There’s Gnome Place Like Home

Potted plants with garden gnomes

Much of my fiction is set in a place that resembles my hometown of National City, California and some of my characters live in a house that resembles the National City house I grew up in. I’ll argue that these similarities are due not to writerly laziness or lack of imagination, but to an emotional…

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Rejection and Acceptance

A series of the word "Declined"

Rejection is part of a writer’s life. We all know this. Rejections will outnumber acceptances. It’s a statistical certainty. So we learn to respond to rejection with acceptance—at least intellectually. But our very human emotions insist otherwise. When I receive a rejection for my work, the first thing I feel is disappointment, and then a…

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Living Color: Angie Rubio Stories one year later

Drawing of a girl writing at a desk with lamp

This month marks the one-year anniversary of the publication of Living Color: Angie Rubio Stories about a brown girl just wanting to be seen and heard. It’s been weird and fun, celebrating online. Each time after an event, watching faces disappear from my screen was an eerie and sad thing. At some events, the audience…

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Lessons from a techno-bumbler’s video pitch

Donna Miscolta video pitch photo

I don’t get out much because there’s this virus out there that could infect my vaccinated self and potentially sicken me, not to mention make me a vector of contagion. So to break up my apartment-bound life where, after a morning bike ride, much of my day is spent at my laptop, I recently signed…

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Need some book wisdom? Ask a seven-year-old.

Zoom screenshot of a little girl and a woman talking

Everyone should talk to a seven-year-old booklover. If you haven’t done so lately, enjoy the wisdom of this one named Emma. I interviewed her on Zoom about books. She described with great enthusiasm and in detail the plot and characters of many of her favorite books, but I’ll just share some pithy points she offered…

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Farewell, Henry Darrow

Description of Henry Darrow's career

The High Chaparral first aired in 1967. I was fourteen years old and a semi-regular viewer. When I watched, I watched for one reason – Henry Darrow who played Manolito Montoya. He was handsome, charismatic, and Mexican. Or rather, he played a Mexican on TV. Henry Darrow, born Enrique Delgado was Puerto Rican. What mattered…

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Preparing to talk to Alberto Ríos

Laptop screen with books nearby and window in background

How does a non-poet prepare to interview a prolific and esteemed poet who has garnered national awards, was selected as the inaugural poet laureate of Arizona, and served as chancellor of the American Academy of Poets? With trepidation and fingers crossed that she doesn’t mess it up. Next month I’ll be interviewing prolific Chicano poet…

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Shrinking our spaces, but not our selves

Window with view of neighborhood and cat perched on couch

I’ve written about the house we used to live in both in fiction and for a live performance (2018 Ampersand Live, minute 18:26). It was our first house, which was also our last house, the fixer-upper that never quite got fixed up enough and in the last years that we occupied it, lost many of…

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