This is my journey.
And like all journeys, my journey is filled with lows and highs and all of that swirly white noise that hums through day-to-day life, like the hum of my refrigerator when the house is quiet.
My first published story appeared in THE WRITER’S JOURNAL. I was paid $25 and received a free one-year subscription to their magazine. In a flowery box beside my bed, I still have the uncashed check and the acceptance letter. From time-to-time, I open the box, just to look at them.
Soon thereafter, I published stories in children’s magazines like, HOPSCOTCH FOR GIRLS and FUN FOR KIDZ. But then, and there’s always a “but then…” I decided to write picture books and novels.
This endeavor led me to a wonderful organization called SCBWI, or Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. In San Diego, where I lived at the time, I attended workshops and conferences. The Regional Advisor for that chapter invited me to become their Refreshments Coordinator. This afforded me the opportunity to visit with well-known authors when they came to speak at our conferences. I learned so much.
Over all the years that I have been writing picture books and middle grade novels, I have some beautiful, personal, even handwritten rejection letters. A few were from wonderful editors and agents who have represented amazing authors like Ann Martin and Kevin Henkes and Christopher Paul Curtis.
But my best day as an author came after I queried an agent who wanted to talk to me about my books. She liked what she saw and offered me representation. Her name is Dawn Frederick. She’s a literary agent and also the owner of Red Sofa Literary. That was a very good day indeed.
Currently, Dawn is submitting this book to editors:
ROBOBEES: Flight of the World’s First Robotic Bee is a nonfiction picture book text about the plight of the honeybee and Colony Collapse Disorder. Engineering scientists in the robotics laboratory at Harvard University are developing a RoboBee that will pollinate crops like a real honeybee. This is an amazing story! The question is: Will their FANTASTICAL dream actually become reality? Find out more soon!
She is in the process of reading this story:
LONG WAY TO BROOKLYN is a middle grade multicultural novel based on a true story. When Abby’s papa, who grew up in New York City, decides to trade their country home in Texas for a cold flat in Brooklyn, eleven-year-old Abby doesn’t understand why. Papa complains how people treat him differently because of the way he speaks with a Puerto Rican accent. Abby asks how they treat him differently. Papa says it isn’t something he can explain. He just feels it. This makes Abby wonder how he can feel something and know it’s true.
And these books are available directly from me (though I’m sure my agent would negotiate the contract):
H.H. PLUMTREE’S SECRET KINGDOM is a middle grade novel with a modern day, fractured-fairy tale twist. Approximately 35,000 words, it is the story of a timid and offbeat ten-year-old boy who has a photographic memory named Humphrey Herbert Plumtree. Preoccupied with her own interest, his busy mother drops him off at the front gates of Disneyland to spend the day alone. After Humphrey is stalked, threatened and kidnapped, he faces his biggest phobia of all, the fear of heights. Although his parents haven’t always been there for him, Humphrey finds that family ties are stronger than even his worst fears.
HOBO TRAIN, A Great Depression Story, ERNIE PEA AND THE PRINCESS, CHARLIE AND THE SYMPHONY: Leveled Early Readers.
ELLA ON THE CORNER OF CRANBERRY STREET is a middle grade novel about a nine-year-old Filipino girl named Ella, whose alcoholic mother’s death moves them to Cranberry Street in Brooklyn. Wealthy family on her mother’s side try to take Ella and her sister away from Pop (who they never liked or accepted).
A little about me:
I was born in Brooklyn, New York, raised in the dusty hills of El Paso, Texas, but spent the majority of my grownup life in Idaho. When I was a young girl, my father, born with a wandering spirit, moved us thirty times (at least) my whole life. Oftentimes, being the new kid in town, I spent hours observing others, longing to join them. Too frightened of rejection, I decided to become invisible.
Instead, I began to observe everything and everyone around me, and started journaling at the age of fourteen (thank you Mrs. Huthers) and never stopped. Presently, over one hundred journals later I have a lifetime of recorded observations sitting at my fingertips. Watch out family I have much fodder for my story ideas! Tee, hee. 😉
I grew up in a storytelling family. Tales of a childhood in Puerto Rico, Philadelphia and a magical place called Brooklyn, inspired me to write my stories. I live in Idaho with my husband, young son and an African Sulcata tortoise named Leonardo da Vinci, who roams my garden in summertime. I am a Latina author, SCBWI member, and currently represented by Dawn Frederick at Red Sofa Literary.
Finally, this is how I feel: Twice a year our family stays at the Lodge in Sun Valley. There’s a framed letter by Ernest Hemingway hanging in a line of photographs of famous people who have patroned the Lodge (it’s just been beautifully remodeled). I love that letter! He was a grand and prolific writer. I’d like to think I can call myself writer too.
I AM a writer.
I sure do like the sound of that.