Friday, September 18, 2020

Creative Connections – Sophie and Chris Brousseau from Maple Lion Fiction

One of my main interests with Creative Connections is to share the wealth in regards to writers and creators you may not know that well, content creators that I think are worth your time, or authors whose dynamic is peculiar. So I’m really happy to be interviewing Sophie and Chris, a wedded writing duo known collectively as Maple Lion Fiction. Although I met them relatively recently, I’ve not only enjoyed their content, but find their dynamic as a creative team very interesting, and thought I’d have them over for tea and a chat. So without further ado, let’s get to know ‘em.

Hey there, guys! So nice to have you over on For Writing Out Loud for an interview. Although we’ll dive into both of your backgrounds a bit, why don’t you give us an intro telling readers who you are, how you met, and where you now call home?

Sophie: Thanks for inviting us JD. I will go ahead and introduce myself first then Chris can. My name is Sophie. I am originally from East Yorkshire in the UK though I’ve spent the past sixteen years living in Australia, around a decade or so of that has been in Melbourne. For much of that time, I have worked in healthcare, a sector which I think will always be dear to my heart though in the past few months I have left that role to pursue this writing venture full time. Exciting times ahead!

Chris: It is! Hi JD, thanks for having us over to chat. My name is Chris, I am from a really small town in Canada where it gets to -50c and I’ve always been interested in doing creative things. This led me to work my way into a job in video games, but I’ve also been a storyteller my whole life. At gatherings or when hanging out with friends, I love to entertain people with my stories.

My job led me to Melbourne and throughout my working life I developed a few stories on the side but never had the time or the patience to edit or release them, so they just remained in my google drive, for years.

Then one day, I met Sophie. We fell madly in love and got married pretty quickly. Throughout this time, I watched her write research papers and she really seemed to enjoy the writing, just not always the subject matter, so I asked her if she wanted to co-write with me and give fiction a try. Turns out she did!

Sophie: I felt really honored that Chris trusted me with his work. I think it’s really hard to hand over your first drafts to someone knowing they are going to put their own spin on it. Fortunately, our minds work so similarly that it’s not an issue. Oh, and we met through Bumble, the dating app a couple of years ago. We even chatted then about our love of storytelling. Neither of us had a traditional hobby and we decided that collecting stories was our hobby!

Three cheers to Bumble and that's such a great story. I'm sure that app had no idea it'd be key in helping some fun stories come to life in real life and written form. Speaking of the craft though, when it comes to your writing dynamic, Chris seems like the idea guy while Sophie is the one who is better at fleshing out the world and psychology. Can you speak a bit about that process and how you complement each other?

Chris: I do the first draft and vomit words onto the page which don’t make any sense to anyone but Sophie and I.

Sophie: Sometimes not even to us! I joke! Those first drafts are really exciting to read.

Chris: I create the characters in my head and interweave their stories together and try to add in the humor that Sophie and I both share. Then, I hand it over to Sophie. I love watching her read it and seeing her reaction. I use that as a gauge to know if it’s good or bad. Also, she’ll tell me if it’s bad.

Sophie: It’s true, though it’s rare it’s straight up bad. I love reading those first drafts as I get to experience the writing as a reader and follow all the twists and turns that goes with that. I have a very clear vision of the characters and the world in my head after that and from there I write the second draft. I try to convey the characters personalities through their dialogue more than anything else. Neither of us are ones for heavy descriptions, we like the reader to be able to imagine their own version of the character.

As for psychology, we’re both very much into it actually so we both try to keep a character’s motive strong throughout and have it develop throughout the course of the story.

Being from Canada and the UK, I do wonder, Sophie: what’s something VERY Canadian that Chris does and Chris, what’s something that’s SUPER Brit about Sophie? Bonus question, what’s something very Australian you’ve picked in your years living there?

Sophie: I would have to say his love of Maple syrup and super sweet things. I mean, I love maple syrup, how can you not? but Chris, well let’s just say he stuffs so many tins of it in his suitcase on a visit to Canada that there’s no room for anything else!

Chris: Sophie has a lot of strange sayings that I don’t understand. Sometimes she’ll say it likes it’s a normal thing and I just nod and agree. One of them for example is you’re not as green as you’re cabbage looking.

Sophie: I don’t even know what it really means, my mum would just always say. I say it instead of you’re not as daft as you look… it’s an odd one, I’ll admit that.

Chris: What’s something Australian we both do? I say heaps.

Sophie: Yeah, I say no worries. My accent is half and half now, I’ve been here sixteen years, it was bound to happen.

You have decided to release Pirates of Nassau in serial form and currently have episodes 1 and 2 on offer. What was the strategy behind this approach, how does it influence your storytelling, and what’s been the response so far?

Chris: The strategy is to break up an entire book into manageable chunks otherwise we’d probably struggle to work on it for an entire eight months without anything coming out.

Sophie: We’re both pretty impatient, so this helps us feel like we’re progressing. Plus, we’re both fans of shorter reads. It fits in with our lifestyle so we thought it might fit in with our readers' lives too.

Chris: In terms of the storytelling, in each episode we try to focus on one character as the main character for that episode.

Sophie: That way each character has their own arc, but it’s not done in such a way that it dominates the story.

Chris: We always try to end each episode on a cliffhanger which makes for an exciting story.

Sophie: We were concerned people might forget what happens episode to episode, so we are including a little recap page at the start of each book. Sort of like in a TV show when they do their ‘previously on’ intro segment. I would say the response has been overwhelmingly positive so far. I think once we’re onto episode four, we’ll have more of an idea if people enjoy this format.


This one’s for Chris: you also work on video games, which is a fascinating industry that definitely has a LOT that happens behind the scenes. Has anything you’ve seen on the job ever inspired some of the adventures you go on in your writing?

Chris: It’s certainly an interesting industry. The only thing that really inspires my writing from it are the different people that you meet whilst in the industry. When creating a new character, I often draw inspiration from people I’ve worked with or met throughout my life and my career.

And now one for Sophie: you took a long break in your studies, finished a degree in Psychological Sciences, and are now writing pirate stories. How was getting back to studying, how did it influence your writing, and what would you say to anyone who is thinking about getting back to study something new or complete studies they had left unfinished?

Sophie: Oh wow, it was really hard, I can’t pretend it wasn’t. I left school at sixteen and hadn’t been in a classroom since, but I think you get to a point in life were you’re ready for it, mine just happened to be in my thirties! And that’s okay. It wasn’t the right time for me before that. Honestly, I was blown away by all the incredible people I met and the opportunities it brought, so for anyone considering it as a mature student I would highly recommend. It has definitely influenced my writing. It sparked it really so without it I probably wouldn’t be doing this. One of the big things it taught me was to be concise. They hammer it home in any science, that you have to be concise and sometimes it feels near impossible, but it teaches you to self-edit, really well.
Coming from Northern Canada and the UK, how was the transition to Australia?

Chris: A long flight. A lot of learning of new terms. For example: we call drug stores pharmacies in Canada and when I first moved here it took me a long time to find one because they’re called chemists. Australians speak English but if feels very different to what I grew up with so that took a lot of getting used to.

Sophie: Yeah, I echo that sentiment. I came here with a very thick Yorkshire accent and no one could understand a word I said. I found using the colloquialisms and slang helped me get by, but I couldn’t find a red pepper for the longest time! (They’re called capsicums here) I should probably add, I came here pre-smart phones, pre-Skype. So, I could only contact my family using a payphone with an international calls card. That made for a pretty steep learning curve but I wouldn’t change it.

Wow that's quite the adventure but I'm sure it's been fascinating to see the transition of the world in another country. Anywho, here's a quirky pivot questions: EGADS! Your characters have escaped the book and have shown up on your doorstep looking for a hidden treasure in your home. What are they looking for and what are a couple of booby traps you have in place to make sure they can’t get to the treasure?

Sophie: We have a lot of characters in our book and they’re all terrifying so let’s roll with Isaac Carver. Isaac is a somewhat loveable wannabe pirate captain. We see him as our main character. How could we stop him? I think the booby trap would be to leave a vat of rum at the door. He loves a drink and probably wouldn’t make it much further if that was on offer.

Chris: We could add in a sleeping agent too. Molly Weaver one of our other characters dabbles in apothecary so we’d get her in on it.

You are tasked with preparing a family meal where you have something representative of Canada, the UK, and Australia. What’s on the menu?

Sophie: We could have an entrée of poutine, followed by fish and chips, with a lamington for dessert. That’s a lot of potato. Chris can you do any better?


Chris: That sounds good, I’d eat that.

Sophie: Maybe we could create a maple syrup drenched lamington with Cornish clotted cream. That ticks all the boxes! I love cooking and coming up with recipes, I’d say that’s my other creative pursuit.

You are a dynamic duo of superheroes. Although you each have your own special powers, you have a shared special power that you activate when the going gets tough. What’s the name of the move and what does it do?

Chris: That’s hard. Okay. If we could read peoples thoughts and know exactly what to say to get them to do what we want that would help us out in any situation.

Sophie: Yeah that’s a good one. Maybe each time we activate the power we lose something though. Otherwise we might do it all the time!

Lol I'm happy you guys have some control with that super power. This has been super fun so now all that is left is to take a map of the internet, and mark where people can find you?

Both: Awesome! Thanks so much for having us JD.

Anyone wanting to hear more from us can follow along on Instagram @maplelionfiction or check out our website.

We’re also on Twitter @maplelionwrites and Facebook @maplelionfiction though we’re not quite as active there.


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This was super lovely so My thanks to Chris and Sophie for swinging by the blog for a chat. Feel free to give them a follow if you're looking for pirate stories OR if you need some advice with co-authoring. Lovely people and by all means, bring poutine and maple anything lol. Thanks for another creative connection and here's to the next one.

Peace, love, and maki rolls.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Creative Connections – Go Indie Now

It’s curious, some people know me for my socks, others for my obsession with tea, some see a banana and think about 00 Bananas, yet not many people know me in my role as indie music reviewer on Go Indie Now. This online network specializes in producing video shows that highlight, support, showcase, and shine a big ole bright light on all things indie. From books to movies to music and any and everything in between, the sheer amount of content Go Indie Now produces is remarkable. Behind the helm of this ship is the Godfatha of Go Indie, Mr. Joe Compton. Not only is Joe good people, tenacious as they get, and relentless in his support of the indie community, he’s also someone I consider family and although I’ve interviewed him about his books, I wanted to shine a bigger light on his Go Indie Now channel, because to creators and lovers of all things indie, I think it's definitely worth checking out. So without further ado, let’s get to the answers straight outta Compton… literally.

Greetings, salutations, and hellos to ya, brother. So nice to have you back on the blog and although we’ve shared great tacos, hundreds of hours of conversation, beer, and tours of Dragon Con, maybe readers of this blog don’t necessarily know Mr. Joe Compton and his Go Indie Now network. So give us the elevator pitch, what is Go Indie Now, and why should people tune in?

Thanks for having me here, my friend. Go Indie Now is an online network that produces several shows Live and recorded weekly, monthly, and seasonally that promote, highlight, and support Indie Artists of all art forms.

People should tune in because the amount of things that never get seen is a longer list than it should be and we aim to narrow that for you a bit. Also if you are an artist, aspiring artist, or an artist with a specific struggle or need, I would almost guarantee we have or will cover it in some capacity. Plus it’s always good to find your tribe and I guarantee if you are an artist feeling a little alone or without a place to talk about your own art, Go Indie Now wants to be your tribe.

By several, people might not exactly have an idea of HOW many lol. So beyond that initial description, you have QUITE a full lineup of shows. Can you give us a rundown of what’s in store for Fall/Winter 2020 and next year?

Sure... it all starts on SUNDAYS with THIS WEEK IN INDIES. We broadcast this show LIVE via Facebook Watch and Twitch the first 3 or 4 Sundays of the month at NOON EST. It’s our “NEWS” program which I compare to Meet The Press. We have a panel discussion and a couple segments that go along with that. (1 hr. show)

Then MONDAYS we start the month with Julia Allen’s IN PROGRESS show that broadcasts LIVE at 9PM EST. It’s a show that, along with a specific guest and yours truly as a Guest Host takes a look at the various ways in which we process our lives as Artists. Sharing what we’ve learned together and going forward from there. T(1 hr broadcast)

Then we have our Game Show called THE 10 MINUTE DRILL which airs the rest of the Mondays of the month. This is where we take a team of 4 Indie Artists and challenge them to answer 15 various questions about creating, fandom, and habits and rituals as artists as fast as they can within 10 minutes. Then we take the TOP 4 of the 8 teams that will compete and have a head to head 2-week playoff to crown a champion of the season and then we will also have an All Star Game too. This show is about 15-20 minutes each week.

Then on TUESDAYS we have Season 2 of the INDIE WRITER’S BLOCK. This is where Indie Artists were given the same 5 questions to answer and these are their answers. This season was all centered around World Building. This show is about 10-15 minutes.

On WEDNESDAYS we have a BRAND NEW SHOW called 3 ACT STRUCTURE. This is a panel show where we get Indies together to talk about specific disciplines and processes that center around the structure of story and the 3 Act Process. (30-minute show)

On the 1st and 2nd THURSDAYS we have another BRAND NEW SHOW called CROSSROADS. This is a one on one conversation between 2 Indie Artists who have commonalities but come from a different art form as their main discipline. This conversation explores those commonalities and differences. (1 hr show)

On the Last THURSDAY we will either have an episode of either Season 2 of FANDOM FORUM, which is our panel show that takes fans of a specific Indie Art or Indie Event and we talk all about that. (30-minute show)


We begin Season 2 of our popular show ORIGINS, which takes a deeper look at an Indie Artist and their Art. Kind of like THIS IS YOUR LIFE meets INSIDE THE ACTOR’S STUDIO. (1 hr show)

ON FRIDAYS we will be LIVE in the evening with either a TOWN HALL event, where we welcome experts in a subject matter that is near and dear to Indies’ heart, and give them the opportunity to ask as many questions as they would like.


We will broadcast LIVE from JOE’S BAR. Our fun virtual hang out where a few of us get together and talk shop, for about an hour and half.


I will be live on TWITCH (maybe have a special guest every now and again) doing a watch along of past Go Indie Now shows or Indie Short Films and talk about my favorite Indie films, music, and books. I'll take some questions too.

Then we wrap up our week with a rotation of another episode of FANDOM FORUM, ORIGINS, and Season 2 of GO INDIE INTERNATIONAL hosted by Jin Okubo in which he gives a look at Indies and Indie artistry going on beyond North America. This is typically a 15-30 minute show.

Have I made your heads spin yet? LOL.

Ha ha ha, that's awesome and I wanted to show people just how many things they can tune in or even sign up for, but more on that later. Back to GIN, I’ve met a lot of writers through Go Indie Now and the sense of community is always something I enjoy from Go Indie. What is the meaning of community when it comes to the network?

It’s everything. It’s the catalyst for why I did it in the first place. I have been fortunate enough to be a part of so many different Indie Artist communities over the years and one of the things that always struck me is how I would have to divide my time between this group and that group. So I just wanted a place to gather all my friends together. Without a sense of community though, this never works, it never becomes the beast it is now because the participation element is paramount to building an audience. We love that there is an audience for what we do, it’s why we all do it but moreover having each other as part of that audience I think is what makes being “indie” or even just being an “artist” incredibly special because you don’t feel so alone, you don’t feel as lost, and you don’t have to make the mistakes one makes the first time out and feel like a complete and utter failure because YOU ARE NOT. Not everybody can understand that plight so a community is vital for that very reason. So we are again very grateful and humbled that we have established, cultivated, and maintained something like that.

If you had to guess, how many guests have you had on the channel and from how many countries?

I was thinking about this as I was looking at my schedule sign ups just the other day. It’s well into the hundreds in just 3 years’ time. As for countries it has to be in the 30’s or 40’s range.

What are the core values of Go Indie Now?

Wow, this is a great question. Thank you for asking it. I think beyond what I have already said about establishing one community I think the most important thing is to have a place that not just celebrates Indie Artists and their art but makes people aware of them. For everybody out there reading this, think about the daunting aspect of a Netflix or Amazon menu. How often have you found yourself scrolling to the 3rd or 4th pages of anything you were just browsing about for? How many times have you looked at that menu and saw there are probably 8-10 pages to go even? At that point you are done most of the time. We want to be a better search engine for you to find those artists and their art buried deep in those pages no one goes too. That’s why artists try so hard to get into the top of those lists but that is a monumental and daunting task in its own right, so if we can help even a little bit to get you closer to the top by telling our audience where to find you, then that’s a lot of what we are trying to do.

We also think it's important within that context to entertain and show why you should put your hard earned money and time to back these artists. I think if we can help let the personality of an artist as a person shine through or get them closer to relating themselves to a public that just wants to know you and not be hit over the head with "buy my book!", "subscribe to my channel!", and those kinds of things we all really don’t like doing or saying anyway, that is only going to help you climb up to those top pages and searches.

Lastly I will add that we aim to educate our community. Look it's great to be creative and let your freak flags fly but we all have ambitions, goals, and we would be irresponsible as a network and community if we didn’t try to help the very people we are trying to promote too. Learning and the thirst for learning is something we also share as commonality, so we need to make sure we are respecting that aspect as well, and giving our community a place they can utilize and come to for any help they might be seeking or any learning they may feel like they can benefit from is also an important part of our programming.

So what if someone wanted to be on one of your shows? Where would they go to sign up and what do they need in terms of experience, exposure, and equipment?

We do casting calls right before a new programming session and throughout the session those calls remain open for any slots not filled right away. We typically announce those first on our Facebook Group The Go Indie Now Think Tank and Suggestion Box. So if you want to be the first to grab a spot on a show this is the best place to start.


After that we post on our Go Indie NowFacebook page and through my twitter.

You can also always email me at or direct message me through the Go Indie Now FB page and I will give you all the opportunities.

Right Now I have 2 casting calls that have available slots, our Panels for This Week In Indies, which you can sign up CLICKING HERE.

And one of our New shows, the 3 ACT STRUCTURE CLICKING HERE.

You are called up by your favorite brewery. They say, “Joe, it’s on! We’re gonna do two Go Indie Now brews.” What would you call each beer and what type of the beers would they be? (GO as general or in depth as you want. If there’s an APV %, have at it)

Ooh, I would do a STOUT with a vanilla and black cherry tint, “Always Time To” which will have to be a little dry because of the ingredients so that will also mean it will be a bit stronger in the APV, probably a 7.6%.

Then I would do a British Ale with a hint of a bitter note because the thing about Ales that frustrate me personally is they are frontloaded for your first taste on your pallet but never smooth out or they water down. I would call it “Hat in Hand”. A nod to the signature newsboy I wear in many of the shows. This would be because of the bitter again a tad higher APV, maybe 6.2%.

You have a new releases section. What do people with a new release coming need to do to get on the show?

Join the Think Tank FB Group. We cover it all in that segment, we have Authors read from their New Releases, we have film trailers, video game trailers, and comic and music album featurettes. Always looking to add your art to it, I don’t care how long it makes the segment.

You are contacted by a convention that wants to do a Go Indie Now writer’s retreat. Where is it? What’s going down? What’s included in the package?

I would probably do it in a beach area somewhere. We would have write-ins and sprints, we would have a film festival, a night or a whole day or two of music, panels on everything Indie Artist related, an open mic night for poetry, book readings, and music, and then a beach Luau one night, a night swim another night. I would probably have it be a week-long event. It would include a righteous swag bag.

What are some of your goals for the next 2 years for the channel, even with everything that’s going on in the world?

Ultimately I would love to be running 24/7 programming and be an available channel on a TV streaming service or as our own like Roku App Channel type of idea and making the above retreat happen too.

And now, all that's left to do is to offer you the chance to share the wealth and tell people where they can find you, your network, and even some Go Indie Swag.

Our YouTube Channel

Facebook Page

Our IGTV Channel


Go Indie Now Swag

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Thanks so much to the indomitable and non-stop Mr. Compton. By all means, if you're an indie author, artist, musician, or film maker, check out Go Indie Now. We're all about supporting one another and hey, even during a crazy year like this one, it's always time to Go Indie Now. Til next we meet creatively.

Peace, love, and maki rolls.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Creative Connections – Three Furies Press

Some people have all the luck in the world and success almost seems to float their way. Then there are companies and people who are successful not because things are convenient, but because they are tenacious. Enter Three Furies Press. Dedicated to igniting fires and inspiring readers, this small press continues to grow even with all the challenges that have come with 2020. At the helm are Rebekah Jonesy and Isa Mclaren so before I get into full on waffle mode, why don’t we get to meet these furious ladies.

Greetings, salutations, and welcome to the blog. Tell us, who are Three Furies and why should people save up for books from your press?

Three Furies is a publishing company that looks for the best stories and most unique voices we can find. Then we take months honing those stories into the best they can be before releasing them into the market. It doesn’t matter if you like sci-fi, romance, fantasy, steampunk, or horror, we’ve got a book for that. We are also proud to say that we’re LGBTQ+ positive and have a diverse group of authors, and a bit sad to say that makes us unique.

As avid readers who transitioned into being authors, then publishers, we know the love readers have for new and unique voices and different perspectives. That’s what we bring to the market every two weeks.

I've been able to enjoy a few titles from 3FP and can attest to that diversity. So how many authors and how many titles do you currently offer and what’s coming in Fall/Winter 2020?

We currently have 42 books out, 43 depending on when this posts. And we have 25 authors currently signed and publishing with us. For the Fall this year, we have months’ worth of dark fantasy and horror. I swear, we didn’t plan for it to match 2020 when we set our schedule in 2019, but we are totally taking advantage of it.

Pandemics that cause zombies? Check. Elder gods taking over? Check. Dark forces corrupting youths? Check. Deals with devils? Check. Urban legends coming to life and hunting down humans? Check. All culminating in a final Harvest where portals punch through into our reality and the apocalypse starts with a rain of blood. Then we take a nice break for Christmas. Sounds good, right?

Sounds accurate as it gets when it comes to this cray-cray year. No matter your preferred dystopian nightmare, we've got ya covered lol. Ok so back to quesions. Are you currently accepting submissions? If so, what are your requirements and are there any specific type of books you’re keeping an eye out for?

We are not currently open for public submissions. Our submissions were open for a short time this past spring, but we filled up quickly. Our current publishing schedule is filled through the end of 2021. However, when we do look for submissions, we always look for the most interesting books with varied voices. I watched a panel not too long ago on GoIndieNow where authors of color talked about trying to make it in the publishing world. Each of them had a horrifyingly similar story. Their stories were “too black/not black enough” and they often heard “we don’t know how to market a story like this”. Which, to be blunt, is bullshit. A fantasy novel is a fantasy novel and gets marketed as a fantasy novel. And we love seeing familiar tropes turned on their head by fresh perspectives. If you’re an author of color and have a good story, please do reach out to TFP. It might take a while, but we’re always happy to add new voices to our platform.

What are some of the values of Three Furies Press and what services do you offer authors?

Bex: I always say: Safe, Sane, and Consensual. We’re not out to screw people over, our contracts are fair and not overly long. We recommend our authors sit down with a lawyer or someone knowledgeable in contracts before signing. Another thing we stress to our authors is to take care of themselves. Celebrate their successes, don’t push themselves so hard they become sick or burned out, and know that we are with them the whole way ready to offer support and guidance. Consensual is, hopefully obvious. There is no consent without informed consent, which is why we make sure they understand their contracts and why we do all of our work on Google Drive so they can see what changes we are making. Authors have constant input not just into the edits, but also in the graphics we’re designing and their covers and schedules.

We work with our authors to do full edits (developmental and line), formatting, sales graphics, marketing help, and covers, then of course the actual publishing. We also facilitate creating merchandise for our store, based on their graphics.

Isa: Our size is another advantage. While many traditional publishers take up to 5 years to publish a book, our turnaround is about 9-12 months. This is one reason we close for submissions periodically.

This quick turnaround also lets us make course corrections easily. We’re not a giant ocean liner chugging along; we’re a zippy little speedboat, able to adjust our publishing schedule, our workflow, and even job responsibilities as needed. There’s no massive faceless corporate entity that must be appeased. It’s just us, Rebekah and Isa, the people you know, who are in charge.

Your site also has some pretty cool book related swag. Can you tell us a bit about that and what are some of your most popular items?

Oh yeah, you can of course buy any of our books from our shop. Since there’s no middle man distributor, there our authors also get larger royalties from those sales. And the books are what we call personalized, they have the author’s signatures in the ebooks and printed into the paperbacks if you want to buy that format.

Books are obviously the biggest sellers. After that are the t-shirts and hoodies. Our printers have several styles of shirts and different thicknesses in the hoodies. So if you see a design you like, or an author you want to support, you can find something you like with that design on it. Maps are also popular, and as a map lover I totally get that. I love having a map up on my wall while reading a book so I can follow along with their adventures. We even host other authors on our shop, like Andy Peloquin and Joshua Robertson. We don’t sell any of Andy’s books, but we do have the short story introduction for Joshua’s newest series.

We also have an amazing graphic designer, MoriArtsy Designs, who does all our cute seasonal merch. These are often book-related, rather than book-specific, plus adorable, fun designs perfect for everyone.

Even with a year as crazy as 2020, we all continue to drive towards our goals. What is the current focus of Three Furies, what adjustments have you guys made due to the pandemic, and what are some goals you will be pursuing?

The pandemic did hit us hard. Several of our staff were affected, in ways I am not going to discuss, but we were down to a skeleton crew for quite some time. But our team is amazing, and those who could, stepped up and we never even missed a release date. Of course this time is also hard on our authors, isolation and depression go hand in hand for a lot of people, and being creative during situations like that is not easy. So we’ve been meeting more often, talking more frequently, and generally just coming together as a group of creatives to cheer each other on and be a comforting ear or shoulder to cry on.

Our goal has been, and continues to be, to make it through. It started out just trying to make sure everyone survived, but now it is a drive to succeed stronger than we thought possible when these dark times started. Furies don’t back down. We might slow down, but we never stop. And when it comes to struggles, well that’s when you are supposed to call on the Furies to help get you through.

There’s a Three Furies Happy Hour at a local convention. What’s on the menu?

Isa. Bekah is on the bar, dancing badly.

Lol, can't ask for a better answer than that. As writers, we’re SUPER Talented at beating ourselves up. What would you say to a writer that is excelling at that a bit too much?

If you’re one of my authors, “stop it, that’s my job.” As a publisher I’m not here to coddle you. I’m here to tell you the truth and help you find a way to succeed. If you’re beating yourself up but I’m not joining in, that means you’re not doing bad. As authors we do get down, we do get in funks. Being creative takes a LOT of mental work, and our brains get worn down and tired. So never forget to take care of yourselves. If you can’t seem to find a way to be creative, then you need to take a break or a diversion. Go do something else creative, like make a video with a banana, show off your favorite socks, or go paint or cook.

Just the same as every day can’t be leg day at the gym if you want to stay healthy, every work day can’t be a writing day. And you can’t always be driving forward at 100%.

Bananas shall always be magically delicious and a saving grace during these crazy times. What are some of your proudest success stories?

*tears up* I have this baby author. He was a rookie, baby writer really, with one story under his belt. And not much else at the beginning. I’m so proud. So, so proud. He had just finished the editing work for his book. He called me up, and wanted to know what the next step was. How could he be a better author? How could he push his marketing forward? I talked things out with him, and told him what his next steps could be. He asked questions that proved he’d been doing his own research, and was ready to keep moving forward. And he did. Then he really shocked me. He asked me if he could submit another story. Which was the start of a series. And he sent it with a perfectly worded introduction letter that explained his first book, his series, the progression, and how many books would be following it. I read his submission, and instantly knew it was a winner too.

He took everything we taught him with his first book, applied it to his authoring job, and applied it to writing his next book at the same time. He even pointed out the ways he could, and planned to, improve. When he got his second contract, he shared it on social media, and thanked us. I read his post with tears in my eyes.

He was a writer, now he is an author who knows what it means to have a job as an author, and I believe with all my heart he is going to succeed wildly.

And this other author. I knew his work, loved it. But he had SO FEW BOOKS! It was heartbreaking. I needed more stories! Then I heard his history. He was stuck in a bad contract and while he was still trying to write, he couldn’t get excited about it because his publisher treated him so badly. I helped him find a loophole, a way his company wouldn’t claim his new novels and he could finally publish again without having to pay. Instead of self-publishing, he submitted to us. And we’re now working on several of his novels as he just keeps on writing!

And now, it is with great pleasure that I roll out the red carpet so you can tell us where to find you and where people can connect with Three Furies.

You can always find the Three Furies at where you can also find articles we’ve written, bios on our authors, and if you feel like shopping online, and who doesn’t during these times, you can check out our collections or just search for your favorite author or merchandise. Or you can come hang out with us and our author friends on Facebook at

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So there you have it, dear frands. A great small press with good people and a diverse lineup of novels and authors. Definitely something that resonates during these times. Here's to writing up a storm and seeing that page and saying ATTACKKKKK.

Til next time we connect creatively.

Peace, love, and maki rolls.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Conexiones Creativas – Yadira Nadal Naranjo

Si algo es cierto es que 2020 vino con retos de sobra. Ahora, aparte de lo que nos hemos tenido que ajustar, han pasado muchas cosas buenas y hay gente que frente a la adversidad se ha puesto creativa. Estas entrevistas que estoy haciendo son en parte inspiradas por el trabajo que Yadira Nadal Naranjo está haciendo con su canal, blog y podcast de Gente del Encanto. Recientemente tuve la dicha de compartir un rato con una entrevista que me hizo y más temprano en el año hice un video sobre cómo estoy bregando con los retos de la pandemia. De la entrevista, puedo decir honestamente que es de las entrevistas más completas que me han hecho y así es ella por video, podcast o en el blog. Pero ya esta intro está muy larga, vamos a las preguntas para que puedas conocer más de Yadira y su proyecto. 


Saludos, Yadira y mil gracias por darte la vuelta por el blog. Aunque hemos tenido el chance de hablar y compartimos una amiga de vida (¡hola Cata!), cuéntale a la gente un poco sobre quién eres y qué es Gente del Encanto


Hola J.D., gracias a ti por pensar en mí. Pues soy Comunicadora de profesión y fue lo que estudié; tengo muchas pasiones como conocer distintas culturas, leer, viajar, probar comidas de todas partes y servir en la manera que pueda. Gente del Encanto es una plataforma que pretende resaltar historias de personas que a través de sus talentos aportan a nuestra riqueza cultural.


De verdad que gracias al proyecto, he logrado conocer gente bien bonita y cubriendo una variedad de campos. Cuéntanos, ¿qué tal ha sido la reacción de las personas y cómo ha crecido el proyecto? 


El feedback ha sido súper. Tanto los entrevistados como quienes consumen las entrevistas sólo tienen cosas buenas que decir del proyecto y eso me llena a la vez que me confirma que tengo que seguir hacia donde me lleve. Empecé con el blog y luego nació el podcast, así que trabajo ambos formatos.


Bueno ya que hemos hablado un poco de Gente del Encanto, ¿nos puedes contar un poco de tu background, cómo ha influido el mismo en el proyecto y cuándo te surgió la idea? 


Como te comenté, mi preparación y experiencia profesional es en el área de las Comunicaciones y me fascina hablar con la gente, así que combiné ambas cosas para entrevistar personas de todas las áreas que de alguna manera u otra aportan a nuestra isla. Gente del Encanto nació post huracán María, luego de ver que la mayoría de lo que se publicaba en las redes era negativo y desesperanzador. Quise crear algo que resaltara lo positivo y lindo que nuestra gente hace por Puerto Rico y que a la vez me acercara más a mi tierra, pues vivo en Washington D.C. desde hace un tiempo. 


Ok, conoces a alguien de Slovakia que lo que conoce de PR es Ricky Martin. Dice que va a estar dos semanas en PR, ¿qué cosas no se puede perder?


Uff, la lista sería demasiado larga pues tenemos tanto… pero bueno, definitivamente las playas del oeste y noroeste; soy de Aguadilla así que estoy súper biased. De manera que hacer beach hopping de Isabela a Rincón. Pasar al menos un día en El Yunque y disfrutar de algunas de las cascadas es un must do. Visitar las playas de Vieques y Culebra, así como la Bahía Bioluminiscente de Fajardo en luna nueva. Pasear por el Viejo San Juan y conocer las distintas fortificaciones y su historia, y escoger de entre las tantas tienditas para comprar souvenirs hechos por artistas y artesanos locales… COMER, COMER y COMER, si hay algo que sobra en Puerto Rico es la buena comida y hay unos chefs increíbles que apoyan la gastronomía sustentable y hacen unas cosas maravillosas. El centro de la Isla… pasear por la Cordillera Central le quita el aire a cualquiera… la ruta del chinchorreo de Morovis y Orocovis… dos semanas es muy poco….


Habiendo vivido algunos años en los EE. UU., ¿cuáles son algunas de las preguntas más cómicas que te han hecho de la Isla? 

Wow, ¿qué moneda usamos? ¿qué pasó con el Chupacabras? 


¿Dinos 5 de tus antojos más intensos cuando piensas en PR?

Arepas de coco de los kioskos de Luquillo

Alcapurria de jueyes de Piñones

Coco frío en la playa

Hangueo en La Placita de Santurce

Chapuzón en la playa Crash Boat de Aguadilla


¿Hay algún proceso para ser entrevistado o hay alguna lista de espera?

Pues tengo una lista de personas que me gustaría entrevistar, pero también mucha gente me envía referidos y otros me escriben directamente para que los entreviste; hay una lista de espera, así que vamos una historia a la vez…


¿Cuáles son algunos de los sitios más peculiares que te has encontrado a otro boricua?

No fue a un boricua, pero… estaba de vacaciones en Europa y en Luxemburgo apareció una cantina mejicana de lo más interesante. Entré a tomarme algo y resultó que el bartender era un cubano recién mudado de Cuba…. De lo más cool el tipo.


¿Cuáles son tus planes futuros para Gente del Encanto u otros proyectos que vengan por ahí? 

Ahora mismo me enfoco en que continúe creciendo, en dar a conocer más el podcast… y ver hacia dónde nos lleva todo esto.


¡LA ÑAPA! Aquí una pregunta adicional. De seguro has visto personas que por X o Y le tienen miedo a ir en busca de un sueño. Qué son 3 cosas que le dirías a una persona con ganas, pero con miedo.


En la vida hay que arriesgarse; jamás sabrás si puedes si no lo intentas.

Busca mentores y rodéate de personas que conozcan de la materia relacionada con tu sueño para que te empapes lo más que puedas antes de lanzarte.


No pensarlo mucho.


Bellas palabras que de verdad si se aplican, pueden hacer la diferencia. Pues ya no queda más que decirle a la gente dónde ir para conectar contigo y el resto de la Gente del Encanto.


Facebook: @gentedelencanto

IG: @gentedelencanto

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Mil gracias a Yadira por su tiempo para contarnos de Gente del Encanto y también compartir contestaciones que me provocaron VARIOS antojos. 

Si quisieras escuchar la entrevista que ella me hizo, dale clic a la imagen abajo y en confianza, conecta con ella para conocer mucha Gente del Encanto con misiones tan bonitas como nuestra Isla. 

Un abrazo.


Thursday, September 3, 2020

So you want to quit

Having dreams is as normal as dreaming but they’re pretty different, even if they share the same root word. We all have aspirations, whether it’s getting the job we want, learning a new skill or even a new language, or making it as an artist, actor, writer, musician, or whatever other art you can think of. Heck, we may have a dream to acquire something or finally have a chance to go out with someone we’ve had a crush on for years. But still, having dreams and dreaming are two different things. One is a natural reaction of your subconscious reshuffling images, ideas, and emotions and the other one is part of having a goal.


I’ve met a lot of people who want to write a book and have met even more people that would like to dedicate themselves to writing. Although these might seem similar, they’re really DRASTICALLY different, just like having dreams and dreaming. In theory, anyone can write a book. Whether it’s good or bad, that’s a whole different story and something we can discuss later, but technically, most anyone can write a book. Pretty simple, if you’re able to write and have coherent thoughts, you can write a book. But wanting to dedicate yourself to writing, or music, or art is a whole other thing. It requires dedication, grit, sacrifice, and several types of creativity to make it all work.


When it comes to any creator, inspiration and talent are two essential ingredients necessary to bring forth what is an intangible idea or maybe even a dream. Taking something ethereal and bringing it to the real world is almost a magical process, yet it’s very doable and often only just requires you to begin to do something to actually get momentum and do the thing. But ask anyone in the arts, and they’ll tell you about their struggles and the things they’ve had to go through just to make ends meet, let alone “make” it. 


On a personal level, I can say I’ve had moments where I’m sad, frustrated, angry, and tired on my writer journey. Have I had happy moments? Of course. Tons of them. Moments of pure elation, whether it’s writing full steam ahead or it’s having a successful book event where people come talk to me about books and end up picking up a title or two, or even a dozen (it’s happened like 4 times where someone takes the whole lot and it always leaves me a bit flabbergasted and a LOT happy). I’ve also had moments where I’m surprised by a book review or someone even gifts my book to someone else. Being an indie creator, you’re pretty close to the action and it’s not like I lose track of reviews and sales, though trust me, I wish that were a problem and someday it might be. For now though, I have good days and bad days. Days where I let go of my pen and feel mighty and days where I wonder what else I can do to get to the next step. I have moments where a student has actually asked me if they can review an essay or short story for a book report and days where I question if things I create matter. By the way, I know they matter and I have several people in my corner supporting and encouraging me, but I can’t say I am without off days. Days where I don’t feel mighty. Days when the ink does not flow and the keyboard lacks musicality in its clickety clackness. 


This is a post about those days, because although it’s not guaranteed they will happen, it’s quite likely they will. I’m writing this in case you’re having a day where you’re off and are wondering if it’s worth it. To this I have a couple of things to say. 


Firstly, it’s OK to want to quit. It’s perfectly normal too. It’s something I’ve seen to varying degrees and am familiar with because I know what it feels like to get a rejection letter. I know what it feels like to invest money in a booth and copies of books and not break even. I know what it is to find roadblock after roadblock. I know what it feels like to fear asking for a favor and do things yourself just to avoid further disappointment. I know what it feels like to gift a book and have a person only marginally appreciate it. I know what it feels like to read a bad review. I know what it’s like to be there for people who take you for granted. I know what it feels like to talk to people who think they’re better than you and could care less if you make it or not. I also know what it’s like to be asked if someone should quit or not. I’ve been asked a few times and to anyone who wants to quit at anything that brings them joy but is hard, if you REALLY want to quit, I’ll always offer the same advice:




Be stubborn for the good things. Allow yourself to want to quit at something that makes you happy, but don’t do it. You know why? Because for every bad review I’ve gotten, I’ve gotten dozens of positive ones. For every person that doesn’t care, there are dozens who do care. For all those who don’t read, I find new readers every day. For every setback, there is also progress. I know what it’s like to make back the investment of a booth in one day and have people drive quite a way to see me and get my books. I know what it’s like for someone to connect with a poem, a short story, a novel, an essay, a blogpost, a video, and/or a song. I’ve outsold Van Gogh and not by a few titles, but by several and the rough days just make me appreciate the victories even more. 


Have I ever truly wanted to quit? No. It’s just that I want to have a win and I suspect I’m not alone in this. I want to progress and the peculiar thing about progress is that it’s not until you look back and objectively see what you’ve achieved that you see how much you can do if you just get out of your own way. Wanting to quit is you getting in your own way. It’s a sentiment, an emotion, a feeling… it’s also energy and what you do with that energy is completely up to you. Having a bad day happens. Having a couple in a row also happens. But still, if you truly love something, you’ll keep at it, because it matters and you don’t even have to rationalize it. You just know. You know it in your gut and heart. Heck, even your brain runs out of excuses and rationalizations because even it knows that this is what you’re meant to do. There is something you love doing. Focus on that love. Nurture it and shield that flame with your entire being. It may take time, sacrifice, energy, and it can even hurt… but if you have a light, you owe it to yourself to see how bright your light can shine and how far its rays can reach. 


May you find a second, third, and as many winds as you need to do what you love. 


Peace, love, and maki rolls.  

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Creative Connections – We Read Blog

Although social media may have things that aren’t that great, it has others that are simply fantastic. You come across artists, writers, musicians, and creators of all types. Semi-recently, I was able to discover a very lovely blog by two Puerto Rican professionals, with a variety in interests, but a common passion for books. There’s a lot to enjoy about We Read, but rather than give an even longer intro, why don’t we get to meet both Mariely and Andrea Carolina from We Read in our first multiple person interview on the blog.

Greetings, salutations y saludos mi gente. So lovely to have you on the blog and although we’ll get pretty in depth, why don’t we start by sharing with the readers what is We Read, the contributors, and how you met?


Hi JD and all the readers! We are so happy to be here! We Read is all about books, bookish events, crafts, and more. Andrea Carolina and Mariely here! We both study at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. There’s a 10 year age gap between us and we met at the university, where Mariely was coordinating a talent show Andrea Carolina auditioned for. We started to find out about the things we had in common, and that’s how the friendship started. Our bonding started to build when we decided to take ASL classes together. After that, Andrea Carolina joined Mariely’s book club and the rest is history! 


*In the 2nd and 3rd photos you can see how we project versus how we really are once you get to know us*


That's so lovely that you guys bonded over something that can be so helpful and that honestly, most of us should take on. Something very lovely I’ve seen on the YouTube channel is that you do book reviews using American Sign Language (ASL). Where did this idea come from, what has been the reaction from the community, and what can both of you tell us about what ASL means to you?


This idea came from Andrea Carolina! One day, we were casually talking and she was giving me ideas for the blog. One of the things she mentioned was that it would be great to expand the blog’s audience. I used to blog only in English. So there she was, telling me to write blog posts in English and Spanish and eventually add reviews in ASL. I loved the idea! And now, she’s running the along with me.


For me (Mariely), ASL is an opportunity to connect. Besides learning another language, I learned about the deaf culture and their struggles. It was a process of learning and growing. It inspired me to help this community, especially within my area of studies. For example, sometimes deaf people don't have privacy when it comes to going to therapy. I’d love to change that! Besides, I have other plans involving the deaf community and I hope I can share them soon.


For me (Andrea Carolina), I’ve always been interested in learning ASL for fun; however, in my first class I learned how important it actually is, and how it contributes to a more inclusive society. I really learned about the deaf community’s daily struggles and I’d love to help others understand common misconceptions about being deaf and how the hearing community can be more inclusive and conscious on the topic. 


When you review books, do you normally agree on your opinions or is there a lot of variety between what each of you thinks?


Since we have similar tastes in books, we normally agree on our opinions. But sometimes we are like, nope, nope, nope. We even fight like sisters, ok? But yeah, we write our reviews on our own and then add them together on the blog. This way, there’s no way we can influence each other. We want our reviews to be honest, even if we don’t agree on our opinions. 


Honesty shall always be the best policy. And although it's completely natural, it's still curious to see that dynamic. How do your tastes differ and where do you agree?


Mariely: We have a couple of things in common. One of the differences I can think of is that I read almost anything! Including memoirs and fantasy-which Andrea Carolina doesn’t like very much. But, we both love poetry, short stories, and romance.


Andrea Carolina: I absolutely LOVE poetry books. I’d say those are my favorite kinds of books to read. I’m not so fond of sci-fi books, unless it’s Star Wars (ALWAYS say yes to Star Wars). Fantasy isn’t my favorite genre either, unless it’s magical realism and Isabel Allende is writing it.  Mariely was spot-on with the genres that we both love! 


When it comes to Puerto Rico, what are your thoughts on the reading and writing communities on the Island?


Andrea Carolina writing! The writing community in Puerto Rico is rapidly evolving and growing. Personally, when I was growing up, I wasn’t really introduced to Puerto Rican authors, and I think it’s because I grew up in schools that were kind of “americanized”, or just didn’t see true potential in modern Latinx authors. Whenever I thought of great authors, I thought explicitly about Margaret Atwood, John Keats, Julio Cortázar, Isabel Allende, Julia de Burgos, or Francisco Arriví. Never was I taught about the great authors that can talk about their thought process with us TODAY. We should really take advantage of these writing communities-have conversations and support their development. And maybe hopefully, when the future generations study about great Puerto Rican writers, there are new names added to the list. 


Mariely here! I think the reading and writing communities in Puerto Rico need more visibility. I really wish people would be more interested in reading books by Latinx authors. Many of my friends don’t read, so I always get excited when I connect with another Puerto Rican book lover on social media. And now with the pandemic, online reading communities are very active, and that’s something I’m really enjoying. It is keeping me sane! Same thing goes for the writing community. Now, I’m constantly seeing writing workshop announcements and that makes me very happy. I recently connected with a group of writers through a fiction workshop, and even after finishing the workshop, we are still sharing our work and giving each other feedback. They have been very supportive with a book I’m working on! Actually, this is one of the few things I’m thankful for during this quarantine time. I was able to get mentorship on my writing, I got more confident and I even started sharing (for the first time in years) my short stories and poems online with everyone! 


This one is specific to Mariely. Beyond We Read, you have several interests. On the one hand you’re studying psychology and on the other you design some fun nerdy things. Can you tell us a bit more about them?


Yes! I’m very passionate about learning. So even though I completed my Masters in Counseling Psychology, I decided to go on. I recently began my PhD in School Psychology with a subspecialty in Clinical Psychology. It was a big change in my life and I’m still getting used to it. I even quit my job after 6 years so I could focus 100% on grad school.


There’s a couple of things I love: reading, writing, psychology, music, crafts, and more. My crafty side came from my maternal grandmother and my mom. I usually make crafts with my mom, but when I make stuff by myself, I always consult things with her. We enjoy making jewelry (beading and metal stamping), knitting, sewing, stickers/decals, scrapbooking and other paper crafts. We actually have an Instagram account where we share our crafty side: The Crafty Nerdies



And when it comes to Andrea, a not so hidden talent is singing. Can you tell us where the love to sing was born, what if any training do you have, and what does singing mean to your life?


I’ve always loved the arts-singing, acting, writing,-any form of expression, truly. 


My love for music started when I was four years old, when I took my first violin class. A fun-fact from these violin classes is that my Dad would drive me and my brother to them, and he always had a fun playlist to listen to on his CDs. These songs included Ozzy Osbourne, Paramore, Depeche Mode, along with Beethoven, Bach, and others. So, there really was a variety there. However, my Dad noticed my singing abilities when he heard me sing “Olive oiiiil”, instead of “All aboaaard” in Osbourne’s “Crazy Train”. After that, I took some classes and my first performance was at the age of eight in Aguadilla Mall. I was truly terrified, but my love for singing grew exponentially from there on out. Singing, acting, and writing are my true sources of happiness. Those are my most genuine forms of expression and what I’m truly passionate about. 


*This is a picture of me at my first on-stage performance. My eyes are red and teary because I cried (a LOT) before getting on stage because of how nervous I was. However, my mom promised to buy me something at KB Toys if I went through with the performance. Talk about motivation!*


Always love sharing all the talents people have and you both definitely bring some very distinct things to the table. Ok, hard pivot of randomness because that's how this blog rolls. You are tasked to create a fun house maze with two escape rooms, what is in each room?


Mariely: Hey, JD! How do you know I love escape rooms?! Lol. Ok so, the first room in this fun house maze will be a library, duh! And people will have to look for clues inside the books. They won’t know this but the trick is in the book titles! They will need to put them in alphabetical order and then the code inside the books will make sense. When they crack the code, they will be able to open a safety box. Inside, they will find an UV flashlight. So they need to turn off the lights and look inside the entire library for things written on the walls, floor and even the ceiling, to be able to enter the next room. 


Andrea Carolina: *I, on the other hand, have NEVER been in an escape room. I know, I know, do I live under a rock?!*


The second room will be a study, with a few tables and again, many books. Only this time, there will be world-recognized books and inside some of them, you’ll find notes with some famous quotes. To be able to exit, you must match the quotes to their respective books. Hmm, maybe I should copyright this idea...


Fashion is also something you both seem to enjoy, so if you had the ability to design a full book related ensemble, what would you design, and why?


Andrea Carolina here! We both love fashion with anything in ASL (we’re constantly sending Instagram posts back and forth with anything containing sign language). So, we’d probably steer towards that. Also, we love book inspired jewelry! Mariely has some gorgeous book earrings I’ve always loved. We also really love the idea of purses that look like notebooks OR notebooks that look like purses. Andrea has about three notebooks that look like purses (you can find them in Marshalls, btw!). Another fashion must-shirts, notebooks (or anything really) with book quotes on them!


Hey, Andrea Carolina! Don’t forget about the bookish tote bags! - Mariely


And voilá, this is the finish line although people might want to get in touch for more We Read fun, so by all means, tell us where people can find the blog and your other interests.


Thank you for having us, JD! Un abrazo desde Puerto Rico.


YouTube: We Read Blog

Instagram: @wereadblog

Facebook: We Read


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Kindest thanks to Andrea Carolina and Mariely for taking some time to let us get to know them a bit better. Always fascinated by the amazing people I come across in my writer journey and who am I to not share the wealth? By all means, check out their blog, YouTube music channel, and feel free to connect in English, Spanish, or ASL! Til next we connect creatively. 

Peace, love, and maki rolls.