2018 National Latino Children’s Literature Conference

I attended three days (February 22-24) of the awesome 2018  National Latino Children’s Literature Conference in San Antonio, TX. It was held at the downtown University of Texas (UTSA) campus. Keynote speakers, educators, authors, poets, illustrators, and lots of UTSA student volunteers made the conference a huge success. I did a presentation on Writing with Authenticity.

Our mayor, Ron Nirenberg, and his wife, Erika Prosper, also attended. Presenters from as far away as San Salvador and Mexico were in attendance. We are very lucky to have such a literary annual conference in our city.

Upcoming is the San Antonio Book Festival on April 7, 2018, going on its sixth year. It gets better and better each year.  If you’re in the vicinity, make sure you attend.

Writer conferences and book festivals are a great way to get to know others with the same aspirations and passion for books.

Books Empower the MindRafael Lopez, illustrator

Judging Writing Contests

Judging Writing Contests. Sometimes we have to give back. In the middle of revisions and figuring out my income taxes, I got a request to judge a middle-grade literature writing contest with a short time limit, of course. Students from all over Texas wrote essays, stories, and poems on a theme provided by the contest. I was truly impressed with the talent and sophistication of the entries. I judged over 40 entries, scored them according to the rules provided, and emailed them back promptly. This is one of the joys of being a writer. I’ve judged other writing contests as well but I am still thrilled to read young people’s stories and their aspirations for the future. These young writers are already making a difference. I feel honored to have read their stories.


Little Pickle Press is accepting submissions. Visit their website for more info.

Cameron Books is another publisher accepting submissions.


Writing is an extreme privilege, but it’s also a gift. It’s a gift to yourself and it’s a gift of giving a story to someone.Amy Tan

Writers’ Conferences

It’s writers’ conference time again. So many to choose from. But … make sure you research before you spend your money and time attending one of these. I live in Texas where there are many great conferences to choose from. But there are also many throughout the country. What is it that you want to get out of such a conference? How much does it cost, etc.?


Here’s an article by Chuck Sambuchino, author and editor of The Guide to Literary Agents. His post on The Write Life blog addresses many of the questions you might have before you commit to a conference. His topics include: (1) Different types of events, i.e., general writers’ conferences, ones with a specialized focus, and retreats. (2) Cost. (3) What do you want to get out of the experience? (4) Choose wisely.

I’ve attended many local ones plus the national Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) conferences in Los Angeles and New York. They are outstanding. However, some of the local ones are well worth attending as well.


Poem. I just got word that another one of my poems has been accepted and will be published this year in a children’s book of poems. Yea!! This short poem had lingered around for years. I had never submitted it before but someone encouraged me and insisted that it was just right for this particular book. And it was!

Here is a list on Publishers Weekly of the upcoming “most anticipated children’s and YA books of spring 2018.” I am looking forward to buying some of these books.

And if you are ready to submit one of your manuscripts, go for it. Here is the link to the Institute for Writers contest. Visit their site for guidelines.

US Kids Magazine is also accepting submissions. This is your chance to submit your story.

I am reading the book, Save the Cat, by Blake Snyder. It’s got great tips for screenwriters as well as writers.

“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates’ loot on Treasure Island … and best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day of your life.” — Walt Disney

Oldest Bookstore/Library

Oldest Bookstore/Library. Here is a link to pictures of the oldest bookstore/library in Lisbon, Portugal. Interesting, right?

Well, Happy New Year!! I wish all writers and illustrators a fruitful and productive year and success in all that you endeavor to achieve.

I am brushing up on reading and revising some old manuscripts that I hope to submit in 2018. One of my goals is to have some more of my poetry published as well. I do have two publications coming up, though. One is a story for POCKETS magazine and the other one is an essay for a book anthology.

School visits and presentations are also forthcoming so I’m busy setting up a schedule. In the meantime, I took time out to attend the musical play of CINDERELLA at our beautiful Majestic Theater. It was an awesome night.

By the way, my granddaughter made this wooden plaque as a Christmas gift. I love it and put it up on my wall next to my PC. I look at it every day for inspiration.

Until next time …. Keep writing!

“The best ideas will eat at you for days, maybe even weeks, until something, some incident, some impulse, triggers you to finally express them.” – Criss Jami

Just One More Chapter

Just One More Chapter. Well, 2018 is almost upon us. I was reading through my year-long journal and was amazed at how much I had written. Lots of world events plus memorable personal ones with the family. I just started a new journal. I think I still have several blank ones that my friends have gifted me with every Christmas and birthday. They know I love to write, even if it’s about leaves fluttering down from my trees during fall and the magical night of snow we had a few days ago. Some of these writings have turned into poems.

To keep me inspired, my granddaughter made this beautiful sign on wood inscribed with the words, “Just One More Chapter.” I shall hang it up in my office to remind me that we write one sentence, one paragraph, one chapter at a time to get the story done.  Good wishes for 2018! Read, read, read. Write, write, write.

Books on Writing

Wow! Where did the year go? Time to take stock and prepare for 2018! Do you have any resolutions related to writing? I do. Keep writing, keep researching, submit to publishers, attend conferences, writing and poetry workshops, and never give up!

An end-of-the year bit of good news. Months ago, I entered a writing contest for a magazine. I had forgotten all about it until I got an email informing me that although I had not won, the magazine still wants to publish my short story in the near future. And they want me to send more. I was excited as I went back to my spreadsheet to see when I had submitted. The story I submitted was in my “old” file and had been rejected a few times so I had filed it away. I resurrected it and now it’s going to be published. Like I said: Never give up!

I already have a schedule: some school visits coming up, a poetry workshop to attend, and a writers’ conference to where I will do a presentation. Plus there’s the Texas Library Association Conference in Dallas during April plus the San Antonio Book Festival in the spring. Already things are happening. Isn’t that great?

I know I’ve mentioned the Book Riot link before on books on writing. Here it is again in case you want to read some of these for the upcoming year.

Have a great Holiday Season and keep on writing and submitting!!

Hi There!

I let my characters do the talking, simple as that. – Terry McMillan

McAllen Book Festival – 2017

McAllen Book Festival. I just returned from the McAllen Book Festival in McAllen, Texas. There were about 7,000 people attending and numerous authors, illustrators, and poets were part of the program as well. The festival is growing each year. There were author panels, illustrators sketching, author readings, and book sales. The weather cooperated, and the children not only enjoyed the authors’ readings, but also the carnival atmosphere on the grounds. The librarians and volunteers who made all this possible are to be commended. Great job!!

Author Lupe Ruiz-Flores at McAllen Book Festival


Author Lineup at McAllen Book Festival

These last couple of days I have spent reading and writing in my journal. As I read, I also come up with ideas for stories or poems. I am looking forward to a poetry workshop conducted by the famous poet, Naomi Shihab Nye. Going back over this year’s journaling, I find nuggets that inspire stories and poems. I don’t write in it everyday, but I do make entries regularly. Do you keep a journal?

Here is a wonderful blog on the Published To Death website listing children’s book publishers who are accepting unagented authors.

And if you’re like me, I’m always looking for books on writing and must-read books. The blog, “100 Must-Read, Best Books on Writing and the Writer’s Life, on the BookRiot website, is an excellent source.

Having trouble writing a query letter? Here is a basic breakdown of the query on the Sub It Club blog. Good stuff here.

Keep writing and Happy Thanksgiving!


Books on Writing

Good news: My essay on the topic: “Pëinate: Hair Battles Between Latina Mothers and Daughters” has been selected for inclusion in an anthology in a literary magazine. My essay is titled, “Doña Maria and Toni Perms.” Will let you know when it’s published.

I had my bi-weekly critique session with my group of fellow writers. I brought out three picture book manuscripts that have been gathering dust. I plan to revise all three after excellent comments from my critique partners. After that, I’m going to submit to some children’s magazines.

Pumpkin Land!

Poetry: On Saturday, October 28, I am scheduled, along with several other poets, to recite my winning poem that is to be included in the 2018 Texas Poetry Calendar. I am looking forward to the event. And speaking of poetry, on December 9, I am taking a poetry class with the renowned poet, Naomi Shihab Nye. I’ve enjoyed reading her poetry and have several of her books.

If you’re interested in upcoming writers’ conferences and editor appearances at these conferences, click on the VonnaCarter blog for a complete list.

Books on Writing: If you’ve been looking for books on writing, here’s a post on the BookRiot blog: “100 Must-Read, Best Books on Writing and the Writer’s Life.” I’ve acquired a few of these myself. Best of luck and keep writing!


Two from Poetry Collection

One of my poems from my collection, Up and Down Picoso Street, was published this weekend in the San Antonio Express-News. The other one, El Gallo – the Rooster, was published in the VIA Poetry Contest a few months ago. They are both very short poems which I condensed from longer ones as I was told to limit to eight lines. Here they are. Hope you like them.

 Short Form Only

                        By Lupe Ruiz-Flores

Los vecinos on Picoso street, come income tax time

visit Doña Cuca, who does short form only.


Long lines gather outside her house,

wild pink bougainvillea, red hot geraniums, in terra cotta pots.

ten dollars is what she charges. Short form only.


El Gallo, the Rooster

                        By Lupe Ruiz-Flores

El gallo wakes everyone in the barrio 

before the sun is up

his crows can be heard down the street

he belongs to Doña Tencha

No need for an alarm clock

el gallo is there

exact time every day

struts down Picoso Street like he owns it.