Archive for December, 2013

Thank You, 2013!

This year, I watched 96 movies, and several seasons of both old and new TV show favorites; listened to 38 audiobooks; and read 30 books.

Here are the highlights of my 2013:

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Took a trip to Carmel and Monterey in February.

Enjoyed a birthday weekend getaway in Napa Valley.

Watched the live action version of How to Train Your Dragon.

Watched the famous Pageant of the Masters for the first time.

Had a reunion with some high school classmates.

Had my first taste of Paleyfest and attended its Once Upon a Time Panel.

Enjoyed the Blue Man Group show at the Hollywood Bowl with my Mom, Dad & Sis.

Attended 3 weddings.

 

Enjoyed book signings all over L.A.:

booksignings

Got to see Michael Dante diMartino, Brian Konietzko, Joaqim Dos Santos and Ryu Ki Hun, the men behind of one of my favorite TV shows ever, Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Met Seth Hoffman, one of the writers of The Walking Dead.

Met some of my awesome authors including Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments Series), Kimberly Derting (The Body Finder series, The Pledge Trilogy); Jessi Kirby (Moonglass); Sarah Ockler (The Book of Broken Hearts); Morgan Matson (Second Chance Summer); Shannon Messenger (Keeper of the Lost Cities and Let the Sky Fall); Suzanne Young (A Want so Wicked, A Need so Beautiful, Just Like Fate and The Program)

Attended book launches for local favorites like Kristen Kittscher, Leigh Bardugo and Marie Lu.

Enjoyed playing tour guide to friends visiting from New Zealand and Australia.

Met the Supreme Grandmaster himself, Grandmaster Diony Canete and passed two belt tests for my Filipino Martial Arts.

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Attended & volunteered in several SCBWI writing events:

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SCBWI L.A. Writers Day (March 9, 2013)

SCBWI O.C. Agents Day  (March 16, 2013)

SCBWI L.A. Critiquenic  (June 8, 2013)

SCBWI L.A. Working Writers Retreat (September 20-22, 2013)

 

 

Organized several CBW-LA workshops, and got to learn from some cool writers:

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March 30, 2013 (42nd CBW-LA meetup): Blogging Workshop with Arlee Bird

May 25, 2013 (44th CBW-LA meetup): Queries, Blurbs, & Loglines: Oh My with YA Author Samantha Combs

July 20, 2013 (46th CBW-LA meetup): Writing Between the Lines: Multiple Revisions Workshops with Carmen Rodrigues

August 17 2013 (48th CBW-LA Meetup): Potent World-Making: What’s Myth Got to Do With It?

September 26, 2013 (50th CBW-LA Meetup): The Write Stuff: A Children’s Book Workshop

 

Celebrated my 3rd Blogging Year with some amazing Spotlight Week Interviews:

January 2013 – Jennifer Bosworth (Struck)

February 2013 – Beth Revis (Across the Universe, A Million Suns & Shades of Earth)

May 2013 – Leigh Bardugo ( The Grisha Trilogy: Shadow & Bone, Siege & Storm)

June 2013 – Pamela Jaye Smith & Reece Michaelson (The Journals of Petra Volare Scroll 1: From the Shadows)

July 2013 – Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress)

September 2013 – Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky Trilogy)

October 2013 –  Kristen Kittscher (Wig in the Window)

November 2013 – Jessica Spotswood (The Cahill Witch Chronicles)

 

By far my biggest accomplishments this year, and the ones I am most grateful for include:

Getting my US citizenship.

Finishing two new drafts of URTH, the middle grade novel which I had set aside for two years and completely overhauled.

Coming up with a business plan for my writing career.

Facilitating  CBW-LA’s first ever Writing Day Anthology Workshop

Which led to STORY SPROUTS, and my first taste of publication.

 story sprouts book cover

I end the year with deep gratitude and humble amazement. I am grateful for all the things I’ve accomplished (both big and small), the lessons I’ve learned, the wonderful people I’ve met and met again, and all the amazing experiences I’ve had this year.

I’m looking forward to being just as busy and happy next year.

I wish you a healthy and happy New Year. May all your dreams come true this coming year!

Thank you 2013!

Hello, 2014! 

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My Year-End Home Office Organization

We’ve survived Christmas, but the holiday craziness is far from over. With New Year’s lurking just around the corner, there are still many tasks left to do.

I’m not sure if this is an Asian thing, but in my family we have this belief that what you do, and the state you’re in on New Year’s Day is basically a sign of the year ahead. Which is why the house (and everything else) has to be sparkly clean and well-organized before the New Year arrives.

I plan to focus on my writing career more next year, so my first order of business was to clean and organize the office.

Last year (in April), I replaced the crumbling, mismatched bookcases with new ones and re-arranged the layout of the room so things would flow better.

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My book addiction has gotten so crazy that every available inch of my two bookshelves has been crammed with books. So this December, I bought an additional bookshelf—15 inches wide and perfect for the space between the current shelves and the window.

bookcases

I moved the big, black filing cabinet to the garage, where it now holds older files. I replaced that and the smaller filing cabinet beside it with a horizontal 2 drawer filing cabinet. It holds less stuff, but fits the space perfectly and matches the rest of the furniture in the room.

filing cabinet

I also re-purposed the rolling cabinet beneath the window. The drawers were the perfect size for sorting papers, so that’s exactly what I did. I disposed of the flimsy, plastic paper tray and organized my linen paper, colored paper, copy paper, and binding papers into separate drawers, labeling them accordingly.

papertray

The upper portion of the closet was wasted space, so I installed an expandable shelf.

expandableshelf

It was easy to assemble and sturdy enough to hold the many boxes, binders and materials I had lying around.

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The last part of the whole process was the also the most fun. I hung frames on the wall and lined the shelves with cool fantasy toys and old school cameras.

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Some of my favorite wall hangings include my belt display rack, which shows all the martial arts belts I’ve retired as I moved up in rank. I also have a collage of all the pictures I’ve taken with authors at the book signings I’ve attended and  some drawings I bought during a trip to New Orleans.

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On the other side of the room, I hung up a map of the old English county of Wiltshire which I purchased during my trip to the UK,  a shadow box containing my old elementary and high school medals and a “Writing in Progress sign” which a friend gave to me for Christmas years ago.

other wall hangings

My favorite wall décor, though, is the picture frame which my CBW-LA officers surprised me with at the launch. It contains sweet, heartfelt messages from all of them, along with a picture of our Story Sprouts book cover.

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And of course, I cleared my desk of papers. Sort of.

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After organizing the home office and making it more conducive to writing, I’m ready to take on the new year and all the crazy, exciting projects that come with it.

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2013

 

 

 

Now it’s on to the closet. If I have time, that is. :)

What are your year-end traditions?

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Merry Christmas

 

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Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate this wonderful holiday! And to those who don’t, happy holidays!

 

 

 

 

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A Filpino Christmas

Christmas is the biggest holiday in the Philippines.  Filipinos start their Christmas countdowns as soon as the “ber” months hit. You’ll hear Christmas songs start playing in September on radio stations and some stores start putting out Christmas decorations  even before Halloween.

Christmas decorations include the usual Christmas tree and lights, as well as the more Filipino Parol and Belen.

The Parol is a star-shaped Christmas lantern that represents the start that guided the three wisemen to Bethlehem on the night Jesus was born.

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The Filipino Parol – image from http://knowledgeactivism.wordpress.com/page/5/

The simple parols can be made with Japanese rice-paper, cellophane and bamboo sticks, while the pricier versions are made up of capiz shells and glass and have lights inside them.

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The Filipino Parol – image from http://blog.benetton.com/blog/the-parol-and-the-filipino-christmas/

The Belen is a tableau representing the nativity scene. Found in homes, churches, schools and some office buildings, the figures depict the moment after Christ’s birth when he is surrounded by the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, the three wise men, and the shepherds and their flock.

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The Belen – image from Xavier School 

 

Simbang Gabi (or Night Mass, also known as Misa de Gallo in Spanish) is celebrated in the Philippines, being that it is a predominantly Catholic country. Simbang Gabi is a novena of masses that begin on the 16th of December and end on Christmas eve. These masses begin as early as 3 AM, although some people opt to take the anticipated evening masses the night before, instead of waking up early.

After the early mass, some Filipinos buy traditional holiday breakfast meals from the vendors outside the church. This includes puto bumbong, a purple sticky rice steamed in bamboo tubes, served with a sprinkling of brown sugar, coconut and butter; and bibingka –rice flour cake cooked with coal burners.  These treats are usually taken with  hot chocolate, coffee or salabat (a hot ginger drink).

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Puto Bumbong

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Bibingka

Both Images from: http://fterritory.blogspot.com/2010/12/bibingka-and-puto-bumbong-special-rice.html

Caroling is also a big part of the Christmas celebration there. Church choirs, youth groups and even neighborhood kids go from house to house singing Christmas carols. Once their song has ended, they wait for the homeowners to open their doors and reward them with a few coins or peso bills.

caroling

Christmas Carolers in the Philippines

Image from http://davaocitybybattad.blogspot.com/2011/12/christmas-filipino-way.html

The biggest celebration happens on Christmas eve when Filipino families gather under one roof for Noche Buena, or the traditional evening feast.

I remember spending many Christmases back home eating lots of Filipino food and playing with my cousins while we wait for midnight to strike. Christmas Eve is one of the few nights we get to stay up late. At around eleven, we would gather around the Christmas tree and wait for the adults to distribute our presents. Then as soon as the clock struck twelve, we would unwrap our piles of presents. This included the presents which were left by Santa in our Christmas pillowcases.

Yup, you read that right. Instead of putting out Christmas stockings on the fireplace, we hung pillowcases by the window. The logic being that we would get more things since it was bigger (and we didn’t really know where to get Christmas stockings).

More than anything though, Christmas for Filipinos, is a time for family. Even when we’re thousands of miles away from our country of birth, we still take time to celebrate Christmas together.

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Myself with my mom, sis, grandma and several aunts and cousins – December 1997

 

Well, at least that was the case a few years ago. I think the last time we celebrated Christmas as a complete family was in 2008. The years after that, due to conflicting schedules and conflicting family members, Christmas Eve was never quite as rowdy—or as happy.

 

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This year is even worse, with family members leaving town for Christmas and family feuds that still have yet to be resolved. There are still presents under the tree and food to be shared, but with family members missing from the picture, Christmas won’t be quite as joyful.

I shall have to hope the next year will be better, and that I’ll get to celebrate a real Filipino Christmas again, with family members gathered all around.

What are your Christmas traditions?

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Ashley Nixon’s Cutlass Cover

Last Wednesday, December 18th, Ashley Nixon revealed the cover for her YA Fantasy novel CUTLASS. You’ve probably seen it all over the web thanks to the cover reveal blog tour, but if you haven’t here it is.

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This beautiful cover was designed by Mae I Design, in case you’re wondering.

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Slated for publication on April 23, 2014, CUTLASS is the first book in the Cutlass Trilogy.

Blurb:

Notorious pirate Barren Reed has one thing on his mind: Revenge against the man who killed his father. So kidnapping his enemy’s fiancé seems a perfect plan…until he actually does it. 

Larkin Lee is more than a pretty face and fiancé to a powerful man. Her fierce personality is enough to make any pirate want to push her overboard. 

But when the King of the Orient comes to Barren with a task—to find the Bloodstone, a powerful gem thought only to exist in legend, Barren sees another opportunity to destroy his enemy. Together, Barren, Larkin and a crew of pirates set off to find the stone, only to discover it caused the death of Barren’s own mother and Larkin’s, too. As his strongest allies turn into his greatest enemies, and the life of the girl he kidnapped becomes more important than he ever dreamed, Barren’s quest for revenge becomes a fight to save the Orient.

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Author Ashley Nixon

Links:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5199530.Ashley_Nixon

Goodreads (book page): https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18755539-cutlass

Website: http://ashley-nixon.com

Blog: http://ashley-nixon.blogspot.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AshleymNixon

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ashleynixonauthor

Tumblr: http://ashleynixon.tumblr.com

 

Don’t forget to join Ashley’s Rafflecopter giveaway:

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Emily Genther

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Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Emily Genther who blogs about reading, writing and life at Emily Unraveled.

Welcome, Emily!

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

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Emily Moir

 

I live in small town, Utah with my recently acquired husband and our two dogs. When not writing, I can typically be found with my nose in a book, lurking around the movie theaters or out enjoying nature.

Currently I’m a homemaker. I do crafts and sell them on Etsy. I also hope to open my own pre-school soon. I did childcare for nearly a decade, but I’m more than ready to be my own boss.

I love to write fantasy and paranormal fiction. Those genres allow for so many possibilities, they really stretch my creativity.

Hobbies and interests? Wow, there are a lot. I’ve already mentioned crafting, I knit, cross stitch, embroider, sculpt, scrapbook, decoupage and make dolls. I think that covers my crafting J I like to garden  and, of course, love to read.

I’m not really sure if I have any hidden talents. I like to try new things all the time, and if I enjoy something I stick with in. Not sure if that makes me talented with it though.

On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

Back in the day I used to find a corner of the library to hide in, but these days I do most of my writing at my computer. In fact, I’m at my computer almost 24/7.

Right now I have an office/ craft room/ “put random stuff here” room that I work out of. My husband and I have two rooms we’re renting until we can get our own place, so space is limited.

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Emily’s workspace

 

2.  Where did you get your desk?  How did you go about arranging your work area?

My desk was a gift from my mother-in-law when I got married. My work space has no real order to it. I have a drawer full of old note books I started stories in, and then a shelf full of notebooks specific to one series I was working on. After that pretty much anything that could fit on my desk and didn’t have a home got crammed there. I’m working with limited space at the moment.

 

3.  What are some important things on your desk?  Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

I have my clay sitting at my desk and that’s probably the most important thing there (aside from my computer of course). I like to fiddle with the I’m working on something. It helps me think.

My calendar is also important. I’m involved with a lot, both online and in the real world. As old school, physical calendar is the only way I can keep track of everything.

 

4.  What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

I love that my desk is large enough to accommodate all the stuff I put on/ in it. I’m never just doing one thing at a time and it’s great to have a little bit of working room.

As far as favorite things, I recently found a trio of Powerpuff Girls stamps that had been in storage for years. I’m still excited about the discovery, so they’re currently my favorite object in my work space.

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Powerpuff Girls stamps

5. What’s your writing beverage?  What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

Mostly I drink water. I know, boring. Sometimes I like to have some green tea though. Whatever the case maybe, I’ve always got to have something on hand. Thus the unsightly cup sitting on my desk.

On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author?  Who inspired you to write?

I couldn’t possibly pick just one favorite author. There are so many great writers out there. Lemony Snicket and Neil Gaiman are pretty high on my list though.

Who inspired me to write? That really is a good question. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I still have stories I scribbled in kindergarten tucked away somewhere. Writing is sort of something that’s in the family blood.

 

2. What’s your typical day as a writer like?  Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?

I’m completely disorganized when it comes to these things. If I try to set aside time specifically for writing, I’ll end up doing the laundry or something instead.

When I do write, I’ll typically be in the middle or something else (or supposed to be doing something else) when the story hits me. If it’s possible, at that point I’ll drop everything else and park my butt until I’m totally tapped on inspiration.  I try to at least set goals to keep me loosely on track so I don’t take years to write one story though. But I really don’t like what I write when I try to force myself through something. Luckily, I usually don’t have to wait too long for inspiration.

As you can guess from my answer to the previous question, no, I don’t write everyday. However, with blogs and critiques and multiple stories I’m working on, I end up coming pretty close to it.

 

3.  Do you write everyday?  How many hours a day do you spend writing?  What are some of your worst writing distractions?

As you can guess from my answer to the previous question, no, I don’t write everyday. However, with blogs and critiques and multiple stories I’m working on, I end up coming pretty close to it.

I wouldn’t even know where to begin gauging how much time a day I spend writing. It really depends on the day. Sometimes it’s half an hour. Sometimes I loose the daylight without even noticing. It just depends what I’m working on and how in the zone I get.

My worst writing distractions are everyday life. Facebook of course, and email. After that it’s things like remembering I haven’t eaten, then seeing that there aren’t clean dishes to make food with, which leads to me starting the dishes, which quickly turns to me taking out the trash, and so on and so on. Eventually I remember to eat, but by then writing for that allotted time has gone out the window.

 

4. Why do you write?

I’ve been writing forever. I write because I have characters running around in my head demanding their stories be told. I write sometimes to get out my frustrations. I write my blog because I like attention. I’m not even going to try to gloss over that one. I want people to know who I am and what my work is, so I’m online all over the place.

 

5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?  How about a favorite writing quote?

As always, keep writing! It’s a crazy passion and a crazy business, but if it’s what you love stick with it.

Take criticism with a grain of salt, but that doesn’t mean ignore it. If you’re looking to market your work then you need to know what readers will think of it; however, there are a lot of people out there who will tell you opinion like it’s gospel. Despite what others will have you believe, there is no magic formula and there are no rules.

 

Links:

Blog: http://emilylmgenther.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/emilylmgenther

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EmilyLMGenther

 

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Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing life, Emily!

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.

 

 

 

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Marie Lu’s Champion Book Launch at Mysterious Galaxy

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Marie Lu’s whirlwind Champion Book Tour ended in her hometown of L.A. last December 7th, 2013.

Despite the crazy weather (first buckets of rain, then bright sun like nothing happened), many of her fans attended her last book signing at the Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in Redondo Beach.

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Marie Lu at Mysterious Galaxy


Marie takes a lot of inspiration from things around her when she writes. The story for her Legend series actually came about while she was watching Les Miserables on TV. She wanted to write a story about teen versions of Jean Valjean and Javert. Originally, both characters were supposed to be male but her then- boyfriend-now-fiancée Primo suggested that June should be a girl, and the rest is history.

When asked what inspired one of her character’s name, she replied “in a way, Day’s name was inspired by Daniel Radcliffe.” When she began writing Legend, she thought Day was a cool name so she used it for one of her main characters.  Then she realized she had to give him a full name and set about finding one that was close enough to “Day”. She chanced upon an interview with Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe and thought “Daniel” was close enough and decided that would be her main character’s full name.

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YA Author Marie Lu

Marie said that when she first began writing the series, it was easier for her to write in the voice of Day. She explained that when she was in high school, she had written a novel with Day as a main character. When she wrote Legend, she simply transferred Day’s character into her new story, so writing about him was easier since she felt like she already knew him.

Unlike Day, June’s character was so different from Marie’s own that writing about her was difficult.

“How do you write about someone who’s way smarter than you?” Marie asked. She remembered having to spend two hours of research just to come up with one line for June.  As the series progressed, however, June’s character began to evolve and she began to let loose a little. She became even easier to write when Marie realized that she had unconsciously sprinkled parts of herself in June’s own personality.

CBS Films acquired the film rights to Legend and according to Marie, the script is finished and they are in the process of casting for the film. One of the audience members asked if she was worried the movie version might not stay true to the book. Marie replied that as long as the characters and their essences stayed the same, she didn’t really mind if the plot was changed a bit.

With her Legend trilogy now finished, Marie is currently working on a new series, which is temporarily titled “Young Elites.” She’s pitching it as an “X-men meets Assassin’s Creed.” It’s a fantasy story set in the renaissance, which features a group of young teens who discover they have powers.

Marie Lu encouraged questions from her fans and graciously signed books afterward.

I was with my writing buddy /critique partner Cassie for the event and the two of us had to wait for the line to dissipate before we could get our books signed. We were so engrossed in our conversation that we failed to realize that Marie Lu had finished signing and was on her way to sign stock in the backroom!

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Writing buddy Cassie with YA Author Marie Lu

But Marie, gracious as ever, waved us over when I knocked on the window of the backroom and told her that we hadn’t gotten our book signed. She stepped outside to chat with us for a bit, sign our books and even posted for pictures with us.

I’m  always so happy to see Marie Lu and attend her book events. She is definitely one of the nicest YA authors out there.

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Myself with author Marie Lu

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Paraskevidekatriaphobia or the Fear of Friday the 13th

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Although there is no logical basis for the fear of Friday the 13th, some people actually suffer from this phobia. They’re called paraskevidekatriaphobics.

 

The superstition has both Christian and Norse roots and is a combination of two different fears. 13 is significant to Christians as it is the number of people present at the Last Supper. Jesus and his twelve apostles celebrated his last meal on earth, with Judas, the betrayer, as the 13th person to arrive.

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The Last Supper by Gianpietrino

 

Ancient Norse mythology has its own version of the Last Supper, too. Their beloved hero Balder was at a banquet with eleven of his friends when the god of mischief Loki appeared, bringing their number to 13. Balder was killed in this banquet and subsequently, the number 13 has been deemed unlucky in Norse culture.

Christians are wary of Fridays because Jesus died on a Friday. And apparently Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in Eden on a Friday, and the Great Flood also started on a Friday–this according to some theologians. Historians say that maybe the Christian suspicion for Fridays  began when the Catholic Church  centuries ago began their suppression of the pagan religions, and women. Fridays were devoted to the goddess Venus in the Roman calendar. When the Norsemen adapted this calendar, they named the day after Freya, the Norse version of Venus, the goddess of love (and sex). This pagan worship of two strong female figures posed a threat to the male-dominated Christian society, so the theory says the church defamed the day named after them.

There were other events that added to this superstition. It was Friday the 13th in 1306, when King Philip of France arrested the revered Knights Templar and tortured them. Fridays were also the day for public hangings in British tradition, and there were supposedly 13 steps that led up to the noose.

I think the fear of Friday the 13th is more like a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you learned that Friday the 13th was supposed to be a very unlucky day when you were young, you might consciously or subconsciously be looking for evidence to prove this is true. And once you find it, it’s easy for the superstition to become belief. Bad things can happen to you any day of the year, but if it happens to fall on Friday the 13th you might chalk it up to the date, instead of to coincidence.

I watched Friday the 13th when I was eight, and I remember being very scared of Jason. But it thankfully never inspired a fear of the date.

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Jason from the movie Friday the 13th

 

Personally, I’m glad I don’t have Paraskevidekatriaphobia. It must be very debilitating to have a phobia for a day that happens once or twice a year.

I’m not sure about the phobia, but I think I’d be more afraid of the actual word. It would be a nightmare to spell in a spelling bee.

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Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Clarissa Draper, author of The Sholes Key.

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Welcome Clarissa!

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living?

Well, I live to write. I don’t have another job other than that. Although I don’t make a lot of money writing, I Couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

What genre do you love to write?

My main genre is mystery/thriller but I do like to write short stories and other genres such as science fiction and general fiction.

What are some of your hobbies or interests?

Besides reading and doing research, I love mathematics and numbers puzzles. Nerdy, I know.

Do you have a hidden talent?

I’m great at origami. Does that count?

On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

I have an office in my bedroom but because I write early in the morning, I usually write on the sofa in the living room.

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2.  Where did you get your desk?  How did you go about arranging your work area?

A friend actually gave it to me for free. She was getting a new one so I got her old one. I cannot write when things around me are messy, I try to keep my desk very tidy.

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Clarissa’s workspace

 

3.  What are some important things on your desk?  Are there specific things you need to have around

you as you work?

My Cambridge dictionary. I love the smell of the pages.

I write much better with coffee. Also, my boxer keeps me company. I have been known to bounce ideas off her once and awhile.

 

4.  What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

Even though my office is in my bedroom, it looks like a professional work space and makes me feel like a professional writer.

My husband recently gave me a chalk-outline post-it note set.

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5. What’s your writing beverage?  What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

Coffee.

On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author?

I have so many, how can I choose? Right now I love Val Mcdermid and Shirley Wells.

Who inspired you to write? Agatha Christie. She dreamed up the best plots.

 

2. What’s your typical day as a writer like?

I wake up really early in the morning. I try to get in an hour worth of writing before I start the rest of my day (at least 500 words). I break up my writing into three parts: (1) Writing (2) Recording (3) Planning. I spend the morning writing. In the afternoon, I record notes about what I wrote into the timeline, the character cards and the chapter outline. Then I spend a few minutes in the evening planning what I’m going to write the next day.

Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks? I need my office to be neat before I can write. Fortunately, I dont’ keep my office a mess and I can get on with the task of writing straight away.

 

3.     Do you write everyday?How many hours a day do you spend writing? What are some of your worst writing distractions?

Do you write everyday? I try.

How many hours a day do you spend writing?
At least one to two hours writing, recording and planning.

What are some of your worst writing distractions? Stress is my number one distraction because when my mind is muddled, I can’t focus on writing. Social media doesn’t distract me much because I would rather be writing than on Facebook.

 

4. Why do you write?

Because I have to.

 

5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?  How about a favorite writing quote?

Writing is hard work. I believe you have to write regularly to keep creativity high. That’s why I try to write everyday.

Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration. – Thomas Edison

 

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Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing life, Clarissa!

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.

 

 

 

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A Weekend of Organizing and Some Writing Updates

I usually schedule my posts ahead of time, but l spent most of last week trying to trim the mounds of paperwork and doing month end reports. And this past weekend, I was possessed by an organizing spirit who demanded that that I get to work on updating and organizing the home office.  So I went out to buy a bookcase and an office drawer.

And I learned several things. First never buy furniture when the weather is wonky. It was gloomy when I drove to Ikea and when I came out the earlier drizzle had become a torrent. It felt like someone was throwing down buckets of water as I loaded the furniture into my car. I could barely see anything while I was driving home!

The afternoon was another matter. As I set to work assembling the bookcase and the drawer, the sun broke out, pretending like the earlier storm had not happened at all. Figures. After all the back-breaking assembly, I realized that I picked the wrong office cabinet.

galant 4 drawers

 

Four drawers looks like a lot of storage, but the drawers are too shallow for folders

The drawers  were way too shallow for files and I had ended up halving my office storage instead of doubling it. So the next day, I hired some movers to lug the assembled and very heavy drawers down the stairs and back to Ikea. They waited until I got the replacement and helped me bring the new purchase back up to the office.

As soon as they left, I went to work assembling the new cabinet. I thought it would take me a shorter amount of time to assemble it, since the parts were similar the one I had assembled yesterday. But I was wrong. It took me longer this time, since I had to drive back to Ikea to replace some parts ,and my body was already so sore from yesterday’s efforts that I was slower than ever trying to piece everything together.

galant filing cabinet

Same brand, different model: Filing cabinets have much more space–and this one was cheaper, too

After 3 and a half hours, I finally finished assembling the filing cabinet and went out putting everything in its place.

And I’m still not done. Which is why you won’t see pictures yet. :)

Once I’m done with everything, I promise I’ll share pictures so you can get ideas for your own home office organizations.

In the meantime, I thought I’d like to share some writing updates.

I finished the current draft for my middle grade novel last Friday! Yay!

Knowing my critique partner Cassie was waiting for my daily chapters really helped me finish on time.

Next up on my list? Rewrites/edits for my YA novel.

And to help me with this new goal, my other critique partners (Jenn, Amanda and Tiffani) and I have started our own version of nano—in which we all try to get some writing done everyday, and update each other via emails on our progress.

It’s amazing how much writing you can get done with the support of amazing writing buddies. Do you have writing buddies, too?   

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