Thursday, 28 October 2010

Halloween Haunting!

Theresa has got something for halloween!!!!

It's time for Halloween Haunting!  Come and join the fun.  All you have to do is visit Theresa's blog, Substitute Teacher's Saga.

Haunt blogs, find friends and critique buddies.  It's a great way to find blogs to folow and get more followers.  And a chance to WIN PRIZES!

From 28 October to 01 November, come haunt Theresa's Blog!

Leave a comment, tell her about your blog, say if you're a writer, what genre(s) do you write, are you looking for a critique partner and did you advertise the Halloween Haunting?

Then haunt at least 3 other blogs of at least three other commenters on her blog.

There you go!  Go and see Theresa's Blog now!!!! Happy Halloween!!!!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

A Never-Ending Scene-Cliffhanger Blogfest!

I have just found out from a friend, Theresa, about A Never-Ending Blogfest (Or cliffhanger-whatever) which runs on 25-26 October 2010.  It's still 26 October where I am, right??? So...technically I just joined the blogfest in time :)

Here's how it works. On your blog site, write a new scene or post a scene from your current project that is no more than 500 words, which has a rocking cliffhanger (pun intended). It can be any genre. Just leave us hanging, craving more, and cursing your name for making us want to turn a page that isn't there.

This blogfest originated from Brenda Drake's blog, please check it out as well...wait, please read my piece below first then you can check the links out!

The writing below comes from my very first manuscript of the novel I am writing where all the magic of the story originates.  Please note that this is the very very first draft and I have not touched it from the time I wrote it which was about 2 years ago.  So I hope you bear with me if it is too amateurish.

Before I change my mind, here's my cliffhanger:

Sofia knew her Grandma might be feeling like she was dying but she didn’t want to know. She didn’t want to hear about it. She wanted her to be with her. Somehow, she felt bad for choosing to live away from her, for not staying here in the manor house with her, for choosing a life on her own. In the meantime, I have at least four weeks with her, she thought. Then I will stay with her for the rest of my maternity leave.

She looked at her Grandma closely. For the first time in her life, she felt safe. Weird things happened as soon as she learned of her pregnancy. For some reason, she was feeling that some evil force was after her to cause her harm. But maybe this paranoia had always been there since Matt disappeared. But come to think of it, she was never normal. Not the type of being normal that people on this planet may call. For one, her parents were the first to disappear without any apparent reason and the very first unresolved disappearance that ever occurred in her life. Then there was Matt. Who else was going disappear? She looked at her Grandma once again and her eyes started to get watery. No. I cannot afford any more disappearance. I will not be able to handle it. Not my Grandma.  She thought.

There was a sofa bed in the room near the door. ‘I’ve missed you, Grandma.’ She reasoned to her Grandmother when she asked why she didn’t want to sleep in her own bedroom which hadn’t been used for a very long time.

That night, Sofia fell asleep in almost an instant. She was too tired. She needed the sleep. Most of all, she felt safe. For some reason, she felt like she was being wrapped in God’s arms, the God that she’s never believed to exist. The God that she had always questioned and doubted. If it wasn’t God, why did she feel like it was some kind of a powerful being that was protecting her in this house? So, she closed her eyes and felt the warmth of her soft pillow and the comfort of the sofa bed. But something woke her up in the middle of the night. She tried to open her eyes but there seemed to be too much brightness in the room. She couldn’t stand it. She blinked but it was too blinding. Where was it coming from? Was there a fire? But the temperature was just right. Am I dreaming? Am I dead? Is this light the God people want to believe in? What is this? Then slowly, the light started to subside. She tried to open her eyes again.

‘Oh my God’, she gasped.

'Grandma! Grandma! Noooooooooooooo!' She screamed.

White light was coming from her womb. It looked like the sun was shining from inside her. It shone again, like a blinding light once more. Then it was gone.

Shocked and shaken, Sofia couldn't speak.  She couldn’t believe what she had just seen.  Her Grandma sat up on the bed, looking at her.

For a moment there, she saw, a tiny smile that came out of her lips, and then she spoke quietly, ‘You cannot fight your destiny, Sofia, because you have already chosen this path.’

(from Chapter 2 on my Sofia manuscript)


What do you think?

Please don't forget to visit blogs of other participants!

Happy Tuesday!!!!

Monday, 25 October 2010

Autumn rain, a cup of hot chocolate and a book

It's been raining at this side of the world and it's been really chilly.  I have been wearing a coat when outside.  It's the time of the year when curling up on the couch in a blanket in front of the telly and sipping a cup of hot chocolate is heaven!  And yes, may I point out that the hot chocolate is non-fat!  Okay, some nights, I curl up on the couch with the telly on but I am not really watching, I have a book in my hand. I am talking about those nights when my husband complains that I am always in front of my computer typing away and that he doesn't get to see me any more!  So I sit with him in the lounge but I've got to do something else when he watches only Time Line, Antique Roadshow and the news!

So, two nights ago was one of those nights.  I read Dave Pelzer's 'A Child Called 'It'.  I don't know why I did...I try to avoid sad stories which are heartbreaking. I guess I did because one of my friends had read it and she seemed to like it so when I saw this in a charity shop, I grabbed it and took it home.

Here's the gist on the back cover:

As a child, Dave Pelzer was brutally beaten and starved by his emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother, a mother who played tortuous, unpredictable games that left one of ther sons nearly dead.  She no longer considered him a son, but a slave; no longer a boy, but an 'it'.  his bed was an old army cot in the basement, his clothes were torn and smelly, and, when he was allowed the luxury of food it was scraps from the dogs' bowl.  The outside world knew nothing of the nightmare played out behind closed doors.

Dave dreamed of finding a family to love him and call him their son.  It took years of struggle, deprivation and despair to find his dream and make something of himself in the world.  A Child Called 'It' covers the early years of his lfie and is an affecting and inspirational memoir of one child's determination to survive.

My tears fell down my cheeks when I was reading this book full of horrific childhood memories.  I wish Dave Pelzer just made it all up or exaggerated every detail because I still can't understand why a mother would do those things to an innocent little boy.  He was still almost like a baby when he was starved, beaten and punished.  My God, at this time of the year, I would be freezing just to wash my hands or face in icy cold water - but Dave was made to put himself in the bath tub filled with icy cold water!  How this boy survived, only God knows.

There are questions in my mind like, 'What is wrong with this mother aside from being alcoholic?  Did she get any treatment for her mental disturbance?  Why pick on Dave only and not the other 4 children?'  I know from searching on line that there are two more parts of the book but I was looking for something more in the book, something that will tell me the reasons behind the mother's evil behaviour and actions - there wasn't any.  So at the end of the book, I was left 'hanging.'

I can say my heart went out to this little boy who only needed love and caring from a mother.  I am full of admiration that this little boy has now become a man and a husband and a loving father.  Sadly, I don't think this book is for everybody because of its horrific content and that it will leave you upset or even sick in the stomach.  But if that's your kind of thing, then go and get it.  If you like this kind of book, I'd like to recommend three more that I've read this year:  Alice Sebold's 'Lucky' (her memoir) and 'The Lovely Bones' and Jodi Picoult's 'Picture Perfect'.

Happy Monday! :)

PS:  I am not sure which book I'm going to pick next as I keep changing my mind - it always depends on which interests me at any given time...I might get a Sophie Kinsella to make me laugh this time so I hope you stay tuned!  Now I'm off to visit your blogs and see what you've been up to! :)

Disclaimer: This is my web blog, the opinion expressed above are 100% mine and not that of the author's or publisher of the above-mentioned book. This site makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness of any information and will not be liable for any errors, omissions in this information arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.  This is not a paid advertisement.

Friday, 15 October 2010

A Night with Misery

You might be wondering by now what I have been up to, aside from my mum and wife duties and writing of course. Well I'm going to share it with you - I have just finished reading my first ever Stephen King novel!  Yay!  After reading his 'On Writing,' I vowed to read his books and the first in the queue was Misery (recommended by a friend).  And gosh, it frightened the hell out of me!  I told you I am not a horror film or book fan.  I have just recently read Elana's post on watching horror films (please click here to read her blog post on The League of Extraordinary Writers) and I can totally relate to her!  As a child, I hid my face behind my father or under the pillow.  Now that I'm all grown up, I still wouldn't watch any horror film without anybody with me.  I also learned a trick - I switch the volume off so I won't hear the frightening background music!

So, let me tell you about Misery.  It's a story about Paul Sheldon, a writer.  He had a car accident and was saved by Annie Wilkes, a former nurse and his Number One Fan.  Here's the rest of the summary on the back cover:  She pulled him out of the car-wreck, brought him home, splinted and set his mangled legs.  All he had to do in return was to write a very special book, just for her, all about her favourite character from his novels.  One he'd killed off and now had to bring back to life.  Because if he didn't, if he was bad and didn't do what nurse told him, she would be cross - very cross - and do things that would make him scream and scream....

Tell you what, Annie Wilkes is the most compelling character I have ever read so far.  She terrorized me.  She's terrifying.  Scheming.  Crazy.  Very unpredictable.  You wouldn't want to ever get near her.  The scariest thing is - she could be real.  You could be doing some shopping and an Annie Wilkes could be any one of the other shoppers!  This is one book that will take you to the edge of your seat, I promise you!  My imagination went wild.  In the middle of the night as I read the book, I had to make sure all doors were locked!

There was something Annie said to Paul in the book that I liked, though.  She said this when, in the book that Paul was writing, he killed the protagonist, Misery.  Annie was extemely furious, shouting at Paul, 'You killed her!'  But Paul said he didn't kill Misery, she died.  So here was what Annie said:

"But characters in stories DO NOT just slip away!  God takes us when He thinks it's time and a writer is God to the people in a story, he made them up just like God made US up and no one can get hold of God to make Him explain, all right, okay, but as far as Misery goes I'll tell you one thing you dirty bird, I'll tell you that God just happens to have a couple of broken legs and God just happens to be in MY housing eating MY food....and....and"

Isn't that true?  Two weeks before I read Misery, I remember reading a chapter in a manuscript that my bestfriend is currently finalising.  One of the characters died...and it made me cry.  So I e-mailed her and I said, "You killed him!  You made me cry because you killed him!"  It made her laugh, because I was talking like it was a real person who died.  It's funny, isn't it?  That as a writer, you play God because you make people up.  You can make them do what you want them to do....and you can kill the ones you don't like.  Like Annie Wilkes.  Yes, you really would feel like killing her.  Because I am telling you, she scared me more than the Dementors in Harry Potter did!  Or even Voldemort!  I will not tell you what happened in the end so as not to spoil it.  If you like horror/thriller books, this one is for you! 

How about you?  What are you currently reading?  How do you find the characters?  What do you like or dislike about them?

Note: The above are quotes from Stephen King's Misery. This is not a paid advertisement.
Disclaimer: This is my web blog, the opinion expressed above are 100% mine and not that of the author's or publisher of the above-mentioned book. This site makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness of any information and will not be liable for any errors, omissions in this information arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Another Blog Award and A Film!

It's almost the middle of October!!!! Oh.  My.  God.  I cannot believe it!  Yes it's beginning to get cold at this side of the world.  Not that I am complaining.  I love Autumn.  Spring and Autumn are my favourite seasons.  They are not too cold, not too hot.  I like the fresh autumn fresh air at night, although in the morning you have to get all wrapped up and then by mid-day, you have to take them all off because it gets too warm.  Ha!  I know!  It's crazy.  But I still love Autumn.

So what have I been doing?  I'm sorry I've been a bad blogger.  I really should do this often.  But what can I do when there is absolutely nothing to write about?  I have been pre-occupied with the story I am writing and I've made progress by the way, yay!  20K words now and it's Chapter 11!  Hoorah!  I know sometimes I write rubbish but sorting out will be later when I switch my 'editing mode' on.

Now, on to the more exciting part of today - I received another blog award!!!! Thank you Nissi Peters (a.k.a. Glynis Smy), a very dear blog-friend of mine who has just finished her new book, Chewy Chester.

Thank you for this Strangely Irresistible Blog Award, dear Nissi! :)  I so love it! :)

Please feel free to visit Nissi's blog.  She's got lovely artworks of Chewy Chester in there as well that you will surely enjoy.

I now would like to pass this award on to 3 lovely bloggers who are also my favourites:

Talli Roland - for always making me smile when I read her posts, a smile that sometimes lasts for hours! Remember to join her Blogsplash!  Her debut novel, The Hating Game will be out on 01 December 2010!

Kathie (Just a Happy Housewife) - for very interesting posts - music, fashion, pets, anything under the sun and they always make me want to go back and check what's new!

Virginia Grenier (The Writing Mama) - I learn a lot from this blog and I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Virginia for every post she's published on this blog of hers.  She probably won't remember me but I always go to check and see what she's written as often as I can.  She's so generous with information, just like almost all the writers I've met on line so far. 

Oh by the way, I told you I was reading 'The Witches' by Roald Dahl, didn't I?  I've also found out there was a film!  Although it was based on Roald Dahl's book, the film makers changed the ending...and to be honest, I liked it!  I shouldn't tell you how it ended on both the book and the film as it might ruin the excitement so can I say that I highly recommend both!  Children will also enjoy both of them!  I suggest read the book first and then watch the film.  I guess it's always good to do that :)

See you all again soon, my lovelies!  I will think of something interesting to write about next time! :)

Happy Monday!!!!!