Friday, December 26

A New Year's Resolution

Okay, I'm not too much of a New Year's resolution type of guy, but deep inside, I feel it's about time I make some solid goals. First of all, I've been working on my debut novel for years, and I think it's about high time I finish it and get it out. I don't want to be one of those so-called writers who dabble on too many works and finish none. I am too prideful to fall into that category.

So this year, I am going to set goals for next year. By the end of 2009, I will have achieved these things:

  1. Finished the long and tedious process of editing my novel.
  2. Found and secured myself a literary agent.
  3. Sold my first book.
  4. Acquired film and international rights to my book.

I know those are pretty big goals, but if I don't set them, nothing will be accomplished. You are who you want to be. So in 2009, I want to be successful. As of right now, I play more than I write, which is a sad, sad thing. But I promise to improve and do better.

For all you writers, hang in there and keep writing. There is hope yet. 2009 will see the publishing industry rebounce. I have already purchased too many books this Christmas, and I am glad I did that. The bookstores were packed with people like street markets, as if free books were being given away. And that is a good sign.

So all you new writers, persevere and complete your novels, take a year to edit your work, and take another to re-write. And before you know it, your book will be ready to publish. Remember, patience is a virtue.

May your New Year be bookmarked as one of the finest pages ever written!

Sunday, November 23

Friday, October 31

The Obama/McCain Dance Off

I laughed my arse off when I first saw this video. If Obama and McCain were to be dancers instead of politicians, they would dance exactly the same way portrayed in this video--I can see that happening actually. Scary! Anyway, watch the video below and tell me if it does not cause you to giggle a bit. I did more than that--I fell on the floor, face down, and laughed so hard I thought I'd die any minute.

Without much ado, I present you a tickling video of Obama and McCain . . . dancing:

Decision 2008

All right, people! When it comes to the national election, I am thrilled. I have been following the political scene since last year, and I have my personal pick on who should be president. But that's besides the point. I happen to come across a comprehensive and intelligent article on Gather.com (and if you are not yet a member, join now, you'll never regret it) and found it quite enlightening and well thought of. I am attaching the link to this post. This is a MUST-READ!

Here it is:
The Case for Obama

Consumers Beware

Okay, this is freaking me out. I was shopping at Wal-Mart just the other day, minding my business, vulturing the taco aisle for some fresh soft tacos. And guess what I saw? A bag of green tacos! And upon a closer look, the thing that made them green was the mold, hairy, fuzzy, slimy mold. And the bag was infected tacos was sitting right there on the shelf, all pretty and ready to buy. So, I shuddered and quickly notified the sales attendant. But none spoke English, so I had to pull them over to the aisle to look at the green mold. Once the attendant saw it, he quickly pulled it off the shelf and walked away. Of course, he did it with a smile and a nod, but ever so casually as if that green thing was a common Wal-Mart scene. Yike, I thought. Since then, I never shopped at Wal-Mart for groceries anymore.

And here's one reason why:

Video Courtesy of KSL.com

Thursday, October 30

The Making of a President

"I'm reminded every single day that I'm not a perfect man. I will not be a perfect president. But I can promise you this: I will always tell you what I think and where I stand. I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you when we disagree. But most importantly, I will open the doors of government and ask you to be involved in your own democracy again."

~Barack Obama

Thursday, October 2

Book Crossing!

There I was, running back from the huge garbage dump behind my apartment complex when I stumbled upon this book lying on the pavement--more like in the middle of the road! It was Jodi Picoult's Nineteen Minutes, the novel I had wanted to read when it first came out. On the cover was a sticker that says, "Free Book, Read Me!" A free book--and a hard cover at it too? No way, I thought, but I picked it up anyway and brought it home.

Came to find out, on the front cover was another label that gave instructions to how this free thingy works. It's a program called Book Crossing, a traveling library of sorts that encourages people to leave their books behind for others to pick up. From one hand to another, books get passed and read for free. It's a great thing and anyone from anywhere in the world should participate. It's a beautiful thing. 

Here's the link: www.BookCrossing.com

From there you can track who has read the book before you and register books you want to leave for others to read. It's a brilliant idea.

Enjoy, and discover the world through giving. Literacy is the bomb!

Wednesday, August 20

The Time is Nigh

Yup, that's right! I am in my final stage of revising my manuscript, and I'm sky-flying excited. But before I go any further, I just want to direct everyone to this blog I've recently spotted. It's by a literary agent based in San Francisco, and from the looks of it, he's pretty nice. Now, that does not mean he's going to accept your manuscript--you still have to be a stellar writer (like me, ha, ha!)--but he's nice enough to give you tips and helpful hints on how to better your work. Better still, how to market your manuscript to an agent (like him).

So, if you're a writer with something ready to sell, go to his blog and start reading. Believe you me, I have taken up the fancy of reading literary agents' blogs--and you should be seeing a lot of these links featured on my blog as time passes--and I'm learning everyday. I think they are rather amusing, entertaining, and utterly useful in helping me pave my way to stardom (yeah, I write for money, no arguments there).

Oh, the link to the agent's blog is on the right column of my blog site. Have fun and may the most committed writer prevail!

And before I forget, the name of the agent is Nathan Bransford! Check him out now.

Wednesday, August 6

The Writer's Block

Recently, I find myself enjoying my life a little to much. Life is great, and I can't complain. But as a writer, whenever things get a little too blissful and you get too happy, interestingly, you lose all kinds of dramatic juice that had once been the fuel that sparked inspiration and story ideas.

Nowadays, with so much comfort and love around, it is actually difficult for me to come up with conflicts and dramatic interludes in my writing. I find it difficult to invent or imagine an argument, a fight, or an evil plot for my antagonist as I sit in front of my computer, my mind a complete vacuum when it comes to certain creative imaginations. The only vocabularies I can think of are happy, glad, happy, glad, orange, good and other not-so-sad words. Sometimes I think a writer would almost have to be near suicidal to even be deemed great.

I have to admit, there were times when I was so tempted to run myself into a wall, knock my head, get a concussion, bleed everywhere, leap over my son's twin-size bed, trip and fall--yet another time--on my head, get another concussion, shout hallelujah, run out of the door naked, get spotted by my conservative neighbors, let them call 911 because there is a mad dog, naked with blood flowing freely from his temples, running amok in the courtyard, get arrested so that my wife has to bail me out (but she would not have the money, thus she would have to borrow and answer humiliating questions from her lenders, who will most likely be her sisters and other not-so-distant relatives), let the whole world know I am crazy, create some controversy, and when all is said and done, return to my writing station, and start savoring the creative juice I've created by sheer abnormality.

I think most famous writers have done it, made themselves inaccessible to the world, gone crazy, sparked some headlines, and then gone back to producing some of their greatest works, although there were casualties in this kind of business, which was mainly due to absolute bad luck, nothing more.

Take Virginia Woolf for example. I'm sure she wasn't really going to drown herself, but she drowned anyway, probably because she was too naive to think the water as deep and dangerous. Or maybe she just didn't know how to swim. And what about Hemingway? Surely, he knew his gun was loaded. But as we all know, too much writing can cause a slight slip of memory sometimes. Emily Dickinson didn't mind being an old maid, maybe because she thought someday her prince would come, but unfortunately, he never made it, never arrived, and when he finally did, he was a tad too late. Why does everything have to end in tragedy? But good writing almost always requires sacrifice, and in most cases, it is the sacrifice of happiness that the god of creative writing demands.

So in my case, I am going to start thinking of depressing thoughts, so that I might once again write beautiful prose. And thus, my journey to the dark side commences.

And oh, everything I said only applies to creative writers--I think. Don't mind me if you are a technical writer, a manual writer, or a research writer. You probably won't need to worry about squeezing out any creative juice. Not to be rude, but as far as my experience goes, those kind of writing requires none.

~finis~

Thursday, July 17

Excerpt from my Thesis

I graduated with an M.A. in Communication in 2005.  Here's an excerpt from Chapter Two of my thesis:

From the outside, the two-room, single-story house in Sunset, Utah, looks just like any ordinary American house belonging to a working-class family. The outdoor vinyl siding tinted a worn-out beige. The roof is the familiar dark amber color, with aluminum trim. The house has a porch, a 10-by-10-foot yard, and a 1999 black Honda Civic parked right along the street. But at a closer look, the house is surrounded by a chain link fence, which is extremely unusual for the neighborhood. However, the trait that singles out this particular house is not what’s outside, but what’s inside.

            The interior of Tou Lee Yang’s modest home is simple – even Spartan. The living room has a television set, a small couch, a coffee table and a shelf. The walls are bare except for three family portraits in plastic frames. Behind a partition is the kitchen equipped with just the basics: an oven, a cupboard, a small dining table, a stove and a fridge. The setting could be the kitchen of a Third World Asian country. Newspapers are used as liner for the dish rack, while the tiled floor spots pieces of crumbs from yesterday’s dinner. The corners are dark with grease and the walls spotted brown from heavy cooking.

            The back yard has a few coops, and chickens run freely within fenced areas. There are no fruit trees or vegetable gardens, just bushes and weeds. The garage has been renovated into a bedroom where Yang’s two younger sons sleep. The daughter has her own room and Yang and his wife occupy the master bedroom. All in all, the interior lacks d├ęcor except for a fish tank. And even that comes with just the basics: a few goldfish, some dirt-colored gravel and a filter. The house suggests poverty, but the environment is common among the Hmong. This is how they like it, and what their culture dictates: simplicity.

 

Tuesday, July 15

My Third and Last Book Cover

All right, this is the final choice for my book cover. It has a sense of mystery, and yet, it is still appropriately tied to my story. I really think the designer is a genius. Well, tough choices to make, but someone will have to make them. And I am glad it's not me. 

Monday, July 14

Second Book Cover

This is the editors' second choice for the book cover. What do you think? They usually make about three to choose. Well, frankly, I like all of them. We'll have to see what gets chosen in the end. 

Revised Book Cover

Here's the revised book cover for my novel. The designers were debating over the font colors, but I guess this is what they decided. I am also told that there will be a few more preliminary cover designs for my book, which I will post on this blog as soon as I have it.

The Creative Process

Late last night, after hanging out with my in-laws and a few of my friends, I was completely drained and exhausted, ready to hit the sack. Then my two-and-a-half-year-old son started to act up and demand that I read him a book. In time, one book turned to ten and more. So after flipping through pages after pages of colorful cartoons of dinosaurs and talking animals, I finally gave up and told Hayden to go to bed. Of course, this did not get settled without a commotion--picture this: I said, "Hayden, it's time to go to bed. It's almost midnight."

"No, Daddy," he countered.

"Well, it's late and Daddy is tired and you need to sleep too."

"No, I want read."

"No more reading." At this time, my eyes were struggling to open and my son was starting to shove books at my face. Annoyed, I snapped them close, slammed them into the toy box and said, "GO TO BED!" As you can now imagine, steam was shooting out from my ears.
But Hayden, in his sweet little inocent-as-an-imp face, looked at me and basically smiled, undeterred. "Daddy, I want read." Needless to say, I had to lift him up and dump him into his own bed, tucking him tightly under his sheets, and with a finger directed at him, I said, "Good night, no more negotiations, whining, and asking for more reading. We are done for the night. I love you."

I straightaway went to bed like I had not slept for ages. When I woke up, it was only barely three, my wife was snoring next to me and the house was as quiet as a sleeping baby. But I could not sleep. Something was stomping in my mind, trying to get out. Without wasting time, I went to my desk, pulled out a notebook and started to write down everything that was swimming upstairs, and when I was done, it was already four and my eyes were starting to droop again. When I finally snugged back into bed, cuddled warmly beside my wife, I realized that I had rewritten an entire chapter of my book in the dark.

The creative process is such that no one can comprehend or predict. Sometimes it comes when you anticipate it, however, at other times, it only shows up when least expected, when you are at the brink of fatigue and complete shut down. But no matter when it decides to show up, you'll have to take advantage of it, even if you have to write in the dark and utterly disfunctional. The result is highly rewarding.

My Book's New Cover and Tag Line


All right, here it is--my novel's new cover, though it is only tentative at the time being. At this moment, I am loving it. According to my knowledge, it will be printed on silver velum, so it's going to stand out. Well, it's all still a year away--publication and the whole nine yards--and I have lots to do. Currently, I am still revising, rewriting, and revamping the entire manuscript, polishing it until it shines and shines some more. For those who have no idea what my novel is about, here's the tag that got the editors hooked:

"When 72-year-old Eleanor Rose is convicted for murdering her employer's little daughter, journalist Vincent Lee discovers nothing is what it seems, unveiling a painful secret that would challenge the moral obligation and love of every mother, including his own." 

That's all I can say about my novel at the moment. The rest is still hush, hush. 


Friday, July 11

A Perfect Beginning

For the longest time, I have been digging deep into my mind, trying to think of a reason for me to blog or divulge something about myself that would entice people to read. Well, needless to say, I never found anything quite so interesting about me that would actually attract the hungry mass out there in the electronic world. However, after discussing my dilemma with my friends, I have finally decided to start blogging about my little journey toward the publication of my debut novel. Let's put it this way--this blog is really dedicated to promoting myself and my book. And I hope by doing so, I may be able to motivate new writers pursue their dreams. Having said that, welcome and happy reading!