The Night Bazaar, Continuing the Conversation, Sakura Medal Nomination

 
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Publication news! You can read my short story “Vista Eterna” in the new horror anthology The Night Bazaar: Eleven Haunting Tales of Forbidden Wishes and Dangerous Desires, edited by Lenore Hart (Northampton House Press). This is a bewitching collection of short fiction for adults. I’m thrilled to have my writing included along with excellent short pieces by ten other authors. The book is available now through all major online outlets including Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Here's what Publishers Weekly said about the collection: “Appealing to those who like their fantasy served with a side of psychological horror, this anthology is sure to entertain.”

On the theatre side of things, Work With Us, a short musical I co-wrote with Michael Aquino (my husband), will be part of Dreamcatcher Rep’s event “Continuing the Conversation: An Evening of Short Plays in Response to the Election” on February 2 at 7:30pm. The evening features readings of eight works written by local playwrights and will be followed by a talk back discussion. Tickets are $20 and benefit the organization Interweave. You can buy tickets here.

One final piece of good news—I learned that Who’s Ju? has been nominated for a 2017 Sakura Medal, which is organized by 22 international schools across Japan. The program encourages students to read books in English and Japanese from lists prepared by library media specialists. It’s an honor to have my work recognized by school librarians in Japan and I love knowing that middle school students on the other side of the world are reading Ju’s story!

New Jersey One-Minute Play Festival and Women Playwrights Reading Series

Happy Spring! Last month I participated in the 6th Annual New Jersey One-Minute Play Festival at Luna Stage. I had a couple of short plays staged by New Jersey directors Steven Gaissert and Ted Wrigley and featuring local actors. Always a fun time!

My full-length play Hielo was part of the New Jersey Women Playwrights Reading Series co-presented by Writers Theatre of New Jersey and Speranza Theatre Company at the Jersey City Theatre Center. The reading was directed by Larissa Lury and featured Jersey City actors Alicia Rivas, Jeffrey Sanchez, Jenelle Sosa, and Siouxsie Suarez along with New Yorker Eli Ganias (who’s been in every single developmental reading of the script!) I’d done a pretty significant rewrite this winter so it was great to hear the script with actors once again. The rehearsals, the reading, and feedbackwere all excellent -- I'm excited to do another revision to get the script submission-ready.

I've been busy revising a short story that’ll be published in an anthology later this year. I’m not allowed to spill the beans about it yet, but I can say it's a mix of horror and fantasy. I’m also currently working on the second book of the Seventh-Grade Sleuths series.

Until next time!

Books NJ, Maslow Reading Series, and ILBA

Much to report from last month! Who's Ju was officially released in paperback on June 1. (Woohoo!) A few days later, I had the pleasure of sharing Ju's story with a group of bright sixth-graders at a middle school in Bergen County. I also participated in Books NJ, an excellent outdoor literary festival hosted by the Paramus Public Library.

Later in the month, I had a blast visiting Wilkes University to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Creative Writing Graduate Program. I was one of seven alums featured in the Maslow Reading Series Playwrights Night. Not only did I have the opportunity to present a cutting of my script Hielo, but I got to read roles in a few of the other plays as well. Such a fun night! And it was great to see the faces of fellow alums and former mentors who taught me so much about writing plays and fiction.

Finally, last week I had the honor of attending the  2015 International Latino Book Awards ceremony held in conjunction with the ALA Conference in San Francisco. It was so powerful being in the same room with so many talented Latino authors. These awards are coordinated by Latino Literacy Now, Las Comadres Para Las Amercias, and REFORMA - three organizations that are doing so much to promote our 500+ years of diverse narratives. I'm thrilled that Who's Ju came in first for Best Young Adult eBook and that my comadre Maria Ferrer was the one to present my category and hand me the award. My book also tied for second place for Best First Book, Children/Youth. I'm truly grateful to be included on the list of honorees found here.

A Play Date with Mr. H

It was a true honor to direct staged readings of MEET THE GLASS FAMILY and THE SNOWMAN, two plays written by the late Scott Huguenin. I never had the chance to met Mr. Hugenin, but after reading his words and meeting many of his family, friends, and former students yesterday, I now know he was a talented playwright, a generous teacher, and much-loved man. The event was a beautiful tribute headed by John Pietrowski and hosted by Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey and RoxPAC. You can purchase Scott Hugenin's plays here.

Madison Young Playwrights Program at Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey

I had a blast directing student work for last month's Madison Young Playwrights Program at Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey. I shared my thoughts in a guest post for the New Jersey Young Playwrights Blog:

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