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Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Write Woman



The Write Woman: Geraldine Estevez Interview
 
Geraldine Estevez, photo by @gidelvia



Geraldine Estevez is a Dominican author and blogger from New York who has written articles for LatinTRENDS and The Huffington Post. Geraldine is also the founder and sole writer of the blog The Write Woman where she encourages women to live fearlessly. She documents her journey to write her first novel, gives great tips to fellow authors, and covers an array of topics.  With passionate posts and insightful thoughts Geraldine Estevez is the right woman to write your next favorite novel. 

Age: 25

Hometown: New York City

How has your Dominican heritage and upbringing influenced your writing?
I am able to bring realistic and relatable characters to the novel I’m writing now, in part, because of my Dominican heritage and upbringing. I know what it’s like to have to work for things, as opposed to being born with them – which is not to say that this is something limited to Latinos. All in all, I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for my upbringing.

How has your work in public relations helped you in your journey as a writer?
I majored in advertising and public relationships and because I have that experience, I understand the importance of marketing.

When did you decide to begin your blog The Write Woman and how did you come up with such a clever title?
I originally launched my blog as The PR Woman because I had just gotten accepted into the advertising and public relations program at the City College of New York, I was looking for PR student blogs to follow and couldn’t find any. When I can’t find what I’m looking for, I tend to create it – and so that’s exactly what I did.

Then, as time passed, my perspective changed, and I felt my brand name was limiting. I knew that the one constant in my life – the thing that hasn’t changed and I highly doubt will ever change – is my love for writing. For this reason, I knew I wanted to incorporate writing into it. The Write Woman came to mind on the second day of brainstorming new names, maybe the first. It was a pretty organic decision. I’m a sucker for puns!

Reading your post 'The Day I Quit My Job' you expressed your desire to pursue your dreams and focus on writing your novel, which took a lot of courage. How difficult was that decision?
It’s easy to overlook just how difficult it was until I talk about it. That day, I felt – for lack of a better word – sad. I didn’t want to be ungrateful – I’d landed a job straight out of college (a rarity in itself), yet I wasn’t happy, and I knew I couldn’t give my all if my heart wasn’t in it. Early that day, I asked the universe for a sign, for something that would let me know (despite my incessant gut feeling to do so) that quitting was the right decision.

After handing in my letter of resignation, I went to lunch and then planned to stop by Barnes and Noble to relax a little and get my mind off of things before heading back to the office. I’m not sure how amidst so much angst I was able to spot one of my favorite writers, Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love, with her husband. I was in such disbelief that I quietly walked up to her and asked if she was indeed Elizabeth Gilbert.

When she said yes, I stammered to express my admiration. When I told her I’d just quit my job to focus on my writing, she said, “Bless you, sweetheart. God bless you on this new chapter of your life.” I’ve carried those words with me ever since. Needless to say, Elizabeth Gilbert was that serendipitous sign I’d asked for, because in her I saw part of what I’d like to accomplish – I want my writing to reach and inspire people around the world, but I also want to be able to walk down the streets of Manhattan without being harassed by paparazzi.

I’m sure writing down your thoughts as a writer is cathartic and provides perspective. What inspired you to document your process of your first novel through your blog The Write Woman?
It is indeed cathartic. There are days when I’m overwhelmed with stress and uncertainty, and when I sit down to write, all my worries recede. I get chills because if there is such a thing as a calling, writing is definitely mine. As for documenting the process of writing my first novel, it was a natural decision. Since I started blogging, I said I would share my journey – regardless of how bumpy. There’s no need to sugarcoat things and make them appear easy when we all know dreams, like anything else in life, demand time and dedication.

One of the tips you gave in 'How to Become a Freelance Writer' is become your own publicist. How important is it to take command of your own brand as one embarks on freelancing?
When you’re a freelance writer, promoting your own work is crucial to your income.

How did your opportunity to write and be a correspondent for LatinTRENDS come about?
Last year, I received an invitation from LatinTRENDS’ to attend their 100th Issue Celebration, an amazing networking event full of successful and inspiring Latinos. Since then, they’d kept my email on file and when they needed bloggers, their web editor reached out to me. At the time, I was still at the agency and had to work out a few things. Months later, I reached out and the connection blossomed. I believe in LatinTRENDS as a brand and a vision. Juan Guillen and the rest of the team are always working to improve. Good things stem from hard work and dedication.


You’re a fearless writer, which is exhibited in your Huffington Post article, 'I Don’t Want Children'. What compelled you to talk about that particular subject?
It wasn’t as much about the topic itself as it was about empowering women to live fearlessly – which is the mission of my brand. Whether a woman chooses to have no children, one child or ten – the choice should be hers to make, and society shouldn’t feel entitled to dish out any judgment. I had no idea the post would resonate with so many. Thirty-seven-thousand likes on Facebook is insane! I have to catch my breath when I realize just how powerful words, my words, can be.

In your blog you discuss your love to travel the world. What have been your favorite destinations and which places are you looking forward to go?
It’s hard to distinguish my favorite destinations, as I’ve loved them all – from California and the Virgin Islands to Puerto Rico and my country, the Dominican Republic. I don’t think there’s ever a year when I’m not itching to visit California. Lately, though, I’ve been dreaming of Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic – where I was born. I haven’t been there in a few years! I also want to travel to a lot more places, but my top three are: Italy, Greece and France.

We are a little past the halfway point of the year, how are you doing on your '14 Goals for 2014' so far?
I love setting goals, in part, because it’s interesting to see a shift in perspective. I’m still working towards some of the goals on that list, but some of them have changed. I’ll be sharing a post at the end of the year when I’m able to sum up just how much has changed.

As readers, what can we expect from your novel and upcoming work?
I promise to share every step of my journey. I want my readers there when I start pitching my novel, when I get an agent and the magical moment when I’m contacted by a publisher. Then, I’d like to share the cover design process, the logistics and my first book signing. In short, the only thing I’ll share for now is that those who continue (or begin) to read The Write Woman will be in for a treat!

How do you maintain your positive energy and optimistic mindset when you face doubt as a writer?  
Staying optimistic is a challenge not just writer’s face, but anyone chasing dreams does. To this point, I make a conscious effort to remain in that place, a place of optimism, and when I feel like I’m not there, I put in the work to get back there. I write if I feel I need to write, I pray when I feel praying will help, and I also meditate. I don’t just let the moment pass, but I do what needs to be done to shift my perspective – even if it’s something as silly as watching a feel-good movie, listening to inspirational songs (I love Coldplay!) – whatever it takes.

Where can people reach you?
People can reach me via email: Gera@TheWriteWoman. I'm on Instagram: Instagram.com/TheWriteWoman, and I am addicted to Twitter: Twitter.com/TheWriteWoman. I love connecting with others, so please, give me a shout!

Geraldine Estevez, photo by @gidelvia






Friday, July 18, 2014

Entourage: A Look at the Series Ten Years Later


Entourage: A Look at the Series Ten Years Later
 written by Evan L. Jackson

       In the summer of 2011, on our way back to our Las Vegas hotel my boys and I were discussing the end of an epic event. No, not the great night that we had just embarked on but the ending of Entourage. See my friends and I grew up on Entourage during our college years. Every girl that Vince had shagged, everyone of Turtle's half-planned schemes to make money, Ari’s epic rants,  and every “victory” Drama ever belted we saw it. Entourage would provide good water cooler talk whenever we would convene and join up. You can argue it lacked substance; mostly a show about the adventures of a movie star and his friends but the brotherhood set it apart. It wasn’t about the Hollywood scene for me, but more about the kinship of a tight knit band of friends who survived the riches and the perils of fame.
               
            Mostly centered on new comer Vince and his ascension to being a mega movie star Entourage premiered on July 18, 2004. But I caught up with the show in the summer before college in 2007. Enamored with the crew’s wild adventures and the superstar cameos I instantly liked the show. The bond and the loyalty between them kept me interested in the show. Arguably my favorite season was the sixth where you see the storylines branched out to Turtle, Eric (commonly known as E), and Drama. Seeing Turtle have a girlfriend while E played the field was a nice change of pace. The tension of Vince and E would make for great season finale cliffhangers. E doubling as best friend and manager was a gift and a curse. Vince would lose out on movie opportunities (Aquaman 2 notably) to pursue passion projects that earned little money. E redeemed himself as a manager and showed his loyalty as a friend when he landed Vince a starring role in Martin Scorsese’s (fictional) Great Gatsby.  
                
              Vince’s main goal was making sure his boys had enough and wouldn’t want for more and better yet in the end they actually thrived without him. Turtle’s business venture actually panned out, E finally settled down with Sloan, and even Drama landed a steady role. The series finale served its purpose and the subsequent movie is set to be released soon. Whenever I hang with my “Entourage” and the night is a success I think back to the series and the episode where Vince makes an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel. In the last scene it shows Turtle and Darma saying… “Great night” “Great f***ing night!”.  







Thursday, July 10, 2014

Girl Gone Geek



Girl Gone Geek: Jamila Interview 

Geek aficionado Jamila has created the thoroughly enjoyable blog Girl Gone Geek where she obsesses over geek culture, help co-found the incredibly cool Geek Girl Brunch, and made the clever Straight Outta Gotham Tumblr. Creating the Girl Gone Geek blog in May of 2010 Jamila has grown to become a geek icon for many. 


Age: 27

Hometown: This is a bit complicated since I’m a military brat, but I’d say The Bronx is my home that never moved.

Nicknames: People like to give me a lot of nicknames for some reason. I think it’s because they think Jamila is hard to pronounce, it’s (Ja-me-la by the way). My most common nickname is simply Jay, most of my family and close friends call me that. Then some fun ones are Ham/Hammy/Hamster (long story), Lady Jay (from Lady Day, Billie Holiday) Jamrock, Jayster, Mila, Milz and J-milz are a few.

How did your love for geek culture come about?
It’s always been in my life. My parents like sci-fi and fantasy and anime and my brother is a big gamer. So we always watched, played and read these things. My late uncle was a huge comic book fanboy since he was young, so that’s where my comic love came from.

What compelled you to start your website Girl Gone Geek?
Most of my friends aren’t into geek culture so I never got to talk about it with anyone, which sucks. I started my blog as a way to geek out and talk about the things I was passionate about. In turn, my blog helped me make a bunch of new geek friends so it’s been a win-win!

How has the geek culture influenced you?
There are specific things that have influenced me like Princess Mononoke and The Invisibles by Grant Morrison. Mononoke showed me the strength that women have and The Invisibles opened my mind and made me ask questions.

Your Straight Outta Gotham Tumblr is really clever. What inspired you to create it?
Thank you! Straight Outta Gotham is a blog where I create memes and GIFs of geeky rap lyrics. I was cleaning up one day and the Mortal Kombat line in “Knuck if You Buck” sparked the idea for Straight Outta Gotham. I’ve always been apart of these cultures, and for the most part, they exist separately. But Straight Outta Gotham is a mashup of Geek and Hip Hop culture. I’ve always loved hearing geek references in rap songs. They felt like Easter eggs left for geeky rap fans, you know geeks love Easter eggs.


How did you and your co-founders (Yissel and Rachel) come up with the idea for Geek Girl Brunch?
We wanted to hang out and geek out with fellow geek girls and since most of us also enjoy bacon and mimosas, brunch was an obvious choice. After a few Geek Girl Brunches with our circle of friends, the three of us wanted to expand it to other lady geeks. We know that the geek subculture, although awesome, isn’t always kind to geek girls. With, Geek Girl Brunch we wanted to create a safe space for identifying lady geeks and be themselves, create friendships and hang out.


I like how you’re are avid fan of comic books and cherish the value in them as well.
I actually got into comics late in the game. I lived in Europe a lot and comics weren’t easily accessible so I didn’t start reading them until college but I dove in headfirst. I’m more of an Image Comics and Vertigo fangirl than Marvel and DC. Almost all of the comics I love are either Image or Vertigo, except Scott Snyder’s Batman and Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye. I’m also not a huge fan of mainstream superhero comics. I don’t dislike them, but they aren’t my kinda comic. Some of my favorites are Transmetropolitan, The Invisibles, Sandman to name some older one. As far as an ongoing series my favorites are Saga (of course), East of West, Nowhere Men, Chew, Sex Criminals, Deadly Class and Rat Queens.

In your post "Where are all the women of color  in science fiction?" you talk about how women of color are underrepresented and misrepresented in sci-fi. Why do you think that the case and what can be done to change that?  
 I singled out sci-fi but we know it's more than just sci-fi; it's everything. There's a cycle tat goes like this, WoC (women of color) reading sci-fi don't see themselves represented, then they either reject the genre because they feel there's no place for them or when the become creators they write stories for white male creators, they tend to write what they know and have seen, and they don't see us. Ignorance plays a part in white male creators as well; they may not realize the importance of diversity in sci-fi. They don't know what it feels like to not see people that look like you in a genre you love. Then of course there's the usual blatant racism and sexism and institutionalized racism and sexism. Racsim and sexism together are like bigotry squared. 
What we can do to change the support of WoC and PoC (people of color) creators, whether they are indie or mainstream to help bring their stories to the forefront and more readers. If you're a creator, make sure you're creating a diverse world, on that doesn't just include women of color, but men of color as well, LGBT, people with disabilities, etc. If you're a fan like me, make sure your voice is heard. Demand to see diversity. An email, tweet or blog post can go a long way. 


What are some of your comic book, movie, and video game obsessions?
Jeez, I have so many. For comics my top three series of all time are Sandman, The Invisibles and Transmetropolitan. They were what shaped my taste in comics during my early fangirl stages. But current comics I’m obsessed with are Saga, Hawkeye, Sex Criminals, Nowhere Men, Chew, Batman, Rat Queens and East of West to name a few. Doctor Who is my favorite show in all of time and space. I also love Game of Thrones, True Detective, The Walking Dead, Nana, Kids on the Slope, Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, Attack on Titan, Adventure Time, Akira, Tokyo Godfathers, Ghost in the Shell, Studio Ghibli everything and Sailor Moon. Some of my favorite games are Portal, pretty much anything Super Mario, Journey, God of War, Bayonetta, Kirby, Pokemon and Zelda. That was a lot… I know.


Tell us about your Cosplay Bucket List!
Oh yes, that is an ongoing list. I’m not very crafty and can’t sew for crap but I hope I can get better as I cosplay. For the upcoming New York Comic Con I’m going to cosplay as a femme Space Dandy and I’ll see if I have time to throw together a Lumpy Space Princess cosplay. I’ll probably do my femme rockabilly Spike Spiegel again because it’s so awesome. But some others that are on my bucket list are Gwendolyn from Saga, The Major from Ghost in the Shell, femme Spider Jerusalem and femme Leatherface Joker (to name a few). I really like doing genderbent cosplay.

Would you ever consider writing a series of comic books, graphic novels, or magna yourself?
I have! But for so long I suffered from self-doubt. I didn’t think I was good enough to write fiction, which is really stupid because I never really tried. I wrote a blog post about it, too. But yes, I have a few ideas for some stories. I think I’ll expand on my character Bella Blackheart. I had a lot of fun writing her backstory in a recent cosplay post.
What has been your favorite events that you have covered? 
New York Comic Con is fun, it also gives me a chance to write for other sites like Mass Appeal and MTV Geek (when they existed). Also whenever I meet one of my geek idols like Grant Morrison or Neil Gaiman.
What events are you most looking forward to covering? 
Love talking about our Geek Girl Brunches! Our next brunch has a Magical Girl Theme in honor of the new Sailor Moon Crystal. We have all these fun events planned and I’ll be cosplaying.
If you had to choose what are three comic books/graphic novels/ magna that you can not go with out?
This is so hard! It makes me feel like I’m telling one of my kids I don’t like them haha. But I’d have to say Saga, Nowhere Men and East of West.
Time for some word association...

Girl Gamers: Me

Comic Con (New York): Christmas

J.J. Abrahams new Star Wars Movie: Cautiously Excited

Channing Tatum as Gambit: No 

Where can people reach you?
Instagram @girl_gone_geek

(from left to right: Yissel, Rachel, and Jamila) Jamila as Bella Blackheart alongside her co-founders, Yissel as Ma'at, The Scribe & Rachel as Techno Bable, of Girl Geek Brunch were judges for the Wasabassco Burlesque Costume Contest
 


 







Feel Young, Be Bold, Live Regal

Feel Young, Be Bold, Live Regal