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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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