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.

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.