In this anthology of Latina romance, all kinds of loves and couplings

Latinos are far from monolithic – and a group of romance novelists show this through a holiday anthology of nine diverse, romantic and, yes, steamy love stories showcasing cultural, gender and sexual diversity. .

In “Amor Really: A Holiday Romance Anthology,” nine Latino writers chose their favorite romantic trope, but kept the common thread running through Hispanic Christmas traditions such as the great celebration of Nochebuena (Christmas Eve).

The writers included their own families’ holiday traditions when creating their fictional romance stories, but moved away from stereotypical characters and storylines. The characters in the book range from Latin pop stars to adult movie stars. There are lesbian throuples and couples.

The book is written by seven acclaimed and best-selling Latino authors: Zoey Castile, Alexis Daria, Adriana Herrera, Diana Muñoz Stewart, Priscilla Oliveras, Sabrina Sol and Mia Sosa.

Herrera wrote “Make the Yuletide Gay” and co-wrote “To Us, You Are Perfect” with Alexis Daria. “Make the Yuletide Gay” tells the story of Viviana, an international Latina pop star singer who, after a series of broken engagements, ends up finding love with her longtime manager, days before her big holiday special. live.

Viviana is 45 years old and has a hard time accepting that she is bisexual, after years of dating only men.

The authors of “Amor Actually: A Holiday Romance Anthology” organized a Zoom call for the book launch.Courtesy of Adriana Herrera

“Showing black and Latin people specifically to be able to have love and joy without trauma is really important to me,” Herrera said.

“We grew up with telenovelas, but even in telenovelas you don’t see all Latinos portrayed – one guy,” said Zoraida Córdova, an Ecuadorian-American writer of fantasy novels for teenagers who also writes romances under the name by Zoey Castile.

In one of her stories, “Love In Spanglish”, a heartbroken Latina novelist finds herself with a novel-worthy hero who may well make her believe in love again. you don’t speak the same language, ”said Córdova, who also wrote“ The Great Holiday Escape ”.

The hybrid language, Spanglish, becomes an obstacle, but nothing that love cannot overcome.

Break the stigma

Language barriers are something many in the experience of the Latino community. “When a Spanish speaker speaks in public and he speaks Spanish, people will say, ‘Speak in English’,” Córdova said. “There is no national language in this country, so we can speak whatever we want.”

The anthology does not stray from discussions of sexuality and female desire. Herrera has said that incorporating these things into her writing is a form of social justice for her, as she tries to break through the stigma and hypocrisy around women and pleasure.

The authors knew each other before meeting for this project; There are only a small percentage of miscellaneous authors in the romantic genre.

“This is the reason why a lot of us are hybrids as well. We publish with a traditional publisher and we do freelance projects as well, because at any point in time the publisher may or may not be ready to invest in something that we think is of value and readers will want, ”Herrera said.

The authors gathered in 2019 for a writing retreat, and the idea of ​​an anthology popped up, but it wasn’t until last year that things solidified at a virtual viewing party of vacation movies.

“We wrote as a community and we wrote as a community,” Herrera said.

“Amor Actually: A Holiday Romance Anthology,” released December 7, is available at electronic bookstores. The printed version is available on Amazon.

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