Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Starting Sparks: Microwaves, Cranberries, and the weird idea // say hi to Mikel

Hellooo everyone! I hope you all had a grand and momentous Christmas. 


So there's this link up. You may have heard of it. It's called Starting Sparks, hosted by Emily @ Ink, Inc. (gotta love that title!) and my very self @ right here. We give you a prompt, and you do WHATEVER YOU WANT! It can't get better than that, right? Minimal rules; we're low maintenance like that. Write a poem, a scene, a short story, a not-so-short story. . .the great wide world of the blank page is yours for the conquering! The link up is open still! It ends with the month.

I give my contribution today. :D

I have this WIP, on hold, referred to as 'the weird idea.' (I stink at titles, okay?) I talk about occassionally, and there's always mention of Mikel. And yet, you have never, ever actually met him yet. 

That problem is resolved today.

December 2015:

I hold the microwave at a perfect 45 degree angle. Savannah’s head has been in there for approximately 17 minutes, and 42 seconds. I suppose there are some advantages to having a tall friend if you happen to be short. 

But if you are the tall friend. . .

“Are you almost done?” My voice comes out bored. “My arms are getting tired.”

“Almost.” 18 minutes and 6 seconds.

The tech room door slams. Footfalls pound on the metal grating. 

“Guess what I found!” 

Savannah bumps head on the interior of the microwave. I nearly drop it. An exact 19 minutes.

“Mikel.” I heft the microwave toward me to get a better grip on it. “Now is not the – “

“What do you want now!” Savannah growls. 

Mikel grins down at her undeterred. “Glad to see you too.”

A long sigh escapes me. As much as I love that guy, I wish he had more sense in his head, if only for his own self-preservation. 

Savannah glares at him. “It’s because of you that we’re even here, so I suggest you leave.”

“I just wanted to microwave—“

“It is not a microwave!” Savannah pokes a screw driver toward him. “How many times do—“

“What is the point of keeping it if it doesn’t, uh, doesn’t. . .” Mikel makes a face. “Doesn’t micro waves!” He looks satisfied as if that was the perfect comeback he’s ever thought up.

Savannah gives him her you-are-a-dunce stare. 

I try hard to swallow my laughter and almost drop the not-a-microwave.

“I altered it.” Savannah’s voice is full of forced patience. “Now it’s a device diagnostics analytic.” She then goes into a detailed tirade on what it does and how it works. If I actually listened, I might understand her. But it’s much more amusing to watch Mikel blink and gape at her.  

“Do you understand?” 

Mikel’s unshakable grin returns, and I know what’s coming. “I like you.” He even pats her on the head.

She swats his hand away. “Don’t be an idiot.”

“Well, guess what?” Right, he broke in here with some sort of news. I shift my weight. Hopefully, he’ll make this quick.

Savannah sticks her head back into the device, uh, diagnostic thing. I am too lazy at present to want to recall what she said. 

Mikel’s voice is sing song. “I found cranberry sauce!” He lifts a can in the air. 

“Yippee,” from the not-a-microwave. 

“You know,” he grins at me too now, “for Christmas.”

“Christmas was two days ago.” I tap my foot to dampen my impatience. 23 minutes 24 seconds.

He rolls his eyes. “Rayne don’t be obvious. The twelve days of Christmas, hello!” He waves his gangly arms in the air. 

“Whatever you say Mikel.” I wish Savannah would hurry so I could put this thing down. 

“You did not just say that.” Savannah’s head comes out of the microwave.

I give her a fake smile. “Look, this is getting kind of heavy so—“

“Well,” Mikel continues to talk, “you two will think differently after some cranberry yumminess.” 

“Sorry.” Savannah picks the panel off the table beside us. “I’ll just screw this back in place.”

Mikel opens the other microwave over on the shelf. “I’m just going to heat this up and—“

Savannah whirls on him. “Stop putting things in my microwave!”

“Oh.” Mikel groans. “This one doesn’t micro waves, either?”

“You’ll blow it up! Your cranberry gloop is still in the can.”

Mikel looks sheepishly at his cranberry can. “Heh, I knew that.”

“Can I put this down yet!?” I shout. 

They both stare at me. 

Mikel seems to shake out of some frozen stupor. “I’m sorry. Here.” He places the can in the microwave, rushes over, and juggles the microwave from me.

“Thank you.” Finally! I knead my shoulder. 26 minutes, a few odd seconds.

“Wait.” Savannah looks from me to Mikel. “Don’t—“

“Of course, Rayne,” he says. “Why didn’t you say something sooner?” 

“I, whatever.” I shake my head.

Mikel grins at Savannah. “I’ll hold this for you, my lady.”

“No, that’s okay,” Savannah says. “Rayne will. . . Rayne?!”

I snag the can out of the microwave. “I wash my hands of  the both of you.” 

“Don’t leave me with. . .”

I close the door behind me and breathe. 

Terrence walks past with a question in his look. 

“Don’t go in there,” I say. “Something might blow up.”



P. S.

1) Mikel is not as dumb as he pretends. 

2) If you wonder, no. I have no clue what to do with my paragraphs.

3) Have a happy New Year!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Another Try: poem

So I found some poems while rummaging through my journal. Here's one. In all it's non-poetic imperfection. 

I lay here
Wide awake
With all the fear
I always have

The deeds of today
Flash through my mind
What was said and done
What wasn't

 Did I do it right
Could it've been different
Should I speak up more
What will they think now

Did I do it right
This thing called life
Can I ever get it straight

But you tell me
I have nothing left
That needs doing
In the past

That's done and over
Who cares about it
Who cares what they'll think
They'll think what they will

It's the future
That holds doing
To be done,
It's the new day dawning

It's where we live
In now and later
Not way back then
Those are yesterday's hymns

Today is a new melody
That newness, that song
That's my redemption
My chance for another try

Friday, December 11, 2015

blogging // writing // I don't know how to eat food

So Alyssa @ The Devil Orders Takeout tagged me for The Secret Life of a Book Blogger and A Writer's Life for Me. . . Those are some wordy titles.

Thank you Alyssa for allow me to go on and on about this beautiful blookunity. (Pst, you should totally check out her blog. She has some awesome content including Chinese culture posts!)

the Secret Life of a Book Blogger

(not so secret now, huh?)

1. How long have you been a blogger?

[insert title here] went up in 2013. It's actually going to have a birthday in February. I'm planning a sensational birthday party. Because three years is a milestone. 

Guys, we'll almost out of the terrible twos.

It's still way early in the planning stage. I have a knack for changing my mind at the last minute to scrape something together. I like to test my level of resourcefulness from time to time. Eh. . . not really.

 But if you have any suggestions for birthday theme ideas up here, let me know!

2. At which point do you think you'll stop blogging?

Obviously, when the apocalypse happens and internet is only accessible to the rich and powerful.

Otherwise, never.

3. What is the best thing about this [inserts blookunity]?

Pretty much everything.

I'm really introverted but I love to talk books. the internet distances me just enough from whom I'm talking to so that it's not scary. So I can actually communicate intelligently (er, interpret that with your own discretion).

Plus, face-to-face people look at you strange when you get passionate about things. I don't know what their problem is. They get hyped when gossiping about people? What is with that?

Nobody looks at you weird in the blookunity when you fangirl.  

Watson! The emotion thing is happening! Did I do it wrong?!
4. What is the worst thing? What do you do to make it better?

The only bad thing that happens in the blookunity is probably when the fandoms get a little too passionate and bash people who do not agree with them.

This is not cool, people.

We do not mock others because they prefer their books served a different way. We do not talk bad about people who ship different ships.

um, no

The whole point of reading books is, in part, to see things from another person's perspective. So let's try to be a little understanding and see what it's like from another person's point of view. I'm not saying we have to agree. What makes us different is what makes the world go around.

Your elementary teacher told you that was actually called gravity. Ha! What your teacher didn't tell you is that gravity is the force of everybody's differences pushing and pulling each other. When we push and pull just enough to understand each other but keep from massacring each other, that is what keeps our little earth in orbit and from smashing against other planets!

So. . .

Save the earth. Save the humans. And let's all get along. Hm?

5. How long does it take for you to create/find pictures to use?

This is a life long process. There is no answer.

If I have zero idea where I'm going picture-wise, I just raid my already existing pinterest boards.

6. Who is your book crush?

What? Nobody said we were getting personal here?! I don't tell people these kinds of things.

*mini heart attack*

Uuuuh. . . my mind is blanking. And I feel like I sound super unintelligent at the moment.

Is it weird that the answer probably lies within my own unwritten book ideas? #awkward

I could almost say Jack from "Blood Red Road" by Moira Young, but he makes me edgy. I don't trust him.

Oh, oh! I know. 

Jaron. From the Ascendance trilogy. Yep, it's Jaron. I mean, I could say Wolf from The Lunar Chronicles, and Kai is adorable from the same. Also, who doesn't like Mr. Darcy?

But for some reason, I have to go and like the intelligent jerk, Jaron.

7. Which author would you like to have on your blog?

Read as: "Which author would you like to interview on your blog?"

That is a little scary. Me interviewing an author on the blog. Because I think I will have to answer Suzanne Collins. I would ask her if she's a panster or a plotter. If she's ever competed in NaNo. If characters like Coin, just wander up on the page and take command, or if Collins' already planned and outlined and knows she needs another "Snow" duplicate and just created the perfect female "Snow" evil twin. If she's a pantser, I'd ask her if she was routing for Peeta or Gale at first. I'd ask her what the first spark of inspiration was for The Hunger Games. What does she think about all this "the Hunger Games promotes the death of children as entertainment" garbage. Where did Katniss come from? Who is her favorite character and why? What books did she read as a child? DOES SHE BELIEVE SIX IMPOSSIBLE THINGS BEFORE BREAKFAST!? 

And I'd ask what her next writing project is going to look like. Because I am vastly ignorant about the going-ons of big authors even though it's probably already contracted and advertised.

8. What do you wear when your write your blogposts?

Clothes. Duh.

There's usually a blanket over my shoulders, as is now. You know, because of shock. It happens when you read books (or watch Mockingjay 2, forewarning people, you will probably cry).

“I’m in shock. Look-I’ve got a blanket.”-Sherlock | The Best Quotes From BBC's "Sherlock"

Other times I wear a hat. Hat wearing is a habit of mine. If Smaug asked who I was, I would answer "Hat Wearer." 

9. How long does it take for you to prepare?

You can *usually* tell how long I've been cooking a post by how many typos it has.

I usually get an idea and let it simmer in my mind before it reaches the actually screen. Honestly though, I have no consistent routine. 

I don't know

10. How do you feel about the [inserts blookunity]?

Long live the blookunity.

11. What do you think one should do to get a successful blog?

1. Make your blog easy for any user to follow.

2. Post regularly (*cough* more than myself). Once a week in the very least.

3. Don't worry about stats and follows. Just be you. Do what you like. Write about what you want to write about. Those who like you will stay with you through it all. Those who don't, well. . .

Don't let the idiots get you down. (And that goes for all of life.)

4. Follow other blookunity people. There isn't a blookunity if we're not all a part!

A Writer's Life for Me

(yo ho!)


1. What kind of writer are you?

The I-write-what-I-want kind.

Um, to be still vague yet less smart mouth? I write weird stuff.

Speculative fiction, my love!

2. When did you start writing? What made you want to try it?

I got bored.

Bored, gif

(Anyone having deja vu?)

I made up stories in my head because I was bored. I've always made up stories in my head. I guess some people might saucily say that means I'm crazy, but I prefer to say that means I'm a writer. Eh, or both. . .

These stories got too elaborate to keep in my head. They're the kind of stories I would want to read, and hey! Maybe other people might want to read them too? Maybe? No?

Well. Okay. But Ima gonna write em anyway.

3. What inspires your stories?


I subconsciously write things I see and interact with into my stories. Then I look back and realize, "Oh! The Yulan speak only with hand gestures because I took a sign language class at that time."

4. What do you like to explore in your writing?

I let the story take the lead in this. In the rewrite is where I like to focus it.

So far in Oddball the trilogy there's racism, prejudice, loss, bitterness, friendships, forgiveness.

There's also a lot of scientists and insanity. 

When your bored:

5. Are you pantser or a plotter?

Why is this an either/or thing?

I am Divergent.

Alyssa's tag that question pant/plot:

6. Where are you in your journey? Querying, agented, publishing?

Ha! You are funny.

Try first drafting.

7. Have you ever entered any writing contests? Failed? Won?

I haven't entered many, because well, I am not brave. Also, I don't regularly write pieces short enough for a contest.

And to the few I have entered: failure.

8. Who are your writer heroes?


Suzanne Collins

Veronica Roth

Stephen James

Jennifer A. Neilson

Rachel Hartman


I'll shut up now.

9. Have you ever been to a writer's conference? Share your best and worst experience.

Yes, I've been to a couple.

Best? I could say the first one where I learned about POV (more on that later). But I'll say the third one where I had deep conversations about magic in books. It got me way out of my comfort zone. I didn't enjoy  the conversation at the time. But looking back on it, I grew up that day.

The worst? *sighs* It was the meals. . .  Have a 5 minute video.


10. Top 3 tips you'd give to newbie writers?

1. Know your English rules.

2. Now, forget that because there are no rules. We write by instinct. 

If you're new, you don't have instincts yet. Just write like you have them, because they'll come eventually if you:

3. Just keep writing, just keep writing, just keep writing. 

Seriously, writing is like swimming. You don't know how but you really, really want to do it. So they throw you in over your head. It's sink or write. So my friends, just write.

4. (Told you there's no rules.) Know what you're bad at and write it so often that you become good at it. Then mingle it with what you are good at.

5. If you throw in dragons, people will love it. 


So lovely blookunity, what is your blogging story? And (because I had to spill my guts for you) who is your book crush?