Monday, September 28, 2015

Method to Madness: Dialing into your dialogue

One of my favorite parts of writing is dialogue. This should come as no surprise to anyone who has met me because odds are people wonder if I ever shut up (funnily, I do have my silent hermit moments). So obviously, I loves me some dialogue.

So how do I go about it?

Well first off, you have to know what fuels each character and truly know that person. Think of your best friend or your mom or uncle. Think about those moments when they say something that is so typically them… why do you say that? Odds are that it’s because you know them so well that they have their own style of talking, thinking, and letting loose their mind.

The same goes for characters because just the fact that they’re fictional doesn’t mean they’re not alive.

In my case, I do a lot of introspection with my characters and if I’m ever stuck I actually ask out loud, "ok so what would you say now"… and like some creepy Ouija moment, the hand starts to move of its own accord and I’m just jotting down what they say.

The best recommendation for this is to watch movies and read books. I recommend both because although reading is KEY, dialogue shines wonderfully in a movie because you get an explicit tone, a rhythm, timing, and personality shines through in several things. Watching standup comedians is also very helpful because although they may be raunchy, the best have a mastery of the word that is enviable. Pretty soon, you start writing bodily expressions to complement the dialogue and the words start to mesh together with the character until it gets to the point that while editing you can even find yourself saying, he or she wouldn’t say that, and then you write what comes out naturally.

To me that’s the secret to the best dialogue, for it to feel genuine and believable within you and to play off the personality of the character… to let their soul shine. For this, lots of writing helps and I’ve even seen some people keep journals of their characters to REALLY get in tune with who they are and what they’re all about.

An extra tip is to have index cards with reminders of what drives that character. Another really important thing is that good lines of dialogue can appear like a flash in the pan and you really need to capture them before you forget. For this I have index cards, notebooks, notes on my cell phone, documents on my jump drive, etc. ANYTHING to capture that line because I’ve known to be stuck on a scene only to have it released from bondage thanks to ONE line.

So how about you? How do you go about writing dialogue?

Peace, love, and maki rolls. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

How deep are the tracks you tread?

By being alive that means we'll touch a life in some way or another. A couple of years ago I'll admit I was on auto-pilot and being curmudgeonly was a common occurrence. I made people laugh with my rants, but I focused on anger most times.

One day I took a good look at myself after some things I had some people tell me, real food for thought and decided I wanted to make a more positive impact in the lives of others.

I also found out that some kind words in the right moment can make all the difference. Does this make anyone a savior? Of course not. It just makes us human and humans trying to help others out on occasion. I've been lucky enough to be in situations where I've made a positive impact in the life of a person and have actually ended up offering words of support when all I thought I was doing was being honest and giving my best.

That's the thing, sometimes you can make a huge difference by just being kind. A little word in the right place can help someone decide to push through.

Does that mean you won't leave negative tracks? Again, of course not. We're human. Mistakes happen and sometimes words fail us in the pursuit of happiness and lead us more to say the wrong thing at the worst time. It happens. But there are many tracks to leave.

For me, it's all about leaving positive tracks in as many lives as you can. Some will be deep, some will blow away with the wind, though it's always within us to at least attempt to make a positive impact.

Will it always be smooth sailing? Will it be perfect? Will you always seem related to Captain Awesome?

Of course not... but that doesn't mean you can't give your best.

Peace, love, and maki rolls.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A daydream needs young warriors

September has been child cancer awareness month. Although it is sad that such young lives have to face such a daunting challenge, I’ve seen these rays of light with a will to live that inspire one to always give our best. They are a motivation for pride, perseverance, and hope.

So here’s the thing, for the next two weeks starting today, any money I make off my work off any of the titles will be donated to the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Regardless if I make a sale or not, a donation will be made and I’ve already set money aside for this but I’d like more people to either help me give more, or make a donation of their own.

That said, I also want to do something different. I want my next Daydream on the Sherbet Shore to include 5 young light warriors whose help I need for an adventure within Draem. So here’s the request, if you know a young hero that can help a dreamer out, email me at The first five warriors referred to me will get a free signed copy of the Daydreams on the Sherbet Shore and will come along with me for an adventure.

As for where they can be from, we are one world and dreamers are welcome from anywhere on this beautiful Earth and they will get their signed copy. I will talk more of this adventure before we go on it, but first, I need some heroes. Please, help a dreamer out.

Peace, love, and maki rolls.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Method to Madness: Finding your space

When you write, one of the biggest challenges is finding a place where you can write without being disturbed. If you ask me, it’s easier for some people more so than others. In my case, all I honestly need is a notebook, some writing device, and more than likely my headphones to help me tune out the world and tune into my writing.

Regardless, I’ve found that at some places I write more than others and in certain cases, some places inspire writing more than others. By this what I want to tell you is that it’s cool to have one place to write, though you might like to check out several places to see if you find another option in case your space is unavailable or to explore different aspects of your creativity.

Truth be told, I’ve written SO much work in local Taco Makers that you’d believe their sauce or chicken is downright magical. But the truth of the matter is much more simple. It’s a place where I sit down and write and people for X or Y reason don’t feel the need to say hi. At other places I go for lunch it’s hard and sometimes impossible to get my own space because of people saying hi or just the level of noise. But there? Boom, writing gold. Still, I also have other places where I can find my own space. The interesting part is how one project or another likes certain places more than other options.

That’s because stories, poems, posts and whatever you create has a mood as well and they know what they like and how to express themselves. For me, tacos apparently seem to resonate with many of my projects, lol, plus it’s a bargain lunch that is among the better options when it comes to fast food.

A nearby cookie shop is also apparently good to me and my writing because I can settle into one corner and people for the most part leave me be or actually add to the experience. It’s the oddest thing because even if I’m interrupted, it’s always in a positive way and in THAT place, I don’t mind, for some reason.

There’s also places I don’t go to or have stopped going to because there’s simply no inspiration there whatsoever. The thing is that I love places that have some natural lighting, I don’t like cave-like places for the most part and although I love people watching, I need the right amount, which changes from day to day. It sounds bonkers I’m sure, but it works.

So the invitation is simple, find your place, your writing nook, and then find a couple more so you have the freedom to change environs in case you need that switch to push through a particular section of one project or another.

Peace, love, and maki rolls.

So tell us, what's your favorite place to write?

Friday, September 18, 2015

Are you a wine or a car?

Some people insist on not only feeling old, but acting old, which begs the question, how do you treat yourself as time passes and you age? Aging is inevitable because time passes and even vampires age if not in body then in experience, lol.

A lot of people say they’re too old for certain things while I see other people in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s acting like kids and having a blast. Which got me to thinking, some people act like a car while other people insist on behaving like wine.

When you buy a car, the MOMENT it leaves the parking lot, it begins to lose value. People treat age that very same way… they’re an older model. Parts are scarce. More maintenance is needed. Any little thing can require extensive repairs and woe to those whose 20, 30 and 40 year warranty expires. Everything is a weight, everything taxes them, everything is a challenge and they fear an accident and how it will impact their future performance AND value.

Then there are those moments when you buy yourself a nice bottle of wine and once it exits the store, it does all sorts of magic. It starts maturing, tannins start balancing out, flavors evolve, the bottle acquires value and it gets to the point where you’re saving that bottle for a special occasion. Truth be told, I know a couple of people who aren’t overly into themselves who still consider themselves a special occasion and I would much rather that than the alternative.

It’s the difference between being an antique and a relic, being old fashioned and being classic, being vintage and being old.

So here’s to aging with grace and joy, for in the end, life flows better with some wine, and maybe so does our attitude.

Peace, love, and maki rolls.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Sometimes when I’m lonely I read myself

Ok suggestive titles to one side, this post is about me reading my first novel for the first time in its physical version. As far experiences go, it was quite interesting to read myself. Only Human was a work that took me 7 years to complete from inception, research, writing, editing, losing the first three chapters, rewriting and publishing digitally and then physically.

Throughout the process I had to read the manuscript front to back at least 8 times, but that is nothing like full on READING your book. It was exciting, intimidating, curious, rewarding and quite honestly, very revealing.

As far as my book goes, I enjoyed it greatly and that’s me being as objective as I can about something I crafted. It was nice not only to pick up my book but to see when I got the bug that tells me you’re not letting go of this book.

The setup of the book takes a good while and I’m happy for it because for the future two installments it offers me quite the backdrop and a generous amount of options in regards to backstory, twists, and development.
Also for me, it was a very revealing experience because I really see when I find my voice as an author. Some people have asked me if I’ll edit the book further and the answer is a simple no. I don’t think many people have the luxury of seeing that moment when you have that breakthrough and shift from craft to story and I can see it clearly. I also remember the moment when writing ceased to be a war of attrition and became a need and a borderline obsession. You see the second half took me about a third as long to write as the first half. The same goes with the book. The second half was honestly hard to put down and that’s not me blowing smoke up myself.

Other revelations are in plot points, dialogue, character development, and other things. I see how some things mirror my outer world at the moment while other things reflect my inner feelings while I was writing. If anything, I’ve tried to make the most of my emotions and when I need to write something happy or sad and my mood coincides, I feel it shows. It’s not to say I only write happy stuff when I’m happy and so forth, but if the mood aligns, I do my best to channel it (poetry is much easier for me to do this and I often have a notebook or my cellphone notes handy for that same reason).

What did surprise me pleasantly quite often was that I actually did surprise myself. There’re little tidbits and details I completely forgot about and when I saw them on the page I couldn’t help but smile. That and the Easter eggs or mentions. When I say there’s a ton of little nods or big nods to bands, artists, writers and people who mean a lot to me, I mean it. From Pink Floyd, to Pearl Jam, the Eels, The Who, Jimmy Hendrix, Metallica, Tool, Frank Herbert, Tolkien, Neil Gaiman, Big Trouble in Little China, etc. It’s fun to see how bits of me make it into my writing and I hope readers enjoy as much as I did.

It was lovely to rediscover parts of me through my words and it does inspire me to read my own work in part to learn more about me and in part because I’m not half bad :D

So here’s to you fellow readers. Hope you enjoy my words as much as I do crafting them.

Peace, love, and maki rolls.

PS.: If you're interested in my review on Goodreads, click here

Friday, September 11, 2015

Celebrating the 11th of September

Today is a good day to celebrate.

There are many people who know exactly where they were on this day 14 years ago. That happens when anything of that scale happens.

But today is not that day. Today is another day. A good day. A kind day. A day to give your best. A day to celebrate and to create new memories.

I know the news and several people have their programming scheduled and that’s a good thing. Remembering is a fundamental part of being human. My take isn’t to forget. It never is.

In life we don’t forget, we learn to cope. We grow.

On today, this 11th of September, people are celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, triumphs, and good things. People are smiling. People are living. And well we should. In our hands is the opportunity to take this day and make it special. To make it memorable. To go on an adventure and be silly and be fantastic if we find the opportunity.

I want to do my best to bring something different to the table and invite others to do the same. For me, today began with good music in the car, a nice morning walk, and this morning write. I have an entire day to make new memories, to cause smiles, to smile myself and to give my best because that is my choice and life is all about choices.

9/11 shall forever be an intense memory. But today is not 9/11.

Today is the 11th of September.

And it is a good day.

Peace, love, and maki rolls.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Writing - No one said it was going to be easy

Being a writer is a challenge in and of itself, self published or otherwise.

For me, the dream is there. I can taste it. The stories flow. The poetry doesn't stop. I take experiences good and bad, and channel them to transform them into something memorable. I've found my voice and expand on it, discover it, invite it to speak up, whatever it has to say, and people read and enjoy.

But being an indie author can be a massively taxing ordeal. In my case, being in Puerto Rico is an added bonus challenge especially since most of my writing is in English, something I've been questioned about for quite some time.

Here's the thing, there are very few book stores in Puerto Rico not dedicated to school texts or religious literature. I'd already gone to a religious bookstore to see how the dynamic was and a good word for it was weird... there was just no chemistry. Today I went to a bookstore that is nearby the University of Puerto Rico and found yet another store that isn't a fit for me.

Part of me is sure that I'm not finding the right places and that same part insists that maybe I need to look elsewhere... as in way elsewhere... off the Island elsewhere.

I've found two places where I've found people who are interested in my writing, one bookstore and the Puerto Rico Comic Con. At the book store, they still have one copy of my novel and some copies of my first poetry collection. I am looking for at least one more bookstore to do another activity and will be getting creative with how I present my work.

That's the thing, I believe in my work. I have the support of a growing number of readers who enjoy and believe in my stories and my words. I have readers in Europe, Belarus, India, New Zealand, Australia, Belgium, the UK, the US, Puerto Rico and several other countries and I'm grateful for their kind eyes to read me.

But on a day like today, this is the type of day when you look at what you write and you dissect it and even with a bitter disposition, approving of what you read means the world.

That's me.

That's my voice.

And I believe in that voice.

I'm sharing these words in part as catharsis, in part to do something productive with what I feel inside, and in part to answer some questions to people who have written me asking for writing advice.

You want to know the single most important piece of advice I can give you as a writer?

Don't care about what doesn't matter. 

The main thing you have to believe in is yourself, your words, your story, your voice. If you achieve that you can get through any rough patch and in the end what has to matter the most is your writing.

You don't look to the side, you don't look back, you always look forwards. 

Today I went to a place that wasn't the right fit.

What's my response?

A blogpost, working on the cover of my next poetry collection, submitting a poem for competition, and writing.

No one said writing was going to be easy. And even with days like this, I can't say it's not worth it. Quite the contrary actually.

So forwards dear frands.

Always forwards.

Peace, love, and maki rolls.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Through hellfire and back

In my life I’m fortunate enough to know some pretty amazing people and I don’t say that lightly. In the last couple of months I’ve seen quite a few close friends and loved ones go through events that would shatter your average person.

But they have endured.

They continue to walk their path.

They insist on going upwards and onward.

I’ve seen people tackle adverse event after adverse event. You see the wear, the tear, the pain, and the frustration. But you also see the resolve. You also see the insistence on reaching out to the light and seizing it.

Humanity is an amazing thing in these situations because we see firsthand that there is great strength within us. Sometimes we decide to bring out that strength and sometimes it sprouts from places we would have never thought there still was resilience. That’s the thing though, when you think you’re done, you’re just getting started.

I consider it an honor to see the example of these people. From direct family to people thousands of miles away staring at the challenges of life and standing their ground.

Not cocky.

Not arrogant.

But firm in their commitment to life.

Every single day I find new things to be thankful of. But these angels who have been bathed in hell fire and pain that still prove that wings can help us reach heights unfathomed? That is human greatness at its purest.

My respect, my gratitude, and my best to each of you for your example.

Peace, love, and maki rolls.