Friday, April 25, 2014

It isn’t fair

It is so common to hear this phrase in the every day speech of many people that I can’t help but agree. It isn’t fair that we get so many opportunities to smile. It isn’t fair that every single day we have the chance to enjoy countless experiences. It isn’t fair that with the mere investment of genetic material, a life is created with the potential to change the world.

It is completely unfair that we have so many opportunities to smile and enjoy life because quite often, people don’t give back to the life they’re given. We ask, we demand, and we squander many an opportunity just because things aren’t convenient.

Life has taught me that it is neither conventional nor convenient. It has taught me that it just is. Things happen; wonderful things at that. Surprises are given and life is there to be engaged if only you give it the chance to show you how marvelous it is and are kind enough to pay attention.

So next time you’re in a traffic jam, take that time to reflect, put on your favorite music, make up random lists or see just how much you can be silly with Siri. Next time you get a flat tire, take that opportunity to learn a new skill and either dryclean your clothes or get a new outfit. Every time something happens, look for the bright side and the positive because otherwise, you’ll miss out and that isn’t fair at all. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

So just how human are you?

As humans, we hurt, we love, we plan and plot, we react, we prepare, we live and we die. There is no shortage of experiences in a human life because we are creatures of experience. So what if you got asked how much of your humanity are you willing to sacrifice to save humankind?

That is what Nathaniel Runnels is asked in Only Human, the first installment of the Human Cycle. Anyone curious enough to pick up this book will find out many things, about life, about the world, about vampires, about angels and demons, about what we’ve been sold as truth and about what it means to be human.

The Human Cycle is a three book exploration of humanity.

Consider this your formal invitation to find out how human you are.

Available digitally at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Available in the flesh May 25 and 26 at the 2014 Puerto Rico Comic Con.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Happiness is breaking down walls

Being humans, we are compelled to build.

When you see modern monuments of engineering you can’t help but compare to timeless structures that stand the test of time. Positive and negative connotations can be attributed to these structures we create. You see the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning tower of Pisa, the pyramids of Egypt, Mexico and Chile and you see how amazing our ingenuity can be, especially when you compare to modern skyscrapers.

Within these structures, there are walls that have marked world history, think the Great Wall of China and the Berlin Wall. There are three main differences between these two walls: one is still standing, one was built to divide and prevent defection while the other was built to protect.

These walls had purpose and meaning. They were also created one brick at a time. They took time to build. This didn’t happen over night.

We humans can’t help but obey our nature and there is often an intrinsic need embedded into us to create walls... except that some of these walls aren’t always physical.

As children, we are ingenuous, honest and fearless. As we live, we gain experiences, knowledge and become well acquainted with pain of all types while acquiring wisdom and fear. By the time we’re adults, we quite often have built strong walls of all sizes to keep different people at bay because we fear allowing people to know some parts of our true self.

Emotional walls are also built one brick at a time. One thought swallowed, one reaction kept to oneself, one emotion edited at a time. One push through silence, through verbal outbursts or even in physical form.

In our lives, we build walls because it’s quite possibly engrained in our DNA. Still, sometimes we have to go against our nature to become better people even if it is done one step at a time. That’s the thing, these walls were made one brick at a time and although the desire to tear them down in one fell swoop is there, sometimes we need a little patience, a lot of love and the desire to give thanks to bricks we put up and served their purpose.

Being humans, we are compelled to build. It’s just that sometimes we need to break down walls to build something greater and express our inner light. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Method to madness: what’s my style again?

When it comes to telling a story, the what is essential in the sense that it defines your work, but what will take it to the next level is the how.

Style is essential to success because it is what differentiates you. When people read a book, it’s perfectly fine to see influences although it’s not so cool when it really feels as if it reads as if an author is just trying to emulate someone else. Stylistic plagiarism is just as bad as with content and to be honest, it’s always better to follow what drives you and the topics that inspire you than to write what sells.

Some people have said I did good in writing about vampires in Only Human because vampires are a hot topic, except there’s one catch. I didn’t write a vampire book, I didn’t use a ten bullet point system of things Anne Rice or Stephanie Meyer did, I wrote a book from the gut with topics, characters and scenarios that resonate with me. I just happened to include vampires. In short, I didn’t use someone else’s stylistic map to get to my destination.

So how do you develop your style? That is the end all to writing questions because it’s at the same time the easiest and hardest thing to develop in your skills. It is the easiest because it only asks that you be true to yourself. It’s the hardest for the same reason. Being true to your voice is hard because you will often be invited to write differently, to omit something to tweak something and although good advice and good editing are vital to an excellent story, you have to know when to commit to your vision and your voice regardless of the consequences.

It sounds scary, though honestly it isn’t. It’s only scary at first because you’re not used to it. What you have to ask about your story and how you tell it is one basic question, when people read this and meet you, will they hear your voice, will they see you taking the deliberate time and putting emphasis on the details that matter to you?

I think it’s better to understand this concept through music. If you’ve ever heard Tool, you know that very few bands before them sound like them. Afterwards though? That’s another story.

Take the time to listen to tracks from Tool, tracks by Chevelle and tracks by Earshot. You will see similarities in style and approach (although talent-wise, it’s never a good idea to match up against a band of Tool’s caliber). Still, you see what Chevelle and Earshot are trying to do and although they play their guts out, you see way too much of the influence in their music.

The same goes for writing.

I love Tolkien, Frank Herbert, Neil Gaiman, CS Lewis and JK Rowling; I truly do. Now I would never want to be the next Tolkien, Frank Herbert, Neil Gaiman, CS Lewis or JK Rowling. I am me, JD Estrada, I have my voice and I will not back down from the visions, dreams, nightmares and stories I have to share with you, because neither did they, and neither should you.

Don’t compromise. Write the way you want to write and when in doubt, look to your heart compass and follow the needle wherever it points. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Lilly needs some water and a helping hand

I’m a firm believer in offering a helping hand to good people when the going gets tough. I’ve been fortunate enough to have people offer such a hand to me and the very least I can do is pay it forward.

This past March 25, Women’s Professional Bodyboarder Lilly Pollard took off on a wave, got pitched by the lip and landed head first against the sandbar, fracturing several vertebrae in the process. Luckily some wonderful people were nearby who carefully took her from the water and lay her on the sand until assistance came.

I follow countless bodyboarders, among them Lilly.Although I’ll expand more on women’s bodyboarding in the future, suffice to say, she is a wonderful character, full of life and spirit, and I wanted to offer any help I could, hence me sharing this story with you and I thank anyone kind enough to read it.

So this is me, endeavoring to do my little bit to help Lilly and here are my top five reasons for doing so:

1. Like many bodyboarders, she is genuinely friendly, kind to strangers, is full of stoke and always has a class A smile to anyone who says “g’day”.
2.  She is a charger, often going on waves in conditions that would make many a bodyborder tremble, me included, Lilly truly shows that the sport I love is well and truly an equal playing field between men and women.
3. She’s one of a very few professional athletes who is openly bisexual and demonstrates that gender is a non-issue when it comes to being a stand-up human being.
4. I'd say she's bubbly as champagne, though being that's she's so cool, I'd rather say, she's bubbly like a nice cold beer, plus: she is an ambassador of a community that means a lot to me.
5. I think as humans, we think we are just one person and can we really make that much of a difference, I would most definitely like to try rather than just wonder.

So here goes, today I’ll be putting up money to help out her cause and I’ve put the link to her cause below.

If anyone else, yes, one person at a time would like to help as well you can click on the link or for anyone that would like to buy my book Only Human, for this week any new sale, I will donate all profit to Lilly's cause. If you happen to buy the book because of this post, please, send me an email to with a screenshot of your buy and you’ll also receive a poem I’ll be including in a forthcoming poetry compilation not yet released.

To see Lilly’s cause, click here.

Only Human is available on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Thanks for taking the time to read and cheers to Lilly for a speedy recovery to get her back where the best lilies belong, in the water.

Peace, love and maki rolls