Tag Archives: Journals

Short Story Sunday #2

11 Jan

Title: The Writer and The Mother
Word count: 1900.

The Writer and The Mother
Sandra Charmer was seated on a soft chair with a laptop in front of her. Warm fuzzy socks covered her feet and a hot steaming cup of coffee was resting near the laptop. After what happened the last time she had a cup of liquid so close to her computer, one might think she’d have at least learnt something. Oh well, that’s’ a story for another time.

She was typing away and wore a smile of her face. Such days were rare-days that oozed of nothing but inspiration and juicy ideas. She was in the zone. To hell with writer’s block; in that moment, the words were flowing from her like a river. She’d been at it for hours and now that she was going to impress her editors with her latest idea, all she felt was pride and joy. Her son was in the next room watching cartoons.

Being a writer hadn’t always been easy for Sandra. There was a time when she almost gave up on it all and settled for a 7-6 job. It was hard, and it was depressing. Something had to be done to pay the bills. Sacrifices had to be made. She’d lost all hope of ever having her work out there. That was when she’d first gotten out of college. A major in English with a 1 year old son, no husband or boyfriend to speak of and her family all but non-existent. Life seemed bleak. It was a trying time.

The upside was that she’d managed to get a job in a quaint little library in town and though it was close to something she loved-books- it wasn’t quite as satisfying as she’d have liked. She wanted to write, her fingers itched with the need of it. She wanted to share the world as she saw it in her eyes, she wanted to touch people’s lives and inspire, using nothing more than words.

So for a year, she worked her little bum off and managed to pay the bills. The library wasn’t half bad. She could afford a sitter for her son, she could put food on the table and life went on. Boringly. All the while, she’d write a couple of words after work and as time went by the words increased and increased until it became something that resembled an actual novel. Believing in yourself can breed the most amazing results.

Her big break came almost a year after that. After trying and failing with each publishing house she approached, she finally decided to go the non-traditional route and just put her book online. Social media was a gift she was grateful for and thank the heavens for ebooks. Working in a library had come in handy as well because she found it easy to tell readers about her book. In such situations, you have to use every weapon at your disposal. The fact that most of those readers had blogs was the icing on the bibliophile’s beautiful cake. Her book got more love than she’d anticipated and the e-book that was selling for nothing more than peanuts at first got a major boost and she actually made some money. It’d felt so good.

Then like a really good dream you wouldn’t want to wake up from, she’d gotten approached by an actual publishing house. It was small and up and coming but it was still a publishing house. You have to jump at every opportunity that presents itself to you, no matter how small. She was finally going to lose the ‘self-published’ tag and she couldn’t have been prouder. It’d all felt surreal to her. Her next novel was published and just like the first, it’d gotten the buzz it deserved. Sandra was making her mark on the literary world.

For a while at least.

Not all books turn out to be best sellers and no matter how much of your blood, sweat and soul you pour in your work, sometimes it’s just never enough to make the dent you need or want. It’s the unfairness and cruelty of life.

All these happenings sort of got her accustomed to a certain way of life and shaped her to be the writer that she’d turned out to be-Which brings us to this most eventful day that had started with her bathing and feeding her son. Sandra was still typing when her phone buzzed. It was the editor and owner of the publishing house, Edna.

“Hello, Edna. So good to hear from you.” She said, her smile was still on her face. It was a good day after all. She’d typed so much that she couldn’t have been prouder if she tried. She had a good feeling about her latest work in progress.

“Sandy, I’m afraid I have some bad news.” Edna said, “You know how I care about you, right? Thanks to your books, my business was a major success.” Her voice made Sandra hold her breath. What could be so bad that Edna would call personally?

“Okay. What’s the problem?”

“The sales of you last books have been less than satisfactory. We’ve talked about this before but now, we can’t just keep ignoring it.” That didn’t sound good. It didn’t sound good at all. “The series just isn’t gaining the momentum that we would like. We’re going to have to let you go.” Edna said.

The air felt thin as soon as Sandra heard the last part. She knew that after the success of her first two books, the others were a bit…underappreciated. Readers found them lacking. The series wasn’t close to even having a 3.5 star rating. But to be let go? That was just awful.

“Edna, c-come on. I’m working on a fantasy YA. I know it’s still a work in progress but it’s good. I can feel a best-seller coming up. Don’t do this. You have t-“

“Sandy, please.” Edna pleaded. “Don’t make this harder than it already is.”

“Hear me out at least. I know what my readers like and this book will-“

“The decision is final. I’m sorry.”

“What am I supposed to do now? Writing is all I know.” She thought about her son and all his needs. She thought about how it would be if she couldn’t write any more. It felt like she was being asked to cut off a piece of herself. An arm or a leg. It killed her, inside and out.

“Listen, over the years we’ve become friends and I care about you but this isn’t personal. I have to think about my company. We can’t keep making loses. I’ve put it off for long enough because you’re my friend. Because I owed you that much.” Edna’s voice was laced with so much sadness and sincerity that it almost broke Sandra even more than she already was.

She wanted to plead. She wanted to ask for a second chance. She would work harder and push more. She’d make sure that her next book would be loved. She’d do anything. Anything was better than being let go. It felt like she was once again letting her dream slip her by. It shattered her.

With a lump in her throat she managed to say, “Thank you. For the chance you gave me. Even if it was just for a while, at least I lived my dream.” It was a miracle that she was even being coherent in her thoughts and words. He mind was slowly turning to mush. Comprehending the situation was getting harder and harder.

“I really am sorry.” There was a deafening silence as neither one spoke, “this isn’t the end though. You’re a talented writer. Something will give. Take care okay.” Edna said and finally hung up. The kind words well appreciated, they were welcomed but they still didn’t ease Sandra’s aching heart.

Sandra just sat there for a few minutes, the phone still held to her ear. Through teary eyes she looked at the computer screen, her potential masterpiece stared back at her. The room felt like it was spinning. How was she going to move past this?

Bottling it up wasn’t helping and being frozen and glued to her seat was becoming a pain. So, she did the one thing that came into her mind. She shoved the cup of coffee away and screamed. She screamed and hoped it would hurt less. The poor mug hit the ground and smashed into a dozen pieces that scattered all over the floor and the beverage spilled everywhere. Damn. That was going to stain. Great, just great.

She heard the pitter-patter of tiny feet behind her and then the sweetest voice reached her ears, “Mom, your favowite cup is bwoken.” Her son, Chris, said. He was inching closer to her.

“Sweetie, please don’t get any closer.” She wiped her tears and walked to him. Upon reaching him, she knelt so that she was almost at his level. “There’s broken glass everywhere, you’ll hurt yourself, okay?” she gave him a smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes.

“Mommy, what’s wong? You have tears.” He wiped the trail of wetness with his small, chubby fingers. Her son had never seen her cry and the realisation that he could notice something like that undid her.

“Nothing, sweetie.” She hugged him and held him close, hoping and wishing that he could feel her love and care from that very hug. “I just got something in my eyes. That’s all.”
She broke the hug and ruffed up his hair. “Now, be a good boy and let mommy clean up this mess.” She gave him a smile, no point worrying her son. As a mother, sheltering him from such was her duty. “Go and watch your cartoon. Once I’m done we can watch Finding Nemo together.”

His face lit up upon hearing that and then he turned and started rushing off. After a couple steps he stopped and ran back, ”I wove you mommy.”

Sandra hadn’t planned on shedding any more tears but hearing that led to them pouring out shamelessly. She hugged him tight and then kissed his forehead. “I love you sweetie.” And she did. With every single part of her. “Now go, mommy has to clean that mess up.”

He left and she remained squatting there. Thinking. Wishing. Her son was the light in her life. Her everything. There were times when days got so stressful and hard but looking at his tiny beautiful face always brought a smile to her face. He was her joy. He washed all the pain and hardness away with nothing more than him simply looking at her with his big eyes full of life and potential.

Eventually, she got up and started picking up the broken pieces of the mug. She was extra careful not to cut herself. Though she doubted anything could match the pain and hurt she was already in.

She loved writing; it was a part of who she was. From the second she’d written her first story when she’d just been 8, she knew it’s what she wanted to spend her life doing. She didn’t want to do anything else. It’d become a huge part of her now that it felt almost like breathing. A necessity. So, what was she going to do now? She had enough money saved up to continue living a comfortable life. What about when she runs out?

For her son and her dream, she would climb a freaking mountain. For her son, she’d pick herself up and try once more. For her son, she’d get a 6-6 job.

-Till next time-

So short stories are hard. Tell me what you thought. Yeah, I can’t remember the last time I was near a toddler so I may have embellished on the dialogue. lol

Follow me on twitter Dee@The perks

-Dee

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Top Ten 2015 Bookish Resolutions

30 Dec

Hi. Howdy. Konnichiwa. Salaam. Ola. Shalom. Mulishani 😀 I hope you enjoyed the festivities…whatever it is you celebrate .

So, I know I missed last week’s top ten. I feel awful and bad about it. It couldn’t be helped really. Life got in the way (holidays) and by the time I got to typing, it was already freaking Wednesday. There was no way I was going to send a Top Ten Tuesday blog post on a freaking Wednesday like a Day-confused psycho…nope. The saying “Better late than never” didn’t apply here…at all. I can wear one of those cute panties that say ‘Tuesday’ on a Wednesday, well, cause who really is going to be judging me for that? It is called underwear and unless am an eccentric flasher or Miley Cyrus, none of you would know just what’s under my skinny jeans, would you? I’m rambling again, aren’t I?

Anyway, on to a bit more seriousness.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Goals/ Resolutions for 2015. They have to be book and blog related of course. Sounds exciting and simple enough, right?

Now, before I begin, I must confess that I suck at keeping my resolutions. By the time it’s like the second week of January, I almost always revert to my old ways and feel like such a failure for not improving and achieving anything I set out to do. So, this time I’ll set goals that I can actually achieve. There will be no ‘become besties with J. K Rowling’ or ‘become a New York time’s bestselling author by February 14th’ on my list. What you’ll get are real goals that will help me grow as a reader, blogger and wannabe writer.
Here I go…

  1. Finish writing at least one book
  2. If you were to stumble upon my laptop, you’d find my documents folder full of unfinished writing projects. I don’t know what is wrong with me, but after all the typing and badass talking (yes I said it, badass) I do, I am yet to have a finished project I can proudly share and talk about. So, for 2015, hopeful I can check this one of my list. 365 days, seems manageable, right?

  3. Review every single book I read
  4. I read a lot of books but I don’t always post reviews for them. Either on my blog or on good reads. Mostly it has to do with not wanting to post a bad review of someone’s work. After my 50 shades of Grey rant, I swore never to have such a post again. I know that I can review bad books in a more mature way and so hence this goal.

  5. Read at least 4 classics
  6. There are a lot of people who claim that classic novels can be boring and so they avoid them, except during English class or Literature when they have no choice. You know, since it’s a ‘read or flunk’ situation. I have quite a number of the good old classics in ebook format but haven’t gotten around to reading them. I’d like to change that for 2015.

  7. Discover and endorse at least 10 deserving up and coming authors.
  8. I’m sure if you’ve been following my posts for a while now, you’ve kind of seen that I have gone on a personal crusade of helping out new authors. For 2015, I’d love to talk to you guys about some really great authors that deserve to be read.

  9. Catch up on some recommended book series
  10. My sister has recommended a lot of book series to me but I haven’t yet started any of them. The plots look great and I know when I review them, even you my followers will like them.

  11. Read more books by male authors
  12. This had been on my mind for a very long time now. I rarely read books by male authors and this is something I’d love to work on. If you have any good books that you can recommend to me, leave me a comment or link up with me on my goodreads account. If you’re a male author, do share your work with me. Think of it as ‘self-endorsing’:)

  13. Participate in new reading challenges hosted by fellow book bloggers
  14. This will be a great way for me to read a wider variety of new books. I’m in quite a number of groups on goodreads but I’d very much like to be involved in challenges that are on WordPress as well. It would also be a great way to interact with people I share an interest with. If you have reading challenges on your blog, just send me a link or something.

  15. Read 101 books
  16. Hahaha, so 101 is a random number, right? Why not 100 or 99? Well, that’s beside the point. I just want to read over 100 books next year. Think of all the different worlds and realms I’ll be transported to. I can’t wait. *excited*

  17. Do at least 10 Author interviews
  18. This one falls under the helping new writers have a bigger audience and what better way than to give them a chance to talk about their work and aspirations that an interview. I’ve been meaning to interview Candace Nicole Werts for a while now, but as usual life got in the way.

  19. Have a contest segment on my blog
  20. This will be a great way to interact with my followers and give something back. I love contests, especially writing ones, but really I just want to have any form of contest on my blog. I feel like having a really successful blog and have a ‘giveaway’ segment where followers can get free books (not mine of course lol). Amazon has enough books waiting to be bought and I’m thinking of being in a sharing mood come 2015.

So there you have it. If you want to be part of the list making lovers and have your own Top Ten Tuesday segment on your blog, check out the link I gave somewhere up there. Lists are awesome.

What are some of your 2015 bookish resolutions?

And hey happy holidays.
-Dee

My Top Ten Paranormal YA Fiction Cliches

16 Dec

I’m currently reading Tangled by Emma Chase but that’s not what this post is about. A review of that sizzling book shall come later. Well, if I’m being honest, it’s going to be as soon as I can put up posts with Images.
There is a problem with my WordPress Image uploader which is preventing me from uploading images. It sucks, I tell you and it’s been pissing me off more than I can explain (Mostly because my vocabulary is limited 😀 )

So, no attractive picture to accompany all these words 😦

Anyway this blog is about more than just reviews, so, I’ve decided to have a totally new segment called “Top Ten Tuesdays”. This is where I’ll be blogging about top ten anything…as long as it is book related of course. 

So, I’m taking a break from reviewing for now to talk about something that has been on my mind for a while now after the many Young Adult books I’ve read. 

Clichés. Clichés. Clichés.

Looking at the fact that YA novels sell like hot cakes once they are released, I imagine this means that readers love all the expected clichés and sometimes cringe-fest moments that come with most novels these days. I have to admit, I love a good cliché every once in a while but when you have 5 books to read and each one is following almost the exact same formula, you tend to get a bit bored and reserved about continuing.

This post will just highlight some of the Clichés that I feel have been done to death. It’s like they got the sacred Plot Fruit, squeezed out all the juices and decided to only use the same ideas over and over again…leaving everything else to just disappear off into oblivion, never to be written about. It’s kind of sad actually if you think about it. (Okay, I admit in the stories I’ve attempted to write, I’ve also stuffed most of them in…hey, we all gotta start somewhere, right? :D)

So, without any more delay, here’s my list. If you agree, do leave me a comment and tell me which of them you could do without in the next book you pick up.

  1. Love Triangles

  2. This one is by far the most common one. There is the incredibly hot douchebag of a man and the good, reliable and sometimes plain best friend. We saw it in Twilight, we saw it in The Hunger Games and now even Kresley Cole introduced it in her Arcana Chronicles Series (Which reminds me, I still have to post a review of Book 2). Why, oh why do we always have to be involved in #TeamGale vs #TeamPeeta battles? I get that drama and conflict is great but why can’t the female protagonist just have one love interest? 

  3. Beyond Attractive Bad Boy

  4. Blue or green eyes, broad and toned chest with a face that just leaves the heroine open-mouthed and drooling like a total nut. This is a key ingredient in YA fiction. It works and it definitely sells. Admit it.

    As if the main guy’s jaw-dropping, drool-worthy exterior isn’t overused enough, you add in a hint of the brooding “Stay away from me” factor and you have yourself a winning recipe and a cliché that most avid readers are getting tired of. The main love interest is mostly the bad boy that the female always manages to change. Forgetting the fact that, unless he wears diapers, a man really cannot be changed, should the main guy always be a black clad smartass? 

    I will confess again, I almost always make my main guy a black-leather jacket wearing bad boy? Cliché much 😀

  5. Trilogies

  6. Say goodbye to stand alone novels as they experience a low and imminent death and welcome trilogies. It’s now a well-accepted trend that a YA novel has to come in a three book series. Would a two book series be a flop or a four book series be too much? I don’t even know anymore.

    You know what the worst part is about it all? It’s the fact that I’m complaining about this but will still be one of the people anxiously waiting for the next book in the series to be out. There is one book that definitely deserved a book two and that’s Cursed by Jennifer. L. Armentrout. I know I gave it a 5 star rating but when I went back to it recently, I felt like it at least required the story to be concluded better.

  7. First Person Point-Of-View

  8. Is this one like a requirement for Young Adult fiction? Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against it. I just find it funny that almost every author has to write the story from the first person view. I enjoyed how Laini Taylor wrote her daughter of Smoke and Bone series. It was so beautifully written and she didn’t even go for the commons first person POV. 

    Would female readers buy books if they were written from a guy’s POV? I wonder about that.

  9. The Training Sequence
  10.  
    So, the female lead is suddenly thrust into this magical and sometimes scientific world and obviously they were just some Plain Jane in the crowd a few weeks ago. What happens next? You guessed it…it’s badass-fighting 101 time. The girl is gonna get schooled. 

    Expect that chapter where they are asked to wear combat boots and a tank-top so they can fool around in the dirt and take on the love interest in a “training” session. Of course this is what I always call the “throw-a-few-kicks-and-punches-and-then-fall-with-the-smexy-love-interest-on-top-of-you-so-you-can-kiss-and-make-out-like-bunnies-in-the-dirt” session. Seems fitting because almost half the time, while our heroine is being trained, she is busy fantasizing about how hot he looks in training gear. 

  11. “Oblivious to how beautiful she is’ Main Female Character

  12. When was the last time you read a novel which didn’t have a main female character that didn’t think she was plain, ugly, clumsy, nerdy and boring? I think I can’t remember: D Everybody in town thinks she is gorgeous and all the hot guys want her. She even manages to hook up with Mr-incredibly-sexy-Greek-god main guy, who would destroy the world for her, but she still thinks she looks like a toad’s butt? Umm, yeah sure.

    I imagine writers do this one to stop us from hating her. Like if she referred to herself as a Victoria’s secret Model look-alive or something. But seriously, her being so clueless and naïve kind of also has the same effect, don’t you agree?

  13. Orphaned Main Character or Parents Separated
  14.  
    The supporting characters almost always come from happy stable homes where they are pampered and spoiled and loved like its heaven or something but our lead never gets that privilege. Why is the main character always an orphan or comes from a home where the dad is absent or the mother has met a new man who she ran off with? Does this mean people from happy homes will never have magical things happen to them?

    I think this is somehow just a plot-convenient maneuver that authors use to avoid parents having any influence over the main characters movements or decisions. And sometimes even if they have both parents alive and well (which is rare), the parents turn out to be neglectful and such dicks that the main always grumbles about how they are never cared for.

  15. Dystopia

  16. Hunger games by Suzanne Collins, Divergent by Veronica Roth, Maze runner by James Dashner, Delirium by Lauren Oliver, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, The giver (It’s older I know) by Lois Lowry, Matched by Ally Condie, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi …need I say more? I think not.

  17. “I Let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding”

  18. This phrase is to most YA fiction like a pregnant woman is to a maternity wing…you just can’t avoid running into it. Okay, so maybe it’s just some way of expressing oneself but do all writers have to use it? I’m a Jennifer Armentrout fan, like major, and I always see this one making an appearance.

    I was reading through a story I am currently writing on FanFiction dot net and I smiled to myself when I read this line. Like I said, we are all weak when it comes to writing and working with overused ideas.

    I can’t really say if it’s a cliché or not but you have to admit this line somehow always makes its way in some of our favourite YA books. 

  19. Petite Females

  20. I’m one tall female and whenever I read YA books, the heroine is always super short and petite that I start to think that maybe I’m a freak of nature for the way I look. All tall and skinny. Even when I was in high school, I was one tall girl. So it would be right for me to at least come across a book that has a female who is tall right? 

    Why are they always short? Is it a way for the writer to use lines like “she looked up at him and met his deep green eyes in a stare that warmed up their bodies” or “resting her petite frame against his herculean one, she felt and heard the beating of his heart”?

    Come on, us tall people want to be written about too. It’s just right. Where is the fairness writers?

So dear readers, that’s it for my Top Ten for this week…well my first week, if you want to be technical about it 🙂
Tell me what you think of my list and if you agree or not. I do love interacting with my readers.

-Dee

How do you pick your books?

11 Aug

The saying goes “do not judge a book by its cover” and most of the times that is true, especially if:

  1. You already know the author and you love them.
  2. One of your closest friends recommended it to you.
  3. The book has made such a hype that your just HAVE to read it, regardless of how the cover looks like.

But what about those sometimes rare moments when you just need to read something new? A new series or standalone novel? How do you pick up that new book when all you have is a title, a blurb, a cover and the genre?

I won’t lie to you, some of my best reads were as a result of those “OMG, this cover is so cute…I have to read this book” moments. I remember the first time I came across a Gena Showalter novel, one look at that Lords of the Underworld book and I knew I just had to read it. Don’t judge me, that turned out to be one of my greatest book choices in my life. Now here I am after 10 books and I still count her as one of my Favourite Authors. (Even though she has lost her “spark” and gone all clean and umm well just different from the Gena I felt in love with).

Before this amazing world of ebooks and ereaders, I remember walking home from school with my friends and at times when we had saved up enough money we would buy some books in the streets. Back then my reading just involved Sweet Valley Twins, Mills and Boon, Silhouette romance and the like. With the Wakefield twins, I didn’t care which one was on sale, I just had to get it. With romance I always found Medical romance a bit boring so I avoided those. But at times when I was in want of a book and nothing was available, I pretty much read anything. Call it a disease or just an addiction. It is possible right? To be addicted to reading? I guess that would give an explanation as to why I found myself reading the cereal packet or the bread wrapper during breakfast. Weird I know, but reading is reading. 😀
Anyway my point is it was easy to choose the books I wanted to read back then…powerful main character , good captivating blurb and that catchy title. Teenage me had it good.
I would go home, do my homework if I had any and get swallowed up in my latest purchase…okay fine, so maybe most of the books I read back then were all borrowed from someone 😛

These days though, I think people put too much thought in picking up the next book they want to read…I mean with so many books available and being published everyday, one might wonder how our brains don’t explode with the overwhelming force of it all. So many good books, so little time. Which one should I read now? Do I pick this one? Do I pick that one? This looks good. Oh wait so does that one. God!!! AAAAHHHHH

Sorry about that, I am good now. *takes a deep breath* But you see what I mean, right?

With Goodreads and Blogs and everything, I just have to ask…what influences you to choose that particular book? How do you pick one over the others? What criteria do you use?

-Dee

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