"Everything ends, and it's always sad. But everything begins again too, and that's... always happy. Be happy." — Doctor Who
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January 20, 2019

Why I am still a blogger & some ramblings

'hello, i'm an alien'
Sad news — my Instagram was not hacked. It's very upsetting because if it had been hacked, someone would have updated it and I wouldn't have to. I don't know what happened. I stopped posting at Instagram for a few weeks and now I really just don't want to do it anymore. If I could, I would probably just post links to my blog but you can't make links plus it's kind of strange to link to your blog from Instagram or any other social media as it almost feels a bit backward somehow. And also, I really just don't know about replying to comments — it's all bunched together in the same space and maybe I should reply to them but I don't know. I have no excuses, I'm just lazy. I think now I'm a bit more anti-social media than I thought or perhaps I have always been this way. Here's a little list of my social media history:

Twitter – I quitted that due to not being able to post fast enough or maybe because I hate how hard it is to actually know who's who when everyone is so quick.

Pinterest – I quitted that as well. It's more of a place to gather image resources but kind of hard to use since they demand you sign in just to view a page and I'm never in the habit of staying signed into Pinterest and also, it's very, very, very hard to find the original link to any artwork/photo/idea because one person pin something and the whole world pins it but no one knows where the original comes from.

Facebook – I've never tried it but I was tempted to join but decided it's not for me. I honestly cannot look at a facebook page for long without feeling a bit backward because I think the design is a bit archaic and also, it keeps asking me to sign in which annoys me so much that I usually close the browser window after a few moments.

So it's not quite a history since I didn't really do much. I guess you can say, I really am a bit anti-social media. Is there a cure for this?

I just read this post at Offbeat YA about bloggers being artists and crafters and I agreed with Roberta. We as bloggers create content and unlike social media, we don't have to conform to a certain format of presenting it. That is, we can add our own distinction, our own little touches. I'm not saying you can't do it with social media, I'm just saying it's a bit harder to distinguish yourself when you have to move at a faster speed. That's what I get from social media — you don't go at your own speed even if it appears that you do. I guess in this instance, I'm slower than most people. Slower to respond to replies and comments, it's why you sometimes see my replies to comments here on this blog a week late. (Read Roberta's post here.)

So what's the point of all of this? Just that, instead of trying out social media, maybe I should just stick to blogging. Blogging is really, truly, my only preferred platform. Whatever else I quit, I seem to always return to blogging. I have been blogging for a long while and have only quitted about two million times but I'm still blogging and in a few years, I'll announce my retirement from blogging and then a few days afterward, I'll start to blog. Again.

And now some shameless promotion:

click on image to go to the shop
In other news, the error at my society6 shop is apparently a copyright thing – that is, they believed I have violated some copyright issue but I see a lot of famous people artworks. In fact, when I searched for that same person on Society6, 50 pages of artwork with that same person shows up – what the hell is that mean? Shouldn't all these works be taken down too? I didn't want to deal with this so I decided to take the piece down and will not post the other art pieces with famous people either.

I did promise myself that I would promote the shop nonetheless. So here's a promote shout out and read this with exclamation marks even when I didn't put one in: Visit 'the tea rain girl' shop and buy prints. And get nothing extra but you will have prints! Well, the ones you will have purchased anyway. Yay for art! Go shop here.

January 16, 2019

Fiction: April Gale and The Long Short Journey

This week's Words for Wednesday are: this sound

And/or: it's going to rain today; chasing storms; umbrellas; charmed; a long journey; trains

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Fiction: April Gale and The Long Short Journey

The rain tap, tap, tap on the train windows. April Gale sighs. The long journey to her grandfather's house is getting tedious. The storm seems to be following her all the way from her house to the train platform and now here. She brushes a finger against the window pane making a streak across the steam. She hears a cough and turns to the boy on the other side of the train. He is bundled in blankets but is still shivering. She snaps her fingers and instantly, he stops shivering. She hears a sigh and turns to her aunt sitting beside her. Aunt Josephine gives April a thin raised eyebrow. April grins at her. Aunt Josephine frowns and returns to her book.

April pulls at her shawl closer around her shoulders. The train has no heating and they have been here for ten hours straight. She turns back to the window. The rain falls in larger droplets. The gray sky swims with half-black clouds. There is nothing to see in the wide grayness. April pulls the curtains closed. She glances over at the boy. He is sleeping while leaning against the train wall. His spikes of blond hair are bent at one corner. April's eyes land on the old woman sitting beside the boy. She stares at April with her lips pursed and large brown eyes almost popping out of their sockets. April gives her a small smile and turns away.

Another ten hours of this and April might just jump out the windows, that is, if she can open them. When she sat down hours ago, she had noted the windows are sealed shut. How is anyone to breathe around here? She starts to stand up but Aunt Josephine presses a hand on April's shoulder and shakes her head. April sits back and leans her head against the seat. She wishes they could just fly to her grandfather's house. She closes her eyes and imagines the train lifting off the tracks and moving forward in a moderate speed so as to have a relaxing trip.

Someone screams and April opens her eyes. The train seems to be lifting. She pushes the curtains open. The sea is getting lower and lower below them. She reaches out to grab her aunt's arm and at the same time, her aunt shoots her a look that warns of daggers and swords. April laughs lightly and drops her hand onto the armrest.

Outside, the rain seems to be moving upward. The train pauses and starts moving forward in a moderate speed. April turns her head slightly to glance at the passengers. They are keeping their heads down except for the sleeping boy who is awake and staring out the window. There are a few shouts and screams but nothing alarming, well, nothing too loud that Aunt Josephine can comment on but Aunt Josephine is busy vomiting into her small bag. Her book lays on the floor in the isles slipping back and forth.

The train speeds up and soon they are moving faster and faster that any screams coming from the passengers are drowned out by other screams. April clings to the armrests and wonders why they are moving so fast. She certainly has not pictured this. She dares a peek at the passing sky but the view moves too swiftly for her to make out any details.

Over two hours later, they begin to slow down. Then they descend back onto the tracks. April can hear the collected sighs of relief. Aunt Josephine leans back in her seat and peers at April with half-opened eyes and in a almost whisper, says, "Your grandfather is going to hear about this." Then she turns and lowers her face into her bag.

April lets out a breath. Well, there's nothing she can do to fix this but they did saved seven hours of tedious train ride. And now she realizes her powers are growing.

--- More Words for Wednesday over here ---

Words for Wednesday — Jan 16

This month, I am hosting Words for Wednesday. Words for Wednesday is started by Delores and now is hosted by various bloggers. The aim is to encourage you to write - a poem, a story, a song or whatever comes to you - using some or all of the prompts.

This week's prompts are:

This sound — listen to it and see what words or thoughts will come up. Please note, this video is 10 hours long so remember to pause it after a listen or if you like, you can just continue to listen to it while you write. (In case you don't want to listen, the sound is 'rain and thunderstorms.'


video link >

And/or:
1. it's going to rain today
2. chasing storms
3. umbrellas
4. charmed
5. a long journey
6. trains

You may write your piece in the comments or post it on your blog. If posting on your blog, please leave a direct link to the post so we can all visit you.

January 15, 2019

Thoughts on having a (virtual) shop

screenshots
I should/must/have to promote my Society6 shop because you just can't set up something like that and leave it alone and hope it will grow and make sales all by itself. So here are some thoughts on this venture.

01/ My shop at Society6 (which is really just a mere section among thousands of other artists) is called 'the tea rain girl' but the address doesn't have 'tea' in it (https://society6.com/theraingirl) because when I set up the shop at the time, I wanted to call the shop 'the rain girl' but in order to change it, I would have to get a new account and go through a long process of re-setting up and re-linking everything and so the address stays.

I started the shop in 2013, quitted sometimes in 2015 (I honestly don't remember if that's correct) and I spent most of the time debating which art piece to add and pretty much did zero promotion. I can't tell people my art is great, come shop here. No, I can't do that without feeling a bit awkward because promoting your stuff is hard and awkward.

Come 2018, I thought I try again with a new name. I think I have improved my skill somewhat, at least, my art doesn't look as unfinished as before, well, in my opinion anyway.  So now we come to 2019 and still, I seem to lack the sense to promote this shop of mine. I really just don't like the idea of promoting which to me is really more like promoting myself and that have always been a bit difficult and I simply just don't want to do it. I could hire someone but isn't that lazy? I'm trying to make it easier on myself because the more difficult it gets, the more likely I'll quit altogether.

02/ Society6 offers a lot of products in which you can place your art - so much that you would be overwhelmed if you go through the whole list. Some art are perfect for these products but most art are just not meant to be placed on them. My art is, sadly, not sized well for these products so I had chosen tote bags and notebooks for some pieces but decided to remove them because franky, I just don't like most of them. Maybe later when they change the designs a little, I might add them but for now, I'm just offering prints and framed art prints.

03/ Every now and then, okay, more like every other week, Society6 have these promo sales which you can take certain percentage off when you shop there but now that I think about it, it's not a good thing for the artists because artists would loose money even if they make a sale. So now I can't decide if it's a good idea to promote sales dates or not. Artists don't really get much unless they price their stuff real high.  (FYI, you do not set prices for the products, just art prints.) I pretty much make them low because I want people to be able to afford to buy my art without spending too much. But the question is what is art worth? I don't know, I'm still debating on that.

04/ I really don't like design of the shop now.
Before, you can see most of the products but I guess now the whole thing is designed for phone screens with everything stacking like pancakes. As you can see in the screenshots above, you now see less of the products and more of those useless information, well, I find them useless but maybe people don't? I don't think it's all that hard to design something that can be seen on a tiny screen and large screen, is it?

05/ If there is an art piece of mine that you like as a print and it's not listed, let me know and I'll see if I can put that up.

06/ So why don't I print my own stuff and sell them? Because it takes money to print them and because I'm lazy and probably because I find the process of printing to be complicated and just a bit too messy. I could have them printed at a shop but that's another issue that cause more problems. Society6 does all the printing and shipping which is what I like about them and they do a pretty good job of printing if everything is set correctly. But it's not 100% because nothing is 100% but they are pretty good and it's why they take a big chunk of the profit which I'm okay with that. Basically, Society6 is like a starter place for artists except it will probably be a starter place for me for a long while.

07/ I have added a new piece but it's not showing up even though it has been days. I don't know why I keep getting errors with products not showing or showing ones that are deleted. I had asked help before on this issue but they couldn't fix it and later, it got fixed and now it's a problem again. I just don't know. For now, I'll just accept that it's my own bad luck or the universe is telling me not to have them up. Whatever the case, I'll keep on but probably with a slightly less enthusiastic attitude.

(click on the image below to go to the shop)

January 11, 2019

Q & A Friday #1

Every other Friday or which ever Friday I think to do this, I'm going put this up and readers can ask me anything — even questions that have nothing to do with me. Of course I might not be able to answer all the questions so I would reply with NA — Not Answerable.

Why do this? I recently read a blog post that said how much bloggers are no longer being personal, that is, they seem more interested in other things and seeing how impersonal I am, I thought readers should get to know me even if just a little bit. I may regret this and delete this post later but at the moment, I actually do want to do this. So ask me a question or two or three or whatever you feel like. 

P.S. if you post your own Q & A, let me know. I'll go and ask you some questions although they might be silly questions.

P.P. S. I just updated my hello page with added text if you care to read it, it's here.

January 10, 2019

Resolutions for 2019 or things I may or may not do

Napping for Resolutions
I don't make resolutions to do them, I make them to see what I might do or what things might come up. I actually had a longer list but decided they all seem to sound a bit like complaints instead of resolutions. Here are some resolutions I may or may not do:

01/ Worry about tomorrow's problem tomorrow — I try to do this all the time but my worrying mind keeps worrying, sometimes if there is something coming up in a week that worries me, I would worried for a week so it's kind of hard not to worry

02/ Don't save things thinking I'll use them later — I'm a hoarder, I admit it because I can't seem to throw away things I don't need or sometimes I save new things because I think they are too good to be use so they end up not being used which I guess defeats the purpose of having new things

03/ Finish up my drawings — I have like 50+ drawings unfinished but I think I can finish a few this year if I'm not too lazy

04/ Write/finish those novels — actually I have been working on this for years and I'll probably say the same thing years from now

05/ Be more active on Instagram — I have been using Safari and using the 'User Agent' to post and have not tried using the phone yet, I really don't like phones or the small screen, I know phones have gotten much better but I can't seem to get into the idea of using it to post on social media so I'll probably fail at this, I already have not been posting...

06/ Promote my Society6 Shop — I'm thinking it's kind of hard to promote anything if I'm not on any social media & I don't think Instagram is the format for it but I'm not on any other social media except my blog here which means I should post about my shop perhaps once a week or more. I could hire people to promote it but it just seems kind of silly to make other people do what I should be doing

07/ Do more of what makes me happy — it's not that hard but sometimes you can't just spend time doing what you want

What might you be doing this year?

January 9, 2019

Words for Wednesday — Jan 9

This month, I am hosting Words for Wednesday. Words for Wednesday is started by Delores and now is hosted by various bloggers. The aim is to encourage you to write - a poem, a story, a song or whatever comes to you - using some or all of the prompts.

This week's prompts are these two images:



You may write your piece in the comments or post it on your blog. If posting on your blog, please leave a direct link to the post so we can all visit you.

January 7, 2019

A rant & a birthday gift giveaway

Birthday Gift Giveaway
For my upcoming 27th birthday (okay, so I've been 27 for a while now but who cares?), I'm going to celebrate by giving someone else a gift on their birthday. Whatever you want, I'll buy for you — okay, maybe not whatever but it should be exactly or under 50 U.S. dollars that is. So why don't I just give to a charity? Well, it's not about that. I thought someone should get a present, something they wouldn't buy for themselves. And it's my birthday so I can do whatever I want.

I don't celebrate my birthday with cake or party or much of anything. I usually just buy myself something. I know it's not a good way to celebrate birthdays but I just hate getting another number add to my age. People said you are getting wiser and better but honestly, getting old is not a joyful thing, not always. Sometimes I really just like being one age all the time, like 27. But that can't be possible so I'll just pretend that I am anyway. In case you want to know, my birthday is on January 24 and I'm an Aquarius, though I really rather be under a different sign.

Here are some of my favorite quotes about birthdays:

"There are two attitudes you can have when it comes to your birthday:

1. be thankful you have lived another year.
 or, 2. complain about being a year older."

— Catherine Pulsifer

"The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age."
— Lucille Ball

"It takes about ten years to get used to how old you are."
— Raymond A. Michel

"When people ask me my age, I tell them it is unlisted just like my phone number. Perhaps this birthday year it may be a good idea for you to unlist your number."
— Kate Summers

Rules for the birthday gift giveaway :
1 - To enter, leave a comment saying what you would like for your birthday - that is, if it cost exactly or under 50 U.S. dollars. And mention your birthday if you like, just the month and date.
2 - You must leave contact info - ie, email or blog link.
3 - One winner will be randomly selected & will be contacted.
4 - The gift will be shipped to the winner from a reasonable online retailer and will be sent by or after the winner's birthday. I will not be responsible for shipping problems.
5 - Anyone can enter - U.S. or international readers but the retailer should ship to your country.
6 - Last day to enter is January 31, 2019.
7 - If you win, you can also have me donate the money to a charity of your choice or even nominate someone to receive the gift.
8 - Rules are subject to change but probably nothing will change except maybe the end date.

Questions, email me at lissawrites@gmail.com.

[ quotes are from here ]

January 3, 2019

Best & Not Quite Best Books I Read In 2018

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is 'Best Books I Read In 2018' but I don't have that many best of so I'm going to list a few best books and the rest are books that could have been on my best book list.

Best books I read in 2018

I didn't read that many books in 2018 but these are my new favorites.

01/ Rilla of Ingleside (Anne of Green Gables #8) by L.M. Montgomery
I wish there is more to the ending. It's one of those endings with a conclusion but you have to imagine the rest but it's a good read and I can now say I have read all of Montgomery's books if you don't count the short stories.

Favorite quote: “There was something in her movements that made you think she never walked but always danced.”

02/ The Tiffany Aching Adventure (part of Discworld) by Terry Pratchett
These Tiffany Aching books makes this my first time reading Terry Pratchett and it was fun. I read these quickly and books that I read quickly usually means I like them a lot.

Favorite quote: "I don't know about the world, not much; but in my part of the world I could make little miracles for ordinary people," Granny (Weatherwax) replied sharply. "And I never wanted the world — just a part of it, a small part that I could keep safe, that I could keep away from storms. Not the ones of the sky, you understand: there are other kinds."
– from The Shepherd's Crown

03/ The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Technically I read the last two books in 2018 and the first two books years before that. Cinder is my favorite book and my most favorite character from the whole series; Scarlet - I still don't like her; Cress is okay but she's too much like the Disney movie character; Winter is...I really don't get but she seems to fit the snow white character perfectly. Their counterparts are okay but Jacin - that guy has nothing but Winter on his mind, everything he does is for her - isn't this a bit over obsessive? Other than that, it's a great series.

Favorite quote: "And then there was Cinder. This completely normal girl, working this completely mundane job. She was always covered in dirt or grease and she was so brilliant when she was fixing things. And she joked about stuff with me, like she was talking to a normal guy, not a prince. Everything about her seemed so genuine."
– from Cress 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Not Quite Best Books I Read In 2018
These are books I read in 2018 that might have been on my best books list but somehow didn't make it.

04/ Shadows on the moon by Zoë Marriott
This book depresses me because it seems rather painful to read about someone not only getting hurt by others but by her own hands. As much as this book is overwhelmed with all of Suzume's suffering, I can't ignore the beautiful imaginary it provokes. I like the Japan setting. I like the idea of Cinderella having magic but it's just so depressing the way the story goes, there's a happy ending yes, but too much suffering.

05/ Ringer by Lauren Oliver
Ringer is a sequel to Replica, it's not awful but we should have gotten more or better answers instead of more of the same - it's like reading Replica again only with added violence and sex. I think I shouldn't have read this sequel at all, I like Replica just fine.

06/ The Underwater Ballroom Society edited by Tiffany Trent and Stephanie Burgis 
Many reviewers said how great this collection is but to me, they were a little disappointing, the stories seems like leftovers that are cut from some better novels but there are a few good stories there but not enough to make this collection worth reading but the cover is lovely.

07/ The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy
The mystery is what brought me to read The Disappearances and every time it seems something is revealed or going to be revealed, they keep straying to the puppy love bits and that annoys me and the mystery is sort of bland. I guess my expectation was too high but I did enjoy most of the book.

08/ The Shape of Water by Guillermo Del Toro and Daniel Kraus
I read the book before seeing the movie but the book and movie seems about the same except the book has slightly more details. I guess I just didn't like how the story is written. Why have a creature as the central focus but we get nothing about it/him, well, there are a few bits but not enough to justify her attraction towards him, maybe it's the wordlessness of both characters, that unspoken thing we can't understand because we are not them. They could have told this in the creature's point of view more. The ending is a bit vague - like some things are just not clear if it's one way or another. I guess I just didn't understand these characters enough to understand the story?

09/ The Keepers of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger
Sophie is just too perfect for me to like. She is good at everything and someone who is good at everything isn't fun to watch at all. Okay, there are a few instances where she fails but they are nothing compare to her great abilities which they are probably going to add more because apparently she doesn't have enough special abilities already. And the little magic that is called licking is annoying - how is that magic? Maybe it's me but I find Sophie to be a bit bland in that she have no flaws other than her stumble into trouble here and there and those troubles either goes away or gets fixed so not much really matters until they say it does.

10/ Nevermoor - The trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
I guess I have I have too high an expectation because this book isn't as fun as people said it is. I was disappointed by the magic and the lack of humor considering the premise sounds so much fun. This is a first in a series so maybe the other books are a lot more fun but I don't know. The book does have a great beginning though.

What's the best or worst book you have read in 2018?

~ For more Top Ten Tuesday visit That Artsy Reader Girl here ~

January 2, 2019

Words for Wednesday — Jan 2

This month, I am hosting Words for Wednesday. Words for Wednesday is started by Delores and now is hosted by various bloggers. The aim is to encourage you to write - a poem, a story, a song or whatever comes to you - using some or all of the prompts.

This week's prompts are:
1. beginning
2. new year
3. wonder
4. ritual
5. kiss
6. faith

And/or
1. seven
2. remember
3. adventure
4. miles
5. 88
6. heart

You may write your piece in the comments or post it on your blog. If posting on your blog, please leave a direct link to the post so we can all visit you.

Please Note: I'm posting Words for Wednesday on Wednesdays, New York Eastern Standard Time so I may be a day behind for those outside the U.S. 

January 1, 2019

Happy New Year!