Long time no rant…

So I finally finished the first draft to BLACKY JAGUAR AGAINST THE COOL CLUX CULT!!!, the follow up to my wildly acknowledged novella, THE FURY OF BLACKY JAGUAR.

Only took about a year to write a fucking novella (among a ton of other projects, thankfully).

This was a tough one. Not because of any fears regarding expectations. I try not to think about how folks take the work once it’s pubbed and read. If they like it, great; if not, there’s not much I can do – them’s the breaks.

So why did this take so long?

Well, I probably chose a pretty terrible time to write a semi-satirical homage to movies like Walking Tall and Billy Jack in the modern American South while 99% of the racial insanity has been going on. It’s a tricky balance. There’s more characters here, more viewpoints, more opportunities to completely fuck things up.

But that’s the goal. Blacky works in juxtaposition with serious subjects. In Fury, we had the sex trade. In this one; social movements, exploiters of said social movements, and what comes when said causes become tainted. It’s slightly heady, but there are plenty of beatings and cursing.

Mind you, this is still a first draft, but I’m happy with it. I’m looking forward to folks meeting Broderick Kimbo, Erica Ramos, and Neil Clancy. They’re interesting characters and all have similar motivations.

Hopefully, I’ll nail the landing.

And hopefully, we’ll have more news about release soon – well, as soon as I mail Ron Earl the goddamn finished manuscript.

Extra also: I’ll hopefully have some more news about my upcoming novella, NO HAPPY ENDINGS, soon too!

Be easy,

Angel

Pride

I’m angry.

Maybe more than angry. Not sure. There are plenty of folks who have so much more to be angry about. I’m cisgender. I’m straight. Light-skinned. Not a target. I have so little to be angry about, don’t I?

But then I read about Orlando. I read about people who have been hurt and murdered. Think about so many people that are brave every single day. It pains me.

I am so fucking angry.

I’ve always loved that Pride happens around my birthday. Maybe it’s selfish of me. Maybe I correlate it so my personal celebration is just a little grander. Not sure. Still, what matters is Pride matters. My brothers and sisters who are unlike me matter because they are wonderful, beautiful, and plentiful.

My Pride is knowing so many of you who’ve touched my life in so many wonderful ways.

Honestly, this isn’t political or filled with agenda. Not too sure what it is. I just needed to find a way to express my pain and my empathy. A way to let you know I will always be an ally however I can. Even if it means nothing to you. That’s fine. We all mourn in our own ways.

I’m gutted.

I love you all.

-Angel

All Hell’s A-Coming

Preacher airs in 5 days.

5 fucking days.

I’m terrified.

A lot of folks have written of their love of the source material and plenty of reviews admit the show deviates, and honestly, fine, I can live with that. We all saw what being TOO faithful can do to a new property based on a comic *coughWatchmencough*.

So, I’m not going to whine about changes. That’s what social media is for. Instead, I’m just going to share a little something about what makes Preacher so deeply personal to me.

When I was 3 my parents divorced. I have no memory of it, so I’m spared that trauma, but in many ways it fostered a deep sense of abandonment. For the years I couldn’t understand divorce or how people can fall out of love, I was pretty much convinced my dad up and ditched. Blown to the motherfucking wind.

Bonus fun fact: I was born in San Antonio, Texas…

Maybe you see where this is going, but I’ll make it even clearer.

My mom, in the throes of guilt only single motherhood could bring, decided to give me the best she could. This meant all sorts of cool toys, constant attention (when she actually had a day off), and a private school education.

13 years.

13 fucking years of Catholic school.

And then Preacher happened. A story deeply rooted in Christian myth and ultimately, about sons searching for their fathers.

Boom.

Holy fucking shit. It was a western. It was violent. It was blasphemous. It was funny.

And somehow, it was about me.

I decided I wanted to be a writer by the last issue of the UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD arc. That something could be conveyed in writing and art that was so deeply emotional, raw, funny, and potent blew my goddamn mind.

Yes, I’ll always have my trades – they’re literally to my left as I write this, all 9, but I really hope the show manages to do what the books did for me to others. I really do want folks to get the heart of this story. Past the humor and violence. Past the iconography and insanity; there’s something incredibly sentimental to this story.

Hopefully folks will get to understand what it means to try acting like a man.

Be easy,

Angel

 

 

 

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An article by Gabino Iglesias over at Entropy got me thinking about being an “other” as a writer. Give it a read, he points out some frustrating and interesting bits about the use of Spanish language in his fiction and how some readers seemed to recoil at the slight discomfort of having to use their goddamn brains and not be immediately catered to.

All that brain-burning got me really stuck on the author name/pen name. Especially in light of the Spanish language and its many quirks (hey, the alphabet has EXTRA letters). Spanish names are often immediate and noticeable; they don’t conform to English standards and I began to think about how folks like me and Gabino might repel readers without them reading a single line of prose.

It also made me think of a single, stupid fault I have.

I’m afraid of my name.

It’s weird, right?

There’s being ashamed or a little embarrassed. Normal stuff. Plenty of people have that feeling. They’ll hide their middle name or go by a shorter variation. As a matter of fact; I know a few people who go by their middle name and hide their first from the world—sometimes, in the case of my aunt, for good reason.

But me, no, I’m afraid of my name.

When I decided to write seriously—for fun and profit, not ego stroke—I had a decision to make: what do I go by? What would be my handle, my nom de plume*?

I’m not ignorant of the privilege afforded to me on a visual basis. 1) I have a penis (so, already doors fly open) and 2) I can pass for white (yay systemic eradication of natives by imperialist Spaniards followed by interracial marriages!). I shouldn’t have much to worry about—sadly. There are thousands and thousands of writers, artists, performers that deal with a mountain of shit I’ll never have to climb to even get noticed.

Still, my fucking name.

Angel Luis Colón. I struggled with it. Growing up that was never the case. Being from the Bronx, in that small urban world, it was normal. Folks had all sorts of weird names from all over this weird planet. Nobody asked me where my name came from or why my parents decided to give it to me. College changed that. I met people who didn’t live in my bubble and the questions started.

Isn’t Angel a girl’s name? – Maybe? I mean, all those renaissance paintings are of winged dudes. Who cares?

Oh, Angel like the TV show? Are you a fan? – Oh, fuck right off. Though Season 5 was tight. Still, I preferred Buffy.

Why do you use an accent? – Because I hate you and want you to suffer if you have to type my name. Also, see below.

And the mispronunciations: Colon, Colin, Colan (wtf?), Ahn-hel, Angelo, Ahn-gel (also, wtf, can you read?)

It wore me down fast. So fast, I started to introduce myself under a new name: Raz. It sounded cool and it shut people up. A nonsense, one-syllable noise. People accepted it without question, only occasionally asking its origin and even then it was easier to handle. I’d made the decision to be Raz, I could give any reason. Angel, that guy was made up by my asshole parents; I had no choice there. Boo hoo.

And for real, Raz was AWESOME. He was a day-drinker. Got good grades without trying at all. He was a social-motherfucking-butterfly of the highest order. I liked Raz so much more than Angel. He didn’t have to explain himself; he didn’t have to live up to this label he never realized was a yoke.

Ugh, pretentious.

Fuck it, so maybe there was shame at first. But it grew and grew. And while I stopped going by Raz once I realized I needed to be a fucking adult, when the writing happened, I wondered if it was worth going back to that awful name.

You see my name on paper, there are so many assumptions one can make. You can assume I’m a woman or you can assume English isn’t my first language (which has happened a few too many times). And its mild vanity isn’t it? I want you to accept my name on my terms, but it’s not fair to expect that as an immediate response, shit, that’s borderline idiotic.

I agonized over what to write after the word ‘by’ on the very first piece I had published. Should I be Raz again? Maybe A.L Colón. Hell, maybe just Luis Romero (my mother’s maiden name). I could always go full-bore and use other ancestral names. Louis Puglia (the family name from Italy) or dig through the Irish ancestry. I had a million choices. A million faces to give the readers, to set an immediate standard that wasn’t ‘other’ or ‘too Spanish’. Because that’s what we’re avoiding, right? Establishing that I’m different out the gate.

And that’s when it became fear. I was afraid of what people would immediately assume about me based entirely on my name. That I would not be accepted because I do not fit into the round hole as well as a John Smith or a Jane Smith. That my name does not comfort or inspire an immediate sense of authority because it is not, well, gentrified. It is absolutely a dumb fear, but writers have a bad habit of focusing on dumb details. I’m a hundred percent guilty of that.

So why did I decide to use it?

Because I’m afraid.

Good reason, right?

Yes, I think about my name quite often—too much at times—but it has to happen. It’s me and I can’t bear the thought of a cheap facade plastered on the work I’ve bled for. It would feel as if an entirely different person took credit for it.

So I’ll continue to be afraid, but I’ll own the fear. It’s dumb and weak and grows a little fainter by the day. Hopefully with each further success it’ll altogether die out.

My name’s Angel Luis Colón. I’m different—really fucking different, man. You may hate me, you may love me. I may worry about that. But, fuck it. We’re here. I’m gonna write. You can read along if it strikes your fancy.

Also, who the fuck am I kidding? I totally still write for ego stroke. VALIDATE ME

Be easy,

Angel

*Speaking of which, this is by no means a dressing down on pen names. We all do what needs doing. I ain’t judging and I ain’t criticizing anyone else’s decisions but mine here.

HUGLIT

The market is now open on ALL terrible takes of that name. TUGLIT, HUGLIT, SMUGLIT. The possibilities are ENDLESS…or as large as the entry in the rhyming dictionary for ‘thug’.

Whatever, fuck off.

So either this cold is making me feel all feelsy or the recent news that Big Daddy Thug aka Todd Robinson (author of the amazeballs THE HARD BOUNCE and upcoming ROUGH TRADE – CLICK and BUY) is closing shop at Thuglit really caught me up.

Going with the cold. It sucks. Please make all the sickness stop. This house has had a pox since fucking January. I suspect the little one. She drools.

Anyway, Thuglit. I’ve been lucky to make four (FOUR) appearances in those pages and my stories are nowhere near the best. I recommend you go and buy ALL the issues (I appear in issues 11, 15, 18, and Cruel Yule). It goes beyond the stroking of my ego here, though, and I know it’s been a love fest over on Twitter and Facebook, but I think it needs to be reiterated that working with Todd and the Thuglit crew on those stories were a goddamn joy and I truly appreciate the effort and attention to detail he’s provided. I don’t think I know any other writer with that kind of devotion to the craft and to the scene. He owed us none of that, but still did it either way.

And hell, I can’t say that I disliked a single story I’ve ever read out of Thuglit. That’s fucking rare, man.

So anyway, go buy Todd’s books. Go buy the back issues. Let the guy know he’s appreciated, even with the mag going away.

The bright side to this is Todd having more time to write and bring some quality fiction to all of us in whole new ways. I’m looking forward to that.

And hell, I’ll still see that cranky bastard at Shade when I visit either way. Now I can bother him for even more writing advice he’ll tell me to ignore.

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My favorite pic of visiting Todd at Shade before he shaved his beard

Be easy,

Angel