If At First You Don’t Succeed: Guest Post by Gabriela Martins, Author of LIKE A LOVE SONG

Hello everyone! I hope you are all doing well and staying healthy. Today, I can’t wait to chat with Gabriela Martins, author of LIKE A LOVE SONG! I was initially going to feature our lovely guest poster during Latinx Heritage Month, but my college semester was unbelievably busy and I didn’t get around to featuring her. Also, her book is now available for pre-order so now I’m especially excited to chat with her! Let’s get started!

It was July of 2004. That’s high winter in Brazil, especially where I’m from, where we joke that the Minuano Wind can break your bones, but we can take it, because we’re from the south. Coming out of a series of political scandals, a new television ad came out: a very popular football player (to become involved in his own scandal in the next few years), a musician with a tragic life story, and two everyday Joes, talking about the adversities they’ve been through in life, and ending the ad with what was supposed to be the new slogan of Brazil. 

Eu sou brasileiro, e não desisto nunca. I am Brazilian, and I will never give up.

A meme was born.

Brazilians are notable for their ability to memefy absolutely everything. It’s both the reason we survive so many crises and the reason we largely don’t do anything to stop them from happening again. Everything is funny if you try hard enough. It’s part of my culture, it’s part of the way I was raised on a larger scale than just my family. It’s our modus operandi. 

In 2004, I was in fifth grade. I didn’t know enough about politics, none of us had smartphones, and our access to the Internet was limited to Sundays-only, when you only paid to connect to the phone once. Or after midnights on weekdays, but that rebellious Internet-addicted side only came up later in high school. My use for the Internet at 11 was mostly Neopets.

That didn’t stop us from making fun of the new slogan we saw on TV 24/7. Every time a teacher would become annoyed at us, we’d say this sentence out loud. I had a crush on a boy from sixth grade that year—and I proudly told my closest friends that against all odds of us dating, eu sou brasileira, e não desisto nunca.

At 11, I also wrote my first fanfic, and published it in a Brazilian website. One of the first comments was from a woman named Rachel. I said woman, because I remember she was much older than me, but maybe she was another kid, just a few years older. I don’t know. Either way, I’ll always remember Rachel.

She told me I should probably give up writing, because I had no talent, my plot was dull, my characters were unsympathetic, and I should go back to the ‘sidelines’ and just read other people’s stories.

The weirdest thing is that she said all of that in a sweet way, like she meant well. I wasn’t angry when I saw her comment, or when she contacted me privately to continue her rants on how I shouldn’t be writing. I felt like she was looking after me.

Rachel offered to beta-read my stories and give me feedback on how I could become better. I’m not sure what her qualifications were beyond a very high impression of herself.

I accepted, though. I didn’t want to stop. I wanted to get better.

Over the years (yes, years), Rachel continued to tell me I shouldn’t write. But I’m Brazilian, and I don’t ever give up. So I continued writing, and she continued hating it, and eventually we drifted apart.

And I continued writing.

I was 18 when I finished my first original novel—a 120k+ YA monstrosity that was a political intrigue involving werewolves, vampires, and zombies. The next year, I wrote a YA Thriller with an admittedly tired trope of amnesia where the love interest was suspiciously similar to Scott McCall in Teen Wolf, and with that story, I felt like I could get an agent and really break into publishing. 

I did a lot of research, and got one personalized rejection! Literally hundreds of form rejections or ghosting, but that one personalized rejection told me I was on the right path. Wrong story, but hey, at least I had done enough research on queries that it’d warranted me a personalized response! I got to work again.

Throughout college, and my first job, and second job, and all the jobs, I kept writing and querying. My friends would go through these exhausting moments of absolute despair and hopelessness. Many gave up, or decided that writing just wasn’t something they felt passionate enough. That is okay. Another old meme: YMMV (from LiveJournal days, and another ad, your mileage may vary. Opinions differ. All of that).

But time and time again I was asked how come I didn’t give up. And the reason is that I never considered that I wouldn’t eventually get an agent, a book deal, all of that. My writing career had already started, because I was writing. 

It was never a matter of will I get an agent? It was when I get an agent.

In December 2019, I accepted my agent’s offer to start our partnership. That wasn’t with any of those initial manuscripts. It was with my tenth finished novel, and seventh queried. In May 2020, we went on sub with this novel, and in August 2020 I accepted the offer from my editor. We eventually decided on the title LIKE A LOVE SONG, and my book is coming out in summer 2021. 

The tenth novel. The seventh queried. A decade+ later.

Of course I’m happy—I’m ecstatic, and my many emails with all-caps to my agent and editor will prove it. But I also knew it was going to happen eventually, because I wouldn’t stop trying it anyway. 

Maybe the ad worked, especially on my generation that mockingly repeated it day after day after day for years (the longevity of memes back then was a lot longer). Maybe it’s just that the publicists that came up with the ad managed to uncover something that’s deeply particular to our culture, just like memefying tragedy is.

We keep going.

No matter what.

Eu sou brasileira, e não desisto nunca.

GABRIELA MARTINS is a Brazilian kidlit author and linguist. Her stories feature Brazilian characters finding themselves and love. She was a high school teacher and has also worked as a TED Ed-Club facilitator, where she helped teens develop their own talks in TED format to present. She edited and self-published a pro-bono LGBTQ+ anthology (KEEP FAITH) with all funds going to queer people in need. Gabriela also used to host monthly webinars with themes ranging from Linguistics in Fiction to Self-Care for Writers. She was recently selected as a Pitch Wars mentor for 2020. Find her on Twitter at @gabhimartins, on Instagram at @gabhi, and visit her website at gabrielawrites.com. Her debut, LIKE A LOVE SONG (Underlined/PRH) comes out in 2021. Add it on Goodreads here, and pre-order it here!

Thank you so much, Gabriela, for this wonderful guest post! I loved reading your guest post, and I know y’all did too! Let’s chat in the comments! Are you a writer? How do you handle rejection?

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Seven Cuban Foods from my Childhood in A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow: Guest Post by Laura Taylor Namey

Hello everyone! I hope you are all doing well! Today, I am participating in the blog tour for A CUBAN GIRL’S GUIDE TO TEA AND TOMORROW! I will tell you more about the book at the bottom, but let’s hear from Laura about some of the foods in the book!

My newest book, A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow is the perfect platform to give readers a peek into my childhood growing up in a huge Cuban Family. I hail from a long line of amazing cooks and bakers. So much of my emotional upbringing was done in the kitchen at one of my tías’ homes, and at the table during boisterous family dinners. My main character, Lila Reyes, is a Miami Cuban teen baker who learned a variety of prime kitchen skills from her abuela. Naturally, Lila cooks and bakes all of my favorite dishes in Miami and during her summer stay in England. Read on to learn about my favorites, some fun book facts, and to get links for recipes to make them yourself.

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FURIA Blog Tour: Mood Board and Highlight

Hello everyone! I hope you have all had a great first half of September so far! Today, I am so excited to be working with Algonquin Young Readers to host a tour stop for the blog tour for FURIA by Yamile Saied Méndez!

Instead of doing a typical review post, I decided to make a mood board/aesthetic for the book! I am totally in love with the vibe and overall message of FURIA, and I’m so excited to tell you more about it towards the end of the post. I own none of these pictures; all of the pictures were collected from Pinterest.

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Writing Process, Queer Joy, and Debut Year: Quick Q&A with Adam Sass

Hello everyone! I hope you are all doing well, staying safe/healthy, and hopefully enjoying the fall weather. Today, I am over the moon to have Adam Sass, debut author of SURRENDER YOUR SONS here on the blog today! Before we start the quick Q&A, I’m so excited to tell you about SURRENDER YOUR SONS! I read it a few months ago, and I was OVERWHELMED by how much I adored it and I know you will too!

Connor Major’s summer break is turning into a nightmare.

His SAT scores bombed, the old man he delivers meals to died, and when he came out to his religious zealot mother, she had him kidnapped and shipped off to a secluded island. His final destination: Nightlight Ministries, a conversion therapy camp that will be his new home until he “changes.”

But Connor’s troubles are only beginning. At Nightlight, everyone has something to hide from the campers to the “converted” staff and cagey camp director, and it quickly becomes clear that no one is safe. Connor plans to escape and bring the other kidnapped teens with him. But first, he’s exposing the camp’s horrible truths for what they are— and taking this place down.

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RECOMMENDED FOR YOU Blog Tour: Six Things to do to Celebrate RECOMMENDED FOR YOU (+Giveaway)

Hello everyone! I hope you are doing well and staying healthy in this funky time! Today, I’m so excited to be working with Simon Teen to be one of the blog tour stops for RECOMMENDED FOR YOU by Laura Silverman! I just finished the a few days ago, and I ended up REALLY loving it which makes me even more excited to highlight it here today!

In honor of the blog tour, I decided to make a checklist of six things you can do to celebrate the release of RECOMMENDED FOR YOU in honor of specific jokes or moments in the book! All of these are presented without context, so you’ll have to read RECOMMENDED FOR YOU to see what it all means! 😉

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August Wrap Up

Hey everyone! We have officially reached the end of August! The month of August was quite overwhelming for me because it was my final month home before going back to school. Most of the month consisted of me packing, buying last minute items for my dorm room, and saying goodbye to my family + boyfriend! For that reason, I had a pretty slow month reading wise. I did listen to quite a few audiobooks, though, so I read six books in total! I’m super hyped to talk to you about them all, so let’s get started!

50160619._SX318_SY475_.jpgYou Should See Me in A Crown by Leah Johnson ★★★★: If you were on Book Twitter in June, you may be familiar with You Should See Me in A Crown by Leah Johnson! There was so much hype surrounding it which automatically made me put it on my TBR! I am actually a part of a book club run by Claire at clairefy and Tessi at bookrapt, and the club selected this book as our book of the month! Personally, I would say that it fell a little short for me, so I would overall rate this book a 3.5/5 stars. I would HIGHLY recommend buying this book or checking it out from your local library because it was a really really fun book. If cheesy YA rom-coms are your vibe, then this will 100% be up your alley.

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Books on My Fall TBR (Bingo Board, Plans, and Prompts!)

Hello everyone! As you are reading this post, I am currently on a train to Boston! I officially move into my dorm on August 28th after getting a COVID test, and then I’m in a 24 hour quarantine while I wait for those results. This is going to be a weird and chaotic week, but I’m excited to be back to school (with all the safety precautions in place, of course!).

This semester is going to look a lot different needless to say. Because of this, I’ve been going back and forth about what to do regarding my fall TBR. I know I’m going to have a lot more time because I will have hybrid classes (half online/half in person), all of my on-campus organizations will operate remotely, and my work study job’s hours will be significantly reduced. But, I wasn’t sure how to decide what to bring with me.

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The Book Blogger Oldie Tag

Happy mid-August y’all! We are a little more than half way through August, and I can’t believe just how summer has flown by. A few months ago, I saw this tag on Nut Free Nerd‘s blog and I’ve been wanting to do it since then! I was not formally tagged for this, but I wanted to sit and reflect on my blogging experience for a little! Let’s start!

1. How long have you been part of the book blogging community?

I have been book blogging since January 2016, so I am a couple months short of five years on this blog! It’s honestly such a surreal experience to realize that this blog, and this community, has seen me grow up through high school into college. I was fourteen when I first started this blog, and now I am nineteen years old!! That’s wild!

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Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith {Book Review}

45429341._SY475_DON’T READ THE COMMENTS by Eric Smith

Publication: January 28, 2020

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Genre: YA Contemporary

Page Count: 368 pages

Format: E-book from the author

Rating: ★★★★

Divya Sharma is a queen. Or she is when she’s playing Reclaim the Sun, the year’s hottest online game. Divya—better known as popular streaming gamer D1V—regularly leads her #AngstArmada on quests through the game’s vast and gorgeous virtual universe. But for Divya, this is more than just a game. Out in the real world, she’s trading her rising-star status for sponsorships to help her struggling single mom pay the rent.

Gaming is basically Aaron Jericho’s entire life. Much to his mother’s frustration, Aaron has zero interest in becoming a doctor like her, and spends his free time writing games for a local developer. At least he can escape into Reclaim the Sun—and with a trillion worlds to explore, disappearing should be easy. But to his surprise, he somehow ends up on the same remote planet as celebrity gamer D1V.
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July Wrap Up (Reading Rush, ARCs, & More Audiobooks!)

We are about to enter into the last month of summer! Due to social distancing, I honestly don’t know what day of the week it is half of the time, so I can’t believe I am less than a month away from going back to college. I’m honestly really anxious to go back due to COVID-19 and living in a big city with it, but I’ll be interested to see how the semester unfolds. But, that’s a conversation for another day! Today, I’m going to be going to be talking about the books I read this month! I read a total of nine (!!!) books this month, and I can’t wait to talk to you about them!

36601937._SY475_Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega ★★★★: I have been wanting to read Ghost Squad for SO LONG, and I was so excited when my libby hold came through for the audiobook! I definitely think I’m going to be re-reading this one physically in the future because I drifted off a bit with the audiobook. Regardless, I can’t recommend this book enough! If you are looking to get into middle grade, Ghost Squad would be a fabulous book to start with. It was SO CUTE!

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Five Non-Fiction Books On My TBR

For quite some time, books have always been my main source of entertainment. I was never a big TV show binge-r, and I could never find the hype surrounding movies. It was always books. However, I’ve noticed that I was always drawn to fiction. As I’ve slowly gotten older, I realized how much I was missing out on because I limited myself to fiction only. One of my recent goals is to expand my reading to include more non-fiction non-YA books, so I thought it would be fun to discuss that here with y’all! Let’s get started!

1. So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

22571552.jpgI actually have only owned this book physically for a couple months, but I have had my eyes on this book for quite a while! I first heard about this book from my favorite musical theatre composer, Dave Malloy. With each show he does, he publishes a list in the programs of different books, albums, movies, etc. that inspired his work. For his show OctetSo You’ve Been Publicly Shamed is one of them! I’m really interested in reading to see how it discusses accountability and “canceling”, especially within social media spaces because that’s a topic I think about quite often. I can’t wait to dive in, hopefully soon!

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Seven Books in Seven Days: My Reading Rush 2020 TBR

Am I aware The Reading Rush begins in 4 days? Yes. Am I throwing together my TBR at the absolute last minute? Also Yes. Regardless, I have decided to participate in The Reading Rush! This will actually be my first year doing it, and I am super pumped. If you are have not heard about The Reading Rush, it is a readathon taking place July 20-26th (here’s the link to their website for more information/details about it)! The Reading Rush has seven reading challenges for participants to complete, but I’m definitely going to be a little liberal when it comes to the challenges. The seven reading challenges are the following:

  • Read a book with a cover that matches the color of your birth stone.
  • Read a book that starts with the word “The”.
  • Read a book that inspired a movie you’ve already seen.
  • Read the first book you touch.
  • Read a book completely outside of your house/with the word “outside” in the title.
  • Read a book in a genre that you’ve always wanted to read more of.
  • Read a book that takes place on a different continent than where you live.

I am going to be trying to read seven books in seven days, so let’s start talking about my TBR and plans and such!

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