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Page One: Bag of Bones by Kate Evangelista

The first time she fell down the stairs, he listened to the echoes of the sound her head, shoulders, and hips hitting the tiles on concrete made. He thought it was the best sound in the world, coupled with the little whimpers escaping her throat. Whether the little sounds she made were from pain or joy, he wasn’t too sure. When her body rolled onto the landing, she took a minute before sitting up. He thanked the heavens she was a sturdy little thing. How he would hate for her to break now after years of training.

He first met her in high school. She was the shy type, remaining quiet when there was a discussion, but when asked for her opinion she’d give a good one. She was an observer and a listener. If there was something someone wanted to know about the “goings on,” she would be the one to go to. Of course, not everyone knew about her voyeuristic tendency.

She had to become his friend. He wasted no time in getting to know her.

They became close in high school, but nothing romantic. She enjoyed his company and his palms became sweaty every time he wanted to hit her. He knew somewhere inside her was a girl who liked pain, and he was the kind of boy who would be glad to give it. The main reason he thought this about her was every time he saw her fall, she would look at the ground and smile. There was even a time she twisted her ankle and not a sound came out of her. He was the one who brought her to the clinic and stayed to watch the nurse bind her foot. She just smiled the whole time, and he salivated. He ached to be the one to bind her ankle tight, if only to coax a tiny whimper out of her.

He wanted to hear her whimper. He even dreamt about how she’d sound when the pain would be so intense that her only option was to cry out. It became his obsession, and when they entered college, he decided that she should be his girlfriend to test it out. Certainly, he couldn’t carry out his plans if she wasn’t emotionally tied to him. The courting, the flowers, the dates, the sex – everything he could do to make her fall in love with him. When he was sure that she was finally trapped, his heart leapt for joy.

It all started with a little S&M. He was the giver and she was the receiver. It only surprised him a little at how willing she was to participate. Little by little, he escalated his experiments with her body. He still remembered her first whimper. It was the time he pulled out one of her fingernails with a pair of pliers. She bled so much that he had to stop and bandage her wound. It was still too early for her to leave him.

Years, she held on for years. He didn’t quite understand why she didn’t struggle or run away from him. She just took everything he could give her. Every time he hit her, she just got right back up and prepared for the next blow. There was a brief moment when he thought he could no longer continue, but it was only a very brief moment. The expression in her eyes turned glassy by the time he started pushing her down the stairs. First, he tried it facing forward, then backward, then from the side, and even sitting down. He never knew there were so many ways to push someone down the stairs.

The last time she went down the stairs was in a trash bag. It had been five years, and finally, she hit her head so hard that she never got back up. He mourned for a moment; then went into the apartment they shared and placed her inside the black trash bag. There was no need to cut her up since her body was so battered that the bones had fractured in so many places. He didn’t even lift her. He just pulled her and listened to the thumping she made down each step. The final the thud she made when he heaved her into the dumpster was a heartwarming end to their relationship. Now, he thought, he could move on.

The Benefit of Leaving It Alone

What is the "it" I'm referring to in the title of this post, you might ask? Simply, your manuscript.

I'm currently editing Reaping Me Softly, which I wrote a year ago and was accepted by Omnific Publishing early this year. This latest YA novel is why I'm writing this post in the first place. You see, this is the first time I'm reading Reaping since I submitted it, which is close to six months ago.

As I sit down and edit, I'm surprised at what I've written. Some of the nuances of the story I've actually forgotten. I'm caught laughing at the right places and surprised when needed. In short, time away from the story allows me to appreciate it today with fresh eyes.

If you've just finished writing your novel, don't dive into the editing right away. Leave it alone for a bit. A week isn't too much to ask, is it? A month is even better. Six might be too long, but hey, if you can leave it alone that long then much better.

But what do I do during that time? You say.

Why, write a new novel. Start that other story bouncing around in your head. Not the sequel to your first novel, mind you. Another completely different story. I promise, when you go back to your previous novel, you will return a better writer and with fresher eyes. Your work will benefit because of the time away. You'll see.

Okay, break time over. Editing resumes.

Make Good Art

This is one of the reasons why I love watching Commencement Speeches:

Neil Gaiman is awesome!


*waves* Hi!

While I'm busy editing Reaping Me Softly (to come out from Omnific Publishing), I wanted to take a couple of minutes to let everyone know Taste is now on Kindlegraph.

Basically, this is what Kindlegraph is all about according to their website:

Kindlegraph is a service that enables authors to sign ebooks for their readers.

Make your request now:

Happy reading!

Review Request: THE SUM OF RANDOM CHANCE by Lee Chambers

Lee Chambers, the author of the Bestselling Amazon thriller THE PINEVILLE HEIST is getting ready to launch his second YA book in July. How would you like to be one the first to read a copy of THE SUM OF RANDOM CHANCE?

 It is a fantasy drama that features Cole Wilkes, an eager rookie reporter for a small town paper who stumbles upon Sara Mackey mysteriously foiling a robbery at a grocery store. Desperate for success, Cole sets out to make his name on Sara's unique gift. From the homeless man on the street to the cafe owner where she works, Sara seems to positively affect all she meets and Cole becomes increasingly intrigued by her presence. Is Sara special in some way or are all the magical moments pure coincidence? Do the random choices we make in life lead us down a path of no return or will Cole gain a sense of self-worth before he sells her out? This advance offer is for a select few that are keen to read early and surprises are in store for those that accept, as Lee is looking for blogger quotes for the paperback version. At the moment, Lee is only can only send you the kindle version, but for those that review and offer quotes, signed paperbacks are yours! If that works for you... let Lee know via lee AT leechambers DOT com. Also, check him out at or follow on twitter @pinevilleheist.

Loving Editing

In celebration of receiving my editorial notes for my latest series Reaping Me Softly, I decided to write about the editing process. Loving it, to be exact.

When I was much younger—centuries ago to be exact—and many times naive, I hated editing. I had the worst mentality any writer could have: Why should I edit my work? I intended to write it that way and it's perfect.

Oh was I so, so wrong, and I'm glad to be wrong.

I used to be so sensitive, taking every criticism of my work personally. It was rough, and a torturous existence since you think everyone is out to get you.

Well, since then, I’ve learned to love editing. I've even reached a point where I relish it. When I'm writing, I'm actually excited to get to the editing part.

Writing is a wonderful experience. It's a high unlike any other. It's like putting a puzzle together and when you're done you get to see the whole picture.

I realized it’s in the editing where true creativity and ingenuity comes in.

To edit is to make the story better. The notes given are for the improvement of what you already have. This is what makes editing fun. Since you already have the story on paper, you get to explore other avenues that you might not have realized during the writing process. You get to explore the "what if" and the "what could be" of the story.

Now, I'm actually more nervous when I'm writing instead of when I'm editing. You see, when I'm writing, I'm not sure where the story will go. But when editing, since I already have the story written down, I'm more confident. The editing process is what gives me the structure I need. The notes given to me by my editor actually guides me in the direction I should go to make the story better.

So, if you're dreading editing your novel, don't. It's the best part of the process. You get to improve on what you have. You get notes that guide you down roads you might not have thought about. Editing is what turns your work-in-progress into a full fledged novel.

So, with that, I enter my editing cave. Please be ready with the floral-scented Lysol when I emerge. It’s going to get funky.  

Rock of Ages Rocked!

I got my movie fix for the week yesterday and boy what a fun movie it was.

Rock of Ages rocked my world!

Okay, corny and cheesy for a pun, but it’s true.

I had so much fun watching this movie that it made me curious about the Broadway version.

Rock of Ages follows several storylines that all eventually intersect. You have the hometown girl who travels to the big city in the hopes of making it big. You have the bar back who wants to play rock ‘n’ roll on the big stage. You have the jaded rock star that has gotten too big for his shoes. Then there are the minor storylines like the bar owner trying to do everything he can to keep his bar open. The religious woman trying to get the bar closed. And the owner of a strip club with a golden heart. Did I miss anything?

If the title doesn’t show it yet, this movie is a musical. And the songs make up the soundtrack of my life. Anything that has Bon Jovi in it automatically takes my heart. And to have Tom Cruise sing it? Well, you have to see it to believe it. If you’re a GLEE fan, then you know the song Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey. We Built This City by Starship, Keep On Lovin' You by REO Speedwagon, Waiting For a Girl Like You by Foreigner…the list goes on and on.

Diego Boneta and Julianne Hough play Drew Boley and Sherrie Christian respectively. I think they did a pretty good job playing the leads for this movie. But the stand out of the whole thing is Tom Cruise as Stacee Jaxx. He is magnetic on screen. I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen every time Stacee Jaxx was on. And the girls fainting every time he passed by was completely hilarious. Then there’s that steamy scene involving Malin Akerman as Constance Sack (the Rolling Stones reporter). My jaw dropped. It was both funny and hot at the same time.

If you’re looking for something to watch this weekend, make it Rock of Ages. You will be singing along. It’s a fun movie with drama and comedy and awesome songs. Musicals aren’t dead. I would definitely watch Rock of Ages again, if only to stare and drool at Stacee Jaxx.      

Catching Up

I love catching up with friends.

Yesterday, I caught up with Mel, a friend of mine since my teaching days. It's been a while since we've seen each other because she had to move back home for a while. Now she's back and our weekly meetings are on.

After introducing her to Serenitea and we grabbed a drink, and she spilled the most scandalous stories (one of the reasons why I love her), Mel decided to experience threading.

Threading is basically the process of removing unwanted hair with thread.

Apparently, to the uninitiated, it's a very painful process. As a spectator, I was laughing so hard.

I know, I know, I'm bad for laughing, but I couldn't help it.

And what kind of a friend would I be if I didn't gather video evidence for all of you?

I asked Mel's permission, of course, and the thing you need to know is that she's crazy (another reason why she's my friend).

So, without further ado, press play. I'm the one laughing in the background while giving encouragement. *giggles*

Sinigang na Hipon

Despite the pictures saying the contrary, I'm Filipino--born and raised. And one of the things I love about being Filipino is the food. My favorite? Sinigang, which is a clear sour soup perfect to eat on rainy days.

With many Filipino dishes, every family has a different recipe or way of cooking it. Sinigang is a very versatile soup. You can cook it with pork, beef, shrimp. Every recipe is different. Some like it really sour while others like it close to not being sour at all. Some use real tamarind to flavor the soup while most use sinigang mix, which is so much easier.

You can put anything into the soup.

The recipe below is the basic sinigang. The best thing is to make it your own the way Filipino families do.

1/4 cup onion, sliced
1/4 cup tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup calamansi juice*
6 cups water
1/2 kilo shrimp
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. Aji-no-moto
2 cups kangkong (swamp cabbage)


1. Saute onions and tomatoes.
2. Add the calamansi juice and cook until tender and mushy.
3. Add the water.
4. Let boil.
5. When boiling, drop the shrimps.
6. Season with salt and Aji-no-moto.
7. Add kangkong and cook for 2 minutes.

**Lemon juice may be substituted for calamansi juice, but I believe it's always better if you have sinigang mix. So much easier.

Happy eating!

Med School = Writing Career


I want to start this post by professing my love for the poem Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. The rhyming lines sing my life.

The path I took toward a writing career was a long and winding one. If asked would I have changed anything along the way, I would say no. Well, maybe dropping that History class in time, but that's neither here nor there.

As many of you might know from my About Me page, I was on track to being a doctor. I think upon conception my parents already wanted me to become a doctor. I certainly grew up with that in mind. Of course, parents want what's best for their kids. Who wouldn't want a doctor for a daughter? It's a stable career.

This did not happen for several reasons.

First, I was content with having to memorize information. Hence my grades were deplorable. I hated waiting at the end of term to find out if I passed or not.

Second, I discovered that every time I read about a symptom, I automatically thought I had that decease. At one point, I was totally convinced I had appendicitis. Hilarious now, but not funny then.

Third, I hate hospitals. Being in them gives me the willies. An occupational hazard since as a doctor I would have to call a hospital home. *sigh*

Thank goodness I shifted to Literature. But even then, I didn't think I was going to be a writer. I thought I was going to be a teacher. Which is what happened for several years.

I can pin point the exact moment I decided to pursue a writing career. It was August of 2010. I was working a dead end job for a deadbeat employer and a psychotic supervisor. Well, who hasn't experience that? I wasn't happy and I knew I wasn't doing what I loved.

I quit my job then and there. Something I don't advocate. As they say, if you want to be a writer, don't quit your day job. But you know what? No matter how difficult it got—touch and go for a while—I was happy because I was doing what I was supposed to be doing.

Everyday I wake up excited instead of annoyed. I accept the opportunities that come my way. I celebrate all the possibilities. That's what happens when you're doing what you love.

If I hadn't shifted to Literature, I would be a doctor today. I know this. But would I be happy? Not at all. I wouldn’t have one book out and six more to follow. And I wouldn't be living my best life.

So, to quote Frost...

I shall be telling this with a sigh,
Somewhere ages and ages hence,
Two roads diverge in a wood and I—
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.

The Book Depository

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I’m a big believer in signs. Everything I do in life now is driven by the signs I pick up along the way. Many think signs are just a set of coincidences, and I’m fine with that because everyone is entitled to their own thoughts and opinions. I’m learning every day not to be so judgmental and angry with the world around me and accept what comes as it comes.

Let me show you an example of how signs work in my life.

The season finale of Touch aired a couple of days back, but I haven’t watched it until a few minutes ago. I believe that this was the right time to watch it because it wouldn’t have made sense to me or affected me the way it did in this moment if I had watched it on the day it aired. You see, I read something today. Something that made me sad. Sometimes, no matter how strong we think we are, we cannot help how the carelessness of others makes us feel. Well, the carelessness of someone, who thought she had the right to express every thought in her head, no matter how negative, made me sad. But, again, this is her opinion, which I cannot dispute. I just wish people were nicer to one another. I think the world would be a better place because of it.

I digress again.

I felt lost because of the sadness I had in my heart. I didn’t know what to think or do. Then I sat down to watch the final episode of Touch. You see, what I like about Touch is that it centers around the premise that we are all connected. That everything we do has a ripple effect. Every week, I watched the show avidly. So, I gave in to watching the final episode, and it gave me just what I needed to let go of someone else’s carelessness and feel better. You see, the episodes of Touch are multi-layered yet connected somehow. In this final episode, a man was travelling the world to film musicians singing the same song. The song was only revealed at the end of the episode. And one of the lines of the song is “Every little thing's gonna be alright.” At that moment, I felt my burden lift and I began to breathe freely. I was meant to watch the episode today when I needed it the most.

Anything in life can be a sign, especially when you’re doing what you love doing or when you’re on the right path. How do you know if you’re on the right path? Everything seems to click into place for you. Sure, there will be bumps along the way, but that’s how life is. Each and every bump, pebble, rock, bolder blocking our path is put there to either teach us something or force us to find a way around.

I know I’m starting to sound wonky, but it gives me the shivers every time a sign leads me to where I need to go. I wasn’t good at it at first. Now, I’m still finding my way, but I smile at the fact that the universe is good and provides what I need when I need it. Take the example of the ending of Touch episode twelve. I needed something to lift my spirit and it did.

When things are meant to happen, you feel it in your gut. People say there’s always a silver lining because it’s true. Whatever may be happening at this moment, good or bad, it’s for a purpose. Everything is connected. The answers may not be obvious today or tomorrow because it’s not the right time to be obvious, but when it does, you’ll see that it all makes sense. 

Here's the song, if you want to take a listen: 

"Don't worry about a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right.
Singin': "Don't worry about a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right!"

Rise up this mornin',
Smiled with the risin' sun,
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin' sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin', ("This is my message to you-ou-ou:")

Singin': "Don't worry 'bout a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right."
Singin': "Don't worry (don't worry) 'bout a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right!"

Rise up this mornin',
Smiled with the risin' sun,
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin' sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin', "This is my message to you-ou-ou:"

Singin': "Don't worry about a thing, worry about a thing, oh!
Every little thing gonna be all right. Don't worry!"
Singin': "Don't worry about a thing" - I won't worry!
"'Cause every little thing gonna be all right."

Singin': "Don't worry about a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right" - I won't worry!
Singin': "Don't worry about a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right."
Singin': "Don't worry about a thing, oh no!
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right!

Snow White and the Huntsman


I know, I know, I should be writing—chapter fourteen to be precise—but I need to get thoughts of Snow White and the Huntsman out of my head before I start typing away.

I love watching movies, for those of you who are new to this blog or are passing by. I have countless posts professing my love for the silver screen. I can’t go a week without watching a movie. It’s part of my routine.

This week, I got a chance to sit down and watch Snow White and the Huntsman. Second movie based on the Snow White fairytale out this year. Big trend—fairytales.

I digress.

I was excited for this latest incarnation. The buzz promised a darker version of the beloved tale. And who was I to shy away from something dark? So, with my iced tea in hand and shawl wrapped around my shoulders because the theater was a little nippy, I waited for the movie to start.

For the most part, I appreciated what the producers wanted for this film. I commend the movie makers for taking the Snow White tale to a High Fantasy level. The visuals were stunning. Almost reminiscent of Lord of the Rings. So, fans of that franchise, will want to see this one.

The journey aspect didn’t sit well with me, though. As with all high fantasy, there is always a journey the main character takes to get to his or her destination, which usually entails taking back what was stolen: power, kingdom, etc. And during this journey, said main character picks up allies along the way while the villain does everything in his or her power to stop main character. This, in its most general sense, is what happens in Snow White and the Huntsman. Those of you expecting the traditional story have been warned. It’s almost like the story was JRR Tolkien’s take on the fairytale only no one knows he ever wrote about it. Maybe because he wouldn’t be too proud of the outcome.

The movie wasn’t that bad, believe me, despite what I write here. This is just me rambling on to make sense of want I’ve seen. I guess what turned me off ultimately was the Mononoke Hime reference in the movie involving the white stag and the bright forest. Where in the world would Snow White encounter a white stag? Well, maybe if in the Disney Universe Snow White stumbled into Bambi’s movie for a bit. Is there something I’m missing from the fairytale? Fans of the anime will not be very happy. 

What I liked most about the film? Charlize Theron as the evil queen. That’s an Oscar winning actress for you. She played the role to perfection. Girl who turns into evil psychotic queen because all her mother wanted to do was save her. This alone is worth seeing the movie for. And the costumes she gets to wear? Just magnificent. I have to applaud the costume designer, even if the rest of the cast had to keep repeating what they were wearing while the queen had a different dress on in every scene.

The ending I found to be anti-climactic. The build up was so big that when the climax came along, I was holding my breath for something spectacular. This is where the high fantasy falls on its face. I don’t think they had enough extras to play a proper army storming a castle. The big battle to take back the kingdom wasn’t so big. And the transition between Snow White being innocent to her wearing armor and wielding a sword leading an army wasn’t clear at all. How could someone kept in a tower for years have any form of sword training? It boggles my mind.

And at its core, Snow White is a love story. Remember, only true love’s kiss can break the spell. Fleeting glances, some witty banter, and a drunken soliloquy isn’t enough to justify true love’s kiss. I wish there was more. Even the “love triangle” was half baked to nonexistent at best. I’m a romantic. I love cheesy. I can cry at the drop at a hat while watching romantic scenes. But I’m not that gullible to accept what happened in the movie.

So, should you go see it? For the visuals, of course. For the story, don’t get your hopes up. You already know the fairytale, this is a spin on it, so don’t expect twists. Appreciate the theatrics put into the movie and you’ll walk out not too disappointed. It’s not a total waste.

Okay, I’ve written my piece. Now, it’s back to work for me.    

Guest Post

Hi, hi! I wanted to let everyone know that I'm guest posting at Author!Author! today. Total dream come true for me. Once I was a reader, now I had a chance to be a contributor. Hop on over to Anne's blog to be a part of my shenanigans:
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