29 September 2008

"Good Things Come in Threes"

I’ve had some great Graffiti Girl news as of late but I’m always in the position of wondering if it is okay to share…how long should it be kept quiet…yada, yada, yada? I wish there was a rule book to this sort of stuff. For now I have to bug my agent to let me know. 🙂 🙂

Graffiti GirlHere are my latest 3 Great Graffiti Girl Goodies to share:

1) Graffiti Girl has been selected by the California Readers for the 2009 High School Reading Collection. GG on a recommended reading list–hooray!! Thank you, California Readers!! I think when you write for kids this is one of the great ways to reach out to young readers. I’m really honored to be added to the list.

2) Last week, the publicist for MTV Books sent an email that Graffiti Girl is being considered for the Tomas Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award. Wow! I’m so excited! There is no official announcement for nominees but I’m very humbled to be considered for this wonderful award even if they do not choose GG as the recipient. Its just wows and humbles me to be considered.

Texas State University College of Education developed the Tomas Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award to honor authors and illustrators who create literature that depicts the Mexican American experience. The award was established in 1995 and was named in honor of Dr. Tomas Rivera, a distinguished alumnus of Texas State University.

3) And the last surprising and great news…I just accepted a film option deal for Graffiti Girl. *gulp* Yes, this is amazing news and I’m kind of nervous to share about it without the official announcement. haha. I’m not sure when the announcement will be made but I’m very honored and excited. I got the okay to chat about it on my blog and hope to share more when I can. This is not a guarantee GG will be made into something for the screen, but I never dreamed someone might believe it a possibility.

Thanks for reading. 🙂

2 April 2008

“BookUp NYC”

I just heard from the MTV books publicist that The National Book Foundation has selected GRAFFITI GIRL to be part of the “BookUp NYC” program for middle school students at 4 sites in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Harlem, and the Lower East Side.

“BookUpNYC is a pilot after-school program designed to motivate young people to develop into lifelong readers. The program introduces activities that emphasize reading as both fun and interactive. The program is geared toward middle school students because studies show that this is the age when children are most at risk to stop reading.”

Wow, I’m honored that GG will be used as a tool to help young students develop into future long time readers. I really tried my best to write GG as a book teens could relate too, and I’m so glad it will be part of this very cool program. 🙂

25 March 2008

"Double Rita Finalist"

I really can’t believe it, but this morning I received the call that GRAFFITI GIRL is a RITA finalist in the Romance Writers of America young adult category.

RITA awards are presented annually to the best published romance novels of the year. The award itself is a golden statuette named after RWA’s first president, Rita Clay Estrada, and has become the symbol for the best in published romance fiction.

I’ve been part of Romance Writers of America for a lot of years now since I started writing Romantic Suspense. Last year the young adult category didn’t make it, but Barb Caridad Ferrer’s YA novel was nominated twice and won a RITA for best Contemporary single title. And after that the YA category got a push this year and it received enough entries to bring the category forward.

I’m completely shocked and thrilled at the same time. When I heard calls were going out, I was a little nervous. Then when the phone rang, I told myself it wasn’t the notification call, but then sure enough it was Trish Milburn letting me know I was a RITA finalist.

I laughed, and I trembled a little, and I laughed. haha. Laughing is my reaction when I’m nervous. 😉

I emailed my CP, called my agent, called my husband, and emailed my editor and many friends.

But then I received a second call from RWA, and I said, “Oh, thank you. I got my call already from Trish Milburn.”

And she said, “From Trish Milburn for the young adult category?”


“This call is for Best First Book.”

“Oh my God.”

I still feel like I must have heard her wrong, and I’ve been afraid to mention it. But I guess if it’s a dream, I’ll find out tomorrow with the official announcement.


6 February 2008

"Teen Mag"

Teen Mag

Yesterday was like any other Monday, so I thought. Until I saw a quick congrats post on the MTV blog by Jennifer Echols regarding Teen magazine (winter 2008). In “The Last Word” Column V.I.T (Very Important Teens) were asked to list books they couldn’t put down–minus Harry Potter and Gossip Girl!

I was shocked and very happily surprised to read that Graffiti Girl, along with my friend,Jenny O’Connell’s Plan B had made the list. Of course, I had to take off to the store and get my copy to see with my own eyes. haha!

Yep, Graffiti Girl is listed by Hannah in CA. (Hannah, big hugs!)

Teen read it!

There are two really great aspects that just thrill me to pieces about this column. This is my first mention of Graffiti Girl in a print magazine. My understanding from reading PR articles is that it’s really tough to be chosen by an editorial staff to be spotlighted in a magazine. And second, GG was chosen by a teen reader who took the time to name my book because she thought GG was worthy of a mention. Wow. Okay, I’m just wowed.

Here’s the full list. It’s a honor to be listed with such awesome talent!

I Am David by Anne Holm
Sula by Toni Morrison
Graffiti Girl by Kelly Parra
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks
TTFN by Lauren Myracle
Plan B by Jenny O’Connell
Gingerbread by Rachel Cohn
Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
Native Son by Richard Wright
Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

29 November 2007

"So Worth It"

You guys know, I’m plugging along doing my best to make my latest novel, Invisible Touch, the best I can make it. I know it’s different from GG. I mean, it’s still me writing, but newbie writers tend to change with each book, hopefully for the better! 🙂

With the writing always comes the doubts. I wouldn’t be the writer that I am without the doubts. Haha. They are always there to drive me because I want to be able to write entertaining stories. I want to write those books that readers close with a smile or a satisfying thought.

So it was especially wonderful to read a letter from a student from MA on how much she’s enjoying GG, and the themes she’s picking up from Angel. I thought my day couldn’t get any better. An actual hand-written letter just makes your day!

Then I get an email from Marcela Landres, the editor behind Latinidad®, a free e-mail newsletter chosen as one of the 101 Best Web Sites for Writers by Writer’s Digest Magazine. I subscribe and Marcela writes an awesome resource for Latino writers with interviews with agents and editors and special announcements.

Marcela informed me that she named Graffiti Girl as a 2007 Best Latina YA book. Check it out on-line here.

The Latinidad List

Literary Fiction – The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
Doesn’t just raise the game, but changes it.

Short Story Collection – Dahlia Season by Myriam Gurba
Leaves you hungry for her first novel.

Historical Fiction – The Mapmaker’s Opera by Bea Gonzalez
Theatre, ornithology, and cartography set amidst the backdrop of nineteenth-century Seville and pre-revolutionary Mexico.

Poetry – Amor y Salud by Micaela Valdez
Not your mother’s love poems.

Chick Lit – Midnight Brunch by Marta Acosta
Intelligence and fabulosity mixed into a delicious cocktail.

Thriller – The Devil’s Mambo by Jerry Rodriguez
Bruce Willis would star in the film adaptation if he were Latino and younger.

Current Events – Antonio’s Gun and Delfino’s Dream by Sam Quinones
Journalism that is as spellbinding as fiction.

Self-Help – The Little Black Book of Style by Nina Garcia
No closet—or bookshelf—is complete without it.

Cookbook – Elsie’s Turkey Tacos and Arroz con Pollo by Elsie Ramos
Real Latin dishes that can be cooked weeknights by even the most tired mom.

Young Adult – Graffiti Girl by Kelly Parra
Teen artist discovers her talent and finds herself.

I’m honored and thrilled. These are the types of rewards that make all the struggling and doubts worth it. 🙂 🙂