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May 22, 2018 by in category Write From the Heart by Veronica Jorge tagged as , , , ,

A Dance of Words | Veronica Jorge | A Slice of Orange


Hispanola, which means the “Spanish island,” became the first Spanish settlement in America. It is my mother’s native country and today we know the eastern section of the island as the Dominican Republic; a fertile land abundant in mines and minerals and rich in a great variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, and flowers, where the sun shines brightly year round.

The merengue, the country’s traditional music, embraces you throughout the island for dancing is an entirely social activity independent of holidays or festivals. Any gathering includes dancing because Dominican’s don’t just listen to music, they live it. Emotionally, the merengue celebrates life wherein you partake of the rhythms of love, family and friendship. The most skilled dancer moves in unity with their partner, as one.

My mother, Write from the Heart | Veronica Jorge | A Slice of OrangeCelina Antonia Luna de Jorge, (isn’t that lovely? Like a song in itself), left her beautiful, beloved island, and part of her heart, when she came to America at the age of seventeen. Like most of our ancestors, her family traveled to America in the hope of a better future. I’m happy to say that she found it. (She had me!).

Mom is most fully herself, most fully alive when she is surrounded by her family and cooking us all of the traditional delicious foods of her country. She fills and satisfies us with her peace and joy. And like the savory aromas that waft through the air, she makes our hearts swirl to the rhythms of her warmth and love.

And that’s what I want my writing to be like; a dance of words wherein writer and reader move in sync and taste the flavors of love, friendship, loss and new found purpose, joy and laughter. Writing that, in spite of sorrowful events or hardships, celebrates life and fills the reader with hope that today is indeed worth living.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! I love you!


See you next time on June 22nd.

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How far would you go to get thin? by Jina Bacarr

January 11, 2018 by in category Jina’s Book Chat tagged as , , , , , ,

The holidays just ended and already I’m getting emails from a major department store telling me it’s not too early to prep for prom.


I took a look at the dresses offered and I have to admit, $445.00 is pretty pricey for a dress you may only wear once. Or twice.

If you’re lucky, you get to wear your prom dress to a college dance, but by then it will be so “yesterday.” Not to mention it won’t fit if you fall victim to the Freshman Fifteen.

But what if you’re not going to the prom because . . . well, you hate yourself because you’re not thin. Who’s gonna ask you?

It gets worse.

When your arch enemy, the Duchess, bullies you about your weight, you lose it. Announce to the universe you’re going to

run against her for prom queen and you’ll anything to get thin. Anything. Even sell your soul.


Guess who shows up…and is Luke the hottest, sexiest devil you’ve ever seen. He promises you that you’ll get thin if you do what he says…

Find what that is in CRYSTAL GIRL when Kaylee makes a deal with the devil to get thin and win Prom Queen.

Available in Kindle and Kindle UnLimited

With all the talk about how women are viewed in the workplace, let’s not forget appearance is also a key factor. Actresses have been “ordered” to lose weight to get a part. Models, it seems, live on lettuce. And the rest of us, well, we see these gorgeous ladies looking like celery stalks and get on ourselves because we don’t look like that.

Thank goodness people are talking about how much women are paid in the workforce compared to men, and how they have to struggle against unwanted advances from men in power.

But we’re also victims of ourselves. The obsession to be thin. It’s not a new problem. I’m doing research now for a story set in the Victorian era and I came across an “X-ray” drawing of a woman’s ribs from using a corset. Pushed, squeezed into an unnatural, skeleton structure. No wonder women turned green. Literally. It was called chlorosis.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t keep a healthy weight. Healthy is the keyword here.

So if you’ve ever uttered those words, “I’ll do anything to be thin,” check out Crystal Girl and find out the price Kaylee paid before she found her way back.

CRYSTAL GIRL is based on a play I wrote that was produced at the Malibu Stage Company Theatre. It was very exciting to see my characters come alive on stage!! 

Thanks for listening,



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How Choreographing a Musical Led Me to Writing a Novel

February 16, 2015 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , , ,

Right now I am in the middle of choreographing a musical for my son’s middle school. We are doing Aladdin, Jr., and I am working with 60 5th-8th graders. As I draw out diagrams of who goes where and count beats, I realize that all this orchestrating I’m doing is another form of storytelling, just like writing a book. As Co-Director I’m making decisions on how we tell the story, just like writers decide what scenes they write for their book.

There are several directions a plot can take, secondary characters to introduce and specific settings to create. Just like there are several types of steps to select and put in a specific order. Where does the cast enter and exit? Do I line them up in a straight line or group them together? What are their hands doing? Their facial expressions? What are the movements communicating? There needs to be emotion, conflict, responses to other’s actions, and it all has to connect in order to get the story across properly. The choices can be overwhelming. I find I have to just go for it and pick one. If it doesn’t work I can change it if I need to. That’s what we do when writing a novel.
As I pondered this, I found more similarities between staging a musical and writing a novel. In a musical, there are sets and costumes that make the setting. In a book we write descriptions of clothes, buildings and surroundings to help communicate the setting. In a musical, the ensemble cast adds to the storytelling, helping communicate setting and interaction. In both, main characters have lots of dialogue. 
When I listen to the music and read the lyrics, I try to come up with movements that communicate the emotions and feelings in the story. I do the same when working on my novel. As I write different scenes, sometimes I find something not working. And just like watching the kids move around on stage, I seem to be able to tell if something doesn’t fit right and I’m open to changing it.
So how did choreographing lead me to writing a novel? When I was asked to do this three shows ago, I taught dance and choreographed children’s choirs in the past, but nothing of this magnitude. I had no idea if I could do something on such a large scale. Honestly, I was scared.
That musical was Little Mermaid, which consisted of 75 kids. I constructed something I was quite proud of. And the confidence that grew out of the entire experience was amazing. I stepped out beyond myself. It was so empowering. And that is what helped me cross over into the next challenge of my life – writing a novel. 
Up to that point I would read, and read, and read and when I finished a novel, I’d say to myself “I would love to write one like that.” Then I’d look at my life and think, how in the world would I fit that into my schedule? I had thought the same thing about choreographing. But after the show, I realized I had made the schedule work. Whatever obstacle my mind would make up, I pushed through. I had to. I didn’t have a choice because I had made a commitment. I somehow figured it out. And because I did, it helped me see that I can do anything I put my mind to.
The next year, I choreographed Beauty and the Beast. It was easier, even though I was still nervous. I trusted myself a little more. I’m sure that is what it feels like when you start working on a second novel. I’m not quite there yet.
So now I am working on my third show, believing in myself more than before. Sure there’s a part of me that is still scared, which keeps me on my toes (no dance pun intended!). But I’m making decisions faster and not doubting myself as much. Which I find has transferred over to my writing.
I love doing this even though it is more challenging to fit in writing time while I’m choreographing. But, instead of picking one over the other, I find that they complement each other. I can see my choreography become something tangible and it encourages me to keep writing. All the writing and edits are like rehearsals, fine-tuning the details. It keeps me motivated. 
So what’s the lesson in all this? Don’t let anything keep you from doing what you want to do. That first show ended in April 2013. By September that year I had joined OCCRWA. And I am so glad that I did. I have learned so much from all of you. It has been a wonderful journey so far, just like fun rehearsals before the main performance. Thank you for being such a great cast to work with.

If you are interested Friends Christian Middle School will be performing Aladdin, Jr. March 13 (7pm) and 14 (1 & 4pm) at Rose Drive Friends Church in Yorba Linda. Tickets are $7. Call 714-202-8410 for more information.

Denise Colby  writes uplifting, encouraging stories that cherish and warm the heart.  Her first historical novel features a young lady who has lost all hope, travels west to teach and finds love along the way.  Passionate about all types of stories – whether they are from songs, theatre, movies or novels – she loves sharing those passions with her husband and their three boys.

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