It’s not going to go the way you expect

Back in January, I read an article by Literary Agent Kate McKean on her Agents & Books blog about how your journey (publishing journey, in this case) probably isn’t going to go the way you plan, as there are just so many variables in life, and how that’s okay and might lead to interesting things. That article, and similar articles by author Nathan Bransford, have clearly stuck with me, as I’ve been marinating all year in the theme of “letting the universe tell me how things are going to be because I can only control what I can control.”

So how did Planning Silvia expect 2021 to go? Well, Planning Silvia hoped to wrestle a bit more control of life because, since I can only control that which I can control, I should try to control more! Am I right?

“HAHAHAHA!” the Universe says. “Let’s fix those silly notions!” And it did.

In early May, a close family friend essentially gifted a scooter to me! He’d gotten his enjoyment out of it and wasn’t planning on using it anymore. Whoo hoo! What an awesome surprise! Please don’t think I’m complaining because I’m totally not! I’d wanted a motorcycle or scooter since I was a teenager. This little beauty needed some minor repairs, and I had to set up insurance, and then, surprise! I discovered it’s got enough speed and power to classify as a motorcycle here in the great state of Wisconsin. So suddenly I’m practicing to pass a driving test to earn a motorcycle license. Cool, but, wow, that wasn’t expected for 2021.

Photo of Silvia Acevedo on a bright orange Genuine Buddy 125cc scooter

Safety first.

You know what else I didn’t foresee for 2021? Getting a kitten!!! And that’s mostly because I’m allergic to cats! But I also didn’t expect to go outside on Memorial Day to water some flowers and hear something crying. What the heck is that? A kitten? A crying kitten?! OMG!!! Where is that precious little thing?!

Baby Cat was hungry and scared. Mom Cat never came back, soooo, Silvia to the rescue!

It was actually my pet-loving husband Jeff who decided we were adopting this little cutie. He was buying him a bed and toys before I’d even gotten my bearings on what was going on. Now we all adore Sketch, and so far my allergies haven’t kicked in. Supposedly that might happen when he’s about 12 weeks old. Crossing my fingers that it never happens.

Here’s Sketch, at about four weeks old. And it’s 2021 for the win again, obliterating Planning Silvia’s plans in the best possible way.

Photo shows Sketch, the kitten, at about four weeks old, when Silvia found him.

Tiny Sketch

 

Photo shows Sketch, the kitten, on the prowl

Sketch on the prowl

What next in the universe’s plans? An unexpected, remote job with Inkluded, a New York based nonprofit championing diversity in the publishing industry — and offering a tuition-free course toward that end. How cool is that? Again, unexpected and awesome.

Image shows the homepage of Inkluded.com

GetInkluded.com

Sooooo, yeah, things don’t always go as planned, but, like Kate McKean said, we might end up surprised. Life is full and fun. I’m not doing much writing lately, but I’m enjoying summer, and, once the weather changes, I’ll get back to some creative writing, as creation is good for the soul — planned or not. 😉

Reflections on 2020 and 2021


The final hours of 2020, an unparalleled year.

Tomes have been written about this year’s brutal heartaches. The pandemic. Social unrest. Politics. I’ve written my thoughts here and elsewhere, a lone voice in oceans of words. But, generally, on New Year’s Eve, I look inward, because my choices are all I can truly control. And in the effort of keeping this post upbeat as we head into a new year, I’m going to focus on the positive.

This year brought me an incredible opportunity and life changing experience. My internship at Writers House has been all I hoped it would be and more, and I’m incredibly grateful to those who played a role in getting me there and making it so very fabulous. I also adore my fellow interns. I expect great things from them. They’re brilliant. Truly inspiring.

The writers and illustrators in my sphere have been wonderful. For those sad about missing events we’ve had to cancel through SCBWI-Wisconsin or the Fantasy Art Workshop’s Illustration Intensive, keep hope. In-person events will return someday. And we’re all more cognizant of healthy behaviors, so that’s a bonus. 🙂

What does 2021 hold in store? We’ve got a long way to go to recover from our multiple crises, but I’m personally hoping the recovery does begin. It would help to loosen and unravel the collective knots in our chests. And then we can, worldwide, turn our attention to improving our lot.

Personally, I’m looking to dig deeper into publishing, lavish time on Fantasy Art Workshop, and maintain my practice of gratitude, which I started just over a year ago, and has greatly balanced my outlook.

Look, if you’re reading this, on a screen, somewhere relatively safe, and you’re decently fed, you’ve got a lot to be grateful for. Let’s remember just how lucky we are as we step into 2021. Now as always, but uniquely today, we’ve got new chances ahead of us.

All This (*gestures wildly at everything*)

If you’re a person living outside the United States reading this, I wonder how you’re reacting to all that’s happened in American politics this year (and the previous three). Of course, we Americans can go online and dip into your newspapers/newscasts to see reaction. It is, obviously, as varied as all human interaction is. But I know that deep down, some of you know all too well the emotions swirling within us.

The undisputed majority of the American public is waking up to a new workweek this morning after collectively spending the weekend celebrating. Many Americans were literally dancing in the streets. Our expulsion of joy comes after days of fraud claims, months of lockdown, and years of political exhaustion. Did we need a release of tension/anxiety/fear/mourning? You bet your life we did. Didn’t the whole human family?

Importantly, we should all celebrate that one of America’s most enduring glass ceilings is finally broken. It’s hard to believe, honestly, that we will at long last have a woman in the executive branch. Other countries have been emotionally mature enough to handle this for aaaaages. Madam Vice President Kamala Harris’s mere presence in the room where decisions are made will undoubtedly change the narrative — because you can’t have fair representation when more than half the population isn’t even at the table. I feared this situation wouldn’t change in my lifetime. I am overcome with joy that it did.

And there’s work to do before the world gets close to a semblance of normalcy. I do hope this time that we go beyond what’s been normal because “normal” has been pretty terrible for too many people. I hope we overcome the opposition and lethargy that’s allowed systemic racism to flourish. I hope we examine our hearts and souls to see why so many not only allowed hatred to grow but actively watered the weed. And we should study our failed government responses because they should, always, illicit more than a shoulder shrug.

And it’s not all up to a new administration. The world can see we’re divided by more than political ideology. Those from countries whose governments are older than the U.S. republic have some history to draw upon and learn from. I picture some shaking their head at us in recent years. I picture some finally relaxing their tense shoulders. So, yes, I know some know all too well what we’re feeling.

Both history and current discourse prove it.

Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month starts Tuesday.

It’s always been a special time to acknowledge the history and contributions of the many people who make up the Hispanic/Latinx  community. With this year’s racial reckoning and social upheaval, I thought I’d share some data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Hispanics make up nearly 19% of the U.S. population. That’s almost 1 in 5. The demographics for children are already “majority minority,” meaning minorities make up the majority of people under the age of 18. To be tolerant of other groups now is to be tolerant toward America’s future leaders.

Especially in 2020, I feel it’s best to face facts.

Source: https://www.census.gov/newsroom/facts-for-features/2020/hispanic-heritage-month.html

GOD AWFUL REBEL wins the Spark Award!

Wow! Wowee wow!

I might be hyperventilating as I write this, but I’m so thrilled to share the news with you. I’ve won a major award! I’ve won the SCBWI Spark Award.

SCBWI Spark Award

This is an incredible honor because of who it’s from and because of what it represents. It’s given by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, which is the worldwide professional organization for creators of literature for children and young adults. Their Spark Award recognizes excellence in independently published work.

And God Awful Rebel won! I’m so incredibly happy about this. God Awful Rebel is the book I’ve shared with all of you through progress reports and excerpts. So you were along with me on the journey — and many of you encouraged me along the way!

God Awful Rebel is my latest book, the third and final title in my God Awful series. As it was the final piece, it had a lot of work to do. And I’m especially pleased with how it wrapped up the series. I believe it encompassed my best fiction writing to date. The God Awful series was a wild ride, and this award puts a gorgeous bow on the top.

If you haven’t yet picked up God Awful Rebel, you now have added incentive. You can get it HERE. And please share this post with someone who you think might enjoy the tale of a not-so-likeable Cupid who loses his place in Olympus and works his way back — and into our hearts.

God Awful Rebel - Spark Award winner

God Awful Rebel – Spark Award winner

“Ink Drawing Techniques DVD & Art Book” Kickstarter is LIVE!

Inking Instructional DVD and Art Book Kickstarter Now Live

I am super excited that my husband’s and my “Ink Drawing Techniques DVD & Art Book” Kickstarter is  LIVE! It’s already 77% funded in just 7 hours. If you or someone you know loves ink drawing, then this DVD and art book is for you.

Please visit the following link to pledge/pre-order.
https://tinyurl.com/y8pdysp7

Some background: my hubby, Jeff Miracola, is a professional illustrator who also teaches hundreds of other artists through his popular YouTube channel and in-person art retreats. I’m videographer of the series and either the disembodied voice or the on-camera partner who asks questions.

Please consider pledging and share this post with your friends.

Wrapping up 2016 with Four Final Events

Looking back at 2016, I can see that I had a lot to be thankful for. Most importantly, I have good health, a loving family, and dear friends, many of you among them. If we haven’t yet met in person, I hope to someday get the pleasure.

This year saw the release of the second in my God Awful Series of Books. I expect 2017 to bring the final installment of this comedic, mythological adventure. Until then, here are a few pictures of some of the authorial events that have kept me busy these past few months. Thanks to all who invited me / put up with me. Enjoy the pix and I wish you a very happy 2017! 🙂

Wisconsin Writers Association - Compelling Scenes Presentation by Silvia Acevedo

Oct 2016 – Presenting on writing compelling scenes for the Wisconsin Writers Association

Nov 2016 - Silvia Acevedo Presenting on Character Development at the Southeast WI Festival of Books

Nov 2016 – Presenting on character development @ the Southeast WI Festival of Books

Nov 2016 - Silvia Acevedo discussing God Awful Thief with the Columbus, WI, Books & Beer Book Club

Nov 2016 – Discussing God Awful Thief at Columbus WI’s Books & Beer Book Club

Milwaukee's Brown Deer Park, the beautiful Setting for Novel Lunch 2016

Milwaukee’s Brown Deer Park, the beautiful setting for Novel Lunch 2016

Guests at Novel Lunch 2016

Guests at Novel Lunch 2016

Books Donated by Publishers & Authors for Novel Lunch 2016

Books Donated by publishers & authors for Novel Lunch 2016

Silvia Acevedo & Other Sassy Authors at Novel Lunch 2016

Sassies at Novel Lunch 2016

Brown Deer Park, Novel Lunch 2016

The view, Novel Lunch 2016

Silvia Acevedo, author of God Awful Loser & God Awful Thief

Silvia Acevedo "I read YA"

Luncheon, Munchin’, ‘n Stumpin’ for Sojourner

Food is always a good idea. And it’s one thing to enjoy it with incredible people, new friends who share the same passions and humor as you and with whom you can see yourself spending many happy hours. It’s even more amazing when you get to help a worthy cause while doing it!

Friends

I got that chance this month when a friend — and a soon-to-be friend — invited me to their fourth annual Novel Cuisine Luncheon. What the heck is that, you ask? It’s a gathering of authors / librarians / teachers / book bloggers / booksellers. We donate books from our collections to a local charity in need of them, we talk about books, and we enjoy a fabulous meal based on foods mentioned in select titles. It was my first time going, and I am so blessed to have been a part of this!

Sojourner Milwaukee

First, just look at the piles of books collected to donate to Sojourner Family Peace Center! Sojourner’s tagline is “Peace is Possible.” Their goal is to help those impacted by domestic violence. And by help, I mean they are involved in the most desperate of times. They literally help women escape violent situations. They protect them in a hidden safe house. I personally know people who’ve benefitted from their help. When mothers run from violence, they so desperately want happiness for their kids, and books help. I couldn’t be more proud than to help in a tiny way by offering a moment of entertainment in trying times.

Hello? Author Liza Wiemer opened her home to about 20 of us. She and YA Book Blogger and Librarian Heidi Zweifel put together an incredible spread, thought up really fun games, and generally made themselves a holiday joy. Thanks so much to them for inviting me.

God Awful Loser Pizza

And look at this! My novel God Awful Loser was the basis for the lunch’s pizza fun! We made our own from ready-made dough and lots of fixin’s. YUM!

Author Melissa Gorzelanczyk handed out ARCs of her own Cupid-based novel, Arrows, and everyone even left with a few new reads of their own. It was a fantastic time, and I hope to continue the spirit of giving great reads in the years to come!

Guest Hosting The Morning Blend

The Morning Blend

I’m so happy to be able to guest host The Morning Blend again tomorrow, Tuesday, May 27! The show is so much fun, and I love catching up with all the great people behind the show. I hope you’ll get a chance to tune in: 9 a.m. Central on TODAY’S TMJ4.

Our “Magic: The Gathering” on the Big Screen

Bubbling Beebles by Jeff Miracola for Magic: The Gathering

Bubbling Beebles by Jeff Miracola for Magic: The Gathering

I have never posted about movies on my website, but this one’s special. This one’s EPIC. This one is based on a world that my husband helped bring to life through his artwork — a world that continues to influence our lives nearly every day.

Magic: The Gathering is a hugely (and by that, I mean ENORMOUSLY) popular role-playing game. If you haven’t heard of it, trust me, plenty of people in your circle have — and lots have played it. The card-based game pits characters and powers, beasts and spells, against each other to determine an ultimate mega champion. Yes, there are world-wide championships. Yes, some players dress in costume. It’s cool. It’s fun. And now it’ll be a FEATURE FILM!

I’m so immensely proud to say that my husband, Jeff Miracola, helped visualize that world. His art has graced 110 cards; he started painting for them in 1995. Fans of the game love his work, and the whole M:TG world has been a fun ride for us.

We’re hoping Beebles will be included, as they sprung entirely out of his imagination, all cute and naked as they are. Proud of my hubby! CAN’T WAIT to see the flick!