How much do I suck at selling my books?

Table covered with a Mexican blanket upon which are displayed books for sale

When the invitation came in my email to participate in a community book festival in Long Beach this April, I thought, why not. My last book was published in September of 2020, over a year and a half ago. Okay, call it two years. My book came out during the pandemic so any events I…

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My AWP 2022: All real, all true

Headshot of five women standing next to each other

AWP – that annual mega writing conference that some abhor and others adore, or at least like well enough to attend when they can and feel a pang of regret when they can’t. I last attended in 2019 in Portland, canceled my plans for 2020 in San Antonio as the pandemic loomed, and tuned in…

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My Naked Face, My New Way of Seeing

black and white image of eyes of a woman

When I was in kindergarten, sitting cross-legged with my classmates at the foot of our teacher’s chair, I dreaded being called upon to name the animal in the picture she pulled like a mean magician from the deck of flashcards. The lines were imprecise, the colors bleeding into each other. I squinted to make sense…

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My Mother’s Dress

Torso of woman in black dress

Five years ago this month, my sisters and I gathered in my mother’s bedroom. She had died the previous June and we were ready to sort through her clothes. As I wrote in my January 2017 post, she had lots of them. A bulging closetful. A crammed dresser full. A jam-packed trunkful at the foot…

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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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