Welcome To Fake Paradise!

This is the personal writing blog for Joana Hill, creative writing major extraordinaire! Here you'll find the random ramblings and occasional writings of a girl obsessed with gay romance and the yaoi manga FAKE. You've been warned.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Joana's 2011 NaNoWriMo

My last post, a friend of mine asked what my 2011 NaNoWriMo novel will be, so here's the gist via profiles for the four main characters! I don't actually have a name for the novel as-of-yet, which is strange since I've been thinking about this since I was fifteen.

Princess Lana of Eferhild

Lana is the main character and the second daughter in the royal family of Eferhild. Eferhild is a matriarchy, meaning that the throne is inherited through the female line, however being the second daughter, she is not expected to rise to power. The story starts with her being betrothed to Prince Halim of the desert nation Abdul-Bari, but Lana isn't happy about the prospect of being shipped off to live in the desert for the rest of her life. Given that more attention is given to grooming her sister for the throne, Lana didn't always get a lot of attention growing up. She often likes to sneak out into town or spend time in the sanctuary. This second fact is how she was one of the first to know the Earth Gem was stolen, and so she runs away on her own, hoping to catch its thief.

Sir Nathan

Nathan is a knight of Eferhild Castle and originally from the country of Tryamon. At age eighteen, he became a knight of Eferhild because he was determined to protect Lana after an encounter they had when both were much younger. After Lana goes missing, Nathan goes out on his own to find her and ends up accompanying her and Gwenna when Millicent distracts Prince Halim so Lana can escape. Nathan is loyal to a fault and good with people, since he grew up with eight brothers and sisters. He never had much romantic experience, however, so the many times they have to travel under the guise of a married couple leave him flustered.


Gwenna is a fairy from the country of Tryamon, where fairies are quite commonplace. When Lana encounters her, she is living with the medicine woman Millicent, pretending to be her granddaughter, since a fairy's human form perpetually resembles a human child. Like all fairies, Gwenna is capable of communicating with animals via the fairy's unique language, and she is often tailed by a young wolf cub named Mio-dine (literally 'Wolf-animal' in fairy speak) who is extremely protective of her. When Lana and Nathan escape from Millicent's house in order to elude Prince Halim, Gwenna ends up traveling with them.


Skye is an Amazon warrior woman that Lana, Nathan and Gwenna meet when their ship capsizes and they end up stranded on a remote island. The Amazon society is in an uproar because someone had come and stolen a precious weapon of theirs, and Nathan suspects it's the same person who stole the Earth Gem from Eferhild and the Fire Gem from Abdul-Bari. Skye at first has them thrown in jail under suspicion of being the thieves, but later lets them out when the queen of the Amazons is found dead and it's obvious that it couldn't have been them that did either. Skye ends up traveling with them, determined to find the culprit and avenge her dead queen.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

NaNoWriMo starts in less than a month!

...and I'm already distracted. Some of you might remember several months back me mentioning the anime Sekaiichi Hatsukoi. Well, it just started its second season.

The good news is, I'll have a reward every Friday for writing. The bad news is, my ovaries might just explode the first time Yukina shows up for more than a few seconds /hopeless fangirl.

Preparations for the month are underway, however! Anyone else planning on participating this year?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Word Wednesday: Mellifluous

Mellifluous is an adjective that literally means "flows sweetly." It's usually used to describe music, so if you go to a recital and the person playing is really good, you might say they are playing mellifluously! It is quite a nice sounding word, even if it can cause one to be tongue-tied.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Word Wednesday: Pleonasm

Pleonasm is a noun and, if you're anything like me, probably sounds really scientific to you if you don't know the meaning. But it's actually not! It means "the use of more words than necessary to express an idea." So essentially, it's redundancy. Some of you probably know the term purple prose. So if you come across writing that's really wordy and overly-descriptive, you can say it's "fraught with pleonasm."

Monday, September 12, 2011

Yaoi Manga Monday- Mysterious Love

Ugh, one day I swear I'll use one of my college's scanners for these instead of having to look up images online. I say this mostly because I couldn't find ANY sample pages or pictures of the characters other than the Japanese cover.

Uh anyway.

Mysterious Love is a manga written and drawn by Taishi Zaou and put out by Doki-Doki, an imprint of Digital Manga Publishing (the same people who own June, although Doki-Doki doesn't exclusively put out yaoi). It stars Masafumi Tamura, a high school student who's had premonitions all his life via his dreams. They were usually things like scores on games, people getting hurt etc. When he entered junior high, however, he started having dreams that hinted about his first love. They weren't that innocent, however- they were "HD, surround-sound" dreams about him having sex with a guy. These dreams bothered him so much that he started avoiding sleep as much as possible, and trying everything he could to prove to himself and those around him that he is straight. As the manga starts, however, he's going about his day in school, and he finally meets the mysterious dream man- Narumi Seiwa, who instead of being put off by Masafumi's efforts to push him away, actually starts falling for him.

Mysterious Love is a comedy despite its drama label. Masafumi's family (mother, father, older sister) know about his dreams and actively encourage him to pursue love no matter what gender it is. Masafumi's two best friends even pitch together money for him and Narumi to go to a love hotel so they can have sex for the first time. It seems everyone is okay with him being gay but him! The translation itself is actually very well-done, with no visibly awkward places, if a typo or two for the discerning eye. Masafumi is pretty over-the-top at the start, but it's one of the few yaoi manga I've read that does not actively include the "rape-is-love" trope (Cafe Latte Rhapsody also has no signs of it) so it's a good starter manga. I would definitely suggest it.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Yaoi Manga Monday- Desire

Desire is a single-volume manga written by Maki Kazumi and illustrated by Yukine Honami. It's about a single couple.

Toru is your run-of-the-mill student who doesn't think there's anything special about him, especially compared to his honor student best friends. He loves to paint and is part of the art club at school. He's also had a crush on Ryoji for a long time but has never acted on the feelings because he didn't want Ryoji to think he was weird and end their friendship.

Ryoji is Toru's best friend. He's an honor student, part of the swim club, and constantly going out with girls he gets bored with after having sex a few times. He's quite brash and will go for something when he wants it without questioning it, even when it comes to his unexplained feelings for Toru.

So what's it about? One day, Toru and Ryoji are having lunch alone (they usually have another friend with them, see) when Ryoji suddenly turns to Toru and says he gets turned on looking at him. Toru is flustered and Ryoji explains that he has no idea where these feelings are coming from. They forget about it until Ryoji walks up to Toru after school a day or two later and says he wants to try having sex with him. The following is pretty much your average soap opera plot: they have sex, Toru thinks Ryoji doesn't have feelings for him so feels guilty and attempts to break it off, etc etc. It's not a bad manga, just a bit formulaic.

I won't be showing any pages in this entry, because I have a physical copy but no scanner, and all the scanlations I've found online are frankly terrible. If you'd like to see it for yourself, though, go ahead.

Desire is, as you might have gotten from my description, heavy on the sex. It's a good read, though, along with its novel companion, which has more story than the manga covers. It's good initiation material for someone who wants heavier yaoi but not the kind of kinks and fetishes that come with more hardcore stuff XD Desire is put out by June and can be ordered online if you're interested. Happy reading!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Yaoi Manga Monday- Cafe Latte Rhapsody

And we return to this feature, since I always have time to procrastinate on things I should be doing, like writing or schoolwork or you know, anything else.

Cafe Latte Rhapsody is one of the most fluffy, lighthearted manga I've ever read. It centers around a single couple.

Hajime Serizawa, often called Seri-san or Seri-chan, is a twenty-three-year-old bookstore clerk in charge of the science and technology shelves in the store he works at. He's very lighthearted most of the time, openly gay and not shy about sex. He also tends to fall for guys who are no good, by his own admission: guys who drink, or ones who gamble away their paychecks and go to him for money. He also has a soft spot for kittens. Seri lives on his own in an apartment, though Keito practically lives there once they get together.

Keito Tsuda MacLeod is 6'5 and part Japanese, French-Canadian, French and Chinese. He's nineteen-years-old and goes to the university near the bookstore Seri works at, often going in there to browse the shelves after class. He has an incredible inferiority complex, mostly stemming from being gawked at all his life because of his height and the fact that his childhood friend, "Riri-chan" often puts him down, saying he's gross and annoying. In fact, after hearing Seri say he tends to fall for no-good guys, Keito asks Riri-chan if he's no-good, and her answer is "No-good? You're super no-good! Not much of a man, either." He has his moments, such as when he pulls Seri's ex-boyfriend off him when said ex-boyfriend tries to seduce Seri into giving him money. Besides Seri, Keito's favorite thing in the world is cafe latte with extra sugar. When Keito and Seri first meet, Seri is terrified of him because despite his kitten-like disposition, Keito has an incredibly intense glare.

So what's it about? Cafe Latte Rhapsody is more of a slice-of-life type manga with a couple different plots. The first one is Seri and Keito getting together. They bond over a couple of kittens they find abandoned while walking on the same street one day. A few days after that, they get cafe lattes together, and Keito explains to Seri how scientists say that the universe is actually the color of a latte, as seen if you look in a high-powered telescope. There is conflict, such as the ex-boyfriend who constantly comes around to Seri's apartment asking for money and Seri's own inferiority complex about his looks, and the fact that he tends to over-think when it comes to relationships.

Case in point. Seri wondering about the end of relationships even as Keito is asleep with his head in his lap >_>

Still, it's a basically sweet manga and actually the exact kind of thing I've been wanting to read for a long time. For those familiar with the yaoi stereotypes, the "bottom" partner in sex tends to be younger, more naive and less sexually experienced, while the "top" partner tends to be the exact opposite. Cafe Latte Rhapsody pretty much flips that around, since Keito ends up being the, ah, "dominant" one in bed. Hah!

Cafe Latte Rhapsody is put out by June, so if you're interested in it, you can probably order it online or find it in your local bookstore if they carry yaoi. Happy reading!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Updates in my life

Yes I know, I stopped doing regular blog posts. I was always bad at keeping up with a blog. Maybe that will change now that I'm going back to school in less than a week.

That actually brings me to another point: I'm going back to school in a week! I'm not taking a single English class, which hasn't happened to me since... well, ever! Even before I transferred over to the Creative Writing department I had to do my freshman seminar and English 101. This year, in addition to choir as usual, my final Spanish class and the dreaded science lab, I'm taking Child and Adolescent Psychology and Pop Culture and Mass Media. I'm not actually sure what to expect from either class, but it should be fun!

As far as writing, I actually got really into writing fanfics again, which is kind of counterproductive if you really think about it XD It's fun, though, and I've met a TON of new friends through it. Writing fanfics means you meet people who have similar tastes, not just that they like to write, but every day on Twitter I now have at least one person to squeal over Sekaiichi Hatsukoi with me, hah. I am doing my best at editing, however. Nowhere Fast is in the process of an overhaul, because I have at least one person that's willing to beta but there are plot changes I need to make to make it consistent again. We'll see how that goes.

Until next time! I may jump the gun and try to start up my regular posts again. Who knows?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Short Story: Keeping Secrets

If you've known me from my days at FictionPress, you'll recognize this. It's the edited version of a short story I had up there for a long time. I recently entered it into Figment.com's LGBTQ contest and I thought I'd share it with you all :) Enjoy!

Keeping Secrets

It happens every day at three without fail. I walk by the boy’s bathroom on the first floor, thinking I’d actually catch the bus home today. Quick glance around, not looking suspicious at all. And then the bathroom door opens discreetly and I’m pulled in. Again.

Thanks to Jason Wolfe, I haven’t been able to ride the bus home for almost two months now.

“Aren’t you afraid someone is going to catch us?” I ask him.

He has me pressed up against the wall, sucking at my neck. He actually stops and looks up at me, looking almost hurt.

This throws me for a loop. The only time I ever thought there was some kind of emotional connection in our relationship was when we met. I got hit on the head with a baseball, and he volunteered to drag me to the nurse’s office. I’m not sure how we went from good deeds out of pity to… this.

As his answer, Jason leans down and kisses me. This is his way of keeping me quiet. He doesn’t like things too complicated.
Mom always looks at me suspiciously when I come home almost a half hour after the bus would’ve dropped me off. Being a housewife with only one teenage boy to take care of, she has nothing better to do than wonder why I seem to have taken a sudden disliking to the bus.

“How was school today, Isaac?” she says instead. I guess even she’s realized that asking why I’m late is useless by now.

I see she’s set out graham crackers and milk for me. It almost makes me laugh; I’m fifteen, and my mother sets out an afterschool snack for me every day. I can’t complain, though. “Okay,” I say, sitting down at the table and picking up a cracker.

My mother is picking up her purse from where she keeps it. It reminds me that it’s Friday. Mom always does all the shopping on Friday.

“Feel like going to the store?” she asks, jingling the keys in my face.

I wanted to finish my snack, but I need the driving practice, so I nod.
I’m standing at the magazine rack, glancing through a gaming magazine I read sometimes. Mom was gracious enough to let me drive over so I could add the time to my driving record, but damned if she’ll let me follow her around. Not that I’d want to. It still feels sort of weird to feel like your mother is embarrassed by you, though.

I glance up for some reason, and I jump back. Jason is standing not even five feet away, pulling open a freezer containing frozen fries and other lazy-man’s cooking essentials. I’ve never seen him outside of school. Has he noticed me yet?

“Cathy, I know Mom and Dad are away for the weekend, but we should at least have something resembling food tonight,” he says, taking out one of the bags and glancing at it.

It takes me a second, but I realize that he has a cell phone propped against his shoulder. I put the magazine back on the rack. I’m fully ready to make my retreat, but Jason suddenly turns around.

His mouth is slightly open in surprise, and he disregards his phone as he stares at me.

“Isaac, we need to get going!”

I hear my mother’s voice, and I tear my eyes away from Jason to see she’s pushing a cart full of groceries towards us. She looks between the two of us. “Who’s this?”

“Um, one of the senior helpers in my gym class,” I say quietly.

He watches me as I follow my mother down the aisle and towards the check-out.
I have gym first thing on Monday. I change in the locker room quickly, and during the standard warm-up laps around the gym, I notice something off.

“Is Jason not here today?” I ask of a girl with long blonde hair tied in a ponytail.

She glances over to where Jason usually stands with the other senior helpers to make sure we’re doing the warm-up exercises. “I heard something went on at the football game on Friday,” she says.

I hadn’t felt particularly up to going to our last home game, so I had just stayed home and watched some Austin Powers movies with my father while my mother complained about scarring my young mind.

We’re soon called to gather at the front of the gym, and so I just stand there in the crowd of students as the teacher calls for attention.

“As some of you may know, our friend Jason got into a bit of a scuffle last Friday at the game,” she says. “A suspension has been issued for both parties, and Jason won’t be joining us for a few days. I’ll take over being the captain of his softball team until he gets back.” She signals for us to follow her outside onto the baseball field.

I just stand there, dumbfounded, as my classmates shuffle out.
It’s Wednesday. I’m standing outside a blue house with a mailbox displaying the name Wolfe. After making the excruciating walk up the driveway, looking into the windows just in case someone in the house sees me first, I press the doorbell.

“Yes?” asks a girl who has come to the door. I don’t recognize her, even though she’s probably around my age.

“Is Jason home?” I say.

The girl looks at me suspiciously, but then she turns to the stairs, which are right near the door. “He’s up in his room,” she says. “Second door on the left. Knock first, though; he’s been in a bad mood lately.”

I nod my thanks, and she lets me through.

Jason’s bedroom door is closed, and there’s a Warning: Disaster Area sign hung by a nail right at eye level. I take the girl’s advice and knock. There’s a long silence, and I knock again.

“Cathy, I told you to leave me alone,” comes Jason’s voice. It doesn’t sound like him at all, though; he’s always so confident and in-charge. He just sounds pitiful now.

“Jason, it’s me, Isaac,” I say.

There are various shuffling sounds, and the door opens. We just stare at each other for a while before he nods his head towards the inside. I take that as a signal for me to come in, and he closes the door behind me.

“Come to laugh at me like everyone else?” he says, his tone bitter.

I shake my head, feeling nervous about the fact that I’m alone with him. This scenario never leads anywhere G-rated. “I don’t even fully know what happened,” I say. “I guess I kind of… missed you.”

Jason laughs, sitting down on his bed. “Didn’t look like that when your mother met me on Friday,” he says.

My face flames-up at the memory. I couldn’t blame him for taking that personally, but what else was I supposed to do, with my mother standing right there?

“Some guys saw me pull you into the bathroom on Friday, and they were giving me shit for it,” he says. “And we ended up in a fight.”

I roll my eyes. “Because violence solves everything.”

“Well, what would you have done?” he says. He’s got me there. “Maybe we should just… end it. This is stupid.” He lies down on his bed, gazing up at the ceiling.

I don’t know what to say to that for a while, so I just stare at him.

“Or maybe we should begin it properly?” I suddenly ask.

He’s silent.

“Just an idea.” I say a quiet good-bye and leave.
It’s Monday again, and Jason’s suspension is supposed to end today. I haven’t talked to him since Wednesday, though, so I have no idea where we even stand.

I’m kneeling down, taking the books for my morning classes out of the bottom of my locker. As I stand up, I hear quiet murmuring. I look down the hall.

Jason is heading my way, walking casually with his backpack slung over his shoulder. Someone says something to him, but he just gives the person a smile, running a hand through his dark-brown hair.

He’s the picture of perfect, or that’s what I think every time I see him come through the hall in the morning. He’d never even met my eyes, so I don’t expect him to do what he does next.

He stops there at my locker. And with half the hall watching, Jason places a cautious kiss on my lips.

“Good morning,” he says.

I can’t help but smile.

“Good morning.”

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Word Wednesday: Abacinate

Ugh, I've been so busy it's unreal! I'm doing an internship at the town library this summer, you see, and I'm running creative writing workshops (because obviously I know what I'm talking about? Hah!) Uh, anyway, here's your word for the week!

Abacinate is another one of those oddly specific words. It means "to blind by putting red-hot copper basin near the eyes." So I suppose if someone says they were abacinated, now you know what they mean. Doesn't sound that pleasant, though!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Word Wednesday 10: Ulotrichous

Ulotrichous (pronounced yoo-lo-tri-kuhs) is an adjective that is, despite how complicated it looks, actually a term to describe hair. Specifically for a person whose hair has the consistency of wool or really crispy curls. It seems kind of overkill to have such a word to describe such an easy concept, but then again, I'm not much for using complicated words :) However, the more you know!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Yaoi Manga Monday- Sekaiichi Hatsukoi

Yep, it's another series, but unlike FAKE, this one is still going. Sekaiichi Hatsukoi (translated as various forms of "The Best First Love In The World") is currently at five volumes in Japan, with four scanlated by the group Dangerous Pleasure Scanlations and available online at various manga sites. SiH is a manga by Shungiku Nakamura, who's probably most famous for the series Junjou Romantica (which I haven't talked about yet, in case you didn't notice :P) Like Junjou, it covers multiple couples who are loosely connected to each other somehow.

Originally, SiH was licensed in America by Blu, the shonen-ai/yaoi label of TokyoPop, but as stated in my previous Yaoi Manga Monday post, TokyoPop is now defunct, and the series was dropped before it could be released. It's likely to be picked up by another group, though, so the question is more like 'when' than 'if.'

As stated, Sekaiichi Hatsukoi covers the stories of multiple couples who are loosely connected.

The main couple is Ritsu Onodera (with the brown hair) and Masamune Takano (formerly known as Masamune Saga, more on that shortly). Takano is the head editor of Emerald Magazine, a monthly anthology of shojo (that is, girl's) manga. At the start of the series, Ritsu has just quit his former job as a book editor at his father's publishing firm to prove that he can make it on his own, without the help of his family name. Things happen, and instead of being assigned to the literary department of Marukawa Publishing, he ends up in the shojo manga department. Ritsu isn't happy about this and plans to quit after a couple weeks.

But what's this? It's more complicated than that? Well of course it is. If you read the parenthetical note after Takano's name you'll know that. Ritsu and Takano knew each other in high school, and by 'knew each other' I of course mean they dated. Takano broke Ritsu's heart, however, mostly due to a misunderstanding, and Ritsu ended up jaded about love and turned from a cute, blushing boy to the prickly, irritable man he is today. They don't recognize each other at first, though. Takano's parents divorced after he and Ritsu broke up, and when his mother remarried, Takano took his new father's name. And of course, all of this leads to hilarious antics as Takano tries to win Ritsu back.

Then there's my personal favorite couple:

Kou Yukina (with the brown hair) and Shouta Kisa. Yukina is a part-time worker at Marimo Books, where he oversees the shojo manga department (which exists in Japan, because manga is huge over there). Kisa is one of Ritsu and Takano's colleagues at Emerald and just happens to be the editor of all of Yukina's favorite manga. Believe it or not, however, Kisa is thirty years old, which surprises basically everyone to no end. Kisa's young looks help him in his conquests, which mostly involve guys with cute faces that he ultimately ends up dumping. Yukina's face is what attracted Kisa in the first place, and so Kisa lurked around Marimo Books just so he could watch him from a distance, thinking it would never work out.

Of course it does. Yukina is an art student at his university, and when Kisa and him are introduced by Yokozawa, a member of the sales department at Marukawa, Yukina takes it upon himself to make promotional displays for the manga that he loves so much (as noted, all edited by Kisa). Yukina promoted the manga even before they met, acting like a host towards the teenage girls that would come in to get on their good side and make sales (which bugs Kisa). After Yukina chases off a man who was stalking Kisa after a one-night stand not once but twice, they end up confessing their feelings for each other. Naturally, however, that's just the first two chapters. Where does it go from there? Well you'll have to read it yourself!

There's actually a third couple as well, who are currently only covered in spin-off light novels and the anime.

Chiaki Yoshino (the shorter one) and Yoshiyuki Hatori. They're childhood friends and have known each other quite literally their whole lives. Tori is another editor at Emerald and is in charge of Chiharu Yoshikawa, their most popular manga-ka. Little does the public know that Chiharu Yoshikawa is actually Chiaki Yoshino, who writes under a female pen name and refuses to go to autograph sessions because he thinks it would be disappointing to his fans if they found out he's male.

Their story is somewhat simpler than the others. Tori has been in love with Chiaki forever but has been hiding it, most recently because of their editor/artist relationship. Chiaki starts to suspect he has feelings for Tori, though, which only flare when he sees what he thinks is Tori kissing Yuu Yanase, one of Chiaki's assistants. Shit happens, and Tori tries to get Chiaki assigned to another editor, to which Chiaki refuses, and they finally confess their feelings.

As stated earlier, there are also light novels and an anime. The anime is being aired in Japan as of the time of this post at 1am Saturday morning their time, and afterwards is fansubbed and put online within a few hours. You've probably seen the opening already if you've been reading this blog for a while, but here it is again, anyway:

All-in-all, it's another great series, and besides the romance, there's a lot of details about how the Japanese manga industry works, so it's educational! Well, heh, sort of. There are also cameos of characters from Nakamura's older but still on-going work that I mentioned, Junjou Romantica (Akihiko Usami is mentioned and Ryuuichirou Isaka shows up once or twice, given that he's a director of Marukawa) so it's a nice bit of crossover.

That's all for this week! Hope you enjoyed it.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Word Wednesday 9: Quindecillion

I thought I'd try something new with Word Wednesday this time around. Quindecillion is a BIG number. In the US, it's one followed by forty-eight zeros, and in Great Britain, it's one followed by ninety zeros. So if you ever need to express something with a large number, use quindecillion and see if anyone else knows!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Yaoi Manga Monday- FAKE

Well, some of you may recognize the name FAKE. It's actually where I got the name for this blog! FAKE was one of the first yaoi manga I read (right after Eerie Queerie, which I'll talk about some other week) and still one of my favorites. It was published in the US in the early-mid '00s by the (sadly) now-defunct TokyoPop, back before yaoi took off and they established the Blu label for these kinds of things.

FAKE is about two New York City detectives. They are:

Randy "Ryo" Maclean, a twenty-eight-year-old who's just transferred into the criminal investigations department of New York City's 27th precinct. He's half-Japanese, hence the nickname (which is apparently his "Japanese name," I suppose his middle name or something). He was orphaned at the age of eighteen when his parents, hot-shot foreign art dealers, got caught up in a drug transfer and were shot to death by members of the mob. He vowed to become a cop after that and prevent that kind of thing from happening again. Comments here and there suggest he was in the military for a while, and his talents include cooking, cleaning, bitching and making bombs.

And then there's:

Dee Laytner, a twenty-seven-year-old who's been a detective for a few years as of the start of the series. Ryo is immediately assigned to be his partner by their department lieutenant, who was in an incredibly bad mood at the time. Dee is extremely cocky and extremely open about the fact that he's bisexual, although he only shows interest in Ryo through the series. Dee was abandoned as an infant in a back alley and brought to an orphanage, where he was raised until he finished high school. He caused no end of trouble for the head nun, and he still makes a habit of causing trouble as he's doing his job and leaving Ryo to write up apology letters.

So what's this manga about? Unlike a lot of yaoi manga, the romance is only one plot element. The entire series is seven volumes, in which Dee and Ryo spend time chasing drug lords, serial bombers and serial murderers. In the first volume, Ryo adopts a young boy named Bikky, whose father was shot to death by drug lords.

As a note, this manga, and all the other ones I'll showcase, is read from right to left.

There's plenty of actions, explosions, and busts.

Of course there are the times when you're made acutely aware that this is a yaoi manga.

And that's as far as you get to see of THAT.

All-in-all, it's a good series, filled to the brim with lively characters (I haven't even introduced you to FBI agent Diana Spacey, she who wears LOUD colors) and good, action-filled story lines. It's definitely a good one to read even if you're not into yaoi! It also has an OVA that covers the first storyline from the second volume, where Dee and Ryo take a vacation in England.

Sadly, there was no more made :(

Well, that's all for this week! It was longer than last time, so I hope you enjoyed it :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Word Wednesday 8: Alacrity

Alacrity is a noun that means 'cheerful readiness, promptness, or willingness.' Basically, when you're happy to do something, you'd probably do it with alacrity. If, for instance, you like writing (which is likely, if you're following this blog) you'd hopefully open up a notebook or your typing program of choice with alacrity. If you saw someone you like, you might greet them with alacrity. I bite right into a good piece of chicken with alacrity because I do so love chicken :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Yaoi Manga Monday- Only the Ring Finger Knows

So, in an attempt to do more with this blog, I decided to feature yaoi manga I've read. Starting off mildly with one that's more shonen-ai than yaoi (the difference, for those who don't know, is yaoi has sex and shonen-ai, typically, doesn't).

Only The Ring Finger Knows
Written by Satoru Kannagi
Art by Hotaru Odagiri
Only the Ring Finger Knows is based off the first story in a series of novels of the same name. Wataru spends a night drinking with a buddy who got dumped by a girl. The girl said she has her sights set on an upperclassman named Yuichi Kazuki, which pisses Wataru's friend off. Kazuki is quite popular, you see, but despite his friend's complaints, Wataru can't bring himself to hate Kazuki. He seems so nice, after all!

The next day, Wataru has a raging hangover and goes to a bathroom to wash his face and try to get his mind back in shape. There he meets Kazuki, and is shocked when Kazuki is cold to him. Wataru stomps off in a huff. It's later discovered that he picked up Kazuki's ring on accident- they have the exact same ones, you see, which makes people suspicious. Paired rings are popular in their high school as gifts between people who are going out.

Overall it's a cute manga and one of my favorite one-shots. The novels go further in-depth into the relationship that Wataru and Kazuki form at the end of the story, and yes, there is sex. The novels are just as good, though the official translations are a little eh; like the manga they're done by the Digital Manga Press yaoi imprint Juné which isn't exactly known for their copy editing.

Still, Ring Finger is one of the few titles that isn't all about the sex, so if you're looking for something a little fluffier (there's buckets of angst, of course, but still) then this is for you.

A fangirl is born every minute.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Scene Sunday (Artistic License)

Hah, I'm running out of new projects to post for this. Oh well. Maybe I should be trying to write more short stories while I edit my three finished novels. Anyway, another scene from Artistic License.

Miranda was beautiful; even I knew that. She was skinny like you’d expect a dancer to be, and her limbs were slender and easily flowed as she moved. She also had flawless skin; I’d never seen so much as an acne scar on her. When I asked her about it once, she said her face probably saw more chemicals regularly than an alcoholic’s liver.

I think the thing I most noticed about her, though, was her eyes. She had the same eyes as her brother: dark brown, almost black, and one look into them could make me freeze.

Of course, the difference between Michael and Miranda is that with Michael, I’d be fine with staring into those eyes for a long time. That’s just one sappy thought that goes through my mind. I’m sure I could think of plenty of others. He kind of has that effect on me sometimes.

But Miranda was my original point. And my point was that she was dancing for whoever would watch. Considering try-outs for Beauty and the Beast were long over, there were quite a lot of people staying.

“You’d think they’d never seen a girl dance before,” Michael said, his hands in the pockets of his hoodie.

I stared over at him. “…do you ever wash that thing?”

“What?” Michael said, sounding like he couldn’t believe I’d even bring it up. When I didn’t answer, he sighed and shook his head. “You’re the one that calls me a clean freak, Cam. You should know I do.”

There was suddenly the harsh sound of microphone feedback, and Michael and I winced.

“Attention!” came Tabby’s voice. I hadn’t even realized she was there. “THIS.IS.GOD!”

I shuddered, and Michael glanced at me. “What’s your problem? She’s just talking over loudspeakers from the tech booth,” he said.

“My mother would kill me if she thought I believed God was a woman,” I said.

“Fair enough.”

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Word Wednesday 7: Lilliputian

Lilliputian can be an adjective or a noun. In adjective form, it describes something that is extremely small. You could call an infant lilliputian, for instance, or a single grain of sand. It can also describe something that is very trivial.

In noun form, it means an inhabitant of Lilliput, but someone who is small in stature can also be called a lilliputian. I'm guessing people from Lilliput tend to be short :)

Bonus point: Lilliput is where the name of the Pokemon Lillipup came from!
Isn't he cute?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Scene Sunday (Our Never-Ending Summer)

Not much to say. I mentioned this story before as the one I'm handwriting, but I decided to post a bit of it on here. Enjoy :)

There were still children outside around a sprinkler. They were, I suspected, the same ones I heard from my bedroom an hour before. There was a girl I didn't recognize sunbathing near them. A babysitter, probably college age, and certainly one who had no concept of how the sun worked. I openly stared at her as I dragged the sledgehammer down the porch steps and across the yard. The air conditioner spot was in the side of the house. Her skin was shiny. I was hoping for her sake that it was sunblock and not baby oil. She stared right back when she noticed me, pulling up her large sunglasses to get a better look. It made no difference; I was determined to break something before lunch, preferably not my foot.

The neighbors on that side were an oldish couple, to the point in their lives where their children had moved out but not where they were old enough for retirement. It was the only reason I thought I could get away with it. If Mr. and Mrs. Jenson had been home, I knew they'd look at me with disapproval.

"That Marquis boy is up to something again," the missus would say, and she'd approach Mom as she got home that evening. I'd have to spend the next day or so at the beach where she could keep an eye on me, more for our neighbors' benefit than for hers or mine. The beach and I didn't agree. It wasn't that I hated swimming, or was against greasy pier food; I just didn't like the Atlantic Ocean. It was freezing-cold even in the summer.

I stopped in front of the boarded-up spot and thought. A plunge in the ocean didn't sound bad, with how the day was turning out. The air conditioner couldn't wait, though. Mom might not put it on the take-or-leave pile at the dump if it was installed and keeping the house at a reasonable temperature.

I grunted as I swung the sledgehammer, barely grazing one of the boards before gravity took over and I fell to the ground, hammer and all. If the ground had been wet, it probably would've sucked up the sledgehammer, and I'd have to explain to Mom why her heavy tool was stuck in her lawn. And perhaps why her only son was banging his head against the side of the house.

I tried again and managed to crack the boards. A third time and I was able to pull away half a board after wrenching out the nails in it with the regular hammer I also brought. A few more and they were gone, laying shattered either inside or on the ground around me. I had more than succeeded in breaking something before lunch, and it felt good, despite the ninety-nine degree temperature and the sweat covering my body. If I was able to put in the air conditioner, though, neither of those things would matter.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Word Wednesday 6: Farabout

Farabout is a word I hadn't actually heard before; I was looking for ones to use and stumbled across it on dictionary.com. There's not much on its entry. Even Google Chrome's spell check doesn't think it's a real word! However, a farabout is another word for digression, or for going out of your way. So you can basically use it the same way. It just isn't also a verb, like if you were to say "But I digress." The more you know!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Scene Sunday (Starstruck)

Don't forget that you have until the end of May to enter to win a signed copy of How To (Un)Cage a Girl by Francesca Lia Block! In case you missed it, details can be found here.

Anyway, Starstruck is a novel I started a while back but I haven't gotten too far on it. I tend to do that a lot, just start novels and not really do anything with them XD I'll probably get back to it, though. It's about a guy who unwittingly meets a pop star while at said pop star's concert and their wacky adventures (wacky guaranteed, given the language barrier they sometimes face). Enjoy!

Friday nights, for me, had always been spent at home. I just never had an interest in going out to parties, getting drunk, and picking up girls for sex I knew would be awkward the next morning. And the harder I worked at studying, the more likely it was I’d be able to get scholarships. My parents were excited about me wanting to be a lawyer, but it wasn’t cheap.

That particular Friday night, however, I found myself with an opportunity.

“Do you even have anything you could wear to a concert?” Will said as he tossed tings out of my closet. I sat on my bed, laying across it and holding a brochure for a college in New York over my head. My vision was soon obscured by a piece of grey fabric.

“Hey, I thought I lost this,” I said after recognizing it as my long-lost hoodie. “Can’t I just wear this and some jeans?”

Will looked at me like I had just suggested we rob a bank. “I will not be seen with you at an Alejandro Paz concert with you dressed like a hobo.” He then snatched the hoodie from me and chucked it into a corner. He ran a hand through his blond hair, pulling his bangs from his face. “C’mon, Cole, get some motivation.”

“I’m the one that won the tickets.” I waved the two, narrow concert tickets in the air. “I can always ask someone else.”

Will froze as he dug through some of my pants. Before I knew it, he was on me. “You wouldn’t do that to me, Nicolas.” We just laid there for a while. I was daring him in my mind to push it farther than that, but I knew he wouldn’t. He never had the guts.

“Try me.” I pushed him away and put my bare feet down on the floor. “I’ve never even hear this guy before. There’s still time to sell the tickets. I’m sure someone’s willing to drop their evening plans.”

“Fine, dress however you want.” Will threw his arms in the air, as if I were being supremely difficult. Then he flopped over, ruining all the work he’d put into arranging his own clothes--- not that there was much. His shirt and pants were both skin-tight. He was clearly hoping to score with some groupies.

I shook my head and went to look at my clothes for myself. To tell the truth, I’d gotten the tickets because I knew Will would want to go. By the time he knew Alejandro Paz was coming to our city, tickets had long-since sold-out. But a radio station was holding a “be x number caller and win” contest for a pair, and I figured there was no harm in trying. I’d won, obviously. But will and I had an odd relationship, and that wasn’t the first time I’d threatened to sell the tickets.

In the end, though, I knew I wouldn’t. But Will didn’t know that, and that’s how I was getting out of wearing spandex or leather that night. Not that I owned either.

“If we don’t get there soon, we won’t be able to park.” Will was staring at the front display of his flip phone, looking irritated. A quick glance at my own alarm clock, though, didn’t quite convince me.

“We have two hours.”

“Yeah, and if Alejandro Paz is already there, so are the fans,” he said. He came up behind me and grabbed a shirt and pair of jeans. The jeans, of course, were the only pair of skinny jeans I owned, courtesy of an old girlfriend. I had no clue why I had even kept those.

Will glared at me when I went to put them back, so I sighed. “Fine. Go downstairs and eat something, because we’re not stopping. I’ll change and get my bike ready.”

The mere thought of taking my motorcycle seemed to push away his bad mood, and he left me to it. Even the thought of clinging to me for dear life on the highway didn’t seem to ruin it.

I glanced in the mirror on my closet door. My brown hair was shaggy. I guess the least I could do for Will was gel it back.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Word Wednesday 5: Avert

Avert is a verb meaning 'to turn away or to the side.' When you avert your eyes, it means you're turning them away from whatever you're looking at. This word is often used by people with a prepositional phrase like 'He averted his eyes to the floor' but this is kind of gray territory as far as whether it's correct English or not. I'm a creative writing major, not an English major, so I can't sit here and lecture you on linguistics all day. I'll leave it to your interpretation :P

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Scene Sunday (Artistic License)

Been rewriting Artistic License's first chapter completely. I haven't gotten very far, but this is what I have so far. Enjoy :)

Laughing echoed around me as I stepped into the sunlight for the first time in three hours. I loved that I could spend my afternoons in studio class instead of being in the morning group, but I’d forgotten how boring it could be on the first day. That didn’t, of course, stop me from heading to the student studios to get some more drawing done. They were better set-up anyway, with large windows that let in the natural light instead of forcing us to use the harsh, fluorescent lights.

“Hey, Cameron!” someone called at me as they walked past, a video camera going. I waved but moved on before they could stop me for an extended amount of time. Despite popular opinion (or maybe mine) the camera does not and has never loved me. I was dressed in shabby clothing that I didn’t care if I got paint on, and there was, last time I checked, blue paint caked in my normally blond hair. It was some kind of record; I usually got covered in paint during the first major project at the earliest.

When I entered the main courtyard, I was greeted with most of those laughing people. There was something going on in every nook and cranny, from the actors on the grass to the poets up in the trees quoting Shakespeare. My attention was drawn to the fountain, though. Dance students, all females, stood on the ledges of it, socks and shoes kicked aside, some as far as at the feet of the actors on the grass. They had a boom box closer to them, which was currently blasting out salsa music.

“Cameron! Just the guy I wanted to see!” It was Miranda, of course. She was my closest friend, not for a lack of, you know, violence and horrible ideas that might persuade me otherwise. She was tall, not quite as tall as me, but only a couple inches short, and lean as a dancer often was. She also had dark features, from her native American-influenced skin, to her brown eyes and constantly shiny black hair. She was good-looking, as I had to admit to myself every time she complained about all she did in the morning to emerge looking perfect. I still preferred her brother in that respect. I may or may not have been biased.

Miranda’s friends continued their performance as she hopped down, not bothering to put her shoes back on. They were probably the flip flops hanging from one of the poem trees, anyway.

“What’s up?” I said, putting my easel down for the moment. Miranda may or may not have had an idea in her head, and these ideas were often long and convoluted. No use carrying bulky things around if I didn’t need to.

She had a serious look on her face, and my former happy mood began to dissolve. “I was… wondering what happened to you, those last few days of summer. I know you said it wasn’t a big deal, but you didn’t even call Michael. He’s kind of been moping.”

I flinched at that. Miranda liked skirting around the issue, but it was hard for me to. Still, I didn’t bother ruining the atmosphere any further than it needed to be. “Yeah, my mom kind of freaked out,” I said, folding my arms together and looking over at the actors. “She has my best interests in mind, supposedly. I guess that means banning my boyfriend from our house. Should’ve seen that one coming.”

Miranda sighed and slumped, letting the loose shoulders of her blouse fall down. Her shirt slipped down a bit without the support, but she adjusted it again before I could even mention it. She looked nervous. It was just one of ticks, I supposed; something I never questioned, because it seemed like she didn’t want me to.

“Anyway, Mom finally gave me back my cell phone. Not that it matters at this point.”

“I just don’t want to see you and Michael not work out because of this,” Miranda said, displaying her typical blunt honesty. “Okay?”

I smiled and picked up my canvas. “I wouldn’t dream of it, Miranda. I’ve grown attached to my penis and I know you’d rip it off if I ever dumped him.” She took a swing at me, which I easily blocked with my easel.

Friday, April 29, 2011

What Keeps Me Writing

Everybody's got something that keeps them going when it comes to writing, right? Well, in case you didn't know, for me it's yaoi :) Japanese gay romance comics. When I was fifteen I read my first ones and was instantly hooked; in fact, as I say in my About Me, they're why I write gay romance now! I read so many of them that I thought I'd take my hand at my own. That might be the reason my writing is a bit more, uh, idealized when it comes to the romance than some you might see. Yaoi manga rarely has outside conflict when it comes to the whole gay thing; if it exists, it's all within the couple.

Why am I posting about this now? Eh, no particular reason. I just finished watching the fourth episode of the Sekai-Ichi Hatsukoi (literally The Best First Love in the World) anime, and it always leaves me feeling giddy. In fact, have the intro :)

Doesn't it just make your heart happy? Just me? Oh well.

Is there anything in particular that got you into your genre, or that you like to watch or read to keep you inspired?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Word Wednesday 4: Unique

Another one that people seem to use really loosely. You know the saying, "You're unique, just like everyone else!" Unique means one-of-a-kind, not 'few-of-a-kind' as many people use it. That's all, really. If you, for instance, have a ring with a custom engraving, it's unique because no one else has that exact ring (unless you're copying someone else!). If you're a college student who think it's rebellious to cut class and blog about how awful and conforming your professors are, you are far from unique :P

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The end of a journey

Well, Artistic License didn't make it to the next round of ABNA. It's kind of sad, but that's the way life goes, I suppose! But that also means it's free, so it's time to edit and start submitting to agents again. Wish me luck, I suppose :)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Scene Sunday (Memories)

Most people reading this probably don't remember Memories. It's a book I was writing back last year and never finished (mostly because I got distracted). To give some context, it's a super hero YA novel centering around a guy named Arthur. He has visions, telekinesis, and can 'null' other's powers (meaning make them not work, though for a limited time). I was looking it over last Friday and decided to maybe finish it up so I'd have yet another novel in need of editing :P Aaaaanyway, here's a scene from it.

Chelsea was standing there, looking around. When she finally spotted me standing at the counter, she made her way over, ignoring Maria’s overly-enthusiastic attempts to get her admit that she was looking for something specific in the store.

Her hair was frazzled and she looked like she had stayed up a lot of the night. She even had bags under her eyes. Of course, if I pointed this out, she would’ve killed me. I knew girls that well, at least. “Arthur. I need to talk to you.” She glanced at Tristan and back to me, ignoring him after that.

“I’m kind of working right now. Can it wait?” I said.


Even Tristan looked alarmed at that. He started to say something, but I put a hand on his shoulder.

“I’ll be fine,” I said.

Tristan glanced between us but nodded. There was no reason to believe that Chelsea was any kind of danger to me, but he still said, “I’m right here if you need me.”

Chelsea led me all the way to the back parking lot. It was full of cars, but none of their occupants were there right then. Somehow, I had a feeling she had planned that.

“My brother is a wreck,” Chelsea finally said, turning to look at me with her arms folded. I was tempted to say that they had that in common, but I liked my reproductive organs where they were.

“Brother?” I said.

Chelsea nodded, pushing a piece of hair out of her face. “My younger brother. His name is Bryan. He just… appeared home last night, sick and barely conscious. And he said you had something to do with it.”

I cringed at that, remembering the previous night. If you wanted to get technical, I had most to do with that. Gwen had accidently provoked him, but I was the one that nulled his powers and made him sick.

“Chelsea I-”

“I don’t want to hear your excuses. I know Bryan can move things with his mind like you. But he’s harmless.” She had her eyes narrowed, and there was a dangerous tone to her voice that I didn’t like.

She reached her hand out, and I backed away. I didn’t know if she had powers or not, but I wasn’t willing to find out.

“Uh, he… I didn’t have much else to do!” I said. “He went crazy and was trying to hurt my sister. So I got rid of his powers for a while. A lot of people will get sick when I do that to them. But he should’ve been fine when his powers returned.” I realized that I had backed up to a wall, and I didn’t have much else to do unless I wanted to send her flying.

She reached her hand out again, and right before she was able to touch me, she was gone, just like that.

I looked around to see she was standing up on the roof nearby, looking utterly baffled as to how she had gotten there.

“Well then. Lyra warned me about her.” Tristan was standing beside me, his arm propped up on my shoulder as he looked up at Chelsea. “She can paralyze people when she touches them. Not something I’d like to happen.”

I sighed in relief. My heart rate even went back to normal. “Thanks, Tristan.”

Tristan grinned. “Any time, Arthur.”

“So should we get her down?”

“In a few minutes.”

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My next work-in-progress

And for my next trick, I will pull a novel out of a hat! Hah, I wish. But with Nowhere Fast done (yay!) I have decided to move on to my next project. I have both Nowhere Fast and Fortissimo to still edit, but I feel like if I don't constantly write, I'll explode. So I have the first chapter of this novel done, written by hand. What is it? Well, I decided to take last Sunday's post as an outline and make a novel out of it.

It is, for now, called Our Never-Ending Summer and it's turning out pretty well. I'm trying this radical new thing called 'hand-writing' wherein I write it up before I type it onto my laptop, so it probably won't show up for Scene Sunday, at least not for a while. I may if people actually want to see it, based on that short story it's being written from, but it'd only be bits and pieces.

Until next time!

Word Wednesday 3: Peruse

Peruse is a verb that has to do with reading something. Unlike how many people seem to use it, though, it doesn't mean the same thing as just reading (or to just glance through it, as others seem to think!). To peruse something is to read it slowly and/or carefully. So if your boss tells you to peruse the materials for your next meeting, or your teacher/professor tells you to peruse a certain part of a chapter in your text book, they're telling you to pay attention to it! At least, they are if they're using it right :)

You can also sometimes use it in the context of looking at something, usually if it involves text. For instance, if you see me in a bookstore, I'm most likely perusing the shelves of the young adult section, taking a good look at every title even if I can't actually afford to get another book.

Peruse short story

“I don’t think you get what I’m saying,” my older sister said as she perused the book in front of her, never taking her eyes away. “There’s a ghost in the basement, and I’m going to exorcize it.” When I didn’t answer, she licked a finger and turned the page before examining a diagram.

“It’s probably just a rat,” I said, rolling my eyes.

“Tracie, is this really how you’re going to act when our lives are in mortal danger? Without our parents here?”

“Natasha, if it really was a ghost down there, I somehow doubt a housewife and an overweight construction worker could do much about it.” I reached forward and took the book from her. As I suspected, it was about the occult. “Where did you get this, anyway?”

“The library,” Natasha said. “They have an entire section there.”

“Of course they do,” I muttered, and then I snapped the book shut and put it on top of the fridge where she couldn’t reach it. She may have been two years older than me, but I was two inches taller. “Just go to bed. Like I said, it’s a rat. Or a squirrel, or something that you can actually feel and be attacked by.”

Natasha gulped and ran for it at the prospect.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Scene Sunday (Short story, Summer)


The first day of summer I saw him, laughing and drenching a younger girl with a hose as they ran across the yard of the newly-bought house across the street. It was a hot day and my mother was expecting me to celebrate the summer solstice with her that evening, but all I wanted to do was sit directly in front of the air conditioner. I was not a guy of discerning taste; as long as I was comfortable, I was okay.

The first week of summer I became interested in him. He was my age, according to my mother, but he was so much more energetic than I was. Despite temperatures reaching above one-hundred degrees, he was constantly outside, laughing and getting to know the neighbors. He and the girl I found out was his sister even came over to my house one time, though my mother answered and I pretended to be passed out. Our air conditioner had stopped working, so we had a bunch of oscillating fans set up around the house. I just laid in front of one, sighing in relief every time its vaguely cool air hit my body. He went home before I could work up the courage to do anything.

The second week of summer I talked to him. His name was Henry, and I’d be going to school with him once this endless summer vacation was over. “You're both seniors, so you might even have the same classes, isn’t that wonderful?” my mother remarked as she walked by, a paper fan out. I was afraid it would burst into flames under the heat of the sun, but she just continued on her way to the corner store to buy more lemonade mix.

The Saturday of the second week of summer, we went to the local pool together, because it was one-hundred and five degrees, and the power was flickering on and off because of all the energy being used to keep people cool. It was actually relatively empty, I suppose because people didn’t want to make the trek out. Henry laughs and splashes me with the cool water, yelling, “Hey Freed, we should come here again at the end of summer, don’t you think?” And I do think, because it will be August and it might be even worse by then.

The Fourth of July was the first time we kissed. I never much liked the holiday, mostly because my name is Freedom and people liked to make jokes and puns about it. But as Henry and I sat there, watching the fireworks go off and waiting for his sister to get back with snow cones from one of the vendors that sets up on the field every year, he said my name, and when I turned, he kissed me gently. I don’t know how to respond.

The middle of July I found myself watching him from a distance again. The temperature had dropped down into the eighties, just barely tolerable for going outside, but I was a coward. Or maybe I was waiting for him to come and see me again, to take the initiative like he always did. But as the days dragged by, hot and hazy and full of sweat and “It’s too hots!” he never did.

The first week of August I finally got fed up with laying around my house and went to his. It was raining but still hot, so there was steam coming off the pavement as I made my way across the street. Henry opened the door before I even got the chance to knock, and he grinned when he saw it was me. He stepped out, closed the door behind him. I noticed he wasn’t wearing socks or shoes, and he was looking at the puddles that had still managed to form in the grooves of the street. “Want to join me?” he asked, and I knew what he planned to do. All I could do was nod and he started stomping through the water like a little kid.

The middle of August my mother decided that we needed to go on a family vacation, since there were only a couple more weeks left before school started and we hadn’t spent much time together. I didn’t want to leave Henry behind after we had finally accomplished something, but she didn’t give me much choice. Mom dragged me down to Cape Cod, where we stayed in a few different places. We talked every night, at least briefly. When he asked if I was bringing him back any souvenirs, I said, “Of course.”

The end of August, we were back at the pool, but it’s more crowded and Henry’s sister is there with us that time. I tried not to seem jealous, but it seemed that Henry could tell. When we finally had to go home, because we were tired and chlorinated and school started the next day, Henry said, “Want to take a shower together?” with this big grin on his face, and all I could do was blush and turn away.

The first day of school, Henry comes in wearing the shirt I got him in Provincetown. It was a gag gift, something I had seen in a shop and laughed at. I didn’t expect him to wear it. But here he is, with a shirt that says, “My boyfriend went to Provincetown and all I got was this t-shirt.” I’m the only one that seems to know him, and he stays with me until the bell rings and we have to part ways. People are looking at him, unsure of how to act, but I don’t care and neither does he. The longest summer of my life is over, and he’s right there beside me as proof that I survived.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Word Wednesday 2: Suckle

Sorry that this is late, but being that this is the week before spring vacation, my mind has been other places . Anyway, here we go!

Suckle is a verb most commonly used when referring to a baby nursing from his or her mother's breast (it can be a human or animal, as long as the basic anatomy is there). It can also, in some cases, refer to drinking from a bottle. Basically, anything that has a nipple, real or artificial. I've found in my travels that people seem to use this incorrectly to mean suck, but as stated, it's not quite the same idea :)

Suckle short story

The thing about my sister having her baby during the summer was that I got to stay there in the hospital with her and wouldn't get chewed out by my parents for skipping class. Two hours after my teenage sister came out yelling 'It's a boy!', my brother-in-law came out looking tired.

"She still saying this is your fault?" my boyfriend, Ryan, asked when he jolted awake at my touch and saw him.

Tim gave a dry laugh and said, "Come on, boys, Karen wants to see you now." He glanced between us before leading the way.

"Hey, Win," Karen said, looking tired. Her new baby boy was in her arms nursing, suckling and making no noise. "Isn't he beautiful?"

"Yeah," I said.

Karen glanced at the clock and apparently decided she had nursed him long enough. Before I knew it, she was sitting up and holding him to me. The baby opened its eyes slightly. "Hey Evan, it's Uncle Win."

I nervously took the baby, but then I smirked. "Hey, Evan, it's Uncle Ryan," I said, turning to my boyfriend.

Ryan rolled his eyes. "Smartass."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Word Wednesday 1: Translucent

Translucent is an adjective used to describe something that is somewhat transparent but is not, usually because it's colored in some way. For instance:

The black shirt that woman is wearing is translucent, because you can see through it, but unlike:

these lovely windows right here, it is colored so it's not totally see-through. Most windows would be transparent.

Translucent short story:

She was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen, and she was sitting there at the front of my English 100 class, quietly polishing her nails as we waited for the professor to get there. I actually stopped in the doorway, transfixed by the site until someone pushed past me and I realized I should get out of the way.

Her clothes were thrift shop chic and didn't match each other, but it worked for her. The most striking part was probably the scarf: red and gauzy and translucent. Her brown curls fell gently past it on her shoulders, moving a bit as she worked. I got close enough to see the name of the polish on the bottle: Wedded Bliss. It was light pink.

"You can sit here if you want," she said, not looking away from her left thumbnail. I nodded and did so. I never learned her name that day, as college is different from high school and they don't call attendance religiously. But I would later.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Scene Sunday (Fortissimo)

I'm currently editing Fortissimo, with a separate document to put in what I'm editing at the time so I'm not doing it all on the big thing and become overwhelmed. This is currently what I have in the editing document:

I glanced around. There were some students around, but they were too wrapped up in their own conversations to notice us. So I sat.

“Do you know how to play?” he asked. I was just sitting there, staring at the white and black keys before me. “You don’t have to look so terrified; it won’t bite you.” He took one of my hands and arranged my fingers over some keys. “Just try playing some scales.”

I pounded down, and a horrible combination of sour notes sounded. He let go of my hand, and I leaned back, blushing. “Sorry,” I muttered.

“You’re not a very subtle person, are you Rin?” He didn’t say it meanly, but he still looked like he was trying not to laugh.

The door opened, and I hunched my shoulders.

“Good morning, Ritchie.”

I looked up to see the choir director, Mr. Kais. He was a bit older, probably mid-thirties, not that he had ever told me. He was a great director, but he often looked tired, and his brown hair was starting to get grey patches.

Ritchie stood up from the piano bench and followed Mr. Kais to his office. They both disappeared inside, closing the heavy, soundproof door behind them. I sighed and fell forward, letting my forehead hit some piano keys. Surprisingly, it sounded better than when I had been trying.

“Oh hey, I heard Ritchie is the new staff advisor for the GSA.” Aurora wrapped her arms around me like we were good friends. I glanced back at her, and she stopped invading my personal space. “You should go; you don’t have to be gay.”

Aurora, Noelle had once told me, was always trying to recruit new people for the Gay-Straight Alliance. I wasn’t sure I understood her obsession; she was a blonde-haired, blue-eyed field hockey player, almost the opposite of other members of the GSA I knew. She didn’t have a boyfriend right then, but that didn’t mean anything.

I didn’t either, after all.

“New?” I said, trying to distract her. “What happened to the old one?”

“Mr. Kais started running that music store with his sister, remember?” She sat down beside me and started plunking out simple songs on the keys immediately in front of her. “He doesn’t have the time.”

“Mr. Kais is…” I stared over at the office door, suddenly getting images of what they were doing in there. I ducked my head so Aurora couldn’t see in case my face was going red again.

“You know, no one actually seems to know,” Aurora said over her rendition of Mary Had A Little Lamb. “Yeah, he founded the GSA, but he’s never gone out with anyone as far as we can tell. Either he’s asexual or even he has issues with his sexuality.”

Mr. Kais was at least thirty-four years old. If he was still struggling with his sexuality at that point, what chance did I have?

“But come on Rin, we really need more members,” Aurora said, stopping her playing so she could prod me in the shoulder. “And you can make friends and stuff. GSA is where I met Keith, after all.”

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

ABNA excerpts I like 4- Homestar

Homestar by Anne Bauer was unique for me. It takes place in the 1980s, and to be quite frank, I didn't expect to like it all that much. I just don't like books that take place earlier than the nineties (perhaps because I'm a nineties child myself). However, I was surprised. The first thing it has going for it, in my opinion, is that the main character is gay. Not openly so, but Michael doesn't sit around angsting like many gay teenagers in books I've read, both published and unpublished. Michael's mother is also an alcoholic, but I found that she's actually put in a very good light; she's not presented as a bad person, just perhaps an unfortunate one. And that is what I believe makes this definitely worth your time.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

ABNA excerpts I like 3- Two Take Away One

Two Take Away One by Naomi Horne is a realistic fiction excerpt with an intriguing premise: the main character was a Siamese twin at birth, but had surgery when she was very young in which the weaker twin was removed and apparently died. The excerpt covers the media finding out about her and poor Gillian looks like she's going to be thrown into a media circus. There's much more to this story, and that's probably why this is one of the times where I wish the excerpts weren't only five-thousand words max. If this is ever published, it would definitely be worth a read.

Monday, April 4, 2011

ABNA excerpts I like 2- Twice Shy

Twice Shy by Patrick Freivald is a zombie novel meets a high school novel. The backdrop is a world that was hit hard by a zombie virus but has gotten past it. The main character, Ani, is living with the disease while her former scientist mother tries to keep her alive and keep it a secret from everyone else. With all the supernatural books about vampires and werewolves, a zombie novel, while not exactly an entirely new thing, is refreshing, and Freivald's take on zombies themselves is an interesting one that looks like it could be going places. The writing itself is a bit choppy at the start, but it didn't detract from my interest in the story.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Scene Sunday 1 (Nowhere Fast)

So I decided to try something new. I will post a random scene from my writing. It doesn't have to be something I just wrote, it just has to be mine :) So, enjoy your first out-of-context scene, everyone!

Sam sat there for about three minutes, looking like he had completely checked out. But then he said, “Come on. They’ll be there a while. I’d just assume wait in my room.”

“Don’t they need you to let them back in?”

“Nah, the card will open the door,” he said. I really had no other argument other than the thought of being alone in Sam’s room with him made me uncomfortable and excited at the same time.

But Sam wasn’t the kind of guy to just jump a person; I could see that as he sat down in his desk chair and started in on his book again. The room seemed almost too quiet without Jace there, and for a while, I just stood, not sure what to do.

“You can just go home,” Sam said when he noticed this. “There’s not much left to see. I’ll probably call my aunt and uncle and send Mason on his way again.”

“And what about Vincent?”

Sam turned to look at me, taking off his glasses. “Well, he’d probably go, too,” he said. “Why wouldn’t he?”

“I dunno, I might try harder than this if I went cross-country to see someone.”

That made him flinch. “Vincent is a spoiled brat,” he finally said. “Just used to getting what he wants. How do you think he had the money to just randomly take such a huge trip?” And then he looked down at his book. “Not that I’m not. But Mom and Dad probably wouldn’t let me be here if I didn’t get a scholarship.”

I would never have thought as Sam as spoiled or a brat. My fight had dissolved, though, and I sat down in the chair at Jace’s desk across the room. Sam stood up and walked over to me.

“Vincent is Mason’s friend,” he said, leaning down and putting his hand on my shoulder. “I have very little to do with it, no matter how much Vincent wants it to be otherwise.”

“Don’t tell me nothing has happened in those five years,” I said, getting brave.

Sam cracked a smile. “I have a lot of self-restraint, in case you haven’t noticed.” His hand lingered there on my shoulder. Then, contradicting that, he leaned down and kissed me. It was still sweet, but this time his hand moved down around my waist.

“What happened to self-restraint?” I said. He had ended the kiss but still had his hands down at my hips, brushing the hem of my shirt.

He moved his hands back up to my shoulders. “Sometimes it’s hard with you,” he said.

Jesus, and I felt guilty about some of my own thoughts. Although it at least proved Sam was still human.

It still didn’t seem like Mason and Vincent were coming back yet, so I pulled him back into a kiss. He responded by putting his hands back down and under my shirt in the back, resting his fingers on my spine. He didn’t go further than that, though. It frustrated me enough to pull him down to sit on my lap.

“Niel, you don’t want to go too far yet,” he said against my lips.

“Like hell I don’t.”

Sam stood up, and I expected a lecture about being impulsive, but it never came. He gently pulled me to the bed which was, admittedly, a better idea than the chair. I laid down, but just as he went back to kissing me, his hands going back under my shirt, the door opened.

“Jesus, Sam, lock the door if you’re gonna do that!” Mason said, backing away and closing the door. Vincent was right behind him, looking more shocked than angry as he did earlier.

My face was beat-red as Sam got to his feet, running a hand through his hair. “And this is why I practice self-restraint in the first place,” he said. When he saw how uncomfortable I was, he sighed. “Heh. Maybe another time.”

I was more than ready to go home. Sam opened the door and started talking to his younger brother, and I ran for it before anyone realized I was still there.

Just as I reached the end of the hall and went for the stairs, though, Sam caught up with me. “Niel, wait!” he said. When I turned, he wrapped me in a tight hug, and I had a hard time processing much else. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

I closed my eyes and wrapped my arms around him. We stood like that for a few seconds later.

“I’ll see you tomorrow.”

ABNA excerpts I like 1- Katie Clark is Special Ed

Katie Clark is Special Ed by Nicole Panteleakos is the story of ten-year-old Katie who has relatively high-functioning autism. What I found special about this story as opposed to other books I've read about autistic kids is that despite Katie's eccentricities (and she certainly throws a lot of fits!) she was a very clever narrator and the excerpt left me wanting more. The writing itself is also technically good, not once bringing out the formatting nazi in me. This excerpt certainly doesn't need more promotion; as you can see, it has tons of great reviews. I have a feeling that this will go far, and quite honestly, I wouldn't mind losing to it :)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Artistic License excerpt availabe now

Artistic License's ABNA excerpt is now available in the Kindle Store here. You can download it, read it, review it, etc. Let me know what you think! And hopefully you'll be going back to vote for it when the Finals come around :)

Note that the excerpts are only in Kindle format, and unfortunately, they don't appear to be downloadable outside of the US right now. The Kindle thing can be easily remedied, though! There are Kindle apps you can download for both PC and Mac, free of charge.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

ABNA update

Yeah I've kind of dropped off the face of the earth as far as blogging is concerned, but I was never a very avid blogger in the first place :P

But anyway, the point! Artistic License has made it to the Quarter-Finals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. An excerpt will be posted within the next few days that people will be able to read and comment on while I wait for the Publisher's Weekly review (full manuscript!) on April 24th. Cross your fingers, everyone :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Progress Wednesday, February 2nd

So I haven't gotten any editing done on Artistic License since I entered it into ABNA. Oddly, I'm okay with that. Unless the categories close early, there's four days left for the contest. If I get to it, I will. If I don't, I guess we'll see how it goes.

Nowhere Fast is at almost 30k now, and the rough draft is probably close to finished. I'm hoping to have at least 50k on it, though if I don't hit that the first time around, there's always editing. Once ABNA closes and I don't have the freedom to edit AL, I was thinking I'd finally get on Fortissimo, which has been lying, untouched, on my hard drive since I finished it in early December. I guess we'll see.

I also have my next novel idea, which I'll start seriously working on when Nowhere Fast is finished. It's kind of paranormal-ish, but not with creatures of the night and such; the main character is a guy who can see aura colors, with a boyfriend who sticks by him because he has a shitty life and only the MC seems to see that (quite literally; aura colors and all). That's about all I have, since it's base on a little snippet I wrote for a contest that my friends said they'd like to see me expand on :)

Until next time!