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Sunday, September 22, 2013

GCC Presents VOILA - A Short Story by Debbie Rigaud!

Today with the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit, I'm featuring another short story, this one recently released by Debbie Rigaud. Here's a little more about the story and the collection where you can find it...

OPEN MIC: RIFFS ON LIFE BETWEEN CULTURES IN TEN VOICES (Candlewick Press)  Edited by Mitali Perkins
  • Featuring the short story “Voila” by Debbie Rigaud
Listen in as ten YA authors use their own brand of humor to share their stories about growing up between cultures. Edited by acclaimed author and speaker Mitali Perkins, this collection of fiction and nonfiction embraces a mix of styles as diverse as their authors, from laugh-out-loud funny to wry, ironic, or poignant, in prose, poetry and comic form.
About “Voila”
Thanks to overprotective parenting, Simone’s elderly great aunt Ma Tante has more of a social life than she does. But one afternoon, Ma Tante’s social scene awkwardly intersects with Simone’s in the unlikeliest of places.
Rave Reviews for OPEN MIC:
“[Open Mic] will leave readers thinking about the ways that humor can be a survival tool in a world that tends to put people in boxes.” –Publishers Weekly
“Naomi Shihab Nye offers an eloquent poem about her Arab American dad, whose friendliness made him ‘Facebook before it existed.’ David Yoo, Debbie Rigaud, Varian Johnson and Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich also contribute stories to this noteworthy anthology, which robustly proves Perkins’ assertion that ‘funny is powerful.’”
 –Horn Book Magazine
“Teachers will find some powerful material here about how the young can become discomfited and find solace in their multifaceted cultural communities.
 –School Library Journal

Debbie stopped by for a short interview about her writing:

1. Tell me about your book in seven words or less.
Humorous short stories about life between cultures.

2 Other than your main character, who's a favorite character of yours in your story?
Simone's elderly relative Ma Tante. She's loving and sweet, yet quick-witted and sharp-tongued. I love to explore relationship dynamics between the young and elderly. As a teen, elders were an important part of  my life and I'm sure other teens can think of an elder who has touched their lives in some way as well.

3. What's one piece of writing advice you would give to aspiring authors?
Develop your own voice. It’s a chief storytelling tool that makes the experience of reading your work unique and enjoyable. I believe that a well-defied voice speaks to readers about as much as your actual writing does.

4. What did you write when you were a teen? Did you journal? Write poetry? Write overly literary or emotional stories? Or avoid writing altogether?
I did all of the above (including the avoiding writing part--at least when it came to school-assigned writing).Writing was an outlet for not only my creativity, but my general self-expression. I don't think I could've made it through the ups and downs of high school and college without it.

5. What's the last book you read that you really loved?
I'm late to the party on this one, but I recently picked up a few Lois Lowry books and enjoyed them. It was interesting to read what seems to be one of the literary predecessors of today's dystopian YA.

For more about OPEN MIC, like our page
Debbie Rigaud (
Debbie Rigaud began her writing career covering news and entertainment for popular magazines. Her YA fiction debut, HALLWAY DIARIES/Kimani Tru was followed by the fish-out-of-water romantic comedy PERFECT SHOT/Simon Pulse. Since then, Debbie’s non-fiction essays have been published in anthologies IT’S ALL LOVE/Broadway Books and DEAR BULLY/HarperTeen. Her short story “Voila!” is featured in OPEN MIC/Candlewick Press, and TURFQUAKE, her first YA e-book will be released late 2013.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday Four!

1. What am I reading? These days I'm actually enjoying reading non-fiction a little more than fiction. (I know, crazy-talk, right?) I've had several books and audiobooks on the go for quite a while, between edits and beta reading, I haven't had a chance to finish any of them, but the one I've been drawn most to lately is a book called TEACH LIKE YOUR HAIR'S ON FIRE by Rafe Esquith. The author is a teacher in the L.A. school system, and the title comes from a science experiment gone wrong. Fun and entertaining and inspiring, especially at this time of year when I'm trying to kick into gear with homeschooling my son.

2. What am I writing? Still have my head down in my edits of FAST FICTION. I know all this work is making it a better book, so it's all worth it, and dare I say I'm starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel? Due date is September 23rd, and at least I'm no longer doubting my ability to meet that.

3. Lest you think I'm all work and no play...yesterday I actually kind of played hooky. My homeschool support teacher invited me and some other homeschool families to hang out at the beach, since we're having such lovely weather these days. At the last minute I decided to go, and I think the break did me wonders of good as far as restoring my creative juices. I'm feeling raring to get back to work today, which, let's just say is a change.

4. Last week I started teaching a class for ten-year-old NaNoWriMo enthusiasts! Okay, maybe they're not quite enthusiasts...yet. But I'll be spending the next seven weeks trying to change that, before we all launch into writing a new book in November. If only I had time to outline and plan for one...

Hope you all have a great weekend! I'm trying not to pay too much attention to the weather report, as I plan to be at my desk getting through the last part of these edits...

Friday, September 6, 2013

Eek! Is it Friday, Already?

I cannot believe how fast this week has gone! I wouldn't have bothered doing a Friday Four this week, but I have one thing in particular I'm excited to show you. But first, here's what else I've been up to...

1. I got copyedits for FAST FICTION this week. Feeling a little overwhelmed, because at the copyedit stage, in the past, I've only had to focus on small things like typos and sentence structure. I wasn't expecting the huge shifts of chapters and rewriting entire sections and answering question after question for clarity. That said, I'm extremely thankful for this copyeditor I'm working with. He's talented and insightful and there's no doubt in my mind that FAST FICTION will be a much better book for all his help.

2. My mom's having a big birthday on Monday (no, I won't tell you how old!), so my sister-in-law and I put together a little surprise party for her. It went off without a hitch and we had a lot of fun celebrating with many of her friends.

3. Today I started a NaNoWriMo class for a group of homeschool kids including my son. It was a lot of fun! We're working through a workbook from the website, and today we all had fun drawing pictures of our inner editors and then stuffing them away where they can't bother us for a few months.

4. And finally...the part I'm most excited about. I have a new cover for WRITING WITH A HEAVY HEART! I wanted something a bit more similar to FAST FICTION, so they would look nice shelved together. Here's the new cover, designed by Steven Novak from Novak Illustration. Let me know what you think!

Happy weekend, everyone! I'll be working on edits this weekend. What are you up to?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

GCC Presents Diana Rodriguez Wallach and REFLECTING EMMY!

Today on Girlfriends Cyber Circuit, I get to highlight a short story! This one is called Reflecting Emmy, and is part of the story collection Mirror Mirror

Background About REFLECTING EMMY and the MIRROR, MIRROR Trilogy
 Diana Rodriguez Wallach, author of the award-winning YA series Amor and Summer Secrets, has created a modern take on the myths of Narcissus and Nemesis in a contemporary teen setting.

Her Mirror, Mirror trilogy debuts September 3rd with “Reflecting Emmy,” followed by “Nara Gazing” in October, and “Shattering GiGi” in November. Each title will be a $0.99 short story sold in digital ebook format for Kindle, nook, and kobo. The titles will be combined to create the complete Mirror, Mirror trilogy, along with bonus materials and a prequel short story, in December 2013.

In early 2014, Diana’s Mirror, Mirror trilogy will be combined with the works of YA authors Jammie Kern and Magda Knight to create the Mythology High anthology, available in ebook and paperback through Buzz Books.

Eighteen-year-old Emmy is in the family business-trapping vapid narcissistic souls into her silver compact mirror for all eternity. It’s what the Rhamnusia family has been doing for thousands of years, all under the direction of Great Grandmother. Only Emmy’s latest assignment, Nara, is about to prove more challenging than she ever expected.
Gorgeous and self-absorbed, Nara is unflinchingly cruel to her classmates. Even her boyfriend, Luke, can no longer tolerate her actions–much to Emmy’s relief since she finds Luke a little more than intriguing. But when Emmy tricks Nara into gazing into her mystical mirror, what she finds there is not what she’s expecting.

What People Are Saying:
"A fun, fresh and thoroughly entertaining modern twist on the Narcissus myth. Readers will love Emmy and her (mis)adventures. Wallach packs a lot of story into a small packing--romance, friendship and the power of one person to make a difference. The only thing missing... is more!"
~ Tera Lynn Childs, award-winning author of Oh. My. Gods., Forgive My Fins, and Sweet Venom.

"Diana Rodriguez Wallach’s Mythology High is too much fun. Emmy collects narcissistic souls for the family business but after making one tiny little mistake she finds her life turned upside down. These three stories are a must for anyone who loves Greek mythology, feisty heroines and second chances. My only complaint is that I didn’t want them to finish." –Amanda Ashby, author of Fairy Bad Day and Demosity

The Interview:
Diana stopped by for a short interview about her story. 

1. Tell me about your book in seven words or less.
It’s based on the myth of Narcissus.

2. Other than your main character, who's a favorite character of yours in your novel and why?
I consider Emmy (the reimagined Nemesis) to be my main character, so I’d say my next favorite character is Nara (a revamped Narcissus). She’s the beautiful, shallow, self-absorbed teen whom Emmy is trying to wipe off the planet. Emmy is a paranormal secret agent tasked with trapping Narcissistic teen souls in her silver compact mirror. And Nara is nothing like her other targets.  She might be vein and sometimes cruel, but she’s also got some glimpses of humanity in her. Her heart was broken, which has softened her a bit, making her different from your average Narcissus.

3. What's one piece of writing advice you would give to aspiring authors?
The road to publication is a long one. If you want to be an author—I mean, really want it—then you need to be prepared to settle in for the long haul. Everyone gets rejected—some spend years trying to find an agent, others years trying to find an editor, other years trying to create a fan base. Love the acting of writing so much that it makes everything else worth it.

4.What did you write when you were a teen? Did you journal? Write poetry? Write overly literary or emotional stories? Or avoid writing altogether?
I wrote in a journal, mostly in high school. I still have it, actually. I turn to it every once in awhile when I’m working on the romantic entanglements in my novels, so I can more vividly remember what it felt like to be a teen with a crush, or a teen with a broken heart. There are some un-mailed letters to ex-boyfriends in there that still get me every time I read them.

5. What's the last book you read that you really loved?
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn! It hooked me from the first paragraph. The story is really intriguing and the writing is really inspiring, especially as I work on my next project, which is a YA thriller.

About the Author
Diana Rodriguez Wallach is the author of Mirror, Mirror, a short-story collection based on the Narcissus myth, that includes Reflecting Emmy, Nara Gazing, and Shattering GiGi (Buzz Books 2013). She is also the author of three award-winning YA novels: Amor and Summer Secrets, Amigas and School Scandals, and Adios to All The Drama (Kensington Books).
In 2011, she published a highly regarded essay in Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories (HarperCollins), and in 2013, she will be featured in the anthology Latina Authors and Their Muses (Twilight Times Books). In 2010 Diana was named one of the Top Ten New Latino Authors to Watch by, and she placed second in the International Latino Book Awards. She hold a B.S. in Journalism from Boston University, and currently lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter.

Find out more about Diana or her writing...