2017 StoryFest Event

2017 StoryFest Event. I will be one of the authors participating at the 2017 StoryFest event being held on Saturday, May 20, 2017, from 1:00 to 4:30 p.m. at Stinson Middle School, 13200 Skyhawk Drive, San Antonio, TX, 78249.   The event is sponsored by the Northside Independent School District and the Friends of Northside Libraries. There will be author readings, a book fair, puppets for the children, bookmark making, a book walk, and much more. If you live in the area, come on by.

Writing Short Stories

Writing Short Stories – I write picture books, poetry, and have started writing middle grade. I’ve also recently become interested in writing short stories. Here are a few tips to help those wanting to write short stories like me.

The Institute for Writers blog post, “7 Questions to ask yourself about your short story,” is a good start.

A more thorough description of the short story is available on the ElectricLiterature blog post, “How to Escape the Slush Pile: A self-editing checklist for Short Story Writers.”

And here’s the annual fiction writing contest sponsored by Pockets. I already submitted my story a few days ago. Wish me luck.

I also just submitted an essay to an anthology contest after reading several magazine articles on writing essays. Keep writing and submit! Do not give up!

And Happy Mother’s Day! I just received this beautiful bouquet of flowers from my children.

Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader. Not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon. – E.L. Doctorow

First Book Interview

Here’s the link to my blog interview with First Book on the topic of El Día de los Libros/El Día de los Niños or Children’s Day/Book Day, which author Pat Mora founded in 1996. I was honored to have been interviewed and have participated in El Día celebrations in the past. First Book is a great organization that provides books to students/libraries.

Below were activities for my book about kites: Lupita’s Papalote.

San Antonio Book Festival

The San Antonio Book Festival held yesterday on the grounds of the Central Library downtown was a huge success. Panels of authors and illustrators were held throughout the day. Children’s book authors also presented at the Children’s Reading Tents. There were books galore to be bought and autographed. Music and performances were also part of the program. Not to mention food trucks and booth after booth of authors showing off their books. The weather cooperated as hundreds of people enjoyed the festivities and books, books, books. 








San Antonio River behind the book festival. Lovely view.




Ever wonder what are the differences between primary, secondary, and lower-level sources in your writing? Not too long ago, I did a presentation at a writer’s conference on the topic, “The Importance of Authenticity of Primary Sources in Picture Books.”

Whether you’re writing a picture book or a historical novel, and you are doing research, check out the differences in sources from the Institute for Writers blogpost, “let’s talk about sources, baby.” It speaks to “finding credible sources for your fiction and nonfiction work.”

VIA Poetry on the Move

Just returned from the VIA Poetry on the Move reception where I read my winning poem, “El Gallo – the Rooster.” The artwork for my poem was done by student Dina Manzano of Edgewood Fine Arts Academy. I love that my rooster has attitude. It was great meeting the other eleven poets and listening to their awesome poems. We viewed our poems and artwork on the VIA bus. Bus riders will be able to enjoy the poems and artwork throughout the month of April on all VIA transit buses. A fantastic evening!



National Latino Children’s Literature Conference

National Latino Children’s Literature Conference. Over the weekend, I attended the above conference in San Antonio, Texas. Authors, illustrators, educators, and students from the downtown campus of the University of Texas in San Antonio (UTSA) where the conference was held were in attendance. Illustrator Carolyn Dee Flores and I were just one of the many presenters. We presented on the topic, “The Importance of Authenticity in Picture Books.”  Sessions by noted authors and professors were held throughout the conference.

(L to R: Illustrator Flores, Author & Poet Carmen Tafolla, and author Lupe Ruiz-Flores.


UTSA Downtown Campus

VIA Poetry on the Move Contest

VIA Poetry on the Move Contest. This sculpture of a rooster is so appropriate for my poem, “El Gallo – the Rooster.” The reason? I am one of the winners of the 2017 VIA Poetry on the Move contest. My poem plus those of the eleven other winners will be posted on all VIA Metropolitan Transit buses along with the accompanying art for the entire month of April (poetry month).

Word Counts for Stories

Word Counts for Stories. Getting ready to attend a three-day conference this coming week. The National Latino Children’s Literature Conference is being held here in beautiful San Antonio at the University of Texas in San Antonio downtown campus. I will be one of the presenters at the conference and am really looking forward to it.  Authors and illustrators plus educators from several Texas universities will be in attendance.  It should be an exciting time.

I am also busy revising a historical fiction manuscript plus getting ready for a poetry reception and reading sponsored by the VIA Poetry on the Move contest. The winning poets and illustrators will be celebrating at a reception at the VIA Metropolitan Transit Center. I am excited about it.

If you’re working on several genres, i.e., picture books, middle grade, or young adult fiction, you might be wondering about the word count for each. Here’s an informative article by Chuck Sambuchino on the Writer’s Digest blog, “Guide to Literary Agents: The Word Count for Novels and Children’s Books: The Definitive Post.

Keep writing!

Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader. Not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.—E.L. Doctorow

Tips for Writing Mysteries

Tips for Writing Mysteries. Here’s a helpful post, “Four tips for building a successful mystery,” if you are into writing mysteries. Check out the post by Jan Fields, freelance author and Institute of Children’s Literature instructor. She lists four tips: (1) Ask the question, (2) Brainstorm answers, (3) Choose the possible answers that could work well together, and (4) Decide the turning point. Visit the website for detailed tips.

Here’s the rest of the four-part series on the blog, Picture Book Builders. This time, an editor was interviewed for this post. He is Neal Porter, founder of Neal Porter Books. One of the questions asked:  What’s the hardest thing about the picture book to get right? Part of his answer: From an editor’s perspective? Getting the elements to work in sync. The words, yes, but making sure the illustrations also advance the story. Read the entire article for more answers.

I’ve never written a mystery, but maybe it’s time to get out of my comfort zone and try it. I never thought I could write poetry, but once I dabbled in it, I got published. Who knew?

Great is the art of beginning, but greater the art is of ending.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow