Friday, April 26, 2013

Submission replies

You polish up your story, follow the submission guidelines, and send out your manuscript. Then you wait … and wait … and wait to hear from the agent or the editor. It can be pretty frustrating at times. Some editors and agents clearly state in their guidelines that if you don’t hear from them in three or six months, they are not interested. How do you feel about this? Would you rather get at least a “no” rather than no reply at all? 
 “SCBWI’s Open Letter to the Kid Lit Industry About No-Response-Means-A-Rejection Policies,”  addresses this topic. Editors and agents also comment about why or why not they favor or don’t favor replies. You’ll get both sides of the argument here. 
Here’s a blog post by Adriana Dominguez, Book Reviews Editor for Mamiverse, on diversity in children’s literature. I found this post especially interesting since my books are bilingual.

Simultaneous submissions: Sending the same article, story or poem to several publishers at the same time. Some publishers refuse to consider such submissions; check individual writers' guidelines. -- Writer's Digest Weekly Planner

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

School Presentation

I just did a presentation at the University of the Incarnate Word and was thrilled by the presence and enthusiasm of the students attending. They are students in the Children’s Literature Class in Spanish at the university. Professor Mondriguez was kind enough to invite me to present a session on the writing process and creating picture books.
She even went so far as to have two containers full of aguas frescas to celebrate one of my books, Alicia’s Aguas Frescas. I drank a glass of each—the watermelon and the pineapple. Delicious! 
We had a very interesting Question and Answer session at the end. I wish the best to these young, bright students who are the ones who will make a difference in our society in the near future. They are blessed that they are getting such an awesome education at a great university like Incarnate Word. Thank you for having me visit your beautiful school.

 "My never-fail secret to getting your book published . . . Write it!" -- Stephanie Gordon Tessler

Friday, April 19, 2013

Fiesta Week

Fiesta Week started today and runs from April 18-28, 2013, here in San Antonio. Parades, queens, princesses, school bands, and thousands of locals and tourists alike enjoy San Antonio’s annual event. It is a time of celebration and fun! Events include Night in Old San Antonio (NIOSA), the Battle of Flowers Parade, the King William Fair, and the Fiesta Flambeau Parade.
According to Wikipedia, the history goes like this: “Fiesta dates to 1891, when local women decorated carriages, baby buggies and bicycles with live flowers, met in front of the Alamo, and threw the blossoms at one another. That was the first Battle of Flowers Parade. The event was a success and soon became an annual event. Soon other activities joined the flower parade. The celebration's name changed over the years from Carnival to Spring Carnival to Fiesta San Jacinto and, in 1960, to Fiesta San Antonio.”
Fiesta Week has really grown over the years. Visit the Gunter blog for info on the History of Fiesta San Antonio. In the meantime, I have a “Fiesta Wreath” in my home to start Fiesta Week off right.

"Know yourself. Listen to a lot of music. Don't whine. Maintain your sense of humor; indulge your sense of play. Persist, persist, persist." -- Kathleen Krull

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

National Library Week

Yesterday I did a presentation at Texas A&M-San Antonio University to help celebrate National Library Week. The school is absolutely gorgeous. The architecture, the grounds, the inside, the library as a whole, etc. I was so impressed. We are indeed very lucky here in San Antonio to have so many junior colleges, four-year colleges and universities in our community. I applaud all the librarians and library helpers at all levels: elementary, middle-grade, high school, and university. Today libraries offer more than books. At some libraries, they offer for checkout e-books, iPads, plus tutoring for adults, book clubs, author visits, classes, taxes done, and much more. Visit your local library today and find out what they offer.

Texas A&M San Antonio Courtyard
"Don't hesitate to use a big word in a children's story if you think it's the best word--as long as young readers can ascertain the meaning through the context of the story." -- Writer's Digest Weekly Planner

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Texas Book Festival-San Antonio Edition

What a wonderful event it turned out to be. I am talking about the Texas Book Festival-San Antonio Edition yesterday. It was the first for our city. Local authors and out-of-towners came to our Central Library downtown where presentations/readings/food/music was provided. The author’s books were available for sale. Huge tents were located on the grounds and inside the library, crowds went from presentation to presentation with kids in tow. Pictures were taken with the authors. I hope this event is repeated next year. It was a most worthwhile, fun event for our community. The volunteers were awesome. You could tell who they were by their bright red T-shirts. Thanks, San Antonio.

Chihuly Chandelier
Glass Drops in Library

Poet Naomi Nye and Author
"Great stories give us metaphors which flash upon the mind the way lightning flashes upon the earth, illuminating for an instant an entire landscape." -- Paula Fox

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Día de los ninos/dia de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day)

April 30 is the day 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.

TeachingBooks website has a list of children’s books to celebrate this special event. I feel honored that my book, The Battle of the Snow Cones, is on that list.

According to Pat Mora, “The goals of this observance from its inception have included a daily commitment to:  

  • honor children and childhood,
  • promote literacy, the importance of linking all children to books, languages, and cultures,
  • honor home languages and cultures, and thus promoting bilingual and multilingual literacy in this multicultural nation, and global understanding through reading,
  • involve parents as valued members of the literacy team,
  • promote library collection development that reflects our plurality.

I did realize, as do you, how blessed I was to know bookjoy, the private pleasure of savoring text. -- Pat Mora

Monday, April 8, 2013

A trip and Wisteria

Just got back from California. Took a side trip to San Francisco and went to the famous Fisherman’s Wharf. Ate at a really good restaurant, which overlooked the waters. The lush vegetation in California is gorgeous. Take a look at the Wisteria below. The flowers hung heavily from the tree and the fragrance was intoxicating. Bought a painting from a street artist in San Francisco and rode on a pedicab. Now back to work.

Don’t forget the two upcoming events mentioned below. This is your chance to meet local and out-of-town authors. There will be lots of things to do as well. Don’t miss it.

"I don't want to write for adults. I want to write for readers who can perform miracles. Only children perform miracles when they read" -- Astrid Lindgren