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Pre-Halloween Pics 2013

It's the night before Halloween. All the decorations are up. The table is set. And, of course, I have pics to share with all of you!!!

Check them out:


This is the Entryway


Gate Guardian 1


Gate Guardian 2


The Window


And what I like to call the Nightmare Feast

This is where the treats will be.


One more just because I love it soooo much!!!

And just as a reminder, make sure to enter the October Giveaway:

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Shayna Varadeaux Books & Reviews: Punished (Arelia LaRue #2) by Kira Saito

I'm all giddy. Tomorrow is the day, folks! I have my decorations up. I'm putting together the final touches of our treat table. I even bought fake eyelashes. Smells like Halloween to me!!!

And in continuing with my blogger feature for October, today I have Shayna from Shayna Varadeaux Books & Reviews reviewing Punished (Arelia LaRue #2) by Kira Saito. But before we get into her review, let's get to know Shayna a bit:

I am a happily married mom of three teenagers. I am a highly addicted reader and an avid reviewer. I love generating buzz for authors and am almost finished writing my first YA book, True Fate. Life is chaos and reading is my relaxation. My blog is new but I have been supporting my fellow authors for awhile now and looking forward to generating buzz for the little guy! A tattoo artist turned author following my dream and loving it!

Isn't she awesome? I love anyone who follows their dreams. It takes a lot of courage to do this. So, Shayna, take it away...

~*~

Punished is book two in The Arelia La Rue Books. I absolutely love the spook factor in these books. It has a great balance and does catch me off guard. I get the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end with every installment of this Voodoo-esque series.

Arelia is pretty much in over her head and the spirits are restless. The creepiness of the old plantation and what's going on there are epic. The book literally grabs you and sucks you into the plantation grounds, it's very well written and some parts are disturbing but I am addicted to the series for sure.

She has been told she's a Voodoo Queen, though she doubted it in the beginning. But the eerie things that happen at the plantation, confirm what she hoped was just make believe. In New Orleans, Louisiana its not uncommon for these things. But on ancient plantations were torture and slavery was a way of life, misery hangs thick all around.

Louis was a slave angry at the people who thought you could own another human being. He grew up there and he seemed to adapt to the way things were until it came down to the love of his young life.

The death and curses fly and Arelia gets sucked into hundreds of years of old spiritual unrest. The plantation owner, Lucus, is as cursed as he is handsome. Arelia was working at the plantation in present day, taking care of the tourists staying at the plantation. Her and her best friend, Sabrina took the job together.

Arelia communes with Gran Ibo a mother spirit to the voodoo queen that aids her as much as she can. Arelia comes across some evil spirits more than once and sent chills racing down my spine often.
Ivan is this sort of jerky guy who works there too and he gets possessed by Louis. You can feel the haunting qualities of this series come to life.

I get the thriller/ chiller yet supernatural vibe from this book. You get transported by Kira Saito's graphic details into the plantation setting and it's surroundings. I could almost hear the low drolling tunes of the tortured souls. *shivers* I definitely recommend this series if like your hairs to stand on end and don't mind feeling like someone's watching you while you read in the dark.

Books one and two are really good reads, though I'd leave a light on! I haven't read books 3 & 4 yet but I plan on it soon!

On to book 3 ASAP!

~*~

Make sure to visit Shayna's blog by clicking on her blog button below:

Shayna Varadeaux Books & Reviews

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Killing the Main Character

With the internet exploding after the Allegiant release, it got me thinking. What would drive an author to kill a main character? This is a question that authors grapple with at some point in their career. To kill or not to kill? It’s only in fiction where the writer can get away with murder, but it doesn’t always mean it’s the right thing to do.

Anyway, I didn’t want to write this blog post without rounding out my thought process. I know how I feel about killing a main character, but that wouldn’t be enough for this sort of post. Because of this, I wanted to get the insight of other authors. I’m grateful that I did since I learned a lot from their responses.

First lesson? The death should be supported by the plot.

When the story is character driven, killing off the main character is the fastest way to finish the story. Even with plot driven stories, killing off the main character can halt the progress. It’s shocking, and if not done right can be devastating. If the main character has to die, the author needs to set it up early on. Dropping hints work, like creating a world where anyone can die at any minute. The Walking Dead is a great example of this even if it’s not technically a novel. Because of the situation the characters are in the death of anyone is supported by the plot. That means the death of a character would be realistic to the story regardless of the readers’ emotional investment.

Second, the death of a character hinges on whether the author is writing a standalone or a series.

If the novel is a standalone, the investment of the reader can be hours in the least and days at most. This is why Nicolas Sparks can get away with killing a major character at the end of his novels even if he writes romance. Then again, his fans come to expect this from his writing. They know a death is coming from the get go.

If the main character is part of a series, the writer succeeding in getting the readers to invest years of their lives, killing off said character would break reader trust. Of course, George R.R. Martin is known for killing off main characters in a blink. But the difference here is that he writes a compelling story where readers can’t help but forge on. Plus, he has a gazillion other characters to throw into the fray. More to invest in moving forward.

Third, everyone dies.

Of course, this justification is not enough to kill off a main character. One of the reasons why we read is to escape. Taking the escapism aspect of reading by killing the MC is just plain rude. Anyway, one of the authors I asked made a valid point. The sacrifice has to be equal to the cost. Just because everyone dies does not mean the main character should. Killing off an MC without setting things up or having the story call for it can be an example of lazy or sloppy writing. I call this the end of the world syndrome. This is where it becomes obvious the writer doesn’t know how to end the story so he or she just kills everyone. Again, if the plot supports the death, have at it. But if not, the author walks a treacherous path.

Fourth, genre has a lot to do with it.

In MG and YA novels, killing off a main character betrays the trust of the reader. It’s the author breaking the contract of entertaining those who chose their novel above someone else’s. Think of it this way, if J.K Rowling killed Harry Potter at the end of the series it’s not just the internet that would explode. Expect mass riots. But, as another author pointed out, Rowling set up the plot in such a way that one has to die for the other to live. If Harry died then evil triumphs and we can’t have that now could we?

In adult fiction, killing an MC can work to strengthen the plot. Someone cited Stephen King’s The Stand. Killing the character seen as the “good guy” in the novel helped drive the sense of hopelessness that usually comes with reading horror—that sense of no one making it to the end.

But in the case of YA Dystopian, where the characters live in a harsh environment, death seems imminent. Even if this is so, Suzanne Collins didn’t kill Katniss. The Hunger Games trilogy does carve out your heart, but it leaves you with a sense of hope in the end that makes all the violence and sacrifice worth it. The novels show that no matter what, good can prevail.

This leads me to my final point: authors writing as readers.

At the end of the day, authors are first and foremost readers. I believe that what we want to read influences what we write. If you’re a fan of happy endings then your novels have happy endings. Nicolas Sparks believes true love is tragic, which is why he kills lots of his MCs. George R.R. Martin sees the death of a character as a way to advance the plot, deepen the storyline.

As readers, the purchase of a novel is a contract with the author. For however many hours it takes to read a novel, we have certain expectations that need to be met. Category Romances are cliché for a reason. Readers know what they are getting when they read CR—a love story and a happy ending regardless of how we get there. When a reader picks up a Thriller or a Horror novel, they know that the safety of the main character is not guaranteed. In literary fiction, reading between the lines is definitely an expectation and a known practice.

I guess, what I’m really trying to say with this post is, writers can do what they want with the story because it’s theirs. But…writers must also consider the trust they are building with their readers. Are they ready to break this trust by killing off a character the readers have invested in? Does the plot call for it? Has the death been set up properly? Is the death just for the sake of shocking the readers?

Going back to my The Walking Dead reference, I dare the writers to kill Daryl. If they do, I will commend them for their courage then I will be looking for their home addresses. It’s the kind of situation where they should be hoping for an asteroid to barrel into the earth after killing him off. *evil laughs*    

Where I'll be on Nov. 9, 2013

If you're in the Ateneo area on November 9, 2013, why not try attending the ReaderCon. Below is the schedule. You might find a panel you're interested in:


You can pre-register here: http://filipinoreadercon.wordpress.com/2013/10/19/pre-register-for-filipino-readercon-2013/

The registration fee is P150. Not bad, I'd say.

And if you come to see me, you can shake me down for some SWAG. ;-)

My Reading Room Reviews: The Skull Ring by Scott Nicholson

In the midst of the craziness that is writing, editing, and promoting the sign ups for the Savor Review Tour, I almost forgot my blogger features. Well, not going to happen. The posts are pushing through!

Today, I'm featuring Crystal from My Reading Room. She sent me her review for The Skull Ring by Scott Nicholson. Sounds like a spine-tingling tale to me.

Crystal, the blog's all yours today!

~*~

Why I read this:  I have seen Scott Nicholson's books around for several years, starting with The Farm and kept meaning to read him, then I got away from the horror or supernatural thriller genre for awhile.  Then I saw this one and some of his other books reviewed on a blog and saw they were relatively inexpensive for the Kindle and I had to have it.  Since then I was contacted by Scott to participate in his blog tour (see the interview and giveaway post) and he sent me some of his other books as well.  

How is the novel driven:  This is kind of interesting to think about.  I think about suspense or horror type books as being mainly plot or event driven and while there is quite a bit of that in this book, I really think the characters, or really the character of Julia Stone is what the book is all about.

My thoughts: After interviewing Scott I think he refers to his genre as supernatural thriller.  I think I agree.  I always thought of him as horror but after reading The Skull Ring, I see more of the thriller aspect than the horror aspect.

Sure this is a book I am glad I did not start on Friday night when I was actually home alone.  This is one of those read during the day books or read while others are home at night.  It's scary in that thriller way - where the bad guys are real and really bad.

The Skull Ring focuses on Julia Stone who has moved to a small town in the mountains of NC to work on healing.  When she was 4-years-old her father disappeared and she believes she was part of a Satan-Worshiping ceremony.  She is seeing a therapist, working at the local newspaper and trying to make sense of her life and move on so she can marry her fiance back in Memphis.  However unlocking Julia's mind is scary and she is never sure what to believe.

I loved this book - Julia's character development pushed this book along at a speedy clip.  The other people she meets are put into question at every turn and I had a hard time figuring out who was good and who was bad and what exactly was going on with Julia.  And in this type of book that is a great thing.  Scott Nicholson writes a tightly plotted book with wonderful plot and character development.  It's sufficiently frightening as well.  Who is the bad guy, is Satan at work in Julia, is there God to help Julia, is Dr. Forrest helping her or hurting her and is Walter a friend or foe?  These are all things that swirl around as Julia learns about herself and her past.

I loved the small mountain town setting.  I could picture it so well.  And everyone knows I am a sucker for a book set in my home state. It was also the perfect setting for this type of book.

If you like thrillers with a supernatural element then this is definitely the book for you.  Well-written, perfectly paced and just an all-around exciting read, The Skull Ring scores high on my must-read scale.  And I am really glad I have several more books by Scott on my Kindle ready to read as well.

Just a Note:  I had several comments on the interview post say they like suspense, but not the blood and gore of horror.  I can't speak for Scott's other books, but there really  isn't much blood and gore in this one, it's mainly the suspense-type blood, not the horror type.

My Rating: 4.75/5.0

~*~

With a rating like that? Wouldn't you say The Skull Ring is something to add to your reading list? I'm making sure to do so.  But before that, let's get to know Crystal a little more:

My name is Crystal and I am voracious reader of all kinds of books. Book blogging has introduced me to so many wonderful authors and books, so I am glad I opened that door of my life. I started blogging regularly in March of 2009.

I live on the coast of NC with my husband, and two sons (see all of us above). I work in marine science and love my job. I also like to cook/bake, scrapbook and sew when I get a chance. Reading is probably my first love after my family though. I love young adult books, romance, romantic suspense, suspense, historical fiction and general fiction. I have been branching out into non-fiction lately too.

Some of my favorite authors are Stephen King, Jodi Picoult, J.P. O'Donnell, Maggie Stiefvater, Cecily von Ziegesar (love Gossip Girl), Anita Shreve, James Patterson (I still enjoy the Alex Cross series), Karen Rose, and Nora Roberts.

I love reading new authors - some of them have really wonderful books to offer, they just don't have the advertising dollars to back them yet.

I also just received a Kindle which I love. I never thought I would give up print books, but having a Kindle is very nice. I still won't give up print books, but ebooks are a good thing too. I hope the industry continues to value ebook readers and don't think they are a passing fancy.

Make sure to visit Crystal's blog after you enter the giveaway:

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Geek Rage Reviews: NOS4A2 by Joe Hill


During my journey as a writer and entering the world as a published author, I have met many interesting people--some more interesting than most. There are few instances when I'm blown away by someone. Sam Reader (some of you might know him as CaiusCaligula) is definitely one of the people in my life that continue to blow my mind. I've featured his reviews on my blog several times now and when I put forth my call for submissions for October, my heart did a cartwheel when he answered the call. I can gush until the end of time about him, but I don't want to take up more of your time with him. So, here's what you have to know about Sam Reader:

I am a reviewer, ranter, and occasional commentator on society in general. I am foulmouthed, crazy, and an incredibly strange person who is very proud of those things.

Definitely my kind of guy!

Today, he reviews NOS4A2 by Joe Hill. Based on his review alone, I want to read this book. I'm just gathering the courage to actually do so because nightmares, man, nightmares.

With all that said, Sam, the blog's all yours.

~*~

Okay, so, the rundown is as follows: Upon opening this book and reading the first two chapters, I immediately thought "Oh, this is Joe Hill doing a sort of Stephen King thing." By two or three hundred pages in, I thought he'd gone soft, gotten kindly in his success. Then his story proceeded to bite me when I was unawares and hang on with razor-sharp teeth. There have been a lot of books that approached the idea of "stolen childhood" and the nature of innocence when it comes to monsters. Few have been as gleefully and delightfully nasty about it as this. This book subverts the usual plotline of childhood magic winning out against adult monsters, turns it inside out, and makes it a hand puppet. And it does it with style and grotesquerie to spare.

               The bad parts are a tendency to lose itself in its own language a little, some nods and name-checks that I didn't really think fit well, and the way it sort of feels too loose. Like it's trying to cover too much ground, or trying too hard to be like something else. But these are very minor nitpicks, and the book is a relentless, nasty, but still fantastic read.

           This is a book people should be recommending, and if they are, this is a book people should recommend for many years. It'll stay with the people who read it, I guarantee.


"THE BRAT CAN FIND THE WRAITH"
- Maggie Leigh/Scrabble tiles

            I really wish these books would stop finding me. Well, no, that's a lie. But it seems like whenever I need a book, one drops right in. I was struggling through Infernal Devices, a book that has almost killed this damn blog (Thanks, KW Jeter), when a few days ago, I received an alert for a book request I didn't remember filing. I'd been curious about Joe Hill's new book NOS4A2, and the library I'm closest to doesn't allow me to take out books on reserve (I don't technically live in the town, but one street up from it), so I'd just chalked it up to me needing to get lucky. And then one day I got an email from the other library I go to, telling me I'd reserved a copy of NOS4A2 and needed to pick it up. So in its own way, while I'd known about it and sought it out, it waited until the right time to find me. And it is a brilliant book, though I don't know if I'm ever gonna read it again.

            NOS4A2 tells the story of Vic McQueen, a girl who is able to find anything when she rides her Raleigh bike over the old covered bridge behind her house. A bridge that becomes a shortcut to anywhere, as long as she stops thinking and goes as fast as she can.  Vic uses the bridge to find things-- a lost bracelet, a picture, and sometimes some help or trouble. Except the bridge doesn't always exist. Vic's bridge is the ghost of a bridge that got torn down in 1986. And when she goes over it, her eyeball starts throbbing and she gets very, very sick.

            NOS4A2 is also the story of Charles Talent Manx the Third. Charlie Manx drives his big black Rolls-Royce Wraith through roads no one's ever heard of. And once a year, with the help of his terrifying childlike assistant the Gasmask Man, Charlie brings a child, a veryspecial child, to a place he calls "Christmasland", where it's Christmas all year round, and everything's a big amusement park, and children can stay children and happy forever. And as he takes them on a journey, from  their unloving families into Christmasland, they start to change. Christmasland doesn't exist anywhere in the United States, it only exists in a corner of Charles Manx's twisted imagination. And the children he brings there never come back...

            One day. Vic rides over her bridge and winds up meeting Charlie Manx. And in the brief yet terrifying confrontation that follows, both of them make a permanent impression on the other. But Vic manages to escape Charlie and move on, and Charlie finally gets caught.

          Except.

          Except that's not the end of the story. Charlie is comatose in a prison hospital ward, and Vic is left traumatized and not sure what is real or fake, her continued trips over the bridge forcing her physical and mental health into a tailspin. But one day Charlie wakes up, grabs a bone hammer, and walks right off the autopsy table with only Vic and the insult he dealt her on his mind. And if Vic and those she loves are going to survive, she's going to have to find her power again, and this time rip Christmasland apart piece by piece.

           I suppose the thing I like the most about NOS4A2 is the central conceit. It's in a class of its own as a dark fantasy novel, and what Joe Hill basically did was take the territory people like Stephen King, Charles de Lint, and Clive Barker have traversed before, and turn it inside out. In books like The Thief of Always, and It, and the rest of them, magic and a certain childhood innocence are actually the way the good guys win. Here, that optimism and childlike wonder are the enemy. In NOS4A2, the magic is actually bad across the board-- Vic suffers headaches and a fractured psyche from making her trips (though that's mostly the rationalization that she's not making them), her friend Maggie has a severe stammer from using her bag of magic scrabble tiles, and the villain is actually completely wasted away due to making his cross-reality trips so often.

         On top of this, the villain's whole goal is to preserve the innocence and magic of childhood forever, a process that turns the children into something else. I don't wanna spoil it completely, but let's say that in Hill's view, at least in this book, growing up and learning to keep yourself you is a hell of a lot more important than keeping your childhood innocence. It's refreshing to see a book like this take the stance of "You can find a way to keep you the way you are, but at a certain point, you can't remain a kid and keep that part of you forever." and actually make it stick despite being a fantasy. The book actually makes a point of that-- Vic isn't ready to deal with her powers until she's an adult, and the people who do try to deal with them before then usually have something of a cost.

          The characterizations are actually something to be praised, too. Vic is presented in the later chapters (when she's grown up) as someone seriously trying to deal with her trauma and failing at it. You desperately want her to climb out of the hole she's in, to get better, and the sad fact of it is, she can't. It's grim, but it's realistic, right down to having her believe two versions of the events-- one that matches up with some kind of reality, and one that goes off into fancy. However, Hill does invert it: The thing clearly intended to be an empowerment fantasy is the real event, and the real event turns into the fantasy. The villain could be a character out of a children's book...if he wasn't rotting, living off of the souls of children, and willing to thoroughly destroy any adults who try to stop him. His henchman is someone who keeps a sort of childlike innocence about him, but is a creepy serial killer. Even at the end, I liked that not everyone went back to normal. There were still indelible scars in there. But with the exception of the monster and his monster car, the characters all seemed real, and it never felt like the plot. Which may have been part of the point.

                 Charlie Manx himself seems like a character from a children's book gone rotten. He's the tall, comical man who takes the kids to dreamland, except dreamland is frightening and he's not saving anyone from an abusive fate, but delivering them to a worse one. There's even a comparison to Harry Potter, or Narnia, that one character makes.          

              And the plot, while a little overlong, is actually fairly tightly-written. Joe Hill has never been one much for padding, and there isn't much of it here. While it's not quite like his earlier books, where he pulled the lever, let the trapdoor fall out from under the reader, and let them ride a long, howling slide to the end; it's taut and moves along at a good pace for its almost seven hundred pages of length. And it is necessary to tell the story of the first half of the book so the reader can get to the story. Keeping a plot this involved moving at this pace, with the cinematic flourishes it has, is a trick in and of itself, and one that requires quite an undertaking.

              But the plot is one place where I feel like there could have been some trimming. It takes us into the characters' heads, but some of this could be handled in flashback. Also, the book has a tendency to occasionally get lost in its own language. A notable point where this happens is during the sections with Charlie Manx, where the descriptions tend to gently overwhelm the action going on. Also, the number of references and name-checks just served to annoy me. I kinda like it when Stephen King references his other works in his books, but I don't like it as much when there are Tower references in other books. Between this and the Amanda Palmer reference, it just felt sort of forced. It took me out of it.

                 The other thing I will warn about is that the book is relentlessly grim. Most of the characters you meet will be crushed in some way, be it spiritually, mentally, or by Manx's hammer. Innocence will either get people killed, or turn them into a monster. It's not a nice story, and even as a very dark fantasy, it is dark. While the pessimism begins to relent near the end, there are almost six hundred pages of every hope and avenue being extinguished one by one to reach that point. There were times I almost closed the book and walked away completely. It's effective, and it's evocative, but I feel like I should warn people. Even Private Midnight didn't unsettle me this much.

                   But in the end, the book is worth the read. It's worth the find if it even evokes half the emotions it got out of me. I don't recommend buying it, but you're doing yourself a disservice if you don't read it. So find this book. Or it might just find you.

~*~

I never get tired of reading Sam's reviews, which is why I love recommending his blog to everyone I know. Make sure to visit him at: http://www.strangelibrary.com/ He just reviewed the much hyped The Bone Season, and I have to say I completely agree with him. 

Once you're done devouring Sam's review, make sure to enter The Momager's sponsored Giveaway:

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Carrie: A Cautionary Tale

~source~
            It’s double feature day at the Evangelista household. The BroMonster insisted on watching Getaway, the Ethan Hawke drive around the city flick, and the Carrie remake. More on the high octane, let’s see how long a Shelby Super Snake lasts in a high speed chase in another post where I wince the whole time.

            By now many of you are familiar with the Stephen King classic Carrie, released on April 5, 1974 and adapted into a movie by the same title. The original made it to the silver screen on 1976 where Carrie was portrayed by Sissy Spacek. The pig’s blood scene is iconic within the horror genre.

            I must confess that I haven’t read the book for one reason: I freak out more when I read horror than when I watch it. But considering my recent Audible addiction, I may listen to Carrie if there’s an audiobook version.

            Another confession. I haven’t watched the original. They say the ending was changed in the remake. The BroMonster has seen the original and tells me the ending is indeed different.

            Anyway, this post isn’t about reviewing the movie, even if I feel that Chloë Grace Moretz, the one who portrays Carrie in the 2013 version, overacted some aspects of the character.

            What I want to focus on here is the strong anti-bullying message of the movie. As someone who’s suffered under the hands of bullies, watching Carrie didn’t scare me. In fact, raise your hand if you feel the same way, watching the bullies get what’s coming to them satisfied the hell out of me. Okay, okay, there were innocents that died too, but I can’t say I feel all that sympathetic. When Chris Hargensen’s face slammed into the windshield, a smile stretched across my face. The word “YES” may have escaped my lips too.

            I am not advocating violence as a solution to bullying (although sometimes you just want to cut a bitch), but I’m a big believer in karma. When someone mean gets what’s coming to him or her I can’t help but feel a measure of satisfaction.

            Being mean is easy. In fact, it’s so easy that we can slip into it without thinking about what we’re doing until it’s too late. Kindness takes thought and deliberation. What watching Carrie has reinforced in me is the value of being kind. You never know the consequences of bullying. If Chris had just helped Carrie instead of being mean for the sake of maintaining her queen B status maybe no one would have died on prom night.

            I’ve heard so many stories of kids killing themselves because of bullying. I’ve also watched countless news reports on school shootings that root back to a case of bullying. What Sue said at the end of the movie resonated with me. “We pushed her too hard.”

            Anyone can snap. What they do when they snap is the wildcard. That’s why it’s infinitely better to be kind. Carrie could have easily had a gun or a bomb instead of telekinesis. No one deserves to be treated as less of a person. No one deserves to be made to feel inferior. Bullies have their reasons, but it doesn’t mean that any of them are right.

            I sat in the theater today expecting to be scared out of my mind. Instead I was reminded to be kind. To treat others with respect. To remember that everyone has feelings. Yes, even the bullies.

            There’s not enough time in the world to waste it on being mean.

Superstitions about Dogs

In thinking up my latest superstitions post, dogs came to mind only because I posted about cats. Being a dog lover myself, I wanted to know more about the superstitions connected to our adorable canine friends. Check out what I found:

The close relationship between man and canine is reflected in a host of time-honored superstitions, not least in the stories of dogs that have pined to death on the demise of their owners. Dog lovers are inclined to consider meeting a dog a lucky event, especially if it is a black and white spotted dog such as a dalmatian, and in sporting circles a greyhound with a white spot on its forehead is said to guarantee good fortune. Others, however, get very nervous if they are followed by a dog they do not know, especially if it is black. In Scotland and Lancashire, for instance, this is tantamount to an omen of death (though it is lucky according to West Country lore).

The way a dog behaves is alleged to reveal many things. If a dog scratches itself and seems sleepy, a change in the weather is in the offing. If it eats grass or rolls in the dust, then rain may be expected, but if it produces a bad smell then gales are on the way. According to US authorities, should a dog fall asleep with its paws drawn up and with its tail pointing straight out, the tail indicated the direction in which death will soon appear.

Various superstitions, in fact, link dogs with death and the afterlife. Dogs are widely believed to have psychic susceptibilities, and many dog owners tell stories about supposedly haunted locations where their pets regularly refuse to proceed, hackles raised, at some apparition invisible to the human eye. In the spectral black dog or barghest is much feared as a harbinger of death and disaster, and it is also claimed that the devil sometimes takes the form of a dog in the course of his nefarious activities. Perhaps in connection with this, sailors are reluctant even to mention the word 'dog' while at sea, and it is also thought a very bad omen if a dog is allowed to come between a bride and groom just before a wedding ceremony (in many places, indeed, dogs are banned from entering churches at any time).

the howling of dogs for no apparent reason is dreaded by many people, who claim that the animals have detected the presence of unseen spirits or evil forces and are warming of someone's imminent demise. In medieval Poland and Germany it was said that dogs howled incessantly en masse at the approach of the plague. A howling dog that is driven away but returns to resume its noise is a certain omen of death, while a dog that howls three times and is then silent is a sign that death has already taken place. Some maintain that there is no baulking fate if a dog is heard howling; people living in Staffordshire, however, have the option of taking off their left shoe, placing it upside down on the ground, spitting on it and then treading on it with the left foot, which will both quieten the dog and provide a measure of protection. It was once believed, incidentally, that dogs that howl on Christmas Eve are fated to go mad before the end of the year, and many otherwise healthy animals were formerly destroyed on these grounds.

The risk of rabies has made many people acutely nervous of dogs, and some victims of dog-bites have resorted to bizarre remedies to avoid developing the disease. These have included eating grass from a churchyard, consuming some of the hair of the dog that bit you fried in oil with a little rosemary, and even eating parts of the dog itself (typically the heart or the liver). Destruction of a dog that had bitten someone was once automatic: superstition holds that, even if the dog was in good health at the time of the attack, its victim will none the less contract rabies if the dog happens to catch the disease at a later date. In Scotland, meanwhile, it is said that a dog will never bite an idiot.

In folk medicine, applying a poultice made from a dog's head mixed with a little wine is said to benefit those suffering from jaundice, while the lick of a dog's tongue will alleviate sores on the skin and melted dog fat will help against rheumatism. Wearing a dried dog's tongue around the neck, meanwhile, will cure scrofula. Some authorities hold that removing a few hairs from a patient suffering from whooping cough, or various other complaints, and feeding these to a dog in some bread and butter will successfully cure the patient by transferring the problem to the dog.

Oh, the final part of this post got my stomach twisting. There's just something about eating dog. And yet, I come from the Philippine and dog is considered a delicacy here. I know, I know. Take your mind off it by entering my October giveaway:

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RAMISA THE AUTHORESS Reviews: griEVE by Lizzie Wilcock

I think it's time for another lovely blogger feature. This week I have the pleasure of having Ramisa on the blog. I was supposed to post this earlier, but the closer I get to Halloween the crazier my days become. It's a great kind of crazy, trust me.

Now, let's change things up and start with the review:

Have you ever read a book where the main character endures so many horrifying instances, you read with one eye open? This was my entire experience as I sat down and read, in merely two sittings, griEVE by Lizzie Wilcock.

I, by no means, ever expected the story to have a happy-go-lucky theme or even a satisfying ending, but the exception dark story I was presented with was completely unexpected. This is a story where the girl experiences bullying, shoplifts due to peer pressure, a lost mother, depression, dysfunctional families –all in the same book.

The most horrifying part? How well these incidents were written. Although the book should seem melodramatic, maybe a little over-the-top at times, the writing stayed consistent and had enough happy moments (no matter how little and delusional) to even out the darkness. This is a pure example of a girl who is searching for her mother, but finds so much more, and only a minority is positive.

From the very beginning, I loved Eve and her tender, broken heart. I loved how she found happiness in other people, and found light in even the darkest characters. All of the people Eve befriends are the kind your parents warned you about. Yet, when we see these characters through Eve’s eyes, we experience a chilling perspective of the goodness in these kinds of people. The novel has no flat characters.

Along with the characters, the writing style accompanies the magnificent novel. Small actions reveal a lot about each character. The writing is concise, straight-forward, and extremely suited to a novel that is nothing less than honest, heartbreaking and blunt.

There is a lot of mystery. Prepare yourself for a thriller, for suspense, and the constant cheering you’ll do for Eve as you hope for her happy ending. If you are looking for a light-read, I wouldn’t recommend this. But if you are looking for a dark novel that explores YA issues in a non-judgemental perspective, then I invite you to read this wonderful book. This is a book in which I was disturbed, horrified, tearful… but above all, I felt honesty, which may be scariest of all.

Click image to visit Ramisa's blog.

Is griEVE by Lizzie Wilcock you'd like to read for October? Based on Ramisa's review, I think it's looking good. But before you go and grab a copy, let's get to know Ramisa a little more:

My name is Ramisa. :)

My favourite subject’s math, I love fluffy white rabbits and have an obsession with cookies-and-cream ice-cream. Currently, my favourite colour is white -orange being second- and am living in an ordinary world but dreaming way too big.

Anyway, this Blog is dedicated to resources (mainly writing/reading) I have found particularly useful over the years. It’s also a personal Blog with updates on my writing, and sometimes my extremely boring life.

Leave me a comment! They make me happy. ♥

You heard the lady, leave a comment. We will love you for it! Then enter the GIVEAWAY:

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It's sponsored by the Momager!

Going Blue!

Hair color is important. Along with cut, it can change or invigorate your look in an instant. I confess that when I was younger every time I got stressed I changed my hair. My local salon knew me by name because I spent a lot of my high school years there. I've gone curly. I've gone super straight. I've gone long, short, curly long, straight short. And then the older I got, I started experimenting with color.

Because of my hair abuse, I consider myself lucky I still have hair. There was even a time when I was having my hair straightened during a storm. The power went out. I couldn't leave because I had chemicals in my hair. Then we had to call it a day and continue the next morning. Can you imagine? Yep, that's how addicted I was to getting my hair done.

In my twenties, my need to change up my hair lessened. I guess this was due to feeling more comfortable in my own skin. Now that I'm thirty, I begin to take more risks with what I wear and how I style my hair. I've realized that the pixie cut works for my facial structure the best. But when it comes to color, I considered myself on the more conservative side...until now.

I've done fifty shades of brown. I've gone black. I even tried red for a time. But at the back of my mind, I've always flirted with going blonde. I did this a couple years back. Got a pretty okay result. Eventually, my love affair with blonde fizzled out. Then I toyed with the idea of going pink. It never really sat well with me until the idea of going blue came to mind.

Again my conservative upbringing stopped me for a second. Then @M_A_Patterson tweeted something very wise to me. He said, "Does it matter what color your hair is?" When I realized the answer was no, I knew I had to give blue a go.

After four hours of bleaching, coloring, and the cut I love, I walked out of the salon feeling like I've found another piece of myself. The Momager isn't a hundred percent with my decision. She's a mom, so I totally understand and willingly suffer her digs. She'll get used to it eventually. *crosses fingers* I hope.

Life is short. So many ugly things happen in this world that it's a shame not to give ourselves a moment of beauty. If you're thinking of changing your hair, now is the time to do it. Love yourself enough to change up the way you look. You never know just how much fun it will be until you try.  

Superstitions about Umbrellas

As a special request from my bestie @pixelski, today I’m showcasing superstitions involving umbrellas. I think we all know about the superstition of opening an umbrella indoors. Well, let’s take a look at other superstitions involving this popular raingear.

Superstitions pay a surprising degree of interest to umbrellas, around which several curious beliefs persist. Opening an umbrella indoors is, of course, absolutely taboo, as this will bring bad luck to the person concerned and possibly also to the rest of the household (though some claim that it is all right so long as the umbrella is not then raised over the head). This well-known tradition might have its roots in the use of umbrella-like sunshades in the Far East, where royalty alone had the right to use them (the umbrella only came to be widely adopted in England in the late eighteenth century). Alternately, the connection between the original sunshades and the sun evolved into the notion that it was unlucky to open an umbrella anywhere that the sun ray’s did not fall, as this might offend the sun itself. It is also unwise to open an umbrella out of doors when the weather is fine because this is reputed to cause rain.

Other superstitions claim that umbrellas should never be laid on beds or tables and if dropped must be picked up by someone else (women who pick up their own umbrellas will never find husbands). Gifts of umbrellas are also thought to be unlucky and sailors have a prejudice against having them on board a ship, especially if the umbrella happens to be black.

There you have it. Remember, don’t accept umbrellas as gifts and don’t give them as gifts. Although, what if someone is out in the rain and you just want to help out by giving them the umbrella? And just because I loved this animation short when I first saw it, here’s The Blue Umbrella:


And the Giveaway!

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Breakups

This is a break from our regularly scheduled programming.

Have you ever been in a relationship where the other person just vanishes? At first you think your messages aren’t being answered because of a busy schedule. Then you find out from someone else that the relationship is over. When it’s too late. When there’s nothing you can do about it. When the only thing you can think of is: I didn’t get to say goodbye or fuck you.

The relationship between a writer and an editor is a commitment. It’s a collaboration that can last years depending on how may books there are in a series, or however many standalones one can write. Anyway, it’s a relationship that is built on trust. The writer shows the editor a piece of herself, a precious piece. Then the editor takes this piece and lets the writer know how to make it better. In a healthy writer-editor relationship, it’s a give and take where compromises can be made. I don’t know what goes on between other writers and their editors. I only know what’s between me and mine.

I never thought an editor could just pack up and leave without notice. Without even sending you so much as an email to say “Hey, this isn’t working out.” That you have to find out from someone else that your relationship is over.

I found this out a couple of weeks ago, but I guess my mind went into shock and only now can process the enormity of what happened. I feel betrayed. Like a jilted bride. I thought we were working toward something good, that we understood what each other wanted. It sucks when you’re the only one who thinks this. And it sucks even worse when you aren’t told the feeling isn’t mutual until one day you’re blindsided by it and writing angry, tearful blog posts in the middle of the night because you don’t know what else to do because you feel like no one else will understand what you’re going through.

I hate her for doing this to me. But at the same time, I can’t hate her because I understand that she’s just doing what she thinks is best for her. Regardless of the fallout. Regardless of the feelings of the other person. I understand this because I’ve done it before, on a grander scale. Little did I know at the time that my actions will bite me in the ass the same way? So let this be a lesson to you, kiddies. Think before you act because the things you do today may be done to you in the future. I take what little comfort I can with the knowledge that what comes around goes around. She’ll get what’s rightfully hers in due time.

I’m hurt. I’m hurting still. I need to sleep but can because I have way too many thoughts in my head. I can’t shut down. I should shut down, but I can’t. I hurt too much. Feel too betrayed.

Call this a writer being emotional, temperamental, childish, whatever you want to call it. But whatever it is called, it doesn’t diminish the fact that never in a million years did I think it would happened to me. That I would feel this way. Lost. Left to the wayside to fend for myself. To start over when I thought I was at the finish line.

This has also garnered a sense of distrust. How can I ever think my new editor is doing the right thing? Is suggesting the right thing?

See? See what happens?

It’s ugly. It’s raw. It hurts.

You thought you trusted someone. Then, at the end of the day, that trust meant nothing and you have to reassess, find the strength to move on. But how? I’m so angry that I don’t know how. I can’t see straight I’m so angry. I want to pull my hair out. Better yet, I want to pull her hair out. But that would be even more childish than this post.

I just need someplace mine to share my thoughts. I need this place. Here. Now.

The relationship between a writer and an editor is built on trust. Trust that you both will do the right thing. Trust that the end result is something you’re both happy with. Proud of. Trust that a writer’s work is something precious and shouldn’t be messed with. Trust that editors have feelings too, that they are humans too with lives and families and decisions that need to be made.

My heart is heavy.

But like Charlie Chaplin said, “Nothing is permanent in this wicked world, not even our troubles.”    

Lite-Rate-Ture! Reviews: The Unbecoming Of Mara Dyer

The second feature is up and it's an awesome one! I love the way bloggers showcase an authors work. They help get the word out there and being an author would be so much harder without the help of bloggers. So thank you, bloggers! Thank you!

Today's feature showcases Chyna from Lite-Rate-Ture!

Let's get to know Chyna:

Chyna is the head of Lite-Rate-Ture, she usually gets really stressed out almost everyday, and seeks refuge at her local bookstore. Instead of shopping for clothes or kissing boyfriends like a normal teenager she spends her time reading and buying more books. Chyna spends her alone time daydreaming about her book boyfriends. “Why can’t they be real?” She’ll never get a real boyfriend…

Instead of reading, Chyna is also a sports fanatic. She spends her time jogging and lifting weights to maintain her girlish figure. Her all time favorite sport would be volleyball. She had tried almost every sport in the world, but found comfort on a beach volleyball. Just don’t go spelling her name wrong. Her name is pronounced like the country, China. She has no freaking idea that her name is very difficult to read. Don’t screw with her or else she’ll kill you. No kidding. Her bothers also have the same weird names, Sidney and Madrid. Chyna’s parents are very creative, giving their children odd names sure made their lives easier.

Check out her review:

 Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong.

“The intrigue and romance will inescapably draw you in.”- Cassandra Clare

I have to admit it the woman is right. This is the type of book that will just put you in awe. When I saw the eerie cover, I just wanted to grab it. Enough about that I am trying to prevent myself from fan-girling.

This books starts off with Mara dyer as the only survivor of a tragic accident that cost her the life of her one and only bestfriend and this other bitch and douchebag. I couldn‘t help myself but grin when this so-called friend, Claire, died in the accident. Rachel is the only friend of Mara’s that I really loved until she moves into this new fancy private school where she meets a super cute friend, Jamie. He is the sweetest. Absolutely. Adorable. In. Size and personality. ;)

In her new school she also meets the sexy Noah Shaw, he just drives her crazy. In every story there is always this one guy that will really really REALLY make you LOVE HIM SO MUCH. Did I also mention that he’s English *cough I get dibs.  ;)

Noah is well….I have no words to describe him. He’s just to sexy. He’s not just a pretty face. He’s smart, he’s cocky, he’s caring, he’s super protective, he’s loving, he’s adorable and he is just DELICIOUS.
Because of Noah’s sudden interest on the new girl, Mara Dyer, she should really watch out because she’s the new prey for the Croyden girls. Croyden is her new private school. I admit that private schools have the best DRAMA.

TBH this book just blew me away. There was no insta-love which drives me crazy pissed. I really hate instant romance. It doesn‘t seem real to me, but Noah and Mara are just a match made in heaven. At the first part it wasn’t obvious that Noah will start to seriously care for Mara because it looked like he was just toying with her… until this certain incident. Naoh is her knight in shining armor, always there to save her especially when she started getting bullied by the Croyden girls. Aahhhh young love…

Mara, if that is even her real name, is unusually different from the usual protagonist I usually read. She’s somehow mysterious and psychotic. Not really psychotic. Well kinda…she was having this scary hallucinations of Jude (The douchebag), Rachel and Claire. Knowing they all died in the accident, it just gave me the chills. It felt like they were still around. As I turned the pages I would check what’s behind me all the time. Seriously! I was that scared.

The ending!

Why do authors love to torture their readers with cliffhangers? I really really REALLY hate those endings huhu they just really make you cry. When I notched the big font “Acknowledgements” I was like WHAT!!!!
The author didn’t answer all my questions, but it was still a good story. I think the author wanted us to feel frightened and frustrated at the same time. It worked. GREAT JOB MICHELLE! I’m looking forward to reading the second book.

Chyna gives The Unbecoming Of Mara Dyer


For more of her reviews, make sure to follow Chyna at:

Lite-Rate-Ture


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Superstitions about Cats

Thinking about what superstitions to post this year, I decided to go old school and write about a superstition everyone knows about. Cats. The inspiration for this choice comes from the black cat the roams the mall I frequent on a weekly basis. When I saw her twice in one day, I thought, why not? So, here’s what you need to know:

The cat occupies a central position among animals credited with supernatural powers, and in consequence cats throughout the world are associated with a wealth of superstitions. The ancient Egyptians bestowed divine status on it and in no circumstances would they kill one (a crime punishable by death). Whole households went into official mourning if a cat died and the corpse would be buried with much ceremony. It was from ancient Egyptian superstition, in fact, that the modern belief that a cat has nine lives was derived.

In later centuries the cat became closely identified with witchcraft throughout Europe and even today no depiction of a traditional witch is complete without her black cat, the form into which sorcerers were often said to transform themselves. Such cats were, it was alleged, fed on the blood of their mistresses. Many people once believed that kittens born in May, a month particularly associated with the dead and with the practice of witchcraft, should be drowned at once. They would also show reluctance to discuss family matters if a cat was present, just in case it was a witch’s familiar or even a witch in disguise. In Eastern Europe, cats were often marked with a cross to prevent them turning into witches, while in France cats suspected of being witches were often caged and burned alive.

Most significant of all is a cat that is entirely black is color. A black cat that crosses a person’s path bestows good fortune and enables the person concerned to make a wish (though the opposite is maintained in the USA, Spain, and Belgium, where white and gray cats are preferred and a black cat brings only bad luck). Variants on this belief, however, suggest that a black cat that turns back or is seen from behind may actually be a bad omen. None the less, the symbol of the black cat as a harbinger of good luck is ubiquitous in the British Isles at least, where simply touching such a creature is lucky and where they are a common motif on good luck cards and so forth. White cats are widely distrusted throughout Europe, while stray tortoiseshell cats are most unwelcome in the home for fear that they bring bad luck with them. Cats should never be bought with money, incidentally, for doing so means they will never be good mouse-catchers.

A sneezing cat promises rain but is generally a good omen, unless it sneezes three times, in which care all the family will suffer colds. A cat that sits with its back to the fire knows that a storm or cold weather is on the way, while one scratching a table leg warns of an imminent change in the weather. Cats wash themselves or frolic with abandon when wet weather is in the offing, but if they choose the doorway for their ablutions this is taken as a sure sign in parts of the USA that a member of the clergy is about to arrive. If the cat washes its face over the left ear a female visitor is on her way; if it washes over the right ear a man should be expected.

Cats bestow good luck on newly-weds if they appear next to the bride, but must be caught and killed if they jump over a coffin, as this is thought to put in peril the soul of the deceased. Killing a cat is ill advised, however, as this is enough to sacrifice one’s soul to the devil, and even kicking a cat lays one open to rheumatism. People are warned, moreover, not to allow a cat to sleep with their children for it may, claim ancient authorities, suck their breath and cause them to die.

Folk medicine recommends drawing a cat’s tail across the eyes to cure a sty and suggest a similar treatment for warts (though only done in May). Stuffing a cat’s tail up the nostril, meanwhile, will staunch a nosebleed and pressing a dried catskin to the face will relieve toothache. Dressing wounds with a preparation made from a whole cat boiled in olive oil was also formerly suggested in the treatment of more serious injuries, and gravy made from a stewed black cat was credited in the southern USA with curing consumption. Other sickness in the family may be treated by washing the patient and then throwing the water over the cat, which will take the disease out of the house with it as it flees. Cats should be particularly discouraged from jumping on to pregnant women, as this may cause the death of the unborn infant.

Miners are reluctant to say the word cat while down the mine and have been known to refuse to work underground if a cat has been seen below and allowed to live. Sailors and fishermen, though, like to take a luck-giving black cat on their voyages with them, but dislike hearing a cat mewing on broad a ship as this is a warning of difficult times ahead—while a cat that plays excitedly is indicative of a gale. Should a ship’s cat be thrown overboard or shown any other cruelty, the perpetrators are sure to be instantly punished by a severe storm. Shutting a cat up in a cupboard or trapping it under a pot is widely believed to raise up a strong wind, and the wives of seafarers will often keep a black cat at home to preserve the luck of their husbands while at sea.

Imagine that? All the things we didn’t know about cats. I rather like the black cat equals good luck and making it into gravy can cure consumption. Aren’t you happy we live in the 21st century? Then again there are moments during this technology infused age where superstitions are still alive.

Have any superstitions you’d like me to focus on this month?

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Anonymous Interests Reviwes: Transcend by Christine Fonseca

Our first review for October is from Anonymous Interests by Maliha Khan. The review she sent is of Transcend by Christine Fonseca.

But first, let's get to know Maliha:

Hi!! *waves shyly* I’m not good at personal introductions but I’ll still give it a try.

I’m a 16 year old girl from Asia named Maliha Khan who loves reading, annoying and eating more than anything else! Sometimes I become philosophical and wonder and question the world and it’s secrets and miracles. Of course I put a stop to it cause otherwise I’d go crazy!!

I like to write, read, listen and talk (a lot). Soon, you’ll find out more about my random, and not at all random, interests (on my blog).

Now that I’ve shared some of my personality (only the good side) won’t you share something with me?
Follow me if you want to know when I post about books, music or cute pictures.
Enjoy your day! :)

- Anonymously Interested

Here's her review:

Ien Montgomery has been raised to be a prodigy as a replacement for his brother after he died, or as it seems, may have been killed by Ien. But then Ien meets Kiera, the girl of his dreams, the one who inspires him to rebel. Soon, the Romeo and Juliet here, despite having a relationship forbidden by their parents, plan to elope and marry.

But then a tragic accident scars Ien for life, promising a lonely future as his mother announces him dead to the society.

The convent he transfers to can't hold him though, as he vows to reclaim Kiera, only to find the worst betrayal committed by his best friend James.

Hidden in his own home, Ien's childhood friend and a servant of the Montgomery household, Jenna helps him face Kiera and James and his mother. His brother's voice eggs him on to do terrible things, but then a shattering truth reminds him of what truly happened on the day he "died". A sacrifice is all it takes for Ien to realize his mistakes, and then seek forgiveness.

Transcend is a dark story about a boy's determination to be with the one he loves, with heartbreaking sacrifices, short suspenses and unexpected truths. It will draw you in around the middle though cause the action didn't start for several chapters. I got this copy through a contest from the author herself.

Thank you so much, Maliha for submitting this review. Everyone, make sure to visit her at Anonymous Interests to read all her other cool reviews. But before that, enter our scary sweet GIVEAWAY:

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What Cancelling RT Has Taught Me

             As many of you might have heard, I planned on attending RT for the first time in my writing career. When booking for rooms opened, I excitedly reserved mine. Then something happened that caused me to cancel the room. I thought to myself, it’s okay, maybe this isn’t my year to attend. Then, as if the universe was taunting me, I got an email congratulating me. The craft panel I put together got accepted. And this panel is full of kick-ass writers too. I thought to myself, what do I do now?

            With a heavy heart, and certainly a confused brain, I asked my Momager and a few other people for advice. The consensus became I should go. So, with renewed vigor, having cancelled my room reservation previously, I searched for a roomie and put myself on the waiting list for a room in case something opened up after registration.

            Again I found myself headed for RT.

            When early registration opened for panelists to test out the kinks in the system, I quickly pained my fee. I felt one step closer to New Orleans.

            This is where things changed.

            Sometimes real life isn’t the fairytale we want and hope it to be. Things happen that force you to make a choice. I guess I was due for a kick in the teeth. I must have been getting complacent with my lot in life and the universe decided to have another go at me. To teach me something.

            With everything that’s happened in my life so far, I’d like to think I’m starting to get how the universe works. But, then again, the universe might just want me to think that way. Okay, I’m getting away from myself.

            So, I made a choice. It wasn’t a difficult one. I let go of going to RT. I let go of moderating the awesome panel I put together. And I cancelled my registration. What did I choose over RT? Time. Precious time with someone I love deeply.

            I’d say I made the right choice because there will always be an RT somewhere. But there won’t always be time. Right now my mind is muddled with too many what ifs. And like the writer I am, I had to sit down and put everything into words just to achieve some semblance of calm in the chaos.

            You won’t defeat me, universe! I may be down right now, but when I get back up again, you better get ready because I’m coming for you with a machete. (ßMy weapon of choice in the Zompocalypse. Close combat, baby!)

            What did cancelling RT teach me?

            Well, it’s more like what is it re-teaching me.

            That there’s a right time for everything. I may not get what I want right now, not because I don’t deserve it or that I won’t ever get it. It’s because I’m not ready yet. That I need a little more growing to do so when I do get it I will not take it for granted.

            I say re-teach because the first time this happened to me was when I parted ways with my agent. When I began my journey as a writer, I had an invisible ladder in my head that I thought I needed to climb to become a published author. Step 1: Write the book. Step 2: Edit the book. Step 3: Query the book. Step 4: Get rejected a bunch of times. Step 5: Edit the book some more. Step 6: Get an agent. Step 7: Edit the book again. Step 7: Get a publisher. Step 8: Happily Ever After.

            To many, these steps get them to where they need to be. For me, the universe had other plans. That ladder in my head has changed somewhat. It’s more like the moving stairs of Hogwarts now. I don’t know exactly where it will take me, but I’m a hundred percent sure it’s where I need to be.

            So, I consider this a re-teaching of that lesson. This is not my time to attend RT. Again the universe has a different plan for me. But one thing I know for sure: I will be at RT one day.

            I guess there’s another lesson to be learned here. When I start to think I’m taking the conventional route, I should stop and reassess because the universe will definitely have a different plan, a quirkier way for me.

            Basically: My road may have one destination, but it’s definitely an unconventional route getting there.

            I should know by now that I don’t do things the easy way.


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