Thursday’s Children March 28, 2013

Inspired by tradition...

A weekly blog hop where
writers share their inspirations.
Please join us!


I entered Facebook and saw so many pictures! I love pictures.
As you might know, this week is Holy Week. It is celebrated in the town where my novel takes place, which is why I was inspired to write this post. Whenever I see something, I always think of ways I can incorporate elements in my work. This happens to be the case.

The tradition is that a bunch of guys dress in colorful cloths and mask themselves!
Are you following?
They have a whip! Some have bags filled with seeds.
They chase people (usually children) still, people, and ask for money.

Creepy yet?

If you don't give them money, they will WHIP YOU!

I'm serious! They will literally hit you with their whips. And it hurts like hell.
What I'm saying, if you don't have change (money), stay away from town!

So here I am thinking: masked men, asking for money. Now, there is something interesting! I can easily do hundredths of things with them, incorporate them in my work, and make something creative.

Story of these masked men: they dress up as Judas (you know, the guy who sold Jesus?). Well, they ask for money for the same reason. (In the old days, well, I think it is still, all the money they collect goes to the church. They church uses this money to pay for the castillo (if there is one), the band, the service, and whatever else.

This is a castillo. Think of it as a very tall stick with a bunch of fireworks!

Anyway, these Judas ask for money from Mon-Wed (and Thursday, maybe). On "Good Friday" there is something, but I cannot recall. I should search. Maybe?

Well, moving on to Saturday...the town gets soaked!
You read right!
Soaked.
Everyone will have an enormous water fight! You will get wet by someone on Holy Saturday; either a water balloon will be thrown at you, or a bucket full of water. LOL!
Fun isn't it!!!???

(Note: the tradition of Holy Saturday and water fighting is being banned! I know! Sucks! All because there is only so much water to waste. Should it still be kept as a tradition? I find it very awesome! I would love for it to stay, but since the water is gold...gah!)






On Sunday, they have the fiesta. (I hope I am correct, or I'll hang my fingers for typing incorrect information.)

During this fiesta on Easter, they have a pinata-like figure of Judas. (Also, they hang someone dressed as Judas; they don't kill him, they just strap him with a lasso and make it look like he hanged himself.) If you are familiar with the story of Judas, he hanged himself after selling Jesus for, I think, 30 silver coins.)

Guess what the pinata of Judas it is filled with???

FIREWORKS!

They burn Judas!

Something good and bad about this:
Good: it is a good show!
Bad: you must run or hide from the fireworks! When the fireworks are called "buscapies" (feet-finders), they mean it! The fireworks will snake and find you!

(When I was little, I dreaded them so much I'd cry.)



Come on. Don't tell me that is not inspirational! I can hide and make a whole mess with the masked men, maybe even make something with the fireworks like make one come to life and chase after one of my characters. Ha-ha-ha! I'm kidding. I'd actually want to burn a character and have someone save him or her; or just cure their burns. Hey, yes!

One way or another, the tradition stands.

And to have some fun, here are the pictures of these week!!! Enjoy. I must write some awesome scenes now...
















(Permission to use the last pictures was received from the owner of the Facebook page titled 'Tlazazalca Mich. Méx.' You can see more of the pictures clicking the following web address, they also have videos!: http://www.facebook.com/TlazazalcaMichoacan )


WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THIS TRADITION?



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Thursday’s Children March 21, 2013

Inspired by a friend
A weekly blog hop where
writers share their inspirations.
Please join us!


This week I've been struggling to edit my novel for two reasons: no time, and lack of knowledge/closure.

As you might or might not know, my novel takes place in Tlazazalca, Michoacan. Tlazazalca is a town, Michoacan is a state in Mexico. If you are wondering why my novel takes place there, well, it is because I am from there.

Okay, I lied. My novel takes place there because it tells a folklore legend that exists there, although  it is dying, because not many people know it. The old generation tell it, the young generation don't care about it because their minds have been stuffed with reality.

Anyways, me being away from the town where my novel takes place is a struggle. I had to do a lot of research, get places right, things, facts, etc. I spent two months reading the history of the town. Did any of it stuck in my head? NO!

I was told by someone who knows a lot about books,
"Write to entertain, not educate. Facts don't hurt, just don't sound like a history book."

With that in mind, I wrote tiny details, things many people could relate to. BINGO!

Then, I thought back. Everything I write about I imagine, but how is THE REAL THING? How does the town look at night, in the morning, during the day? The mountain?

For that reason, I found my old friends, the ones I went to school with, and found Daniel Luna. He first shared some amazing, amazing photos that fit so, so, so perfectly with my novel. (First photos here.)

Boost of inspiration!

Looking at those pictures and seeing how well they related to the legend, to what I write about, to the reason I began writing this long novel, made me feel something at the stomach, pushed my joy to the edge, and screamed at me, "FINISH IT! FINISH IT!"

Onto in now. I was low on inspiration this week and I stalked my friend a little more. Ha-ha-ha! And found 4 awesome photos!!! I am writing (editing) a chapter about the legend, the MOST important one.

Boost of inspiration!

You can visit The Chalzan on Twitter (Here) and read why the mountain in the pictures is important. It is the legend, the center of attention, the one that is, the one that was, the one that will become.

The mountain that shelters the cursed city and the terrifying, tamed White Zombies.

For the record, I invented the White Zombies. He-he! Just saying. The idea of the legend is too old, dating back to the 1600s, and clashing with another legend, which is also amazing. And which I won't tell. (Doing so much research made me discover the truth about the magic, and reality is something we know too much about. For that reason, a secret is better lived as a lie than lived as a truth.)

Feast your eyes, for this week these photos by Daniel Luna have given me the boost I needed to write about something I'm so far away from, yet know so much about, and have invented so much to fit it all together.

Blends of true and fantasy to become 'The Empire's Curse,' the first book in the Z Chronicles.








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this I know: Sarah's Confession: review

3/5 stars!

A recluse emerges from the backwoods on the eve of his son’s romantic, southern wedding. Dinner spirals into chaos when the self-proclaimed prophet announces he hears spiritual messages, straight from God. The voices tell him to prepare the way for the end of the world. His disturbing words find a foot-hold in undeniable facts, as disbelief dissolves into terror. Those who gathered to celebrate are suddenly faced with an unthinkable dilemma. They must follow him into a remote, secret sanctuary, prepared exclusively for their survival… or, they can die. As apocalyptic events begin to unfold, the ancient battle of darkness and light quickly becomes a modern reality.

[May contain a few spoilers]

My thoughts:

This book starts with Sarah, who I guessed would be the main character in the story. Everyone in her family
is preparing for this wedding. I thought, great, let’s meet the family.

I regretted meeting the family. There were a lot, a lot of characters. I’ve learned from books that I shouldn’t focus too much on many of them, since they eventually exit the picture. If the narrator does a good job describing them, they become strong, multidimensional, and finally, those characters that left the story stay in the mind of the reader because they did the job and became memorable.

Not here. Many, many of the characters were introduced with a very unnecessary description, and then the story moved on. It left me asking, “why all the info if it would be no use for them, or for me to know?”

I ignored many of the characters and moved on. The first chapters are about the wedding. But soon everything turns into a chaos. There is this earthquake and they see on TV what is going on around the country. This part I liked and enjoyed to certain extend, because the writer did an awesome job at researching. The information told wasn’t full of details, but it sounded genuine and believable.

There is this character, the evil one of the story, Clyde, who takes all the people he can take to this cave, which he knows too well. There, he tells them they will be saved from the fire that is coming their way.

They eventually get to the cave and there is this scene that I truly enjoyed. It wasn’t an amazing scene, but it had that tone of apocalypses. The fire coming, the smoke, panic in the air, animals coming and crashing and running everywhere. It was one of those chapters with “moments.” My favorite chapter, for sure.

In the cave, Clyde becomes even creepier. He is a very, very interesting character. He isn’t a character that is explored, but many of the things he does are well-thought. For example, he has a generation in the cave, and they have light! Obviously, since he had been working on that cave for a long time, preparing it for an even like such.

What began to bother me when they were in the cave was the thinking and race for survival. Great, they’re in the cave, now what? Oh, they can’t get out. How and why, you must read! But, there were the details of survival that bothered me immensely.

Once in the cave, Nathan, another character, is eating this salad, and suddenly he gets the idea to save the seeds to plant them! Now, I’m thinking, they had been inside the cave for a few days, WHERE DOES HE GET THE IDEA OF PLANTING SEEDS? How long is he planning to stay in the cave to think such thing? They find a lake with clean water, and ironically, they stay in the cave for 8 months; the seeds grown.

Food. Guess what? They eat each other. Understandable, the narrator did an amazing job at telling me the reasons why this needed to happen. Clyde was in charge of, well, processing the meat of the dead ones. The problem was that they only ate three people.

I liked the story; there was something going to happen; I wanted to know. Then I was told at the beginning of a new chapter that they had been in the cave for 2 years. Wait, two years? How did? I mean? Two? How? When? Two years? They only ate three humans. Two years is a very, very long time.

Okay, more creepy things began to happen, we finally see more of Sarah, discover her dark secrets, and see a dark side of her. We also begin to wonder what in the world is going on with Clyde. After all, he was the one keeping everyone alive, everything under control, and everyone under his wing. I thought he was plain crazy. There are things he does and thinks about that do not make sense at all, which explains all his evil and cruel. And crazy.

The ending was very amazingly done, but there was no true shock, nothing that could make you gasp and turn the page as you tried to breathe. I liked it, and was everything it needed to be. It left a lot of holes and questions unanswered, but overall it was done well, told well, and planted new hope for the group of people that survived.

[The synopsis was taken from www.Goodreads.com]

Magisterium: review

2.5/5 stars!

On one side of the Rift is a technological paradise without famine or want. On the other side is a mystery.

Sixteen-year-old Glenn Morgan has lived next to the Rift her entire life and has no idea of what might be on the other side of it. Glenn's only friend, Kevin, insists the fence holds back a world of monsters and witchcraft, but magic isn't for Glenn. She has enough problems with reality: Glenn's mother disappeared when she was six, and soon after, she lost her scientist father to his all-consuming work on the mysterious Project. Glenn buries herself in her studies and dreams about the day she can escape. But when her father's work leads to his arrest, he gives Glenn a simple metal bracelet that will send Glenn and Kevin on the run---with only one place to go.


My thoughts:
** spoiler alert **

So, I was challenged to read this book in 4 hours. And I tried. I finished reading it in 4 hours and 7 minutes. (Yes, I put a timer on myself and read. I had fun!)
Which is why my next comment can apply: this book is a very fast, light, and raw read.

Let's get to it.

We are introduced to this girl named Glenn (Glennora) who lives with her dad. Her dad is working on a Project. Very, very soon we find out what that project is.
I was into the story at the beginning because it was about Glenn being in this futuristic place filled with technology. But the story lacked technology. In the whole story there were only so many things that were from "the future." One of those were clothes that kept their bodies at certain temperature.

Heck, this is interesting; Glenn lives behind a border where everything seems amazing, but somehow it isn't. Her knowledge of what is on the other side of the border is dull. Everything she knows is because of the technology she was provided with. Great. She is obsessed with this planet, I think that is, 813. At the beginning of the story I thought she was going to end up flying to this star, 813. But she just tells me about it and goes on a completely different route in the story.

"The Project" is a bracelet. Her dad creates a bracelet to bring back her mother, if I recall, who is (was taken?) stuck on the other side of the border. But Glenn is stupid and she tells Kevin's dad, who is important, I guess. Since the story doesn't interact much with him, I didn't care to pay attention.
Oh, sorry, Kevin is a boy. I think he and Glenn are best friends, because they fight, there is nothing romantic going on with them...until the end, when they kiss. But no, no romanticism at all. If Glenn told me there was something special between them all, it was so vague I didn't care.

Back to it. Suddenly Glenn and her dad are running away because the government wants the bracelet her father created.
What? Yes, I know.
And then the house is blown, Kevin and Glenn cross to the other side, the dad gets taken away, Kevin gets shot.

I mean, WOO! SPOILERS OVER HERE.

Sometimes I had to reread some parts because the narration was so fast.
One moment this was happening, the next this other thing was happening. And I was left asking, "what the hell?"
There was lack of narration. Was there a fence protecting these two sides? Glenn and Kevin crossing the border was so fast that I felt like I was in a cloud and my vision was blurry.

On the other side, both are saved by this creature with fangs (maybe the one on the cover? Oh, never mind, that is the Magistra. [I'll explain soon]) Well, I think he is a cat who was turned into...That--a creature, human-looking?
On this side, they fear a bad witch (he-he). She is the Magistra. I think she is supposed to be very evil. But in my opinion, there was no evil in here.
Then the middle of the story happens, there is talking, and planning, and plotting, and a killing, and more killing.
Glenn discovers that the Magistra is her mother.
Kevin plans to kill the Magistra and Glenn finds this out. She doesn't want to kill her mother, this and that.
There is the end when the Magistra comes to Glenn and they meet. I thought it was a good climax, but it ended very, very quickly. The Magistra was shot and Glenn had to go back to her "home" to get her help.
By this point in the story I was confused about the bracelet. What was it supposed to do?
Well, the government ends up taking the bracelet, Glenn and her father meet again; and Kevin and her are in love?
Before I know it, there is more shooting and then no more shooting. So...that planet? And her mom?

Gah.

There were many characters that I didn't care about. I think the only three I knew were the cat (Aamon), Kevin, and Glenn. Since the Magistra spent only like 3 chapters with her, I soon forgot she even existed.

Final verdict: the story is like a short story, in bulky mode, and on steroids.

[Funny isn't it?]



[The synopsis was taken from www.Goodreads.com , including my thoughts, which were first published there]

Divergent: review

3/5 stars!

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives.
For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.


My thoughts:

I don't want to write a bad review, since I know many will hate me. Maybe because everyone seems to love this book. Aha.

Well, I was getting comfortable with the story...and then nothing happened. Well, yes, the story developed. Great! I liked where it was going. So then nothing happened. Great. I didn't know where it was going.

Oh, wait, Tris was allowed to know all this information just because...well, for some reason. She just found out.

Four, oh dear, Four. When the hello did you fall in love with Tris? I didn't see it coming, nor did I believe it. Hah! No wonder she feared you only "loved" her to have sex with her.
Okay, credit for Tris for thinking that of him, because I thought he was kidding when he constantly kissed her between the brows like a father would kiss a daughter. And then normally kissed her. And well, of course, loved her--?

There...were...these...moments...when...I...just...wanted...to...move...on.... And...nothing...would...happen...because...there...were...awkward...pauses. And then I was into a scene like, YES--YES! And then I would get a narration. Gah! Gah! Stop! Stop! Take me back...to...the...scene!

Well, I was waiting for the big conflict in the story, because I felt like I already knew too much about the characters. What was next? Oh, so the climax is at the end...end? And the resolution? No, it can't be at the tail. I need to gasp for air and allow my brain to cool down after the climax.
Wait, that was Divergent. Suddenly Tris is sleeping, next thing I know this major thing is happening and I keep reading and reading and reading and trying to--OMG, WHAT JUST HAPPENED? No, not in a good way. How did that happen? Why? Um, do we even know? Where does this come from?

Since when does everyone want to die?
How is it that everything plays out so easy?

*Sighs*

When I finished reading, I kept looking for more. Not because I wanted to read more, but because the ending happened so quickly that I felt like I had wasted all my time reading about how Tris learned about her faction and then suddenly none of what she had learned mattered. Or did it? I didn't care. I didn't. Everything was left behind. Like, what is going on? Is there even--? No? Wait, I'm lost. So THAT easy? So easy. No, I love endings and I did not like this one a bit.

*Shrugs*

It's just a book. Move on. Will I read the next book? Maybe. I haven't decided yet. And hey, 3 stars is not a bad rating. Just saying.


P.S. Many agree that book two (Insurgent) is way better. We shall see.

[The synopsis was taken from www.Goodreads.com , including my thoughts, which were first published there]

Never Forget: review

A city girl.

A small town boy.

A summer they'll never forget.

Spending the summer at her Grammy's in Lilac Bay, Devon, is city girl Alexis 'Lexy' Edwards idea of hell. That is, until she reconnects with her childhood friend, Jen, and meets Alec Johnson.

Alec is the kind of guy Lexy knows she needs to stay away from. He's the village flirt, ridiculously hot and very dangerous to her self-control. But there's a problem – she can't seem to keep him out, even though she knows he'll break her heart.

As Alec slowly strips away Lexy's defenses and the two embark on a summer romance she never wanted, their feelings grow to more than either expected. But nothing lasts forever, and reality intrudes.

As her world is shaken to its core, Lexy's self-made prediction comes true when she discovers she's spent six weeks surrounded by secrets. Kept out by her family and the only guy she's ever trusted, she falls apart. And when Grammy tells her that 'you might not end up where you wanted to be, but you'll always end up where you're meant to be,' she has to figure out if her meant to be is back home in London, or if it's been in Devon the whole time.




My thoughts:

What can I say about this book? So much. First, it was the first book I read that was just romance. But, I am not new to romance. Here goes my big secret, I do watch a lot of romance films. Okay, you can ask why. Because…I learn from them.

Never Forget. When I began reading, I was into it. Something about Lexy was intriguing. She was new to Lilac Bay and she told the story gently. Yes, I enjoyed the beginning a lot. But I would not like to be her. I know the smell of cow (something) too well [You can laugh because it’s true]. (I am scared of cows!)

What I found a bit strange at the beginning was Lexy’s voice and Alec’s voice. How? At times I felt like Alec and Lexy were the same person. There was no difference in the way both of them acted, or talked. I guess you can take this as good or as bad. As good, because that means they are like each other; as bad, because there is no distinction between the two.

As we move into the story, there comes the drama. I am guilty of this, but I did like it. Sorry, I can’t tell you exactly what happens. But I’ll give you a hint…when a guy messes with your girlfriend… It is until the trouble comes that Lexy and Alec are pushed together. He feels the need to protect her. And she likes it. Maybe. Sometimes she’s stubborn. Not because she wants to but because she wants to protect herself from getting hurt by the feeling we all dread.

I was a little disappointed that there was no strong issue as a back story. I know. The only thing that kept me reading at times was the relationship and the love that grew between Lexy and Alec, which felt weak at times, but Lexy always managed to keep afloat. I don’t mean the love was forced. Although, Alec did try so very hard to get her.

As you expect, Lexy allows Alec to love her. And she does more than her best to love him. At this point of the book, both characters have developed and their voices do shift a little; they do not blind you with common descriptions about what we already know.

We get to know how Lexy feels and how Alec feels. However, I must say, I could not connect with either of them when it came to love. I’ve loved before and neither of them made me remember of how sweet that feeling is. Their love was too different or Lexy and Alec mistakenly basked me in too much sun and not in enough delicious for my brain.

There was the climax of the story, if you might say, which in fact…does have a climax of its own! [Ha-ha-ha!] Okay, now you’re wishing you would read the book! [Yes, think about it. Hard. You’ll get there. Keep thinking!] That part got me completely off guard.

Which brings me to the next: one moment we’re all happy, the next everything is crumbling down. I could not stop reading. Call me a liar. The endings are always my favorites, and I take a peek at most books so I know what to expect. This ending was so good. And it was one of my favorites! I was not expecting it because nothing told me it was going to happen. It just did. I loved it.

I know, you want me to continue telling you about the love story. Unfortunately, I can’t. You just have to read it. I can tell you, though, giving the book a chance is worth it.

Who doesn't love a happy ending? But like someone said, “for there to be a rainbow we must get a little rain.


P.S. I don’t think Lexy or Alec will ever forget.


P.S.S. Me either.




Emma Hart





By day, Emma Hart dons a cape and calls herself Super Mum to a terrible two year old. By night, she drops the cape, pours a glass of wine and writes books.

She likes to write about magic, kisses and whatever else she can fit into the story. Sarcastic, witty characters are a must. As are hot guys. She has two new series planned as well as her New Adult Romance, Never Forget, due February 2013. She likes to be busy - unless busy involves doing the dishes.
Her debut YA series, The Mauve Legacy, is an Apple iBooks Bestseller - and this makes Emma excited.



Emma's Profiles:






Who I Am...?

Give me a few years and then ask me again!
I was searching the internet the other day and I decided to search for myself. I mean, I assume most of us have done it—type our names on Google and hope for the best. In my case, I wasn’t looking for myself, I was looking for who I was. I wanted to find something that described me. I wanted someone to know me, even though I do not even know myself.
Yes, I’ve thought about having my hand read. But then, no. That’s just cheating. I do not want anyone to tell me my future. I would love to know what awaits me, but if I know, then when it comes it won’t feel right. Okay, maybe that is just me.
Great! Moving on. LICEA.
Licea! What do you think about last name? LICEA? Say it, I know you’re trying hard!
Okay, you’re saying it wrong! [Laughs]

I found this site, which I lost, that described me just and purely by knowing my last name. I was actually very shocked, my jaw dropped, even drooled a little. [Just kidding on the last part] Everything it said I was….was correct.
And because no one has actually described me so well until then, I want to share and comment on the response and description I received.

“Your [] name has given you a responsible, expressive, inspirational, and friendly personality.”
Me: Thank you so much for your kind words. Responsible? Sometimes. Expressive? Yes, I do say what I need to say [most of the time]. But I do express everything I need to express, since my chest can only hold so much. Inspirational? Some say so. Frankly, I don’t think I have done anything great to lead someone out of their world yet. Friendly? Yes!

“Expression comes naturally to you and you are rarely at a loss for words; in fact, you have to put forth effort at time to curb an over-active tongue.”
Me: OKAY WHO IS THIS PERSON! Yes, that! [No wonder I rarely get Writer’s Block] I do talk a lot. Oh, no. Oh, no. Someone put tape over my mouth and glue my fingers together!

“Self-confidence has made it easy for you to meet people and you are well-liked for your spontaneous, happy way.”
Me: HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA! Okay, I am confident behind the screen. In real life, no. I blush a lot, and I get nervous talking to people. I’m serious. I do not speak to people in person. I’m scared. I am well-liked? Awee! I do hope so. Wait, for my “spontaneous, happy ways?” Oh, dear. So that’s why I’ve been called “weird.”

“You sincerely like people and do not often experience loneliness; your work and home-life are likely filled with association. You enjoy music and could have a fine singing voice; however, the study could be somewhat difficult because you do not find it easy to apply yourself to concentrate study for long periods.”
Me: I do sincerely like people! Too much—it’s sad. I do experience loneliness, but it comes off me soon. [I thought I was bipolar] I LOVE music. And, aw, thank you. According to many of my friends, I do have an awesome singing voice. BUT THAT’S IT. If I’m not singing, my voice is weird. [Shivers] Oh, no! Yep. I do not like studying. I do it and I do not finish. I try very hard. I’m just not an erudite.

“Your [] name brings disappointments and emotional involvements through being too sympathetic and easily influenced.”
Me: Can I get a tissue please? That says it. I’m not adding more. [Sad Face]

“As a result of your active nature, you have an appetite for quick energy foods, which you could consume to excess.”
Me: Ha-ha-ha! I do not eat a lot, actually. Sometimes I only eat once a day. I know, I know. I’m usually not hungry. Oh, but I do love spaghetti and pizza. [I’m hungry]

That is it! See. This described some of the things that I do, am, etcetera. Which is kind of creepy, since it told me all this just by my name! I guess now anyone can find out anything about anyone. Stay away from the palms of my hands, people! [Just Kidding]

Now, what did you think?