All Hallow’s Tag: My Ex is A Vampire!

NaNoWriMo starts soon. By the time you’re reading this, it’s already Day 1. I decided that I want to start NaNoWriMo off by talking about my project. The best way to do that is to do the All Hallow’s Tag again!

The rules are:

#1 – Provide a BRIEF description of your novel before starting.

#2 – Don’t use the same character for more than 3 answers.

My project for NaNoWriMo is called My Ex is a Vampire, the first installment of a young adult urban fantasy/paranormal series called Tales of the Vocati. The Vocati are humans gifted by the fairies to fight and kill vampires and other evil creatures that lurk in the night. My Ex is a Vampire centers on Jane and Andy, two members of the Vocati. Jane is a student who’s practically perfect in every way. Andy is a delinquent who seems to be nothing but trouble. The only things they have in common? They love to fight vampires, they fight well together, and their exes have become vampires. How will they take their exes down? That’s what I’ll find out this NaNoWriMo.

Here we go.

  1. It’s Halloween night! What is your protagonist dressed up as?  There’s an actual chapter in My Ex is a Vampire that centers on Halloween. Jane dresses up as a girl from the Regency era and Andy dresses up as an aristocratic vampire, also wearing Regency clothes.
  2. Who in your cast refuses to dress up and shows up at the Halloween party without a costume? Susanna, Andy’s fairy godmother, is one of the few characters who chose not to dress up for Halloween. Susanna seems like your typical housekeeper and she has a very demure look, but she had a very harsh life, growing up during the Marcos era in the Philippines. It’s hard for Susanna to have fun.
  3. Which character wears the most outrageous costume, and what would it be? At the moment, I’m picturing Donovan, one of Jane’s best friends, dressed up as a clown. He wouldn’t be a scary clown, a la Pennywise or Joker, but more of the typical fun circusy clown. Donovan is very outgoing with a great sense of humor and his senior superlative will be “Class Clown,” so the costume totally fits.
  4. On Halloween, werewolves, vampires, and zombies are on the prowl. Which of your characters gets caught in their clutches, and which creature do they subsequently turn into?  Zombies don’t exist in My Ex is a Vampire, but vampires and werewolves do. Jane’s boyfriend, Conner, and Andy’s girlfriend, Katherine, both get turned into vampires in this novel. Hence the title.
  5. Who wins the contest for best costume? Although there’s not a costume contest in my novel, I think Leticia would definitely win this. Even though Leticia is introduced as your typical high school cheerleader mean girl, she is also Mexican, so she would dress up with a sugar skull painted on her face and a beautiful traditional Mexican folk costume a la Coco. Leticia sees this as honoring the culture she comes from, especially since she also celebrates Dia de los Muertos.
  6. Who hands out toothbrushes to the trick and treaters? Principal Mallory, without a doubt. Principal Mallory is the beleagured principal who tries to keep a handle of the craziness that goes on in North Austin High School, where my characters all go. (The story takes place in Austin, TX.) Principal Mallory is all about order and discipline, so she would hand out toothbrushes to remind everyone to take care of their teeth.
  7. Which two of your characters decide to pair up and do an angel/devil costume together? As surprising as this may sound, Jane’s parents choose to dress up as this for Halloween. Jane’s mom, Bethany, chooses to dress as an angel because it’s an easy costume to wear and she’s a very warm, friendly person. Jane’s stepfather, George, would dress like the devil because he has a very mischievous, deviant past. It also contrasts to his usual bookish, introverted personality.
  8. Someone is too scared to even attend the Halloween party. Who is it? The most likely candidate for that is Tamara, Jane’s other best friend. Although Tamara usually hangs out with Donovan and Jane, she comes from a very traditional Jewish family and they don’t celebrate Halloween. She’s scared of her parents’ disapproval. 
  9.  Who overdoses on Halloween candy and ends up sick? Jane’s younger sister, Gabrielle. Although Gabrielle is a dancer, she also has a sweet tooth that’s the size of Texas. She loves chocolate, sugar cookies, and any and all sorts of candy. She really acts like a kid on Halloween and will probably wake up with a stomachache the next morning.
  10. Which character is most likely to place a curse/hex on someone and who would they curse? Desdemona without a doubt, given that she is the main villain of the novel. Desdemona is a vampire from the Regency era who has spent the last couple centuries trying to regain what she lost: her lover, her old lifestyle as the owner of a successful brothel, and her vampire family. If she was able to place a curse on the Vocati who killed her lover, she totally would have.

I hope this has intrigued you about my NaNoWriMo project. Feel free to add me as a buddy by clicking on the link here.

All Hallows Write Tag: Love Notes

 

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This challenge came to me courtesy of Jenna Moreci and Sam Kasse, who created this.

The way you play this tag game is to answer the following questions in relation to one of your WIPs or a novel that you wrote and published. I’m currently in the middle of editing my first novel, Love Notes, so I decided that I will answer the questions for this novel.

The rules, courtesy of Sam’s Tumblr, are:

#1 – Provide a BRIEF description of your novel before starting.

#2 – Don’t use the same character for more than 3 answers.

So what is Love Notes? It’s a chick lit novel about an aspiring pianist named Allie, who meets Jethro, the bass player of an indie blues-rock band, on the New York City subway. Their new relationship becomes complicated when Allie becomes a contestant on a talent search reality show. As Allie adjusts to being on camera, she has to figure out how to define herself as a musician or lose herself to the blinding lights of fame.

Here we go.

  1. It’s Halloween night! What is your protagonist dressed up as?  Allie would dress up as Osgood from Doctor Who or Molly Hooper from Sherlock. She’s a huge fan of both shows. 
  2. Who in your cast refuses to dress up and shows up at the Halloween party without a costume?  The most likely candidate for that is Kristine, Allie’s mentor. She’s very prim and proper, being the Token Reality Show British Critic that she is, and doesn’t like Halloween because of the wild parties and kids begging for candy. The only reason she would be at a Halloween party is if it was some kind of music-related charity event.
  3. Which character wears the most outrageous costume, and what would it be? Regan would win the category of most over-the-top costume. She idolizes Katy Perry, so she would dress up as Katy Perry in the “California Gurls” music video.
  4. On Halloween, werewolves, vampires, and zombies are on the prowl. Which of your characters gets caught in their clutches, and which creature do they subsequently turn into?  Love Notes takes place in a world without any paranormal creatures, but zombies were huge in the Love Notes universe. Therefore, I can imagine one of the Songbirds turning into a zombie. The Songbirds are Regan’s little “worker bees” who don’t really think for themselves. Being zombies is totally fitting for them, anyway, because they’re aimless social parasites.
  5. Who wins the contest for best costume? Stephanie, Allie’s younger sister. Stephanie works for a fashion show and she’s friendly with all the contestants who compete in it, so she can easily have a great costume ready to go.
  6. Who hands out toothbrushes to the trick and treaters? Allie’s mother, Annalee. Annalee works as a pharmacist, so she’s particularly health-conscious.
  7. Which two of your characters decide to pair up and do an angel/devil costume together? Cassie and Pete, the drummer and keyboard player (respectively) for Jethro’s band, Digital Poltergeist. They are all about the couple costumes. Cassie would dress up as a devil because she’s mischievous and brash. Pete would be the angel because he’s sweet and soft-spoken. They are adorable together.
  8. Someone is too scared to even attend the Halloween party. Who is it? Allie is the most likely candidate for this because she has general anxiety disorder and doesn’t like big, crowded, loud parties. She might go if it’s just a small party with her sister and friends or if they’re just hanging out somewhere in costume. 
  9.  Who overdoses on Halloween candy and ends up sick? Ted, the sleazy lead producer of the show that Allie competes in. Ted is overindulgent in general and he would go overboard with candy and alcohol.
  10. Which character is most likely to place a curse/hex on someone and who would they curse? Regan would definitely place a hex on Allie if she had the power to do so if it means winning the competition. She’s a real dog that way.

I encourage anyone else to join in on the fun. This is a great way to get to know your characters!

Halloween Dos and Don'ts

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One thing I love about being a Cradle Catholic is that I grew up celebrating Halloween. You might be surprised to learn that Halloween is a Catholic holiday. As the Word on Fire website says, it’s time for Catholics to embrace Halloween. So here are some Dos and Don’t to make your Halloween a great one.

DO choose your costumes wisely.

In spite of the stereotype, there are great costume ideas for women that don’t involve dressing like a hooker. You can easily take advantage of the fact that Halloween is the eve of All Saint’s Day and dress up as your favorite saint. Plus there are awesome female characters to dress as like Supergirl, Peggy Carter, Katniss Everdeen, and the Crystal Gems from Steven Universe. Women don’t have to fall into the Princess/Slut complex on Halloween night. In fact, I see Halloween as an opportunity for girls and women to think outside of the box and be creative.

 

DON’T play around with ouija boards or try summoning rituals.

I avoid ouija boards like the plague. Granted, according to Ed and Lorraine Warren’s website, the real danger comes in when people invite ghosts or demons in, but the problem is that most people who play around with ouija boards or try summoning rituals don’t know that. They think it’s all just pretend or that the forces they’re summoning aren’t dangerous.

 

DO watch some awesome Halloween related specials!

One thing I love about Halloween are all the awesome Halloween specials on TV as well as the large number of Halloween-themed movies. I highly recommend The Nightmare Before Christmas, It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, and Hocus Pocus. I also liked the Halloweentown movies from Disney Channel.  If you’re up for more PG13 material, I recommend the original Halloween movie and Wes Craven’s Scream series. Guilty pleasures include Rocky Horror Picture Show and Saw. They’re not family-friendly but Rocky Horror is a hilarious musical and Saw is a fascinating character study when you get past the “torture porn.”

One web series I recommend is Frankenstein, MD, a modern adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Right now, though, I’m getting into this cool musical series called Muzzled the Musical out on YouTube that I think is perfect for getting into the Halloween spirit. Check it out:

 

DON’T be afraid to scare your kids.

There are a lot of great family-friendly scary movies out there such as Coraline or Disney’s animated movie Sleepy Hollow. Scary things can be exciting for kids and, if done right, teaching kids to face their fears can help them deal with handling their problems on their own as they grow up. Scary movies can be like what the original Grimm Fairy Tales were, a way to teach kids that “dragons can be killed,” to quote Chesterton.

 

DO be safe if you decide on going out.

I’m gonna be spending Halloween Weekend with my friends on retreat. It’s my first time since college that I went out for Halloween. If you’re gonna go out with friends, make sure that your time out is a safe one. Don’t take candy from strangers at the bar. It might not be candy. Also, make sure that any candy you get while trick-or-treating is safe to eat. I have food allergies, so I can’t exactly have kit-kat bars. Get candy you know your kids can eat and google whatever candy you don’t recognize. If you’re handing out or making candy, print out small ingredient lists.

 

Have a fun and safe Halloween, y’all and pray for me and my friends while I go on retreat this weekend!

Top 10 Reasons October is My Favorite Month

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Lots of people look forward to certain seasons. Schoolchildren count the days to summer. Many corporations and television networks count down to Christmas. Baseball fans look forward to springtime. But my favorite season is and always will be autumn. Unlike everyone getting on the pumpkin spice bandwagon, however, I have my own reasons for loving October.

1) So. Many. Feast Days!

St. Therese of Lisieux, the Feast of the Guardian Angels, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, and the feast of St. Faustina all took place within the last few days. October also has the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary and Fatima, St. Teresa of Avila, and Popes Saint John XXIII and John Paul II. And that’s just naming a handful of feasts! November may have All Saints Day, but so many famous saints have their feast days in October. It almost makes me wish that October was dedicated to the saints.

2) Halloween

Of all the holidays on the calendar, Halloween is still my favorite. Horror movies, nostalgic Halloween specials, costumes, and candy! What’s not to love? Oh yeah, the fact that a lot of Christians see Halloween as associated with the devil and the occult. I’ll be doing a post about the Dos and Don’ts of Halloween later this month. But for now, all I’ll say is that for me, Halloween is the day of revelry. I learned in college that there were days devoted to merry-making as a reminder to not take ourselves seriously. And for me, Halloween is that day. Not everyone can go to conventions, after all.

3) Rosary Month

October is also the month of the Rosary. I have been praying at least a decade every day since the month started. I still remember watching a children’s movie centering on Our Lady of Fatima and the children of Fatima. In all honesty, I still struggle with praying the Rosary. But praying a decade every day is a good start.

4) So. Many. Birthdays. 

Today is my dad’s birthday. I’ve been busy celebrating Dad’s big 6-0 all weekend. Some of my relatives from the East Coast came to visit. It was my aunt’s birthday as well. On my Mom’s side of the family, we’re going to be celebrating my grandmother’s big 99th. My grandfather on my mother’s side, God rest his soul, was also born in October.

5) TV Specials and Movies

Aside from the awesome Halloween Specials, many TV shows sometimes premiere in this month. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing Supergirl for the first time. I’m also catching up on The Flash as best as I can. A lot of movies are also premiering this month. While I’m tentative about Goosebumps and Hotel Transylvania 2, Bridge of Spies and Steve Jobs are intriguing me. And btw, whatever you do, avoid Jem and the Holograms. It’s not gonna be worth the price of admission.

6) Special Drinks

While I avoid anything with the Pumpkin Spice label due to my allergies, the cooler weather allows me to enjoy some dairy free hot chocolate courtesy of Burnham and Mills Silly Cow Farms Hot Chocolate Drinks. I also make more tea during this time of year. My personal favorite is English Breakfast Tea.

7) Cooler Weather

After living in Texas for almost a decade, I have learned that there are just two seasons in my side of Texas: rainy season (starts around October thru February or March) and hot/humid (the rest of the year). It took me a while, but I eventually became what you call a pluviophile, a lover of rain. It’s a peaceful sound, especially during this time of year. Things are starting to cool down here. Mornings have become cool and eventually, things will be cool throughout the day. And while I sadly don’t get to watch the leaves changing color like I did as a kid, feeling a cool breeze in the morning has become my new favorite thing.

8) Baseball/Football

October is the time of the playoffs and world series for baseball. Currently, the Houston Astros are doing surprisingly well. They’re gonna face off against the Yankees tonight. I’ll be rooting for both teams, but I’m honestly hoping the Astros will get to go all the way. They were the first team I got to watch live, after all.

Football, of course, is also going on. It took me a while to actually like it. In all honesty, I love high school and college football as opposed to the professional stuff. And I still don’t understand fantasy football. But there is something about watching a local football game. There’s still a little bit of Miss School Spirit in me, after all.

9) Local Festivals and Plays

In Texas, there is a lot more than Oktoberfest going on. Back when I lived on-campus, there were a lot of festivals going on. Many parishes hold fall festivals around this time of year. My college hosted an Italian Festival and the Greek Orthodox school next door holds Greek Fests every year. My school’s drama department also premiers its fall play around this month. Last year, I got to see them do Romeo and Juliet. Check out your local university’s drama department to see what they’re showing. It’s always good to support local theatre.

10) My Buffyversary

It all started two years ago. I had an anxiety attack. My first one in months. I needed to watch something, anything, to take my mind off things. I opened my laptop, picked a show about a blonde girl with the power to fight vampires, and clicked “Play.” October was when I first watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer and I haven’t been the same since.

So, starting today, I’ll be posting a recap of my Top 10 Favorite Buffy Episodes. With rumors of a new Twilight book being released, it’s time that people learn what real vampires are really like.

So why should you check out my recaps and watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Because it’s not really about the monsters or the magic. It’s about dealing with problems that come with growing up. It’s about the characters you love and love to hate and wish you were real. It’s about the emotional catharsis that this show gave to me and many others.

There will be fangirling and feels in the days ahead. You have been warned.