Zulmara Maria

Write Your Joy

A Room w/ a View!!!

Write your joy, or at least what you like to read. Chris is not only a great writer, he is a visionary as well. He loves the energy and synergy around NaNoWriMo that has grown beyond his wildest expectations, he is also very funny.

His number one take away fro me was…do not write what you would not want to read. Seems like simple advice, but when I read it, it was like an ah-ha moment to me.
So , here is my list of what I like in a novel:

• I love happy endings. Not sappy, but happy.

• I love things that get tied up neatly. I am not interested in loose ends that the writer could not pull together.
• I love moralistic dilemmas that are difficult to resolve. The kind that make you think and rethink your own life path and journey. When a writer causes me to contemplate and reflect on my own biases and my own life path, that writer has me for life.
• I love romances…I love the build up, the falling in love, the breaking the rules, the shattering and pulling it all together.
• I am a fan of books that touch my heart and soul.
• I like to laugh out loud and cry silent tears.• I love characters that become my best friends and live with me day in and day out. I like nice people.• I like the inclusion of music and poems and quotes and sketches.
My favorite genres are Chic Lit, Chica Lit, Romance, Literary Romance, and enduring Love stories.

What makes a novel work for you?

Con pan y cafecito, seguimos adelante…


Write Your Joy

Black Sand Beach

Yesterday, I was reading Chris Baty’s book on NaNoWriMo–No Plot? No Problem where he provides insights on writing a novel in a month and I was intrigued, to say the least that to write 50,000 words in a month you only need to write about 2000 words a day for 30 days. And, he says you can start without a plot and just go for it. So being the writing geek that I am, I came home and tried it. I wrote 2000 words on Diary of a Wild Brazilian (my daughter’s title for my novel) and it was great. I had fun with it, it took me about an hour and I actually liked what I wrote. Yeah, it is a rough draft, but I believe Chris, you can only learn to write if you write…so writing I am. It felt good to see the word count go up, and up, and up while I was having fun being wild with my imagination…yes, great fun to be had this coming NaNoWriMo…
Why a month? Quote, “When you have nothing to do, getting out of bed and washing yourself before 2:00 p.m. feels like too much work to even contemplate. (p. 17)”
Ain’t life great!!! I am feeling so inspired…you bet my muse is being well pampered these days…I am being very indulgent.

Write your joy…
Con un pan y cafecito, seguimos adelante!!!


Artist Date-Ports of Call

Artist’s Date–September 11, 2010

Went on a great artist’s date today to Ports of Call in San Pedro. I have not been there since I was a very young woman, 18 to be exact. I went there with an ex-boyfriend. I was leaving the next day for the university and we were only friends and he wanted to be my boyfriend and I kept saying, “I don’t want a long distance relationship.” And, I remember him trying to buy me a necklace, any necklace, and I kept saying, “no, I am not ready for this, I am leaving tomorrow.”…but I digress.

My artist’s date was awesomeness itself. I had a great time. I walked all around went into all the shops looking for beachy scenes to enliven my writing space, and then I went to a delightful outdoor restaurant and ate fish, shrimp, and calamari…one of those mixed plates and started reading Chris Baty’s book No Plot, No Problem. What a delightful read and what a wonderful book. Full of quotes, ideas, exercises, and just plan old fun to get you started on writing your novel in a month. What an inspiration and what an delicacy…to indulge in. Felt so good to tell the waitress I was a writer reading a book on writing. She was a reader and we had a great time. A college student…who earned herself an extra big tip, just for being a reader and a student, want to make sure she has enough to buy her next guilty pleasure.

What Artist Date have you been on lately? Who did you meet? What did you do? Was it inspiring?

Con un pan y cafecito, seguimos adelante…


True creativity…

A truly creative person

○ Enjoys the scenery on a detour

○ Finds treasure in the mundane

○ Loves the smell of a box of crayons

○ Colors outside the lines

○ Runs with wild abandon

○ Finds wonder in everyday happenings

○ Loves a challenge

○ Has perseverance

○ Loves with passion

○ Breaks the rules

○ Makes the rule

○ At times, even follows the rules

○ Has a need to leave a creative legacy

○ Never met a piece of chocolate that was not loved!!!

What is a truly creative person to you??

My Muse and Chocolate!!!


My muse loves chocolate and good wine…preferably together. I have to be careful so I don’t look like a beached whale, but I do indulge in good chocolate at least once a day. I have learned to limit myself and not to eat too much (just kidding) …my chocolate of choice are chocolate covered caramel macadamia clusters from Costco…they are to die for. I have 2 with a glass of wine each evening when I sit down to read blogs, go on facbook, and just chilax with my online buddies. It makes for a wonderfully creative and productive evening…and keeps me centered and what really matters and helps me put first things first.
What does your inner diva desire for a chilaxin creative mood?
con un pan y cafecito, seguimos adelante!!!

Pampering Your Muse–Staying Inspired

Pampering our inner muse allows us to live in the creative moment. When we do not indulge our inner diva, the creativity is hard to come by, we are stressed, out of sorts and having a hard time with a blank page, an empty canvas, a block of clay or a box of crafty materials.

Many artists will discuss how to unblock the creative “block” if you will, and one of the sure fire ways, is to indulge your muse. What makes you tic, what helps you to chilax, what allows you to be in the moment? Often times, it is just a matter of deciding what you need to do for yourself that you have not done for a while to release your inner diva.

It could be a walk alone in the woods, at the mall, at the beach, or around the block. It could be a quiet romantic dinner to reconnect with your loved one, it could be making time for your creative friends…and just going for a cup of culture at your fav pub, coffee house, bar, or mom and pop tortilla shop.

For some of us, it is making time to get lost in a good book, cry with a chic flic, or take out the coloring book and just color to our hearts content…inside and outside the lines.

Pampering our muse is the way we take care of ourselves so that we may bask in those creative moments that make life worth living.

How do you pamper your muse? When was the last time you pampered your muse? What does your muse need from you today…to release that inner energy tomorrow?

Con un pan y cafecito–seguimos adelante!!!


The Nuts and Bolts of Getting Organized for NaNoWrMo

The Nuts and Bolts of Getting Organized for NaNoWrMo


In order to get inspired to write and be ready for NaNoWriMo, I realized I had to get very organized and get my act together, otherwise, with my job and with my schedule, I would always be wishing I was ready for November, but I would never be ready.

So I have started “Laying the Foundation” with the following baby steps:

Joined the NaNoWriMo web pages so that I could become familiar with how it works and the get used to posting on the forums and spend time creating my page.

I started a Facebook page in order to connect with my writerly friends there and to join the group “Walking in this World” and do the 12 week program among like minded friends.

I have updated my Goodreads page so that it reflects the Chica Lit genre that I am writing in gives me a place to organize the books that have inspired me to write

I have updated my Art By Latina Artists page to reflect my NaNoWriMo Journey. And, I am starting an ABLA group to encourage all of us to honor and love our creative muses.

I started a Blogspot page so I would have a chance to blog about my adventures and organize everything in one place. At my blogspot page, you can find links to all my other pages.

I have begun to learn how to use One Note to organize my ideas, thoughts, and materials.
It has truly been an exciting beginning of the month…and I am feeling very energized!!!

The Chai Lattes and vino con chocolate treats…really make a difference. Have to keep the Muse –MUSING!!!

What do you do to prep for NaNoWriMo??



NaNoWriMO Rocks

Yesterday, I officially donated to the NaNoWriMo site and uploaded one of my possible covers…I am getting ready to write my novel synoposis and post that as well.

As I am gearing up for the greatest writing month of my life, I came across this poem and wrote my own tribute to NaNoWriMO…

From the Georgia Heard website–

This amazing poem from the Glenridge Poetry Club was sent to me by Nancy Rapp –a wonderful teacher who read Falling Down the Page: A Book of List Poems and invited her students to write list poems:

Things To Do If You’re a Dog

by Mia

Jump off the doggy bed
Bolt down the stairs
Stick your nose in the food bowl
Lap up water
Go out and play
Lay on the rug
Chew on a bone
Go to sleep
Love your family when they come home
Flap your pink tongue
Look adorable
Go for a walk
Be petted
Be a good dog
Be a bad dog
Be silly, playful, tired dog
Be a loved dog.
Pasted from

My List Poem for NaNoWriMo

Have fun
Read, Read, and Read some more
Drinks lots of coffee
Find a supportive writing group
Get inspired/Stay inspired
Go to sleep
Get a journal
Plug in your computer
Buy a nice pen
Get a Moleskin Notebook
Enjoy green tea
Take a walk on the beach
Hike in the mountains
Enjoy Enjoy Enjoy
Remember it’s the journey
Stay awake
Indulge your muse
Write, write, and write some more
and don’t forget the chocolate…


Broken Voices by Winona Rasheed

Broken Voices

By Winona Rasheed




Reviewed by:
Zulmara Cline


In Broken Voices by Winona Rasheed, the author recounts the story of Ella, a deaf girl, going to high school for the first time. The story covers the first day of school and how Ella has chosen to handle her deafness. For the beginning part of the day, Ella has decided to not tell anyone she is deaf and see what happens. When that does not work very well, she makes a decision to just let her classmates know she is deaf.

Throughout the story, the reader is very aware of Ella’s internal struggle as she tries to decide the best course of action. She is torn between wanting to appear normal in her new school and knowing that she is different. However, she is also keenly aware of not wanting to be seen as “deficient” or “lesser than” because she is deaf. She finds that keeping deafness a secret is almost impossible in high school, where she is called on to answer questions and interact in small groups. When her secret gets out, the reactions from the other students are, at times, predictable, and at other times, it is not.


Rasheed handles the issues of being deaf or different and in a new school with grace and sensitivity. The issues and concerns faced by students are many and students have to make decisions that are not always easy. The internal conflict that arises is real and oftentimes not discussed. The story offers a nice entre for teachers to have a discussion about how to handle those who are different, have a handicap, and what that means. Rasheed offers a number of ways for the teachers and adults to help students with these types of transitions. Overall, this is a great read handling a universal issue.


  1. In the story, the main character is deaf and feels she has to keep her “handicap” a secret. Should those who are deaf keep their deafness a “secret?”
  2. How would you handle the first day of school if you were “different” in some way? Would you tell everyone right away? Or let the other students discover it?
  3. In the story, Ella has some good teachers and some not so good teachers, what are the characteristics of a good teacher for the deaf?
  4. One of the characters in the book knows sign language because her brother is deaf, but she keeps it a secret. Do you think she is ashamed of her brother?
  5. Do you know someone with a handicap? How does it impact their ability to get along with others?



Ella read his lips and mouthed the words, “thank-you” in silence. He was the only familiar face in English class and seeing Marcus, the Good Samaritan, made her feel a little more at ease as she turned to face the teacher.


Opening Line


Ella looked at herself in the full-length mirror hanging on the back of her closet door.


The Pampering Continues!!!

Transformation Soup: Healing for the Splendidly Imperfect

“I am indelibly connected to everyone else.” Sark…what a perfect statement for the healing heart, soul, spirit, and body. We are all connected and we are all in this “transformation soup” together, as imperfect as it may be.

This book is a wonderful book no matter where you are in your life. Healing from a broken relationship, stuck in your art, drifting to no where, having a mid-life crisis, dealing with someone else’s mid-life crisis or enjoying a wonderful love filled relationship, thriving in your art, and getting along with mom. It is filled with truisms, ideas, and ways to pamper your muse, take care of yourself and love yourself, while helping others to love themselves and focus on all that is good/bad in your life. It helps us to hold onto the ambiguities and embrace our paradoxes as being our unique way of living and loving in this world.

We all need to heal and that healing is imperfect, will always be and needs to be. However, in the healing process comes the realization that we are all we need to be, we are all we ever have to be, we are enough as we are…and there is no guilt, no remorse, no unlived experience…there just is who we are. The ideas in the book for healing help to pamper your muse and take care of yourself as well. Be it a night out with the girls, a good book, a box of chocolate and some good wine, a massage, a Pilates class, or a wonderful yoga teacher, we need to care for ourselves, love ourselves, and be ourselves first and foremost…so we can be there for the other loves in our life.

As SARK so aptly puts it, “we are all swirling in the soup together” and that “whatever healing work we each do contributes to the healing of all of us.”

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