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!