Published In America’s Emerging Writers

Screen Shot 2018-08-06 at 7.38.51 PMToday I’m happy to announce that my short story (Fruits of the Spirit Daycare) has been accepted by Z Publishing and is included in their America’s Emerging Writers series. You can pre-order a copy of the book, Florida’s Emerging Writers, today by following the link and get it up to two weeks before the official publication date (September 6).

As a further reason why you should check the book out, any money that I raise through this publication will help pay my way to my very first writers’ conference. Going to a writers’ conference has been on my bucket list for literally years, but I’ve never been able to go–nor felt equipped to take such a step forward in my writing career.

But now I’m ready to take a stab at it, and you can help me make it there.

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An Interview with Best-Selling Author Robert Liparulo

When I was a senior in high school, I got the once-in-a-rarity opportunity to interview my favorite author. I grew up reading Robert Liparulo’s teen fiction in junior high. In fact, when the books were coming out, I remember actually having fights with my friends over who got to read the next one first. One particular instance involved me throwing Whirlwind on the table between my two friends as they both dove for it, pleading to the others’ humanity, bribing each other for the chance to read it first.

Good times.

Anyway, the following interview was turned in for my senior writing class, now resurrected here on my blog:

 

220px-Robert_Liparulo,R1-05ARobert Liparulo is the bestselling Christian author of the widely acclaimed teen fiction Dreamhouse Kings series, as well as his adult fiction such as Comes a Horseman, Germ, and his adult series The Immortal Files.

As a creative writing student and a Christian YA author wannabe—not to mention a huge fan of Liparulo’s works—I immediately wanted to try meeting with him for an interview assignment. We worked out a time through email, and I had the privilege to meet with him via Skype Saturday night. Mr. Liparulo was extremely nice and a blast to talk to—very warm and friendly, and he had a great laugh!

Robert Liparulo

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Obon Festival Returns July 14 (Burke Connection)

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Screen Shot 2018-07-13 at 7.25.15 PMObon Festival Returns July 14
The Fairfax Station Ekoji Buddhist Temple prepares to host its annual festival for everyone in the community.

The Ekoji Buddhist Temple off the Fairfax County Parkway in Fairfax Station will be hosting the only Obon festival in the Washington DC area July 14. Admission is free, and the temple invites all visitors, no matter their religion or culture, to celebrate the annual event.

“It’s a time to show your gratitude and respect to all those people who’ve passed away before us, because they made the world; we are the next generation,” said Reverend Nariaki Rajan Hayashi, who has been Ekoji’s minister for the past three years.

Because of the growing number of visitors per year, with last year’s attendance at 1,700, the Ekoji Temple plans to extend its hours for the festival. The temple and grounds will be open starting at 3 p.m. and will continue until 9 p.m.

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Serving Meals and Blessings to Homeless (Profile: Vienna Connection)

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Screen Shot 2018-07-11 at 7.02.52 PM.pngServing Meals and Blessings to Homeless
Karen Curtis of Antioch Christian Church helps feed 100+ visitors of the Lamb Center, a Fairfax homeless ministry

The minivan comes to a stop in one of the few remaining parking spaces outside the Lamb Center in Fairfax. Seatbelts pop and side doors roll open as a handful of members from Antioch Christian Church climb out of the gray-green vehicle to help unload the back.

Three crockpots full of homemade chili and nearly 100 baked potatoes are nestled in the back of the van, all prepared specifically for the homeless people who frequent the Lamb Center—a Christian-based ministry that serves people experiencing homelessness in Fairfax County. Continue reading

Burke Community’s ‘Living Room’ Relocating in July (Burke Connection)

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Burke Community’s ‘Living Room’ Relocating in July (Burke Connection)
The 20-year-old Hopsfrog Grille plans to expand its service by moving to a larger location

“The owners are very good people. They care about what they’re serving and how [the customers] get served,” said Paul Fouché, a customer at Hopsfrog Grille for 20 years.

In fact, manager Kostas Daskalakis cares so much, that he’s decided to expand his local bar and grill mid-July to accommodate more customers. Affectionately referred to as the community’s “living room,” the future Hopsfrog Grille is under construction only a mile away in the Walmart shopping center on Burke Commons Road.

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A Class Meant To Stand Out (Springfield Connection)

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Screen Shot 2018-07-11 at 6.33.52 PM.pngA total of 542 seniors graduated from West Springfield High School June 13. The commencement exercises took place at EagleBank Arena at George Mason University.

The high school band performed “Pomp and Circumstance” while the students entered, followed by the West Springfield High School Madrigals singing both the National Anthem and Stephen Paulus’s “The Road Home.”

Senior Class President Leah Knompecher gave the opening remarks, thanking the West Springfield students who befriended her when she first moved to the area.

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Lee Graduates Told: ‘Use Your Voices’ (Springfield Connection)

Click here to read the PDF version.Screen Shot 2018-07-11 at 6.13.11 PM

Three hundred and sixty-eight students graduated from Robert E. Lee High School June 12. The commencement exercises were held at the EagleBank Arena at George Mason University.

Graduates entered the arena to the familiar theme of “Pomp and Circumstance” before the Lee Junior ROTC Color Guard presented the colors for the National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance.

The Lancer Singers performed “Go the Distance” from Disney’s 1997 “Hercules,” before Jessica Escobar, senior class president, encouraged the students to use their voices to influence the world. Continue reading