Hey nerds, today I’m going to lay some shit down because I’ve had it up to my eyeballs with a certain something: posts disparaging young adult fiction.

Whether it’s a boring dad-dude telling us how uncomplicated our stories are or posts on how easy it is to write/make money off young adult books- the think pieces taking a crap all over YA need to do one more thing: stop-for-fucking-ever.

The New York Times posted an article calling some YA “paranormal lunacy,” and while that might’ve made a cool new wave band name, it actually sets my face on fire with how insensitive it is.

The article mentions some kick ass books that I’m super excited about but you know the thing where you shouldn’t put something down as a way to celebrate another? The whole,
“She’s special, not like other girls” thing? Yeah the people who keep writing these posts don’t know how to say, “this is good,” without also saying, “this other thing though? It’s actually diarrhea.” They also don’t know that the “not like the other girls” trope is bad and we all make fun of it. Most likely because they don’t actually read the kinds of books they’re bashing.

A NYT piece glossing over an entire genre (SFF) as wacky and not worthy of being taken seriously, is akin to getting super pissed off about a satire article because you didn’t scroll to the end, then sharing it on Facebook. I know you only read the headline, you useless paperclip, and now your Aunt Helen does too. Be ashamed.

It’s time for people who write think pieces to actually think for two minutes, maybe three, before insulting an entire community of hardworking writers. Many of whom are trying to break into an industry where we are historically and overwhelmingly underrepresented. Otherwise, your article is less of a think piece and more of a piece of something else. And frankly, we’re tired of everyone’s shit.

Interview librarians, booksellers, I don’t know perhaps YA authors who celebrate rather than bash their peers. Authors who actually read YA and didn’t crop up just to tell the rest of us how badly we’re doing it.

This is not against any of the authors in The New York Times and the important issues they’re tackling head on. I support them. But I don’t support the assumption that genre fiction is not also capable of carrying that weight. It ignores books like SHADOWSHAPER (which talks about gentrification and self-image among many other things) THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE (mental health issues) and yes even thought it’s not fantasy, HUNGER GAMES ( because if kids killing one another to survive in a dictatorship is not gritty, I don’t know what is.) It ignores these books in favor of the regurgitated, “Wasn’t Twilight terrible?” argument we’ve been hearing since K-Stew sighed her way through all five movies. And these are just three of many, many examples. All lumped under one label that fails to recognize their depth, their complexity, their worth.

And always with the Twilight bashing. It’s such an easy/predictable target at this point. Not only are you clueless about YA bu you’re also unoriginal. Pick a struggle. (Also you probably read and loved Twilight you lying piece of stale potato bread.)

A more interesting approach would’ve been how the current sociopolitical climate in our world is informing some of the books that are being published. How great it is that YA writers are helping kids understand movements like Black Lives Matter. Or that writers of color are being published and doing amazing work. No where in any of those scenarios do other writers (of an entire genre) need to be insulted.

But of all the crappy, misinformed parts of articles like these, the part that’s really the rocket up the ass, is how they disrespect YA’s intended audience. Yeah, remember teens? They’re reading those pieces too, desperate for info on their most anticipated releases and in the process being told the other books they love are garbage juice. Or the teen writer who just mustered the courage to write that paranormal novel and is now too embarrassed to keep going. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but teens kind of love that stuff you call “lunacy.” Way to go you spam-email -of -a-human.  Your Aunt Helen might think your post was no big deal, but it matters to us. It hurts writers. It annoys us and angers us and we have to read a new article about how clueless/useless/shallow we are every other week. So to sum it up, I respectfully and not so respectfully disagree AF with everyone who dismisses all the wonderful layers contained within YA books. You can fight me, Aunt Helen.


Update from 6/12/2015

Sheesh this thing is big (that’s what she said). Thank you for everyone who has put up with me ignoring them and having that crazy glazed look in my eye! There are a few more months left to go of all that so its not over yet! Reading through this printed draft then sending to betas, then one final edit and I AM QUERYING AGENTS ( aka crying & eating copious amounts of green tea ice cream). In all seriousness I am stoked to be making so much progress on my book, I hope in time to share Emerald’s story with you all and I hope you all love her as much as I do. Thanks for all the support, encouragement and excitement (even if it’s pretend I don’t care!) about this project. It means a lot to me to bring this story to life, and to give a voice  not just to the characters and their plight but to the bigger issues tackled in the book (not to mention having a diverse and kickass group of witches as my protagonists). I’m proud and nervous about what’s to come but putting in as much work as I can so that Riddle of The Timekeeper gets it’s best chance! Will update on the next round of edits, back to the writing bunker I go 🙂

Update from 3/15/201511226054_436219679883330_7114598891914551935_n

Hi guys! So I wanted to update you all on where I was with my book. I have finished first draft edits (YAY) and am working on second draft edits which are a lot less work thankfully. I still have a ways to go, as I’m only on chapter ten (and there are 38 total) and there is still a lot of work to be done to get it ready for the next phase. I’m shooting for having this round of edits done by the end of this month, and into the hands of my beta readers by beginning of June. Then I’m hoping to get their feedback in time for one more round of edits and then I will start querying agents end of August/September (fingers crossed). I am excited about querying in the fall, because I LOVE the fall and even if I’m sad from all the inevitable rejections along the way to getting an agent, at least I’ll have cozy sweaters, and cute boots, and crisp fall air and turning leaves. That’s enough to keep me semi happy (especially if there’s wine). Thank you guys for all your support throughout this process, I can’t wait to share Emerald’s story with you! I’ll be posting my chapter names this weekend hopefully, and another blog post on mean authors (!!!). Also, for all my fellow writers there’s another installation of #pitmad coming up June 4th so make sure to get your pitches ready if you’re querying!

Update from 3/27/20156e2b8f6b-22de-4e8f-aee8-2a1041ccf534

It’s been a great year for my book and my writing and I want to thank you all for your continued support of the series! As it sometimes happens, my creative process hasn’t always been a smooth one and recently I’ve run into some setbacks in the way of the dreaded writer’s (or in this case editor’s) block. Sometimes, the best solution for this is taking a step back and letting things happen organically. Although I took a break for about a month, I am once again preparing to embark on editing the 400 pages of book one, Emerald Kipp & The Riddle of The Timekeeper. I am hoping to have the completed manuscript in literary agent hands by this spring and that will be, I’m sure, a whole other adventure. Thank you again for your support, it means a lot to me and I can’t wait to update you again this spring!
– Claribel


The Beauty Writer Blog and Youtube Channel!
My new side project!

I’ve started a beauty/hair blog which you can read here as well as a Youtube Channel! This is something completely different and new for me but something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time! If you have a chance please take a moment to subscribe and like/comment on my videos. Would me a lot to me as I build my audience!


Update from 1/21/2015

Me at my desk (not really)

I haven’t written a post in a while but I wanted to give you guys an update on where I am with my manuscript. I have been editing steadily for the past two months (more so this month than last) and I am on track to be done with draft one at the end of January. *Pops champagne*

Once I finish this first draft, I’ll be sending out to betas and continuing my edits through February and March. I am hoping to have a nice clean MS by April or May to send out to agents, so wish me luck!

I am really excited about submitting my book to agents, and eventually getting my book out there to all of you. Please check out a summary of my series HERE and follow me on Twitter (@Claribel_Ortega) for more writing updates!




DiverifYA Interview: Writing Diverse KidLit

Interview on Living Arts Westchester (click link below):

Living Arts # 59 w/ Author Claribel Ortega



Book Signing at The American Library Association’s Midwinter Book Fair in Philadelphia


Book Signing at The Hudson Valley Gateway Experience, Cortlandt Manor NY

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Interview for Washington Square News




Blog tour schedule:

February 24:
Books and Their Worldly Realm – http://booksandtheirworldlyrealm.blogspot.com/ – Review
Lost in Ever After – http://lostineverafter.blogspot.ca – Promo Post
My Nook, Books & More – http://mynookbooksnmore.com/ – Promo Post
February 25:
Justified Lunacy – http://www.justifiedlunacy.blogspot.com – Review
Inksugar  – http://inksugar.typepad.com – Review
Victoria Simcox’s Blog  – http://victoriasimcox.blogspot.com – Promo Post
From the Shadows – http://www.fromtheshadows.info/ – Promo Post
The Nightly Book Cravings – https://www.thenightlycravingsbookblog.blogspot.com – Promo Post
February 26:
Dizneeee’s World of Books – http://dizneeeesworldofbooks.blogspot.com – Review
Bookwyrming Thoughts – http://bookwyrming-thoughts.blogspot.com – Promo Post
Movies, Shows & Books – http://moviesshowsnbooks.blogspot.com/ – Promo Post
February 27:
Kelly P’s Blog – http://kellyatx.blogspot.com/ – Promo Post
Mousehead & Tales – http://www.mouseheadandtales@weebly.com – Review
sarit yahalomi – http://sarityahalomi.blogspot.com/ – Review
sweet treat reading reviews – http://strreviews.blogspot.com/ – Promo Post
Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews – http://lauriethoughts-reviews.blogspot.com – Promo Post
February 28:
My Crazy Corner – www.mycrazzycorner.blogspot.com – Review
Nicky Peacock Author – http://nickypeacockauthor.wordpress.com – Review
Lily Pond Reads – http://lilypondreads.blogspot.com/ – Review
Frankie’s Bookshelf – http://www.frankiesbookshelf.com/ – Promo Post
Words, Words, Words – http://www.MargoBondCollins.com – Promo Post