Saturday, October 11, 2014

2014 Laredo Book Festival

Last week Laredo, Texas, held its annual book festival at their beautiful Laredo Public Library. It turned out to be a huge success. Librarians, educators, and the general public were in attendance. Authors and illustrators from all over Texas were part of the lineup. We all had a wonderful time doing book readings and meeting with the public. Looking forward to next year’s event. While there, we stayed at the famous La Posada hotel right by the Rio Grande.
Librarians at the Bookfest
 On the Writer’s Digest blog, Chuck Sambuchino’s (Guide to Literary Agents) post includes an interview with author Kira Peikoff on the topic, “5 Tips for Writing Suspense.” She writes: “Get your protagonist in trouble as soon as possible and never let her get too comfortable or too safe." From (1) Structure Scenes like Min-Novels to (5) Raise questions and delay the answers, Peikoff's article covers "some tips for budding thriller writers that I wish I'd known from day one ..."
 
Authors & Illustrators & Friends
La Posada
La Posada
Schedule


Net Royalty: A royalty payment based on the amount of money a book publisher receives on the sale of a book after booksellers’ discounts, special sales discounts, and returns. – Writers’ Digest Weekly Planner

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Writers' League of Texas Book Awards

 Congratulations to all the winners and finalists for the Writers’ League of Texas Book Awards. I am honored to have been one of the finalists in the category of picture books for my book, Lupita’s First Dance. Wonderful to see so many of the authors I already know. Cynsations blog has a complete list.
 
 
Here’s an interesting post on the Project Mayhem blog, which also appeared on the Cynsations blog. In this post author Isaiah Campbell writes about rejections, rewrites, killing off his darlings in the rewrite, and just plain perseverance before he finally got published. Take a look. Interesting read. 
 
Kaeden Books is accepting submissions for children’s fiction and nonfiction. For details and guidelines, go to their link. 

Picture Book – A type of book, aimed at preschoolers to eight-year-olds, that tells a story using a combination of text and artwork, or artwork only. –Writer’s Digest Weekly Planner


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Prologues?

Just what is a prologue and should we use one? The definition of a prologue according to Wikipedia is: “A prologue or prolog (Greek πρόλογος prologos, from the word pro (before) and lógos, word) is an opening to a story that establishes the setting and gives background details, often some earlier story that ties into the main one, and other miscellaneous information.”
 
Soooo …  forward to Ingrid’s Notes blog, post “4 types of prologues.” She writes: “ … the first step is to identify what kind of prologue one is writing and the objective of that prologue. We need to know what we’re writing and why, before we let the opinions of what’s ‘in vogue’ influence our writing decisions.” 
 
The four types she writes about are (1) Future Protagonist, (2) Past Protagonist, (3) Different Point of View, and (4) Background Prologue (which by the way, she writes that this is the one that gives a bad rap. If you’re considering using a prologue or not, read her post. Very interesting. 
 
Our recent SCBWI Southwest Chapter Bookfair at a local Barnes & Noble was a huge success. Not only did we have local authors and illustrators signing their books, but we also had Akiko White, Cakelustrator, demonstrating her talent, plus Xavier Garza reading from his Lucha Libre picture books, Pura Belpre winner, Guadalupe Garcia McCall, giving an inspiring talk, and Alberto Ramirez, demonstrating how to be a clown. 
Cakelustration

Lucha Libre


Alberto the Clown
Guadalupe Garcia McCall
 
And here’s a treat. View homes of eight literary legends on the Mashable blog. Enjoy!
 
"Short-Short: A complete short story of 1,500 words or less." -- Writer's Digest Weekly Planner
  

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Writing Tip: Outlining

Great news! I am one of the authors and illustrators selected to be part of National Picture Book Month in November to help celebrate why picture books are important. You can visit the website for more information and to see all those wonderful artists and authors who were selected as well. Stay tuned for November!
 
Here is the 2014 list of hundreds of authors who will be signing and presenting at the Texas Book Festival in Austin on October 25-26, 2014. It’s a wonderful weekend of books, authors, signings, music, food, etc. Hope you can attend.
Many writers outline while many others do not. Sometimes I do—not really a long-drawn out outline but a brief one to map a road of where the story is going. Most times I don’t. If you’re wondering whether you should or not, here’s a Writer’s Digest post by Brian Klems titled, “7 Steps to Creating a Flexible Outline for Any Story. You decide for yourself.
And for more writing tips that include: (1) write a first draft nonfiction picture book, (2) write and submit a NF article to Highlights, (3) how to find an agent, (4) picture book celebration and (5) build your own website, visit the Blogzone blog written by author Nancy I. Sanders.  
No matter what your writing life brings, believe in yourself and keep moving forward. Most writers cycle between periods of self-doubt and periods of confidence. – Writer’s Digest Weekly Planner

Friday, September 5, 2014

Writing Rules?

Twisted tree in LA 
We read books on the specifics of the writing process, what to do, what not to do, etc., etc. I have so many books on writing, I sometimes get confused about the do's and don't's. So when I read this article,How to Break the Rules of Writing and More,” I found this article had a sort of twist to it. What! Break the Rules?
 
The interview of YA author Ransom Riggs conducted by Adrienne Crezo on The Writing Prompt Boot Camp blog (Writers’ Digest), is pretty interesting. Below is an excerpt from the interview with Riggs:
 
“Do you follow any specific writing rules?"
 
"I always distrust overly specific writing advice. I don’t agree with it, necessarily. When you’re thinking about what to write or how to write something, it’s too easy to make a lot of arbitrary rules for yourself. I think the difficult thing with learning how to write is not learning the style or rules, but figuring out what story you want to tell.
 
I spent a lot of time telling the wrong stories, especially when … I was in college or when I was a kid trying to imitate C.S. Lewis or Stephen King. I never understood why my writing didn’t take off. I would think, well, the sentences are correct, and the characters are talking and everything looks right, and it seems like a story. I did exactly what [they] told me to do, but there’s no blood in it and I don’t know why. It’s something you have to learn, how to tell the right stories for you, and it’s this completely ineffable thing.”
See what I mean? Does this work for you? Maybe. Maybe not. But it’s worth reading.
Here’s a lengthy list or sneak preview of the upcoming Spring 2015 Children’s Books posted on Publishers Weekly. 
Did you know you can have your book and eat it too? Check out these marvelous book cakes on the MentalFloss blog.
“Remember that sometimes, especially early in your career, a byline is more important than a pay check, since it bolsters your confidence, builds your reputation, and may lead to other sales.” – Writers’ Digest Weekly Planner

Friday, August 29, 2014

Tips for a Writer

Here’s a post on the Writer Musings blog that covers a lot of territory on the writing process. From “honing your craft” to “submission process” to common advice,” this post proves to be most helpful. Included as well are topics such as book reviews, author interviews, and “a bunch of advice from editors and agents.” 
Sand castle at Century Plaza Hotel - SCBWI-LA Conference
 
Which, speaking of editors, here’s a post on the Writer’s Digest blog, titled “An Intimate Look at Working with an Editor.”
 
Here’s an inspiring article by Elizabeth Bluemle on the Publishers Weekly blog, titled “Vermont’s Youngest Librarians (Ages 11 and 6).”
 
Hope you enjoy all these articles and may they inspire you to write and write and write. Wishing you a safe Labor Day.
Pathway - SCBWI-LA 2014

 




"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library." — Jorge Luis Borges

Saturday, August 23, 2014

2014 SCBWI-LA Conference and writing contests

The SCBWI-LA conference I attended a couple of weeks ago was awesome, as usual. I learn something new every time I attend. Plus I meet old friends and make new ones. Here is a fabulous link (SCBWI-LA 2014 Conference) that will take you right there and show you what I am talking about. 
 
Writing Workshop Group
On the last day of the conference, I attended an intensive, interactive all-day writer’s workshop led by Bonnie Bader, editor-in-chief of Penguin Young Readers. There were discussions on the writing process, writing exercises, revisions, and critiques of manuscripts. There was picture taking as well, of course. Here is our enthusiastic group at the end of an exhausting but very productive day!
 
A writer friend of mine and a member of our critique group just got published in Cricket Magazine. Here is another magazine, Highlights, which is taking submissions and this link shows their current needs. 
 
Me with Author Meg Medina (L)
And here’s a short deadline (August 29, 2014) for submitting a YA 1200-word story to The Institute of Children’s Literature YA Fiction Writing Contest. There is a $15 reading fee. 

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go." — Dr. Seuss