Ignacio in the Dark and PRX/Google Podcast Creator Program

Happy New year!

Ignacio in the Dark is officially released! Woohoo!

Ignacio Soto’s thrilled when his fellow Seventh Grade Sleuths, Ju and Gunther, join him at the Lenape Environmental Center to explore the night sky at a state-of-the-art astronomical observatory. But the three friends are horrified when the enormous telescope moves eerily, all on its own, endangering dozens of visitors. Has someone sabotaged it? Has it been possessed? Are spies hacking into the observatory's computer? The amateur detectives take on the Case of the Out of Control Telescope, as the center’s popular Festival of Matter draws near.

I’m grateful for Lenore Hart and David Poyer at Overdue Books for making Ig shine. And check out Shawn Yaney’s awesome book design below.

Copy of InTheDark_eBook copy.jpg

I'm also thrilled to share that Timestorm was selected for the PRX/Google Podcast creator program. This 20-week accelerator program offers intensive training, mentorship, and support that will help Cocotazo Media take Timestorm to the next level. We can't wait to join the other five podcast creator teams for the kickoff next week at the Podcast Garage in Boston.


What a way to start off the year! I can’t wait to see what else 2019 has in store!

Timestorm is Here!

Timestorm has officially launched! We celebrated with a post-Thanksgiving/pre-listening party with some of our cast members. Look at their smiling faces…

I have to say that one of the most exciting things about the medium of audio is how it’s truly global. Since the launch on November 25, Timestorm has had listeners from as far away as Australia and the Philippines as well as several countries in Europe, Canada, and more than half of the U.S. Certain narratives struggle to get past gatekeepers in various forms of mainstream media, and I’m so grateful that audio is an equalizer when it comes to audience access. Stories of all kinds deserve to be heard by audiences of all kinds.

If you haven’t yet heard Timestorm, you can check out episode 1 below.

In other news…

  • I had a blast chatting with Alex Hensley for this Audio Drama Rama interview. I highly recommend Audio Drama Rama as a source for the latest audio fiction news, reviews, and recommendations.

  • Martina and the Musician is a finalist for a couple Audio Verse Awards for Audio Engineering (Michael Aquino) and Writing (me)! Woohoo!

  • Mi Casa Tu Casa and Timestorm Live are returning to the New Jersey Theatre Alliance Stages Festival in March. I’ll be sharing show dates and details soon!

  • Ignacio in the Dark (7th Grade Sleuths Book #2) has an official release date of January 1, 2019. The cover will be revealed soon!

Happy Holidays!

Timestorm and Martina and the Musician

Happy autumn!

Timestorm, the children’s audio fiction series Michael and I are producing through Cocotazo Media, launches next month. We’ve had a blast recording the first five episodes. The cast is incredibly talented – and it includes many dear friends and family members!

When twelve-year-old twins Alexa and Beni Ventura are sucked into an inter-dimensional portal, they meet a distant cousin who presents them with an incredible mission: travel through time to uncover hidden moments from their culture’s past. Along the way, they meet people from Africa, Europe, and the Americas who have left their mark on Puerto Rican heritage…only their names aren’t found in history books.

In the twenty-first century, Alexa and Beni navigate middle school, friendship, and home life while keeping their time-traveling pursuits secret. When a natural disaster devastates islands across the Caribbean, the twin’s come to understand just what’s at stake for their ancestral home. As Puerto Rico faces an uncertain future, Alexa and Beni do all they can to witness, find, and remember its past. 

The series launches on November 25 and is available wherever you listen to podcasts. Here are the trailers:

You can subscribe now on PlayerFM or Radio Public. Links for Apple Podcasts, GooglePlay, and Overcast coming soon.

I also had a couple of short scripts, Martina and the Musician and Crap, produced by Cocotazo Audio Theatre. Martina and the Musician has been nominated for a few Audio Verse Awards: Audio Engineering (Michael Aquino), Writing (Me!), and Production. You can check out all of the amazing shows in the AVA nominee showcase and then vote for your favorites in the first round here.

And, finally, publication update! The 7th Grade Sleuths Book #2: Ignacio in the Dark (Overdue Books, 2019) is coming this winter! Check back soon for more details and a cover reveal.

Henley Rose, ALNPF, the Stages Festival, and Continuing the Conversation

I'm thrilled to announce that Hielo will be part of Teatro Vivo's Austin Latino New Play Festival along with scripts by Augusto Federico Amador, Victor I. Cazares, and Ramon Esquivel. A public reading of Hielo will be presented at the Emma S. Barrientos-Mexican American Cultural Center (600 River Street, Austin, TX) on April 21 at 8:00 pm. Admission: donation amount of your choice. Click here for more information.

Hielo has also placed third in the Henley Rose Playwright Competition, and will receive a reading at the Birdhouse (800 North 4th Ave, Knoxville, TN) - the reading originally scheduled for April 29 has been postponed. The date and time are TBD.

Last month, I had two projects included in the New Jersey Theatre Alliance's 2018 Stages Festival. Mi Casa Tu Casa, produced in partnership with Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre, was presented at South St School in Newark and the Institute of Music for Children in Elizabeth. Our final show is April 6 at 4:00 pm at the Newark Public Library North End Branch.  Timestorm, a children's audio drama series produced by Cocotazo Media, was also included in the Stages festival. The pilot episode was presented as a live audio drama reading at the Newark Public Library Main Branch.

Mi Casa Tu Casa, Institute of Music. Photo Credit: Alysia Souder

Mi Casa Tu Casa, Institute of Music.
Photo Credit: Alysia Souder

Timestorm, Newark Public Library. Photo credit: Dania Ramos

Timestorm, Newark Public Library.
Photo credit: Dania Ramos

Timestorm team with NJTA's Ruth Zamoyta. Photo credit: Ingrid Betancourt

Timestorm team with NJTA's Ruth Zamoyta.
Photo credit: Ingrid Betancourt

At the end of the month, I have a short play in Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre's production of Continuing the Conversation. The show features six works inspired by current events. Silent Aurora is set in the central mountains of Puerto Rico in the fall of 2017. A fourteen-year-old student and her teacher are cleaning a classroom when an assessor from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers shows up to inspect school grounds. Harriet Trangucci will direct my play. The cast features Michael Aquino (my husband!), Amanda Salazar, and Daria Sullivan. The other contributing authors for the production are Suzanne Bradbeer, Richard Dresser, Steve Harper, Lia Romeo, and David Lee White. Continuing the Conversation runs April 26-May 13 at the Oakes Center (120 Morris Ave, Summit, NJ). Tickets: $35 adults; $30 seniors 65+/students

Artists United for Puerto Rico, Cocotazo Audio Theater, and Women Rising

I'll be taking part in Step1 Theatre Project's Artists United for Puerto Rico, a benefit performance of poetry, music, and theatrical pieces. An excerpt from my play Hielo will be featured along with other theatre pieces by Nelson Diaz-Marcano and Desi Moreno-Penson, music by Aquino and Tanya Perez, and poetry by Maria Aponte, Isabel Pask, and Richard Perez. The event will take place on 11/13 at 7pm at The Physics Theater (Times Square Arts Center). There'll be a post-show reception with a live DJ, Coquito Bar, giveaways and a silent auction. All proceeds from the evening will go toward direct relief efforts and distribution of goods on the ground in Puerto Rico. Tickets $20, purchase here.

Can't attend, but want to donate? Go here. For more information on how you can donate and for resources about Hurricane Maria relief and recovery visit this page I've created.


In other news, I'm proud to announce that the Cooctazo Audio Theatre podcast has been nominated for several Audio Verse Awards! This includes writing, production, music, and acting nominations for my script Hot Drinks. You can vote (here!) in the semi-final round until October 30. (The password is pancakes.) 

This month also marks the return of Women Rising: Stories of Hope produced by Speranza Theatre Company. It runs through 10/29 at Hudson County Community College in Jersey City. You can purchase tickets and find details here.

From Speranza: "WOMEN RISING, Stories of Hope, is a 75-minute original play created by Speranza Theatre Company with the help of our community partner WomenRising.org. Directed by Mikaela Kafka, featuring original music by Drama Desk Nominated composer Estelle Bajou, WOMEN RISING is a compilation of stories written by 7 playwrights under the guidance of lead writer, Jennie Contuzzi." Recommended for ages 15+. Wheelchair accessible.