The 1 big mistake mystery novels make

Dear Reader, Jennie Manning. She's a character who gives zero... The word that you're looking for to end that phrase rhymes with ducks. That's how someone described Jennie to me after I read a sample for Culture, Love, and Identity: An Afro-Latina Reading. Zero ducks. Yes, I like that. Every time I've taken parts of … Continue reading The 1 big mistake mystery novels make

How the worst time of my life became the best

    Dear Reader, Today, I am dreaming of Miami. It's been nearly six months since I last stepped foot in that town and it changed my life. That was when I felt something break inside of me and a shift happen. There was bound to be change. That was June 26. It wasn't even … Continue reading How the worst time of my life became the best


    Dear Readers, My friend Alicia Anabel Santos is on a mission. She was accepted into a writer's retreat in Costa Rica! That's amazing. I know what some of you may be thinking. Costa Rica! Vacay! What does this have to do with me or with writing? First off, it's not a vacation. Writer's … Continue reading I AM THIRSTY!

How I learned to give myself (writing) space

    Dear Reader, I recently Tweeted something odd. At least it is for me. It's amazing how normal I feel whenever I get to work from a Starbucks. Literally feel like I can get things done. Good sigh. — IcessFernandezRojas (@Icess) November 20, 2015 There's something to say about space, especially for writers, that … Continue reading How I learned to give myself (writing) space

When the N word doesn’t make sense

Dear Reader, One of the most eye-opening experiences about teaching college students in Houston is the international feel of the classroom. In my English classes, I have students from countries in Africa (too many to name) Iran, India, South Korea, China, Haiti, Mexico, Venezuela, Peru and Colombia. These students are from these countries. First generation. … Continue reading When the N word doesn’t make sense

What I did different to be a better writer

Dear Reader, I can't tell you how excited I am about this short story I'm writing! So much so that instead of writing an update post about Jennie Manning, I decided to write this instead. At the moment, I'm in the teacher's lounge where I usually am hours before my classes start. Usually, I am … Continue reading What I did different to be a better writer

That Latin Explosion documentary…incomplete

Dear Reader, Sometimes being Afro-Latina comes with stomaching the obvious -- being left out of the narrative. I tried to avoid the HBO documentary Latin Explosion because I already knew what it was going to be, a celebration of Latino achievement in America. And it should be celebrated -- Rita Moreno, Jose Feliciano -- their very … Continue reading That Latin Explosion documentary…incomplete

Questioning the evil in the world

      Dear Reader, For the past week, I have been questioning the world and its intentions. Paris. Beirut. And now Mali. What is going on with the world? What is going on with humanity?   My students talked about how they felt about things after the Paris attacks. I wanted to give these … Continue reading Questioning the evil in the world

The best night of literature and words

    Dear Reader, I am exhausted and with good reason. On Wednesday night, I was part of an amazing livestreamed reading. Culture, Love, and  Identity: An Afro-Latina Reading.  It was amazing and just knocked my socks off. You know when you work on something for so long and you don't know how it's going … Continue reading The best night of literature and words

Paris, MY Paris

Dear Reader, There was always a part of me that wanted Paris. I wanted to go some place that was different than where I was and, by extension, who I was. When I was younger, I wanted Paris for what East Harris County couldn't give me, a world with an accent I had never heard … Continue reading Paris, MY Paris