book review

Serpent & Dove Series: A Review from a Spec Fic Fan

I had been reading a lot of horror lately, but somehow I found my way back to Young Adult books. Shelby Mahurin’s Serpent & Dove series was the first series I got caught into after completing Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone trilogy a few months back. Mahurin’s series read a little more mature although it is marked as a Harper Teen book. I started writing my fantasy romance web novel on a witch and a warlock before I realized that I have been neglecting a book I own, which has a witch and a witch hunter as the romantic leads.

What started as a means to get a feel for the teenage fantasy romance genre, I started racing through Mahurin’s series. Despite all my workload, I found myself getting caught up in not only the romance but also the plot of the popular book series. It was certainly a lot steamier than most YA books, so be warned if you are planning to buy it for a precocious tween or a younger teen. While there is only one explicit scene in this thick book (around 500+ pages), the sexual tension was palpable long before that. The enemies to lovers trope certainly set an interesting friction that created a complication that made the ending so much sweeter. I am supposedly not a romance fan but my last few reads had been veering towards the direction. Even my TV series (e.g. Poldark) has some romance with the horror lately, but I had to pause on too much drama. There is so much going on in this world that already warrants tears and despair that it was great to escape into something hopeful, youthful, and romantic.

I am not done with the trilogy, but I am certainly onboard. I have the first two books in paperback format and I have the sample of the last book, Gods and Monsters, in my Kindle. Mahurin made sure Lou and Reid are supported with other characters you can cheer for (e.g. Coco, Ansel, and Beau).

coronaviruschronicles, Dreame, online jobs

Episode 37 is out! (with link)

It’s Sunday! So, I had a relatively laidback afternoon. I went to buy groceries, wearing my double masks. You can never be too careful when you have asthma. It was also a fattening day, basically, with KFC chicken and Mountain Dew. lol. One thing is for sure, though: I never planned to skip writing an episode for my handful of Dreame readers, especially after a very kind comment. It is a form of self-entertainment, as well, I suspect. I also enjoy creating featured photos via Canva for my blog posts. They are fun, not so original, but legal since I have paid my monthly due to gain rights on the pictures.

coronaviruschronicles, online jobs, web content jobs

Saturday Workload

I only had to write one article today. However, I was distracted and it took me hours of web browsing, social media, and actual research. Anyway, it’s about 2 pm right now, and I am finally done with that one article plus 1500 words for my creative project (episode 35 – see my post after this). I now have 82 followers. I think it is pretty good, considering that I am writing fantasy with a lot of magical details compared to romance. I will rest a bit this afternoon, I think. I am feeling slightly fatigued.

All in all, this is a good day. I have 11 more followers and one of my clients asked me if I could work as a part-time editor for him. I consider that as an upgrade over the article writing. So, I said yes.

Dreame, online jobs, web content jobs

Episode 35 is out

With no additional followers, I am starting to question my choice of genre. No, that’s not true. I have been questioning it all along. It’s just that I also want to write what I want to read. Should I sell out and bring on some steam? Probably. lol. For the next book. Anyway, I am not earning anything from this signed project. The $50 I initially got can go bust if my book does not get enough readership. So, I have no plans on withdrawing it if it is still in danger of getting reimbursed.

On a good note, I have been sustaining my writing along with my teacher responsibilities and my freelance load. I am probably mostly writing for myself at this point, but hey, I am optimistic some good will come out of it – maybe not through the app but somewhere.

coronaviruschronicles, mental health, self-care, spirituality, teaching

Reflection and Self-Care Day

Today’s teacher training focus was self-care. Our school chaplain led us into reflection. It truly focused on the inner life (mental and spiritual), with the use of a Ted Talk video and a YouTube video. The setup fits into the narrative that teachers should be flexible about how we tackle our new teaching arrangements. Some teachers open up about their present anxieties.

Being used to “religious” people telling others to pray instead of getting therapy, I was pleasantly surprised that our chaplain recognized the need to get rid of these toxic judgments. Instead, he recognizes that everyone needs to take care of their mental health and that we need to get rid of the stigma that surrounds mental illness. People immediately judge those who are suffering from some kind of psychosis or depression. They jump to the conclusion that it must have been drugs or a punishment from heaven.

Unfortunately, I am not the right poster child for self-care. Today, I still wrote 3 short articles, one longer one, and 1500 words for my creative project. I am anxious when I am not doing anything. I need to face my reluctance to give myself some mental silence and reprieve.

Dreame, online jobs, online portfolio

Episode 34 is Out!

I am surprised that I have been able to write 1500 plus words daily for my Dreame story when I have clients to write articles for. I wrote 1000 words for one client and another 750 for another client – on top of some in-person tutorials at school. I am not saying my work is a masterpiece because I believe feedback and an editor can help me gauge if I am expressing the right feelings, etc. I remember how hurtful comments can be when That is why it is easier to write factual articles.

coronaviruschronicles, teaching

Ways to Help Teacher Friends during COVID Lockdowns

So, instead of being on self-imposed lockdown today, I went to school in-person to help out fellow teachers go over the use of Google Classroom. I wore two surgical masks and a mottled shield. After I had sprayed it with alcohol, streaks and spots covered the whole thing but I still trudged on and walked to school in a haze.

It made me think. Teachers might be popular when some parents had a brilliant light bulb moment, but they often get the short end of the stick. It is worse now that I am a primary school teacher. When I was still teaching university students, I do not even get to meet the parents. My teenage students had to answer to their parents when they got terrible grades.

Anyway, here are some ways to help teacher friends during COVID lockdowns:

  • Check up on them. Are they okay? Let them open up if they got COVID but do not pry. Do not let them feel guilty by saying things like, “You could have been vaccinated” or “You could have been more careful!” Full disclosure: I am fully vaccinated and I am rarely out and about. My home is my ultimate shield.
  • Post things on social media about what you do. Some teachers are not oversharers like me. So, I make it a point to post that, hey all, teachers are working. I annoy my Facebook friends to death, I suspect, that nobody would comment about “No, you possibly could not be working that hard.” I wake up at 5 am and sleep at 11 pm. What about you, then? I work most of the time I am awake, too.
  • Help the non-tech savvy with one-on-one tutorials. Some do not want to slow down other teachers during group sessions. So, they just fret on their own.
  • Provide slides or videos for those who want to learn on their own. As an introvert, I know how awesome that feels – making all my mistakes without an audience.
  • Kind words and encouragements work well, too. Unfortunately, I doubt I should be sharing cookies and cakes at this point when people are weary about where your hands had been.
  • Plan lessons together, especially if suddenly all of you are working completely online instead of the usual face-to-face.
  • Wear your mask when talking to them in person. (I double mask!) You never know if you have been infected, or if they had been infected. Let us protect each other.
coronaviruschronicles, Dreame, online jobs, web content jobs

Online is the Key

Everything is done online nowadays: school, work, freelance stuff, creative projects. It can be freeing and overwhelming at the same time.

Today, I had teacher training online, a landing page due, the second half of an article due, and of course, my creative efforts due (for the personal project, I set the deadline).

So, yeah, I am happy to announce that Episode 33 is now out. I now have 51 followers (compared to yesterday’s 37). I just have to keep on working hard I guess because Dreame has not promoted my book as much as I thought they would. It is a signed book, after all. Some writers say that it is probably because of the genre I have chosen – fantasy. What could have happened then if I had chosen my first love – horror? Everyone is promising a lot of steam in their books. I can only offer PG-13 romance at the moment. Would I be tempted? Well, there are some steamy ones with a good story out there. The story still should be the core of any book. I am very new to this. There are stories in my head, but I have never been that good with execution.

I love making covers. So, my first story is not even done yet, but I already designed the cover of my second because I have a little story vaguely dancing in my head. Haha! I probably should remain confident since I am in self-promotion mode, but I am still trying to find a story that will land me a printed publication deal. One day. Oh, one day. But it all begins right now.

online jobs

Episode 32 has been released

I don’t know how many of you read stories through the Dreame app, but I have been updating my story daily. It is a romance fantasy. I try my best to make it original. It is tough since I only spend a couple of hours, at the most, everyday on it. I am a freelance SEO writer and a full-time teacher.

My initial motivation is pragmatic. I want to earn more. However, I am also curious if I have learned anything from ghostwriting for other people (novellas) and almost finishing my MFA in Creative Writing (all that is missing is the thesis). I completed an MsC in Instructional Design and Technology, instead.

I will try to write a review about Dreame once I know just how well it works for writers, but I must say the more experienced writers are very helpful. I joined a Facebook group with writers and readers. I got 9 responses minutes after I posted a query. Awesome! Remind me not to judge people by what they do. I have to admit that I was skeptical about romance writing on web novel apps. I even complained about how my mom had to pay so much for the stories. I realized that the writers do not even get much out of it, but many of them enjoy what they do. Some do claim that they have earned thousands of dollars from the app. I learned that you cannot really put down people who are trying their best. People who like their stories can read their works, and even buy coins for the pay-for-read ones (How else will the writers earn?). Those who don’t like that kind of thing can just skip it.

Anyway, I am one of them now – since 31st July 2021. I don’t have many followers yet, but I enjoy the process.