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These Hispanic Authors Will Make Your Halloween Extra Spooky

Nora Lezano

Is La Llorona your homegirl? Does El Cucuy live in your garage? Latino writers have always had a unique relationship to the strange and supernatural. More and more, we are seeing Latino authors putting their own spin on old monsters — and making new ones. What a time to be undead! Here are nine authors to read if you’re in the mood for a fright.

Mariana Enriquez

CREDIT: Mariana Enriquez. Photo credit: Nora Lezano

Mariana Enriquez is an Argentine journalist, novelist and short story writer. This year saw her English-lanaguage debut in the form of a short story collection called “Things We Lost in the Fire.” The collection serves as a great example of how horror can be a powerful vehicle for social commentary. Macabre and disturbing, the collection features stories that will chill you to the bone while also offering an insight into Argentina as experienced by the author. It’s a breath of fresh air in the field of horror fiction…if you can manage to breathe.

Edgar Cantero

CREDIT: Edgar Cantero. Photo credit: HCUK

Edgar Cantero originally hails from Spain. His English-language debut, “The Supernatural Enhancements,” is part classic ghost story, part mystery, as the two protagonists uncover the secrets of the haunted house they inherited. His newest novel, “Meddling Kids,” is a fun cross between pop culture nostalgia and H.P. Lovecraft. Fans of the horror-comedy genre will find a lot to love here.

Guadalupe Garcia McCall

CREDIT: Guadalupe Garcia McCall

While YA author Guadalupe Garcia McCall is not known for horror, she did write a novel that incorporates the mythology of Mexico into an epic supernatural tale. “The Summer of the Mariposas” takes place on and across the Texas border, and starts as a female-driven version of “Stand by Me” when four sisters find a dead body. From there, the story takes on a hero’s journey where the girls find themselves encountering all the monsters your abuela warned you about.

Zoraida Córdova

CREDIT: Zoraida Córdova

Zoraida Córdova is quickly becoming a rising star in the literary world. “The Vicious Deep,” her mermaid series, is definitely worth a read. Her most recent novel and the first book in her Brooklyn Brujas series, “Labyrinth Lost,” just won an International Latino Book Award, among other accolades, and has been optioned by Paramount. In this book, a teenage bruja tries to rid herself of her powers and accidentally makes her family disappear. This precipitates a journey to an in-between underworld called Los Lagos to bring them back. Dark and magical, this is a fabulous Latino update for “Alice in Wonderland” devotees. With stories in “Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View” and “Toil and Trouble,” Córdova is someone to watch.

Carmen Maria Machado

CREDIT: Carmen Maria Machado. Photo credit: Tom Storm

Carmen Maria Machado has been killing it for a long time as a short story writer, critic and essayist. Her stories have been reprinted in “Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy,” “Best Horror of the Year” and “Year’s Best Weird Fiction.” Her debut short story collection, “Her Body and Other Parties,” has already generated a lot of buzz, and is a finalist for the National Book Award. Machado brings women’s issues to the forefront with an approach to horror that will delight fans of the genre and bring those who are on the fence about it on board. It’s original, it’s feminist af and it will blow your mind.

Michael Paul Gonzalez

CREDIT: Michael Paul Gonzalez

Michael Paul Gonzalez is always busy with a new project. His body of work can best be described as noir with a healthy dose of carnage. His stories have been included in many anthologies, including “Gothic Fantasy: Chilling Horror Short Stories” and “Year’s Best Hardcore Horror.” If you are someone who likes audiobooks or podcasts, his newest endeavor is “Larkspur Underground,” a serialized fictional account of a woman with Stockholm Syndrome who is the sole survivor of a serial killer’s house of horrors. It is not for the squeamish.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia

CREDIT: Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Photo credit: Martin Dee

Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a Canadian short story writer, novelist and editor. In her short story collections and novels, the real and the magical overlap, often examining contemporary issues like her modern take of La Llorona, “Lacrimosa,” which was printed in the November 2015 issue of Nightmare Magazine. Her second novel, “Certain Dark Things,” was on many best of lists in 2016. Vampires in Mexico City. Need I say more? As an editor, she is unapologetic about championing the work of writers of color, making her a great follow on Twitter.

Carlos Ruiz Zafón

CREDIT: Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Carlos Ruiz Zafón is a much-celebrated author in Spain. His most popular series, “The Cemetery of Forgotten Books,” is a noir mystery which just saw its final installment late last year in Spanish. However, English language readers have one more year to catch up on the first three books before the translation comes out. His novel, “Marina,” is a cult classic. It features two teenagers who get caught up in the mystery behind a woman who ritualistically comes to the cemetery at the same time every month to leave a rose on a grave. There’s a little creep factor, a little romance and a lot to love in regards to the beautiful writing.

Samanta Schweblin

CREDIT: Samanta Schweblin

Samanta Schweblin is an Argentine author who has garnered much attention for her Spanish-language work, being named one of the 22 Best Writers in Spanish Under 35 by Granta in 2010. Her novel, “Fever Dream,” was translated into English and published earlier this year. It’s part ghost story and part psychological thriller that you will find yourself compulsively tearing through, hurtling towards the end. It’s a wave you feel compelled to ride. Fans of David Lynch will find a friend in this book. It’s brilliant and grotesque.


READ: In Honor Of Book Lovers Day, Here Are 9 Latino Authored Books To Represent Different Groups Of La Raza

Ready to get spooky? Then share this story with your fellow horror book worms!

Best Selling Author Elizabeth Acevedo’s Book ‘With The Fire On High’ Is Going To Be Turned Into a Movie

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Best Selling Author Elizabeth Acevedo’s Book ‘With The Fire On High’ Is Going To Be Turned Into a Movie

Astrid Stawiarz / Getty Images

Lately, Afro-Dominican author and poet Elizabeth Acevedo has gotten a lot of well-deserved praise for the incredible writings she has contributed to the literary world. Back in June of 2019, Acevedo’s “Poet X” won the prestigious Carnegie Medal — making her the first writer of color to ever receive the honor. The writer also released her second book, “With The Fire On High,” to esteemed reviews back in May of the same year. 

Now, the Latina creator is getting another honor to add to her distinguished resume. 

Her book, “With The Fire On High,” has been picked up by a production company with plans to develop it into a movie. 

Twitter / @AcevedoWrites

It was announced on Monday, August 5th that the production company, Picturestart, acquired the rights to the New York Times bestselling novel and will produce a film that Acevedo will adapt for the big screen. Picturestart was launched earlier this year by Former Lionsgate Motion Picture Group co-president Erik Feig. This adaptation will be one of the production company’s first. Feig and Executive Vice-President of Picturestart, Lucy Kitada, are set to produce the film for the company. As of now, there is no date or time frame for the film in these early stages of its development.  

“With The Fire On High” tells the story of protagonist Emoni Santiago. The 17-year-old Philadelphian works through the challenges of becoming a single mother during her freshman year of high school. Despite many hardships, Santiago finds that the one place she can still feel free is the kitchen. The magic, love, and kindness she puts into her dishes make both her and everyone who tastes them happy. However, as much she likes to cook, Santiago feels its an impossible dream to pursue so she is conflicted about pursuing it. Still, she can’t help the way she feels when she turns up the heat and creates something new. 

On Twitter, fans and colleagues alike celebrated Acevedo’s newest project. 

Twitter / @YesikaStarr

Fellow Latina writer, Yesika Salgado, took to Twitter to congratulate Acevedo. As the Salvadorean says in her tweet, the “With The Fire On High” author really seems to be on a winning streak lately. We’re glad to see her getting all the accolades she deserves. 

As this tweet points out, Acevedo’s news is very needed after this weekend’s tragedies. 

Twitter / @GlamBelle9

After a weekend filled with so much pain, the Latinidad is in desperate need of some happy news so this announcement comes as a beautiful win for all of us. Acevedo was raised by immigrant parents from the Dominican Republic. To see her succeed in the ways that she has is both inspirational and so gratifying for our Latinx and immigrant communities.

Some supporters expressed their excitement to see Acevedo’s characters on the big screen. 

Twitter / @juliaerin80

This new film deal means that we will see Emoni and all of the book’s other characters brought to life. Seeing more films with protagonists of color not only opens more roles up to Black and brown actors, but it also provides an opportunity to see ourselves and our community is reflected by Hollywood. 

Most of all, Acevedo’s fans and supporters were just really excited for the Latina writer. 

Twitter / @IAmKingBey

Acevedo’s announcement was full of reactions from friends, fans, and supporters and they all echoed the same excitement and happiness for the author. GIFs and reaction images expressed just how proud they are to hear the Dominicana’s news. Her mentions were basically a big celebration. 

We’re very happy for Acevedo and can’t wait to see her book come to life. It’s another example of what can be accomplished with Latina excellence. 

HBO’s New Spanish-Language Series Is Exploring Another Widely-Held Love Within Our Culture

Entertainment

HBO’s New Spanish-Language Series Is Exploring Another Widely-Held Love Within Our Culture

HBO

There are certain universal similarities throughout the Latinidad that binds us to one another. We don’t mean stereotypes, but things that we honest to goodness all love. For example, our appreciation for cafecito and a rhythmic beat are accurate clichés tied to Latinx folk. Similarly, HBO’s new Spanish-language series is exploring another widely-held love within our culture.

On July 14th, the television network debuted its new series “Los Espookys” and it’s “horror” theme is very close to our hearts.

Twitter / @HBO

“Los Espookys” is a mostly Spanish-language comedy that includes a healthy dose of horror and camp. Created by Julio Torres, Ana Fabrega and Fred Armisen, the series takes place in an undisclosed city in Latin America. It follows a group of friends —Renaldo, Andrés, Úrsula and Tati — as they turn their hobby of horror and special effects into a business of their very own creation.

While the show’s mix of comedy and horror is completely engaging, “Los Espookys” is also groundbreaking. As mentioned, the series is mostly in Spanish with English subtitles. The portions that aren’t in Español utilize slang and English with Spanish subtitles to communicate to its audience. For a large network like HBO to carry a Spanish language series and air it in primetime is a huge deal. Even more, it reflects how much confidence the “Game of Thrones” network has in the new show.

The premiere of “Los Espookys” opens with a super intense quinceanera. If you think you’ve been to some scary quinces before, just wait until you see this spook-tastic party. As it turns out, everything from the entrails cake to the mutilated waiters is the work of Renaldo and his crew. The party impresses everyone, including Renaldo’s uncle, Tio Tico (played by Armisen). Expressing his support, his uncle encourages the spooky connoisseur to pursue his passion — even if that passion is monsters and mayhem.

The friends get the chance to do just that when the local priest makes an unusual request of the group’s special skills.

Twitter / @HBOPR

Episode One also reveals more about the group of self-proclaimed “horror technicians.” The black-clad unofficial leader of the group is Renaldo and his life-long friend is Andrés. The electric blue-haired Andrés is the heir to a chocolate company. Called the “Prince of Chocolate,” he is a genuinely intriguing dude with dramatic past. (Note the intense telenovela music that plays whenever he gets contemplative.)

Rounding out the group is a pair of unusual sisters. Úrsula is a dental hygienist with the soul of an artist who is happiest when she’s making something terrifying. Her sister is the odd and unintentionally funny Tita. We first meet Tita when she is hand-spinning the blades of an electric fan to cool down her boss, the priest. Fortunately for us, she only gets more bizarre as the episode goes on.

The cast delivers some great lines but that’s not the only thing that makes “Los Espookys” so entertaining. Improbable situations, subtle humor, and references to popular Latinx culture all add to the series’s appeal, too.

However, it’s the focus on the characters’ love of horror that will really resonate with Latinx viewers — and for a valid reason.

Twitter / WigWurq

Whether it’s the scary legends of La Llarona y El Cucuy or the movies of Guermillo del Toro, the Latinidad loves horror. After all, we have an entire holiday completely devoted to honoring the dead. If you need additional proof of this love, look no further than our children — the future of our culture.

In early June 2019, 3-year-old Lucia Brown went viral for her very scary birthday theme. The birthday girl insisted on a party that included Valak, the satanic sister from “The Nun.” It wasn’t just Lucia that enjoyed the theme; her friends also painted their face in black and gave into the darkness.

Yet, a love of horror isn’t something we simply grow out of; it grows with us.

Twitter / @BlairGuild

When we become teens and start to explore our own independence, we strike out towards our own styles. This often means we explore music and clothing to find what best suits us. In these two subjects, we still see marked examples of our cultural love of horror.

The Emo and Goth subcultures have been notably popular with Latinx teens and young adults since its birth. Both categories are usually associated with teens who are not of color and can appear to be at odds with the colorful traditions of the Latinidad. However, there’s something about the Emo and Goth lifestyles that resonate with Latinx folk.

These categories are often hard to describe but most people can place the look when they see it. Both Emo and Goth subgroups focus on self-expression by embracing dark fashions and the mentality of “the individual.” These subcultures also incorporate a healthy dose of horror — using zombies, monsters and the occult in their fashion and art.

Music is the heart of the Emo and Goth subcultures and is what most links the Latinidad to the lifestyle.

Twitter / @missbreton
Twitter / @_smromero

Emo and Goth music often explore dark and emotional topics in their lyrics and evoke feeling with their music. Bands like Morrissey, Joy Division and The Cure led the way for this type of music in the 80’s and 90’s. Later, groups including AFI, My Chemical Romance and The Used became the modern voice of their genre.

For these bands, Morrissey especially has become beloved to Latinx Goths and Emos. Maria Hinojosa’s exploration of this love — entitled “Goths: Latinos on the Dark Side” is an interesting episode of Latino USA that explores this topic.

In it, a guest explains, “For whatever reason, Latinos love Morrissey and no one really knows why. I think it’s the melodrama.”

It could be argued that melodrama is also the reason the Latinidad loves horror.

Many have expressed a sense of community in finding these subgenres so maybe that’s the real reason Latinx folk feel so at home with them.

Twitter / @llavvves

Often times, Latinos and Latinas feel excluded from the larger communities we’re a part of. Sometimes we’re marginalized by income level. Sometimes it’s our nationality or citizen status that isolates us from others. We can even be excluded from others within our own Latinx community.

However, a shared appreciation of the Emo and Goth subgenres and all things horror unites us in a mutual love. In a world where we can feel so alone, we can go to a Guermillo del Toro film and feel connected. When feeling as though no one understands us, we can listen to Morrissey and hear our feelings in his words.

In this way, “Los Espookys” also has the potential to unite our Latinidad with something we’ll love. Though we’ve only seen one of the six episodes of this season, the response online has been more than positive. Obviously, the hilarious script combined with the characters’ love of horror makes for a combination that audiences relate to. We can’t wait to see what spooky surprises “Los Espookys” has in store for us still.

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