Category : Ramblings

A New Chapter in My Life

I hope you all had a marvelous Independence Day weekend!

I spent most of last week doing chores, and catching up on my chapters and other writing group activities. I also managed to squeeze in some time to hang out with family and friends.  I’m trying to make sure I get a lot of personal stuff done so I can give my new job the utmost attention.

After almost nine years of working at the same company, doing the same job day after day, I am more than ready to turn the page and start a new chapter in my life.

And I can already tell it’s going to be a great new chapter! Why? Because my job has to do with my two greatest passions—writing and teaching/learning.

Tomorrow I start at my new job at UCLA Extension’s Writers Program. As its Online Creative Writing and Events Rep, I’ll be in charge of planning the program’s online offerings and organizing its writing events. These are two of my favorite activities—and I would do this for free. But now, I’ll get paid to actually pursue these passions. I am super thrilled to be working there and I can’t wait to dive in.

A new job means a new schedule and a new way of doing things. While I’m trying to figure out how things work, I’m pretty sure some things will get set aside—my writing and this blog, for starters. My Wednesday Writer’s Workspace posts will always be there, as will my guest postings, but I might miss a few days here and there. But I will try my best not to. Once I find the rhythm of this new chapter of my life, I’m sure I’ll find a better way to juggle all the roles I play. In the meantime, I apologize for my inconsistent postings.

I hope you all are doing great. I’ll try to drop by every now and then to see how you all are. But even if you don’t see me, rest assured all you bloggy friends are in my thoughts and prayers!

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Anyone Have a Timeturner I Can Borrow?

I need a Timeturner like Hermione’s. So I can turn back the hours each day and accomplish all the things I want to do, on top of all the things I need to do.

Time turner poster by vame modified Anyone Have a Timeturner I Can Borrow?

I would settle for a pill that will allow me to work non-stop without having to sleep. Like that magic pill in the movie Limitless, only without the crazy side effects.

Or maybe I need to just up my time management skills. I’ve been good about getting things done, but some of the things I like to do get set aside. My blog, and my own writing, for starters. Except for my guest posts, which I schedule ahead of time, I seem to be unable to keep up with things. I haven’t been able to visit favorite bloggy friends or even write posts worthy of reading.

I’ve been very good about critiquing my CP’s works. Mostly because I love their stories and can’t wait to read them. But I have been bad about getting my own chapters out. I try to crank one or two chapters out a week. Not a good output compared to the one chapter a day schedule I normally set for myself.

The thing is May was a crazy busy month and June is turning out to be one as well. CBW-LA (Children’s Book Writers of Los Angeles) just finished its Anthology Workshop last May 31st, so my co-editor Alana and I have already started working on the anthology.

While I’m working on the Anthology, I’m also organizing one workshop a month for CBW-LA. And now, I have new responsibilities with my other writing organization, SCBWI.

I’m not sure if I mentioned this before, but I recently got promoted from Contest Coordinator to Assistant Regional Adviser of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) – L.A. Region. Which means that I get to assist amazing Regional Advisers Sarah and Sally with organizing all five events of the L.A. Region of SCBWI.

Oh and I just recently took my Brown 2 Belt Test for my Filipino Martial Arts class.

A lot of my friends ask how I get all these things done. Well, tons of lists and organizing things, for one. And for another, in all my writing groups, I am lucky enough to be surrounded by amazing, wonderful board members who help me run things and organize events.

Yup, I am super busy. But I am not at all complaining. I looove what I do. I love writing and teaching and organizing writing events. All of the things I am currently working on are things I love, things that have to do with my passion so they hardly feel like work at all.

What I wish for is more time to do all of these things. I wish I could just spend my days working on all of above, instead of having to go to a regular 9-6 job every day. If I end up winning the lottery, I am certain that’s what I’ll do. I’ll quit my job and work on CBW-LA, SCBWI, blogging and writing full time. J

But no matter how much I gripe about the day job, I am grateful I have one. It certainly helps pay the bills.

So… what’s the point of this post? I’m not quite sure myself. Except maybe—if you do come across a Timeturner, a real one that works,  do send it my way. icon smile Anyone Have a Timeturner I Can Borrow?

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Updates and I Need a Contest Winner

Hello all!

I’m still exhausted from our amazing Anthology Workshop last Saturday. Story Sprouts Co-Editor Alana Marie Garrigues and I  had a blast leading our 23 soon to be published writers on a creative crazy ride.

Pictures and details to come! But for now, I’d like to invite you to please sign up for the Spotlight Week Contest. I’m extending the contest until June 8th. 

I need a winner for my awesome prize: Your Choice of  any of the Kindle books in Mary Pearson’s Jenna Fox Trilogy.

 

jenna fox trilogy Updates and I Need a Contest Winner

To join, click this link: Spotlight Week Contest

Hope you can help me  spread the word about this cool contest.

In the meantime, have a wonderful week!

 

 

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Anthology Workshop Preparations

Tomorrow is CBW-LA’s second annual Writing Day Anthology Workshop!

And while I and the other board members have spent months preparing for this event, there are always last minute things to do.

So forgive my lack of an appropriate blog post and wish us luck.

I’ll be sure to tell you all about it once the craziness has died down.

In the meantime, have a happy weekend everyone!

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The Joy of Having Awesome Critique Partners

First off, an extended Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there. I hope you got the pampering you deserve!

We’re 12 days into May and I thought I’d give you some updates on my writing life.

Yes, I’m still writing, though it may seem like I hardly ever do.  ;)

This March, I finished the fifth and final draft of my YA novel. It took me 4 drafts to get the plot exactly the way I wanted, and a final draft to polish all the details.

My middle grade novel is proving to be more of a challenge. I think it’s because this MG novel is the first book I ever wrote. First books usually just serve as a testing ground for novel writing abilities, but I stubbornly refused to think of mine that way. The more I learn about writing, the more I find ways to fix the story. The plot evolves with every rewrite and sometimes I wonder if it will ever reach its final draft.

I’m now working on the 11th draft of my MG novel and I feel like I’m getting closer to getting the story the way it should be.  And I wouldn’t have gotten to this point if it weren’t for my awesome critique partners.

The first 9 drafts of URTH were all written without much critiquing. I would bring a chapters to a few critique sessions and retreats here and there, but for the most part, I kept on tweaking the plot without any consistent help from my critique partners.

When I finished my 10th draft, I finally asked my crit partners for help. Cassie, one of my wonderful critique partners would read each chapter as I finished it and give her critique, and I’d do the same for her. Last April, she actually spent a whole day finishing the rest of my MG manuscript and helping me re-work the plot for the next draft. The massive brainstorming session helped me re-haul my plot outline and I finally dove into the next rewrite.

Now that I’m working on my 11th draft, two other awesome critique partners have come to my aid. Jenn, Tiffani and I have been part of a critique group for the past three years. We would try to meet once a month to do critiques and brainstorm. But because of our busy schedules, there were months were we wouldn’t be able to meet at all.

This month we revived our group by starting a whole new online exchange, instead of trying for monthly face to face meetings.

And it’s been working wonderfully so far. We send each other whatever chapters we finished and wait for the others’ critiques. We’ve all been so good about getting our critiques out as speedily as possible and it has helped us all keep on track with our writing goals. The fact that I enjoy reading their stories also helps because I can’t wait to dig in each time they send me a new chapter.

Jenn and Tiffani are great motivators for me. Their speedy critiques inspire me to work on my manuscript every day. And because I love their stories, critiquing their manuscripts doesn’t feel like work at all.

Without Cassie, Jenn, and Tiffani, I don’t know how else I could whip my MG novel into shape. They are the people who encourage me when I’m down, inspire me to keep on writing every day, and suggest great ways to fix what I feel are “un-fixable” in my work. I feel incredibly lucky and very blessed to have these awesome writers as critique partners.

Who are the awesome critique partners in your life? How do they help you as a writer?

 

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Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Sponsored by the Paley Center for Media , thePaleyfest is a two week event which allows fans to connect with the producers and cast members of their favorite television shows via a live panel.

paleyfest 2014 Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

This year, I got to see the panel for two of my favorite shows: ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars and ABC’s Marvel: Agents of Shield.

Today, I thought I’d share highlights from the Marvel Agents of Shield Panel, which happened last March 23rd, 2014.

Created for ABC by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is a television series based on the Marvel Comics’ organization of S.H.I.E.L.D. or Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division. The show ‘s timeline begins  right after THE AVENGERS movie and  follows S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Phil Coulson (played by Clark Gregg), after his death in the Avengers movie.  Yes, you read that right, Agent Coulson is mysteriously  brought back to life, and the show is partly about the mystery of his resurrection.

marvels agents of shield news modified Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

The Dolby Theater was packed with fans of the show, some wearing full Marvel regalia. There were even little kids dressed up as S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents.

kid Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

 

Executive Producer Jeph Loeb began the presentation by asking the audience not to leak any spoilers via social media or otherwise. When he was satisfied with everyone’s response, he announced, “You are now cleared to level seven.” After that, the audience was treated to the next episode, which was to air on April 1st

intro Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Executive Producer Jeph Loeb to audience: “You are now cleared to Level 7.”

It was such an amazing experience to watch the episode 8 days before it would air in public—and with other people who love the show as much as I do.I enjoyed hearing the collective gasps, cheers and laughter of fellow fans.

After watching the episode, actress Felicia Day (Supernatural, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) came on stage to introduce the panel she would be moderating.

felicia day Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

Actress/ Panel Moderator Felicia Day introduces the panel

Producers and and producers and co-creators Jeph Loeb, Jeffrey BellJed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen were joined by Agents of Shield stars  Clark Gregg (Agent Phil Coulson), Ming-Na Wen (Agent Melinda May),  Brett Dalton (Agent Grant Ward), Chloe Bennet (Skye), Iain De Caestecker (Leo Fitz) and Elizabeth Henstridge (Jemma Simmons).

panel Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

Panel Moderator Felicia Day with Producers Jeph Loeb, Jeffrey Bell, Cast members Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Ian De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge, along with producers/co-creators Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen.

 

Producer Jeph Loeb teased the show’s April 8th episode –a crossover with Captain America, which was at the time, still set for release on April 4th.  Loeb mentioned that the idea for Marvel Agents of SHIELD actually came from Greg Clark himself. He and Gregg were at a fan event for the Ultimate Spider Man and Gregg kept on whispering “Coulson lives” in Loeb’s ear as an idea of a TV series.  Gregg didn’t quite remember the incident but Loeb insisted it was the truth.

producers Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

“I was really dead. It was very clear, since there was a lot of blood,” Gregg said, when asked if he really did die in the Avengers movie. He credits “Coulson” lives campaigns with bringing his character back to life. “I have 11,000 Twitter aliases, all of whom were very integral to starting the ‘Coulson Lives’ movement,”he added.

clark gregg Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Producer Jeffrey Bell pointed out that Marvel Comics fans always knew that Coulson lived, at least in the world of comics, so bringing him to life via the TV series, actually followed the Marvel storyline.

Clark Gregg was in top form during the panel, even hopping off the stage twice to hug two fans. The first was a fan who was apparently very sad that Gregg’s character died in Avengers, and was ecstatic when he was resurrected for the show. The second, was to hug a fan who’d created framed artwork for all the cast members.

joss and marissa Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

 

Producer Maurissa Tancharoen said that Agent May was originally named Agent Rice. But when Ming Na Wen was cast for the role, the name was no longer appropriate. It has since become a running joke for the cast.

ming na Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

The producers also shared that the characters for Fitz and Simmons were inspired by the chemistry between Casey Affleck’s and Scott Caan’s character s in “Ocean’s Eleven.”  Fitz and Simmons were not originally written as being from the UK, but after Henstridge and De Caestecker auditioned and got the part, the change was made.

simmons Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

The two actors have intentionally been playing their characters more as brother and sister, but if the fans get their way, that might change in season 2. The actors joked that if that happened, it might make things kind of awkward.

fitz simmons2 Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

Skye’s parentage is a big part of the Agents of Shield storyline and many fans guess that she might actually be the daughter of either Agent May or Agent Coulson. Actress Ming-Na Wen says she wants Skye to be the lovechild of Agent May and Thor. She even volunteered to endure several long flashbacks of the affair, if necessary. Clark Gregg  joked that he thought Skye should be the lovechild of Agent Coulson and Lady Sif.

skye Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

When asked who among the Avengers she’d want to work alongside, Chloe Bennet who plays Skye, responded that she was interested in working with either of the Chris’s. “Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Captain America (Chris Evans) would be nice,” she said. The producers also brought up Chloe’s past as a teen pop singer in China. And Chloe, ever game, even showed the audience a little bit of her dance moves.

Elizabeth Henstridge (Simmons) said she’d love to do a scene with Loki. “Maybe Simmons can have tea with Loki,” she said. Gregg quickly remarked, “You know I’ve been in a scene with Loki…”

simmons2 Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

Moderator Felicia Day asked Brett Dalton about Agent Ward’s reputation as a ladies’ man and his many love scenes in the show. Brett replied, “It definitely doesn’t suck.” Chloe Bennet joked that she would bring along Dalton’s abs. “Just his abs”, if she were stranded on an island. “I’d wash my clothes on them.” Producer Tancharoen quipped, “And this is why we give them dialogue.”

skye and so Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

 

Brett’s character Agent Ward had a physical relationship with May but seems to have a thing for Skye. Brett quipped that his character was no longer a lone wolf, and that he’s learned to “play with the team.”

Series co-creator Maurissa Tancharoen revealed that one thing which convinced them Brett could do stunts was his resume, where he listed that he had attended Clown School.

so Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

During the Q & A, a fan wearing a “Coulson is my Home Boy” shirt remarked that for a secret organization, the S.H.I.E.L.D. has a lot of stuff bearing its logo, including an espresso machine on the plane. Gregg joked,” Fitz can give you a latte where the foam is the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo.” but later on explained that the organization itself isn’t a secret, but what they do is.

cast Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

Another fan asked if the show was set to be renewed for Season 2. The producers replied that they weren’t sure yet. The audience laughed when the fan quipped, “So who do I have to shank?”

Producer Jeffrey Bell said they hoped they would be renewed as they had long term plans for the series. They already know where Season 2 would go, and they know where they want Season 3 to end, and which character will still be alive by then.

The cast admitted that even they don’t know what’s going to happen with the storyline. The producers and writers are very secretive about their work and often times the cast would try to get hints from the writers. Ming-Na said that “The whole season has been jaw-dropping surprises. They don’t tell us anything… Marvel is SHIELD!”

love triangle Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

Chloe Bennett added that she has been trying to guess what it means for her character to be an O-84. She said she’s always doing research on the comics and calling up Marvel asking “Am I this? Or this? Or this?” , to which they always answer “Nope.” Chloe says she has many theories, but still has no idea what the real answer is.

so skye fitz Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

After the Q & A, the audience swarmed toward the stage to get autographs from their favorite stars.

signing1 Paleyfest 2014: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

 

We didn’t even bother to join the crazy crowd. We were just happy to watch our favorite cast members sign autographs.

I don’t know what shows next year’s Paleyfest will feature, but after a great experience this year, I’m already looking forward to it.

 

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Paleyfest: Pretty Little Liars

Sponsored by the Paley Center for Media , thePaleyfest is a two week event which allows fans to connect with the producers and cast members of their favorite television shows via a live panel.

paleyfest 2014 Paleyfest: Pretty Little Liars

This year, I got to see the panel for two of my favorite shows: ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars and ABC’s Marvel: Agents of Shield.

Today, I thought I’d share highlights from the Pretty Little Liars Paleyfest Panel.

castand producers complete 2 Paleyfest: Pretty Little Liars

Based on the series by Sara Shepard, Pretty Little Liars is a mystery-thriller set in the fictional town of Rosewood, Pennsylvania. It follows the lives of Spencer, Aria, Hanna and Emily, four teens whose lives are thrown completely off balance when their queen bee, Alison disappears. One year after Alison’s disappearance, her four friends begin receiving messages from a mysterious stranger called “A”, who threatens to reveal all their secrets.

pretty litte liars poster Paleyfest: Pretty Little Liars

My writer friend Jenn got me hooked on Pretty Little Liars a couple of years ago. She said it was the perfect thing to watch if I wanted to learn more about the YA (young adult) culture/lingo for my YA books. So this past March 16th, Jenn and I attended the Paleyfest for Pretty Little Liars.

The Dolby Theater was packed with people, most of them were teenage girls who are the shows’ biggest fanbase.

with screen Paleyfest: Pretty Little Liars

At the Paleyfest, they usually treat the audience to an advanced screening of the next episode. But since the Pretty Little Liars season finale was the following week, we didn’t get to watch the episode. Instead, they treated us to an old clip featuring a teenage Chad Lowe (one of the actors on PLL), and an hour and a half long panel with the cast and producers of the show.

cast and producers complete Paleyfest: Pretty Little Liars

Executive producers Marlene King, Joe Dougherty and Oliver Goldstick, were present for the panel, along with stars Troian Bellisario (Spencer); Ashley Benson (Hanna); Lucy Hale (Aria); Shay Mitchell (Emily); Sasha Pieterse (Ali); Ian Harding (Ezra); Janel Parrish (Mona) and Keegan Allen (Toby).

PLL and ezra Paleyfest: Pretty Little Liars

Troian Bellisario (Spencer); Ashley Benson (Hanna); Lucy Hale (Aria); Shay Mitchell (Emily); Sasha Pieterse (Ali); Ian Harding (Ezra)

It was amazing to see the cast live and to watch them interact and talk about their characters. They revealed key plot points in the season finale (which aired March 18th), and dropped hints about the upcoming 5th season. It was fun to see the cast as real people, bantering with each other and revealing what they thought about their work. At one point, Troian Bellisario challenged Ian Harding to show off his sound effects skills. Actor Ian Harding provided the sound effects as Troian Bellisario pretended to shoot him with an arrow.

arrow Paleyfest: Pretty Little Liars

Ian Harding (Ezra) provides the sound effects as Troian Bellisario (Spencer) pretends to shoot him with an arrow.

We learned that many of the cast were musically talented and would often have impromptu jamming sessions. Three of the show’s  stars can actually dance and sing. Lucy Hale, who starred in Disney’s Another Cinderella Story, actually released a country album. Janelle Parrish, who plays Mona, has Broadway background, and Keegan Allen who plays Toby sings and plays guitar.

 The producers actually thought about doing a musical episode to highlight the stars’ talents, and the cast even joked about having a Broadway version as well.

laughing Paleyfest: Pretty Little Liars

Fans also asked about a movie version and Executive Producer Marlene King said that they would love to make a movie when the show ends.

castand producers complete 3 Paleyfest: Pretty Little Liars

After the two hour presentation, fans rushed to the stage to get their favorite stars to sign posters and what not.

signing Paleyfest: Pretty Little Liars

Jenn and i didn’t even bother to try and get through the crowd, for fear of being trampled. But we did enjoy the show and left with some  fond memories of our favorite show.

 

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Disaster Preparedness

Last week there were a slew of earthquakes, one of which registered at 5.3 on the scale, and which lasted about 30 seconds. That was probably the longest earthquake I’ve ever experienced. I’m used to earthquakes, having lived along the Ring of Fire my whole life. When I was in the 2nd grade, I remember living through a 7.2 quake in the Philippines that made the cars slide back and forth along the street.

Each state has some kind of disaster to prepare for. In the Midwest it might be tornadoes, in the north, snowstorms. In California it’s definitely earthquakes. We’re all bracing ourselves for what seismologists are calling “The Big One.” One earthquake to ruin us all. And while everyone knows about the San Andreas Fault line, there is a smaller one called the Puente Hills Fault Line which according to the experts might have far more damaging effects.

According to USGS seismologist Lucy Jones: “When an earthquake happens on this fault, it’s just about the worst one we can imagine. It’s long enough to generate an earthquake greater than magnitude 7 – and even as big as 7.5 – and is located under the oldest parts of our city. We have hundreds of thousands of very bad buildings that will be exposed to very strong shaking, so we put this all together and it’s just about the worst earthquake we can think of as happening.”

drop cover hold on 20mmacg Disaster Preparedness

The good thing is that the Puente Hills fault has a major quake once every 2,500 years only, compared to the San Andreas Fault Line which is more frequent.

As I took cover beneath the dining room table and rode out the 5.3 rolling earthquake last week, I began to think about “the big one” which everyone has been talking about for years now. I began to wonder if I was prepared for such a thing.

A few years ago, I started building my emergency kit but I haven’t updated it since (I should probably make sure the food I put in there isn’t expired). There are a few sites out there that list down things to do before, during and after an earthquake and it might be a good idea to review them again.

Here are some sites you can check out if you live in earthquake country:

http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/earthquakes/

http://lafd.org/eqbook.pdf

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/learn/preparedness.php

http://www.fema.gov/earthquake

It’s interesting how a 30 second quake could make your life flash before your eyes. I started thinking about the most important things I needed to save. If I had to save only one object in case of a disaster, I’d probably just grab my portable hard drive, which contains all my photos, music, documents and manuscripts. In other words, it contains my entire life. I bring this hard drive with me to work every day, and on long trips as well.

The recent quake made me realize I needed to start taking this whole disaster preparedness thing seriously. Experts recommend having 7-day food, water and shelter supplies for each member of the family, and to have emergency supplies at home, at work and in the car. The LA Times has a good list of supplies which can help folks build their home/work & car earthquake kits.

AAA EarthquakeImage6 Disaster Preparedness

This month, I’ll have to add disaster preparedness to my To Do List. Which is perfect, because I didn’t know this but–April is Earthquake Preparedness Month.

 Disaster Preparedness

Besides, I always think it’s always better to be paranoid and safe, than to be over-confident and unprepared.

 

What kind of disasters do you expect where you live?

Are you prepared to face these disasters?

What’s the one thing you would save if you were faced with such a disaster?

 

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Writing Updates

Last month, my goal was to finish editing my Young Adult novel. March was filled with tons of writing events and activities, and halfway through I began to wonder if I was delusional in thinking that I would achieve this goal.

On top of the usual household chores, and day job responsibilities, I spent most of the month preparing for my workshop with CBW-LA. I had to work on the powerpoint presentation, worksheets and handouts for the Novel Writing Bootcamp which I was scheduled to teach on the 29th.  I also volunteered to help out at SCBWI-L.A.’s annual Writer’s Day, and as Contest Coordinator I got to announce the winners of the Writer’s Day Contest.

All work and no play would just be plain boring, so I made sure I got to attend the Paleyfest. I got to see the cast and producers of two of my favorite shows:

Agents of SHIELD poster thumb 1024x1024 Writing Updates PLL covermod Writing Updates

I promised myself that I would give my writing the time that it deserved, so despite all my many responsibilities and activities, I made sure that I worked on my novel every single day.

And it paid off.

On March 31st, I finished the (hopefully final) draft of my Young Adult novel, Trade Realms. 

20140403 153510 modified Writing Updates

 

But a writer’s work is never over. With the new month come new goals. This April, I have three major objectives:

  1. Prepare for CBW-LA’s Writing Day Anthology Workshop, which I will facilitate in May.
  2. Work on the preliminary draft of STORY SPROUTS 2014.
  3. Revise my Middle Grade novel Urth.

These very big goals explain why I am currently missing out on A-Z Blogging challenge, my favorite blogfest ever.

So while most of my bloggy friends are running the ultimate blogging marathon, I shall be running my own marathon to complete these tasks.

Whatever your goals are this month, I wish you all the best of luck. I hope we all survive this fun-filled, crazy busy April!

 

 

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What Exactly is Filipino Martial Arts?

Arnis, Eskrima, Kali – these all mean the same thing: Filipino Martial Arts. But what exactly is Filipino Martial Arts and how is it different from other martial arts?

spiros politis header modified What Exactly is Filipino Martial Arts?

Image from EA Doce Pares , photo by Spiros Politis

1. Filipino Martial Arts is a Multi-Style System

Taekwondo and Karate are empty-hand styles of martial arts, which means that they use focus on punches, blocks and kicks.  The Japanese Kendo and European Fencing focuses on sword-fighting. Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) combines a whole range of fighting systems into one martial art.

FMA teaches both armed and unarmed fighting techniques:

Empty-Hand Techniques (Mano-Mano)

Empty Hand What Exactly is Filipino Martial Arts?

Master Erwin of LA Doce Pares teaching empty hand techniques

Filipino-style Boxing

boxing What Exactly is Filipino Martial Arts?

G Force Martial Arts, image from aboutmyarea.uk

Knife-fighting

knife disarm What Exactly is Filipino Martial Arts?

Knife drills, photo by V. Rosario

Sword-fighting

sword dave green What Exactly is Filipino Martial Arts?

Master Dave Green (Doce Pares UK),

image from http://www.fight-cancer.co.uk/pages/events.htm

And of course, Stick-fighting

babagpagkangsangga What Exactly is Filipino Martial Arts?

Stick-fighting drills, photo by V. Rosario

Fighting with staffs (bangkaw), spears, whips and even darts and bows and arrows are also taught by some schools.

 

2. Filipino Martial Arts is Predominantly Weapons-Based

Most people familiar with martial arts will automatically equate Filipino Martial Arts with stick-fighting. Although this is our most recognizable weapon of choice, we are actually trained to use a variety of weapons. Knives, daggers, swords and sticks are all part of the curriculum.

The first thing they did when I started learning Filipino Martial Arts was put a stick in my hand. On my first day, I learned about the 12 striking angles, and was taught how to twirl the sticks for more impact. But as I progressed to higher levels, I was also taught how to use and defend against knives, daggers and swords.

Because Filipino Martial Arts is predominantly weapons-based, it gives students an edge when it comes to actual fighting. FMA trains students to be mentally and physically prepared to face opponents armed with anything.

 

3. Filipino Martial Arts is a Practical Art

Filipino martial artists are known for their ability to turn ordinary items into lethal weapons.

In the movie BOURNE IDENTITY, there’s a scene where Jason Bourne battles with an assassin using only a pen. You can watch the short clip below:

In today’s modern world, nobody walks around with katanas, or fencing swords. Knives, guns, even machetes and club-like weapons (bats, steel pipes, etc) are weapons one might encounter on the streets. FMA is a practical art because it teaches students how to translate one fighting form to another. We are taught to understand that weapons are merely an extension of our limbs. The techniques we learn from stick-fighting can easily be translated into knives and daggers and empty hands.

Improvisation is a part of FMA training. We are always encouraged to do a lot of freestyle sparring using both empty-hands and weapons because instructors want us to be able to automatically respond to whatever dangers we might face using whatever skill sets we have learned.

 

4. Filipino Martial Arts is Used in Hollywood Films and Military/Law Enforcement

Owing to its versatility, Filipino Martial Arts has had global impact in both law enforcement and in the world of Hollywood films.

Below, you’ll find a video of movies which used in FMA in their fight choreography:

 

I’m not sure if all of these really use FMA, but I’m pretty sure Denzel Washington trained in Eskrima for BOOK OF ELI as well as Aaron Eckhart for I, FRANKENSTEIN.

 

As for its military application, both the Russian Spetsnatz (Special forces) and the US Army and the Marine Corps actually use FMA in their combat training. Both the US Marine Corp field manual and the US Army field manual actually contains strikes, blocks and knife drills found in many Eskrima classes.

Sgt. Jim Wagner, a law enforcement officer and Army vet explains how Filipino Kali is alive and well in the Military and Law Enforcement in his article here.

 

5. Filipino Martial Arts is Constantly Evolving

As previously mentioned, improvisation is a big part of FMA training. Some Filipino Martial Artists are also trained in other forms of martial arts and they adapt their varied background into teaching FMA.

Many Filipino martial artists who form their own schools actually develop their own methods and techniques, so the art is constantly evolving.

 

Filipino Martial Arts is all these things and so much more. It’s a practical, versatile and deadly martial art with many real life applications, and one that I am blessed to learn.

 

 

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