Wednesday, November 14, 2012


FEELING so accomplished—creatively. 

DURING my down time at work, I limited my FB/Internet surfing time and decided to work on my writing/publishing efforts. Following is a list of my accomplishments:

·        Submitted the full manuscript of In The Picture I Have of You (my first novel) to Arte Publico Press.
·        Submitted the first 20 pages of In The Picture I Have of You to an independent press, SheWrites Press.
·        Resumed working on my first children’s book Great-great Grandma is 100 Years Old Today! in honor of my grandmother and my granddaughter (photo above).

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

I haven't been able to post so it's been a long time. A lot has happened -- personally and most importantly, I AM A GRANMA to a beautiful girl. Didn't think I would ever experience a love like this -- next to God, it is the best kind of love.

Creatively, I was accepted for a writing residency at Ragdale for two weeks; however, because of my job, I can only do one week. But it will be one week of no working, undisturbed writing time. I leave Oct 18 (can't wait!).

More later...

Wednesday, April 04, 2012


Black Code for Black Males
(for my son & all
the Trayvon Martins)

When you’re Walking While Black
Follow the Black Code for Black Males
It’s a rite of passage, a spoken message
handed down from generation to generation
from the griots of oral tradition
Conduct yourself accordingly
walk at a steady pace, know your place
not too fast, not too slow, or medium or low
Don’t look suspicious or guilty—though
If your face is black or tan or brown
do it with a bit of difficulty
be auspicious but don’t smile
you’ll last just a longer while
Don’t frown or look down,
don’t look straight ahead, don’t look around
Don’t wear shades or gym shoes
or sagging jeans or sweats,
no long shorts or baseball caps
no bandannas or doo rags
Don’t carry Skittles or iced tea
Or any kind of 7-11 goodies
and under no circumstances – NO HOODIES

When you’re Walking While Black
Follow the Black Code for Black Males
Don’t wear your hair in braids or dreads
or fades with designs, don’t shave your head
don’t grow a fro or twirl your curls
or wrap your naps or kink your swirls
Don’t look dangerous or worried
Don’t look shifty or scary
Don’t speak or cry or yell for help
Don’t move your lips or yelp
If you pray, do it in your head
Try to remember what Jesus said,
“Peace, be still”
If possible, don’t walk at night
In neighborhoods safe and white
Do it in the daylight
So you don’t blend in the dark
don’t walk in the street or the park

When you’re Walking While Black
Follow the Black Code for Black Males
If you’re stopped by a cop
Keep your hands where he can see ‘em
Reach for the sky, way up high
If you’re handcuffed & searched
Don’t make any sudden moves
you know, you watch the news
Remain perfectly straight like a statue
Hold your breath for as long as you do
Remember freeze-tag when you were a kid?
if you’re still a kid it was probably the other day
So it shouldn’t be hard to stay that way
When you exhale, do so slowly
Don’t make too much noise
Don’t reach for your phone
To call yo girl or yo boys
if it falls, let it be
It if rings, let it go—
to voice mail

When you’re Walking While Black
Follow the Black Code for Black Males
If followed by a man with a gun,
on neighborhood watch,
watch it—you’ll just be a notch
so don’t reach for his gun, don’t run
don’t fight, don’t hit back, don’t bite
the bullet has your name
and he won’t take the blame
he’ll claim self-defense
despite the evidence
Don’t get suspended from school or smoke weed
don’t give probable cause, do good deeds
your reputation is at stake, you see
they don’t care if you’re good
you’re always up to no good

When you’re Walking While Black
Follow the Black Code for Black Males
Don’t scratch your nose if it itches
don’t touch your toe if it twitches
if you need to use it, hold it
if you have to cough or sneeze, hold it
if you want to live, hold it
if you want to live, hold it
When you’re walking while Black
Follow the Black Code for Black Males
though as with everything in life
there are no guarantees
no matter how hard you try to please
others may not believe
or know
about the Black Code
for Black Males
When you’re Walking While Black

--by Xenia “LaEquis” Ruiz
copyright ©4/01/12
R.I.P. Trayvon

Thursday, January 27, 2011


I'M WiFi-ing IT at the public library (who knew?). I usually go to Starbucks or Panera Bread & end up spending money for coffee/food but now that I know I can come to the CPL & take advantage of their WiFi (and save money), I'll be here more often.

HAD A PRETTY productive day, happy to say, including:
  • Applied to two jobs
  • Received response to volunteer request (to start 2/4/11)
  • Submitted a query & 50 pgs of ITPIHOY manuscript to literary agency
  • Prepared query letter & manuscript of ITPIHOY to university press (to be sent via snail mail - REALLY?)
  • FB'd w/two authors about publishing industry
  • Finished blog post (3rd one in one month!)

Wi-Fi at CPL = free

Accomplishing goals = PRICELESS!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


My grandnephew (ask him if I hate kids)

SO I'M WORKING on a couple of children's books. Those who know me (or think they know me) are probably cocking an eyebrow, doing a double-take, or saying "DOH!" "But you hate kids!" someone said when I told him of my latest project. I don't know how that rumor got started but let me clarify things: I. Do. NOT. Hate. Kids. Just because I don't like to hear them whine & cry -- does not mean I hate kids. Just because I don't like when they misbehave and throw tantrums in public places -- does not mean I hate kids. Just because I hold someone's child for a little bit -- until it starts to cry -- does not mean I hate kids. Just because I tell my daughter I'm not going to babysit her child (when she has one) while she goes out partying -- does not mean I hate kids. I like kids.

SO NOW THAT I've clarified matters...I've always wanted to write a children's book. I started one about a year ago, about a girl who complains about everything in her life until her grandmother tells her about her impoverished childhood and makes her thankful for what she has. I never finished it.

A COUPLE OF days ago, my sister, who is a teacher and budding children's author, sent me a link ( about a writing contest. So it got my creative juices going. We met at Panera's & did some brainstorming. A few years ago, she had started a children's book about a girl who lost her Gulf-War-soldier mother. I started writing another girl/grandma book called "Zariah's Room" about a girl who loves her bedroom -- until she has to share it with her grandmother who comes to stay with her family. Then I got another idea for another book, about a boy who is going to his great-great-grandmother's 100th birthday entitled: "Great-great-Grandma's 100 Today!" I'm dedicating it to my future yet-to-born grandchildren.

I HAVE TO keep myself busy to keep from going crazy and unemployed. I can't believe this is Week 7. All I need to do is write the new Harry-Potter-Twilight and I'm set.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


THEY SAY NO news is good news. Whoever said that probably never sent out a manuscript of a novel that took 6 years initially to write, was summarily rejected by several publishers, before being revised for another 10 years.

SO AS I wait to hear from the publishers, I try to busy myself with finding a new job after being "laid off" 2 weeks before Christmas (I am still unable to write about this without negativity so I won't). Job searching is a tedious, tedious job in itself. Even though the internet has made it easier (I can't even imagine hitting the pavement, going to different companies to fill out applications), it's still an exhausting process -- creating a username/password for every organization/company, copying/pasting my resume (which I have to revise for every job depending on the position), cover letter/letter of interest/letter of intent, then filling out the application portion.

ACCORDING TO ONE literary agent, a writer should never be "waiting", but "writing" and "submitting." So I should be working on my third novel while submitting the second novel to other publishers and agents. One thing about not having a job, you have no structure. And for a procrastinator, no structure is lethal.
IN THE MEANTIME, I've been doing some readings. The photo above is from a reading at Ponce @Nite, a monthly open-mic at Ponce Restaurant (
I've also read at Proyecto Latina ( where readings are currently held at Cafe Cathedral (which has a delicious strawberry-banana-mango smoothie). Both venues feature some awesome authors, poets, and performers which make me proud to be Latina.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


SO I GOT an e-mail from one of the publishers that I sent the 1st three chapters of In the Picture I Have of You . They want to see the whole manuscript! This is promising. It means that they liked what they read so far & want to read more. In fact, the e-mail said, "We look forward to reading your work!" (their exclamation point).

SO I'M EXCITED. What? I don't sound like it? Inside, I'm doing my Snoopy dance. If you know me, you know I don't like to get too excited. I'm a pessimist at heart so I always expect the worst so that if/when I get bad news, I don't feel the pain as much.

BUT I'VE EXPERIENCED rejection before so I know the pain. But I don't expect to get rejected this time. I know In the Picture I Have of You is a good manuscript and it's going to be an even better book. I believe it's going to bless a lot of people, especially women who have been abandoned by their fathers. Do I sound conceited? Over-confident? A few years ago, I never would have made such statements. If getting older has taught me one thing, it's that you need to believe in yourself and that positive thinking does work. A year from now (or a little more), In the Picture I Have of You will be published. As I write this, I'm seeing In the Picture I Have of You in bookstores now, right on the shelf of "New Arrivals." Amen.

p.s. I just hope they don't change the title. I know everyone says you shouldn't cling to a title because the odds are that the publisher will change it (as they did with Choose Me, which was originally titled, Eva and Adam) -- but I love my title!