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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy 2012 to (¯`•¸,.-Geca's Realm-.,¸•´¯) Visitors!

Let us all greet 2012 with
a cheerful smile,
an enthusiastic heart,
an open mind,
and hope that
everything gets better
in the coming new year.

A Special Thank You
to all who regularly visited
(¯`•¸,.-Geca's Realm-.,¸•´¯)
and for 'liking'

Cheers to health, success, love 
and more blessings for all of us!

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Family Christmas Photos - 2011

Morning before Christmas Day and at bed time, EJ asked me,
What time is Santa Claus coming to bring my presents?
I said,
No one knows. He comes around when everyone is asleep.
I don't want to spoil his idea of Christmas, of Santa Claus and the fun and joy that it brings to him so that's what I told him.

What does Christmas meant for most of us? To pig out on scrumptious yet unhealthy food? Is it time to party all day? Or is it the most awaited day to receive presents?

For most kids worldwide, it is the day they wait for Santa Claus to bring them presents. Here are some photos of EJ opening presents from "Santa Claus".

On the second thought, what if everything was lost just a few days before Christmas? How would you feel? If it didn't happen to you, what do you feel for them? Would you still buy or crave for an expensive present, party all day and pig out on Christmas dinner? I wish a lot of people do their fair share of helping not only for and on Christmas Day. But also, to keep helping tragedy survivors (e.g. Typhoon Washi survivors) at least, until they can build their homes again. This Christmas day, I didn't want to prepare something extravagant because I feel bad that a lot of people in Southern part of Philippines are starving and worse, lost their homes because of typhoon.

Nonetheless, Christmas Day for us is a family day. Every year, since I got back to the Philippines, we gather together at my place during the Christmas week. It is our time to bond, play games, cook our favorite meals. I am at my happiest moment whenever my whole family is together and I thank God for having such a great loving family. I don't wish for anything else in the world except for my whole family to be together.

I kept my son busy even when he kept asking,

Mommy, I'm hungry. When are we having lunch?

No one remembered to take pictures of our Christmas lunch but maybe because it wasn't a lot like we usually have on Christmas. We had totally random meal, unplanned, uncoordinated and very late lunch: beef pochero, roasted chicken (which was roasted from my mini oven!), tuna macaroni salad, chocolate cake, chocolate bear lollipops and leche flan.

Anyhow, my sisters and I have kept the Christmas spirit up despite the very late lunch and we decided to do the exchange gift early afternoon.  I suggested this Christmas exchange gift first week of December and I'm hoping that this will be another part of family tradition just for the fun of it.  Budget was from Php100.00 (Philippines Peso) and up, as long as it is something that can be useful to the receiver of the gift, which was kept secret to most of us until that day.

Here are some photos from the exchange gift event:

I volunteered to start the exchange gift and it turned out that my sister Joy and I had picked our names. I gifted her a mug with small teddy bear and 6 pairs of spoon and forks. She got me a cute angry bird coin purse.   EJ gifted his Daddy a yellow Adidas shirt, Seamus gifted a cooking pan to my sister Josie, Rudolph (EJ's cousin) gifted EJ a lunch box and water bottle, forgot what others got, but most of us got angry bird stuff. We all had fun with the surprise of knowing who was gifting who and what we got.

And, of course, I'm not forgetting about the new member of the family, Waggy. He was dressed in red too like most of us.

 Finally, here are random photos from same day:

And, the best shot of the day was:

Waggy and Rhian
Wouldn't you agree?

We don't have video clip this year but thought of sharing this one which was taken two years ago in Fairville Homes. Look how long and curly was EJ's hair!

Happy Holidays!

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Interview with Silver Smoke Author: Monica Leonelle

Monica Leonelle is currently running a book blog tour for the new novel she authored:  Silver Smoke, the first novel in Seven Halos series.  Silver Smoke is highly-rated (4.8 stars on Amazon) debut novel about the Hallows and the Nephilim, the descendants of archangels and humans.

This sexy new young adult urban fantasy series is also about a broken family, a deadly secret and an impossible romance (recommended for mature teens). 

I, myself, have a collection of young adult fantasy series by other authors. Silver Smoke seems to be interesting and another series worth collecting. So when yours truly was given the privilege to interview the author, I took it. 

Now then, let us all get to know Miss Monica Leonelle.

Geca:  We all come from different backgrounds, will you please tell us which hometown you are originally from and a little (known or not) history of your hometown? any memorable or embarrassing moment you experienced in your hometown you'd like to share?

Monica:  Oddly enough, I don't have a hometown.  My parents were in the Air Force and I was born on an air base in Germany.  During my childhood, we moved around a lot, mostly internationally.  I came to the US more permanently around 13 years old, and have been here ever since.  I've lived in seven or eight different cities since coming here though, most recently Chicago. After living so many places, I'm convinced that I'm a total city girl.

Geca:  Did you always know you wanted to be a writer even as a kid?  When did you first consider yourself a writer? 
Monica:  I have wanted to be a writer since about third grade.  I've wanted to be other things over the childhood years too, but "author" was the one that seemed to stick.  I considered myself a writer when I finished my first novel, probably.  Before that, I'd written regularly in a blog, and I'd put together a business book, but novels are my true passion.

Geca:  When and why did you begin writing this (first) novel Silver Smoke?  Was there anything or anyone that inspired you to write this novel?

Monica: I started writing Silver Smoke in Atlanta in 2010. At the time, I was pretty depressed, to be honest. I had always planned to write a novel, but never could seem to find the time. I was working in Atlanta at an agency as a marketing director, managing some of the digital marketing for some really huge brands. Every day when I got home from work, I would fall asleep and not wake up until the next morning when I had to work. It was pretty insane. I was alive but not really living. 

I couldn't express my feelings in writing just due to being a professional and not wanting to risk my job, so I started writing about this girl who was extremely depressed because her mother died. The girl had lost everything, her friends, her home, etc. I wrote like 40 pages of this super depressing manuscript, almost none of which made the cut to the actual book. But at the end of all that, I was not depressed anymore and I had Brie van Rossum, the main character of Silver Smoke. The book starts about two months after her mom dies, but those 40 pages I wrote are the in-between--what she goes through before the book actually starts.

Geca:  Please tell us how you came up with the title of your first novel (and the title of its series)?

Monica:  The title of the book is a spoiler, so I can't say exactly. I'll just say that it's explained in the book. All of my titles are, actually. In the second book, Tin Soldier, you meet a guy who is the Tin Soldier. As for the series name, Seven Halos, there are seven books and seven main characters (who will all have their story lines resolved throughout the series. The "halo" is a reference to the fact that they are angel novels.

Geca: Where did you mostly write this novel? (at home, in the bedroom, dining area or balcony? or outdoors at cafe, at the beach?)

Monica:  I wrote the majority of this novel over the summer next to beaches, actually.  I lived in Florida for a few weeks and wrote some of it there, then we moved to West Haven, CT.  Two very different types of beaches.  It's often useful to write a book with similar setting to wherever you are.  It's currently winter in the Seven Halos universe and they are primarily in New York.

Geca:  Based on this novel, do you believe in the supernatural phenomena than science and religion?  Why?

Monica:  I'm a fairly logical person, so I have a hard time believing in the supernatural.  I'm not particularly religious either.  That said, the book is heavily rooted in Christian mythology.

Geca:  Is there a character in your novel that you (wish to) identify yourself with?

Monica:  All of the characters have a little piece of me in them.  I would love to write a character that was more like myself, but so far all of my main characters (especially the girls) are really different from me.  There's a girl in my other YA series, Socialpunk, named Ima.  She is maybe less like me than Brie, even.  And Brie is far too popular without cause for me to ever really relate to.

Geca:  If there's a chance of reincarnation, what do you want to be reincarnated as (or into)?

Monica:  oh gosh.  Maybe a dog?  My little westie seems to be happy most of the time.  She just wishes she had a yard.

Geca:  Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Monica:  Well, write, for one :).  also, write with an idea of how you plan to market your book.  and learn as much about the traditional book publishing industry as you can, even if you plan to self-publish.

Geca:  What's the best marketing strategy for (new) published books?

Monica:  I have no idea!  I'm still trying to figure it out.  Though word-of-mouth marketing is probably the most effective, it's harder to make it happen than you would think.  I was watching this Guitar SEssion on Grace Potter and the Nocturnals and she said that the way people fall in love with your work is by you hitting pavement and making an effort to share it with them.  I think she's right.  No one is going to discover you on their own... you have to reach out to them and ask them to give you a chance.  You have to develop a relationship with them and share your passion with them.  So that's my current strategy.

Geca:  Is there a specific message in your novel that you want your readers to grasp?

Monica:  No, not really.  I definitely write a lot about the moral dilemmas of good and evil--for example, if you a bad guy and save a good guy, are you a hero or a murderer?  I ask the questions but I don't give my answers.  I don't ever want to be the author who shoves her own views down her readers' throats.  It's enough to ask the question.

 --End of interview--

Thank you Miss Monica Leonelle for this chance of interviewing a novelist like you. I am looking forward to your other novels.  I learned a lot from this interview and I hope those who have dreams of becoming a novelist someday are inspired.


To celebrate the release of Silver Smoke, the author is doing a Kindle Fire giveaway.  For the contest information, please read below:

December 20th thru December 31st (12 days long)



  • Grand Prize Winner: Kindle Fire (or cash-equivalent Amazon gift card)
  • 2nd Place (two winners): Kindle Touch (or cash-equivalent Amazon gift card)
  • 3rd Place (three winners): Kindle (or cash-equivalent Amazon gift card)
  • Special Bloggers-Only Winner* (for blogger entrants – must enter via the web form): Kindle Fire (or cash-equivalent Amazon gift card)

Winners will be selected using on January 1, 2012 and announced on How To Be An Author by January 2, 2012.

*To enter the Bloggers-Only drawing (in addition to the regular drawing), you must forward a link to your post to AND add your name to this bloggers-only email list (not for promotional purposes… just an easy way to distribute promised items):

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

While We Sat Back Comfortably... Sendong Swept Away Hundreds of People

While we were all sleeping in the comfort of our homes, or while sitting back on the sofa with our feet up eating popcorn and watching dvd or a television show, or while dining with our loved ones or while arguing with our best friend about odd little things ... hundreds of people in Cagayan De Oro and Iligan City (in the Philippines) were swept away by flash flood brought by Typhoon Washi's torrential rain (locally called as Sendong).

It broke my heart when I saw the news on BBC World News. I didn't even realize that there was typhoon in the Philippines because it hardly rained in Manila so it really came as a shocking news for me.

They need our HELP! If you could send help in any possible means, please do so. Please donate anything or any amount that you can. One way to send help/donate for the survivors of Typhoon Washi is through World Vision.

God Bless Us All!

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Kindle Fire Giveaway for Silver Smoke, the First Novel in the Seven Halos Series

To celebrate the release of a new novel to the Seven Halos series, author Monica Leonelle is doing a Kindle Fire giveaway for Silver Smoke, the first novel in the series! Silver Smoke is the highly-rated (4.8 stars on Amazon) debut novel about the Hallows and the Nephilim, the descendants of archangels and humans. Here's a description of the book:

Brie van Rossum has fame, fortune, and beauty, but there's one thing she doesn't have--the name of her mother's supernatural killer.
The Hallows, descendants of the archangels, don't think Milena was murdered.. but can Brie trust them when their government, the New Order, wants her dead?

She'd better figure it all out soon...

... because when Brie finds out who she really is, the hunt will begin.

And Milena might not be the only casualty.

Like mother, like daughter...

Contest dates:

December 15th thru December 31st (a little more than 12 days, but who's counting?)

Easy ways to enter:

  1. (3 entries) Blog about this contest and forward a link to (see copy + paste instructions for the contest below)
  2. (3 entries each) Share a sentence about the book with your Facebook or Twitter followers, and include a link to the book on Amazon or Barnes and Noble (you pick). One entry per social media account per day during the contest. Forward a screenshot or link of your sentence+link to The links are available below:
  3. (10 entries each) Write an honest Amazon and/or B&N review of Silver Smoke and send a link to


Grand Prize Winner: Kindle Fire (or cash-equivalent Amazon gift card)
2nd Place (two winners): Kindle Touch (or cash-equivalent Amazon gift card)
3rd Place (three winners): Kindle (or cash-equivalent Amazon gift card)
Special Bloggers-Only Winner* (for blogger entrants - must enter via the web form): Kindle Fire (or cash-equivalent Amazon gift card)

Winners will be selected using on January 1, 2012 and announced on How To Be An Author by January 2, 2012.

*To enter the Bloggers-Only drawing (in addition to the regular drawing), you must forward a link to your post to AND add your name to this bloggers-only email list (not for promotional purposes... just an easy way to distribute promised items):

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Secret: Fill Your Life with Positivity!

You can change the path of your life
from dark to light or
from negative to positive.

Every single time you focus on the positive
you are bringing more light into your life,
and you know that
light removes all darkness.

Gratitude, Love,
Kind Thoughts, Words and Actions
bring Light and eliminate the darkness.

Fill your life with the Light of Positivity!
The Secret - Daily Teachings

Let us all be positive in our lives.  It can't be hard to focus on the positivity.  Be grateful in every little things that we have, give love and be kind even to strangers.

If I'm avoiding you, you probably exert negative energy which I do not want to absorb.

Being negative at every single small detail in our lives doesn't bring us good.

Don't you agree?

What Is The Secret

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Friday, December 16, 2011

My Memories Tip: Getting More Use Out of a QuickPage

Surprise your loved ones by purchasing 'My Memories Suite'. Let their creative minds create a beautiful photobook. Don't forget to use
Geca's CODE: STMMMS43107
to get $10 OFF!

Creating many different layouts using a single Quick Page is fast and easy, and your pages will all coordinate!

Many Quick Pages work when turned 90* and then turned again!! So you can use and reuse them!

 Let's look at this Quick Page:
And see that you can make it into this:
Now take the same Quick Page and turn it 90*
And look how you can use it again!!
And look how coordinated the pages look!! Perfect for a 2 page layout in a photobook!!

Surprise your loved ones who's got collections of family digital photos by purchasing 'My Memories Suite' (Digital Scrapbook). Let their creative minds create a beautiful photobook for the family.

Click this blinkie to buy this #1 rated digital scrapbook, My Memories:

Geca's CODE: STMMMS43107

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Winner of 'My Memories Suite' Giveaway Contest (via

Finally, we have a winner for this Giveaway Contest:

I'm happy to announce that 
the winner of
'My Memories Suite'
Giveaway Contest,
via, is 
Miss Joyahyie Algaba 
(5th guest commenter). 

Winner will be notified via e-mail for the instructions on downloading 
My Memories Suite.

Congratulations Miss Joyahyie !

Enjoy this #1 rated scrapbook software: My Memories.
Have a Great Holiday! 

For the Tutorial, please click these links:
Tutorial 2

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Rudolph, Jorge & Rhian (Update: with Video Clip)

Ten days ago, it was the birthday party of my sister's three kids: Rudolph, Jorge and
Happy Birthday Rudolph, Jorge and Rhian!
Rhian. It was convenient to celebrate their birthdays altogether because their birth dates are close to each other i.e. Jorge was born on 21st of November, Rhian was on December 3 and Rudolph was on the 5th.

It was raining that day and almost got soaked before we reached the Redragon Restaurant. However, we managed to keep the kids entertained and happy.

Here's the photos from the Merry Go Round game:

Photos during the Clowns' magic tricks/other games:

Group Photos:

Random Photos:

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fab it forward with Forever 21 MasterCard!

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With Forever 21 MasterCard, get first hand updates on Forever 21 special SALE events and enjoy percentage discount

Fab It Forward with Forever 21 MasterCard!

offerings on regular-priced items. Be the first to check out discounted and regular-priced items through your early pass privilege before mall opening.

What's more? ENJOY Birthday Discounts on selected items! And, the best part is that the Membership Fee for the FIRST year is FREE!

Let's all be FAB with Forever 21!

Fab it forward with Forever 21 MasterCard! ENJOY Birthday Discounts & Free Membership for the FIRST Year. Apply now! #Forever21MC

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

EJ's New Friend: Waggy

Meet my son's new friend... Waggy !
I fell in love with this beautiful beagle as soon as I saw him (so did EJ and Seamus
Waggy is derived from the UK surname Wagstaff e.g. Ken Wagstaff, a former English footballer noted for his playing career at Mansfield Town and Hull City football clubs.
Hull City is where Seamus was born and raised. Three decades after he was born, EJ was conceived in Hull City too.
too). So I requested for him to be groomed while we went to Max's Restaurant for dinner.

As we wait for our dinner to be served, we thought of numerous puppy names for the new member of the family. The three of us can't decide on one so Seamus googled famous puppy names.

We then nominated names and written them down on a table napkin.
From the list of names we got from the web, we still can't decide. Then EJ reminded us and asked for Kuya's name on the (mmorpg) Final Fantasy game we used to play. In that instant, Seamus and I thought of the name Waggy which was his game name. It was a tarutaru race and looks like this:
(in Black Mage outfit i.e. a Magician Warrior using black magic) 

So Waggy name was included in the nomination list. Other names got zero to one votes each while Snoopy and Dexter got two votes each and Waggy got three votes. Therefore, our new puppy is now officially named Waggy.
Look! Waggy seems to be happy and excited to run around his new home!
Welcome to the family, Waggy!
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