I'm not sure which is scarier: Halloween or NaNoWriMo. :-D
Did ya know...
~ We didn't really celebrate Halloween in the Philippines...not while I was growing up anyway. We knew about Halloween, but there was, sadly, no trick-or-treating around the neighborhood. They have Halloween now. Lucky little kids. I missed out big time when I was young. *sniff*
|Me want candy!|
~ We had different kinds of monsters we were afraid of. We called them aswangs. My mom would try to scare us so we would listen to her, or make us go to bed when it was bedtime. I mean, that's pretty counterproductive, right?
Mom says, "Go to bed so the monsters won't come after you!"
Yeah right. The aswangs will eat me while I'm sleeping.[hides in the closet; forces eyes to stay open]
~ There was a giant tree called a balete that we would have to pass every time we hike through the woods to visit my grandparents' house (which was in a pretty isolated place). My cousins (who were older than me) used to tell me to say excuse me as we're walking past so that the ogre who lived in the tree would not bother us. O_o
|"I am watching you," says the invisible ogre.|
~ Of all the aswangs in the Philippines, I was most afraid of the manananggal (yeah, try saying that five times really fast!). A beautiful woman by day, but at night, her body splits in half right along her stomach so that her legs get left behind as she sprouts wings and fly through the night, looking for babies and little kids to snatch up and eat. There's no use hiding as she has a wicked sense of smell. The only way to defeat her they say (I don't know who 'they' are, really. Who makes up this kind of stuff, anyway?) is to find her bottom half and destroy it so that when dawn comes, she can't transform back into her human self.
Happy Trick-or-Treating! Watch out for Spookables! ;)
|This is my only costume. Har har!|
To all of you doing Nano this year, let's buddy up! I'm CherieL over there.
Okay, not to be overly dramatic but I just want to point out that when I write reviews for books, it's not to disparage, hurt, smite down anyone in any way. I LOVE to read. I go through hundreds of books in a year or so. Before I even started writing and blogging, I would go through 4 to 5 books in a week, 7 on an easy week (a book a day). My Goodreads profile doesn't even reflect all of the books I've ever read in my life (partly because I haven't had time to update it, and a lot of the books I read didn't get written down so now I don't remember their titles.) The bottom line is, I have a pretty good sense of what kind of books works for me and what doesn't.
Awhile back, my good writer friend J. Lea Lopez posted an HONEST REVIEW PLEDGE on her blog. So I would like to ask J. Lea's permission to share this with you, and adopt it as well because it is a wonderful pledge.
As a writer, I pledge:
- Never to pay for fake positive reviews of my work
- Never to offer discounts, freebies, or other perks to readers in exchange for falsely positive reviews
- Never to solicit false negative reviews for other writers' work in order to make my own look more favorable or to gain marketing advantage
- To review all works honestly and candidly
- Never to write a negative review for the purpose of revenge, spite, or personal attack
- Never to accept money, flattery, gifts, or other perks in exchange for false positive reviews
- Not to let opinions or expectations of others affect my views of the work I'm reviewing
There you have it.
I know getting reviews you don't like hurts. I won't dismiss that. But if you, as an AUTHOR, expect people to hand out their hard-earned money for your work (even if it's only $0.99, it's still money), then be prepared to accept what they may have to say. It's only fair.
I'm still here. Remember those books I listed in my previous post? Yep, I am busy reading and reading some more. 5 books so far...lots more to finish before November 1st. Expect a lot of book reviews coming your way the month of November. (Which is perfect since I'm doing NaNoWriMo this year, and I doubt I'll have time to blog much.)
What's that? You don't know what NaNoWriMo is? I didn't either until I saw the frenzy on Twitter over a month ago about getting ready for this whatchamacallit annual event. So of course, crazy, curious
cat person that I am, I had to go and check it out. And sign myself up without even thinking it thoroughly. I already told hubs last week I'm doing this writing thing next month, and even though his eyes were mostly glazed over, sweet as he is, the first thing he asked me when I was done explaining was: What can I do for you?
See? See why I married the guy? *envy me* haha!
So. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It's not a contest, per se. More like a challenge you do with a bunch of other
crazies writers. The goal is simple: Write 50,000 words in a month. If we must simplify this, that would be approximately 1700 words everyday. Sounds doable? Perhaps. I'm a slow writer but highly motivated when given a deadline. So we'll see how it goes.
Alright, I'm going back to my reading. Must build up my ammunition (words) before the real writing begins.
|By Debbie Ridpath Ohi|
See ya on the flip side!
Are you doing NaNo too?
These are the books awaiting me: (Some of them are Kindle editions)
I've been procrastinating on this particular blog award because it requires me to sort through my blog posts for the most beautiful, most controversial, most popular, etc., and somehow it's making me feel like a judge for American Idol. Or maybe, a better metaphor would be a beauty pageant judge...
Strut your stuff, blog post #20! Chin up, blog post #68! You call that a walk? What are you thinking?
And I fear my posts from now on will develop an inferiority complex.
BUT! It has to be done. Sooooo...a BIG THANKS to these wonderful blogger friends who bestowed me this interesting award:
Tara Tyler of Tara Tyler Talks. She's a lovely math teacher and writer rolled into one. I am always in awe of mathematicians because Math was the one subject I struggled the most with during my high school years.
Caitlin Vincent of Musings of an Ordinary Mind. Caitlin is one of the sweetest and smartest persons I know. I love her writing voice (check out her A Word for Wednesday posts). Love yah, Cay-Cay! ;)
A.M. Supinger of Inner Owlet. This gal is one of my favorite bffs. She's lovely, she's funny, and she can write beautiful, sometimes heart-wrenching stories. She's very imaginative and she never ceases to amaze me with her talent. <3
|Thank you, ladies!|
1. Most Beautiful Post goes to... I can't decide between two so I made it a tie instead. The first one is the meme: Writing Is NOT Like a Box of Chocolates, where I compared writing to a tango dance. It has JLo and Richard Gere. I mean, c'mon, Richard Gere, right? Ok, he's old but he's still got it.
The second pick is more personal (to me, anyway): Poetry, The Music To My Soul.
2. Most Popular Post is...my contest entry: Beware the Bunny. So technically, this is not the first most popular but the FOURTH ranking post. The others were giveaways so I didn't include them. Apparently, you guys like morbid, scary bunny stories. O_o
|Don't be fooled by those lovely round eyes, or by its soft fur.|
3. Most Controversial Post (oh my!): I don't do politics, so I had a hard time picking a winner for most controversial. And then I remembered this post that started the #goatposse phenomenon on Twitter so what the heck: Who We Are. Yep, it's got goats in it.
|So cute, right?|
4. Most Helpful Post goes to...Passive vs. Active Voice. This is actually the second most popular post too. I get "passive and active voice" searches a lot. Glad to know it's helping someone out there. *looks out into the great beyond*
5. Most Surprisingly Successful: (wait, what does this even mean? That a post I thought was a loser actually garnered views? Or that a post I wrote wriggled its way into the top popular post ranking?) Since I'm not sure about this, I'm going with the next popular: The Breakfast Club: YA in a Nutshell. John Hughes, baby. 'Nuff said.
6. Post That Didn't Get the Attention It Deserved or Most Underrated (I need to make two sashes for this): I think it would have to be the milk maid story found here: Because I Was A Reader First Before I Became A Writer. I'm still thinking of myself as the milk maid sometimes, especially when I get writerly doubt. (You think you can write, punk? Oh yeah? Ya think you can? Huh.)
7. The Post I Am Most Proud Of: This is the one that started it all: On Writing and Other Knickknacks that Stumble My Way.
And I'm tagging these wonderful bloggers because I'm sure they have interesting posts to share with us:
Michelle Simkins (Beyond awesome. Y'all need to follow her. Srsly.)
Shelly Brown (Funny and entertaining. When I think of Shelly, "movie star" comes to mind immediately. Must be those cool-looking shades she's got on.)
Bethany C. (She is my Shakira-fro-wearing, hamster-slave-driving, purple goat sistah who totally rocks. I <3 <3 <3 her!)
Lori M. Lee (Uber talented. I drool over her manga artwork all the time.)
Mary Frame (The wolf lady who doesn't write about werewolves. Yeah, she's awesome.)
The Golden Eagle (She rocks. 'nuff said.)
Laila Knight (Her words: "Life is too short to let it be ordinary." Amen!)
Abby Fowers (A real, down-to-earth, sweet lady. ;) )
Kristin Baker (I love this gal! She's funny and smart and sweet.)
Peggy Eddleman (she just landed herself an agent! Hooray!)
Go on, ladies! Dazzle us with your fabulous posts! <3
Sooo... before I tell you why I'm feeling -10 sparkly today and all kinds of grouchy, the sweet and lovely Ashley Nixon threw a bunch of questions at me over the weekend about writerly stuff and such, so head on over there if you care to know what my writing space looks like (yes, there's a picture! And if you look closely, maybe you'll spot Ryan the Zombunny.) And heavens no, I wasn't grouchy because of this interview. Boy, wasn't that a terrible preface (sorry, Ashley! You know I love yah!)
If you still care to know what ruffled my feathers, come back over here when you're done. I can wait.
|By Debbie Ridpath Ohi|
You're back? You're that curious, huh. I may end up disappointing you. Just a warning.
Alright, here it is: my iPhone is busted.
It still works, yeah, but the screen has these spidery webbing all over it. I know it's Halloween and all, but I prefer my spider webs to be fake, synthetic stuff I can stick on the bushes outside, not this cracked iPhone glass. :(
So I was walking my little girl to school when this family with a dog came up behind us. Their dog was making some weird huffing sound, which freaked out my daughter. She started running, tripped on the curb, and fell down. When I hurried to help her up, my iPhone slipped out of my hand and the hard cement was no way merciful. Screen totally ruined. Curse ye, weird sounding dog!
Okay, okay, I know it's not the dog's fault. Or anyone's, really. But see, my daughter is terrified of dogs because of a traumatic experience. We were at the playground once, and I think she was only 4 at that time, when this little puppy started chasing her, nipping and barking at her heels. The poor girl shrieked and screamed, and ran in circles, while the dog owners stood and watched and LAUGHED, thinking it was cute and funny.
It was neither cute nor funny. I, of course, rescued her but the damage was already done.
See now, before any of you dog owners get mad at me, hear this: I had a dog growing up. I'm no dog hater, by any means, but one thing I know is that NOT EVERYONE IS GOING TO LOVE YOUR PET AS MUCH AS YOU DO. (Yes, I LOVED my dog but I was considerate of others.) So please, when you're in a public area, KEEP THEM ON A LEASH. And for goodness sake, pick up after them. We seriously had a neighbor once who let their dog use OUR FRONT YARD as their PERSONAL BATHROOM. Those turds are not gonna pick themselves up, FYI. Their dog was doing its business while we were pulling out of our driveaway, and I totally saw the guy just watched and did nothing. NOTHING!
Oh the horror!
Ahem. I'm okay now. Still bemoaning my phone but that's life. I hope the rest of you are having a wonderful, sparkly, trauma-free day.
Blurb from Goodreads:
When you're sixteen and no one understands who you are, sometimes the only choice left is to run. If you're lucky, you'll find a place that accepts you, no questions asked. And if you're really lucky, that place has a drum set, a place to practice, and a place to sleep. For Kid, the streets of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, are that place. Over the course of two scorching summers, Kid falls hopelessly in love and then loses nearly everything and everyone worth caring about. But as summer draws to a close, Kid finally finds someone who can last beyond the sunset.
About the Author:
Steve Brezenoff is the author of dozens of chapter books for younger readers and the young adult novel The Absolute Value of -1. Born in Queens, Steve has lived in the suburbs on Long Island, on a couch on Manhattan's Upper East Side, a few feet from the 7 train in the Sunnyside neighborhood in Queens, and across the Hudson River in Jersey City--but none of those places has stuck with him or been missed as acutely as Brooklyn, where he lived on and off for much of his twenties and early thirties. Now he lives in St. Paul, with his wife and two sons.
For more on the author, visit his website or Goodreads page.
I won this book from a giveaway hosted by the publisher Carolrhoda Lab. I had forgotten that I entered the giveaway in the first place, so imagine my surprise and elation when they contacted me about my prize. It was weird 'cause I couldn't remember what the book was about, so when it arrived, I had no preconceived notions at all (and yes, I didn't google it beforehand. It was a pure cold read).
I took it with me to my daughter's dance class, hoping to kill the hour with some quiet reading. I didn't know I would have a hard time putting it down.
The magic and charm of Brooklyn, Burning lies in its masterful, lyrical prose. The author took risks by switching into different POVs and alternating between the past and the present, but he did it so well that it didn't jerk me, the reader, out of the story. Instead, it let me dive in and then float along with the waves. I was entranced by the beauty of it all.
There are several angles in this book to draw perspectives from--we can talk about the *LGBTQ characters, the setting, the central theme, the love story, the parental units and the characters' relationships with them, friendship, music, summer affairs, arson, etc. The thing is, you can take away what you want from the novel--it's the reason why if you read the reviews for this book, you'll see varying opinions. There are ugly truths and beautiful truths, and even those in-between. For me? I simply LOVED Brooklyn, Burning.
Kid, the main character, is Kid. He/She could be anyone, could be you. (For this review, I will refer to Kid as male since that's how I envisioned him when I read the book. Others have noted how the author never really tells us what or who Kid is. But as reading is partly influenced by the reader's own perception, there is no wrong or right way as far as Kid's gender issue is concerned. For all I know, you could be reading it and thinking of Kid as a girl. Whatever works.) Kid has been living "in the streets" after his father kicked him out of the house for being LGBTQ. He hangs out at Fish's bar, down in the basement, where he plays the drums with Felix, a musician and a junkie and Kid's first love. But then a fire in the warehouse (where Kid and Felix used to sleep) broke out and destroyed everything Kid has hold dear to his heart.
The next summer, Kid meets Scout, who is another musician looking out for a band to play with. It is during this time that the police holds Kid as a suspect for the warehouse fire. We see glimpses of Kid's relationships with his friends, mentors, Felix, his parents, and Scout.
Brooklyn is a hard place to be, but at the same time, it takes in Kid just the way he is--and unconditionally. In a way, Brooklyn itself is a character as well as the setting for this story.
My favorite part is when Kid and Scout are trying to come up with a name for their band. Kid asks Scout what her songs are about, and she says it's about the world in general, about people. And so they become People. (p.144) It's very simple, and yet so poignant. I feel like this is the core of the story. That no matter who we are, or what we are, or what others think of us, in the end we are all PEOPLE. We are one and the same. It's about acceptance and tolerance and real love. The kind of love that doesn't kick out their child into the streets simply because they do not fit your definition of what they ought to be. The kind of love that hurts, and laughs, and feels sorrow.
If you like stories that make you think and look at the world in different perspectives, pick up Brooklyn, Burning and let its music seep into your soul. I highly recommend this.
*LGBTQ = Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer
Today I've been cleaning and sorting through drawers and art stuff and all kinds of school work that get shoved in corners and plastic bins. Stuff like these always takes longer than I anticipate in the beginning. But afterwards, it feels good to have four trash bags full of things I may never use or look at again in the future.
Clean house = peace of mind. (Until it gets dirty again--the house, not my mind. Yeesh.)
It's amazing how much clutter we can accumulate in a matter of weeks, or even days. Lots of unnecessary things we don't need or won't ever use again. (Wait for it--an editing metaphor is heading your way. You knew it, didn't you?) Just like in your beloved manuscript, you'll have to sort and weed the bad, unnecessary "darlings" (those words or phrases you're absolutely in love with but they don't progress the plot or they weigh down the pace). It will be a painstaking job but in the end, you know it'll make for a better and shinier novel.
A couple days ago I asked for editing tips from YOU, brilliant readers, and I must say I am glad I did because I gleaned a TON of helpful stuff.
~Let the manuscript sit and simmer for a loooong time.
~ PURPLE pens are prettier, more creative, and less harsh than RED pens. (Green is acceptable, too. Right, Phresh?)
~ Read it OUT LOUD.
~Print it out and edit with a pen (instead of editing on the screen). Highlighters are useful when doing line edits.
~Use BETA READERS or CRIT PARTNERS.
~Edit, rinse, repeat.
~Chapter map in a grid, with columns for page numbers, brief chapter summaries, and potential plot problems and questions. (I like this one!)
~Do NOT over-edit.
~Cupcakes are okay during editing. And lastly, don't be afraid to write BOOYAH! at the end of your ms. Have faith in yourself and in your writing.
So. The metaphor? Editing = cleaning = happy me. The process may be tedious and physically laborious, and really, who likes cleaning houses, right? (Except for my mom.) BUT! The end result is something to look forward to.
Confession: I haven't done any EXTENSIVE editing before in any of my mss. So I consider myself a newbie at editing. When I write my first draft, I occasionally make notes in my Word doc. (If you don't know this: You simply highlight the word or words and click on Review located in the top bar, then New Comment.) I'm a slow writer because I don't merely pump out words--I review them as I go along. Yeah, blame my internal editor. It doesn't mean my first draft is clean and error-less. It just means I'm a neurotic writer who second-guesses herself a LOT.
|This is my BIG book of notes. Ha! Yeah, I write EVERYTHING down--from chapter outlines, ideas, character names, phooey queries, synopsis attempts, grocery lists, TBR lists, and anything that catches my eye while surfing the net.|
Here are some helpful links I've been perusing lately:
I, Editor by Robert K. Lewis via From the Write Angle blog
Editing Your MS in 30 Days or Less by Elana Johnson, YA Author of Possession
Over-Editing and Self-Esteem by Joyce Alton, Yesternight's Voyage blog
As you may (or may not) have noticed, my blogging has been all over the place lately. :D And now that it's October, which is one month closer to NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), it's not going to get any normal.
Life is a lot more fun when it's unpredictable, right? Right? Oh okay, not for you guys who crave routines. ;D
So. I FINISHED writing my first draft of HIDDEN. Mind you, this is probably the 4th start-from-scratch-again revision draft, so it's not exactly my first ever novel to finish. Just the one I am satisfied...FOR NOW. For lo and behold, just when you think you've finally written fin or the end or booyah! at the end of your manuscript, and you're finally stuffing yourself with cupcakes in celebration of your GREAT accomplishment, the doorbell rings and the red pen is at your doorstep saying, "Hello, how may I EDIT you?"
If you are smart (like me), you'd slam the door on its face and say, "Not today, buddy! Come back in a couple of weeks."
And then you go back to your happy dancing and cupcake eating, and never mind the red pen eyeing you balefully from outside the kitchen window. You'd better celebrate now because once the two weeks are up, YO! NO CUPCAKES FOR YOU AND YOU MIGHT AS WELL GET SLASHER-CRAZY AND WIELD A HATCHET BECAUSE YOUR FIRST DRAFT WILL BE NEEDING SOME MAJOR SURGERY!
Ahem. It's one of the truths in the universe, unfortunately. No first rough draft turns out to magically be a bestseller. It's just not happenin', dude. Okay? EDITING is part of the process. No shortcuts, no way around it. So tell me, since I need my head back on pretty soon-- HOW DO YOU EDIT YOUR MS?
Please share 'cause I need ideas that are not as torturous as what I'm planning to do with my beloved manuscript. On Wednesday, I'll share with you my process and a few linkages to awesome editing advice.
While you're here, enjoy this Monday Funny to start off your week right!
|By Debbie Ridpath Ohi|
Sigh. How I wish...
The rules for this award are:
2. Share seven random facts about myself.
4. Contact those buddies to congratulate them.
~If you write horror, don't write in your basement alone. Or way into the night. Even if you have all of the lights on, you eventually have to turn them off when you retire for the night. Those stairs look daunting now, don't they?
I'm passing on this blog award to the following bloggers because I know they are BRILLIANT!
1. Anita Howard
2. Lydia Kang
3. Sarah Fine
4. Sarah Pearson
5. Angela V. Cook
6. Lori M. Lee
7. Julie Fedderson
8. Barbara Kloss
9. Erin Summerill
10. Tara Tyler
11. Jessie Humphries
12. Rachna Chhabria
13. Jami Gold
14. Shelly Brown
15. Mindy McGinnis
I know I went over 5, but hey, I'd tag you all if I had the time. <3 Love you, guys!
Wednesday, October 05, 2011 | | 23 Comments
The Skeleton Key blogvel's last chapter is up today at Michelle Simkins' Greenwoman blog. *sniff* Ax and Becca's adventures have come to an end. It's been a fun collaboration with talented writers, and I know I enjoyed following the blogvel as much as writing my own chapter contribution.
Anyway, here's the list of chapters with links for those of you who are curious and want to read it from the beginning to end. And excuse me while I go sniffle in a corner. For those of you who've already read the chapters, check out the Monday Funny at the bottom of this post for your dose of writerly fun.
Have a great week, everyone!
Chapter 1–May 30. Greenwoman
Chapter 2–June 6. Inner Owlet
Chapter 3–June 13. Word by Word
Chapter 4–June 27. In the Jungle
Chapter 5–July 4. The Creativity Rebellion
Chapter 6–July 11. The Party Pony
Chapter 7–July 18. Hey Now
Chapter 8–July 25. The Demeter Diaries
Chapter 9–August 1. Jello World
Chapter 10–August 8. Laura’s Universe
Chapter 11–August 15. Words from the Woods
Chapter 12–August 22.Greenwoman
Chapter 13–August 29. Chelsea Rose Fine Arts
Chapter 14–September 5. Tighty Writie
Chapter 15–September 12. Ready, Write, Go
Chapter 16–September 19. In the Jungle
Chapter 17–September 26. Writing with Shelly
Chapter 18–October 3. Greenwoman
|By Debbie Ridpath Ohi|
Monday, October 03, 2011 | | 11 Comments