Monday, April 30, 2012


I asked Kate Evangelista to write an SOV post to coincide with the release of TASTE today, in the hope that readers would gain some insight into what inspires this amazing, debut author.

However, the source of Kate’s inspiration wasn’t quite what I expected. No words can fully express how overwhelmed I felt upon reading this post for the first time. 


To be perfectly honest, I already had a post for Angie’s blog ready to send to her after a couple more editing glances. It was supposed to be about being Filipino. How I might not look like a Filipino, but I’m still proud of where I was born and raised. Anyway, all that changed as the days drew closer to the release of Taste. Just as a little backgrounder, I keep a journal. I started writing entries every night since I decided writing was the career I wanted for myself. Through my journey, I realized, no one has been there more than Angie.

This feature on her blog allows writers to show their readers how their writing was influenced by where they came from, their culture and tradition. Being naturally rebellious, I will deviate from that trend and focus on the person who influenced my writing. She is someone who I haven’t met in person, but she has always been there holding my hand through the moments when all I felt was hurt when one rejection came after the other and she was there celebrating along with me when Taste and all my other novels found their homes without the help of an agent. She was there when I broke up with said agent too. Basically, I can’t imagine my writing life without Angie in it.

I know I share her with many of you. She is a critique partner unlike any other. She’s kind and gracious. She’s sharp as a tack and keen on finding plot holes. She never lacks compliments while at the same time unafraid to tell you what isn’t working in your latest WIP. These are just someone of the reasons why she’s always the first to see my latest. She’s seen my rawest work and helped me mold the piece into something acceptable for the eyes of editors. A perfect example of this is with Taste. Angie has been with Taste back when it was still called Lunar Heat. In fact, she was the one who gave Taste her title today.

Taste wouldn’t be the novel it is today without the guidance of Angie. So, if you asked me what influenced my writing the most? The answer would be her opinion. All she has to do is say she doesn’t like something in what I’m working on and I would immediately change it, no questions or arguments. Such is my trust in her taste, forgive the pun. And one thing you should know about me is that I don’t trust easily. Because of past experiences, I’ve learned to build walls around myself to protect me from the cruelty of the world. I guess it’s the many betrayals I’ve suffered in the hands of those I thought were friends that made me more comfortable interacting with the characters in my head. Where else would I be able to stare at someone as handsome as Demitri with being thought of as a stalker? And where else would I be able to have tea with Dray while he concocts a new formula to inject into Phoenix?

Anyway, I digress, as I am wont to do.

Would you believe Angie and I were never supposed to be critique partners?

To those who don’t know, when you’re searching for a critique partner, it’s usually customary to exchange a few pages to see if your editing styles mesh. At the time that Angie and I exchanged pages, I was under the influence of another critique partner. This led to my rejecting a partnership with Angie. But I soon realized my mistake and came crawling back. I never regretted my decision since.

It’s been more than two years since then, and every time I read something new from Angie, I am amazed at how much her writing has evolved. Like wine, she gets better and better with experience (I’m not saying age because I believe she is an ageless goddess benevolent enough to allow me into her life).

I honestly would have given up a long time ago if it weren’t for Angie’s continued encouragement. She must have edited Taste with me more than ten times, and never did she say no to re-reading the story again. She was the one who helped me figure out how to edit Phoenix’s voice, which ultimately led to Taste finding a home. Even now, she took time from her schedule to read the finished product. That’s commitment that I value and find very rare. And because of her unfailing support, I dedicated Taste to her. When you get your copy, take a moment to read the dedication page. It was the least I could do, but I know it could never measure up to what she does for me and my writing.

Because of all her help, and all the hours we spent chatting, I call her my writing sister from another mother. And I look forward to the day when I read an email from her that says a publisher finally came to its senses and recognized the talent she has for weaving words together into a lush story.

Angie, I know I’ve embarrassed you enough with this post, but I just want you to know that I continue to believe. And I continue to admire your strength and dedication. You teach me every day to find a sense of calm in the chaos. You never hesitate to help me every time, and know that I would do the same and more. I have the champagne chilling, anticipating the day when it’s your turn to see your writing babies make it into the world.
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By the way, Kate's wrong about one thing. We were always meant to be critique partners. I'll tell you a secret I don't think I've even told Kate. It's rather embarrassing in the Whoo Whoo weird kind of way. But hey, what kind of writer would I be if I didn't give in to my superstitious side every once in a while. 

The night before Kate emailed to apologize and ask to work together again, I had a dream about her. I mean, I hadn’t heard from her in months. Why a dream?

I think the universe was preparing me to be open to forgiving her. I'm glad I put my fear of being rejected again aside. A friend like Kate is a rare gift, and I'm thankful to have her in my life.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

LOVE RAIN- Sarangbi

Kiwi and I finished watching “You Are Beautiful.” We totally loved it, especially Jang Keun Suk. So we decided to find another show with him in it. It came down between “Mary Stay Out All Night”, and our choice, “Love Rain” because Kiwi loves Im Yoona from Girls' Generation.

LOVE RAIN (Sarangbi or Love Rides The Rain) is a S. Korean drama which began airing on the Korean network KBS2 on March 26, 2012 to May 29, 2012. The first 8 episodes can be found on HULU. But if you’re in love with this series as much as I am, you’ll want more. Here is where I plug the awesome, a ‘fan subbing’ collaboration hub. They take wonderful shows from around the world and add subtitles for us to enjoy in our language of choice.

Viki has episodes 9 and 10!

Did you hear that fans? No need to wait any longer.

Okay, here is a little more about this show.

"Love Rain" begins in the 1970's and follows the ill-fated love of a popular and musically gifted art major, In-ha (Jang Keun Suk) falls in love in 3 seconds when he sees the beautiful, Yoon-Hee (Im Yoona). The first four episodes with these characters are beautiful and poignant. I cried about a gazillion times when they parted ways, for reasons I won’t divulge, but were tragic and heartbreaking.

Unfortunately, Kiwi wasn’t able to hang on through the melodrama of this ill-fated couple’s separation. She wanted the comedy, and right now, boys are kind of stupid in her point-of-view. Yeah, 7th grade boys—totally understandable.

Despite only being a little kid and not have any memories of the 70’s other than the hideous the bellbottoms my mom made me wear, I grew nostalgic over the fairytale of first love set in this era. Plus, the clothes were cool.


Flash forward to the present 21st century Korea, Seo In Ha's son, Seo Joon (also played by Jang Keun Suk), an arrogant photographer who’s nickname is “3 Seconds” because that’s all it takes for him to make a woman fall in love with him. Then he meets the daughter of Kim Yoon Hee, Jung Ha Na (Im Yoona), a cheerful and energetic girl who is not charmed by him at all.  Despite their bickering and disagreeing, fate continues to throw them together.

They totally brought in the funny with these last four episodes. I love how the actors portray distinctly different characters in the modern version. They do a wonderful job. I eagerly await the next episodes.

Monday, April 23, 2012


I blink up at the sun, wondering why it’s so gosh darn hot inside my cave? It is 86 degrees with the air conditioner struggling to bring it down a measly six degree. Hell fire, it’s cooler outside than it is inside.

It’s too hot to keep hibernating. I have no excuse not to finish the last hundred pages of edits for QUEST. And frankly, I’m ready to move on to a new summer project. Not that I’ve decided what that will be yet, but I think I’d like to work on the sequel to QUEST since the characters are so much fun. I’m not quite ready to abandon them.

Here is a short blurb: Twelve-year-old Malik Ross is having a horrible week. His mother is in the hospital dying from cancer, he's on the run from Children's Services who want to put him in a group home, and the stupid rat in the dumpster he's trying to find his dinner in just stole the last foil wrapped chicken.

The only bit of hope he has left are his friends who agree help him in his quest to find the golden apple-which is rumored to be able to heal any illness. But to find a mythical apple means he has to believe in magic, and it’s pretty hard for Malik to believe in anything these days.

Poor Malik, he’s desperate to save his mom. Lucky for him, his friends are willing to brave anything to help him out.


 Books sticks a finger in the crease of the page he’s been reading from and lays the book carefully on his lap. “I was just about to mention that to the guys. We’ll need alibis for tonight if what’s in the diary is true.” He frowns slightly. His eyes lock with his sister’s before he shakes his head. “No, don’t worry about that, Domi. It’s not important.”

I glance at Raphael who shrugs at me in confusion. Twin connection in progress. Dominique and Books have the bad habit of speaking to each other as if finishing an earlier conversation without actually explaining what is going on to the rest of us. It’s a wicked cool skill, but it still sort of freaks me out when I see them in action ‘cause it’s not normal. Someday, one of their heads is gonna swell up like a balloon and pop telepathic brain goo all over the walls.

Raphael puts his back to the window. “What’s not important, Wonder Twins? And how’s some old dude’s diary gonna help us?”

Books grins, raising the book in the air and waving it like he’s the one who’s captured the flag. “That’s just it. The guy was ancient. Nobody lives to be a hundred and twenty-four nowadays, and certainly not back in ancient times when they had all those nasty plagues and diseases floating around to off you. Old J.J. talked about a golden apple that has the power to stop death and give health. Don’t you get it? The golden apple is what we need.”

“Yeah, but the guy’s fertilizer,” I say. “How are we even supposed to find this golden apple? Wouldn’t it be dust by now like the dead dude?”

“Okay, the plan has flaws, but at least it’s a start, right? I mean, I went online at the library and found a bunch of websites dedicated to the mythology of the Golden Apple and its magical healing powers. I think of mythology as a religion that is extinct… you know, like the dinosaurs. The golden apple is a fossil, and we have to find it. I think J.J. knew where the golden apple could be found …” Books trails off. “You guys don’t look excited.”

I blink hard. “I just thought you’d have more than dinosaur fossils in your backpack. How’s any of this gonna help my mom? You know, the one who’s in the hospital dying of cancer,” I pause to get control of my emotions, “I can’t take much more of this, Books. I know you’re trying to help but…this is crazy.”

Aren't the kiddies CUTE?  

I’ve said many times, and I’ll be redundant and say it again—I love QUEST.

My CP’s (including Kiwi) expressed their excitement about the story, which motivates me to continue for them. Don and I have been brainstorming about what will happen to the kiddies after the resolution at the end of the book, and the new plot is sorting itself out. They have a whole new world to explore with many new adventures to keep them in a whole lot of trouble. ‘Cause they’re tweens, ya know.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


My amazing critique partners sent back their edit notes for Quest, and I’ve been busy with revisions. I haven’t had as much time to devote to my K-dramas, but that doesn’t mean I’ve given them up completely. Kiwi and I found a new show to watch together. It’s called YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL (aka YOU ARE HANDSOME).

It’s quite funny and we’re enjoying it.

Here is the synopsis:

When the lead vocal of the pop idol group A.N. JELL, Hwang Tae Kyung (Jang Geun Suk) injures his voice, the management company insists on adding a new singer to the group. Unfortunately, the new member, Mi Nam’s (Park Shin Hye plays both the male and female roles) botched plastic surgery won’t allow him to close his eyes, and he has to go to the States to repair the damage just before signing the contract.

His agent comes up with the idea of having his twin sister, Mi Nyu, pretend to be him since they’re identical in appearance. Mi Nyu, who was planning to go to Rome to be a nun, has to man-up and convince everyone she is worthy of being in a boy band without getting caught and spoiling her brother’s chance of fame.

Other members of A.N. Jell are Jung Yong Hwa as Kang Shin Woo and Lee Hong Ki as Kang On Yu / Jeremy. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

KATE EVANGELISTA- TASTE Book Trailer and Excerpt Reveal

Are you excited for a little TASTE? Here is a teaser to whet your appetite for Kate Evangelista's novel TASTE, to be released by CRESCENT MOON PRESS on May 1, 2012. So, feast your eyes on this amazing trailer…and dream of flesh.


Song Credits: "Hunger" © Noelle Pico.

Wasn’t that trailer haunting? The song, HUNGER gave me the chills. It’s available for download from the amazingly talented Noelle Pico. For more on this talented songwriter, please check out her SOV post.

Still not sated? Need another bite?

At Barinkoff Academy, there's only one rule: no students on campus after curfew. Phoenix McKay soon finds out why when she is left behind at sunset. A group calling themselves night students threaten to taste her flesh until she is saved by a mysterious, alluring boy. With his pale skin, dark eyes, and mesmerizing voice, Demitri is both irresistible and impenetrable. He warns her to stay away from his dangerous world of flesh eaters. Unfortunately, the gorgeous and playful Luka has other plans.

When Phoenix is caught between her physical and her emotional attraction, she becomes the keeper of a deadly secret that will rock the foundations of an ancient civilization living beneath Barinkoff Academy. Phoenix doesn’t realize until it is too late that the closer she gets to both Demitri and Luka the more she is plunging them all into a centuries old feud.

 Excerpt 2

I sat up and followed Calixta’s gaze upward. I rubbed my eyes. I didn’t know what I was seeing at first. A statue? ¬My brain refused to snap together coherent thoughts. I didn’t realize I’d fallen so close to one of the garden benches until I stared up at the boy that sat on one. He was strikingly beautiful. His tumble of blonde hair curled just above his sculpted cheekbones. He wore a silk shirt and a loosened cravat, like he’d become bored while dressing and decided to leave himself in disarray. His ivory skin and frozen position was what had me mistaking him for something carved from marble by Michelangelo. Then he sighed—a lonely, breathy proof of life. If I had to imagine what Lucifer looked like before he fell from heaven, the boy on the bench would certainly fulfill that image. My brain told me I had to look away, but I couldn’t.

“Luka,” Calixta said again, her voice unsure, almost nervous. It no longer contained the steel and bite she had threatened me with, which made me wonder who the boy was.

He leaned on his hands and crossed his legs, all the while keeping his eyes fixed on the night sky. His movements spoke of elegance and control. I’d encountered many people with breeding before, but his took on the air of arrogance and self-assuredness of someone used to getting what he wanted when he wanted it.

I only realized I’d been holding my breath when my lungs protested. I exhaled. My heart sputtered and restarted with a vengeance. Luka tore his gaze away from the stars and settled it on me. I’d expected pitch-black irises, like the other Night Students, but blue ice stared back at me.

“Human,” he whispered.

He reached out, and with a finger, followed an invisible trail down my cheek. I stiffened. His touch, cooler than Demitri’s, caused warm sparks to blossom on my face. He lifted his finger to his lips and licked its tip. He might as well have licked me from the way my body shivered.

Luka’s curious gaze held mine. “Leave us,” he said, but not to me.

“But—” Calixta protested like a spoiled child.

He spoke in a language I hadn’t heard before, remaining calm yet firm. The words had a rolling cadence I couldn’t quite follow, like rumbling thunder in the distance. They contained a harsh sensuality. The consonants were hard and the vowels were long and lilting.

Footsteps retreated behind me.

Luka reached out again.

It took me a minute to realize he wanted to help me up. I hesitated. He smiled. I smiled back timidly and took his hand, completely dazzled. Even with my uniform soaked from melted snow, I didn’t feel cold—all my attention was on him and the way his callused hand felt on mine. Without moving much from his seated position, he helped me stand.

“What’s your name?” he asked. He had a voice like a familiar lullaby. It filled my heart to the brim with comfort.

I swallowed and tried to stop gawking. “Phoenix.”

“The bird that rose from the ashes.” Luka bent his head and kissed the back of my hand. “It’s a pleasure meeting you.”

My cheeks warmed. My head reeled, not knowing what to think. I couldn’t understand why I felt drawn to him. And the strange connection frightened me.

From behind, someone gripped my arms and yanked me away before I could sort out the feelings Luka inspired in me. I found myself behind a towering figure yet again. Recognizing the blue-black silk for hair tied at the nape, relief washed over me. Calixta hadn’t come back to finish me off.

Demitri’s large hand wrapped around my wrist. Unlike the night before, no calm existed in his demeanor. He trembled like a junky in need of a fix. The coiled power in his tense muscles vibrated into me.

“What are you doing here?” Demitri asked.

I didn’t know he’d spoken to me until I saw his expressionless profile. I sighed.


I flinched. The ruthless way he said my name punched all the air out of me. “You owe me answers,” I said with as much bravado as I could muster.

“I owe you nothing.” He glared. “In fact, you owe me your life.”

“I don’t think so.”

Ignoring my indignation, he faced Luka, who’d remained seated on the bench during my exchange with Demitri. “Why is she with you, Luka?”

“I wasn’t going to taste her, if that’s what you’re implying,” Luka said. “Although, she is simply delicious. I wouldn’t mind if you left us alone.”

There it was again. Taste. The word that kept coming up between these Night Students and I was connected to it in an increasingly uncomfortable way. To taste meant to sample, but what? My flesh? They had to be joking because the alternative wasn’t funny.

“The sins of the father …” Demitri left his sentence unfinished.

Luka’s smile shifted into a snarl. “Obey my command.” His chin lifted. “Kneel.”

Demitri’s stance went rigid. His grip tightened around my wrist.

Okay, weird just got weirder. Why would Luka want Demitri to kneel before him? I thought back to Eli and the others bowing to Demitri when he questioned them, but they didn’t kneel. Seriously? Were they all living on a different planet or something?

“Kneel.” Luka’s detestable smirk made his features sinister rather than angelic. The real Lucifer: a fallen angel.

Without letting go of my wrist, Demitri knelt down on one knee and bowed his head, his free hand flat at the center of his chest. “Your command has been obeyed,” he said formally.

Luka nodded once.

Demitri stood up and pulled me toward the school without telling me where we were going. Not having the time to thank Luka for saving me from Calixta, I risked a glance back. Luka smiled at me. His smile spoke of whispers, secrets, and promises to be shared on a later date. (hint, hint, wink)

When Kate Evangelista was told she had a knack for writing stories, she did the next best thing: entered medical school. After realizing she wasn't going to be the next Doogie Howser, M.D., Kate wandered into the Literature department of her university and never looked back. Today, she is in possession of a piece of paper that says to the world she owns a Literature degree. To make matters worse, she took Master's courses in creative writing. In the end, she realized to be a writer, none of what she had mattered. What really mattered? Writing. Plain and simple, honest to God, sitting in front of her computer, writing. Today, she has four completed Young Adult novels.

Author Website:
Twitter: @KateEvangelista
Find Taste on Goodreads
Crescent Moon Press page for Taste

Monday, April 9, 2012


I'd like to introduce Noelle Pico @thenoeychu to Sharing Our Voices. I'm a huge fan of Noelle's music. When I listen to her, my creativity is sparked. I get lost in my own world, only snapping back to reality when the song ends. She is source of inspiration for me, and I feel honored to have her here to share her gift with others.

Thank you, Noey, and welcome.

When Angie asked me over to write for Sharing Our Voices, I honestly wasn’t sure how to go about this post. Having followed the features that have been shared so far, wonderful posts about stories and characters and the things that influence these into being… I wasn’t sure how a musician could fit into the mix.

And then I remembered that musicians are storytellers as well.

I have had music in my life for as long as I can remember. When I search my memories, the houses I have lived in have never once been absent of song. This is a thing I thank my parents for, though not so much for music created by their hands (those are the things my brothers and I have done) but more because all throughout, they encouraged the art of listening.

My parents’ personal collection of cassette tapes are a memory of drawers crammed to the hilt – a library of small plastic cases that were to me things to wonder at. It’s a sort of magic, I guess, to have looked at the fine, thin strips of black wound into rolls easily spanned by the length of my thumb; to know how much music was held within. I continue the tradition today, though CDs have replaced cassettes and the albums of my favorites are hoarded like treasures, stacked proudly on my shelves between books and tucked in special boxes.

The road trips we used to take are best recounted through the albums that my family and I all but memorized word for word, note for note: an end-of-summer trip washed over with rain are the songs from the first albums of the All-American Rejects and Dashboard Confessional; a lengthy weekend tucked away in the silence of a resort can be brought back by that one international release by the Irish group Bellefire (a handful of their songs were familiar covers that my parents particularly enjoyed). Drives to hockey practice in college were accompanied by female voices: Vienna Teng’s soothing tones set lyrics of a poetic bent to the keys of a piano, Maria Mena’s bluntly honest declarations of relationships gone wrong were documented by guitar riffs and husky vocals; and Tori Amos’ richly textured landscapes drew together fables and flights of fancy that were still somehow rooted in the very real world.

There are others still, from years before and the day more recently gone by: train rides to and from graduate studies classes were punctuated by the French pop band KYO, the setting sun dipping behind my city’s skyline. Tunes from the Spanish rock group Motel kept me company as I sat in the back seat of a friend’s van as we drove out of town to her family beach house. Japanese Rock prompts me to nod my head as I wait in line at the queue of vans that serve as my means of transport home.

I sit in a coffee shop, walk the sidewalks, browse bookshelves – and always, I carry music with me.


Cover, “With A Smile” by The Eraserheads // First shared on 14 February 2012, Valentine’s Day offering on Tumblr.

I wrote my first song when I was seven years old.

Thinking back to the tiny girl sitting at the back of a van, I recall the welcome flurry of noise generated by my brothers and cousins. We are parked outside of a botica, one of the small-town pharmacies found in the province where both of my parents’ trace their roots to. This family trip is not out of the ordinary. It is just another summer break away from the hectic frenzy of life in Manila.

Though I confess to being a city girl by trade and at heart, if there is anything that I appreciate about the small town called Bacolod City, it is that the pace slows significantly the moment you find yourself there. Perhaps it is just that, being out of town, cut off from the demands of your life, you are offered a reprieve; a place and time to think – whether you seek it out or not.

Now, I can’t remember what it was that prompted a desire to write music. I just knew that as I let my mind wander over the collective noise of nearly ten children, I happened to look down at the single page of Hallmark stickers that my mother had given me earlier that morning.

And as cartoon bears declared words of encouragement waving brightly colored streamers or through thought bubbles over their heads, a tune rolled over merrily in my mind.

I have them still; the stickers, I mean. They are preserved in a notebook at home, the sheen of their glossy finish now dull, their colors faded with time. Though I often offer a half-embarrassed smile when my mom asks me to sing it publicly, I cannot deny that there has been nothing quite like that first moment of discovery where a seven year old learned that this – songs – was something that she could do.

“Coffee and Nonsense”, original composition // Piano demo.

Writing music is not unlike telling a story. Take any song and in it you will find landscapes and characters and narratives and concepts that resonate in their universality. Always, you will find that as a cohesive whole it speaks and breathes and relates, because music – no matter the language it is written in – once it touches you, it echoes the things that you know and feel. It is your witness, your mirror image, your darkest incarnation, your best friend.

There are words that I want to share, from a musician who I both admire and respect, but I can’t remember the exact entirety of them, so I’ll paraphrase as best as I can:

Tracing the progression of a musician’s craft through the songs they create is not unlike following the progress of the individual; of a life. The songs you write at seven are not the same ones you write when you are thirteen or sixteen or twenty-five. This is not to say that you will not wrestle with the same angels or battle the same ghosts – it is just that the way you handle these experiences, how you express these insights in reference to the world around you and most importantly to yourself – these will not be the same.

As I look back at a personal timeline chronicled by the songs that I have written over the course of twenty years, I not only see how the music I write today is a far cry from the quick children’s jingle put together from words printed on Hallmark stickers – words of encouragement, of love, of pride. Today, I have learned to understand how the music I create is part and parcel of the person I not only am, but the one I strive to be.

When people ask what it is that I do, I tell them simply: I write about people and about feelings; about people who make me feel and what they make me feel. When I set my fingers over the piano keys or curl these around a pen, I tell the music all the things that my heart knows. At all times, all that has ever been asked of me is that if I must tell a story, then I must tell it as truthfully as I can. In return, the music takes my hand and offers me a tune.

“SALISI”, original composition // First shared on 7 December 2011, featured on #upstairsintheworkshop: volume 1.

I hope everyone enjoyed Noelle's music as much as I do. I think she's wicked talented. She asked me to share with everyone that the studio version of SALISI and Hunger (which is featured on Kate Evangelista's trailer for her novel, TASTE) will be available for purchase on April 16th at

I can't wait.

To learn more about this amazing artist, please check her out on tumblr: her name is Noelle

Thursday, April 5, 2012


I’m still on a mini-writing hiatus as I wait for edits from my critique partners. I’m milking my leisure time to decadent levels of self-indulgence before the grind of revisions begins. I like to think of my addiction to dramas as research into character and plot development for future projects. And, I have learned a lot, especially about pacing, humor, and layering of obstacles for the characters to overcome. See, it’s not all fun and games.

Okay, it’s mostly fun. But I think it’s also been helpful. Maybe I’ll write a post about what I’ve learned at a later date.   

Onto my latest obsession:

This wonderful South Korean drama series can be found on HULU, Netflix, and (a ‘fan-subbing’ collaboration hub). It's called SECRET GARDEN. If you like romance and action adventure spiced with fantasy, then I highly recommend this show.

The first scene fully captures the intensity of this series. Imagine a stunt woman, Gil Ra Im (Ha Ji Won) dressed in leather: tough, beautiful, and dangerous, but also poor and humble accidently meets an arrogant and eccentric CEO, Kim Joo Won (Hyun Bin). A man so arrogant he has no social filter and says whatever pops into his head. He has no concept of the real world having been pampered his whole life. Two polar opposites, yet despite their differences there is an undeniable attraction. Fate intervenes in a series of hilarious misadventures due to a body swap.

Yep, you heard right.

What was interesting was watching these amazing actors take on the characteristics of their partner when they swapped bodies. Their demeanors and quirks flipped so drastically, I was able to suspend my disbelief and go with the flow. It’s not surprising that this series won a bunch of awards.

Loved it!

If anyone has a recommendation for a show, please let me know in the comments section.

Monday, April 2, 2012


I'd like to welcome Cherie Larkins to Sharing our Voices. I met Cherie a couple of years ago on Agent Query Connect. She is a wonderful mother, writer, and friend.

For more information on this amazing woman, please check out her blog, Cherie Writes... and twitter, @writercherie

Take it away, Cherie:)

Thanks, Angie, for letting me hijack babble post on your blog. It’s truly an honor to be here.

When Angie asked me to share about cultural or environmental influences affecting my writing, I immediately thought of FOOD. Must have something to do with being pregnant—I’m always hungry nowadays. J

But this topic actually has more merit than just an expectant mama’s cravings for Doritos and ice cream at 2 in the morning. Food, whether it has a subtle or more prominent presence in our writing, does exist in our stories.

Take my Middle Grade Fantasy WIP, for example. Food is a huge part of my worldbuilding. My protagonist is a twelve-year-old orphan seeking for his sister, who has been taken away by the Slave Traders. He comes from a farming village, so his memories of home include the sweet aroma of fresh-baked bread and pumpkin soup, and the herbs growing freely in his mother’s garden. But when his adventure leads him to a fishing village, the pungent odor of fish entrails permeating the very air he breathes in makes him sick. And he refuses to scavenge for leftover food, even while he’s slowly dying from starvation.  So when a peddler appears with a basket of pan de sal (salted bread), my protagonist immediately concocts a scheme to steal a roll.

Now this is where the fun begins…for me, anyway. I grew up in the Philippines, a country comprised of many islands. The nearest beach was about 5 minutes away from our house. Weekends would mean a day of swimming until our skin’s so burnt from the sun, we’d be ten shades darker by the time we go home than when we first set out in the morning. Then there was the food. Fish was a staple, of course. Fried, poached, grilled, baked, or sushi-style minus the seaweed and rice wrap. My mother would cut up raw fish into bite-sized cubes and marinate them in a vinegar-ginger-herb mixture. Yum!


Once, I even saw my grandmother pick up sea urchins and bash them open with a rock. Inside was this gooey orange fleshy thing, and she would eat them raw. Grandma claimed it was really good, but I declined her offer politely. :-S

A lot of the food from my culture ended up in my WIP. It was a blast to create a world so familiar to me. It was even cooler to realize how reminiscent it was of my childhood. I even had my orphan boy visit a “wet” market, similar to the one we used to frequent in those days. No sterile packaging and white aisles here. Just a lot of stalls bursting with crawling crabs, glassy-eyed fish, and a variety of sea weeds, bundled up like bouquets of flowers. Fishmongers and vendors join in a singsong voice to lure customers their way so they can haggle and bid for the most reasonable price.

Wherever we come from, or whatever experiences we may have had in our life, there’s always something we can take from our personal adventures and use it to inspire our writing. Or the worlds we’re creating. As a writer, it’s the best—and easiest—way to make our stories come alive.

Happy writing!


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