Exercises In Mindful Reading

Will It Blend Writer Edition

I’m trying to be more mindful when I’m reading again.

Over the last few years, I’d fallen into the habit of reading purely for pleasure (losing myself in fiction, poetry, and memes) or reading to learn new things and improve my skills for my day job (also enjoyable, in a different way). I’d find myself just sailing through narratives or reducing pieces to bite-sized pieces of facts I can incorporate into my thought processes.

And while my brain thinks just the same when I do these things, it’s stopped chewing and savoring the significance of the stuff I read. It’s not bad that I do it. It’s just that it’s made me impatient for the next thing, the future that always looks better before you get to it.

What I mean to say is I rarely stay present for the present anymore, especially when it comes to reading.

I really suck
I really do.

It’s part of the reason why I signed up to be a beta reader for BookBed Fictory. One of the things I used to do as a teen (about 15 years or so ago, and I’m not ashamed to admit it!) was read other people’s work and really take the time to evaluate them:

  • Did I enjoy it? (Important question)
  • Why? (REALLY important question)
  • How could it improve? (Helpful AF question)

Beta reading stories for Fictory will push me back into the mindful reading state of mind that I used to really get into. Its added bonus, of course, is that it forces me to really think about the stuff I write too. Will readers enjoy this? Why will they enjoy it? Can I write this in a way that will make them enjoy it MORE?

Will It Blend Writer Edition

The long and short of it is it’s a great mental exercise if you want to be more present, which in turn is absolutely helpful if you want to be a better writer than you were before.

It’s also great when you’re a die-hard reader who wants to find more books to read without having to rely on “if you liked this, try reading this” types of articles on the internet. If you pay attention to what you like and dislike, it’ll be much easier to shortlist stuff for your TBR list and minimize the risk of getting a book you’ll regret spending money on.

It’s happened to me so many times, guys. So many, many times.

I’m not saying I’ve mastered this, by the way. I, like most bookworms, am easily distracted by shiny new things, which is why I’m still waffling over whether I’ll go to the MIBF this weekend (are you guys going? I hope you have fun!). I just know there will be books over there that I’ll want to buy for the sake of buying, without taking my established preferences into consideration. But then there are folks I want to support at the event, so…

Anyway, my real point is that I’m trying to re-establish an old reading habit I’d lost when the years piled on so I can be reacquainted with myself, and I believe it’s a habit that can help anyone. All it takes to read mindfully, after all, are a few simple questions.

What are you guys reading right now? Are you enjoying it? What parts do you like? What elements or tropes are a must-have for your reading material? What do you avoid reading? Let me know!

Komiket Is on Saturday – Will You Be There?

ReadinginBetween_Komiket Banner

Me? I’ll certainly try to get there.

There are so many reasons why I think going to Komiket will be awesome:

  • Motzie Dapul is planning to sell her Beloved Engkato Horrors comic, which is an LGBT Philippine urban fantasy thing (I love her, seriously)
  • Paperback copies of Tara FrejasPaper Planes Back Home and The Forget You Brew will be available (I have fangirled over her writing before)
  • Hell, a bunch of writerly folks I like will be there (check out the #romanceclass booth!)
  • Plus, MORE indie work I haven’t seen before
  • It’ll be held at a fairly accessible place, on a date covered by a long weekend I filed for, and the entrance fee is way cheaper than a movie ticket
ReadinginBetween_Komiket Banner
Check out the details on their Facebook page!

The things getting in my way:

  • The fact that I haven’t even finished my draft for Project Times
  • The weird weather (been getting random asthma attacks over the last month or so)
  • A sick kitty (my poor Babudook!)
  • The TV show and book backlog I’ve been ignoring
  • My own laziness (which is considerable and clearly genetic)

Unfortunately, I can neither confirm nor deny my presence at the Komikon at this point. But that doesn’t mean that YOU can’t enjoy yourself there.

So if you have the time (and the willpower), come check this event out!

Reviewing: Paper Planes Back Home

ReadinginBetween_Paper Planes Back Home on Kindle

Tara Frejas is a magical writer and everyone should read her work. Seriously.

I struggled with writing this review, not just because a bunch of life stuff (and laziness) happened but also because it’s hard to find the words to describe the experience of reading Frejas’ work. I was so very tempted to just keep my review along the lines of “For the love of god, just read it!” because it’s literally the best way to understand why her stories are amazing, but I knew that wouldn’t work for a lot of people looking for their next read.

Which is why I’m here. I’m just a fan, standing in front of other readers, begging them to read Paper Planes Back Home.

ReadinginBetween_Paper Planes Back Home on Kindle

I highly recommend this to people who need to feel happy again. Wanna find out why?

Continue reading

Why Haven’t You Gotten A #StrangeLit Bundle Yet?

ReadinginBetween_ShakeUpsStrangeLit

Oh my god, guys. GUYS. Why haven’t you gotten a #StrangeLit bundle yet?

image from giphy.com

I know, it sounds oddly self-serving considering the fact that I was published in one of those bundles. But seriously, if you haven’t gotten at least one of those babies, WHY?

It’s not like you’ll be bored with these stories

There’s a reason why this series is called #StrangeLit—it covers some really interesting speculative fiction. They can cover anything!

One of my favorites so far is Den Lim’s “Intersection”, which follows a(n admirably entrepreneurial) vigilante and a girl out on a very weird mission.

ReadinginBetween_IntersectionStrangeLit
Click on this image to find out what happens next on Wattpad, and follow Den! 😀

And then there’s Ysa Arcangel’s “Anathema”, the protagonist of which has to deal with some unpleasant experiences—and some unpleasant choices.

ReadinginBetween_AnathemaStrangeLit
Click on this image to keep reading, and follow Ysa on Wattpad!

And then there’s my short story “Shake-Ups”—in which a young woman needs to make a choice in the face of some extraordinary family secrets.

ReadinginBetween_ShakeUpsStrangeLit
Sadly, you’ll have to buy the #IncredibleTruths bundle to find out what the heck is happening here because the side story won’t be up on Wattpad until next month.

I promise you, there’s something for everyone here…provided they’re weird enough.

If you hang around my blog for the next week or so, you’ll be seeing even more #StrangeLit previews.

They’re not even hard to access

Sure, you can only read them via the Buqo App right now—but it’s really not that hard to use once you’ve downloaded it.

And it’s not like #StrangeLit books are super-expensive right now

Seriously, click the link above and see that a bundle won’t even cost you TWO DOLLARS. This is 90 Philippine pesos right at this moment, guys. You won’t go poor if you buy one (or all) of these. You won’t need to throw a fit over book prices the way this little boy did (sadly, no subtitles for my foreign readers).

But I must warn you—these won’t stay at Php 90/USD 1.95 forever. This is the soft launch price, and after October 24, 2015, you’ll probably have to shell out Php 250/USD 5.50 for each bundle. So what are you waiting for?

WHAT KIND OF BOOKNERDS ARE YOU?