Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Upwards and onwards

So it's December 31... it's amazing how fast a year seems to pass by until you really take a moment to check what you've done in the year. That's when you see just how much you can do in 365 days. So unlike other posts, I'm actually writing this one directly onto blogger, I'm not proof reading, copy checking or verifying anything, I'm writing as is and once it's written, I don't feel the need to change it. At least not this time.

I want you to read me, warts, typos and all.

So doing a recap of my year, what's gone down?

Well I actually got pneumonia and last check up showed healthy lungs ending their healing cycle. It was a scary experience, although one that made me stronger.

I worked a lot... a lot. I translated three text books, a website, a human resources manual over 100 pages long and countless other projects, in addition to a full time job while always ensuring that I performed to the best of my abilities. These jobs helped me learn to better organize my time and truly discover how much I'm capable of in one year... professionally.

Creatively, this blog has 114 blog posts... 115 with this one for 2014. In addition, I wrote 30+ other blog posts on another blog I used to contribute to... a chapter in my life I closed with great satisfaction since thanks to it, I was led to where I am now.

I released the physical version of Only Human, I released between the Tides and there are two collections set to go, the physical version of the Daydreams on the Sherbet Shore, The progress on the Human Cycle, a bilingual compilation and various things I'm working on. Everything is progressing... I am progressing.

Throughout this, I was also able to surf, to play guitar, to read, to play video games and that's just leisure.

I spent quality time with my wife, we traveled, we went to new restaurants and had new experiences. I saw friends I hadn't seen in a long time and have been blessed to meet new friends as well. All sorts of quality time.

Twitter continues to be the closest thing to a stomping ground although the kindness and engagement on Google+ has been a wonderful surprise.

I was able to help in the birth of Twist, I've made countless doodles, I've done plenty of skythoughts... and there's always the desire to do more. More ideas, more projects, more adventures.

Facebook is a challenge I hope to tackle because I would love for people to engage more there.

It's been a year that has had little to no idle moments and plenty of challenges.

It's a year where I learned what it means to be 8 months keeping faith in the health of someone you love. Mom was diagnosed with cancer, began treatment, had surgery and got her medical clearance recently. She is healthy, strong and showing that I have a big example to follow.

In addition, I participated in the Puerto Rico Comic Con, sold all my books, had my first book presentation, sold 23 books, participated in a book festival and all of this with no sponsoring. Just the desire to connect with people.

And that's what it's about, connecting.

As a writer, I use words in my best attempt to communicate what I feel and what's within me. I don't have a set plan of what I write, I go with the flow and just obey my muses... and there are plenty.

My path is not a conventional one, it is not a simple one... though don't take that to mean it is a burden... hardly. My work requires focus, concentration and time because I don't want to settle... I want to put out the best post, the best poem, the best short story, the best doodle, the best picture and the best novel I can.

In my life, if I flunked, mom asked me if I did my best... if I had done my best, whatever grade I got was fine... if not, then I had to ask myself why I didn't give more of myself.

In life, in love, in writing, I am committed to give my best.

I will make mistakes, I will learn, I will be offered the opportunity to overcome... and I will give my best.

Because every year, every month, every week, every day and every second where I do that... I realize it is my choice and that it allows me to connect further and make a positive impact.

So to you, who have been so generous to read me. Thank you.

To those who have bought my books and reviewed. Thank you.

To those who write me. Thank you.

To those who share me. Thank you.

And to those who allow me to be a part of your life. Thank you.

2014 has had its challenges... still, it's been a year with many blessings. And I will always choose to focus on that.

My best to you, dear friends.

Peace, love and maki rolls.

JD... warts and all

Writer Wednesday: Cate Evans

Some of the best people we follow aren't necessarily published authors although the weight of their words is profound. Cate Evans is an English lass with cheek to spare and a brilliant mind.

Passion comes in many shapes and sizes, and Cate is no exception. Her blog often shows bright rays of brilliance and following her on different social media is highly recommended. Here are some questions so you can get to know her a bit better. 

1.    Greetings and salutations Cate, so happy to have a chance to catch up with you. To start things off, why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself and what topics really inspire you? 

Hello and Happy New Year. Thank you for inviting me to share a little about me. I suppose you could say I am a lover of variety, so as well as being a Mum, I work in Biotechnology. I write about anything and everything that inspires me and love the opportunity to let my imagination roam free. If you checked out my family tree that might explain a lot about me, it's varied to say the least.

2. How has social media changed your life? 

Professionally I have been fortunate enough to work with people from all over the world. Social Media has meant I have now been able to connect with people worldwide on a personal level, from talking to people in Asia in the morning to chatting with people in the US in the evening. People fascinate me and being able to connect with people whose lives are completely different to mine is a delightful experience. 

3. Reading your blog, I wonder why you haven’t published yet. Do you have plans to publish something in the near or not so near future? 

Maybe because I am finickity. :) Joking aside, I am currently writing a book that originally started out as a short story. You know how these things are, the characters quickly took on a life of their own and who am I to deny them the time they deserve to tell their story.

4. If you could make a positive impact on 3 causes in the world, what would they be and why?

First would have to be the environment. To me it seems logical: if we don’t take care of this planet properly, we shall end up having nowhere to live. 

Secondly I love all kinds of animals, so I do what I can to help take care and protect them. 

My final cause we have to be helping people to realize they can make a positive impact to the world we live in. Grand gestures are all well and good but something as simple as wishing a stranger Good Morning and sharing a smile costs nothing and can make a wonderful difference to someone’s day.

5.So tell us, who is Bas and why should we keep an eye out for him?

Bas is my fluffy (not fatty) orange and white tabby cat and maybe unfortunately for him he seems to have picked up some of my quirky personality traits. He hates ham but loves cheese, has a fascination with water, which goes from trying to share a bath with me to attempting to push the lid off the toilet cistern when he can hear the water flushing. He is currently training me with regarding to fussing him; if I do not respond in what he obviously considers an appropriate time-frame to his verbal requests, he now uses his paw to tap me on the cheek whilst getting his face as close as possible so he can maintain eye contact and truly get his point across. I must confess I give in at this point. I dare to wonder what the next stage of my training would be if I didn't. I have a blog at where I share more of his adventures.

6.You are a powerful witch, but you need to hide your wand in plain sight, where would you hide it, how and why?

I would disguise it as a pen and as I have one of those in my hand quite often no-one would question me, that also means I can write up spells and with a flick of my pen... magic, ha ha.

7.You have been entrusted to create a magical wandering forest that is meant to heal the world, describe it and some of the plants and creatures that inhabit it.

The Forest of Sláinte would have one of every type of tree on the planet in miniature, collectively known as The Cognito Trees. They impart their wisdom to humans enabling us to work with nature and the planet rather than against it. The Owls of Hermes would be responsible for guiding the forest to the destinations it is needed each day. Once a person has seen the Flowers of Light, the memory of their beauty touches that person’s soul and from that day forward they do all they can to clean the skies so the Flowers of Light can shine above us all. The streamers, blue mole-like creatures are tasked with tunneling channels of clean water around the world.

8.What are some of the biggest challenges in your life and how have they shaped your plans for the future?

One of the challenges I have dealt with this year was finding out I had Breast Cancer. I am fortunate my philosophy has always been to find something to smile about and to enjoy the simple things in life everyday. I am quite a determined person and refuse to let something like this define me, I suppose you could say I choose to be happy and positive and in this case I think this mentality has served me well.

9.What drives you and what are some of your passions?

My love of learning, sharing, growing as a person and endeavoring where I can to make a difference along with a determination to make the most out of each day, opportunity and moment; something I think I inherited from my father. My passions... mmm is it wrong to start with puddings? :) Writing and reading are two passions I have had since I was about five and fortunately neither show signs of waning. I have a passion for philosophy and people are eternally fascinating, travel, photography and ancestry hunting to name but a few.

10. Where can people read more things Cate?

You can read more of my ramblings, poems and stories on my blog

My thanks to Cate for her time and attention and for always being able to choose a smile as the best option to live life. All the best and have a brilliant 2015. Be sure to check her out on Google+,Twitter and anywhere else where she decides to share her brilliance. 


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Method to Madness: Slaying the dragons of self-doubt

Self doubt is something I’m quite familiar with. Being a writer, I think it’s part of the makeup of many of us. Behind the bravado we share on each page, there is the terrifying need for approval.

“Is the story good?”

“Will people like it?”

“Will they get it?”

“Will they even read it?”

There is plenty of fear. As an indie writer, my decision was to push through, to insist, to drum out the voices of doubt and to commit to my vision.

People ask me how I deal so well with self-doubt.

My reply?

I focus on my work.

That’s it.

That’s the trick.

To always be so busy that I don’t have time to wonder. I push myself hard to produce memorable words and content on facebook, my books, the blog, twitter, google plus, instagram and anywhere I am because I love connecting with people in my own way.

I have two soon-to-be-released poetry collections, a bilingual collection, the sequel to Only Human, a young adult novel and the physical version of the Daydreams because otherwise I give that self-doubt a chance to take hold of me.

I will coordinate book activities and be a part of the Puerto Rico Comic Con for the same reason.

I surf, I read, I play guitar, spend quality time with my wife, love my family and touch base with great friends for the same reason.

I donate to charity, I help people as much as I can, am happy to answer questions from fans, friends and future writers and will gladly interview people and even review the work of others for the same reason as well.

Simply stated: I have too much I want to achieve to give an audience to self-doubt.

I think about low sales, lack of reviews, low engagement, how to get to more people, lack of likes, how to improve SEO, and that I need more time to do what I want to do. I wonder if people enjoy my work, wonder how long before someone gets offended (because eventually somebody always gets offended) and what I’ll say when I talk to an audience.

But instead of being buried under it, I use that fear to drive me because I am more determined than I am afraid.

I do not focus on results.

I focus on my work.

I pour myself into every poem, every story, every book, every post and every song I create.

There is much I will do in my life and I’m not in the mood to wait for the conditions to be right.

I do all of this because I wouldn’t regret not being read, but could never forgive myself if I didn’t do what I was born to do.

So I choose to write. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Homosexuality should not be approved of

Old psychology diagnostic manuals used to label homosexuality as a disease or a condition.
Lucky for us, medicine has evolved and these texts have been revised, accordingly. And let’s face it, it might be in our best interest to take a page from medicine and evolve.

The vilification of homosexuality has occurred for centuries and it has never made sense. Simply put, you cannot measure a person’s worth due to their gender or sexuality.

Men and women alike have had to endure constant scrutiny and breathe deep as naysayers put an asterisk on their merit because of who they are attracted to.

In less than no time I can think of a list of a hundred straight people who are revolting to me and it has nothing to do with gender or even looks. It has everything to do with how they are as people.

Homosexuality is not a condition and not a choice either. It’s not like people consciously choose to be gay and the harsh reality is the opposite. Countless wonderful people I know have at some point lived in fear for how they are, how they feel and something basic that forms who they are.

I can’t help but subscribe to the group of people who think that’s not right.

Look at it objectively. Take away the prejudice and the religion and the fear. There is nothing to fear from homosexuality yet it is one of the greatest fears parents have in the upbringing of their children. How is it logical that homosexuality ranks beside violent tendency, drug usage, birth defects and being a screw up when it comes to how a person develops?

Actually some people might see a screw up and remark, “hey, at least they aren’t gay!”

As members of the 21st century world, maybe it’s time to let go of bad habits. Homosexuality is not vile, evil or remotely bad… it just is.

Approval of something implies judgment and establishing something as right or wrong. Like I said in the title of this post: homosexuality should not be approved of…

It should just be accepted. 

This image was originally posted to Flickr by laverrue at It was reviewed on by the FlickreviewR robot and was confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the cc-by-2.0.

Friday, December 26, 2014

The warm home

Home is made of people,
Not bricks and mortar.
Its foundation is love,
Not iron, cement or steel.

The plumbing never leaks
The floorboards are always toasty,
Home is where the heart is,
Where moments are ever cozy.

Here’s to home and love,
However we define them.
Whichever way we experience
Just express your love in tandem.

No fires are here needed,
Or food to share at night,
A bit of company will suffice,
To always keep the light.