Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Ramadan Mubarak Is Here Again!

That time is here yet again!! A marathon of 30 days of fasting, feasting, praying and devotion to the one God. The thing I like about the month of Ramadan is that it ultimately tests every Muslim; the Satan's influence is removed, so any negative actions committed is the person's fault alone. Ramadan tests the Muslim's ability to resist nafsu, or temptation, and for me, it is a kind of challenge that God issues every year.

I recently made a list of stuff to do in this blessed month, one of them being 'Read the Quran from cover to cover.' I usually memorize surahs from the 30th juz, and rarely finish the Quran. So that's one of my goals. And it helps that I have a few other friends (from around the world actually. *squeals*) who will also be doing this reading.

Another is to go for full Terawih prayers every night at the mosque. It's about a mile or two from home, and I go with some friends. My home isn't exactly the safest or brightest neighbourhoods around, but with vigilance even the term 'dangerous place' can be abolished. I enjoy these nighttime walks to and fro the mosque, but I especially love the atmosphere in the mosque. It can get a bit squeezed out during the first part of the prayers, but half the place is cleared later for those who wish to continue until the 20th raka'at. I'm happy to say I'm one of them. :D

I intend to become a better person this month, and I wish all Muslims a very blessed and happy Ramadan.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

The Upsides and Downsides of Life

There have been many things that have both negative and positive effects on me lately. I find myself trying to know more about cancer, or watching Korean travel shows, and also, reahding the news FOR the news, instead of primarily the entertainment section. Life has changed in my outside world. There is smoke everywhere, like a grey fog during a dream or a music video. Except unlike a music video or dream, this smoke makes you teary-eyed and breathless. This year, it's burning yet again in Indonesia, with 113 hotspots in Sumatra, where thousands of trees are being burnt down every day of this hot period. The winds blow the smoke towards Malaysia and Singapore, where the haze just sits here since there are no winds to blow it away. Days are filled with closed doors, N95 masks, and seeing the severity of the haze right outside one's door. But I try not to complain, even though it's the worst air pollution level in quite some time. It has reached hazardous levels, and schools have been told to close for the time being so children can stay within the shut doors of their homes. I've been praying for a better air pollution reading, and today the sun seems more brighter than usual, and less blood red.

Moving on to a brighter note, life has mostly been normal. I've just been featured on Figment's homepage for a contest that I thought was long over. But it was a pleasant surprise. I have been mostly stagnant in my writing, much like the haze itself, but that's only because I'm having a case of writer's block. And preparations for the upcoming month of Ramadan, where I'll be fasting! This is so exciting! I can't wait for that one.

So life goes on. Every day I'm thankful that the sunlight is clearer than the day before. And I'm happy that I get to live in a place less than an hour's distance from the sea, because sometimes the haze clears because of the sea breeze. And also to the people who read my stories; their comments and reviews mean a lot to me.

With that, goodbye for now. I hope it's not smoky at your place, though. :)

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Guitar Lessons Can Be Murder

This is it. I'm sitting on the dining table chair, a blue guitar on my arm. My chord sheets are flying around me, and I bend down and pick it up. I try to place my fingers on the frets, and I strum.

What was that? Did you hear that? Hmm. Sounded like an Indian sitar.

Oh, wait. That was me. The string's gone twangy. For the hundredth time in a row.

I can't believe this! Why am I not Taylor Swift already?

I'm going to get some comfort food right now.

DEMI, A New Project, and An Exciting NBT

Demi Lovato has released the songs of her new album, DEMI, on Vevo Youtube, prior to the release within next week, and I was so shocked frozen when I found out that I had paused the Korean drama that I was watching (Yes, I watch K Dramas) to actually open up another window to check it out.

Don't worry, I managed to finish watching the episode. The series is called Boys Over Flowers, and I highly recommend it; Korean dramas are so cute. None of those thrice-repeated scenes and close-ups of horrified faces. Eww.

I am currently working on another fairy tale mashup. Sadly, I got a little put off my Little Mermaid retelling. I think I'll save it for later. Right now, I'm writing about Beauty And The Beast. I'm following the original plot line, which makes Beauty the youngest of three daughters. She also has three brothers. That makes quite a lot of siblings. :D I've just finished Part 1 on Figment.

NBT stands for Next Big Thing. My friend Hadiyah will be releasing her debut novel When There's No Tomorrow pretty soon, and I am so excited and happy for her. Did I mention it has a beautiful cover? Oh, and it is dystopian? Double excitement!

Right. Have to get back to writing.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

So...I Released My Book Yesterday...

It is officially out! Hurray! Beside The Cinders has hit online and I am so excited to share it with anyone.

Hmm. That sounded pretty desperate. Let's try that again.

Beside The Cinders, the new, polished version, is ready to hit your bookshelves - digital ones, that is - and is going to change your life! Well, only a bit of it anyway. I pride myself for little, gritty details that can mean so much in the long run. My story is different in the sense that it does not rely on highly dramatic scenes that leaves the reader either swooning with dreamy hopes or rolling their eyes at the exaggerated description. Nope. I think it's the small things that count, like the chores one has to do to stay away from another nagging session from one's mom. Or the silly, nonsensical conversations one might have with her friends, on commonplace topics such as music and family. Or...the fight one might have with a sibling, which is resolved the next day.

I still don't know which genre will be my specialty, and I might think of creating 'Contemporary Fairy Tales' as a new sub-genre under Young Adult. After all, it is THE genre to watch out for this year, with a ton of movies and amazing new films to look out for. YA is very hot right now, and it's really nice to see some new material every now and then.

On the subject of books...I last went to the library on the ninth of last month, and I haven't borrowed a book since then! I'm in this extremely withdrawn mood, just because I really want to visit my safe haven. Libraries are, after all, the writer's second home. I found a few new releases, and I can't wait to get my hands on the newly arrived books from the US. I love my libraries; they're so...library-like. There's a kind of security that you can feel with all those bookshelves around you. It's like they're protecting you from harsh reality and providing a comfortable launch pad towards another dimension. Ah...I really have to visit the library ASAP.

So I was, um, wondering if you could...if you know, buy my ebook, Beside The Cinders. It's available through my website for USD $8, and it's a full-length novel. Perfect for reading during long pondering hours. It's tough, yet has its own small-town charm. I guarantee you a satisfying journey through one girl's road towards freedom.

Have a great evening y'all!


Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Come and Get It

What an awesome year! I'm so glad the world didn't end, because I wouldn't be publishing my ebook. Like, duhh, right?

The reason this post's title is Come and Get It is not only a kind of reminder, (not the kind of), but it's the brand new single off Selena Gomez's upcoming album. I can't help but get excited, seeing that Disney's bubblegum cutie is having a song with an unexpected cool vibe. There's a beautiful, melodic Indian vibe throughout the song, and the beats are heavenly. There is enough techno to remind you that this is not some Bollywood jungle, and still Selena's. The lyrics are on repeat, but somehow they don't sound too repeated. It's catchy enough for anyone to sing alont to by the next verse. And the bridge feels kinda airy and divine, with the words

"This love will be the death of me, but I know I'll die happily..."

There's a kind of melancholy feel to the song, but I can't quite place it. Anywho, it really is cool. What I love about the song is that it doesn't feel too over-the-top, like numerous techno-infused pop songs. This feels a bit more grounded because of the Indian beat, and the raga in the background. I hope she has an Indian-themed music video; I would love to see some cool costumes!

But already it feels like that dream may come true...

She also said in an interview with Ryan Seacrest that the music video has a kind of four elements-theme to it. She'll be performing it live during the MTV awards, and wow, that's exciting. The only thing that is a bit of a downer is that, and I'm saying this with a kind of wince, well, she can't sing so well. It really is a shame. But you know, after fervently hoping in the past that she had come down with a sore throat or something, and being disappointed, we just have to face the facts. *hides face behinds hand and whimpers*

But she'll succeed. Everyone has their faults. Someone said that Taylor Swift couldn't succeed.

I'm preparing my website for the downloads, and I just want to say that without jumping headfirst in this endeavor, I wouldn't be knowing a ton of things about how to create an ebook. Thank God for the amazing opportunity to do something I love. In the end, it feels like I've climbed a mountain...

And knowing that there'll be more to come. But with the right attitude, I'll keep on taking the next step with every strength I have.


Friday, 5 April 2013

Reflections and a Release on the 13th!


You had better mark your calendars, people, because on that day, Beside The Cinders will be officially open to the public!! Yay! It's going to be awesome. Now you too can get a copy of my novel!!

I kinda sound like a commercial guy. Sorry...I'm just so excited.

The whole time when I was young, I had dreamed of becoming someone who knows 100% of what they're doing. But really, no one does, and that used to make me so frustrated, because I felt that many people around me kew exactly what they were doing. I knew a little of everything, and that doesn't really warrant a medal.

So I usually spent more time alone. When I was five, I was speaking proper English with my imaginary friends, who I made up with my hands. My left hand was a spunky girl called Cactus, and my right hand was a sophisticated guy called Jonathan. I suppose I was channeling both my sides, but even then I wasn't the risk-taker. I hated being a daredevil, but I've always wanted to secretly. So I would spend so much time talking by myself in a makeshift tent in my room, dreaming up a new adventure for the day.

I learned to write, and I spent more time doing that. But I always made time for my two friends, who I felt understood me more than the real ones at school. For one thing, I toned down my proper English and substituted certain words for slang in school, which was something I didn't do at home. No one knew my weird penchant for acting things out before writing stories. I usually kept most of that secret. That was why I spent lots of time in the bathroom, talking to myself in hushed voices. It may seem a tad yucky and all, but I suppose that since the toilet was a private place, that was the only place I could get transported to my imagination, in the blink of an eye.

You know what they say...The rest is history. I began writing passages aside form my homework, which I felt was different from my over-the-top stories and comics. I drew stick figures based from my classmates and gave them names. When I was eleven, I created a secret group of me and two other girls and we communicated using a made up code. We sent little messages to each other, and they were amazing secret keepers. I showed them the magazines I created from drawing paper, and they always contributed to better comic plots.

Now I've just turned eighteen, and I've written a novel. A a whole, thirty-eight chapter novel. It feels so happy and gratifying and I can never be more proud. It's been a year, I think, or slightly less, since i joined Figment. I've met so many good writers, and I hope that whatever happens, we'll keep on writing till the end.

For sure, there's someone out there who's just waiting to read a story like no other.