Happy April and Why I Write!

“From a small seed a mighty trunk may grow.” —Aeschylus

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How is it April already? This year is going by so fast! I’ve been MIA because I’ve been revising my manuscript for #dvpit which is in 21 days! If you saw my stories over the weekend, I finished my pass through. I’m doing some research for my revisions which is both good and stressful!

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Hello to my new followers! I’m a reader, writer, and mom who also likes collecting pens, notebooks, washi tape, and Funko Pops. I’m currently revising my draft to get it ready for the Twitter event #dvpit—a pitch session for marginalized authors and/or characters for agents. What are you working on?

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My current MS is a fantasy inspired by ancient Filipino culture and beliefs. My main character Vivian is a biracial warrior who discovers she is the heir to her island nation and a descendant of Maria of Makling Mountain. She has to decide whether or not she’s going to save her family from her father, the king, or save her island home from an angry diwata, the goddess Maria.

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I wrote this story for my daughter. She’s biracial and I wanted her to have a book where she could see herself (hopefully she’ll like reading fantasy!)

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I started writing because I wanted to read the stories that weren’t there, i.e. fan fiction. I was teaching and would come home and write stories for the books I loved, but wanted more—I wasn’t ready for the story to end, or I’d wonder what if the MC had made a different choice. Now I write in the hopes that readers who felt they were missing from books will have a chance to feel seen in my current WIP.

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#aprillitwrit Why/When you started writing

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How are you? Besides writing, what are you reading? How’s your week going so far?

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What writing means to me

Is there anything (besides reading) that absorbs your attention so much that when you look at the time, a lot of it has passed?

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Obviously chores can be a time suck, but other things that are a time suck, but the fun kind—crafting (I got a sewing machine last year and I’m dying to get back to it) and watching Korean Dramas and/or anime are also ways I like to spend my free time too.

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The other thing that I get completely caught up in is writing. Writing is definitely something I lose time and sleep over because once I’m in the story, it’s hard to stop. There have been times when my eyes would be tricksy and try to close, but my fingers would keep typing. Never in my dreams did I ever think I’d write a book and be on the cusp of sharing it with others. Writing wasn’t always easy for me, but I’ve worked so hard at it and it feels as if all the struggles and frustrations of my writing experiences are starting to pay off!

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For #marchlitwrit What writing means to you and catching up on the prompt Writing Playlist: It consists of songs from Moana and the Black Panther original soundtrack. I don’t normally listen to music when I write, but since I’m revising, I’ve found that the music from these movies have been really inspiring.

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I’ve been missing lately and will probably be in and out from now on because I’m deep in the revising trenches. I’m not where I had planned to be at this point before #dvpit, but I did finish my pass through of Act I of my story and my revising notes are strong. I’m going to be cutting it close, but I’m determined to be ready.

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What are you guys reading? What are your plans for the weekend?

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Mug from @target.

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Current Read: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

How are your current reads going? Any favorites so far? Any struggles?

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One of my current reads is Cruel Prince by Holly Black and I’m buddy reading it with my girl Anna @fairravens. I’m so glad we’re reading this together! Let me tell you, this book has us questioning our life choices. We’re not sure if we like these characters. We’re not sure why they do the things that they do. We’re not sure where this story is going. But we can not stop reading! We’re close to the end, so we may or may not have a more coherent review when we finish. Are there any books that have you questioning your sanity?

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For #marchlitwrit Instalove or Slowburn—Definitely slowburn! My first fandom was Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice–I am a big fan of a slow build up. I also enjoy the hate to love trope too! For Cruel Prince, these tropes are in the story, but the execution has me doubting my love for these tropes! As for my WIP–definitely slow burn!

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For #bookishrandomthings Romance—Um. I think there’s romance in Cruel Prince, but so far everyone hates each other and if there’s a possibility for romance, it’s crushed with murder death kill action.

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For #marchinbooks18 Fictional Villain You’d Join—I’m going to say Madoc because even though he’s despicable and would sooner stab you while smiling, he has no qualms about doing what needs to be done.

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This Cruel Prince cover is an @owlcrate exclusive. Shh…I’m reading bookmark by the fabulous @markedbymary.

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How are we halfway through March?! I’m so not ready for April.

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Best Writing Advice

The Rupture: a point in your project where you hit a point where you depart from the original idea—the story evolves. It can happen between the first draft and revisions. The rupture is an OPPORTUNITY. The rupture to an emerging writer can be devastating—it can last weeks. When you know it’s part of the process, you can anticipate it and when it comes it’s when the REAL writing and story will come through.—Wayde Compton, Author and Director of The Writer’s Studio Online at Simon Fraser University

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One of the best things I did to help me as a writer was to enroll in the online writing program mentioned above. It was a year long course and it was the first time I participated in creative writing courses. I was assigned to a writing cohort and we became not only critique partners but also friends and sisters in our writing endeavors.

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We also had lectures from various mentors who were also published authors. It was such a rewarding experience. One lecture that was given was by our director Wayde Compton. His words resonated with me so much because I was experiencing a Rupture at the time with my draft. I had just finished writing the first act and felt so lost because my story was taking on a life of it’s own—I did not recognize it, but it was still good. Hearing Wayde’s words, when I needed them most, really helped me cope, but also move on from feeling stuck! Apparently it was all part of the process!

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Funny thing is, his words have found me again! I’m not feeling stuck, per se, but more overwhelmed. The real work is about to begin because I’m in revisions—it’s both terrifying and exciting at the same time!

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#marchlitwrit Best writing tip you’ve received—I’m so grateful for this challenge! It’s really helping me focus on getting this draft revised!

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For #marchbookstagram18 Diverse Authors and #authorappreciationmarch N.K. Jemison | Own Voices—my #currentreads Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyami and Want by Cindy Pon. Children of Blood and Bone is inspired by West African folklore and Tomi Adeyami’s Nigerian heritage. Want is a dystopian futuristic sci-fi set in Tai Pei with an Asian MC (who might make it on to my book boyfriend list!)

My favorite quote from my WIP

In Uliteg’s hand was a karambit, a curved short blade. Uliteg’s dark eyes darted to the tree and then back at her. His guarded expression was to intimidate her, but instead it strengthened her determination. Vivian gripped the kali sticks and prepared to fight her uncle.

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He stalked toward her, but Vivian circled away. His demeanor told her that this was a test. She did not know what the test was for, but she also did not want to disappoint him.

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She would stop short of killing him.

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From my current WIP: The Lost Daughter of the Forest

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If you’re a writer or an artist, what was it like sharing your work with other people for the first time?

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Okay. So I’ve been talking about this book I’ve been writing, but I think this is the first time I’ve shared anything from it here. I’m not going to lie, I’m really nervous sharing it! I’ve actually shared a third of my draft in a writer’s group that I was in and they were very supportive of my work.

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Two years later, my draft finished, and now I’m currently in revisions, I have to say, it’s both exciting and terrifying to think I’m close to querying this story. My goal is to have my draft ready so that when I participate in #dvpit in April, it’ll be ready for queries (if agents actually show interest!)

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How was your weekend? Anyone else struggling through the time change?

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#marchlitwrit Favorite quote from your WIP

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Authors you’d like to read?

Who are some authors that you want to read this year? Are you planning on attending any signings or book festivals?

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Y’all West @yallwest just released their author line-up and it’s incredible! There are so many authors I want to meet, but first I’ve got to read their books! My March TBR is a mix of actual TBR books (Jason Reynolds and Jacqueline Woodson), but also books of some of the authors that will be at Y’all West: Dhonielle Clayton, Erin Estrada Kelly, Gloria Chao, and Samira Ahmed, to name just a few. I’m hoping to get these books read before the book festival. If you’ve read any of these, what did you think? (No spoilers, please!)

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For #marchlitwrit Writing Beverages/Snack | Writing Workspace: The cloudy skies and rain got the best of me before I could snap a decent picture of my desk! But tea is usually my choice of drink while writing. I might a sneak a cookie too.

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#authorappreciationmarch Author you wish to read

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Hope you are all having a great weekend so far! It’s actually raining here (yay!) so movies and games for us. What are you up to?

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Inspiration Quote for International Women’s Day

But what about the rest of us? What about the nobodies and the nothings, the invisible girls? We learn to hold our heads as if we wear crowns. We learn to wring magic from the ordinary.

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Inej Ghafa, Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

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What are some quotes from books/movies/TV shows, etc. that deeply affected you? Or characters?

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Inej is one of my all-time favorite characters. Yes, she’s a bad ass. Yes, she and Kaz are awesome. But, for international women’s day, I thought this quote from her would be quite fitting.

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Not to spoil the story too much, but Inej has this realization during a confrontation with another character who, by all rights, has lived a life of privilege and has advantages Inej never had and this character should be the one who comes out on top. This moment is a turning point for not only Inej, but the reader as well. I’m not gonna lie. I cried after reading this part in the book because as a WOC (Inej is too), this quote spoke to me so much! I’d never seen my feelings captured so well in one moment in a book.

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Needless to say, I highly recommend this series!

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This shot is a little different from the usual because I wanted to address two prompts for #marchlitwrit: How/where you take notes | National Proofreading Day: Whoops! I take notes at my office desk, dinner table, while sitting on my bed! But I always use my notebooks when I do. The other night, I spent time setting up my revision notebook and I have to say, it’s pretty awesome. For proofreading, if you haven’t noticed, Inej’s quote that I lettered had a word missing, so I edited it. I wrote the quote when I was still learning to letter and I didn’t want to start over again. But I am learning to embrace imperfections and to care more about content than perfection.

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#readlikeagirl Inspiring Quote—This is such a great challenge—it celebrate’s women’s month!

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