Monday, July 8, 2013

Trifecta Week 85: Little Monsters

Owing to ridiculous amounts of school-work, I couldn't do Trifecta last week or the weekend, but thank you for the first place on Week Eighty Four, the support spurred me on to think about more plots with the character, and maybe there'll be a book. We shall see.





Obviously, this one is fantasy too, I shall call it Little Monsters.
The word this week is: 


FLY (intransitive verb)

1a : to move in or pass through the air with wings

b : to move through the air or before the wind or through outer space

c : to float, wave, or soar in the air <flags flying at half-mast>

2a : to take flight : flee

b : to fade and disappear : vanish

3a : to move, pass, or spread quickly <rumors were flying>

b : to be moved with sudden extreme emotion <flew into a rage>

c : to seem to pass quickly <the time simply flew>



LITTLE MONSTERS
I JUST HAD TO, OKAY? *grin*


Sometimes we’re baby dragons, nibbling at a piece of string or wilting flowers with puffs of smoke from our nostrils. Sometimes we’re tiny ants building a giant home with ten storeys and a hundred windows. Once we all planned together and built up ourselves to look like a man— flesh and bone and legs, hands and arms and fingers, little crescent moon nails so white and perfect.

We thought and thought of what he should wear, from the shape of his tie to the little mole on his cheek (that was my best friend Maura: she was so very proud!) and then we walked out of the house and down the rolling green hills and to the train station, and when the first train came,  we only stood and watched the wagons fly past: we were rapt in the shimmering strangeness of it all.

We climbed into the second train and climbed out at the city, and our feet owned the sidewalk and our smile charmed the girls. There was a starlet with a string of rubies around her neck like drops of blood, and she flirted coyly so we bought her dinner (we were the money too: how confused the manager must have been when we fell apart!) and after dinner we bought her wine, and then we stood on the threshold silhouetted by moonlight on one side and candlelight on the other, and she kissed our lips so firmly, and she tasted of strawberries and smoke, and we all fell apart amidst all the kaleidoscopic feelings, and went skitter-scatter over the asphalt. Everybody screamed and the starlet collapsed and we think she had to get therapy later.

The witch was very angry with us when we came back and locked us in a jar for a month and there really was no space and we nearly ate each other.

These days we’re only ever dragons or ants: humans are too much work.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Trifecta: Rusty: Mechanical Treasure Boxes

Trifecta again!






This week's word is:


RUSTY
1: affected by or as if by rust; especially : stiff with or as if with rust
2: inept and slow through lack of practice or old age
3a : of the color rust
b : dulled in color or appearance by age and use <rusty old boots>
4: outmoded
5: hoarse, grating


Before I go into the story, a small preface: I've been thinking and writing of Lo Maxwell for a long time. He's a boy of indeterminate age- sometimes he's ten and sometimes he's fourteen, and at least in one of my stories he's seven. He's a lone mortal stuck in a different, bloodier, monstrous world, trying to get back to his own but in a very strange sense. Sometimes he's angry, an avenging angel. Sometimes he's sweet. Most of the time he's hungry. This is my fourth Lo Maxwell story, and the shortest. It's not much. 

*and I should probably mention that Lo's dog, despite appearances to the contrary, really doesn't like him much*







Mechanical Treasure-Box

The Mortal Boy, Lo Maxwell, sits in her living room and sips at the purple tea.

“What kind of a name is Lo?”

“A made-up one,” he smiles. He has no sharp teeth; only flat, harmless ones. Human, she thinks, and offers him cookies. They skitter around the plate when he reaches for them, and he drops his hand, squeamish. He looks up at her shyly with those famous blue eyes. Like them sea-glass love charms the mermaids brought to the Rilke Fair, Miss Jones had said, and oh, she was right, he looks delicious.

His dog is curled around his feet; a gigantic rusty thing with four white crescent-moons gouged in its neck.  It makes her uncomfortable.

“Maybe I have some candy somewhere,” she keeps her tone kindly and warm, pretending to be nice.

In the short trip it takes her to find him some candy- sweeten him up, Aramantha- and bring the box, he’s moved over to the window and the screaming sea on the other side.

“This was Jacinda’s treasure-box,” she says, and he comes to watch while she winds it up, sets it in motion. The key spins and the box opens in a whirl of gears and silver. There are doll heads inside, a ship in a bottle, hairpins and dried flowers. “Can you find her with this?”

Lo picks up a hairpin. “She passed through a mirror and into the Other World?”

“Yes.”

And then he’s leaning over the box, and she can’t help it: he’s like a drug she has to have, right now. Her eyes become slits and her arms lose human shape, and her mouth of two-hundred teeth is almost snapping down on him, but then she looks up and screams.

She’s heard the stories about Lo Maxwell, who hasn’t?

That he travels with a dog. That sometimes the dog is a mangy rusty thing, but sometimes it’s a man with four bloody faces.

And that sometimes it eats monsters for him. 


Friday, May 24, 2013

Trifextra: We Live Our Virtual Lives






This weekend we are asking for a thirty-three word confession. You're free to write non-fiction or fiction or to blur the lines in between. We just encourage you to get creative and give us your best.

This week's Trifextra Writing Challenge is to write a 33 word confession, and here's mine. 
Uh, I suppose it's...fiction? Non fiction? Non fiction, I guess. We all have our virtual avatars.

Here it is:
By http://mihaelaj.deviantart.com/


I don’t dance; she does.
 I don’t smile; she does.

 I am reserved; she speaks of sex and violence, politics and ambition, dreams and illusions.

I am her.

She is me, only binary. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Pedantic Signs: Trifecta Writing Challenge



Holy Blonde-Cheerleader-Batman!


I wrote Trifecta again. I am freaking writing again. I am not staring at a blank Word document wanting to bang my head against the wall anymore. Holy holy holy holy crap. (As you can see I am way too happier than any sane person should be)


God, I love Trifecta. Honestly, this entry is just crappy and weird, but I'm happy there's an entry.


This week's prompt:
PEDANTIC (adjective)
1 : of, relating to, or being a pedant(see pedant)
2 : narrowly, stodgily, and often ostentatiously learned
3 : unimaginative, pedestrian


(a.k.a what my writing has been for the past few months)


MY ENTRY:






The girl raised her head to look around at the world.


There were three glass birds pecking at a lamppost. The lamppost was wriggling around trying to admonish them, but lampposts couldn’t speak. Beneath a laburnum tree, two girls were helping their sister to break free of the roots her feet had pushed into the earth. Little leaves were sprouting all over her arms and the rooted girl was crying large green tears. The trees shook their branches in protest every time they tried to heave her out, sighing and howling and shedding leaves in annoyance.


(Trees liked new neighbors.)


Two steps in front of the girl, her boyfriend paused and turned around to look at her.


“What is it?” he asked, worry turning his large wings teal-colored and full of jumbled letters. When he was thinking, they had the tendency to shimmer with the words running through his mind, so she never had to ask what was bugging him. The only hitch in their relationship was when he thought in purple prose.


She pointed. “It says ‘please don’t create your reality recklessly’.”


He looked at her gravely, his dark hair windswept. “Are you going to comply?”


She shrugged. “It says ‘please’. And we’re in their neighborhood.”


Looking a little pissed, he disappeared in a sparkle of light, and so did the glass birds. The snowflakes with the stories written on them turned to regular snowflakes. The three sisters began playing skip-the-rope and the trees were silent. The lamppost did one last wriggle but stilled when she glared at it.


She hoped the sign was happy with this reality. It didn’t look very reckless, but realities could sometimes be deceiving bastards.


She walked a few paces before she saw the next sign.


It said “Thank you.”


Some signs are just tragically pedantic.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Review: Reapers Are the Angels by Alden Bell

Goodreads Summary


Rating: 5 stars.
Paperback, 225 pages
Published August 3rd 2010 by Holt Paperbacks

Zombies have infested a fallen America. A young girl named Temple is on the run. Haunted by her past and pursued by a killer, Temple is surrounded by death and danger, hoping to be set free.
For twenty-five years, civilization has survived in meager enclaves, guarded against a plague of the dead. Temple wanders this blighted landscape, keeping to herself and keeping her demons inside her heart. She can't remember a time before the zombies, but she does remember an old man who took her in and the younger brother she cared for until the tragedy that set her on a personal journey toward redemption. Moving back and forth between the insulated remnants of society and the brutal frontier beyond, Temple must decide where ultimately to make a home and find the salvation she seeks.


Occasionally I have these periods where I can’t read. Where I don’t find interest in any book on my iPad, where I start a million different books and leave them half-done, plot threads gathering dust at the back of my mind. And nearly always, there’s a book that comes to pull me out of the funk. Last time, it was The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith. Before that, it was The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter. This time, it’s Reapers are the Angels. And to Alden Bell, I say:

  You're Awesome 


 I’m not a zombie-apocalypse fan. Guts and brains and long paragraphs about reeking alleys and stench making babies with other kinds of stench don’t interest me. Blood-drenched heroes don’t interest me either, I always want the human factor rather than the hero factor. I loved Zombieland, but for the laughs. I hated Stephen King’s The Cell. I tried a hundred other zombie books- most notably Andrew Fukuda’s Rot and Ruin series, Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth series- and while I gave up on one, the other I read for the romance. How do you write a literary zombie book though? How do you write a literary zombie book with a teenage heroine and not make it sound, say, extremely pretentious? How do you pare the details of your FUBAR world to a bare minimum and stay in the head of your not exactly reliable, not exactly child, not exactly adult heroine? This is what Reapers are the Angels manages so easily. Temple is written beautifully. Her southern accent, her observations about the minutiae of post-apocalyptic life, the breadcrumb trail that opens door to her past: I loved all of it. Look at this snippet: 

She’s thinking of a thousand things—waterfalls and lighthouses and record players and men who travel with wonder and the deafening mumble of cicadas in the dry grass of the plains. She’s thinking of corpses piled high and all the dead things that still move and the hard rain that falls and drives the mud and waste into all the corners and seams of the world, and she’s thinking of airplanes and little boys and grown men with grit teeth and beards and others with soft moans that bleat on and on without cease unless you find the right song to sing and you fill the car with your voice so that he doesn’t have to hear his own loud crying. 

 I’m a sucker for this. I adore this kind of writing, stream of consciousness if you will, and it’s so rarely that you find something like this in a Young Adult book. (Not that I believe Reapers actually belongs on the YA shelf: violence is very much PG 13) It’s brilliant. It’s an explosive build up to an emotional state that leads to awesome, gut-wrenching things. Alden Bell also does one-line characterizations extremely well. It’s wonderful to read a book where you get that the evil guys are evil, without repeatedly being bashed over the head with examples after examples and/or Persian cats and Cuban cigars. Evil Moses Todd is evil. And oh so human too. Maury gives me intense feels. The moment Abraham lays eyes on Temple, the description of his gaze is so visceral, my skin literally crawled. And oh lord, the ending:

  I have FEELS 

 All in all, to me at least, A+ book. Thank you, Alden Bell, for kicking me off the stupid threshold and into the world of books again.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (And No More Radio Silence)

Wow, been a while right?
I just couldn't find the time to do a post, and it's really been gnawing at me. I'm reading TONS as usual (Okay, how great was Clockwork Princess? Pretty GREAT!) but there's just no time to post anything, and yeah sure, you've alllllll heard me whine the same thing before, I do it again and again and agaaaaaaaaaainnnnn.....

So. Right. Waiting on Wednesday. Hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, featuring all the latest awesome.

Without further ado, here are my picks:

INK by Amanda Sun
Expected Publication : June 25th, 2013 by Harlequin Teen

GOODREADS SAYS:



I looked down at the paper, still touching the tip of my shoe. I reached for it, flipping the page over to look.

Scrawls of ink outlined a drawing of a girl lying on a bench.

A sick feeling started to twist in my stomach, like motion sickness.

And then the girl in the drawing turned her head, and her inky eyes glared straight into mine.

On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they'll both be targets.

Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.

I SAY:

I ADORE ANIME. I love the colors, the craziness, the intense storylines. Ink sounds right up my alley! In fact, the title Paper Gods reminds me of some anime. There were 3 sisters who could make paper stuff come to life...or something like that, I don't know. How SQUEEEEE worthy is the cover?


ANDDDD

Indelible by Dawn Metcalf
Expected Publication: July 30th, 2013 by...um, Harlequin Teen again (See the pattern?)

GOODREADS SAYS:

Some things are permanent.

Indelible.

And they cannot be changed back.

Joy Malone learns this the night she sees a stranger with all-black eyes across a crowded room—right before the mystery boy tries to cut out her eye. Instead, the wound accidentally marks her as property of Indelible Ink, and this dangerous mistake thrusts Joy into an incomprehensible world—a world of monsters at the window, glowing girls on the doorstep, and a life that will never be the same.

Now, Joy must pretend to be Ink’s chosen one—his helper, his love, his something for the foreseeable future...and failure to be convincing means a painful death for them both. Swept into a world of monsters, illusion, immortal honor and revenge, Joy discovers that sometimes, there are no mistakes.

Somewhere between reality and myth lies…

THE TWIXT


I SAY:

That blurb is just MADE OF AWESOME. CUT OUT HER EYE! WTF! Monsters, Illusion, bad boys, glowing glowing GLOWING GIRLS? And oh, you beautiful, beautiful cover. *wibble* This one better be good or I'm gonna be RANTING.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Pantomime by Laura Lam: Review

Pantomime by Laura Lam

Paperback, US, 392 pages
Expected publication: February 5th 2013 by Strange Chemistry

My copy: NetGalley

Goodreads Summary:

R. H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass—remnants of a mysterious civilisation long gone—are wonders beyond the wildest imagination. It’s a place where anything seems possible, where if you close your eyes you can believe that the magic and knowledge of the vanished Chimaera is still there. It’s a place where anyone can hide.

Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, the daughter of a noble family, is uncomfortable in corsets and crinoline, and prefers climbing trees to debutante balls. Micah Grey, a runaway living on the streets, joins the circus as an aerialist’s apprentice and soon becomes the circus’s rising star.

But Gene and Micah have balancing acts of their own to perform, and a secret in their blood that could unlock the mysteries of Ellada.

REVIEW:

Pantomime by Laura Lam is a book with a secret. Whoever made its blurb is a sweet, highly intelligent liar. You need to read the book to find the secret, and trust me when I say that you are going to be surprised. It’s the kind of thing that if I were to just tell you right now, would lead to you saying “WHAT?” with extreme independent eyebrow movement. But Laura Lam manages to work it into the book, into the emotion of the book, in a light, magical way that is exciting and original.

Pantomime is not an exciting book. It’s not the kind of book that will lead to pounding hearts and “OMG, OMG, WHAT JUST HAPPENED, MY HEART BLEEDS” It’s a slow, explorative book. It’s layered and light and dark at the same time. There is magic in it and a different world, but it is not a book that delves deeply into its world. Instead it skims lightly over the surface, promising more to come. It sets up, it confuses, it frustrates at times, but you always know that this is just the superficial stuff that you’re seeing. Laura Lam’s got a lot more to give us.

It’s a book about circuses. I love books about circuses. I loved The Night Circus so much that I still won’t lend my copy to anyone. Pantomime looks at the darker side of circuses though. Like Water for Elephants. There are freaks and a self-important, occasionally cruel circus manager. There is loneliness and difficulty to accept someone new and dreams that can’t be realized. It’s different from The Night Circus in that very fundamental way: the circus is the story in The Night Circus, but in Pantomime, the circus is simply the setting. The characters are the story.

Iphigenia Laurus hates everything about her life: from the ladylike life she’s supposed to lead to her ridiculous name. This girl would rather climb trees than wear a ballgown, but her mother is insistent on finding her a good society husband. But Gene has new things to worry about, secrets old and new are suddenly rearing their heads and she needs to do something before she loses sight of who she herself is. Micah Grey is a boy who becomes an aerialist at the circus. He has his secrets, secrets that may hurt the girl that he’s coming to love, secrets that may mean something to the world he lives in. Gene and Micah have to come to terms with who they are in Pantomime, and with that nasty cliffhanger Laura Lam leaves us with, its sure that they still have a long way to go in the sequel.

This is a book as much about identity and self-discovery as it is about anything else. My only quibble is that it could have had a better execution. While Lam’s writing is fresh and her premise original, it could have been a really exciting book, a really exciting world. Magic makes everything better, but just the right dose of it! Usually I have a problem with authors going overboard and all kinds of deux-ex-machinas happening, but this time it’s so understated it’s barely there. That sense of wonder I was expecting didn’t quite happen with Pantomime. That quirk I was looking for wasn’t there.

But Pantomime is a good read. Most of you will love it, and the pretty cover helps.

3.5 stars from me, and I will be picking up the next installment.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 Roundup (a.k.a What The Hell Was I Doing This Past Year?)

Well, Happy New Year y'all.

It's time for the roundup. (I say that like I do the bloody thing every year when this is the first time I ever bothered)

This is a me-vs-me Q&A round, complete with random GIFS ( All of them Supernatural, because for me this is the year of Supernatural, YO) and craziness, because it is 2 A.M in the morning here and I'm not feeling very verbose.

1) Things that happened to you in 2012?

- Winning a Writing Contest (an important one) for the first time in my life. It finally pushed me into the take-your-writing-seriously camp.

- Learning that sometimes- sometimes- the time gap between having an idea and putting actual words onto paper can be very, VERY long. 

That City book I'm writing with the boy with the wings and the things with wheels and the sparkly shiny buildings? Yeah, I'm still planning it. It's been a YEAR, people, and I'm still PLANNING it. 

See? Patience. I have.


Patience. More than even Castiel.

- Finding the Supernatural fandom. 

The show is only half of it, the fandom makes this the holy-mother-of-all-shows. It's like the fangirl in me has been let loose and I suddenly understand this whole other world, where random phrases like "ganked' and "nerd angels" and "holy blonde cheerleader batman" and "pig in a poke" all warrant long-winded discussions about angels in trenchcoats, brothers in arms and a 1967 Chevy Impala called Baby that saved the world. (Plus I found my critique partner from the fandom, Hi Kristin!)

- Finding THIS WHOLE NEW WORLD OF INCREDIBLE MUSIC. Suddenly, at the end of 2012 I feel so

ENLIGHTENED

because I have discovered The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin and Pearl Jam and Oasis and America and even Tori Amos and most of my new writing music is by Rise Against and The Arcade Fire and Credence Clearwater Revival and Blondie and Styx and Asia and Survivor and oh, oh Carry on My Wayward Son by Kansas....(And even Jefferson Airplane!)!

AND THEY WERE ALWAYS THERE BUT I WAS SO BLIND, SO BLIND!

And I feel awesome.

- BOOKS!
(Oh! That reminds me- this is also the year I said bye-bye paperbacks, hullo e-reader! Got an iPad and I've been responsibly trying to reduce my carbon footprint since.)

HOLLY BLACK. LAINI TAYLOR. ANGELA CARTER. ANDREW SMITH. MELINA MARCHETTA. MARGO LANAGAN. DEAN KOONTZ. UMBERTO ECO. ERIN MORGENSTERN. Sarah Rees Brennan. (Oh, oh, Susan Ee! ANGELFALL!)

2012 was frankly not a great year for me when it came to books. TV shows, I lucked out. Books, not so much. Midway through 2012, I realized all my favorite want-to-read-this-right-now picks on Goodreads were coming out only in 2013 and then I was like:



2) What about the people in your life?

- Two births in the family
- Two deaths among beloved teachers.
- Several marriages.
- Lots of new virtual friends.
- Not very many new real life friends.
- Two celebrity crushes (oh, just bloody guess who)
- Two book-characters in my own book who make me want to hug them and tell them "it'll be okay, it'll be okay" (Mama's lying)
- One incredible trip with friends.
- So many incredible moments with family.
- Greater responsibility.
- Two people- best-friends- who made me realize so many times this year that I'm lucky to have found them. Every girl should have friends like them.

3) What were your resolutions at the beginning of 2012?

- Write a BOOK. Write A book. WRITE a book.

4) Resolutions kept?

- Kinda. Sorta. I have a plan. (No, I do)

5) What was the worst decision you made this year?

- Honestly? Reading Fifty Shades of Grey. 

Yeah, that was a train wreck.


6) How are you a better person at the end of this year?
- I'm not. I've become even more of a horrible person to all my characters.

7) What was the most AMAZING, STUPENDOUS, FABULOUS thing that happened to you this year?

- 10 day vacation with friends. So much insight, so many places, so many things at which to say "bitch, please"

8) What do you wish you'd done more?

- BAKING! I realized I'm really good at baking, so MORE BAKING. But, also:  More writing. More plotting. More hugging. More reading. More fangirling. More family outings. More engineering problems  studying  preparing for exams. More running on the treadmill. More exercise, period.

9) What was the scariest moment of this year?

- Being stuck in a train for ten hours with a riot raging outside.

10) What was your greatest literary discovery this year?

- Angela Carter.

11) What was your favorite movie?

- The Hunger Games. Midnight in Paris (wait, was that last year?) The Dark Knight Rises. Les Miz. The Hobbit.

12) Favorite manga?

- One Piece.

13) What do you wish you'd done less of?
- Losing my temper. Hating engineering. Drama. Trying to be too literary. 

14) What are your new year resolutions for 2013?

WRITE A BLOODY BOOK.
I have a plan.
I do.
Deep breath.
I plan to be doing this at the end of the year. (Holding a book and saying "Dude, yes", not pasting random gifs)



REREAD HARRY POTTER.

REWATCH HARRY POTTER.

REWATCH SUPERNATURAL.

MORE MUSIC. More music with THE BAND. More singing live on stage with the band that we might call Jaggery. Or Buggery. (That was completely random)

MORE YA BOOKS.

MORE BLOG POSTS.

LESS BLAH BLAH. (Wait, who am I kidding, I love my blah blah)

(Here's one last gif for everyone who loves blah blah)

Okay, so I love you all.

Now go have yourselves A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Images used in this blog are either digital art created by the author or free photographs. Reviews and views expressed on this site are strictly personal. Text by Varsha Dinesh is copyrighted under Creative Commons.