Monday, January 24, 2011

Recent Read - TELL ME A SECRET

A few weeks ago, I finished reading TELL ME A SECRET by Holly Cupala.

This contemporary YA novel is set in Seattle and Miranda hangs out in Capitol Hill -- where I live! The novel has a realistic teen voice with a solid story. I enjoyed Holly's poetic and symbolic style of writing as well as the scenes she wove together to let the story unfold naturally. If you like author Justina Chen's work, you'll definitely like Holly's story. The story spirals around the death of main character Miranda's sister, Xanda. I could feel Miranda's frustration, loneliness, and emotions as she journeyed to find her freedom and truth after the death -- what happened, and what's her future? Miranda's mom has a strong character and I could easily imagine her, being over-protective, controlling. Miranda's connection to her baby seemed very real and well portrayed. The mom showed the shadow of Xanda's past, while the baby showed the light of Xanda's future. This work surely has a lot of Holly's hard work and heart in it.

Here is the blurb by Holly from the interview she did for me:

TELL ME A SECRET is the story of Miranda Mathison – seventeen, and on the cusp of everything she wants…art school as far from her family as she can get, a seductive friend with access to the secret world of her bad-girl sister (who died mysteriously five years before), and a dreamy boyfriend to take her to the ends of the earth – or at least to Boston, where they both want to go to school. The problem is, Miranda has a secret of her own that will shatter everything she hopes for: a positive pregnancy test.

It’s a little bit mystery, a little bit relationship story, a little bit family, and even a little of suspense. Almost everyone has a secret, and things aren’t always as they seem. At its core, it’s about forgiveness, identity, and finding a way into the future.

I hope you all get to check this book out and add it to your winter reading list!


Monday, January 17, 2011

NYC Trip - 2010

Before Christmas, Joey and I went to NYC to see La Boheme at the MET. Plus, I got to meet my agent Joanna!

That's where Cher and Nick Cage goes to in Moonstruck, check it out:

We stayed at Hotel 17, a hotel where Woody Allen shot Manhattan Murder Mystery.

This is how it looks inside:

Murder mystery?

And our lovely view (hah):

Here me and Joey are ready for the cold venture into the city:

I've always been fond of NYC...not just because of all the variety of talents that cluster there, but because so many comic books are set in NYC. I've got to say though...What a busy place! Even harder to cab than Seattle. Not a city I could live in without feeling frazzled. We mostly cabbed around dodging the cold and rain and ate and drank a lot. My favorite place was PEELS. They had delicious food and drinks. My favorite meal was the fresh fried chicken with honey dip...So good! I will go to PEELS every time I visit.

Saturday morning, I got to meet my agent for brunch. Although it was my first time meeting her in person, I felt like I've known her for a long time. She was just as sweet and fun as she is on the phone and email. I was really, really excited to hang out with her and we had a wonderful time chatting. After, she took us to the xmas craft fair nearby. Joanna -- I'll have to swing by that chocolate pizza place you told me about next visit!

Here's Joanna -- she's so cute!!!:

At night, it was time for the opera! Joey and I got dressed up and went. The MET was beautiful with scarlet balconies and golden lights.

The opera was tear inducing, especially that scene in the snow. (The whole scenery was elaborate throughout.) It's a very simple story and contains the core duality of joy and anguish that comes with love that I think anybody can relate to and that's probably why it's a popular opera.

Me by the MET fountain:

After the opera, we went out for a late night pizza. The next day, we were pretty tired and then at night, it was time to fly back to the quiet city of Seattle.


Monday, January 10, 2011

News Week - 01/10/11

Everyone is getting back into the swing of things after the Holidays. I've attended quite a few events since I've moved into the city and also because my resolution is to be open to more new experiences. I'll tell you about some of them.


I went to the Picasso exhibition over at the Seattle Art Museum. I've never been a huge fan of really chaotic art, but am always interested to see how an artist developed his style. Ultimately, when an artist does what he wants, it produces the best results, and it seems that that is exactly what he did. Multiple perspectives on one canvas, abstract focus on one part of the face, incorporating the dimension and simplicity of African masks -- he worked on what he wanted to express, experimenting away from the norm.

Meghan Trainor

I went to this mechanical/organic artist Meghan Trainor's talk. She focuses on incorporating machines and humans into her artwork, having machines not take humans away from themselves, but close to themselves. She experiments with microchips, brain signals, using long metal claws to move and feel surface differently, a software that read brain signals to move a 3D object, and many more interesting projects. She is thinking about how a human adapts to different ways of moving and how technology could expire so fast -- and what happens when it's on you?

Lang Lang

I saw pianist Lang Lang at the Seattle Symphony. This guy doesn't even look at the keyboard or read music as he plays. His fingers seem to glide over the keys at lightening speed and somehow, music magically streams out. He played Beethoven and Chopin among others. It was amazing...but I felt he hasn't unleashed his full potential. He could take piano to a whole nother dimension with his insane talent. I hope he takes off making his own music or totally breaking an already existing music into something super extraordinary. I got the impression the pieces he played was effortless to him. He could play it with his eyes closed -- for real.

Jim Woodring

I attended Nibbus Maximus where graphic novelist Jim Woodring built a 7 foot fountain pen. He debuted his pen by showing a demo, drawing with the pen. It was surreal to see someone drawing with a pen that's taller than I am. His abstract, story telling art is interesting and worth checking out.

So, readers, that's about it so far! But the year has only begun. What are some interesting things you've done or seen this new year?


Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy 2011

Happy 2011, everyone! Hope everyone had a great new year. I went to an aurora borealis themed party with retro future disco and igloos made out of mirrors. The photo here is from the first sunset of 01/01/11! It was a beautiful evening in Seattle.

But...even better, while I was at Beethoven's Ninth Symphony at year's end, I had this wash of inspiration (who doesn't get inspired to thundering drums?) and had this thought about how I want to change my writing habits. I already have a routine, but setting a routine time for writing is only the first and most important step -- that's just the cauldron, and there are other things that must be in that space: curiosity, passion, inspiration, dare, and exploration. These things must also be present to keep that cauldron bubbling. So what are things that can encourage that?

--It’s easy to forget and even easier not to have time for it...but reading is really important. One of my new year resolution is to read more, both fiction and non-fiction. I’d love to encourage myself to be inspired and learning, always.

--Encouraging the right state of mind. Taking a walk, zoning out to classical music, or any other meditative could lead to surprising insights into fiction that that the “thinking” mind can’t quite seem to untangle. I often get good ideas while grocery shopping or at a concert. I guess sometimes these things work better than wringing your head out in front of the computer and being conscious of how cold the coffee is getting in the mean time.

--Seeking little treasures. I think learning to seek something hidden or different is healthy for the creative mind. I'd love to take the time to look at art I've never seen and hear music I haven't heard.

--And of course...routine. Does that ever go off the resolution list? It’s one of those things that can be perfected for eternity, isn’t it? Well, I’d like to write more consistent hours every night.

Other than that...

--I would like to revamp my site to time with my next submission.

--Blog that my schedule is settling down.

Readers, artists, and writers, what are some of your ideas to encourage the creative mind?