Tag Archives: Trinidad


connectingIt’s been six weeks since I have written a diary post. I’ve been working feverishly editing my novel, and I felt that I did not want to write another post if it was not an announcement of a release date. Well, I don’t have that announcement today.

Editing is one hundred times more work than I expected. Selima and the Merfolk is my first novel, and I have someone helping me edit, who has been an asset to the project. It has been an experience that has thought me that I have to take a different approach to editing, the next time around. Though I have been seriously editing for almost four months, I still stand by my promise that I will not publish until I am satisfied with my product, and right now I am not. The good news is that my book has improved tremendously, and I have learned lessons that would probably make the next project shorter.

Things I have learned along the way:

1. You have to be the hardest working person on your project.

2. If you are not meticulous by nature, learn to be.

3. Be open to advice. Listen to a different point of view but be true to the story you want to tell and how you want to tell it.

4. Learn the business as much as you learn the craft.

5. Read, read, read and read some more.

6. Don’t neglect your platform.

7. For those of us who cannot afford professional ‘novel’ editors, compare the recommendations of two persons who have a combination of these characteristics:
• Proficient in English
• Avid reader
• Have some editing experience

8. Don’t have your work proofread until you are absolutely sure that you are finished editing and are satisfied with your product.

9. Most people don’t speak proper English. Sometimes trying to achieve that standard makes your dialogue sound unrealistic.

10. Set deadlines for yourself or you might be writing one book forever.

One of my favorite Joel Osteen messages is CONNECTING WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE (see video below). I’ve watched it maybe twenty times. In my life experience, I feel like I have been shielded from making some mistakes and have been rescued by what I call faith and some call coincidence; all because of crossing paths with the right people at the right time.

Five years ago I would have been frustrated with this project, even though I will fulfill a dream by publishing this book, I would have long got tired of the back-and-forth that comes with editing. Thank God I don’t think that way anymore. Every time there is a change to be made or an error is found I am grateful – Grateful that my self-published novel is going to be to the standard of one that was published by a big publishing house, grateful that I am willing to do the work and work with people who have the same work ethic, grateful that the discovery of one misspelling or grammatical error is like someone stopping you from skidding on a banana peel – it won’t kill you but who wants to fall if it can be avoided.



Missy with puppiesAbout three weeks ago I noticed that my beloved Missy was wider than she normally is. As the weeks went by, there was no way that I could deny her pregnancy. After I complained to everyone who would listen, I accepted that there was nothing I could do about the situation, and besides, I had always planned to line her one time before spaying her. Incidentally, just a few weeks ago her vet told me that she was getting old, and if I intended to line her I should do it soon. I guess everything happens for a reason.

I expected that her due date was close. My intention was to take her to the vet on Monday to find out how close, but she decided to save me a vet bill. On Sunday morning, I gave her a bath and cleaned her kennel. I thought it was a little strange when later in the day she did not run to the front of the house, when I left to walk my sister out. I just thought she was mad because I bathe her. She does not play with me or eat when I do that. Seriously, cold shoulder all day.

The action began about 3 o’clock. I was fifteen minutes into Criminal Minds when I heard a puppy crying. I ran to the back of my house and saw Missy with two puppies in the kennel. Normally, I never leave the kennel door open. I only did that because I was hoping she would finish her food because she was pregnant. In that very moment I no longer felt angry about her pregnancy, all I wanted was for her and the puppies to be okay. I even decided to keep both puppies. Originally, I planned to keep one male and give away the others, however many she had. Missy is so amazing, taking care of her puppies. I feel proud of her and impressed at what dogs can do.

My excitement quickly turned to worry when I check her later and saw three more puppies and then one more. Six puppies in all! What was I going to do?

I’ve since calmed down. Pompeks are favored in Trinidad, I shouldn’t have a problem finding good homes for them.

I got Missy five years ago after a terrible tragedy in my life. She was like my personal psychiatrist, and she gave me the distraction that I needed at that time. Things are great for me these days, but maybe I needed another reason to smile. Even though I was dead set against it, today I am happy that she had the experience.

I don’t know which puppies are males or females. The male that I keep will be named Mister.

Dogs are great! They really know how to put a smile on your face. I hope I could say that six weeks from now.


Writers Workshop

Late last year I entered the Burt Award for Caribbean Literature competition, for Young Adult novels. They are associated with Bocas Lit Fest, which is the biggest literature festival in Trinidad.

Two weeks ago I received an invitation from Bocas, to attend a free workshop in April. They are offering one-on-one mentoring. This is a great opportunity, regardless of how the competition works out.

I am looking forward to this workshop more than the Easter long weekend. Even better, my friend Melissa was also chosen. This is her blog http://theywalkthenight.wordpress.com

Wish us luck.



It’s been a while. I didn’t realize so much time had gone by until several of my subscribers asked if I had stopped writing for the blog. For weeks I couldn’t come up with anything worth writing about (pertaining to the diary). My manuscript was edited in August 2013 and I just stopped. I sent out a few queries, entered two competitions and that was it.

 About two weeks ago I was browsing Penguin.com and saw that they were affiliated with a few Print-on-Demand Publishers. That got me thinking … maybe self-publishing could be used as a stepping stone. I researched all of the associated publishers and a few others. At the end, I didn’t think it made sense for me to do anything more than print, get an ISBN number, and e-book format. I was hoping to be impressed or at least intrigued by their advertizing strategies, but none of them offered anything that I could not do for myself, or enlist one of my friends to do.

 Self-publishing is something I had hoped I would never have to consider. But the more I think about it the more I think I could make it work. Strategy is the key to any successful project, so that is what I am working on right now. I am excited with the ideas that I’ve come up with. I have also always been very open to taking advice, and so far it has proven to be helpful.

At this time four young readers ages 12-21 are reading Selima and the Merfolk. With their reviews I will move on to editing, again if necessary. For those of you who regularly read my post you might be saying ‘enough with the editing!’ I want my book to be mistake-free. I need to be a person of integrity. If I want people to buy my book I should do everything I can to produce the best product. It may not be the best of all but it should be the best that I can do.

 However good a writer is, they will always have critics. I know I will be criticized, but I do not want it to be because of silly errors. Not everyone would like mermaids, or the portrayal of the characters, and that is understandable. Millions of people think the concept of vampires is ridiculous, but that didn’t stop Stephanie Meyer from having one of the best-selling series of all time.

 As I revamp my journey I will be posting more frequently on:




 Thanks for the support.


These pictures were taken in Woodford Square, Port-of-Spain. Once upon a time this square was known for having more than its fair share of vagrants. We still see vagrants in the capital, but I can’t remember when I last saw one in this square.

On the day I took these pictures the beauty of Woodford Square really caught my attention. It was one of those days that I was not rushing; therefore I was able to appreciate what the square has to offer.


·         Jehovah’s Witness – We don’t always have time to entertain them. Some of us never do. Nonetheless, you can always find one willing to share the good news.

·         Pigeons – On any given day flocks of pigeons swarm through the square. It is as much their home as the mermaid water fountain that has been the pride of the square since the 1800’s.

·         The political debaters – They entertain as much as they teach.

·         Hustlers – There is always someone selling school books or plants.

·         The snow cone man – It seems like he is always in front of the fountain.

·         The surrounding landmarks (Trinity Cathedral, Red House, Hall of Justice)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In the times we live in, one thing that is guaranteed is that something terrible is happening somewhere in the world. Whether it pertains to crime, politics, economy, human rights or natural disasters, there is always something out there to make you ask yourself –

“Why do these things have to happen?”

Although our country has serious issues, more than it has ever experienced. We still have good people and beautiful places in Trinidad and Tobago.

It is sensible to be aware of what is dangerous and negative around us, but remember that we still have the privilege to vote, worship and party like we what to here.  We can also choose who we want to marry. http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/15/world/meast/yemen-child-bride/

Maybe you can use one of these pictures as your wallpaper, to put a smile on your face when you need to imagine yourself sitting on a bench, watching the birds, and enjoying a snow cone, if only for 5 minutes.


Granny 8She is called Granny by everyone. She is known to make the best pelau you would ever taste. Frances Joseph is by far the most multidimensional person I have had the pleasure to know. Granny is a true Caribbean woman. She is a native of Grenada; her deceased husband was Antiguan, and they met and married in Trinidad.

At ninety-three, she considers it a privilege to have seen her nine children grow into respectable adults. One son and one daughter are deceased. She often proudly recites the names of her seventeen grandchildren and fifteen great-grandchildren.

At any given time, any member of her family can rattle off a list of her saying:
“Friends carry you but they don’t bring you back.”
“Time waits on no man.”
“Don’t leave for tomorrow what you could do today.”
And if she cannot find something, you better believe its Satan’s fault lol.

Aside from being known for her tasty dishes, Granny is also an energetic story-teller. She will tell the same stories a hundred times, but the weird thing is that you always want to hear them again. One of my favorite stories is – When she was a girl a man put question to her (flirted). She put him in his place (rebuked him). He retaliated by telling her father that he saw her talking to a boy. In those days that warrant a beating for poor Granny. Granny was patient. She crept out of her house at midnight, and hid in the adjacent cemetery. She knew that the man would pass there to get home. With the precision of a ninja, Granny pelt (struck) him with a big stone (rock), and caught him in his head. The man saw her. He came to her house and told her father what she had done. When her father checked on her, she was in her bed, faking a deep sleep.

Granny never lost her spunky nature. To this day, she is known for her quick wit. I often compare her to Sophia Petrillo from the 80’s sitcom The Golden Girls. My grandmother is a blend of many temperaments. She is a very compassionate lady. She has taken care of three children other than her own, and has helped several people as long as I can remember.

In her better years, her grandchildren could expect a sponge cake on their birthdays. She taught me how to make sponge cake, black cake, curry crab and pelau. I remember her warning when she passed on the pelau recipe. “If you burn your pelau you would embarrass me, because my pelau don’t burn.” I think I have done her justice, but my food would never be as good as hers.

Curry Crab

Curry Crab

Making Cakes At Christmas Time

Making Cakes At Christmas Time

Black Cake

Black Cake

Of all her adventures, the strangest thing she has done was substitute for a priest. When granny was a girl, Catholic priests did not go to the cemeteries after funerals. On occasion, little Frances Joseph would commit the dead to the ground. It’s an odd thing for a child to do. However, to have lived next to a cemetery, must have eluded any anxiety a regular person might have of dead people.

Granny is a comedian, and an honorary musketeer (my sister, cousin and I). Everything is more fun when she is involved. It’s odd to us when grown children don’t like to spend time with their grandparents. Most of us are adults, and we would use any opportunity to stay at her house. We like to stay up at night, bundle into one room, and listen to her tell stories of her youth. She grew up around some eccentric people, and she was a cook by trade. By far our favorite story is the story of her first boyfriend, the Norwegian soldier. That is an epic love story waiting to be penned.

There is so much I could say about Frances Joseph. My words will never do her justice. She is someone you have to meet in person.

While writing my novel, I found that it needed a character that was wise. The character also needed to know how to love and support. I immediately thought of Granny. That is what she has done for me, from the time I came into her family at seven years old.

I have been told many nice things in my life, all of which I appreciate. The best compliment I ever got was from Granny AKA Frances Joseph. She told me that I didn’t come from her, but God sent me to her.

This article is a tribute to her life and the example she has set for me as well as many other people. She represents a life well lived, and a respectable woman who has earned her credits.

Love you granny.