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Erik Orrantia

author of Normal Miguel

Lambda Literary Review! A wonderful milestone!
Hotel California
It's been so long since I've posted anything here.  Now that I've come back, it's all in Spanish.  How things change.  I guess sometimes I simply feel like I don't have that much to say, at least not anything that might be all that interesting to you.

Big news, though, was yesterday's review of Normal Miguel on Lambda Literary.  Here's the URL in case you have a chance to check it out:
http://www.lambdaliterary.org/reviews/11/22/normal-miguel-by-erik-orrantia/  I'd love to hear your comments.  Proudly, it's the first book by Cheyenne Publishing to be reviewed on the site.  And thanks again to Mark Probst and all of the other writers and artists at Cheyenne.

Nearly Thanksgiving and I'll be heading up from Tijuana to my hometown--San Francisco Bay Area.  I grew up mostly in the East Bay, just south of Oakland, and though I've lost touch with many of my friends and most of my family has moved away, I still have those special few who make the trip worthwhile.

It's only fair to mention that I'll be leaving behind even more friends down here in Tijuana, including my partner Francisco.  Most of them can't cross the border legally--they'll have to enjoy their Thanksgiving turkey south of the border.  Of course, for Tijuana's proximity to the US, Thanksgiving has caught on in most households.  Francisco will be going to more turkey dinners than me!  My other friend, Margarita, got nearly offended when I asked her if she celebrates Thanksgiving.  "Of course," she said, "I'm American.  My country is in North America!"  Gobble, gobble.

In other news that I haven't mentioned much, I am facing a little trouble that is, in part, due to the fact that I saved a copy of a manuscript of Normal Miguel on my computer at work.  I've been chatting with some friends about the reason for pennames and someone mentioned the need to keep work life separate from private life, citing a teacher as an example.  True enough!  Of course, if the content of the book hadn't been gay, I don't think they would have batted an eye.  Wish me luck...a hearing's coming up that could cost me my job.

I have also had time to work on two manuscripts this year.  The first is called The Equinox Convergence, a sort of regional suspense that tells of a young female shaman in southern Mexico whose life crosses paths with an up and coming drug runner.  Currently looking for a publisher for that one.  The second is called Taxi Rojo, A Tijuana Tale.  As much as I love the jungle, I thought Tijuana deserved a story.  This one's about a group of people, most of them gay, who all get in one taxi late at night (route taxis are commonplace in Tijuana).  When the taxi crashes, the lives of the passengers become intermeshed.  Each character struggles with his or her own issue as poverty, HIV, fidelity, gender identity, sexual identity, and relationships are considered.  All of my books intend to relay real life Mexico yet each one has its own flavor.

If you've made it this far, I thank you for your interest and endurance.  Please check out the review at Lambda Literary!  Looking forward to hearing from you!


Forty Plus
Hotel California
I recently returned from a five week trip down in Puerto Vallarta.  I had never seen it so dead, and I felt bad for the majority of the population that depends on tourism.  Summer is considered the low season there--it's usually too hot to even move--but, despite the relatively cooler weather this year, there were few souls to be seen.  Personally, I prefer fewer people, for my own selfish reason.  But in the bigger picture, I hope that the economy hurries up with its turnaround, assuming, of course, that it is going to turn around.  I'll bet there are similar occurrences all over the globe.

I also turned forty while I was down in Vallarta.  I had been preparing myself for about the last decade, I suppose (though I haven't had a single thought about reaching fifty!).  Although I don't feel any different, I did decide to do a big party this year complete with an event hall, catered food, a thousand dollars worth of liquor, etc.  Yes, a thousand dollars--most of my guests will be Mexican and they can drink!  And though I do have mixed feelings about spending money this way, and a lot of stress over the whole thing, I guess it's worthwhile to keep Whitman's line in mind, at least once in a while: "I celebrate myself and sing myself."

If you've read my posts, I'm sure you're aware that I recently published a book by the name of Normal Miguel.  I have also recently completed another manuscript entitled "The Equinox Convergence."  I'm gathering some opinions from people on ideas for publishing because I'm afraid that Cheyenne Publishing, the publisher of Normal Miguel, won't be interested in a non-gay, non-historical fiction.  This one is about a young drug runner in Mexico whose destiny crosses paths with an indigenous girl.  Similar to Normal Miguel, it paints a picture of typical Mexican life in a different part of Mexico.

So, I know that many authors have gone with different publishers, depending on the genre.  I'm a little loath to repeating the process of endless query letters and months of waiting for, in most cases, rejection letters.  Is there any other way to hook up with a publisher?   (I also tried self-publishing a few years back which I now believe is a complete farce.)  Input?

I hope all is well in your corner of the world.    

Puerto Vallarta, here we come!
Hotel California
My partner and I are on our way Monday for five weeks in Puerto Vallarta!  This will be an interesting trip because his family is going down with us (no, not for the whole five weeks, are you crazy?).  My partner is from Sinaloa, a state whose symbol is the tomato and is known for Norteño music and lots of beer!  Well, I guess the whole country is known for beer.  Anyhow, the cultural differences between his famiy and me make me take a few deep breaths every once in a while...okay, a few times an hour.  I have a hard time being talked to by four different people at once, for example, in four different conversations, and nobody actually listening to my responses.  It will be interesting.  Fortunately, they like me and I like them so I think that will pull us through.

I think I've asked this question to you before.  Believe me, I've taken a lot of your advice (and thanks to those who have given it).  As you can see, I'm kind of new to the internet world.  I used to write a hundred e-mails a day, but that was about it.  Now I'm into blogs and groups and chatrooms.  Wow...there's a lot out there.

So, how do you get a webpage under your own name (is that a domain?)...I mean like a url like www.erikorrantia.com?  Many of you have them.  So let me in on it.  LOL

Can you believe that Michael Jackson died a year ago already?  He was such a talent, shame to lose!  Kind of a sad life really, I think.  Mabye his whole story was just too much for any sane person to handle.

So, I'll be checking in periodically from Puerto Vallarrta to see what's new.  I have a timeshare there, by the way, which I oftentimes don't use.  I sell the weeks for whatever my cost is, so I don't feel like this is an advertisement.  Let me know if you're ever interested.  It's a beautiful place and a huge gay destination in Mexico, if you've never been.

In the meantime, happy reading and writing!

Pride Day in Tijuana
Hotel California

First let me thank all of you who have helped me out with "internet presence."  It was something that I had not tackled, waiting for the need to arise, I suppose.  I know many people who are constantly on facebook (and previously myspace) and I just wasn't interested.  But like having a cel phone, I guess you can only stay away for so long!  Please don't say anything about Tweeter...little by little!

With your inspiration, I am now on Goodreads and the GLBT Bookshelf, and in a bunch of Yahoo Groups, too.  I'm sure we'll run into each other out there in the cyberworld.

As you know, Normal Miguel was released this month.  I hope you've had a chance to look at it someplace online.  Check out the review by Victor Banis at http://www.reviewsbyjessewave.com/?p=24414 or the one by Alan Chin at http://www.examiner.com/x-9327-SF-GLBT-Literary-Examiner~y2010m6d4-Book-Review-Normal-Miguel-by-Erik-Orrantia.  I appreciate your comments and your passing it on!

Today is Gay Pride Day here in Tijuana!  I hope I'll make it down to the festivities.  I'm planning to take my motorcycle for an easy getaway.  It promises to be a respectable affair, a far cry from 1998 when I first got here and the parade of perhaps 100 people was squeezed between the traffic and the sidewalk!  In all respect, it was really pushed along by American do-gooders who come from San Diego.  But now I think it has wings of its own.

If you read Normal Miguel, you might get a glimpse of the mentality towards gays in Mexico.  I mean, there are many, many, many gays.  However, they are not nearly as willing to be out publicly as in the United States (I don't know about other countries).  Oftentimes, they have the attitude that it's simply nobody's business, even with their families.  I disagree--I mean, in a way it is nobody's business, but I'm afraid they are more afraid than they are letting on.  For many years I was excluded (or my partner at least) from my own family yet my brothers' girlfriends, bless their souls, were welcomed whole-heartedly.  That sucked.

At any rate, also off to a party tonight for which I was requested 4 dozen deviled-eggs.  So, I better get going!  Thanks again for your support. 

I want to tell you also about the new manuscript I wrote...I'll wait for Beth's chat on the yahoo group (bethwylelde)!  Cheyenne Publishing will be on June 27, in case you don't already know.

Okay, one quick question, if you're still with me.  I've been trying to make a folder for my yahoo messages...simple procedure, right?  Every time I hit "Add Folder," it closes all of my internet windows.  Am I the only one?  Am I doing something wrong?

Till Later,

Erik Orrantia

The World Goes on Without Me
Hotel California
Hi Everybody,

It's been a long time since I've written...I was afraid this would happen.  It's so hard to keep up on these things. 

Although Normal Miguel has just come out, and I'm very excited about it, I've been spending hours a day on a new manuscript.  When I get ideas, I just can't keep myself from getting them out.

I hadn't read the e-mails regarding a chat or board for the contemporary work.  Can anyone fill me in?  Is it worth it?  How do you do that?  I'm a bit of a neophyte at all of this social networking stuff.

In the meantime, I'm also lamenting the terrible turns this world seems to make every damn day.  I'm not sure we'll all be around much longer.  It's taken us much longer to get this far, as a species, than it will to put an end to us!  (Not a dooms-day sayer...just a realist, I think.)

Anyhow, welcome Anne, if you're out there.  I'm looking forward to reading everybodys' books.  (They're all on my to-do list!)

So long,


Everybody deserves a second chance...
Hotel California
Just watched Forrest Gump about a week ago, for like the fifteenth time.  It's one of those movies that I can watch over and over again...and then I start quoting until everyone around me goes berzerk (sp?).  I like the simplicity of it, I guess, the messages that are more like reminders--things you forget but you like to remember.  Maybe it's a bit over-simplistic, but it still makes me feel kind of squishy inside.

I'm already have a hard time keeping up on LJ.  I really think that I could spend hours reading everyone's comments and replying to each one.  If anything, we're a colorful group, a little cynical (as I think most writers are), expressive, and funny! 

I guess I'm not the only one who has a hard time sitting down and writing, at times.  I didn't get to the first message about "write or die," I think it was.  A few hundred words every day.  It's so easy to put things off or get distracted...I think I'm distracted right now, in fact.  And don't you sometimes hit parts of a story that you're just not thrilled about?  I figure, if it's boring to write, it won't be any funner to read.  Because I get those times, too, when I feel like I just got done painting Sistine Chapel, where I feel exhausted from spending all my artistic energy, but accomplished, too!

Then I deal with some difficulties of the real world.  I happened to be passing through a most trying circumstance...I'll get into it later.  And that sucks all the creative marrow from my bones.  I can hardly even read when I get thinking about the bad stuff.

Nevertheless, I have found some consolation amongst you, as you have also shared some of your own hard times (and good ones).  I guess it's just part of the human condition.  "Life is like a box of chocolates..."  I try to remind myself once more!

Thanks for the Warm Welcome!
Hotel California

Wow...you guys at Cheyenne Publishing do seem to be a pretty tight knit group!  It certainly makes me proud to be a part of it...

Okay...here's a stupid question: how is this blog different from facebook?  I'll be some people have LiveJournal, Facebook, maybe even myspace!  How do they compare?  How do you keep up with them all?

As you may have read in my biography on Cheyenne, I live in Tijuana.  Lots of people wonder what it's like, so what can I say?  In lots of ways, it's not that different from the US--I rent a little 3BR, 2 1/2bathroom house, I shop at the grocery store, we go to the movies, etc., etc.

Of course, there are a few differences: there are police all over the place that drive around in caravans of pick-up trucks with their weapons hanging out (literally).  The internet is a little slow and the television sucks.  Blockbuster is a profitable business.  The street food is wonderful--tacos, tortas, seafood, tamales, etc.

Other than that, life is rather normal.  Well, there isn't nearly as much entertainment in Tijuana as in San Diego, but I'm a bit of a homebody anyhow.  Drinking age is 18 and the bars are funner.  People are less worried about driving drunk and breaking traffic laws which is a worry for me.  I guess after 12 years, you can get used to anything.

I know some of you live on the other side of the world...what's your life like?


A Day in the Life
Hotel California
Okay...this is my first time.  I already wrote a huge page and it got erased!  I guess I have some learning to do.

Signed back up for the gym today and burned some calories on the elliptical.  Sometimes it's so easy to find a reason to stop and so hard to drag the body back again.  Of course, I know it's for good health and good looks...but so are a lot of other things that I don't do (let alone the things I do that I shouldn't!).

My new book, Normal Miguel, is coming out this summer so I am looking forward to seeing it in print.  I'm also enjoying the process of publishing the book.  Mark Probst from Cheyenne Publishing has been particularly helpful.  He even recommended this livejournal site to me.

Currently reading Ransom by Lee Rowan which I thoroughly enjoy.  Inside I'm truly a romantic, even though my lover might not always agree.  I so want the characters' relationship to blossom (and I think it will).

Well, I have some cannellonis in the oven and already fought with them while I was boiling the pasta...I think I'll be going back to lasagna after this experience.  Thanks for stopping by!