Ten Things That Happened Last Year (with photos to account for my absence)

I’ve been away from the blog for a good while now. I’ve gotten the occasional blogging fix over at www.latinosinkidlit.com, but I’ve missed having my own space for mulling over ideas big, little, and in between. The life of the mind sometimes produces nuggets of insight and inquiry that need somewhere to go but don’t fit into my fiction or academic work or teaching. Which is why I’m back and looking forward to offering a post here every week or so.

Now, where have I been? Here’s an account of what’s been going on (in reverse chronological order because, well, why not?):

(1) Release of Out of Darkness in September 2015

(2) Blog tour for Out of Darkness in August 2015

(3) Baby Ethan Andrés born on June 10, 2015

(4) Finishing Out of Darkness in January 2015

(5) Start of new job teaching world lit at The Ohio State University in August 2014

(6) Moving the whole family to Columbus, Ohio

(7) Dissertation defense and completion of PhD in summer 2014

(8) Two-person job search in fall of 2013

(9) Joining up with rockstar writers and Latin@ literacy advocates to form www.latinosinkidlit.com

(10) Writing the dissertation from 2013-2014

Yes, I realize that my list includes two events from the future, but I’m doing work for them now, so I figure that they should count. Also I wanted to put as much space between myself and the nightmare stress fest of writing the dissertation and looking for jobs. But it’s over now! I can laugh about it (sometimes). 


A few photos to document these adventures:

This family photo was taken when Ethan Andrés was five days old. Arnulfo and Liam Miguel (now 5 years old) are rockstars in the baby soothing business (not to mention their incredible sense of style).

Out of Darkness is almost here! Thanks to my editor Andrew Karre for his phenomenal editing (we talk about that and more in this Cynsations post), to the Lerner designers for the cover, and to my family for endless patience during the four years I spent writing this book. And woohoo!: starred reviews in School Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews. Fingers crossed that there will be more stars as additional reviews come out.

During my first semester at OSU I gave a talk to highlight my current academic research on cruelty in literature. Right now my position is just for three years and not tenure-track, but we’re hoping that will change.

This is the house we bought right in the middle of Columbus. It’s 6 minutes from campus and in a historic area called Clintonville known for its friendly neighbors. Liam Miguel has made tons of friends, including a buddy who lives across the alley and will go to the same kindergarten in the fall. When they want to get together, they do the following: Liam Miguel climbs the tree in our back yard, August goes to the top of his play house, and somebody calls out, “Tell your mom to text my mom.”


This is our map tracking potential jobs for each of us to help us see where we had options. We looked all over the country for jobs. We both had good leads, but the challenge was hitting on a place that offered opportunities for each of us. OSU was the winner!


… and back in the fall of 2013, author Cindy Rodriguez invited me to help her found a website that focuses on children’s and YA lit by and/or about Latin@s. Latin@s in Kid Lit is what we created. Since we got started, we’ve expanded our list of contributors and become visible as a source for reviews and suggestions for selecting and teaching Latin@ kid lit. We also post on issues of importance to the Latin@ community and its allies. Here are some of the posts I’ve written for LKL.


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