My Interview with Jenny Torres Sanchez

Hi, all! As some of you may know, I'm a contributing editor for Fantastic Floridas, an online lit journal by Burrow Press. I had the privilege of interviewing Jenny Torres Sanchez about writing YA and also her new book, Because of the Sun (Delacorte/Random House, 2017). It's published on the Burrow Press website. Check it out if you get a chance! Here's the link to the interview. By the way, if you haven't had a chance to read Because of the Sun, what are you waiting for? Get out to your local bookstores (support indies!) and grab a copy! It's SO GOOD and it contains a bear attack. Need I say more?

I'm In: New Member of The YA Chicks!

Hi, all! It's official...I'm now a YA Chick! I've admired the original YA Chicks, Amy Christine Parker, Christina Farley and Vivi Barnes for quite some time. I've even had them come to Writer's Atelier to do guest workshops. When they asked if I'd like to join the YA Chicks, I had to pinch myself! I'm so excited to join along with Lynne Matson and Lucienne Diver! Here's the link to the announcement on the brand new YA Chicks website. We're also hosting a giveaway to win a copy of 6 books! Don't miss out!

New Publication: In the Dark

Hi, all! It's a fantastic thing when you start the year with a new publication credit. I am happy to report that my flash story, In the Dark, was published on January 1, 2017 with Ghost Parachute Literary Magazine. If you have a second to read it, please do. I'm alongside some very talented writers, such as Rachel Kolman and Whitney Hamrick. I am ever grateful to the fantastic Editor-in-Chief, Brett Pribble, who liked the story enough to include it in the January issue. If you have a flash story of your own, I would highly recommend submitting it to Ghost Parachute!

Reading with Lauren Groff

Hi, all! I didn't have a chance to post it (it has been a busy year!), but I had the honor of reading with the fabulous Lauren Groff, National Book Award finalist and author of Fates and Furies. I have been following Burrow Press for quite some time (since I was in Tampa). They host a quarterly(ish) reading series called Functionally Literate.  When I finally moved back to my hometown of Orlando, I promptly looked up the next function and committed to going. It was also during the time I was starting Writer's Atelier.

I was blown away by the event itself. It was so well organized, the readers were super talented, and people actually cared to show up to a reading. I thought about me publishing my own book and eventually being a reader for the series--but that was a long way off.

Or so I thought.

One afternoon I got an email from the publisher, Ryan Rivas, asking if I wanted to be an opening reader for Lauren Groff. The Lauren Groff. It would be me and another ultra talented writer by the name of Hunter Choate who would open up for her. I read it over and over again, checking to make sure that it wasn't a mistake that he had sent it to me. I immediately responded that I would be thrilled to be a reader, even though reading in font of anyone terrifies the hell out of me, let alone reading with The Lauren Groff.

At the time, the reading was four months away, and I spent a good deal of time agonizing over what I would read. I settled on a novel excerpt. I met Lauren the day of and she was so nice. We discussed writing and running a writing center. Once I got up on that stage, it felt good to be there. What a privilege. Overall, it was a pretty magical experience indeed.

If you want to watch the clip of me reading, you can find it here.

I'm Reading with Lauren Groff & Hunter Choate at Functionally Literate!

Hi, all! I was invited by the lovely folks at Burrow Press to read with National Book Award Finalist, Lauren Groff, and Hunter Choate! The reading is part of their Functionally Literate series, which I am a huge fan of. I still have to pinch myself to believe that it's actually happening, but I'm thrilled and honored to participate. The best part about this event is that it's free and open to the public. Now that I've had a little time to stop fangirling, I must figure out what piece I'm going to read.

Teaching Fiction 101 at Orange County Public Library

I had the pleasure of teaching a general fiction class this past August at the Eatonville Branch of Orange County Public Library. One of my favorite things to do is meet new writers. The writers who attended the class were eager to learn and asked a lot of thoughtful questions, which I was happy to answer. The best part was teaching about novel beginnings. I read from a few outstanding novels and was happy to see students writing down titles and author names. (The books I used are pictured below.) When I first started Writer's Atelier, I would teach the workshops. Since moving to our own space in central Florida, I've taken a back seat to teaching and plan them instead. Teaching Fiction 101 made me remember just how much I love helping other writers learn. Maybe I'll do it again soon.

Summer Days: Visiting My MFA Program at Fairleigh Dickinson University

I was ecstatic when the director of my MFA program, Rene Steinke, emailed to ask if I'd be willing to sit on a lit mag panel during the Alumni residency this past August. I had always dreamed of going back to good old Fairleigh Dickinson University and sharing what I learned in the writing and publishing world, though I knew I'd have to serve my time. 

I had a great time meeting new MFA candidates and even fellow colleagues who had graduated after me. One of the highlights was getting to hear the book editor of O Magazine, Leigh Newman, talk about writing and publishing book reviews. I learned a lot in a workshop on writing voice in YA led by Donna Freitas. I also got to catch up with writing friends like Lynette Renda, Heather Lang and Letisia Cruz.

I spent a good deal of time wandering around the campus that I once called an enchanted forest. I missed my sisters, Pam and Marquita, who I met in the program and who are now my critique partners, business partners and close friends. Being back there reminded me about how much magic that place holds. It's good to know that some things never change, and even if I can't make it there every year, at least I know FDU will always be waiting with open arms.

Black Fox Literary Magazine

Black Fox Literary Magazine
Open for fiction, poetry and non-fiction submissions


Good Reads 2016 Reads

Racquel's 2016 book montage

Be My Valentine Peter Rabbit
Hillary Rodham Clinton: Dreams Taking Flight
Mama's Nightingale: A Story of Immigration and Separation
Haiti Glass
Don't Kiss Me: Stories
Gabi, a Girl in Pieces
Some Churches
Life on Mars
Smash & Grab
The Sea at Truro: Poems
The Black and White Factory

Racquel's favorite books »

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