Even though this year was a complicated one based on the pandemic and some personal problems, I have to be extra thankful.
If you have been following my journey, you know that at the end of 2019, I got my first offer for my story BELLA’S RECIPE FOR SUCCESS (Illustrated by Geraldine Rodriguez), coming out in July 2021 by Beaming Books – editor Naomi Krueger. I do owe a big thanks to all my critique partners and Lynne Marie, who helped shape this story into a fun story about having a growth-mindset and making mistakes. Then I got my agent – Andrea Walker. And then, 2020.
Andrea submitted my story “IF YOUR BABYSITTER IS A BRUJA” to some editors, including Alyza Liu from SimonKids, who requested my manuscript during my class with Children’s Book Academy – Golden Ticket. My book just got announced, and now I can say a big thanks to Mira Reisberg for helping me with this story so much during her class. She motivated me to include more Spanish words and helped me with many critiques during our live sessions—Muchas gracias, Mira, and Children’s Book Academy. The book will come out during the Summer of 2022, and another Brazilian – Irena Freitas, will illustrate it.
Then I worked on another manuscript. Even though I can’t announce its sale yet, I can say it was inspired by my superhero Mami and her relationship with my superhero son Luis Eduardo Duran. This manuscript got stuck for a while, and I have to say a big thanks to Heidi Stemple for helping me figure out how to get it unstuck. This book got sold, and more details (very surprising!!) will be announced when possible. But I can say that I was thrilled to sell this book to an amazing editor, and a fantastic illustrator will illustrate it. More news are coming soon. Well, probably not too soon.
This year, I also started working on learning about Chapter Books. And I repeated the lesson learned with my Picture Books: take time to learn the craft before rushing to submit it. I took two classes, one with Marcie Colleen with The Writing Barn (thanks for the partial scholarship) and one with Highlight Foundations (thanks for the scholarship) with Debbie Michiko Florence (Jasmine Toguchi Series) and Kashmira Sheth (Nani series). I read many, many chapter books. I wrote the first draft. Then I did a study hall with Marcie Colleen and four more fabulous critique partners. I am now submitting it to my critique partners and getting ready to submit it to my agent in January.
But, of course, I couldn’t have done that without help from so many, many people. The Writing Community is Amazing- Fantastica. I am in many different critique groups, and I am thankful to all of them, but I am especially grateful to
- My weekly group that keeps me writing and revising every month – Kim Larson, Ashley Cogdon, Shannon Howarth, Sarah Meade, and Sarah Kirkpatrick. Maryna Doughty, Marianna Llanos, Jarmila Kurucova.
- My monthly group that keeps inspiring me with their amazing stories – Bonnie Kelso, Vasilia Graboski, Sande Roberts
- My super talented group – Las Chicas Latinas -Kaitlyn Sanchez, Shirley Espada-Richey, Sara Fajardo, Rachel Funez, Aixa Perez-Prado, Donna B. Higuera, Zoraida Rivera Morales, Maria Antonia, Melanie Sheppard, Kelly Lundbland.
- Las Musas, where I found support to keep writing my Latinx books and got invited to participate in Latinx Kidlit Book Festival.
- My Debut Group 21fortheBooks has helped me to start thinking about marketing and promoting my book. There are so many fantastic authors, and everybody helps each other.
- My Latinxpitch group that worked hard to help Latinx creators get a chance to shine and represent more latinx kids in our stories.
- Thanks to Harold Undertown and Eileen Robinson for helping me out, during their Picture Book advanced course, on a manuscript I hope to submit soon,
- And, of course, my super-agent Andrea Walker, who not only believes in my stories but also helps me to get them into shape to be sent to publishers.
- And to so many others who swapped manuscripts with me, who motivated me, who supported me. Sorry, if I did not include your name, but I am thankful to you, be sure.
All these achievements meant nothing when my older son got sick and hospitalized. But again, the writing community got together and prayed for him and cheered me up. I did take over a month’s break. Now my son is getting better, and I am trying to get back on track and submit another story in January/February.
But here, I want to leave you with some hope since I know this business can be challenging. If you focus on learning your craft, having fun, working with critique partners, one day, Voila… You will find that one YES that we all need.
“Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.” John Wooden:
“Hope lies in dreams, in imagination, and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality.” – Jonas Salk.