Published! / Tia Raquel’s Hair



Look what came in the mail? My copy of my short story, Tia Raquel’s Hair. It was published in Spider magazine. I want to thank the illustrator, Annalise Barber, for such fun artwork! I love this photo of Tia Raquel’s “long, long, so long black hair—glorious hair that tickled her waist.”

And I’d also like to thank Spider for the wonderful editing experience with the editor who worked on this with me: Stacey Lane Smith!

And now for …


The Story Behind the Story

This story was inspired by a photo I saw in my Facebook feed a few years ago. The photo was of a friend from church who had been diagnosed with cancer. She was going through cancer treatments and had lost her hair. In the photo, she and her husband were both bald (he was already bald with a shaved head). They were smiling with these goofy grins. The caption read: “We’re twins!” 

That got me thinking. I created a story called Aunt Holly’s Hair. The story was about a girl (*slight SPOILER here) whose aunt has cancer. However, when I submitted the story it got rejected and (because nobody ever tells you WHY they reject a story) started to rethink the story. Was it too sad to have the aunt have cancer? So, I decided to put some distance between my MC and the cancer. (End Spoiler) In the rewrite, I also decided to give the story a little Spanish-flair. Aunt Holly of the fabulous hair became Tia Raquel with the same fabulous hair.

(**Some more slight spoilers are below. Really, if you want to read the story without spoilers, I guess you should read this blog post AFTER you get your copy of Spider magazine!**)

It was nice to see the story in print. As for my friend from church … Sadly, she will never get to see this story in print, but I do want to (unofficially) dedicate this story to her. What an inspiration she was to be able to see the comical side of things, even such hard things like cancer.

And while I’m making unofficial dedications, I will also dedicate the story to another friend who bravely fought cancer. The ending is, in part, inspired by her teen daughter and how she wanted (and needed) to do something to help others who deal with the dreaded cancer diagnosis.

Yes, this story is dedicated to the memory of Doris and Lois. I look forward to seeing these ladies when we meet once more in heaven!

9 thoughts on “Published! / Tia Raquel’s Hair

  1. Thanks for sharing the backstory on this beautiful story. It is very touching. I love your dedications, and I’m sorry your friends aren’t here to cheer your success – but we will cheer for them. Yay, Maria! Congratulations!!


  2. Congratulations on publishing a new story, Maria!! This story sounds wonderful (and the illustrations are lovely too!), and I appreciate you sharing your inspiration—it’s lovely of you to draw from your dear friends’ experiences to write this piece. Thanks so much for sharing!


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