“Song of the Balsa Wood Bird” published in Fireside Magazine

I’ll admit, my latest story, “Song of the Balsa Wood Bird,” came about because I was feeling kind of jealous.  There are so many wonderful fairytale retellings out there, a lot of them based in Western Europe traditions, with more and more from other parts of the world.  I started racking my brain, trying to come up with an equivalent rooted in the Ecuadorian side of my heritage.  I took inspiration from the Shuar legend of Etsa. 

I’ve always enjoyed visiting the folkloric markets in Ecuador.  They’re colorful and lively, full of all sorts of souvenirs and treasures.  Between my dad’s more frequent trips there and my own few but cherished ones, I’ve amassed a variety of animal figurines.  For example: 

Balsa wood and tagua nut animal figurines from Ecuador

I imagined discovering an unknown creature made of balsa wood, one combining features of some of my favorite Ecuadorian animals.  I merged that idea with the Shuar legend to write “Song of the Balsa Wood Bird.”  My thanks go out to the Fireside Magazine team for giving my tale such an amazing home, especially guest editor Aigner Loren Wilson and Chelle Parker for helping make my story sing. 

Coming up this month, I’ve got a poem due out in the Light issue of Eye to the Telescope, guest edited by Jordan Hirsch, as well as another article for WritersDigest.com, this time on “How Writers Can Apply Business Tools to Their Writing.”