Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sunday Poetry: Under The Map Of Stars

Under The Map of Stars

When shadows and light play
As embers and char would,
I see where we meet.
In the stolen quiet, 
In flashes of gold-streaked gray,
Under the map of stars
In the countdown to morning,
When the world is still
Except for the matching beats
Of our hurrying hearts.

I wish to have no secret
That your name be a hymn,
Escaping my lips
When I escape for a moment.
I wish to see the blue above us
Cast over our touching heads.
Yet the morning dew has laid claim
To the damp earth beside me
Where in the eve you have lain.
Instead of gratitude,
I loathe the light in its glaring clarity
Showing me without pause or mercy
The empty space beside me
Cold, stark and void,
A haunting in daylight
Until night falls again.

-N. Tippett, 2013

It's been ages since I wrote poetry. I didn't think I could anymore. 
I'm thinking of star-crossed lovers, of the desperate and in love. They make the best romantic tragedies, and the most humorless comedies, the most wistful of poems.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Risk of Falling Now on Wattpad!

Since I can't get enough of sexy, millionaire bosses, here's the new serial I started in Wattpad.


Maxine Moss arrived in Pacific City to start a brand new life complete with her first real job as a marketing assistant in Hedenby Holdings. Life was supposed to be simple but the unexpected happens. After a disastrous first meeting with her infuriatingly sexy boss, an unlikely friendship starts with the man she just couldn't quite figure out. The waters become turbulent and unpredictable as a childhood crush, a perfect boyfriend-material, a crazy starlet and an irresistible attraction get thrown into the mix. As Maxine's world expands into unchartered territories for a small-town, big-dreams kind of girl, she finds herself caught in the spotlight and in a lovestory that keeps getting complicated. Will she run in the opposite direction or will she free-fall?


It's fun to write because I'm writing it as I go along, developing the story with every post so it's not as exhausting as plotting out an entire novel.

The only problem now is I want to post on this all the time I'm neglecting my other writing projects. Can't win! =P

*I do not own the rights to the image used in the cover of this book.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sunday Poetry: Who Ever Loved That Loved Not At First Sight

Who Ever Loved That Loved Not At First Sight

It lies not in our power to love or hate,
For will in us is overruled by fate.

When two are stripped, long ere the course begin,
We wish that one should love, the other win;
And one especially do we affect
Of two gold ingots, like in each respect:
The reason no man knows; let it suffice
What we behold is censured by our eyes.
Where both deliberate, the love is slight:
Who ever loved, that loved not at first sight? 

-Christopher Marlowe, 1564-93

Love at first sight.

Cynics would probably tell you that there is no such thing. It's already hard enough to fall in love with someone you already know a little bit. How much more with a complete stranger?

For great romantics like Marlowe, Shakespeare and I (yes, I really did just put the three of us together),  it could happen because well, it's written in the stars. Or at least that's the idea here.

The poem tells us that fate overrules our will—that what is meant to be will take place long before we recognize the destiny set upon us. That a part of our soul recognizes the other before our logic can even begin to process the bits and pieces of reasoning as to why we are attracted to this person and why we feel the way we do about them.

As a romantic writer, I'm ironically logical. Sometimes, I seek to justify why someone could feel a certain way about a person and yes, dicing it into facts takes away the magical quality from it but what I always find is that no matter how long a list I make as to why Girl loves Boy and vice versa, the very origin of the whole thing comes back to the simple fact that they are just meant to be (at least in my world).

Although I don't believe in soul mates, I do give credit to that instinct we feel when the person is just right. It clicks in. I know, it's a line from the movies but I know exactly what it means because I've experienced it myself. All the other issues that you just couldn't figure out with the last person seem so effortless and natural when the right one comes along. It doesn't promise to be perfect but it makes things easier and most importantly, it makes everything worth it.

No one expects to run into someone and fact sheets drop on them—yes, this is your destined mate, no questions asked—I don't believe that's the point here. 

It will not always hit you clear-eyed. All that it means here, I think, is a sense of precognition that there is something to this person and to this meeting that go somewhere very meaningful and precious and that's what makes you take the next step. As to whether you actually eventually get there or not is a combination of circumstances and our own decisions about our fears, hopes and dreams.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Firefly: Sneak Peek

Here's a sneak peak of the new book I'm working on—one that's dark, seductive and enthralling even for me to write.

Let me know what you think! =)


If I believed the bedtime stories, monsters were to be found in the shadows, lying in wait, poising for an attack, and that if I were smart, I would never let myself be caught alone in the dark.

When I was eighteen, I realized that the dark concealed many things and not always just the monsters.

In the dark, we allowed our hearts’ true nature to show and in the secrecy of the shadows, we committed our crimes—big and small—and expected no repercussions because no one can stand to witness what they could not see. No one could tell whether it was man or monster or that they may be one and the same.

What I will tell you is not a simple story.

The details of reality blur at the edges of the mystical in this tale but what you need to understand is that it’s not about that. 

It’s about the interplay between the shadows and the light and the people who were caught in between them for a brief moment, for generations and for eternity.

My name is Lily Carlson.

Let me start by telling you that on the summer of 1984, I fell in love with a monster.


Review: Losing It by Cora Carmack


*might contain some spoilers

Losing It was an easy afternoon read with lots of oh-my-god-face-palm moments, standing true to the awkward lead characters Carmack champions. A lot of books showcase flawed leads, the most endearing of which are those who are just not quite perfect and do a series of mortifying things. Bliss Edwards in this book is definitely one of them.

One thing that really attracted me to the story was the fact that the characters are theatre majors. Having been an active part of the theatre myself when I was in university, it was refreshing to have it featured in the story. The crazy parties and head-splitting hangovers are so true—in my case anyway although I was the sober eye who saw everything and everyone and was amused by it. =)

Anyway, Garrick is the typical leading man (I actually love stereo-type characters most of the time)—an attractive, Brit-accented, Shakespeare-toting-and-quoting artist type and while I have no qualms about why innocent Bliss (oh, man the many puns that name suggests) finds him sexy, my vote actually went to Cade—the cute, boy-next-door best friend who is just the sweetest. 

I'm usually one to go for the brooding type but the way Cade was with Bliss was just so natural and endearing. Except for the initial meeting between Bliss and Garrick in the bar that night she decided to lose her V-card, there weren't that many moments when I felt that Bliss was fighting the inevitable and falling for Garrick. 

It was like, yes, they meet and become attracted and she chickens out but finds out next week that he's forbidden goods but they give in anyway. I didn't feel a lot of building emotion for Garrick. He was there and she was falling for him. I just had to go with that idea and stick with it. 

Maybe this is why the book isn't a total runaway winner for me. As a reader, I need to feel that progression of feelings by the female lead for the romantic hero—whether it's a gradual falling or a plunge-off-the-side-of-the-cliff kind. And this is probably also why I rooted for Cade because there were a few give-away moments between him and Bliss that hinted at what was beneath the surface and their long-standing history carried more weight. The attraction to Garrick could've easily happened with the bartender or some other random guy in the bar. The only thing that stands out for me when it comes to them was their little domestic life when illness hit. I liked this part but I think there could've been more.

The student-teacher romance isn't all that new but there weren't a lot of obstacles in it for them in this book really. Gabriel's Inferno thickened this plot like double-churned ice cream while in this book, it was like here-are-some-obstacles-have-a-little-fun-pulling-your-hair-and-gnashing-your-teeth-together-and-then-you're-done-go-live-happily-ever-after. But then, that's why it's an easy read. You're not going to use up a box of Kleenex or miss your late-afternoon cooking show with this. It was fun, funny and feel-good. 

And since I'm in Cade's camp, I'm looking forward to Faking It, although I'm not so sure about the kind of girl he's going to fall for. But hey, if it works beautifully in the end, then I'm sold. =)


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday Poetry: Sudden Light

Sudden Light

I have been here before,
But when or how I cannot tell:
I know the grass beyond the door,
The sweet keen smell,
The sighing sound, the lights around the shore.

You have been mine before—
How long ago I may not know;
But just when at that swallow's soar
Your neck turn'd so,
Some veil did fall,—I knew it all of yore.

Has this been thus before?
And shall not thus time's eddying flight
Still with our lives our love restore
In death's despite,
And day and night yield one delight once more?

-Dante Gabriel Rossetti 1928-82

Do you believe in soul mates who continue to find each other throughout their many lifetimes?

As romantic as I am, I'm not really sure. 

In a broader, more spiritual sense, Rossetti speaks of that in this poem but I'll scale it down to one lifetime where you may have loved someone before that you've lost or walked away from and found that years later, by some unexpected stroke of destiny, you cross each other's path once again and remember exactly just what you meant to each other before.

I believe that an old love can resonate far into someone's life. It is something you will never completely forget—something that will always own a piece of your heart and soul because you've given that part away a long time ago and never got it back. 

The question is whether that love will have enough power over you to reel you back in when past collides with the present. When the scales of memory fall off your eyes and you see clearly what had been, will you 'delight once more' in it?

I guess in the end it will depend on the circumstances that broke you apart in the first place and whether what brought you together is stronger and fiercer that what drove you away.

As a writer, I enjoy this poem because it makes me think of the possibilities that love doesn't end in the here and now—that sometimes the story continues into the future after a detour. 

This poem actually depicts quite well the struggle of my characters in Love and Vice. Time will tell whether what they once had is worth fighting for in the end and because time is never someone's constant friend or enemy, you can never be certain which side it will be on.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Confessions of a Romance Addict

It isn't always easy to declare out loud that one is a romance-novel fan.

In this day and age when the opportunity to become a hipster is more than ever present and social media is a very visible podium, it isn't easy to step up and declare to a room full of people that you like sappy stories and sizzling sex scenes.

Serious (starchy) book-readers would probably look at you and grimace as if you had just announced that you actively scout for sexually-transmitted diseases.

Yes, the world is full of illuminated intellectuals. People who read romance are usually considered a lower breed. Tsk. Tsk. Sadly, it sometimes feels like a dirty secret one just can't say out loud.

For years, I've devoured tons of books about love stories of all sorts but I've never openly admitted it. But having been submerged in the realm of romance readers and writers alike in the last couple of weeks, I've found a group of the brave who read what they damn want and not give a fig about it. Social media and the blogosphere have definitely made it more accessible to anyone who nurses a secret fascination about the illicit word.

Here are some really great sites and blogs I frequent myself where you can get the latest dish on romance and chick lit books, whenever you feel like you need a dose.


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Review: Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren


So during the first few pages, I had a constant wrinkle between my brows.

From the blurb, it was obvious they start out with a love/hate relationship where boy metaphorically pulls on the girl's hair a lot but I found their animosity toward each other a bit strong. It almost felt like boy was yanking on girl's hair hard and girl was kicking boy in the balls. I winced a lot during the first few chapters. 

There's a subtle flirtation between two disagreeing characters usually that speak of a chemistry they won't quite admit but the tone in the first big chunk of the book was laid thick with not just mild disapproval but almost like all-out hate and the jump from absolute hostility to being attracted to each other was a bit of a stumble for me there to read but although shaky, it eventually grew comfortable.

I usually find difficult male characters intriguing but really, Bennet Ryan started out as a rude, crude and despicable grump, and not even remotely sexy. There's a dark, brooding type and there's a classic jerk and it took a lot in this story to redeem him to someone a little more acceptable. He was such a bully and very irritating. And he was such a jerk to her. The effort to redeem him by making him seem perplexed at times by his reaction to Chloe was apparent but I didn't really feel like it justified why he was such a jerk to her in the first place. Sure, he was inconveniently attracted to her for months but I don't think blue balls is enough to make a guy forget his good manners. He really seemed genuinely bewildered by his attitude but he hasn't had episodes of an out-of-body experience to really give him the excuse to not even distinguish being cranky to being such an ass-hat. I know the title is Beautiful Bastard but he was too much of it, I think, that it was hard to really cheer for him.

He gets better but the changes in him didn't really make me go oooohhh-aaaahh. I think that with how big of a jerk he was in the beginning, he ought to have done a little bit more to bring himself back to the good side.

Anyway, as for Chloe, she seemed incredibly gifted as everyone seems to declare so but she held almost no resistance to Bennett. In a way, it's a bit startling considering she wasn't even just wary about him in the beginning. She hated him so much. That thought aside, I do actually enjoy it when the girl decides not to go the traditional route of offering a lot of resistance first only to break down and give in anyway. I agree with her when she admitted to not understanding why she's a totally different person when he's around. I have a hard time wrapping my head around loathing someone so much one minute and then wanting them like crazy the next especially when he continues to be a jerk to her. The gap lacks a build that helps me get to that next level of feeling that the character feels. I feel like some parts of that budding romance was cut and the before and after were just pinned together haphazardly. 

I love the parts about the underwear. It's kinky without being too weird. 

The parts I loved were the sexy yet unexpected and risky locales. I enjoyed the phone call Bennet takes while Chloe amuses herself. There's plenty of sex but nothing too out there which is a bit refreshing considering the amount of erotica being dished out right now. 

The climax (the plot one, not those generously experienced by both characters in the story) was a bit underwhelming at the pivotal point. I guess I expected something a bit bigger to really drive the wedge between them. The business-issue that caused their rift just didn't seem... romantic, I guess.

I enjoyed it because it was a quick, easy, guilty read. It had the potential for a little bit more emotional power. It was fun in a lot of parts but the chemistry is a bit weak. I didn't mind the two first-person POVs too much. I could distinguish the difference in the voice and tone and it helped Bennett's character a lot to be able to see inside his head. I think that without this, he wouldn't have been able to redeem himself at all.

I wish there was a little bit more at the end but I guess there's a second book that will hopefully say a little bit more about the progress of their relationship even though the main plot will be about another character in the story.


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Office Space - Take Two

My work is far from done.

I spent a few hours redoing the office last night. I'm so much more satisfied with it now.

I hate clean up but that's what's next.

Saturday Poetry: The More Loving One

The More Loving One

Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.

Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.

-W. H . Auden 1907-73

At some point in our lives, we've desired something or someone we couldn't have and that in a lot of these situations, we've found ourselves accepting that fact and consoling ourselves with the hope that with time, it will come to pass.
There's plenty of interpretations for this poem but since I write and read about love, that's where I've focused on this piece.
Sometimes, we are content just to love and admire, happy with the chance of being able to do so over someone so beautiful and majestic like the stars that fill the night sky, unconcerned that like the stars, they are not able to love someone so small and insignificant like ourselves—only a mere speck among the many who gaze at them so longingly.
And with time, we will eventually turn our eyes away and walk on, maybe because reality is filling our world with light and clarity much like the night sky disappearing from our view at the sharp glare of the morning sun. 
Or maybe simply because the rest of our life is straight ahead and not heavenwards, and we are simply not destined to be loved and worshipped by the gods.


Fresh Booklist - March 2013

After more than a month of unusual behavior for me (going into a bookstore and coming out empty-handed), I finally made a few book purchases yesterday at Chapters.

I'm still planning on re-reading a lot of books now that I've committed to doing a proper review for each of them on Goodreads but there had been a lot of fresh material out on the shelve that I just couldn't resist.

Here are some blurbs on the books (sourced from Goodreads):

Beauty Awakened - Gena Showalter

His name is Koldo. He is scarred, powerful, his control legendary-and he lives only for vengeance, determined to punish the angel who viciously removed his wings. But if he yields to the forces of hatred, he will be kicked from the heavens, eternally damned.

She is his last hope. Nicola Lane was born with a defective heart, yet this fragile human shows surprising strength as demons stalk her every move, determined to end her. She is the key to Koldo's deliverance...and his downfall. Though he fights duty, destiny and his first addictive taste of desire, his toughest battle will be the one for Nicola's life-even if he has to sacrifice his own....

A Bridge by Moonlight - Liz Carlyle

Royden Napier, Baron Saint-Bryce, is tall, dark, and ruthless—and on the hunt for a dangerous beauty . . .

On the eve of her escape to the Continent, bold, beautiful Lisette Colburne accepts a proposal she dare not refuse: masquerade as the future bride of the steely-eyed Royden Napier and help him solve his most dangerous case. Soon Lisette is in even greater danger—of losing her heart to the one man with the power to destroy her . . .

Estranged from his aristocratic family, the enigmatic Napier has forged a reputation as Scotland Yard's most relentless police commissioner. He's vowed to bring Lisette to justice—but with every forbidden kiss and every tantalizing touch, he finds himself becoming less convinced of her guilt . . . and more certain he must have her. But when danger touches Lisette, can he save her?

Losing It - Cora Carmack


Bliss Edwards is about to graduate from college and still has hers. Sick of being the only virgin among her friends, she decides the best way to deal with the problem is to lose it as quickly and simply as possible-- a one-night stand. But her plan turns out to be anything but simple when she freaks out and leaves a gorgeous guy alone and naked in her bed with an excuse that no one with half-a-brain would ever believe. And as if that weren't embarrassing enough, when she arrives for her first class of her last college semester, she recognizes her new theatre professor. She'd left him naked in her bed about 8 hours earlier.

Beautiful Bastard - Christina Lauren

An ambitious intern. A perfectionist executive. And a whole lot of name calling. Discover the story that garnered more than two million reads online.

Whip-smart, hardworking, and on her way to an MBA, Chloe Mills has only one problem: her boss, Bennett Ryan. He’s exacting, blunt, inconsiderate—and completely irresistible. A Beautiful Bastard.

Bennett has returned to Chicago from France to take a vital role in his family’s massive media business. He never expected that the assistant who’d been helping him from abroad was the gorgeous, innocently provocative—completely infuriating—creature he now has to see every day. Despite the rumors, he’s never been one for a workplace hookup. But Chloe’s so tempting he’s willing to bend the rules—or outright smash them—if it means he can have her. All over the office.

As their appetites for one another increase to a breaking point, Bennett and Chloe must decide exactly what they’re willing to lose in order to win each other. Originally only available online as The Office by tby789—and garnering over two million reads on fan fiction sites—Beautiful Bastard has been extensively updated for re-release.

Eve of Destruction - Sylvia Day

Class is in, but Evangeline Hollis is struggling to get through the requisite training to be a full-fledged Mark. When her class goes on a field trip to an abandoned military base, passing the course isn’t just a matter of pride…it’s a matter of life and death. There’s a demon hidden among them, killing off Eve’s classmates one by one.
As the body count mounts, a ragtag team of cable TV ghost hunters unwittingly stumbles into the carnage. Now keeping the Mark system secret competes with the need to keep the “paranormal researchers” alive. With Cain on assignment and Abel on an investigation, Eve must fly solo on her hunt to stop a killer before he strikes again.
© Ninya Tippett. All rights reserved.