Friday, April 30, 2010

El Dia de Los Ninos/El Dia de los Libros

This has been a very busy month for me. I’ve done several school visits, book signings and readings, literacy events, etc., and I’m not done yet. I am not complaining. I love getting out there, meeting people, promoting my books. I’ve learned to be super organized when I’m doing these events. It wasn’t always that way. From experience, I have learned to make a checklist of the things I’ll need for particular projects. For example, school visits require certain items and props; booksignings require different things; book festivals take a lot of planning; presentations and conducting writing workshops take preparation, and so on and so on.

I keep folders for the different types of events. I can go back and see what I did for a certain one and that helps me figure out if I need to add or delete some things. I keep updating as I go along. I’ve got a couple of small suitcases that I keep ready at all times with copies of my books, brochures, postcards, business cards, props, tablecloth, posters, etc. I try to be ready at all times. It just takes a little planning ahead of time.

The Dia de los Niños celebration at the Edgewood Fine Arts Academy today was a huge success. I did several readings of my book, Lupita’s Papalote, a bilingual picture story book about kites, while my daughter, an illustrator, created beautiful kites and conducted the children’s activity after the readings. The event was a huge success with a children’s parade, the mayor’s call to action for literacy, a concert, author readings, and numerous fun activities for the children on their day. Exhausting but fun!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A writer

I have a quote taped to the top of my monitor, which reads, “A writer is someone who has written today.” Many times I feel pretty down because I feel I haven’t lived up to being a writer. Have I written anything today? I ask myself. But lo and behold, I find that sometimes I don’t give myself enough credit. I might not be writing the Great American Novel, but I am writing.

I am the newsletter editor for our chapter so that is writing. I blog. That is writing. Out of the blue, I get inspired and start writing poetry. That is writing. I journal almost every day. That is writing. Just because I’m not glued to my chair in front of the PC constantly does not mean I’m not a writer. And READING counts too. I just finished a historical fiction by a favorite author of mine. Pure pleasure reading. But I also learned how she wove historical facts into her story and how well it worked. That’s part of being a writer. Learning. So don’t be too hard on yourself. You’re probably doing all these things as well. You can call yourself a writer.

"Never start a novel with the weather. If you do, have your character reacting to it." -- Heard this quote from an author (can't remember the name) on NPR the other day.

P.S. The pic above is from my cabin window when I attended the Highlights Foundation writers' workshop in Honesdale, PA. Spooky, foggy night. Speaking of weather ....

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Reading Fiesta & Concert

To celebrate El dia de los ninos, I will be participating at a Reading Fiesta & Concert at Mission San Jose National Historical Park on Saturday, May 1. Other local authors and artists will be presenters as well. Admission is free. For more info on this event, click here.

Well, I geared up for one last day at the Texas Library Association conference on Saturday. Yep, it was pouring and I went anyway. Since I wasn't scheduled to be in any booths, I took my time browsing around looking at the latest books published. The event was over by noon, but not before I stood in line to get free books and greatly discounted ones as well. I lugged home a heavy load. I have enough reading material to last me for a while. Now to find the time!!

Last week I was in Albuquerque, New Mexico. One morning I walked out and saw this amazing scene. Hot air balloons floating in the sky a few yards away. I immediately went back in and got my camera.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Texas Library Association

What a day! Attended TLA all day and am bushed. But well worth it! The place was bustling with excitement even though it was pouring outside. I signed books at my publisher's booth in the morning (see pic) and then helped our SCBWI chapter in our booth in the afternoon. In between, I browsed, bought books, and received quite a few freebies. By the end of the day, I was loaded down with goodies. Good thing I was parked close by because I was almost dragging my bags. I saw out-of-town writer friends I hadn't seen in a while. I also met new ones. Met librarians from all over Texas.

If you love books, it's like being in a candy store when you attend TLA. Everywhere you look are books in all genres and colors and shapes plus other items of interest to teachers, librarians, writers and illustrators. Besides books, I bought really cute bookmarks to give away during my school visits. By the time I got out of there in late afternoon, the sun was shining and our downtown riverwalk looked fabulous. A good sign!

"Reading is my cup of tea!" -- Logo on a cup I bought at TLA.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

El dia de los ninos/El dia de los libros

April 30 has been designated as El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day). Award-winning poet and author Pat Mora founded this special day in 1996. It is a day that emphasizes and celebrates children, family, and literacy for children of all backgrounds. I am honored to be participating as a story reader (one of my books) in an event honoring this special day at Edgewood ISD. It includes a press event, a children’s concert, a mini parade, and literacy activities. I was privileged to attend a local university writer’s workshop where Ms. Mora was a presenter a few years back. It should be a fun event and I am really looking forward to it. This is one of the perks of being a writer.

“The greatest children’s books are about the journey to wisdom.” – Jane Yolen

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Eileen Spinelli

I met the delightful Eileen Spinelli a while back  when I attended the Highlights Foundation Writers Workshop at Chautauqua, New York. Ms. Spinelli, a poet and an award-winning author of more than thirty books for children, shares a few tips to inspire and challenge us as writers. Visit her website for excellent writing tips and a poem of the month.  In her own words:

"In terms of 'writing time'—it's not a matter of finding it. It's a matter of making it.
Ask yourself:
Can I get up a half hour earlier each day?
Can I give up an hour of TV?
Can I write on my lunch break?
Can I write in the cracks of my day—ten minutes while waiting for a prescription . . . fifteen minutes while the supper soup simmers . . . twenty minutes while the baby is napping?"

Forget waiting until life settles down. Life never settles down. If you really want to write . . . feel called to write . . . somehow, some way you will do it." —Eileen Spinelli