Thursday, April 30, 2009

Inspiration, Writing prompts

Just returned from a trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico. I love the wide open sky and the Sandia mountains looming over the city. Tumbleweeds roll across the road as the winds help them along. Historic Old Town in downtown Albuquerque is vibrant and colorful. I can see why some artists and writers find inspiration there and are attracted to that city.

But as a writer, you don't have to wait for inspiration. All you need to do is sit down in front of that computer and write! I know it's hard staring at a blank screen sometimes. If you're like me, you try to find excuses to get out of that chair. But it takes discipline to stay put. Try some writing prompts to get you started. Or pick one word and write around it. Sometimes what I do is start this way: I remember when ..... Or I would really like to write about ....(something you don't know anything about).

Try some simple prompts to get your creative juices flowing. The following Website has tons of writing prompts to choose from:

Monday, April 20, 2009

Children's Book Fair & Festival

What a success the 14th annual Dallas Children's Book Fair & Literary Festival turned out to be. "Opening Minds by Opening Books" was the theme of this year's festival held at the beautiful J. Erik Jonsson Central Library. Sponsored by the African-American Museum in Dallas and numerous other sponsors, the event attracted around 4,000 school children, teachers, and parents.

Nineteen children's book authors and illustrators, including myself, participated in readings, presentations, and author panels during the two-day event. What a delight watching so many children soaking up the stories relayed to them by the "real" authors of the books or mesmerized by the illustrations drawn by the artists standing before them. It was great fun interacting with the children.

There was such diversity among the authors and illustrators who came in from all over the country. Click here to view: It was a splendid opportunity to catch up with old friends and make new ones.

Pictured above (left to right) are authors: Eleanora Tate, Freddi Williams Evans, and Lupe Ruiz-Flores.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Sometimes taking a break from writing and reading a good book can inspire ideas for a story. I find myself making notes in my writing journal as I read through a book. Sometimes it's a word that leaps out at you and sparks an idea. Sometimes it's a phrase or a visual image. Be sure to jot these ideas down quickly. Then on a day when you feel like you have writer's block, look at what you've jotted down earlier. I'm sure you'll find inspiration there. Have a happy writing day! Picture at right from school visit to Will Rogers Elementary, San Antonio, Texas.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I took a picture of this oak tree because of its many twists and turns. Amazing!

Have you ever wondered whether to use a prologue or not? I was faced with that dilemma while working on my latest middle-grade story. I found an excellent article on an Ezine article Website:,-How-to-Write-One&id=9982. After reading the article and workshopping my manuscript with my critique group, I decided against it. But that doesn't mean it cannot be used in some instances. Anyway, if you get a chance, read the article.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Dallas Children's Book Fair

I will be participating in the upcoming Dallas Children's Book Fair and Literary Festival on April 17-18, 2009, along with several other children's book authors and illustrators. This literary festival held to promote literacy is sponsored by the African-American Museum of Dallas. It is held at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library. It is free and open to the public.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Sometimes when you're struggling with a certain piece of writing, it's a good idea to do something else to clear your mind. A while back, I was having all kinds of problems with a YA novel I was writing. It just wasn't working. For weeks, I edited, revised, rewrote, etc. I finally put it aside and started working on a picture book that I had started and never finished. It was a whimsical piece that was fun. Turns out that picture book is due to be published sometime next year. And the YA novel? I finally finished it and submitted it to a publisher. I am keeping my fingers crossed on this. Hope it is accepted and finds its way into print. Try it. It might just work for you too.

The picture of the flowing creek was taken at a writer's workshop I attended a couple of years ago in Honesdale, Pa.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Every year around this time, we get warnings about computer viruses. This year was no different. Although I already have anti-virus software installed on my PC, I still worried. What to do? I backed up my files, just in case. I've worked too hard on developing the characters in my stories, working on setting, plot, character emotion, etc., to lose it all. It just makes sense to backup your files on a regular basis not just when there are computer virus warnings. Happy Writing!

The kites in the picture were created by students of Jose Escandon Elementary, Mission, Texas, during one of my school visits. My book, Lupita's Papalote, is about a little girl and her magic kite.