Monday, November 30, 2015

Method to Madness: Please yourself and the rest will follow

As writers, we’re often asked what are you working on to appeal to the market?

I’ll admit it, that type of question irks me a little bit because I’ve always enjoyed going my own route, beating my own drum and not having a care in the world for what I’m “supposed to do”. I love writing and I love writing a lot of things. So I focus on that.

By solely focusing on pleasing others, I wouldn’t do all the things I do. That’s as simple as I can state it. As is, I’ve published a novel, just finished the first draft for my second one, released three poetry collections with more on the way, a short story collection and I’m working on a variety of projects that drive me.

That’s the thing though, they drive me. I’m inspired by them. I enjoy them. They please me. Sure, I love taking requests but in the end, I write to please myself. The things I do in social media first have to make me laugh or make me think before I share them and if there’s something I don’t enjoy, you can bet I won’t post it.

In music, I've posted videos of original songs and a cover by Oasis. If someone has a request I’ll consider it but in the end, the version I put out will respond to what makes me happy because if not, it'll show.

In writing, the less you think of the outside world and the more you let yourself be guided by what drives you, by what you care about, by what you’re passionate about, the better you’ll write. It’s the difference of something feeling real and resonating or when something appeals to a crowd for the sake of a golf clap.

People ask me, what should I write, and that’s the first mistake. Never ask ANYONE for what you should do with your work. Let your inner compass guide you. Be honest and write with every fiber of you because when you do that, you’ll realize that in a world of 7 billion + people, SOMEONE will like what you like as well and you will resonate.

Some people like to write for X or Y market… and it shows.

To hell with that.

Write what is within you. 

What drives you? What are your passionate about that you consistently talk too much about? That thing. That topic. Write about THAT! Because inspiration may be triggered by external stimuli, but it shall always come from within… the same place where your best work will come from.

Peace, love, and maki rolls.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

My thanks for a friend

I’ve been blessed to know some very special people in my life who have helped me at one point in time or another. Katty Krumhansl is one of them. I met Katty through advertising and we were able to share some good times in probably the best advertising team I’ve ever worked with. The type of team you talk about for years. The type of team whose memories make you smile.

In addition to the time we worked together, she actually referred me to a job when I really needed it and for that and many other things, I am thankful for her, although above all else, for her being a friend.

Recently, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. 

During the last year, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, received treatment, underwent surgery, more treatment and is currently cancer free. In that same time, a very dear friend was also diagnosed, operated and also went through her treatment. Today they are both alive and doing fantastic and I know how blessed I am to have them both doing so well. 

Katty is of the same type of human: strong, independent and with a wicked sense of humor. The difference is that she doesn't have health insurance, so she has to find alternative ways to get the money she needs to get the care her health requires. Today being Thanksgiving, I wanted to help a friend by making a donation but also wanted to share this will all the kind people who read me for three reasons:

1. To ask for good intentions and thoughts. Religions matter not, just good vibrations being sent to a friend I always think can help. 

2. To share the link of her crowdfunding. Click here to go to her page and read below for the translation of the text:

“In support of our friend, Katty Kumhansl

Our friend will undergo surgery this coming December 15 and will subsequently receive treatment for 5 years due to a recent diagnosis of breast cancer. Anyone who knows her as a friend or a professional can attest to her quality as a human being and her commitment to excellent on or off the job.

Unfortunately, Katty lost her job with the Puerto Rico Tourism company almost 2 years ago and due to the economic crisis in the country has only managed to find part time work, which means she lacks medical insurance.

She’s being her usual strong but cheeky self to get cured of this “cold” as she prefers to call it. She has had the help of friends, health professionals and the American Cancer society, where she has a friend who works there.

Having to face a cancer diagnosis is hard… having to add to that the worry of not having the means to cover the costs for treatment definitely adds to the burden, which we may actually help relieve.
Let’s help Katty out and let her know she has all of us in her corner for the fight!

For more information, you can email:”

And number 3 is to let you know that anyone that shares the link or makes a donation can get a free thank you pack I've prepared exclusively for her cause. You just click share or make a donation, take a screenshot, email me at and you get it for free.

This is my way of saying thank you to Katty for all her kindness and thank you to anyone who reads this blog for helping pay it forward.

Peace, love, and maki rolls

Monday, November 23, 2015

Numbers distract you from the truth

When you’re a writer, looking at numbers is one of the worst things you can do, because numbers distract.

The amount of likes doesn’t matter. Web views don’t matter. Followers don’t matter. Sales don’t matter. Amount of reviews don’t matter.

It’s true. They don’t matter. Not if they distract you from your stories. Not if they take wind from your sails. Not if the information doesn’t motivate you. Not if it makes you want to give up and stop writing.

So don’t look at numbers. Write. Focus on you. On what drives you. On that gem within you that you need to pull out, an inch of progress for every word you write. A step in the direction of completing your story.

If you get a like, say thank you. If you get a share, say thank you. If you get a review, give a HUGE thank you. But don’t focus on that. Don’t write to get sales. Don’t write to get likes. Don’t do anything for any reason that isn’t to do what you love. Your love for writing shouldn’t be conditional. It should be free. It should come from within and should be its own reward.

Some days I get a lot of likes. Other days I don’t. I’m thankful either way because both motivate me. Both make me want to strive to do better. I’ve written and done things I swore people would like nonstop and have barely registered a blip and I’ve done things in the spur of the moment, not expecting a response or thinking it’s subpar and having a lot of people resonate. And that’s the thing, if you focus on numbers, you can get distracted, you can get tempted to stop. If that’s the case. Don’t look at numbers. Ignore them. Have them beg for your attention and keep creating. Because that’s what matters. You doing what you love. You sharing the truest of you. You seeking and using inspiration.

So the rule is simple: if it distracts? Ignore it and focus on what matters: what you love doing.

Peace, love, and maki rolls.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Feed the RIGHT fires

We are beings of energy and how we spend that energy determines what we do with the time we have in our lives. As such, sometimes we fall into vicious cycles that may be frustrating. It’s something that happens because we’re human, because life happens, and because some things get to us.

I mention this because sometimes, one of the biggest challenges of a problem is that we can’t seem to shake it and our attention is set squarely on that problem and not much else. It becomes a fire that demands you to feed it. It could be a spark but we’re generous in how we feed it and we end up spending way too much time thinking and obsessing over that fire. The problem is that in life, we have several fires running at the same time… and this other fire takes away from the ones that matter.

You have a fire for the people you love, a fire for staying healthy, a fire for helping others, a fire to do the right thing, and a fire to bring your best. Problems steal your attention, your time, your peace of mind and rob you and others of the experience of you giving your best. You suddenly find yourself throwing ALL of your “wood” into that fire and it turns out to be a bonfire on a warm night with no marshmallows in sight… meaning you spent all your wood and have NOTHING to show for it, except that you obsessed over something and overlooked the things that matter.

Start taking back your time and your wood. Feed the right fires. The fire of your health; mental, physical, and spiritual. The fire of your loved ones: call your friends, call your mom and dad, call your brothers, call the people that matter and let them know they matter. Feed the fire of your passions: create, use that energy and frustration from your problem and harness it. Don’t let it destroy you and be a waste of time. And lastly, feed the fire that fuels the engine of your life. Your problems are situations. They have solutions. They will invite you to obsess. They burn up fuel quickly and waste resources. Don’t give it the attention it craves. Instead, let the engines of your existence run full steam ahead.

All of this is for one reason, and one reason only:

If you feed the right fires, you’ll never get burned.

Peace, love, and maki rolls.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Some days we need to smile more than others

Given what's happened in the last few hours in France, the temptation to write something on the lines of feeling crushed and saddened are there. It's a natural reaction... and one I don't want to follow today.

Today is another day and although compassion is definitely necessary at this time and sadness can and will happen, it's our opportunity to be a little kinder to other people close by. To show manners, to show that humanity has plenty of good to offer. Today is a day to find out the facts in your chosen news source but not consume obsessively and here's why: on a day as awful as yesterday and also today, news coverage gets every incentive to cover the worst of what humanity has to offer because ratings feed on fear.

I rarely watch the news not because I particularly enjoy being out of the loop but because most places feed you the worst stories possible because it's what gets watched the most.

Even right now, it's within us not to watch incessantly and there's another reason for that... it's exactly what the people who did this don't want. If you watch the news, let it be to inspire you to go to France when things settle down. And things will settle down, a wise man once said of good and bad that "this too shall pass" and indeed, even something as awful as what is happening shall pass.

Today is a beautiful day. Let nothing distract you from this fact. It's a day where you should love a little harder, be a lot more generous, have your manners up and about and show that we can choose to react to horror and terror with kindness, a smile, and light.

Right now, there is a lot of fear and sadness. People are putting up pictures of candles as a sign of solidarity but they put a solemn tone to those images, because they focus on the sadness rather than the miracle of a single candle light.

Within a sea of darkness, one ray of light can light up the world.

There is a need for light and we are invited to share our inner fire if only to show that we can overcome whatever dark life throws our way.

Peace, love, and baguettes.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Allowing my dreams to scare me

They say if your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.

Well dear frands, I’m scared out of my mind.

Here’s a recap of what will be coming down the Estrada pipeline in the coming weeks and months.

Book 2 in the Human Cycle: I am hard at work with Book 2 and my goal is to finish it before the year is over. I will talk more about this later, but suffice to say that I’m happy with where I’m at with the book… and I rarely say that.

Latest poetry collection Captured Moments was released but an event will come along. I am very proud of this collection and am very happy with some of the poems within that I think have a very good message and pack a punch. Stay tuned for more news because being honest, some poems are good, but need to be performed for you to fully get it.

Spanish poetry collection. My first all-Spanish release will be a poetry collection and it might also be due out this year.

Bilingual collection. A couple of steps closer to this project which has been intense, but I think it shows range as a writer and I think I did pretty well in Spanish, though I won’t be the judge of that in the end. :D

Pieces for competition: recently finished and submitted a short story and a poem for competition. Will be doing more of these and as a thanks to my frands who took pictures with my books for indie author appreciation, they got a first look at these in their Thank You Packs (more news on this soon).

YA fiction book. Once I finish many of these projects, this project will take center stage. It is a story I’m very enthused by since it is in the line of the daydreams in regards to tone…. And it has flying. Lots of flying.

Noir book. I will be working on this project with the full intention of inspiring some artist to pull it off graphically. That is the challenge. We’ll see how it goes.

Greek mythology based project. Dark and different. Another project I’m looking fwd to tackling.

And then there are two other projects… the ones that scare me. A lot.

First off is a tetralogy I’ll develop during the next five years. It’ll have hints of steampunk, fantasy, and fiction. Planning and plot points are already being worked on. It’s dystopian though not dismally so and will definitely have a strong focus on imaginative scenes and dreamy landscapes.

Then there’s the one that really scares me… a project I’ll take around a decade to finish… I’ve written down plot points. I’ve written down ideas. I’ve written the scope of it… and it terrifies me. Basically I’m starting off with the wishlist… then plot points… and then will get down to working on this… but the only word I can find to describe it is massive and probably the hardest thing I do in my life.

Along with this, there’s also other projects I’m working on. Other projects that also give me that tingle of fear because of the effort it will require… yet throughout, I may feel fear, but I also feel a smile on my face. That’s what happens when you find something you believe in and can throw yourself into fully.

So here’s to the good type of fear. The one that drives us and inspires us to face the challenge and take the first grip to climb our mountains.

Peace, love, and maki rolls


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The problem is not circumstances, it’s the story you create

Oh so often I’ve heard people that can’t do something because they don’t have the time, they don’t have the money, they don’t have the resources. When you offer a suggestion you can sometimes come face to face with an answer such as: “well you don’t understand, because I have <DESCRIBE SITUATION TO JUSTIFY NOT DOING SOMETHING> and since you haven’t lived that, you can’t relate.”


I can’t relate.

But I can share my version of the story and I’ll use 2014 as an example of what it means to not let circumstances define you. During that year, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, I had some financial challenges I had to face in addition to that, I translated three text books, one human resources manual over 100 pages long in a span of 9 days while maintaining my dayjob, wrote and translated a website, and still managed to participate in the Puerto Rico Comic Con, published another book, started working on several projects which are well underway and forthcoming, wrote 119 blog posts and became active on Instagram and Google Plus along with maintaining Twitter and Facebook.

That is just one part of the story, of course but the challenges were there, the time was scant, but the desire and the will to create and keep going forwards was there. I didn’t offer excuses, I didn’t justify, I just kept looking at my goals and kept walking for however tired I was.

I created a story where I was able to face all my obstacles, meet my goals, and look for inspiration where others would find a reason to opt out. I didn’t let anyone convince me I should or shouldn’t do anything. I wanted to do a book activity, so I did the book activity. I wanted to publish poetry and short stories and I did. I could have opted out at so many points yet I didn’t. I wanted my story to serve as inspiration to others yeah, but to me to demonstrate to myself that I can do it, that whatever I set my mind to I’ll succeed, and that it’s worth it.

Do I still find challenges? Yes.

Do I still have opportunities to pull out and desist? Yes.

But I’m on my path. 

This is my story. 

And I don’t plan on anyone or anything derailing me. For all those who want to join along for the fun, by all means, and also show me what your story has in store for you. For all of those who are already with me, my words are yours. 

Peace, love, and maki rolls.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Why you should watch the APB Tour Encanto Pro

If you like drama, how’s this for you? The 2015 APB world tour champion will be crowned in the last event of the season. Not only that, there’s three title contenders.

The 2015 Encanto Pro will bring quite its fair share of drama and heroics once competition goes underway. Amaury Lavernhe (Reunion Island), Pierre Louis Costes (France) and Jared Houston (South Africa) all have one thing in mind, to win the event and take the world title.

The final event of the APB tour will be held at Middles Beach at Isabela, a highly versatile wave that invites combination surfing, big aerial maneuvers, and a generous helping of barrels. Although not the most hollow wave on tour, Middles offers a wonderful canvas for people to really show their skill set.

Last time they had an event in Puerto Rico, Pierre Louis Costes won it also taking out the world title that year so he’ll be looking to defend his title and win a second world title. Along with him, the 2014 APB champion Amaury Lavernhe is looking to defend his world title and further show why he’s one of the most consistent and deadliest competitors on tour. Throughout the year, Moz has consistently been the in form surfer in all contests, showing a variety of moves and adaptability that showcase why he's a two-time world champion. And then there’s Jared Houston. During his 2015 campaign, he’s launched probably the two biggest airs of the year and both of them in Chile. One was in a quarterfinal where he basically took off on an 8-9 ft. wave and raced to a 12-13 ft section for a perfect 10. The sheer lunacy of that air is almost too much. The difference between him and the other two contenders is that he still doesn’t have a world championship, and seeing the way he’s riding this year, that’s a difference he wants to eradicate.

This is down to the wire and the drama will be on high since also local wild cards will be looking to take the event and seeing as it’s the final event, a lot of people on the bubble to requalify for next year’s tour will be pushing hard to make the cut.

The swell forecast for Sunday looks rather amazing so stay tuned at


Bodyboarding: Soul over image

In a time where so many people are into image, my sport of choice is all about soul.

Professional surfing has grown in popularity for as long as I can remember. It’s not unusual to hear pro surfers earning six figure salaries or even more. In some cases there have been pro surf competitions where first place earns you a cool million dollars. With that much money and attention, there is pressure, there are demands, and there comes a time where the essence of wave riding is pushed to the background.

Bodyboarding suffers none of the complexes of professional surfing.

True, backing of bodyboarding events is lackluster in comparison, but so is your average public perception. Bodyboarding, or boogie boarding is looked down upon when talking about wave riding and from the getgo, we bodyboarders are considered inferior wave riders.

I can say this quite confidently since I’m a bodyboarder and can disagree with a smile on my face, since we do rather prefer to let the riding do the talking.

For over 20 years I’ve been bodyboarding seriously with an added extra 9 years of surfing in super small breaks. It is one of my true passions and I often say that the ocean is the only place where things make sense and where I can find peace. 

Still, as a bodyboarder, you’re pretty much questioned why you ride a bodyboard instead of going standup quite often. For me, the answer has several levels. First off, cost of bodyboard equipment is far more sensible than standup boards. A quality stand-up board can land you anywhere from $400-$700, depending on quality, shaper, and other factors. A top tier bodyboard and fins will cost you at the most around $300. Then there’s durability. If you care for your board, standup boards have far, far more shelf life than a bodyboard. That is a fact. But if your board goes and lands nose first, odds are you just snapped your board and lost several hundred dollars in the process. A bodyboard will take a ridiculous amount of punishment in comparison. The shelf life will not be as long because we have a foam deck and because by nature, we will launch and land several maneuvers that put strain on the board. 

Then there’s the whole matter of versatility. In this category, bodyboarding is king over pretty much any other wave riding vehicle. You can ride on your belly, in the dropknee stance (one knee up, one knee down), or even standup. I’m not saying this because I’m sold out on bodyboarding, it’s just a fact and you can see plenty of video that will show you this. And that’s just basic stances, when it comes to moves, again, bodyboarding trumps standup surfing. Airs, rolls, air roll spins, backflips, invert airs, air forward spins, air reverse spins and a whole other combination of acrobatics show that if you put your mind to it, there’s no limit to what you can pull off on a bodyboard. 

So in stances and moves, we have it covered, though like an infomercial I feel the need to say: “but wait, there’s more.”

Wave types. You can ride most any type of wave condition on a bodyboard and plenty that aren’t suitable for standup surfing. Physics play a role in this. Bodyboarders can take off later and deeper because by being in a prone position, we are more in control. And when I mean late drops, I’m talking about “free falling several feet to land inside the barrel and coming out” late. By also having durable punishment loving boards, we can ride nasty shore breaks that pretty much break on dry sand without having to worry whether we will break a board. We just go for it. 

Another aspect I love about my sport is the learning curve. It is so easy to pick up that most anyone can learn to bodyboard. That brings its challenges because there may be people who shouldn’t be out in the water in certain conditions, but hey, we’ve all been grommets at some time and the name of the game is safety. Still, you can see kids picking it up rather easily, sure, but the extent to which you can hone your skills is amazing and what you can do on a bodyboard shows just how high and far the learning curve can reach. It’s not the same to surf 1 ft ripples than it is to line up a huge section and just go for it.

Respect for women. Although women’s professional surfing has come a long way, I still feel most people look down on women standup surfers as inferior to men. In bodyboarding, Isabela Sousa, Natasha Sagardia, Alexandra Rinder, Neymara Carvalho and a host of other women chargers are elite riders that go beyond gender and put guys to shame in waves of consequence. They don't ride good for a girl, it's that they rip.

Community work. Maybe professional surfers do activities and just don’t cover them in the news, but the effort I see in professional bodyboarders to work and connect with communities and talk to young children is something I respect, admire, and support. Every single time they come to Puerto Rico, they talk to schools and I’ve lost count of how many kids are kept off the streets of Brazil by taking up a bodyboard. It is a community centered sport and by all means, check out what professional bodyboarding associations do in Brazil, South Africa, Australia, and Puerto Rico just to get an idea of their commitment. 

Money is not the driver. By being underfunded, that’s actually been a godsend in a certain way. Bodyboarding is run by bodyboarders, not corporations. Professional bodyboarders often have to do other jobs to make ends meet but when they hit the water, there’s no holding back whatsoever. Everyone is pushing each other to go bigger, take off deeper and earn that victory. 

Another thing I have to say of pro bodyboarders is that they truly are much kinder and open to fans. Mike Stewart is a legend in all wave riding disciplines. By this, I mean that everyone in every sport in the water respects the man and in Pipeline, if he takes off, no one drops in on him. I met the man. He’s won as many bodyboarding titles as you can count and in bodysurfing, honestly he’s not human. Yet when I met him, the stoke he showed, the genuine kindness and down to earthness he exhibited set quite the example. The same with several other elite riders. The Hubbard brothers were super kind, Damian King, Dave Winchester, Guilherme Tamega, and I can keep naming people you don’t know about, but who are legends of the sport. I’ve met so many and they’ve all been so kind and welcoming. I tried the same with standup surfers and was often disappointed by egos. 

And that’s the thing, bodyboarders are proud by nature, but humble by context. I’ve been riding a bodyboard for the majority of my existence and it’s brought me a life’s worth of happiness and experiences that have shaped me into the human I am today. I am forever grateful and I invite you t pick up a board and fins and give it a try. Who knows? It may be the best thing that ever happened to you. I know it was for me. 

Peace, love, and maki rolls.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Captured Moments by JD Estrada

It's official, my fifth release is out and it is a new poetry collection. Following the trend or lack of one from the previous two collections, Captured Moments follows a completely different trek in style and concept.

The name of the game in this compilation is variety and capturing a moment as pure as possible. Most of these poems are at the most second drafts and have little if any editing. I wanted to really capture something raw about what's running around in my head. Some poems are a short narrative like Bob Macabre, while others are very much centered in social issues that are important to me; Equals, The layman's term and Selfie Sophie come to mind.

There's even silly little ditties because sometimes you need to have fun. The intention is to show a snapshot of what runs around my mind and the different facets within.

It was a joy to write and as an added bonus, my wife made the cover of the collection. She actually designed several options but when I saw this one and she saw my reaction, it was clear we'd found the winning visual and that the soul of the collection had indeed been captured.

Oftentimes, people see me walking around with a notebook or several of them, actually. When asked why, there are several answers but the one that resonates the most is that inspiration is all around you and you need a bug net to catch as many muses as you can. For me, be it a story, a haiku, a poem, a chapter, or a blogpost don't wait... they want to be written and I better pay attention or they'll leave.

This collection is definitely me embracing the spontaneous nature of muses and showing just how much we can capture, if we pay attention to what our soul is saying. Initial reviews have been very positive and it's been just a couple of hours. My appreciation for the people who have dropped a line and shown interest is profound because thanks to them, we can prove that poetry is still current, it's very important and that some of the most important things we will say in our lives can come through in verse form. Stay tuned though, there's plenty more to come before the year is over.

If you want to get your copy, click here. And FYI, if you buy the physical version, you'll get the Kindle match for free.

For now though?

Peace, love, and maki rolls.