lee in celebration of Pride Month. The Ripped Bodice is an awesome store, and this is a great chance to check it out and get some books signed! I hope to see you there.

It's All About the M&M's

No, not M/M’s. We’re talking candies, not genre fiction, even if I am at #RT16 right now. Now, it was the delectable little morsels, and a conventioneer’s reaction to them that put a smile on my face this afternoon.

You see, I had made a giveaway basket for Sotto Voce, since it will be several months before Luchador—which was announced just yesterday—will be released. There’s some Syrah I had bottled, of course, and a second bottle filled with dark chocolate M&Ms and sealed with my brand corks—the same logo you see on the cover of Sotto Voce, a Claddagh made of inverted treble clefs.

I was strolling along this line of basket after basket, and a stranger, a reader according to her conference name tag, puled alongside me and said how much she liked one basket with bottles. “Booze?” I asked. “Yes, but I don’t drink. But someone bottled some M&M’s!”

She struggled to remember the author’s name. I told her not to worry. I had a pretty good idea who it was.

Sotto Voce is currently available in the Goody Room at #RT16.

Coming in November: "Luchador"

A busy, busy, busy week at RT16, so I’m just catching up, including on a big announcement — the remainder of the IP 2016 calendar, which includes my next book, “Luchador”.

More details to come, but it’s one I’ve been tinkering with for a few years, and I’m excited to set it free: a story of identity, and a man’s coming of age as a gay exótico wrestler in Mexico City’s professional lucha libre leagues. It’s a fascinating world where sport, storytelling, performance art, and business collide. I can’t wait to share it.

See you at #RT16!

I'm looking forward to seeing everyone at the RT Booklovers' Convention in Las Vegas in a couple of weeks! I won't be signing at the book fair this year (still a few months before the next book comes out), but I will be hanging out at the Interlude Press Publisher's Spotlight, the Small Press panel and around the convention in general. And if you haven't read Sotto Voce yet? IP will be giving away copies in the Goody Room and at its Publisher's Spotlight! Drop by, say hi, and I'll sign it for you!