4 dramatic ways to end your novel

Dear Reader,

There’s something about soap opera, telenovelas specifically, that makes me happy. I grew up watching them and it was something that my mom, dad, and I could talk about, a frame of reference for future conversations.

When I returned home, I started watching them again but I didn’t want to watch the rehashed versions of a Spanish Cinderella. I just wasn’t about that life. That’s why I watched Bajo el Mismo Cielo, with the immigrant story lines, children of immigrants straddling culture lines, and gang life, I thought this was the most realistic novela I’ve seen in a long time.

Bajo el mismo cielo

And it was. It finished Monday night (novelas end after a couple of months) and thought that the ending of this story has several lessons for how to end novels, short stories, or whatever narrative you’re working on.

There’s always a character who needs to be redeemed

Redemption is such a strong theme and arc that when I see it in novels and tv shows it feels cliche to me. Usually, one character willingly gives their life for another one. They’ve done awful things — murder and mayhem — there’s no other out. So, they’ll push the button to the bomb and give everyone a chance to live happily ever after.

Sound familiar? There’s more than one way to end that story.

Listen, redemption characters have to die but that depends on your definition of dying. Dying is the ending of something. It can be life, love, or a way of life. That will depend directly on how big the murder and mayhem was that the character caused. If it’s big, it’s a physical death but they don’t have to go willingly. They can be forced to die but the death has to mean something.

Yes, the bad guy gets it in the end but the who and why are important

Ok, the bad guy gets it. They are punished. They don’t get a second chance. There’s no redemption. Usually, punishment means death. (It’s a soap opera, lots of people die.)

The bad guy’s death means something ends. It could be the chaos they created, the rabid bloodlust, etc. Endings mean beginnings and so if the bad guy gets it at the end, that means that their punishment reflects a new beginning, a new normal for the remaining characters.

No, that doesn’t mean they live happily ever after.

picjumbo.com_HNCK9069.jpgWho and how they go out also is important. The bad buy is a symbol. Remember the rule of protagonist vs antagonist? Well, for the characters the bad guy (antagonist) has kept the characters from getting what they want this whole time. The person who gets to punish this character should be to whom he’s done the most harm. By punishing them, they are symbolically taking a monkey off their back and winning against their vices.

Pay off is a big thing. You have to satisfy the viewer/reader

There’s a reason why there’s a big wedding at the end of novelas, it’s way satisfying the viewer.

Here’s the thing though, endings don’t have to have a big wedding or party celebrating a new life. Endings can be bittersweet, just like life.

That’s a lesson Bajo el Mismo Sol taught me. Yeah, it ended with a wedding but it wasn’t a Cinderella ending. Far from it. It was bittersweet, tainted by death and the end of mayhem.

Here’s the thing, endings should be the end of a snippet of time or life that the reader/viewer has read or seen. So there has to be a pay off for the end of THAT particular adventure not necessarily for the character’s life. Happily ever after is boring.

Theme is important. Theme ties up the ending

What you promise at the beginning you have to deliver at the end. So if the novel is about conquering planets, don’t turn it into a romance in 1800s England.

Seriously, don’t. What is that?

I know that’s an extreme example but it illustrates the point. If the theme of your work is love conquers all, love better be there at the end winning. That’s how the pay off works. You set something up at the beginning and then the end delivers it. That’s usually done through the theme.

Need some theme ideas. Here’s 101 of them. 

Happy Writing,



What happens when you stop asking for permission

Dear Reader,

Something dropped in my inbox this week, an unexpected summons that there was a new blog post of a blog I had subscribed to.

This blog was actually part of a former life of mine. I had once blogged at this site as part of my duties.  I had forgotten I was still subscribed when the alert came in. I looked to see who wrote it, rolled my eyes, and proceeded to unfollow the blog.

I know what you’re thinking, Reader. Icess, you are throwing shade. No. I’m using this story to illustrate my point. The eye roll wasn’t one of disgust but of triumph. I don’t have to ask permission anymore.

I make no secret of the fact that 2015 came with a difficult decision for me — to live or not to live. I chose life but not the one I was living and thankfully not in the presence of the people who, with the most delight I have ever seen from a human being, conspired to put me in the lowest place one can be.

I. Don’t. Have. To. Ask. For. Their. Permission. I don’t have to ask if things are okay or vie for people’s good opinions. I don’t have to try to appease or walk on egg shells anymore. I give as much cares as the amount of water I can cradle in my hands.

And it feels fantastic! 

When I stopped asking for permission a couple of things happened.

I felt free

Here I am. Learning to smile again with the help of the ocean.

In the weeks after that situation, I worked on my mental health. Suddenly, one day, I felt like flying but not in the wanting to jump off a building way. I felt like all things were possible. Hope had returned to me! That’s when I realized a couple of things about being human.

  • People can break.
  • Hope is strong but fragile
  • One can not live without hope.

Learning about these three new truths was like breathing new air. With each passing day my hope grew stronger and I slowly began to smile again. I cracked jokes. Pain, the pain that nearly lead me toward oblivion, lessened.

That lead me to …

Say yes to more things

When you are asking permission, the word yes is foreign. Yes is scary. Yes leads to rocking the boat that you are so scared will overturn with the change of the wind.

But then you start saying yes to people and experiences. The world looks different and you remember who you were before all this started.

All of a sudden, good things start to happen. You become less afraid.  You look forward to things you use to look forward to.  Life comes back and it’s beautiful.

I LOVE teaching and I met some incredible students

The work blossoms

Your work becomes that. YOUR. WORK. And you run the direction of it. You start living the writing life you always wanted and knew that was possible.

And the universe conspires to help you out.

And things start to happen.

And the universe tells you to trust.

And so you do and unexpected things happen filled with love and support.


The future is brighter because it exists

There’s so much to look forward to. I even made plans.

But you know and appreciate that those plans come with some hard lessons learned.

I love my life. I couldn’t say that seven months ago. It’s been a hard-earned journey and that email was just a reminder of the woman and writer I am now.

Grateful and happy,


You can go home again

Dear Reader,

This week was the first week of classes and I started teaching on a new campus, my old college.

It has been a beyond surreal experience. The first day was filled with so many memories. The classroom I teach in is the same classroom I learned in.

I ran into my first creative writing teacher and spent some time talking with her. She said she was proud of me and was excited that I was there now. If you would have told me that I was going to be her colleague one day, I would have called you a liar.

Then I stepped into this room and I nearly broke down in tears.


Behold, the choir room. 


My dreams started in a choir room.

This room is new and was constructed after I left. However, when I walked in I felt so at home. I could hear music and I wanted to sit in one of the chair and get ready to perform at a concert.

It was in a room like this I dreamed so many things for my life — who I wanted to be, what I wanted to do. I was going to leave the neighborhood and find my way in the world. Make something of myself.

And I did. And I’m back home. Houston. The old house. The old neighborhood. The old college. This choir room. These memories. They were strong. They washed over me and hugged me.

When I visited my former choir teacher, he remembered me. He remembered me. I was remembered almost 20 years later.

I can’t, still, days after these moments, find the right words to describe the feeling of that day. Peace? Happiness? Joy? At ease? Yes to all these plus more. So much more.

Healing? Is this healing? Maybe.

Here’s a video I did of my thoughts that day.


In beautiful tears,


5 books for drinking vodka (reading list)

Dear Reader,

I just read this great article in my hometown paper about some genius folks who are opening a micro vodka distillery.

They have become my favorite people today.

So in celebration of my future patronage of the distillery, I’ve put together a reading list that I think pairs well with vodka. Notice there aren’t any Russian novels on this list. It’d be too obvious to go down that road. So 5 non-Russian novels to read while sipping on your favorite vodka drink.  You’re welcome.

1.) Galveston, Nic Pizzolatto

This ain’t a champgne over brunch type book. It’s gritty and just the opening lines makes the reader want to take  shot of the good stuff.

“A doctor took pictures of my lungs. They were full of snow flurries.

When I walked out of the office all the people in the waiting room looked grateful they weren’t me. Certain things you can see in a person’s face.”

The character speaking is a hit man realizing that the end was nigh. It kinda is because his boss wants him dead and has a hit out on his head.

If that isn’t a bad day, I don’t know what is.

This book has grit and set again a noir background and a story of redemption.

If the author’s name sounds familiar it should. He is the writer and creator of True Detective. Parts of the series remind me so much of Galveston (book, not place).

2.) Anything by Christa Faust 

Christa was a recommendation from a twitter friend. When I read her I wondered by more people didn’t know about her!

She is pulp, noir goodness wrapped in dark head-tilting narratives. I’ve read Foot Job and it’s exactly what you think it is. Women are dames, dudes are cats, and secrets are never skin deep.  That,at least, deserves a vodka martini.

3.) The Havana Room, Colin Harrison

You’d think this would be a rum type of novel but there is nothing palm trees and cigar about it.

The Havana Room is  considered by writer Sherman Alexie as an underrated novel. I agree and wondered by this book didn’t get it’s due.  This is what noir is supposed to be like.

The narrative starts with a man at a crossroads — lost job (former attorney), divorce, and a downsizing. He frequents this steak house with a secret, members-only room. Once he’s able to gain access to it, things start to unravel or ravel in a different direction, depending on your point of view.

Listen, the descriptions here are gritty and rough like New York. It remind me a bit of Chandler, Cain, and Hammett,  and how the legacy of noir fiction can and should evolve in the modern again. Phillip Marlowe and Sam Spade would be proud.

Here’s a review from The Guardian.

4.) Savage Detectives, Roberto Bolano.

I’m going to say it, I’m not a Bolano fan. Nope. But I’m willing to give him another chance because, for some, he invented modern Latin American storytelling. Also, when I read him I don’t think I was totally ready for him.

However, I knew I needed a drink while reading it. It starts off innocently enough until Bolano drives the narrative off a cliff, in a good way, asking his readers to trust him.

Again, not a fan but I can see how others could be a fan. I’m willing to give it another shot, but this time with drink in hand.

5.) Half Blood Blues, Esi Edugyan

If you don’t know about Esi Edugyan, you need to get on your reading game. Seriously. She is fire.

Jumping from Nazi occupied France and Berlin to modern day Baltimore, Edugyan seeks to answer whether the past can remain in the past or is forgiveness a fairytale.

Esdugyan’s novel was shortlisted for the  Man Booker prize 2011 and won or was a finalist in countless others. This book, along with The Havana Room, are books that I wished more people had known or read. They are worth all the hype.

Here’s The Guardian’s take which I don’t completely agree with but it makes some valid points.



There you go! Have you read a book that you think pairs well with a drink? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me

Read on,




More places to submit your writing

Dear Reader,

As I continue on my 2016 goals, I am finding more and more places to submit my work. It’s really overwhelming to know of all the places that look for work, especially for women and writers of color.

Since the last list of submissions was so popular, I decided to put another one together with some things I’ve seen recently. Some of these have probably been seen before but in this world where knowledge of opportunities is as important as participation, it becomes imperative that the gets out from as many sources as possible.

So, here’s what’s going on.

Outlook Springs

The journal is doing something similar to what The Fem Lit Mag did at the end of 2015. They are opening a direct line between women writers and the editors. It’s a submission free for all until Jan 20.

The Sun Magazine

This magazine pays for their writing which makes it one to consider, of course. From the description:

They accept submissions of nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and interviews. They pay $300 to $2,500 for nonfiction, from $300 to $1,500 for fiction, from $100 to $250 for poetry, and from $1,000 to $2,000 for interviews.

That’s a pretty big chunk of change there.

Akashic Books, Arte Publico, Bilingual Press, UMN Press

La Bloga had an interesting post last week, listing presses who are looking for work. Whether it’s manuscripts or individual pieces, I’m loving that these smaller presses continue their work with giving access to un/under-represented writers. Two press on the list, Akashic and Arte Publico, are some of my favorite small presses in the country (Salt Publishing is my favorite in the UK.).

Gloria Anzaldua Anthology

Here’s one where I wish I wrote poetry or at least was better at it to actually get some things published.

From the description:

MANIMAN: Poets Reflect on Transformative & Transgressive Borders Through Gloria Anzaldúa’s Work* is a forthcoming anthology of essays, poetry and hybrids of the two.

This looks like it could be interesting to tackle and to read once it comes out. Deadline is Feb. 1 so time is running out.

Sofrito for Your Soul

My friend George owns this site and he’s been super dedicated to the arts and to writing for as long as I’ve known him. He’s recently hired an Emerging Voices Editor to ratchet up the storytelling side of the site.

The Offing Mag

Just saw this on Twitter. The Offing is putting together its issue to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Black History Month. Here’s their description for what they want.

We seek works of poetry and prose from the myriad voices of the diaspora — and in particular from Cave Canem members — for our Fiction, Essay, Dead Letter Office, Wit’s End, You Are Here, Micro, Enumerate, and Insight departments. (Please note that the Poetry department is not accepting submissions for the spotlight issue. However, please consider submitting works of poetry to Micro (if very short), You Are Here (if about place), or Dead Letter Office (if epistolary-ish). When submitting, please mention in which department your submission would work best.

Deadline is Jan. 25 so write fast.


Write On,


Where to send your writing this year

Dear Reader,

Let’s get the year started.

One of my goals for the year was to publish more, send more of my stories to be published by publications.

I have lots of stories and novels I’m working on and for those that are completed or near completion, it’s about time they found a home. Part of the writing life is publication. And what’s weird about it is that I’ve been publishing for most of my adult life in newspapers. However, I find the process of publishing fiction so much different and rewarding in a different way.

So here’s some site (in addition to Duotrope and PW.org) that have listed some submission opportunities for the next couple of weeks to months of 2016. Click on the headline to go to the link.

46 Literary Magazines to submit to.

What I really like about this list is how it’s organized. It breaks down the list into three sections — literary, sci-fi/horror, and flash fiction.

None of the listings have deadlines, which is perfectly fine since  I want to read them and get a feel for these magazines before submitting.

Writing competitions coming up in 2016

Who doesn’t love a competition? Well, I don’t but that’s not the point. It’s a chance to get work out there and depending on the competition, you may get some feedback.

This particular list international competitons as well.

10 international lit journals looking for English submissions.

Talking about international, a friend of mine posted this link on Facebook and I recently shared it.

The idea of an international lit journal running my work is intriguing. I wasn’t aware that there were journals outside of English speaking countries that were looking for work. I’m definitely looking into these magazines.

On the radar

Every month my friend Glendaliz Camacho puts together writing opportunities that she keeps on her radar. Not only does it include publishing opportunities but also residencies and grant opportunities. Here’s the link. 

Sister Journals to read, support, and submit to in 2016

Here is a list of forty, 4-0, journals to submit to with little intros to each. These are feminist journals (that doesn’t mean they don’t publish men as well, don’t get it twisted).  I just saw this and will be reading through this at my leisure.


Hope this list is helpful to get you going! If there are any other journals, contests, residencies, etc that you see that or want to share, drop them off in the comments.

Happy Writing,


Why 2016 is going to be amazing

Kathy’s 2015 zine art project. Did this with my friend and helped us reflect on a year with lots of personal and professional growth.

Dear Reader,

I am so fortunate to know, although through social Kathy Murillo aka Crafty Chica.

She’s is just a ray of sunshine and BOY can she craft and blog and run a business. I’ve listened to some of her Periscopes and videos and I’m always in awe of her. Today wasn’t different.

My fellow blogger wrote a post about creating a 2015 zine to commemorate the big events and lessons of the year. It’s awesome and if you’re into coloring, you can be creative that way too.At the same time, my friend Tony wrote

At the same time, my friend Tony wrote blog post on his goals for 2016. Both of my friends are writing books and will be either in the middle or tail end of their journeys next year.

So they’ve inspired me to think about goals for next year.  For me, I feel like my year didn’t start until June so I only have half year of 2015 to think about. This was a fantastic year and I learned so much about myself as a person and a writer so it’s a bit sad that it’s ending. That doesn’t mean I’m not excited for the new year and the adventures it’ll bring.

So without much fanfare, this is my ONE goal for 2016.

Wake up and be freakin awesome


Yes, it’s just that simple. I want to continue the great success I had last year. I’m ending the year with a short story being picked up by The Fem Lit Mag (it’s called “Everything in its Place”), an anthology to plan and put together along with my co-editor, a two submissions, a book nearly completed, and a new short story in a new genre for me — science fiction.  That doesn’t include the Afro-Latina retreat, the reading, and VONA.

All this among the scariest time for me personally, and the ending of an abusive work relationship.

Frankly, I freaking won 2015.

But I guess if you want specifics, here goes. In no certain order my goals for 2016:

Write more short stories

I wrote a new one and edited a couple that I’ve written in the past. I forgot how much I love the short story, how compact it is or can be when it comes to revision. Working with “Everything in its Place” was so freeing. It’s a flash fiction piece, less than 800 words. The constraints meant that everything needed to be not only in the sentences but between the sentences. Lesson: stories are just as much as much about what is unsaid as what is.

Everything in its place

I’ll like to work with more short stories and try something new, genre, format, subject matter. My new sci-fi piece (which I haven’t named yet) was such an eye opener. I wouldn’t mind trying my hand at another one or at a couple of ideas for scenes. May they grow into something great.

I feel like I’m developing as a writer and that my writing is moving into a new direction. I’m finding it so much more important, now more than ever, to reflect my world and to lead my voice telling those stories.

More submissions

In 2015, I submitted to things and said to myself, “Wouldn’t it be interesting if I got this”.  Then came VONA, the Owl of Minerva, and now The Fem Lit piece being accepted.

What would happen if I did that more?

In 2016, I’m going to find out. I want to submit to more journals, contests, and opportunities.  You don’t win if you don’t play and I’m tired of not winning.

As a writer, as a woman of color, I have something to say to the world. I have developed and earned back the voice to say what I need to say. I’m telling stories, my stories, the way I want. It’s time the world read them

Continue my Afro-Latina journey

A retreat, a reading, and now an anthology. This was the year I came home to myself. I am Afro-Latina and proud of it. I am two in one. I do not choose, I am.

As a result, I will read more Afro-Latino writers. I’m currently in the middle of Shadowshapper by Daniel Jose Older (VONA alum as well).  I am so in awe of him and his effortless storytelling. I’ll be sure to write an annotation like I did with Graham Greene a while back. Lots to learn.

I want to write more about my experiences about being Afro-Latina in this “post racial” world. Oh, I got stuff to say.

And, of course, there’s the anthology. I can’t wait to work more on it and to finally call for submissions. A theme has been chosen. The wheels are turning and it’s baptism by fire. Thankfully, I enjoy learning this way. (Talk to me in a couple of months.)

Work more in non-fiction

I spent 12 years as a reporter so when I think about non-fiction I think articles.  I don’t think memoir or personal essay.

A good friend of mine keeps telling me, you should write a memoir. I keep telling her I haven’t lived a live worth writing about. How wrong I’ve been!

After this year, I have a story to tell and demons to conquer on the page. I am a writer in transition with a world in flux. That deserves an essay or two, don’t you think?

Jennie Manning, blogging, and translation

Jennie Manning is in an interesting stage — nearly done and ready for a full workshop. I anticipate dusting off my query writing letter skills. Wish me luck.

Blogging = oh my goodness what do I write about. I think that this blog isn’t the how-to-be-a-better-writer-in-5-easy-steps type. It’s the here’s-what-it’s-really-like-because-I’m-doing-it-now type.  I want to be a better blogger and write about EVERYTHING dealing with the writing life. Doubts? Yup. Rejection. Oh hell yes. Books (or lack of) that I’m reading. Sure. How to do awesome writing. When it comes up.

To demystify the writing life, I’ve got to also show you the ugly about it. This isn’t a life for the faint of heart. It takes some cojones to tell the world that you chose to be poor but happy. You should see that reflected here.

I am going to translate a short story of mine into Spanish because why not. It’s not like I have other things to do like teach, write, and publish. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Take care of yourself.

This doesn’t mean workout every day though I intend on going back to the mat and embracing yoga again. This means to speak my mind, to say no when the answer is no, to protect my sense of hope. Listen, my life scare was an eye-opener. I need to do things differently and not put myself in situations where people don’t care whether I live or die. Literally. I need to be strong enough to walk away and give my time and talent to the people and causes that deserve it. Frankly, I’m not dying so that other people a better sense of self or to extend their privilege.

This will be the most difficult goal to keep.


Basically, my goal is to make better art, get people to see it, and repeat. It’s a pretty ambitious goal list but 2016 is an ambitious year. It has to be, it’s going to be one for the record books. Are you ready?

Happy New Year!

10 international lit mags seeking English submissions

I haven’t thought about submitting to international literary magazines. May have to check some of these out!

Trish Hopkinson


Why limit yourself to being published in lit mags in the U.S., Canada, or the U.K? There are many countries with English-language lit mags you can also submit your work to. For example, my poem “My Monkey Grammarian” was published in Hong Kong and even included in a review! You can read more about it here.

Thanks to Authors Publish and Aerogramme Studio for compiling the original lists I used as resources to start my research for the list below.

This list focuses on NO/LOW FEE poetry submissions, but most lit mags accept prose and art as well. Three of the listings are PAYING markets. The first DEADLINE is 12/31/2015. The listings are in alphabetical order.



READING PERIOD: Rolling deadlines


NOTES: Cha is dedicated to publishing quality creative works from and about Asia. At this time, we can only accept work in…

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7 writing (and life) lessons from 2015

Dear Reader,

This year, my Christmas holidays were one of reflecting and being surprised. I was surprised at how happy I was this holiday. Not because I was with family because it was exactly the opposite of what I thought I’d be in my life.

This has happened often this year.

Talking about this year, I’m going to write down 2015 as probably one of the better years. Not because this year has been stellar in the winning the lottery department. This year has been stellar in one very important area, life lessons.

This thought came to me after reading some old emails. Near year means cleaning out some old files. That’s when I saw them. The emails that reminded me of all the pain and hurt from six months ago. So I instantly wrote down the top lessons I learned from that experience and others this year.

Here’s the seven that I wrote down. I hope as 2016 comes in, they help you with your writing life.

Celebrate the small victories

I’m from a generation where you didn’t celebrate things until you did something really big like find the cure to cancer.

While I haven’t done anything THAT big yet, I do believe in giving yourself credit when you’ve done something good or completed something difficult.  Whether that’s with retail therapy, a Netflix binge, or a good meal with friends, taking the time to celebrate the small moments sets you up for the bigger moments.

For writers, this means having a glass of wine when you finish a chapter. Treating yourself to a good meal when that poem FINALLY comes together. When you beat that deadline, get yourself those new shoes. Whatever and however you celebrate. There are lots of people who will remind you how awful you are, these moments prove them wrong.

Always protect hope

I haven’t hidden the fact that it was touch and go there for a bit. I know now that what nearly lead me to make that decision was a lack of hope. I had no hope that things would get better. And while I had help eliminating hope from my life, don’t ever lose it.  The thought of things getting better despite things going wrong is enough to move mountains.

Put yourself out there, even if you’re not ready

This one is one of the biggest lessons for my writing career. I’d been writing in a bubble for awhile, even after grad school. I didn’t want anyone to read or know my work until I was finished and it was clean. And while I still believe that pieces should not be workshopped until you feel good about it and some major decisions have already been made, it should not hinder you from doing sending out your work or having people read it.

I submitted my essay for the Owl of Minerva Award right under the wire because I thought it wasn’t good enough. My VONA application was turned in two minutes before deadline in the back of a MegaBus and I still wasn’t happy with it. Both times I was rewarded. This made me think that it was time for my writing to be read by more people.

Yes, this post will reach 3,000 people (btw did I mention that more than 3K people read this blog. Wow! Thank you!). Yes, I have published articles and such before. However, I am a fiction writer who writes books like some people write grocery lists. People should see my work, even if I don’t think I’m ready.

Find your tribe

VONA pic
The popular fiction workshop during VONA 2015 taken by the AMAZING Marjorie M. Liu

In 2015 I found my tribe and they are amazing. VONA and the Afro-Latinas from the writer’s retreat are just what I need. I pitch them ideas and they read my stuff and give me feedback. And when I’m down, they lift me up. My tribe is my heartbeat.

These ladies are my heart

Accept it, some people are just plain evil.

From Aug. 2014 – July 2015 I lived in absolute fear. I didn’t have to, but I thought I did because I thought I was doing something wrong. I blamed myself for being afraid. After all, if you have something to fear you’re doing something wrong. For the past six months, I have learned that there was very little that was wrong with me and whole lot that was wrong with the situation I was in.

And as hard as it is to admit it, there are just some people in this world who are just plain evil. They aren’t nice not matter how nice you are to them. They will take advantage and they won’t care how it impacts you.

Once you understand that, truly understand and accept it right down into your bone marrow, decisions will be made easier. You’ll know what to do in all situations. And no one will be able to tell you different.

Courage means listening to your gut instead of your head

There is more courage in saying that it’s not working than there is in staying and trying to make it work. There will be times that logic needs to be thrown out of the window.

Don’t be afraid to do something stupid if it means keeping your sanity. It all falls into place when it should.

Lessons come from unexpected places

I have learned from my students, podcasts, my madre’s refranes, my sister, and from soap operas. Lessons are everywhere and in the most unexpected places. All you have to do is be open to it.


Have an amazing new year!



The 2016 Houston Writing Workshop: February 6, 2016

Workshop for writers in Houston. Looks like it’s beginning info but maybe nice to brush up on basics if you’re a seasoned scribe. It’s in Feb so hurry and register.

The Houston Writing Workshop

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 4.54.04 PMThe staff behind the organization and instruction of the Homeric Writers’ Retreat & Workshop are excited to announce The Houston Writing Workshop — a full-day “How to Get Published” writers conference outside Houston, TX on February 6, 2016.

This writing event is a wonderful opportunity to get intense instruction over the course of one day, pitch a literary agent or editor (optional), get your questions answered, and more. Note that there are limited seats at the event (100 total). All questions about the event regarding schedule, details and registration are answered below. Thank you for your interest in the 2016 Houston Writing Workshop!


This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, at the Sheraton North Houston At George Bush Intercontinental. In other words, it’s one day full of classes and advice designed to give you the best instruction concerning…

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