Sunday, June 30, 2013

School Visit Notes

A few days ago, I got a really neat surprise in the mail. A packet full of thank-you letters and stories that the third graders at my last school visit wrote. I read them all. They were so touching and sincere. Here are some of the comments in the letters: 
You told us one cool and funny story. I might want to be an author like you… I loved the book you read. Now I know how to start a story... I like how you explained the pictures (illustrations)… I like how you see some things interesting and then you write it … I want to be an author like you. I will remember this day … I love your books because there are surprises that come up … Thanks for showing me the recipe for books. Now I want to be a writer…  
The packet also included short stories and illustrations that the students wrote on templates that I provided. Many of the students came up with really great ideas for stories. This is why I write. It is children like these who inspire me. 
You might want to look into this blog, Project Mayhem, which has some great links to writers, readers, etc., that you will find interesting and useful. 

Blurb: A testimonial from a book reviewer or a well-known person in a book’s field, usually found on the outside cover or jacket of a book. – Writer’s Digest Weekly Planner

Monday, June 24, 2013

Writing routines

Do you have some sort of routine that you follow when your write? Many writers do and I really admire that. On Chuck Sambuchino’s Guide to Literary Agents blog, “Writing routines that work,” Sambuchino lists and encourages us to try some “time-tested writing routines and discover your most productive self.”
“Reading for inspiration, keeping a notebook at hand, and writing when you’re hot,” are just a few of
the steps he listed. These are all common sense routines, but how many of us adhere to them? I must confess I only have followed about three on the list. I shall try to do better. It can only improve my productivity. How about you? What is your routine?
And here’s something neat to read. An interview on the Flavorwire blog titled, “13 Things We Learned From Judy Blume’s AMA.” By the way, AMA stands for Ask Me Anything. 

“Carve out a space in your day for quiet, uninterrupted thinking. Exercise and feed your creative self.” – Penny Raife Durant

Monday, June 17, 2013

Acts One, Two, and Three of a Story

Here’s a really neat post on Ingrid’s Notes titled, “Classical Design: Breaking it Down with
Toy Story.” She breaks down the major beats of this design into Acts One, Two, and Three using the film Toy Story as an example.
Using visuals and narrative, she addresses story hook, emotional core, catalyst, crossing the first threshold that propels the story into Act Two, obstacles, the point of no return, climax, and so on. This is a great article that will help you as a writer. 
I’m always curious to see the studios where writers and illustrators work. On the Publishers Weekly BookShelf post, there’s an article by Elizabeth Bluemle titled, “Illustrators Give the Best Studio Tours.” I think writers and illustrators will enjoy this post.

 “Writing is a pleasure, and I feel that if I did not enjoy writing, no one would enjoy reading my books.” – Beverly Cleary

Friday, June 14, 2013

UTSA Writing Presentation

Yesterday my illustrator daughter, Carolyn Dee Flores, and I had the pleasure of conducting a joint presentation to a National Writing Project class hosted by The University of Texas-San Antonio. This program, the San Antonio Writing Project, is “dedicated to the improvement of the teaching of writing in Texas classrooms K-college.” 
I presented the writing process from the writer’s perspective while Carolyn presented from the illustrator’s viewpoint. We had fun taking pictures with all the educators in the class and enjoyed a delicious potluck lunch. Go UTSA!
We also had a very pleasant surprise. We came upon a Chihuly window in the building we were in. What luck!
Chihuly Window

ARC: Advance reader’s copy. – Writer’s Digest Weekly Planner

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Illustrator's Booksigning

Last weekend I attended an illustrator’s booksigning. It was standing-room only. Illustrator Carolyn Dee Flores had a display of some of her original art from the bilingual book she illustrated.  She spoke about the different techniques she used in illustrating Canta, Rana, Canta,/Sing,Froggie,Sing  and her inspiration in creating the book that by the end of the signing had sold out. A couple of museums have already asked and received some of the original art from the book. I am very proud of this young lady. She happens to be my daughter!
The struggle to master a medium, whether it's words, notes, paint, or marble, is the heroic part of making art. -- Chris Van Allsburg

Friday, June 7, 2013

How important are book titles?

When you pick up a book at the library or bookstore, most of the time the title lets you, the reader, know what the book is going to be about. Not always, but most of the time. “Does the Title Fit?” is a post by Elizabeth Bluemle on the Publishers’ Weekly blog that is helpful when you’re trying to think up a title for that book you’re working on. 
Mentioned in her article about what titles should do: “Titles should be clear about subject matter … they should work in concert with the cover art … title words should appeal to kids … titles should intrigue, delight, amuse… be pleasing to the ear.” Read the entire article. You will find it most helpful.
And an update on my two new books, Lupita’s First Dance/El Primer Baile de Lupita, and my second one, Let’s Salsa/Bailemos Salsa – they can be preordered at Amazon right now.  

“The young child’s mind is very much like a poet’s mind.” Charlotte Zolotow

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

2013-2014 Tejas Star Reading List

Great news! My bilingual picture book, Alicia’s Fruity Drinks, has been nominated for the 2013-2014 Tejas Star Reading List
This blog, InkyGirl, has really cool interviews with agents, editors, writers, illustrators, etc. In an interview with Celia Lee, Assistant Editor at Cartwheel Books, she is taking unagented manucripts for two months. See the details. 
Rules, rules. Seems like there’s always rules for something. But take a peek at these “15 things a writer should never do” post on The Writer’s Digest blog. They’re pretty good ones and make a lot of sense. See for yourself.
Jane Yolen and Author
Touch magic--pass it on. -- Jane Yolen
If you’re into writing children’s stories for ezine magazines, here’s an excellent place to submit – The EvelynChristensen blog. They’re open to submissions right now. Have a great writing day!