Becoming NADIA – a review

I finished reading Mr. Cyrus Keith’s debut novel Becoming NADIA a few months ago. In hardcopy. Although “devoured” might be a more accurate term since I read it all, cover to cover, in under 18 hours. I wrote this review within an hour of completing my first read through of the novel.

I was sitting in front of the computer, legs tucked under me, inhaling the deliciously complex bouquet of my steaming Kopi Luwak and wondering how on earth I could put my thoughts about Mr. Keith’s debut novel into words. And then I did. Or, at least, tried to. So here it is, the review I wrote all those months ago. Yes, posting of this review is long, long overdue.

Put simply: I love it. It’s beautifully written, peppered with clever turns of phrase, a highly-engaging plot line and populated by fascinating, multi-dimensional characters. 

My only regret is that I did not purchase 2 copies. If I had, then I can dive back for a re-read right now this very second, to catch any and all subtle nuances I might have missed. As it stands now, I must practice self-control and put my hardcopy on the shelf so it can ‘rest’. I must not damage the spine 🙂

I am looking forward to purchasing and reading (devouring) the rest of the trilogy as soon as they become available in hardcopy. 

Excellent work, Mr. Keith. Do keep the novels coming.

I think Unalive will soon be available in hard copy. Cue visual of me rubbing my hands together in glee 🙂 I can’t wait for Critical Mass to also be in hard copy. What can I say, I love the smell of books. And I’ll finally know how it all ends 😀

Do pop by Mr. Keith’s cyberhome for a cuppa e-joe and a bit of natter.

Oh, and I probably should mention that I bought my beloved copy of NADIA here.

Thanks for dropping by, do stay well and remember to have fun out there 😀


Creating subplots

I just noticed this nifty little button called “re-blog”. I’m still unsure of the whole re-blogging business, so if I did something wrong, then I’m so sorry. Truly, I intend no offense.

For instance, when writing an academic paper, I’d have to completely re-phrase my source’s words, or it still counts as plagiarism. Even if I cite. The only work-around is to enclose every unaltered word/phrase in quotation marks. Even then I was warned to quote no more than two lines from a single source, and no more than three quotes per page. Otherwise, I’d run the risk of sounding too much like a parrot. Or possibly, a grandfather bird (thank you, Sir Pratchett).

Does this rule also apply for re-blogged posts? If it does, should I just post the link? A link would count as a single quote, and should be less than two lines.

Of course, for all I know, my professor might have been a Quotation Nazi.

Anyway, I ran across this very illuminating post by Ms. Liana Brooks on subplots. Kindly click the link if you wish to see the post in its entirety. You won’t regret it. Below, I’m quoting the ‘take-away’ from Ms. Brooks’ post. In defiance of said Quotation Nazi, my quotation is significantly more than 2 lines.


Quick and Dirty Tips For Creating Subplots

– Not everyone should love the hero.

– The more antagonists you have the more conflicts you create.

– Real life should happen to the characters, even if they are saving the world they have jobs and responsibilities.

– Give the character interests and friends outside of work.

– Multiple points of view aren’t a bad thing if you know how to juggle them.

– It all needs to come together at the end.

– Not every antagonist needs to be vanquished at the end.

– Give us more than one character to love– (from Diantha)

– Make each and every character count — (from Diantha)

Inspiring Blogger Award

I know, I just posted. What can I say, this came as a surprise to me also. The talented and ever-helpful Mr. Foster has just nominated me for an award. The first rule involves me sharing seven interesting things about myself.

So here goes. Seven interesting things, for a given value of ‘interesting’ 😉

1) I’ve just finished reading my first ever romance novel. It wasn’t half bad. It reads like a drama with naughty sex descriptives thrown in. Think a light version of Conrad’s Victory, and without the camera panning away from the interesting bits.

2) The major continents I’ve never set foot in are Africa, South America and Antarctica. Yes, I intend to one day set foot for at least one minute on these continents. Preferably with the rest of me still attached to said foot.

3) I am a cradle Roman Catholic, who is pro-choice, pro-gay marriage and likes to sing in Latin. Deciding what to do about a pregnancy and/or coming out of the closet are very tough. If you’ve thought long and hard, and decided a certain course of action is right for you, who am I to argue? If you’re a friend, then I respect and trust your judgement. If you’re not a friend, then, frankly, I just don’t care enough. I have no excuse for the Latin 🙂

4) Character traits (that sometimes annoy) include blind loyalty, curiosity and impatience.

5) I like limitations. I believe limitations force us to become more of what we ever thought we are capable of. If only to render said limitations irrelevant.

6) I try to write. Sometimes. Most times I just get stuck *blush*

7) I love Gabriel Iglesias, Terry Pratchett and Voltron.

This is the part where I think I’m supposed to nominate 7 bloggers for the award. Drumroll please:

1) Beginningsinwriting –  Mr. Foster is all heart, all talent and more than seven kinds of funny.

2) Sweet Mother – for random giggles and serious thoughts and all things in between.

3) vyvacious – cupcakes and sweet treats. ‘Nuff said 🙂

4) Mr. Rau – He writes about superheroes. I mean *superheroes*. How can anyone not love him? Seriously.

5) The incomparable Ms. Sooz – Step into her world and you might never want to step back out. At least, you might not be strictly sober when you eventually do stumble out 😉

6) M.P – She’s young and she’s got talent coming out of her ears. And she likes Dr. Who. Gotta love Maeve.

7) Belly-up – Lindy’s posts are smart and funny. And she writes about toilets. Heheheh. I have a 10-year-old. My sense of humor tends to mirror that fact.

Good luck to all nominees 🙂

p/s: Oh, and happy Lunar New Year to all! Huat ah!

10-year-olds are fun

10-year-olds are fun.

Topics overheard from typical conversations between a couple of 10-year-olds (for those who know, real-life Jon and Saul. For those who don’t, join Critiquecircle, crit my subs and then you’ll know 😀 Look for Missvato):

1) Are we ready for the Zombie Apocalypse?

2) What would happen if the Earth’s core was injected with cream cheese.

3) Suitable places to scavenge scrap lumber to board up the windows, in case of a Zombie Apocalypse.

4) Where, in our solar system, would year last 7 months.

5) The best way to loot/hijack and defend the nearby CVS, in case of a Zombie Apocalypse.

6) The advisability of looting/hijacking and defending the local CVS (some food and medical supplies), as opposed to the restaurants in the same strip mall (food supply and knives) or the hardware store (defense supplies). This one took a while. CVS took the trophy. They liked that CVS stocks soda, cookies and gum.

7) The fine differences between a zombie and a ghoul.

8) The best way to trick someone into saying “I am a butt-plug”

9) If they’d really need to know how to spell “phoenix” in case of  (you’ve got it) a Zombie Apocalypse. Their conclusion was an emphatic “NO”.

10) Pop quizzes are evil.


Maybe I should let them play less Minecraft, and make them watch more… I don’t know… episodes of My Little Pony? Thoughts?

Cricket for dinner

So, post number six and I’m already stuck for ideas. I was very tempted to post some of my works. But I shall resist. No, not just yet. Instead I will blog about…. Something from the files of Zelda, Attack Cat Extraordinaire.

Daddy brought it home. My designated prey. A puny green thing. But a genuinely living puny green thing. Not just some mockery of life, attached by a string to a paltry stick.

He released it into the balcony and said, “Zelda, a toy for you.” Purring my thanks, I padded to the balcony, belly to the ground, ears twitching and tail swishing back and forth. Daddy left, but I didn’t care. Finally. Something alive for me to play with.

I eyed the pathetic thing as it cried and leapt, seeking escape. The little tease. I could pounce, but the sun hit my back just right. I waited. Even as I twitched my ears and flicked my tail, eyes slanted open, I waited.

For it to tire. For it to slow. Just a little bit.

I waited.

It’s slowing. I crept closer. Slowly. No sense startling it.

I swatted it with my paw, claws fully extended. Pinned it to the ground. It writhed. I listened to it scream in a frequency far too high for Mummy to hear. Good thing too. She’d have made me let it go. I tried to put it between my jaws, to present to Mummy. It leapt away from my paw and escaped.

The little tease.

I swatted it again. Harder, this time. Stunned, it didn’t struggle as I held it in my mouth. I made sure it was still alive. Coagulated blood, even cricket blood, would give such a bad taste to the meat. I stopped right in front of Mummy, and presented my gift to her.

She screamed and jumped. Silly Mummy, she missed. It’s a wonder they have anything to eat at all, the way they keep missing the prey with their clumsy feet. She’s supposed to pounce toward the prey, not jump away from it.

But I am a good hunter. A good provider. It couldn’t escape far. Even Mummy would be able to catch it for tonight’s dinner.

I turned away and padded to my favorite sun-drenched windowsill, my tail up in the air, satisfied.

I made a contribution. Tonight, we feast.


P/S : We did not have cricket for dinner that night. I released it and I’d like to think it’s living happily somewhere. Kindly desist from despoiling my delusion. Thank you 🙂