Friday, April 27, 2012

Who is your target audience?

Who is your target audience? Have you ever been asked that question by an editor or an agent? I have. You want to have a ready answer when you reply. Is your book for middle graders, young adults, children, adults? Be specific. In literary agent Chuck Sambuchino’s post, “Who is your target reader?” on the Writers Digest blog, he notes: “See this question as an opportunity to show both the businesslike and passionate sides of yourself – i.e., why this is a marketable book and why you alone of all the souls on earth were born to write it.” 

For more on this topic and for a blog roll of literary agents, visit his site above.

School Visit
On another note, I enjoyed reading an essay by Michael Sims, “Some Book: Celebrating 60 Years of ‘Charlotte’s Web,’” in the New York Times. I think you will enjoy it too. 

“Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.”  ― E. B. White

Monday, April 23, 2012

Fiesta Week

It’s Fiesta Week here in San Antonio. Parades, queens, princesses, school bands, and thousands of locals and tourists alike enjoying San Antonio’s annual event. It is a time of celebration and fun!

According to the website on, the history of this event goes like this: “In 1891, a group of ladies decorated horse-drawn carriages, paraded in front of the Alamo, and pelted each other with flower blossoms. The parade was organized to honor the heroes from the battles of the Alamo and San Jacinto."

It has really grown since then. Visit the website above to find out more. In the meantime, I have a “Fiesta Wreath” in my home to start the week off right.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

How do you start your story?

You, the writer – you know how to start a story, right? But do you know how NOT to start a story? On her post on the Institute of Children’s Literature blog, Jan Fields asks the following questions:  “ … where are you starting? Are you engaging the reader or confusing him? Are you getting the story moving or starting at a long dead stop?” In her article, “Don’t Start This Way – Unless it Works,” Fields offers tips on how to “engage the reader and not bore him” with your opening. So do you start with dialogue, a scene, a character? Read her post to figure out what NOT to do. 


Here’s a treat. An interview with author Jon Scieszka and illustrator Lane Smith on the Design Mom blog. They collaborated on numerous books including the Caldecott Honor book, The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. 

“The best children's book writers are not people who have kids, but people who write from the child within themselves." Andrea Brown

Sunday, April 15, 2012

April is Poetry Month

Since April is Poetry Month, I would like to post a couple of my poems. These were published a while back.  


                                                                                   By Lupe Ruiz-Flores

Stained old muslin apron
wrapped around his ample middle
grocer dips into sawdust barrel
sprinkles the powdery shreddings
across the wooden floor.

Like snowflakes they fall
making no sound
as they settle gently
on the decayed wood
once itself part of a tree.

Scent of freshly cut wood
uniting with old gray boards
a blend of yesterday and today
like cousins at a reunion.
                                                       Published in San Antonio Express-News

 The Time Piece
                                             By Lupe Ruiz-Flores
Like a pendulum I swung
from your golden chain I dangled
in tune with your heartbeat
the ups and downs of your life.

 A slice of treasured time
reflected in my golden armor
I played my soulful music
as you commanded.

 My cover, an ornate, gilded eagle
perched proudly on solid rock
a reminder of the solidarity
we once shared.
Detached from you forever
I now become someone’s heirloom
my fine, embellished lines
caressed by the next in line.
                                                                     Published in Voices Along the River – San Antonio Poetry Fair

Award-winning author Jane Yolen offers tips on writing a poem on Katie Davis’ blog.
"Love the writing, love the writing, love the writing... the rest will follow." Jane Yolen

Monday, April 9, 2012

More día and poet laureate

San Antonio has its first poet laureate: Poet/author Dr. Carmen Tafolla. This award-winning author has published numerous children and adult books plus books of poetry. We wish her a wonderful two-year term as San Antonio’s poet laureate. Publishers Weekly just did a feature on Tafolla titled, “Poetic Justice in Texas.” 

Another author in the limelight is Pat Mora, founder of El día de los niños/el día de los libros. Publishers Weekly also featured Ms. Mora on their blog post, “Día Initiative Extends Its Literacy Outreach.” Visit both posts for an interesting read. 

I am in the middle of revisions for one of my middle-grade novels. So … I visited the website, The Writing Center. Under their title, "Revising Drafts," one of the questions asked is “What does it mean to revise?” and “Why is revision important?” This post goes through the revision process step by step. If you need guidance with revision, here it is. Go for it!

"If a teacher told me to revise, I thought that meant my writing was a broken-down car that needed to go to the repair shop. I felt insulted. I didn't realize the teacher was saying, 'Make it shine. It's worth it.' Now I see revision as a beautiful word of hope. It's a new vision of something. It means you don't have to be perfect the first time. What a relief!" —Naomi Shihab Nye

Monday, April 2, 2012

Día de los niños/Día de los libros

April is the month when Día de los niños/Día de los libros is celebrated nationwide. Founded by author Pat Mora in 1997, this celebration honors children, promotes literacy, languages, and cultures.

According to Pat Mora’s website, “The goals of this observance from its inception have included a daily commitment to:
  1. honor children and childhood,
  2. promote literacy, the importance of linking all children to books, languages, and cultures,
  3. honor home languages and cultures, and thus promoting bilingual and multilingual literacy in this multicultural nation, and global understanding through reading,
  4. involve parents as valued members of the literacy team,
  5. promote library collection development that reflects our plurality."
Today, during a school visit in Austin, I reminded the students about what Día de los niños is all about. I told them how special they are not just during this April event but all year round. I stressed the importance of books, reading, and writing. I hope I inspired them to become lifelong readers.

School Mural
"Each time a child opens a book, he pushes open the gate that separates him from Elsewhere. It gives him choices. It gives him freedom. These are magnificent, wonderfully unsafe things." -- Lois Lowry