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.

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.

“No.”

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)

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 :)