Pennsylvania Writers Conference

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of returning to Wilkes University for the 2016 Pennsylvania Writers Conference. I joined Northampton House Press editor Lenore Hart and author Todd McClimans on a panel about middle grade fiction.

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This summer marks my return to teaching! I've joined Writopia Lab as a creative writing instructor for their New Jersey region. I'm having a blast leading multi-genre writing workshops for children and teens.

Back in May I served as a dramaturg for the 2016 New Jersey Young Playwrights Festival where I got to work on scripts written by three talented teen playwrights. As always, Writers Theatre of New Jersey produced a stellar presentation of the winning plays from this year's New Jersey Young Playwrights Contest.

On the writing front, I've been plugging away at 7th Grade Sleuths Book #2 as well as revising a full-length script and a short story.

Until next time...

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!

Multicultural Children's Book Day

Multicultural Children's Book Day is January 27th! I'm proud to be a sponsor author for this excellent initiative that provides useful information and resources to help spread the word about diverse children's literature. Here's how you can participate in MCCBD:

In other news, last week I had a blast meeting with the sixth graders at Valley Middle School in Oakland, New Jersey. What a great group!

 
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Diverse Lit 2015 Books 19 & 20

My final 2015 Diverse Lit post features female Puerto Rican authors! I threw in a couple extra picture books for fun. Happy reading in 2016!

Nights of Indigo Blue by Theresa Varela
Aignos Publishing | Contemporary Mystery
A fun cozy mystery with a Latina heroine who is battling past demons. As Daisy finds herself aiding in a high-profile murder case, she seeks comfort in her friends and learns to trust her natural connection to the spirit world. Recommended for fans of detective stories who want a fresh take on a murder mystery.
2015 Diverse Book #19

A Decent Woman by Eleanor Parker Sapia
Booktrope Editions | Historical Fiction
A well written historical novel set in western Puerto Rico immediately following Spain's ceding the island to the United States. The heart of this novel is its two passionate main characters Serafina, a young mother, and Ana, a midwife and former Cuban slave. The author expertly weaves their bittersweet tales while exploring love, tragedy, and the severe practices that harshly impacted women in Puerto Rico in the early 20th century.
2015 Diverse Book #20

The Coqui and the Iguana by Alidis Vicente (Illustrations by Nancy Cote)
Operation Outreach USA | Picture Book
Fun tale that tackles the themes of fear and trust while incorporating the rich natural world of Puerto Rico.
2015 Diverse Book Extra Title

Martina and the Wondrous Waterfall by Yadhira Gonzalez-Taylor
(Illustrations by Alba Escayo) | Picture Book
The second of Gonzalez-Taylor's books about everyone's favorite cucarachita. This adventure features Martina's friends taking a musical journey.
2015 Diverse Book Extra Title

Building 21, Reading Through Life, and VOYA

 
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I had a lot of fun visiting Building 21 in Allentown, Pennsylvania, last month. I met with four groups of students, including Heather Harlen's Writing Life pathway. This is a bright group of 9th graders who were gearing up to teach local 4th graders about the elements of storytelling. I'm grateful to have spent an afternoon in Ms. Harlen's classroom.

Who's Ju has received reviews from Crystal Brunelle's Reading Through Lifeblog ("...a solidly done mystery") and the October issue of VOYA magazine (Reviewer, Laura Lehner: "...a solid entry into tween realistic fiction").

COMING UP! Saturday, November 21: I'll be participating in the Puerto Rican Authors Book Expo at Hostos Center for the Arts and Culture (450 Grand Concourse, Bronx) from 12-7pm. It's held in conjunction with Comité Noviembre's Puerto Rican Artisan Fair and Exhibit. Come support local authors and artists...and maybe get some holiday shopping in before Black Friday!

Happy Thanksgiving!