Tag Archives: reading

#WriteWed To Blog or Not to Blog?

Lately there has been a lot of discussion about blogs and whether people still read them or comment on them. In fact, lots of big online sites have eliminated the comments feature not because it incited sometimes unpleasant discussions, but because of a lack of discussion.

I wonder whether people still like reading blogs like mine, where I share some fun things, some serious, and of course, some book info. I love books. I love to write them and I love to read them.

I wonder if you’d like to see some different things, so here’s your chance. Let me know what you’d like to see on the blog!
To blog or not to blog

Filling the Well #WriteWed

If I had to think of my brain as something other than a brain, I would think of it as a well, especially when I am in the midst of writing. It’s a fluid place, ready to accept the stone of an idea and to let the water ripple out to create other ideas. It’s a place where I can draw from it deeply in order to create a story.

Sometimes I feel as if it’s a rush of water that spills from the well when I get so caught up in a story that I can’t stop. That’s a good thing.

But then, inevitably, I feel as if the well has run dry after that rush and that I need to take a step back and let the well fill up again so that I can continue.

I’m sure many writers feel the same way, as if they’ve emptied their brains out on the pages and there’s nothing left inside. That’s when it’s time to take a break.

For me, that means lots of reading and maybe watching a movie. Taking a long shower or walk. Going to the gym and working up a sweat. Cleaning and organizing. There’s something about putting things in place that somehow feels like what I do in a story, putting the pieces away or shifting them until it feels right.

Whether you’re a writer or reader, I’d love to hear what you do in order to fill your well.
Filling the Well

#WednesdayWisdom The Freedom of Books

When I was a kid, we didn’t have much. Things were tough in some ways. I was a stranger in a strange land and there was sadness about a lot of things. There wasn’t a lot of money, but there was family and support. Those things do make a big difference in a child’s life. Unfortunately, too many children today lack that family structure.

There were also books. My mom and grandmother were both avid readers and they instilled that love of books in me.

With books, I could go anywhere. I could escape into worlds that were new and different and exciting. I learned new words. In fact, when my parents sacrificed to buy us an encyclopedia set, I read through the entire set and I would do the vocabulary tests in the back and challenge myself to expand my vocabulary.

My mother delighted in that because she knew all that knowledge from those books would help me in life. That it would set me free to do whatever I wanted.

I still read. Not as much as I would like due to time constraints, but any moment that I can, I read the news, magazines, papers, and of course, books.

I know I’m preaching to the choir here since I know so many of you are avid readers. I just hope I can reach someone else to let them know that the power to succeed is something they can hold in their hands.

The power to succeed can be found in a book.

freeread

A Very Special Guest Blogger – Rene Colato

Today we have with us a very special guest – Rene Colato – a writer of books for children! It’s a change of pace, I know, but nothing is more important than getting your children to read.

I was an avid reader as a child and some of my fondest memories are of walking to the library with my grandmother or eagerly waiting for the bookmobile to stop at the corner so I could pick up my latest horde of books to read. My parents also provided lots of books for us and to this day I have a box filled with my favorites that I read to my daughter as a child.

So please give a big welcome to Rene and learn a little about him and his latest release, MY SHOES AND I.

From the Author

How I Became the Teacher Full of Stories
and a Children’s Book Author

I always wanted to write a book. In high school and college, I wrote seven novels for my family and friends. All of them are on their first drafts and have potential to become novels in the future. Also in college my short stories “Blood Tears” and “White Sheep Among White Lambs” became plays. I was confident that I could write a book and be an author.

Then I became a teacher and when I opened the door of room 11 at Fernangeles Elementary School, I discovered wonderful, colorful, excellent picture books. It was an instant love and soon I was writing my books for my students.

In my classroom, I loved to tell funny, scary, sad, happy and adventurous stories.

One day, one of my students asked me, “Can you write that story and draw the pictures?”

“What a wonderful idea!” I told him.

That night, I wrote and illustrated my first picture book- “El número 1/ The Number 1.” I finished the book at 1:00 A.M. and I was thrilled. I used watercolors to illustrate the book. The story is about Big Number One visiting a Number One Island. In the island lived little number ones and they were scared of Big Number One. Years later, I published this story in the Spanish magazine for children Revista Iguana.

After “El número 1” , I wrote and illustrated more books. Soon, I had a box labeled “Mr. Colato’s Books”. I discovered that during independent and silent reading, this box was empty. All around the classroom, my students were reading my books. I was so excited and decided to write more and more books.

After presenting a new book, Elvis told me, “You are the teacher full of stories.”

“Sí, yes! He is the teacher full of stories,” all the children said at the same time.

And I became the teacher full of stories at Fernangeles Elementary. Teachers began to borrow my books. I created poems and songs for the school. One time, I even illustrated a flyer title “Wash Your Hands”.

Soon, “Mr. Colato’s box” included books such as: Fabiola, Fabiola , The Three Delicious Pies, In Search of a Baby, I Am, Dear Journal, A Year Full of Adventures, Teacher What I need to do?, A Story Full of Color, My House is a Castle and many more.

One morning, children’s book authors Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy visited my school and told me, “You have to send this wonderful books to publishers.” Then, I joined their workshops “Teachers in the Classroom” that Project M.O.R.E. was offering for LAUSD teachers. Both Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy inspired me to create more books and to begin to send manuscripts to publishers.

The journey to publication was hard but in my way, I found many learning opportunities to craft my writing with UCLA, SCBWI, Highlights Foundation, the Institute of Children’s Literature and finally I obtained a MFA in writing for Children and Young Adult at Vermont College.

In November 2004, I published my first picture book Waiting for Papá/ Esperando a Papá. The following year, I published I Am René, the Boy and Playing Lotería. In September, my book number 7th is coming out, From North to South (Children’s Book Press).

Yeah! I am still The Teacher Full of Stories and there are many books coming soon.

My goal as a writer is to produce good multicultural children’s literature; stories where minority children are portrayed in a positive way, where they can see themselves as heroes, and where they can dream and have hopes for the future. I want to write authentic stories of Latin American children living in the United States.

Purchasing the Book:

You can purchase this book at the Dulce Bread and Book Shop by clicking on this link:

Dulce Bread & Book Shop

About the Author:

René Colato Laínez is the Salvadoran award winning author of I Am René, the Boy, Waiting for Papá, Playing Lotería, René Has Two Last Names and The Tooth Fairy Meets El Ratón Pérez. His picture books have been honored by the Latino Book Award, the Paterson Prize for Books for Young People, the California Collection for Elementary Readers, the Tejas Star Book Award Selection and the New Mexico Book Award. Rene was named “Top Ten New Latino Authors to Watch (and Read)” by latinostories.com. Rene is a graduate of the Vermont College MFA program in Writing for Children & Young Adults.

Visit Rene at these other guest blogs on his tour!

March 08 Mayra Calvani
http://www.examiner.com/x-6309-Latino-Books-Examiner

March 09 Lori Calabrese
http://www.examiner.com/x-7597-Childrens-Books-Examiner
http://loricalabrese.com/blog/

March 10 Christina Rodriguez
http://www.christinarodriguez.com/

March 11 Silvia
http://www.mamalatinatips.com/

March 12 Monica Olivera Hazelton
http://www.latinbabybookclub.com/

March 15 Tina Nichols Coury
http://www.tinanicholscouryblog.com/

March 16 Michael Sedano
http://www.labloga.blogspot.com/

March 18 Sandra Lopez
http://sandrasbookclub.blogspot.com/

March 19 Sheila DeChantal
http://bookjourney.wordpress.com/

The Dreaded Info Dump

dumpI was rewriting a chapter yesterday and when I read it to my critique group, I didn’t need them to tell me what I was doing wrong.

I knew I was doing the Dreaded Info Dump.

What’s that? you might ask.

Well, if you’re a reader it’s something you hopefully will not see in a book. It goes something like this:

Mary realized that it was Dr. Smith. He had treated her for bunions three years ago. Then again two years later for a heel spur. Now she was there to see him for an ingrown nail, but suspected it was much more than that. For two weeks her toe had been hurting. It had first been a slightly pink color. Then a few days later a little brighter red. Then after a week it had started getting really nasty. Finally a day ago she realized it was time to go see her favorite foot doctor.

Yes, I know we wouldn’t be interested in a story about her feet, but imagine that the story was a romantic suspense and all that information was about what had happened to the heroine in the last three months – an info dump.

Much like the person in the photo I posted, info dumps inundate a reader with too much info at one shot and in general, are boring. It’s like reading an encyclopedia entry for your hero or heroine.

If you need to provide the reader some backstory, it should be layered throughout the chapter and provide subtle hints and information about what’s put the protagonists in their current situation. In fact, the less you say and make the reader intuit, the more they will be drawn into the story you are writing because the reader is participating in the story.

Of course, don’t make it so confusing or obtuse that the reader will say, “I just don’t get it,” and disengage from the story.

The hints should be clear and lead the reader toward an understanding of what’s happening. They should be like the breadcrumbs that Hansel and Gretel leave behind, enough so they can be followed to a particular point where you, the writer, are leading them.

How do you know you are doing the dreaded info dump as a writer? Look for long paragraphs filled with too much information. Dense paragraphs like that are a clear sign that something is up that you should revisit.

I hope you found this Tuesday Tip helpful.

Also, don’t forget this week’s b’day bash. Just visit any of the blogs listed below this week and leave a comment and you’ll be eligible to win a prize from me! At Barbara Vey’s blog, there are tons of other prizes as well!

I’ll be visiting all of these blogs and if you’ve left a comment at any of them, you’ll also be eligible to win a $25 Godiva gift card! The more times I see your name at the different blogs, the more your chances improve to win the gift card. So take a moment and stop by one or all to improve your chances of winning a prize.

The contest ends on Friday, March 13th at midnight EST, so be sure to get your comments in there on time!

Barbara Vey’s Beyond Her Book Blog for lots of fun and giveaways!
http://www.publishersweekly.com/blog/880000288/post/1240041524.html

Fresh Fiction: http://freshfiction.com/page.php?id=1602

Harlequin Paranormal Romance blog: http://paranormalromanceblog.wordpress.com/

Liberty States Fiction Writers (leave a comment on any of the blog posts): http://www.libertystatesfictionwriters.com/blog-read-around-the-world/

Long and Short Reviews: http://longandshortarchives.blogspot.com/search/label/Caridad%20Pineiro

Fun Friday -Read a good book lately?

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

I don’t know about you, but I’m a cat person. Always have been. Always will be. I like dogs also, but there’s just something special about cats. My cat is finally warming up to me. Must be because I’m the only game left in town with daughter off to school and hubby traveling on business.

Thanks to my buddy Jamie for the finding the above shot. I hope I’ll have time this weekend to do some reading!

Have a great weekend.