Wednesday, May 22, 2019

A call to say #CheersMamaEstrada

During the past few weeks, Mama Estrada has been having a rough time to put it lightly. Rest assured, she’s getting the love and care she needs to get her better. Both of my brothers continue to be the main support for her and have been phenomenal in managing situations I can’t begin to fathom. Our extended families are also offering beautiful support and it’s nice to see how much love Mom inspires and how much love people give during this challenging time. Nurses, doctors, and everyone involved are on board and also refer to her on a first name basis. That’s the attitude we’re bringing to the game. 

Although some days are good, some days could be better. We’re always trying to win an inch, win any victory, big or small. I’m writing this post not to share specifics, but to make a small request or invitation more so: to say #CheersMamaEstrada. Even though we welcome thoughts and prayers and we welcome all forms of support, we love a smile and she loves people having tea, drinking coffee, doing a shot, sipping on a margarita, eating cake, and the such, getting a buzz while sending positive vibes. Capturing a moment of happiness and sharing it with her. 

That’s Mom for you and we are all following suit. Keeping it positive and taking it one day at a time.

I’ll be posting #CheersMamaEstrada pics and creating a gallery on the Facebook Author page. You can send me pics or put them in the comment section. Want to include a poem, a joke, or a happy thought? Bring it. Want to share a prayer. They are welcome. Found the perfect puppy or cat video? Post below. We believe in the power of positive thoughts. We know how empowering a smile can be. We are in this together and we are thankful for everyone who continues to share smiles and positivity. 

Cheers to you and #CheersMamaEstrada

Sunday, May 12, 2019

The Mother’s Day Tradition continues

For several years I have always kept a promise to mom that I’ll publish something on Mother’s Day. She didn’t ask for it, but it was something important for me to do as was the choice for my author name. 

I often get asked if there’s a reason for my pen name and I always have to say there are several. Firstly, my last name might be misleading to people looking for other type of literature. Secondly, my name is so unique that in high school I had 3 other people with the same name and it was always funny to try and figure out who had messed up. Thirdly, and most importantly, I take issue with the phasing out of one parent’s surname as time passes. I shall always love my dad and I’m proud of the name I bear, but I’m also proud of my mom’s side of the equation that is me. If you read my author name in Spanish, it reads “jota de Estrada”, or Estrada’s J. I make it no secret that I’m a mama’s boy and I’ll always freely say how much I love my mom because although I was taught to be the best man I can be, I was not taught to shut away my feelings. 

If you’ve read the Human Cycle, my daydreams, or Given to fly, you’ve come across Mrs. Fawn, a character inspired by my mother and one of the most important characters in the Human Cycle (wait til you read Book 3). I didn’t do it to be cute or to win brownie points or anything like that, I include her in my stories because she’s one of my favorite characters in the story of my life and I wanted to share a piece of her through my literature. She’s the favorite of a lot of people and everyone now knows that lemon cake is indeed a slice of home thanks to her. 

For this year, I’m doubling down on the motherly tribute as I bring my Blanc Comics project to book form so anyone can be able to be a part of it. Whereas I dedicate books and write poems about some people I love, for my grandmother, I want to take a different approach and create a concept as a tribute to her. My grandmother was visually impaired and had advanced glaucoma ever since I knew her, but that didn’t deter her from having amazing discipline in morning and evening stretches and exercises, a beauty regiment that was responsible for one of the most immaculately soft set of hands you could imagine, and she could tell a detailed story with lush descriptions even being blind. 

In addition to her talent for storytelling, two other things prompted this project. Firstly, a couple of years back in the Puerto Rico Comic Con they had talent scouts looking for comic book artists. If I’m not mistaken over 200 people (or close to that amount) tried out and only 2 or 3 got selected and there were a lot of people feeling pretty bummed out. Apart from that, I had wanted to do a project that would promote the acceptance of differing points of view to inspire dialogue rather than what we see daily from political parties and people who think winning an argument is better than finding resolution and who would rather bark louder than think before they speak. 

Enter Blanc Comics. 

I offer comic book panels, a fully fleshed storyline, special effects integrated in the panels, and a description of what goes in each panel… but as a story teller, I’m blind… and I need everyone’s help to see our story. I wrote these stories to entertain, to offer a canvas for artists to express their talents, to inspire people to look for varied points of view and instead of resisting, finding worth in a different perspective. I wrote these tales challenging myself in genres that were new to me and trying something new. I wrote these stories with several perspectives of love: for my family, for story telling for the graphic medium, for future artists, for mom, and for my grandmother. 

And I now share them with you. 

There are currently two titles:

What does a wizard have in common with an angel? A pet macaw and a detective agency. Let’s face it, too many crimes go unsolved and some people say you need a miracle to solve certain cases... or a little magic. 

It is the 19th century and zombies exist. Hundreds of attacks have been reported and for the most part, there are no survivors…. 

For the most part. 

A vampire has been battling zombies for over a century. 

A Native American was the sole survivor in a 500-mile radius.

A samurai’s village was eradicated.

An army of three shares one common hunger… Revenge. 

* * * *

It’s been a challenging year for mom healthwise, but she continues showing resilience, strength, grace, and beauty. So I continue writing and giving my best, because if she can do it with everything she overcomes, I find no reason why I can’t do the same. 

Thank you. Mom.

For love. For inspiration. For encouragement. For support. For life. 

I’ll be with you in a couple of hours to give you a banana hug. 

Peace, love, and Cheers Mama Estrada