Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Don't Quit Yet

I'm blogging about praises I've received for MY LEA. Yup, you're right, this is me showing off, not gonna deny it.
I have every right to, I guess. Who wouldn't be proud of their own children, right? Our creation is our kid.

My Lea is special to me because of many things :
- it was my debut novel.
- it was written in English, and English is not my first language.
-  I've written it with blood, tears, frustration, fear, rejection, insecurities, also love and pride for three long years.
- I taught myself how to write by reading lots and lots of books, articles, reviews, blogs, anything I can get my hands on, and following authors I admire. I never had any formal education in writing. My background is faaaar from writing. Far, far from it.
- My Lea's rating is not so bad for a first-timer. Teehee!

So please excuse me while I dance for me. I kinda need that, because as you know, writing is a lonely business. And it's a tough business. If I don't stop once in a while to smell the roses, it'd be too easy for me to forget why I write in the first place.

Also, this showing-off post is for you - aspiring writers, dreamers, beginners... 

Don't quit just yet. The journey is complex. I remember whenever I was thisclosetogiveup, I would stop, distract myself from my writing and find something else that could inspire me.
So I'm paying this forward. I hope this post inspires you. I hope My Lea inspires you.

Don't quit just yet. Break down the goal and deadlines into smaller portions. It's easier to manage that way.

Don't quit just yet. Don't let others define - or worse, belittle - you, your passion, or your creation. You are not competing against other people. You're competing against yourself.

Don't quit, okay. Because if I can do this, writing a bloody 90K words worth of a novel in foreign language, so can you.

And now... have you read My Lea ?

Amazon  Kobo  B&N  iBook

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Raising Teens

Raising teens is HARD HARD HARD. Don't look at me. I'm not here to give you answers. I don't know how to do it either because, hey, I'm here for the first time too and I'm still learning. Surprisingly, or not, the only thing I've learned so far is that these teens could surprise me, humble me even, if only I ... listen.
Seriously. It’s that simple.
If they feel comfortable confiding in you, that's a big fat bonus. Use that trust well.

Raising teen means we need to put on our coaching jersey. You don't get to play the game with them every time, but you can still watch them play and yell out a few pointers from the side field every now and then.

We need to be more their friend and less their dictator. Putting an arm around their shoulders works much better than putting chains around their ankles.

I remember a saying from Buddha. It goes like this : If you hold them too tight, they'll choke. You hold them too loose, they'll run wild without direction.

A good wisdom 😊

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Kartini Day

Being a Kartini means I can be myself. 

I can be a girl and a lot more. 

I'm good at what I do, and I do what I love. 

Skirts and kebaya are not there to confine me, they're a part of who I am. 

I respect everyone, but most of all, I respect myself.

This is me and I love every moment of it.

Selamat hari Kartini, sisters.

*Kartini was an Indonesian heroine. She was a pioneer in the area of women's rights for Indonesians.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Reading Control

First, lemme share with you what I know so far.

I know parents who let their fourteen-year-old daughter read FSOG.

I know parents who let their young kids read violent manga because they think manga equals comic and that all picture books and comics are harmless.

I know parents who ban YA books that have pre-marital sex scene in it. They also black-list the authors who write those scenes (bye-bye John Green and pretty much all YA writers out there).

I know parents who won’t allow their children go near—let alone read—LGBT books.

I know a lot of parents who give total freedom to their teens to buy any books they want because they think reading books is better than let’s say, playing video games or browsing porn, without ever checking the genres of the books their kids bought. Reading is good, yeah, just make sure you know what they read.

I know parents who turn to bookcray like me for book recommendations and ask questions about the books their children want to read (yay for booknerds and yay for these parents).

How far do you think our involvement should be when we notice kids read books that are not intended for them?

My biggest dilemma so far is whether or not I should notify parents whose daughter has been reading FSOG

While we're on the subject of book genre, I'd like to explain more about YA characteristics to some people. While YA books are relatively clean as opposed to New Adult, YA is a story about the life of teens. And with that, good realistic YA would deal with issues most teenagers face each day: curiosity, angst, depression, the urge to rebel against authority, physical changes, hormonal mood swings, crushes, and certain degree of sexual attraction and tension. Banning them won't make the issues go away.

We should read beyond the attributes of the characters. For me, the most important aspect in a story is the humanity behind it and the real emotions we as human being feel as they’re being portrayed by the characters in the books. LGBT or not, if the book tells a great story, it’s a great book. Period.

Not all parents are bookworms, and that's okay. We don't have to transform ourselves into a librarian to know what we're doing. We don't need to read the whole book before our kids to know what the story is all about. Synopsis and book reviews will help us with that. 
As parents, we just need to be present, aware, and open-minded. And before we decide whether or not our kids are ready to read books with more mature content, maybe we can all sit down together with them and discuss this? See, having a dialogue means being present and open-minded, right?  
Just saying :)

Do Fun Like A Boss

My seven-year-old daughter just finished making a full diorama based on a short story she previously wrote and read on YouTube called "Sweaty Yeti". 

My daughter has been 'famous' for her love for creating knick-knacks from junks. Anything she can get her hands on, she would turn them into some craft.

Some of my friends asked whether this diorama was a part of Nina's school project. The answer is no, it's not. She's doing it purely for fun. 
As expected, they didn't believe me. "But whyyyy?"
"Because she loves doing it and she's doing it without any burden."
"Yeah... but why?"

It makes me think.

How often do we, adults, do something we love for fun? Most of the time we only do something because we're under an obligation to do it, or there's monetary reward behind it. Definitely not for fun.

Well. Maybe we should all learn to be more like our children. 
Let our wonder takes our breath away and let our curiosity whispers life into our soul.

Maybe we should nurture our talent once in a while, even if it’s only for temporary.

Maybe we should all do what we're good at doing and have fun while doing it. You know, do it like a boss.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Ten YA Books that Could Use an Extended Ending

Have you ever read a book, loved it with your heart and soul, then left dumbfounded when you’ve reached the end? It’s like, did something happen during my downloading, or did Amazon send me the broken copy because there’s no way the story ends here. 
There should be something more, one more paragraph maybe, one more chapter, heck, one more book even.

Sound familiar? Been there before?

Yeah. I’ve been there before. Many, many I-don’t-wish-to-acknowledge-it times. 

Don’t get me wrong. The authors did a great job in writing the whole book—the ending included—but I’m a fangirl, and by default that means I know everything about the book better than anyone. Especially when it comes to how to write a more satisfying ending.

I’ve listed ten Young Adult books which in my opinion could use some extended ending.

My list is based on YA books I’ve read until March 2015.(Warning: some minor spoilers ahead)

#10 Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
Eli is my number one favorite among Dessen’s boys. At the end of the book, Eli wore a dress shirt and dress shoes. It's written right there in one sentence. This was Eli, guys, and he’d never dressed up. I believe this calls for an extra paragraph or two.

#9 Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor
After everything they’ve been through in two lifetimes, it’s only natural that I expected Akiva and Karou to get their epic ending. I guess I was disappointed.

#8 Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
I want more awww moments before reaching the last page. More kissing. More dancing. More, more, more… 

#7 Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
No, no, no, no, no. I refuse that postcard, Park. Send it back and do something else instead.

#6 Where She Went by Gayle Forman
It was such a bittersweet ending: the song, the feels, the final stage. I don't want the magic to end. I’d feel much more sated if Gayle decided to write the third book about Adam and Mia. I need another closure badly.

#5 All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
I can’t … It’s just … I’m still too emotional to talk about this book and its bright places.

#4 I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
I’m satisfied with Jude’s part. Cannot say the same thing for Noah’s though. I kept on turning the last few pages, but nope. Nothing more about Noah and his charismatic boy next door. 
Me sad. 

#3 The Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
This is the most painful love triangle in the history of modern fiction. How did you end a book that had the most painful love triangle story ever? The answer is you cannot.

#2 Champion by Marie Lu
A handshake is not a proper way to end a trilogy, not in dystopian, not in contemporary, not anywhere ever. I demand a rewrite on that last chapter! And please make it longer. And hotter, because, my god, Day is twenty-seven for crying out loud. He’s hot, broken, and available. What can be more perfect than that?

#1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling
No, I don’t think I need more Harry, Ron, and Hermione. What I desperately need is seven books of Snape.

What’s your list, people? 
Tell me, and let’s compare notes.