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.


Writer’s Venues

Writer’s Venues. Now that schools are in session, I am getting invitations for writers’ venues. My upcoming schedule looks like this:

September 22, 2017 – Will be participating on a panel at the Education Services Center (ESC) in San Antonio, TX.

October 14, 2017 – Will be on a writers’ panel at the Boerne, TX, Bookfest held at the Heath Library.

October 28, 2017 – Will do readings of some of my poems with other poets at The Twig Bookstore, San Antonio, TX.

November 11, 2017 – Will be part of the McAllen Book Festival event in McAllen, TX.

Come visit if you are around any of these venues. Book sales!

In between, I am revising some of my picture book manuscripts which I hope to submit to publishers as soon as they are polished. Plus, I have been doing a lot of reading lately.

The following are accepting submissions:

Fitzroy Books is accepting submissions starting on October 1, 2017.

Shadow Mountain’s guidelines are on their website.

Cricket Magazine submissions open. Hurry on this one. Deadline is September 30, 2017.

Best of luck and enjoy the journey.

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

Picture Book Cliffhangers

Picture Book Cliffhangers. Have you ever thought about cliffhangers in picture books? I hadn’t until I read the post on Chris Eboch’s blog on the craft of writing. She writes: “Again, a question acts as a cliffhanger. We turn the page to find out the answer…” Pretty interesting stuff.

If you’re into writing middle-grade and YA fantasy novels, here’s an opportunity to submit. Carolrhoda Publishers is putting out a call to all unagented authors to send in your middle-grade or young adult fantasy manuscripts. Visit their website for further details. The deadline: August 4 through September 1, 2017, so hurry.

Shadow Mountain Publishing is also accepting submissions. According to their website: “We publish general fiction and nonfiction for all ages, all genres. We have a strong interest in middle grade fantasy and clean romance. We also publish a limited number of manuscripts in specialized genres including children’s picture books, family and parenting, and self-help.”

You know how it happens? Page by Page. Scene by Scene. That’s How It Happens. – Judy Blume



Writers: Stay Healthy


Writers: Stay Healthy. I write children’s books, but I also freelance for a national magazine. I found these great tips on staying healthy, which applies not only to writers but to those who work from home as well. “How to be a Healthy, Happy Freelancer/Writer,” is the title of the post on the blog, It starts with (1) Setting Up Your Day, (2) The List, (3) Emails/Phone Calls, (4) Social Media, (5) Deadlines, (6) Staying Motivated, plus a few more. I found this post most helpful.

And speaking of bookshelves, here’s a post on of 12 unique bookshelves you might enjoy viewing.

If you’re aspiring to be a writer and you’re looking for books on the subject, this blogpost on the BookRiot blog has a list of excellent books on this topic. I have a few of these myself on my bookshelf.

A good book is the best of friends, the same today and forever. – Martin Farquhar Tupper

Writing Tips for Mysteries

Writing Tips for Mysteries: If you are into writing mysteries and thrillers, here’s a blog post from Goodreads: Writing Tips from Mystery and Thriller Writers that you might find worthwhile. Writing tips are offered by Dan Brown, author of The DaVinci Code, and Mary Higgins Clark, author of Where Are the Children?

Here’s a list of upcoming children’s books posted on the Publishers Weekly blog: Publishers Weekly Spring 2018 Children’s Sneak Previews.

Subito Press is a non-profit publisher of literary works based out of the Creative Writing Department at the University of Colorado at Boulder and they are currently accepting submissions. Visit their website for guidelines.

Here’s a cool post on the Book Riot blog: When Reading Isn’t Enough: Book-Adjacent Hobbies! Also included is a list of teen books you might want to check out.

To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme. – Herman Melville

Hooks in Writing

Hooks in writing. As writers, that’s one of the first things we learn—creating great hooks to get a reader’s attention. So on that note, here is a fantastic list of first lines from the Publishers Weekly blog, Shelftalker. The post, “Fabulous First Lines of 2017 (Round 1) is put together by Elizabeth Bluemle. I went through the entire list to read firsthand some of the great first lines in books.

How serious are you about your writing? Are you disciplined and set time aside for just that? Or do you, like many of us, find excuses to put if off until … later? On her blog, author Ingrid Sundberg brings that problem to a head. In her post, “You Can Make Writing Your First Priority,” she addresses this topic and then gives the writer tips on how to correct it. Makes a lot of sense to me when we keep telling ourselves like she notes in her post that: We tell ourselves that our writing must wait. We tell ourselves that we need more time and more money. We tell ourselves we’ll focus on our writing when we have fewer obligations, and less stress, and things calm down. We brainwash ourselves into believing it isn’t time. And so our writing waits. 

Submissions:  Cricket and Ladybug magazines   North-South Publishers

Have a fun summer and get in some writing!



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

Young Writers’ Camp Workshop

Young Writers’ Camp. A few days ago, I conducted a Young Writers’ Camp Workshop at the University of Texas’ (UTSA) downtown campus here in San Antonio, TX. During break, we enjoyed the city view from one of UTSA’s balconies. It was a pleasure working with the young writers. They were especially enthusiastic during the writing contest. They also asked great questions of the author.