Politicomma on Wattpad

When the publishing industry gives you lemons, you give Wattpad a try. I’ll be posting a new chapter of my novel Politicomma every Thursday.

Politicomma Wattpad Cover

Jackie “Firespike” Melendez is thrilled with her recent promotion at Politicomma, one of the twelve pillar blogs that replaced the disarray of the old internet. But a simple assignment to track down a hacker targeting her team gets complicated when Firespike not only discovers the hacker is someone close to her, but also stumbles upon a plot to bring down the entire technological infrastructure of America.

At least she’s met a few cute guys while dealing with this mess. Too bad more than one of them isn’t exactly what he seems.

Politicomma was the first novel-length work I completed, edited and considered truly finished. My agent and I had a hard time finding a publisher that was a good fit for it, likely because it straddles genres. It wasn’t quite science fictiony enough to be sci fi, but it was a bit too speculative to be considered straight-up general fiction.

The last time I looked at this story was exactly three years ago and I was prepared to cringe hard, since I have a habit of hating my older work, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that a lot of Politicomma still holds together. Plenty still needs to be polished and de-adverbed, and I feel like my style has changed enough that I probably won’t re-submit it to publishers, but it seemed a shame to leave a project I spent so much time on in the desk drawer. So, maybe by publishing it on Wattpad, it’ll get a bit of love.

“Falling Man” & Roasted Broccoli Grilled Cheese

Recently posted over at PAPER/PLATES is my review of Don DeLillo’s difficult novel Falling Man.

Here’s a snippet of my piece:

Falling Man further illustrated that crater, deftly weaving in the perspectives of those who were on the ground and those who were thousands of miles away, the arguments about ideology, the suddenly nationalistic foreign policy decisions, and the secondhand implications the attacks had on children like me. One of the things that struck me most was how DeLillo managed to capture how this national tragedy trickled down to impact the minutiae of a single family’s lives: the decisions and uncertainties that make up our every day that suddenly become frivolous and absurd, and yet we must somehow go on with them because they are our ties to the world before everything changed.

I did know this before reading Falling Man, but I didn’t quite feel this. Lianne’s complicated emotions for her ex-husband – who survives the towers and returns to stay with her and their son – are blurred at times and jagged at others as 9/11 brings them back together and pushes them apart. Although an emotionally difficult and messily human story, Falling Man is worth the time and the tears, especially for anyone who keeps a piece of their heart in New York City. To quote Lianne reappropriating a haiku: “Even in New York — I long for New York.”

You can read the rest of my article and discover my new favourite grilled cheese recipe HERE.

PAPER/PLATES is an awesome blog run by my friend Amina Elahi and features insightful literary reviews, interviews with food bloggers, and (the best part) recipes inspired by books. So make sure to check out the rest of the blog while you’re at it!

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“The Lacuna” & Pan Dulce

Recently posted over at PAPER/PLATES is my review of Barbara Kingsolver’s luxurious novel The Lacuna.

Here’s a snippet of my piece:

The Lacuna doesn’t read like historical fiction, but it is a lush exploration of how momentous events like World War II and the Cold War impacted the lives of everyday individuals. It’s one thing to learn from a textbook that the fear of Communism pushed the U.S. to unfairly persecute foreigners, but when it starts happening to Shepherd, who you as a reader know intimately after several hundred pages, you feel the tragedies of history with a fresh pang.

Like I said, I love serendipitously finding the perfect book. The Lacuna is a luxurious examination of two themes very close to my heart: the impact of words and a writer’s inability to not write, as well as the infinite questions of identity that come with belonging, soul and citizenship, to more than one country.

You can read the rest of my article and explore my attempt at Pan Dulce HERE.

PAPER/PLATES is an awesome blog run by my friend Amina Elahi and features insightful literary reviews, interviews with food bloggers, and (the best part) recipes inspired by books. So make sure to check out the rest of the blog while you’re at it!

Paper Plates updated logo

“Property Of” by Alice Hoffman & Crunchy Honey Nut Granola

Recently posted over at PAPER/PLATES is my review of Alice Hoffman’s very first published novel Property Of.

Here’s a snippet of my piece:

As a person still working on her first novel, I’ve recently become curious about the first publications of my favorite authors. The evolutions in their writing are fascinating, as are the themes that some writers just can’t seem to let go of – like Kazuo Ishiguro with memory or Amy Tan with Chinese family politics.

Alice Hoffman gained international fame with Practical Magic (which I adore) and though her first novel Property Of is very different in style and tone, you can see the fresh shoots of themes she later returns to over and over again: the tensile nature of women’s strength and a fairytale-like focus on characters dabbling with gritty or suburban forms of magic.

You can read the rest of my article and explore my addictive granola recipe HERE.

PAPER/PLATES is an awesome blog run by my friend Amina Elahi and features insightful literary reviews, interviews with food bloggers, and (the best part) recipes inspired by books. So make sure to check out the rest of the blog while you’re at it!

Paper Plates updated logo

“Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage” & Orange Endive Salad

Recently posted over at PAPER/PLATES is my review of Haruki Murakami’s latest novel Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage.

Here’s a snippet of my piece:

True to his name, Tsukuru becomes an engineer with a focus on railroad stations, but it’s only when his girlfriend urges him to untangle the emotional knots left by his past that he decides to find his colorful friends and learn what happened. While I was as eager as Tsukuru to uncover the mystery, Murakami is a master of reminding us that no matter how many questions we ask, we can never really know everything about people, even those we consider closest to us.

You can read the rest of my article and explore my tasty winter salad recipe HERE.

PAPER/PLATES is an awesome blog run by my friend Amina Elahi and features insightful literary reviews, interviews with food bloggers, and (the best part) recipes inspired by books. So make sure to check out the rest of the blog while you’re at it!

Paper Plates updated logo

“The Secret History” & Il Palio Cocktails

Recently posted over at PAPER/PLATES is my review of Donna Tartt’s ice cold novel The Secret History.

Here’s a snippet of my piece:

A gift from a friend, The Secret History did what any great thriller does: kept me glued until the last page. It’s unconventional in its telling, as we know from the very beginning who did it and how. What drives the reader’s curiosity is the search for answers to more complicated questions like “Why?” and “What Now?”

More than a mere mystery, though, Tartt’s novel is a gorgeous exploration of the emotional ride of being a college freshman: that longing to escape where you came from and that desperation to belong to some more divine social group.

You can read the rest of my article and discover why I paired The Secret History with a recipe for Il Palio cocktails HERE.

PAPER/PLATES is an awesome blog run by my friend Amina Elahi and features insightful literary reviews, interviews with food bloggers, and (the best part) recipes inspired by books. So make sure to check out the rest of the blog while you’re at it!

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“A Single Man” & Baja Fish Tacos

Woo! Recently posted over at PAPER/PLATES is my review of Christopher Isherwood’s short novel A Single Man, which is 50 years old this year and still incredibly meaningful.

Here’s a snippet of my piece:

George not only faces the challenges of an expat but, due to his sexuality, he also has a much smaller pool of people he can trust with his true self. It’s akin to speaking a foreign language well enough for day-to-day interactions but not for communicating deep feelings or complex thoughts. You get along with the people around you but you are forever dogged by the knowledge that their impression of you is incomplete, that you have yet to find a way to say exactly what you’re thinking, and that you have no idea how they would respond even if you did.

You can read the rest of my article and discover why I paired A Single Man with a recipe for Baja Fish Tacos HERE.

PAPER/PLATES is an awesome blog run by my friend Amina Elahi and features insightful literary reviews, interviews with food bloggers, and (the best part) recipes inspired by books. So make sure to check out the rest of the blog while you’re at it!

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“The Cave” & Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Cookies

Recently posted over at PAPER/PLATES is my piece about Portuguese Nobel laureate José Saramago’s novel The Cave and why it inspired me to make peanut butter filled chocolate cookies. PAPER/PLATES is run by my friend Amina Elahi and features insightful literary reviews, interviews with food bloggers, and (the best part) recipes inspired by books.

Here’s a snippet of my post:

Reading The Cave is a very tactile experience. Since pottery is a key centerpiece of the novel, I knew I wanted to tackle a recipe that involved molding and sculpting material with my hands. However, I also wanted something with layers, as the modest appearance of the story cloaks a more complex exploration of humanity. These peanut butter filled chocolate cookies fit the bill. Much like the art of clay pottery and much like Saramago’s prose, this recipe requires patience and sometimes one or two tries to get down. But it’s hard to deny the satisfaction you feel upon completion. Be warned that these cookies are very rich; you WILL need a glass of milk to wash them down.

You can read the rest of the article and find the delectable cookie recipe HERE.

And make sure to check out the rest of the blog while you’re at it!

PAPER/PLATES

“The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet” & Wasabi Cocktail Sausages

Recently posted over at PAPER/PLATES is my article about The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, the latest novel from David Mitchell (author of Cloud Atlas), and the fusion party food recipe it reminded me of. PAPER/PLATES is run by my friend Amina Elahi and it features book reviews, delicious recipes, and (the best part) recipes inspired by books.

Here’s a snippet of my post:

Mitchell seamlessly alternates between the protagonists’ starkly different perspectives: Jacob’s pious, well-meaning but often clumsy standpoint; Ogawa’s careful balance of personal desires and societal demands; and Orito’s feminine strength and fierce will to survive. The author paints rich pictures of both Dutch and Japanese interpretations of the state of the world in the 18th century, which means one thing: fusion recipe. And since Mitchell doesn’t skimp on the tiny details, I thought something that required a bit of finesse was in order. Dejima was built to constrain foreign traders as part of Japan’s self-imposed isolationist policy, and this recipe delightfully mimics that concept by constraining European sausages in Asian ingredients: wasabi and spring onion.

You can read the rest of the article and find the Wasabi Cocktail Sausages recipe HERE.

And make sure to check out the rest of the blog while you’re at it!

PAPER/PLATES

“Kitchen” & Mom’s Chicken Divan

 

Recently posted over at the super awesome blog PAPER/PLATES is my article about Banana Yoshimoto‘s short novel Kitchen and how it reminds me of my favourite chicken dinner from childhood. PAPER/PLATES is run by my friend Amina Elahi and it features book reviews, delicious recipes, and (the best part) recipes inspired by books.

Here’s a snippet of my post:

What is remarkable about Kitchen is that it manages to explore the many facets of loss without being a depressing story. Grief is revealed to be simple actions and complex reactions. It is depicted as a lingering emotion in a world that eventually succeeds in pulling us forward. It neither validates nor invalidates who we are and what we believe in. Whenever I feel tragedy is overplayed in movies and underplayed in the news, I return to this refreshing reminder that grief is a part of all our lives but it is not the only part.

You can read the rest of the article and find the chicken divan recipe here.

And make sure to check out the rest of the blog too!

PAPER/PLATES