Books · Reading · Writing

Revisiting the Swearing Question

Five years ago I wrote a post about how I always avoid profanities in fiction, declaring my stance against including swear words and sex scenes in my books. To begin with, let me just say I’m still fixed upon the non-inclusion of sex (except maybe in fade-to-black-situations), but recently I’ve found myself budging when it comes to swearing.

When before I didn’t think they have any merit, I realise now that there are some situations that call for the occasional f-bomb. When before I thought I could find squeaky clean alternatives, I instead found myself struggling with authenticity. Try as I could to make things work without resorting to profanity, it just wasn’t working this time.

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(Credit: Uncommon Goods)

I’m working on a book (currently) titled “Mail Order Thief”, and my main character is as cynical and rude and angry as they come. When I set out to write him, to draw the outlines of his character, I tried to wash his mouth with soap but he spat it out and snapped at me. He was not amused, not in the slightest, that I was trying to drown out his voice just so I wouldn’t bruise my ideals. Continue reading “Revisiting the Swearing Question”

Books · Reading · Writing

2016 in Reading

For the second year in a row, I was unable to complete my Goodreads Reading Challenge. Even though I’d lowered my goal instead of going higher – as is customary for me – I just did not have the time to get to all the books I wanted to read. I tried to do too much… way too much… that I barely left time for myself to sleep. And it still wasn’t enough.

Yet I kept adding to my TBR pile, going nuts with my bookstore “raids”. In fact, my bookcase has really filled up compared to last year. And become so much more beautiful, if  I do say so myself.

Still keeping up the colour synchronisation! And look at all those creatures that have found a home between the books. :D
Still keeping up the colour synchronisation! And look at all those creatures that have found a home between the books. 😀

Still, can’t go (further) into the new year without a wrap-up list! Continue reading “2016 in Reading”

Books · General · Reading · Writing

The Most Beautiful Bookshop in the World

In October, I had the absolute pleasure of spending my birthday in Italy. We visited Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan, Como, Bellagio and Turin… and it was probably the best 11 days of my life, even though right now it almost feels like one beautiful dream.

Venice was my favourite. Words cannot describe how charming it is, from its water canals to its narrow cobblestone streets and old houses and gondolas… I was and still am absolutely in love. Our hotel was right on the Grand Canal, and we had the most amazing view from our balcony.

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The golden sunrise casting its rays on the rooftops and water.

We went off the “beaten path”, so to say. Though we explored the typical tourist sites like the Doge Palace and Piazza San Marco and most of the popular bridges, we found ourselves trudging through empty alleyways and stepping inside the loveliest shops, filled with carnival masks and calligraphy pens and inks and… sigh. Continue reading “The Most Beautiful Bookshop in the World”

Books · Reading

Potter on a Pedestal

On Sunday, 31st of July, at 3:15 a.m. I wrapped my hands around a fresh new copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. My friend and I attended the launch/Harry Potter birthday party, did a meet and greet with Hagrid, stayed out of Snape’s path, gorged on some wizarding candy… then waited patiently until the UK midnight release.

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The best thing about this picture is my Hogwarts Express ticket. Okay and the Hogwarts journal. Okay okay and my House colours. xD

It was a work night and I went to the office on less than three hours of sleep, but you know, I didn’t mind because the party was quite fun and I thought it would be all worth it when I got home and sank into the book with a cup of piping hot tea.

It wasn’t. [This is a spoiler-free post; can’t vouch for comments though!] Continue reading “Potter on a Pedestal”

Books · Reading · Writing

A Random Freebie Has Appeared!

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So… apparently I had scheduled a 2-day promotion for my book for the 13th and 14th of July, and then promptly forgot about it. Goes to show what a serious writer I am – not only am I absolutely neglectful blogging-wise, I don’t even remember my own events. Been too busy running around catching Pokemon and bumping into walls to keep track of things, haha.

Anyway. I know by now most of my followers have grabbed free copies, but in case you missed any of my previous promos, you can get download it today and tomorrow from Kindle for free!

If for some reason you can’t use Kindle, shoot me a message through my contact form and let me know which file format works best for you.

And if it’s not too much trouble, please share! 🙂

Books · Reading · Writing

2015 in Reading

At the beginning of 2015, I challenged myself to read 60 books, upping the number from 50 books in 2014. Unfortunately, 2015 was difficult. Very difficult. Though I tried to maintain a positive attitude throughout the year, I think now that it was mostly all on the surface, and my happy façade started deteriorating towards the end. Many things happened, and – caught up in the midst of it all – I was only able to read 33 books.

Goodreads believed in me till the very last minute, but I sadly failed it.
Goodreads believed in me till the very last minute, but I sadly failed it.

Actually… some may argue that I didn’t really read 33 “books”, because 22 of these were graphic novels and manga volumes. Now I don’t know about you, but I consider these to be books, because creating a graphic novel requires the same work and trouble that go into creating a novel, if not even more. So they do count towards my challenge and that’s that! Continue reading “2015 in Reading”

Books · Reading · Writing

If I weren’t a writer, what would I be?

I had a weird dream last night… as is typical with all my dreams, but I digress. I dreamt that I was a writer, traditionally published and successful and famous beyond my wildest dreams. Then along came a witch, and for some unknown reason she cursed me, sent me back to my childhood, took away that one moment that turned me into a writer.

My alarm went off then, and I didn’t know what had become of my dream self, but the mere idea of leading a life without books and writing kinda freaked me out. I have been a bibliophile for as long as I remember, and it never occurred to me that I could’ve been thrown into a reality where I wasn’t. I suppose I’ve been fortunate enough to have parents who liked to read, who took me to book fairs and allowed me to buy the books I wanted. If our circumstances had been different, if they were uneducated or poor, then I might have never learned to embrace books. I would have never considered seeing what my own words would look like on paper.

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Continue reading “If I weren’t a writer, what would I be?”

Books · Reading · Writing

Puppet Parade is free on Kindle today & tomorrow!

THIS IS IT. I’ve waited a long time to do this, but I’m finally making use of KDP Select! My fantasy novel, Puppet Parade, is available for free download on Kindle today and tomorrow (21 & 22 August).

Sophie does not know how she looks like. For as long as she can remember, mirrors have been forbidden to her, and her appearance has been touted as hideous… a blemish on the face of her family. When she gets the chance to escape her locked room, she runs and never turns back.

Oliver has forgotten all about the outside world. As far as he is concerned, he only needs his precious puppets to survive. Yet, when they come to life and abandon him without a second thought, he is forced to leave the sheltering comfort of his workshop in search of them.

As they embark together on a wild goose chase for the runaway puppets, they unwittingly step into a prison more sinister than either of them could ever imagine, where the line between puppet and master becomes much less clear – and much more deadly.

Do grab a copy, spread the word if it’s not too much trouble! Meanwhile I’ll sit here and eat my celebratory cake and try not to worry too much about my book stats. xD

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Books · Reading

Introducing my new bookcase!

I raided my local IKEA recently, and part of my loot was a gorgeous black-brown BILLY bookcase. It arrived on Saturday, and I have spent the last couple of days contemplating how best to arrange my books. You see, I’m not used to having so much space. Usually my books have to double-line or sit on top of each other or squeezed super tightly together, but this bookcase is big… bigger than anything I’ve had. Of course, it helps that I don’t have all my books here with me; I had to leave them all behind in my parents’ house when I moved, but I am planning to rectify this.

When my friends asked how I plan to arrange my shelves, I promptly said, without any hesitation, “By height, of course!” They groaned and called me old-fashioned and told me to think of a more original way to arrange everything. And… well, I thought they could have a point there. New bookcase, new rules, right? This is the result.

The bookcase is six shelves in total, but I don't have enough books with me to fill 'er up.
The bookcase is six shelves in total, but I don’t have enough books with me to fill ‘er up.

There are two things to note here:

  1. For the first time in my life, I did not arrange my books by height. Just you wait though, I’m sure my OCD will drive me nuts by the weekend.
  2. The pretty colour transition! I love looking at it! I experimented a bit, tried arranging them by series, then by genre and by author name, but then turned back to this pattern. True, it means that books of the same series aren’t nestled together, but… for now I think it’s lookin’ good!

What do you think? Should I keep it this way or switch to another shelving pattern? How do you arrange your books?

Books · Reading · Writing

Fantasy isn’t literature.

“People who write fantasy and science fiction, like you [Brandon Sanderson], J. K. Rowling and many others… you aren’t authors; you’re writers. And these books are definitely not literature because they’re not real.”

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a panel discussion on the merits of children’s literature and how reading and a sense of curiosity and wonder should always be nurtured. The wonderful Brandon Sanderson – author of the Mistborn series –  was there, and he spoke about his own experience with books and writing, and how – as a kid – he only became a reader when his teacher introduced him to fantasy. When all was said and done, one crusty critic blatantly told Sanderson that he doesn’t consider him or the likes of J. K. Rowling to be proper authors, just writers, and fantasy, science-fiction… that’s not literature, simply because it isn’t real.

A fantasy writer myself and a huge fan of Rowling and Sanderson’s work, I was seething. How dare he? But then Sanderson gave such a gratifying answer that left everyone clapping and the man looking around in defeat. He questioned this obsession with reality, what’s so wrong about things that aren’t real, what’s so wrong about imagining things? After all, there were many things that we currently have that weren’t real at some point, and would never have been if man hadn’t thought about them and imagined to be real. That power, that sense of wonder, is important to hold on to. Of course, he didn’t answer in so few words, but that was the gist of it. Continue reading “Fantasy isn’t literature.”