Monday, June 27, 2016

Art 10: Color Queen

During some Life Drawing classes I took back in 2011 at a college, I had greater use of the charcoal. I think I was finally ‘getting it’ and the use of different colors to enhance the image helped make this one of my favorites. 

The model was great. She held the pose for 15 minutes in total. I dubbed the drawing the Color Queen because of the yellow hair (model was a brunette) and the confidence on the face. 

Maybe if I went home after the session to add more details, the drawing would have been much better, but I tend to like the unfinished look.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Writer’s Workshop 18: Come out of your Shell for Publishing

Back in April, I attended the 8th annual Writer’s Weekend at MT. SAC. Here are a few things I learned for writing in our genre from presenter Yishun Lai:

First, plot generates from character. What your story is about will progress based on what the characters do and say.

Second, you need a query for agents and publishers. If you go straight to a publisher, you need a query and if you go the traditional route and look for an agent, you need to query them. Make sure you do enough research to find what they are looking for and what they ask for before you submit. The other thing is you don’t have to take the first agent/publisher that approaches you. Compare and do your research. Check out, Also, check, which is filled with valuable tips for writers and supplies sample query letters.

Third, your pitch is an important piece to publishing. The pitch is what will draw the agent, so it is important to “hone it and own it.” Don’t let introversion get in the way, especially when pitching in person. The main thing is to write it and ask: what is this character facing? is this too specific or too general? why should agents, readers, etc. care about this story? what’s so different about this story that hasn’t already been told?

Last, she recommended the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP)

Monday, June 13, 2016

Why I Write 10: News and Additions

After many months tightening my manuscript, I finally started the querying process for my Young Adult debut novel about the tenuous relationship between a father and his son. 

It’s been a long journey for me because I’ve been learning along the way how to become an author. If the first batch of queries don’t do so hot, then, I’ve got another list of literary agents. In the meantime, I have my other novels to focus on and edit, revise, complete, etc. (It never ends… =)

You’d think writers sit around all day and have fun, but as I get involved with this part of my life, writing has become a JOB… no not a job, a CAREER. Actually, a second career. I haven’t quit my day job and I struggle to get as much done as everyone else. So far, it’s paying off. The Eagle Rock Branch (Los Angeles Public Library) has just released the Stone Bird Anthology where my science fiction story, The Thing, is included. Copies can be purchased at the branch location. 

I’ve also recently opened a Twitter account and hope to begin another journey into the social-verse. To follow me, just click the link right below my name. This is all new to me, but like everything, it takes some practice.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Books I’m Reading 24

Animal Planet’s Complete Guide to Dog Care: Everything you need to know to have a happy, healthy, well-trained dog by Diane Morgan. This book provides a lot of information in regards to having a dog.

Great Habits, Great Readers: A Practical Guide for K-4 Reading in the Light of Common Core by Paul Bambrick-Santoyo, Aja Settles, and Juliana Worrell. This book details examples of putting together a reading program in your classroom that incorporates the requirements for Common Core to best support our students.

It seems like a mighty long time by Angela Jackson is a collection of poetry. The poems in this book deal with a lot of life issues. Jackson has a flare for portraying reality and metaphor in a poem. A very talented poet that merits every ounce of attention when read.

Stealing Sugar from the Castle: Selected and New Poems by Robert Bly. Interesting collection of poetry.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

Due to the festivities, I will post again the following Monday. Have fun and be safe!

If you find the time, go back to previous posts and enjoy the variety from Short Stories, poetry, things of interest, and more.

Thanks for being a much appreciated RainingVoices blog reader =) 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Short Stories & Such 24: The Afterlife

The Afterlife

The screaming.
Painful screaming that pushed the inner ear on itself like a battered drum.

Roman clasped the thick mane on his head the higher he ascended in this world turned in a black and white spiral. Once it all became white, he knelt on the ground. Though, he could not see the ground or the corners to this place, his fingers felt the warmth of the surface. The pain left him as a shadow soothed his face.

“Welcome, Roman.”

A man in a white gown approached him, his bare feet visible with each step taken. His hair was shoulder length and wavy, but Roman couldn’t make out his face as the brightness of the space blinded him.

“Who… who are you?”

“Don’t you recognize me?”

Slowly, Roman rose from kneeling. “You’re Uncle Maximo.” He shook his head, but the Uncle still stood there, watching every move he made, “I don’t understand… you’re dead.”

“And I have been dead for a very long time.” His hand reached out to Roman.

Roman stepped back, unsure of where he was.

“Do not be afraid.”

“What is this place?”

“You’ve died and gone to heaven.”

“Heaven? Heaven’s supposed to be a paradise… trees, a garden, flowers, people.”

Roman turned every which way and found the same white space inclosing them both. This was not how he imagined heaven to be or how he would have liked to be greeted.

“This is the entrance to heaven.” The Uncle tugged his gown and gestured for Roman to follow him, “Come, you will know what to expect of your afterlife.”

As Uncle Maximo proceeded forward, Roman felt they moved in the same place, nothing had changed.

“You see there,” the Uncle pointed into the white abyss, “there is the paradise you seek.”

“I see nothing but emptiness.”

The Uncle smiled like the Mona Lisa and turned in the direction he pointed. “You will live here and carry on as the Angels aide. They will ask for assistance in earth matters and you will provide it.”

“How am I gonna do that?” Roman lifted his arms and turned about in a half circle. “I don’t have any special skills. I was a bank teller.”

“You will know. Open your heart and you will believe.”

Roman squint, trying hard to focus in the white void before him. He thought about the secret pictures in a book where the image was hidden from the naked eye. He opened and closed his eyes multiple times. Then, another thought popped into his head, but he decided to wait after the strange tour.

Uncle Maximo stopped walking, and said, “Here it is.”

“What is?”

“Your new home in heaven…”

Roman still couldn’t see anything but white. “If you say so.” He pretended to open a door.

“I must leave you. I have more to greet. We will meet again.”

“Wait.” Roman placed his hand on his Uncle’s shoulder. “There’s one thing I need to know.”


“What am I doing in heaven?”

“You died a most unfortunate death on earth… rejected in the counterpart world because you were an honest bank man.”

The writing Prompt was from Writer’s Digest on October 2, 2012. If you want to see the original or the comments, go to

Monday, May 16, 2016

Writer’s Workshop 17: Poetry Medley

I attended the 8th annual Writer’s Weekend at MT. SAC in April 2016. Here are a few things I learned about poetry from some amazing presenters:

  • Myrena Ogbu was big on experimenting with poetry and improvisational poetry.

One exercise was to have music playing in the background; what is the music saying to you? what voice do the instruments have? what are the instruments saying?
She wanted us to free ourselves and write whatever came to mind, which is a lot like free writing.

  • Chad Sweeney was big on surrealism and our dreams. He showed us a lot of art made by famous painters like Salvador DalĂ­ and different ways to present our poetry on stage.

He wanted us to manipulate words to mean different things. We could form a list of words and make a poem using the words. The list had to include hard words, too to make it interesting. He provided two separate lists and had us write a poem using one of them. There were over fifty words. Like a found poem, we were to let the words dictate the direction of our poem, letting the stream of consciousness just write without stopping to think about the different meanings or how the words were joined together. Then, he had us present our work in unison using various voice levels. Quite a show.

  • Stephanie BarbĂ© Hammer is great for impromptu exercises to warm up the brain for writing poetry. Her energy coupled with her knowledge added another wonderful experience.

The variety of warm-up exercises that would help get the ideas flowing in your head included choosing seven words from several lists of presidential quotes. Second, she had you write your favorite word on a separate piece of paper and exchange with another individual. Third, we made a list of five political issues that we’re interested about. Fifth, we did a free-write of what you had for breakfast. Last, we wrote a poem as a political speech about the issues we wanted, using as many words we found.
The neat thing about this, is if you got stuck, you could go back and use any of the other words or phrases written throughout the warm-ups to help get you back on track. Kind of a backward way of writing poetry.