Alisa Valdes

NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author

My Fans and Readers Set Me Straight

Apr
22

A couple of weeks back, I came up with what I thought was a great idea – tour the country and offer luxurious weekend empowerment retreats for my readers and others. Seemed like a cool concept, and there was TONS of interest from hundreds of woman and a few men – but then a funny thing happened. Hardly anyone signed up.

So I called people.

Yep. On their actual cell phones.

Some thought I was joking, that it couldn’t be me. Most were sort of excited. And we talked. I asked them why they were interested but not signing up and they let me know, in no uncertain terms, that I was asking entirely too much money from them. I had been asking $1295 for a weekend, but learned through talking to my base that this was unreasonable for most of them.

Fair enough.

What would you like instead? I asked. What can we do to compromise, so that I can meet you and you can meet me, and no one is going broke or feeling taken advantage of? Again and again they told me more or less the same thing. That they were busy, money was tight, but they loved me and wanted to meet me, hear me talk, and socialize and network with other empowered Latinas.

And I heard them.

So, here’s what we’re going to do instead. I’m scrapping the SUCIA Weekends, for now. I am scaling WAY back, to ONE city at a time, and we are going to do brunch instead. Just brunch. A talk. Some writing and empowerment networking exercises. Y ya. Books for sale, book signing. And we are doing it for $149 instead of $1295.

We are launching on JUNE 17, 2017, in SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS. I’ve already put the deposit on the room, so I hope y’all don’t let me down! Let’s fill this thing up. We’ll have so much fun!

The $149 will include food and (non alcoholic) beverages; a free ebook download code; my talk; writing materials; interactive empowerment workshop; and a gift bag.

This seems a lot more egalitarian and fun. Dating, not marriage. We will do this in one city to pilot the idea, and if it works, we will come to the next.

Sound good?

By the way, when I told my friend, the marketing guru, what I’d done, she was giddy: “You just did what every marketer should do. Put an idea out. Test it. Get feedback if it doesn’t work. Find out what people want, then relaunch to meet their needs.”

You’re welcome!

So, San Antonio, who’s in? CLICK HERE TO REGISTER!

Bestselling Albuquerque Author Alisa Valdes at Bookworks with Jon Marcantoni Tonight!

Apr
21

Dude. I am so excited. This really good (and, okay, kinda hot) poet from Colorado, named Jon Marcantoni, is at Bookworks in Albuquerque tonight, reading from his new novel, KINGS OF SEVENTH AVENUE, and he invited three local authors to join him to read from their stuff. I am lucky enough to be one of the writers he requested. What kind of guy does THAT? And a writer, no less? Most guys and writers are insufferable egomaniacs. And guy writers are especially insufferable egomaniacs. Not Jon, though. He’s all about community and sharing. He’s a badass babyfaced Boricua brilliance brimming with benevolence. No, for realsy.

So, like, if you ain’t gots nothing better to do, please come down to Bookworks on Rio Grande Blvd. at 6:30 p.m. this evening to hear Jon, me, Ebony Isis Booth and Rowie Shebaulin doing whatever the hell it is we do. Jon is an actor who performs his novels with audience help. Isis is a brilliant poet and creator of Burque Noir. Rowie is a national slam poetry champ. And me? I was gonna read from PUTA but then my son decided to come and so, yeah, nah. I’ll be reading from my NM teen novel THE TEMPTATION OF DEMETRIO VIGIL, which looks like it’s headed to a big streaming network for series soon but I can’t say which one because I haven’t signed anything yet.

Pretty sure I will be the least charismatic and animated person there. And I’m a crazy Cuban. So, you know. That’s saying a lot. Love this town. Love these writers. Love you guys. Come see us!

xoxoxoxoxoxo

How To Be As Hot and Happy As Sisyphus – Wait…What?

Mar
30

So, I’m about to throw some badass college-learnin’ booksmart stuff at you. Hold on. Don’t run away yet. I’ll try to make it short and sexy and whatever else we all need in the Instagram Kardashianized Age of Highlightenment.

So, like, there’s this story in Greek mythology, right?  About a dude named Sisyphus. In the interest of making this post more entertaining I will opt, henceforth, to refer to him as Sissyface. You’re welcome.

Sissyface did some stupid shit and pissed off the Gods, and they punished his punk ass by compelling him to spend the rest of time – like forever, okay? – at the thankless task of pushing a big dumb rock to the top of a particularly pointy mountain peak. Why thankless, you ask? Welp. Golf ball, paper birthday hat. You feel me? D’oh! Down it rolls. Back trudges Sissyface, to the proverbial valley, to start again.

Sucks, right?

Yeah, maybe. Or…maybe not.

Along came this other dude, only like a real dude, from France. Albert Camus. In the interest of being more vaudevillian for your enjoyment, I shall mockingly call him Cameltoe, like a sixth-grade bully.

Cameltoe was an existentialist, as so many of the French strive to be. One imagines him sittin’ around his tiny, hipstery, perpetually leaking and drippy flat, fromaging the hell outta some brie and washing that shit down with all manner of alsace and bordeaux. He starts a-thinkin’, about Sissyface. He looks out his smudgy Parisian window and he’s all, “Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hang on a second there, Sissyface. Maybe your eternal damnation didn’t suck donkey balls after all.”

So Cameltoe smokes a thousand cigarettes, as the French strive to do, and sits his tweedy trousered self down at some old-timer typing machine. He writes this book, way back in 1942, called The Myth of Sisyphus. Critics call it absurdist, mostly because it reached a Most Buddhist Conclusion in a Most Goal-Oriented Europe.

Maybe, Cameltoe surmised between bites of camembert, Sissyface, facing eternity, decided to quit focusing on some imaginary goal and instead learned what all people ought to learn if they want to be happy at all in this Godforsaken shithole of a universe, and he declared: It ain’t about the destination, bitches, it’s about the motherfuckin’ ride.

Cameltoe wrote about imagining Sissyface in the moments after the boulder had rolled back down, him walking, free and buff as a motherfucker, down the mountain to begin again. One imagines the hillside maidens coming to their doorways to ogle He Who Could Be Played By Young Russell Crowe. That was the Sissyface who most interested Cameltoe, the one who was pretty much just like the rest of us suckers, on the train or bus or freeway after hard day’s work, heading home…free at last, but actually, nah.

Mind.

Blown.

Enjoy the trip, babies. That’s my point. Have a goal, sure. That’s awesome. Flex those muscles as you chase it. But don’t forget to luxuriate in the lather of your own sweat. Don’t forget to whistle on the way down. All you have is now.

Be like Sissyface and Cameltoe and Buddha, baby.

Be here now.

Who Wrote the Creation Story of YOU?

Mar
29

It is no mistake that the very first line of the Christian Bible reads: “In the beginning, there was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.” (John 1:1) In the Popol Vuh, the religious text (“Book of the People”) of the Guatemalan K’iche’ kingdom, the first line reads, “This is the first account, the first narrative…” For the Diné (Navajo), the creation story begins with the line, “Of a long time ago, these things are said.” In the Taiwanese creation story, the first line reads: “Who passed down the story of the far-off, ancient beginning of things?”

Every culture has its own tale of how the world and all the creatures came to be, and pretty much all of them are clear: Before there was anything, there was a story of something. All that is, has come into being because of a story the creator decided to tell of it. This is not only true for cultures, but for families. Social scientists tell us that the stories families pass down about their own ancestors and members, generation to generation, are more than story – they are rulebooks of behavior and expectations for that particular family.

The same is true for individuals. We each carry around a Creation Myth of Self. This story defines who we think we have been, are, and who we believe we are entitled to be and become. Unfortunately for many of us, our Story of Self was written for us by others, long before we were able to decide whether it was accurate or helpful or not. For instance, if we had parents who neglected us, the story written in our child mind, which we still carry, might be “I am unworthy to be loved.”

In my SUCIA Empowerment Workshops and Weekends, I help people just like you to improve their lives through story. I ask them to begin by taking a hard look at the story they tell themselves about their origins. How do you describe your childhood or family of origin to people you’ve just met? Do you focus on painful experiences, and present yourself as a victim? Or maybe you do the opposite, and pretend that everything was perfect even when it wasn’t? Maybe it is something in the middle. Whatever it is, the story you tell of yourself is shaping your life in a very real way, constantly. Your story repels and attracts energies, and it is quite likely that, if you don’t like the way your life is going, you need to change your internal landscape by editing your story.

One of the most valuable things we can do to empower ourselves as human beings is to take an honest look at our Personal Creation Myth, and examine the types of words and stories we use to describe ourselves to ourselves and others. Many of us don’t realize that our Personal Creation Myth is a story that can change without becoming a lie, just as many of us don’t realize that the “true story” we constantly tell of ourselves is, in fact, untrue. We must realize that we can all begin to make informed choices about what to include or remove from our story, what to focus on and what to leave in shadow. We must start to choose the words carefully that we put into our minds and mouths in our story of self, and by doing so we can literally begin to rewire our minds and souls for more happiness, abundance, forgiveness and love.

Would you like to learn more about how to use the power of story to create more good things in your own life? I would love to help you! Please click here to get more information about my empowering story workshops. I can’t wait to meet you.

Want to Stop Overeating? Then Stop Using This Four-Letter Word

Mar
28

For many years, starting in my mid-20s, I overate. Sometimes I just sat there alone in my apartment afterwards, feeling like a detestable lump of garbage. Other times, I’d try to feel less like lumpy rubbish, by forcing myself to vomit into the toilet. I did this for almost 15 years, until my own stomach acid began to erode my esophagus, and doctors said I either had to stop being bulimic, or face a future that involved esophageal cancer.

I stopped purging, but continued to overeat, for years, until quite recently. What changed? I read a book. That’s what. THE HUNGER FIX: The Three Stage Detox and Recovery Pay of Overeating and Food Addiction, by Pam Peeke, MD, literally changed – and possibly saved – my life.

In the book, Dr. Peeke offers tons of great advice for conquering overeating and food addiction, but for me, as a storyteller and wordsmith, the single most salient piece of wisdom was the following: Instead of telling yourself that you “can’t” eat certain things or certain quantities of things, say that you “don’t” or “won’t” eat those things or quantities. Change one word, fix your life.

This shift exposed the root of overeating, for me. Saying I “can’t” do something conjures a sense of external control, carried with me from childhood. Because food addiction was all tied up, psychologically, with issues of being controlled by others, for me (emotional control, mostly), the idea that I “couldn’t” eat certain things only made me want to eat them more – like, I’ll show you! I realized that overeating in and of itself was a self-defeating form of rebellion, a cry from deep within me, for control.

By simply reframing the issue as “I won’t eat too much” and “I don’t eat too much” instead of “I can’t eat so much,” I gave my injured inner child POWER and CONTROL, the very things she had been trying to find in overeating to begin with.

And it worked.

Just. Like. That.

Now, when I start to crave apple fritters (my kryptonite) I don’t say “I can’t have that.” I say: “I don’t eat those.” And just like that, the craving goes away.

What about you? Are there things in your life that you could reframe for yourself in this way? What do you tell yourself you “can’t” do? What would change for you if you said you “don’t” or “won’t” instead?

Give it a try, and I promise you will witness the magic of story in your own life. A subtle shift in wording can mean the world.

Did you find this post helpful? Would you like to learn more about how changing your own narrative can change your life for the better? Click here to learn about my SUCIA Empowerment Weekends, coming to a city near you! I’ve helped thousands of women change their lives for the better by learning how to tell better stories about themselves, to themselves, and I can’t wait to help you! Already know you want to attend? Click here to request your application!