About The Author:
Justin Ordoñez was born in Spain, raised in the mid-west, and currently lives in Seattle. He's nearly thirty years old, almost graduated from the University of Washington, and prefers to wait until TV shows come out on DVD so he can watch them in one-shot while playing iPad games. For fifteen years, he has written as a freelance writer, occasionally doing pieces as interesting as an editorial, but frequently helping to craft professional documents or assisting in the writing of recommendation letters for people who have great praise for friends or colleagues and struggle to phrase it. Sykosa is his debut novel.
Why I Write Then What I Wrote Now.
I warn you. This is a bit of an ugly story.
It involves a kid who was always too tall for his age, and was insecure about it, and didn’t understand why adults always told him, “You’re so tall. You’re so lucky.” This kid was also built like a house, with a skeletal system that must have weighed a ton, and muscles that generated so much force, he often—when too excited—injured his normal sized friends by accident, which means he often heard from the adults, “You don’t know your own strength. You’re so strong, you can’t do what everyone else does.” Yet, like the tall comment, this was spoken without a lick of sarcasm, and with a slight admiration. Being so huge, this kid came to the conclusion that he was fat when he wasn’t, and then became fat after he started over-eating to deal with the stress of it. Convinced he was a goon, and sub-intelligent since he had an energy that shut down his brain in a way that often made him appear an imbecile, he was unsurprised, upon entering school, to find he was failing, and doing so in a way that confused his teachers. He could write, but he couldn’t read. He could ace math speed tests, then be incapable of adding in the final step of a simple problem seconds later. On Monday, he knew something inside and out. On Tuesday, he couldn’t recall it.
It appears he liked Carebears too.
This kid, his life, was a montage of adults looking at him like, “You’re not trying hard enough.” And when they weren’t looking at him like that, they were sometimes avoiding him, or huffing their breath, or moving in a manner they barely camouflaged, maybe thinking this boy lacked intellect capable of reading it. His parents tried. His mother worked with him at night—to little progress and his emotional outbursts. Everyday when his father dropped him off at Latchkey, this kid heard, “You need to focus. Think before you do something,” and this was the same father who, decades later, when this boy was grown adult, pulled him aside to say, “You were so big, we forgot how young you were—you looked nine when you were six. We wanted you to behave how you looked. We expected too much from you.”
This kid was me.
There were few escapes for me as a child. And being such a ball of energy, even fewer moments for reflection. My childhood was one impulse to the next, very chaotic and unfocused, and these explosions were padded by a depression that made me restless, resentful, and capable of taking action about it. At some point, I realized that no one knew what to do with me because no one around me had ever experienced life the way I did. Because of this, I kept secrets. I was never truthful with adults because I feared the repercussions, and I came to understand—as all struggling students do—the adult world well. A world that says it gives a crap about you, but if you say the right words, in the right combination, the right box gets checked, and we all transform into different cogs in a different part of the machine.
That’s the contradiction about failing school.
You have to get good at it.
I had one escape. For some reason, I loved books. I say, “for some reason,” because it was senseless. I couldn’t read. And when I say that, I don’t mean “I couldn’t read,” like I had been air-dropped into China and left to navigate my way to the American embassy based on the foreign street signs. I could read, “dog,” “cat,” “I,” and understood the verb “to be” in its many forms. When you can’t read, you actually know a lot words, but that’s not reading. Sometimes, if I was having a good day, I could actually read whole sentences, maybe even whole paragraphs, save I had no idea what I was reading. I couldn’t put it together.
This is the part where people get arrogant.
“Did you try the trickle-down method to reading? It works, just be patient.”
The little voice in their head thinks, “Well, I coulda fixed that. It’s about talking through the sentences, getting meaning.” Fair enough. But, that’s not exactly a revolutionary thought that escaped every education professional throughout the 1980s. What was going on with me was far more frustrating. I mean it when I say I couldn’t read. I’m not implying that if I practiced more, I’d get better. Or if my parents were more focused on discipline, I’d get better. Or if I had whatever fancy, new reading technique that’s storming hyper-aware parents in the same fashion weight-loss crazes do people who love to eat and don’t want to stop. It wasn’t about teachers, parents, or the classroom environment.
It was simple: I couldn’t read.
Knowing that, this is where the story gets convoluted. If I read something myself, I couldn’t understand it. But, if someone read it to me, if I heard it, I recalled it instantly, in great detail, almost word-for-word, and I could retain the information permanently. The issue? Try to get your teacher to read everything out loud to you and try to keep listening when you’re bored as sin. It wasn’t happening. Making it even weirder, I couldn’t read, but I could write. If I had something to say in my head, I was able to find the language to say it, and I was able to put it down on paper. And if I wrote it, I never felt confused when I read it.
It always made perfect sense to me.
Yet, “for some reason,” I say again, I loved books. I walked around with them. I watched other people reading them. I loved going to the library and getting lost in the stacks. At night, when alone in my room, I’d open a book—one of my Mom’s Danielle Steel hard covers or something—and I’d stare at the words I couldn’t understand. Sometimes I’d try to read it, fail instantly, and fall back into my zone. As boring as it sounds, I stared at the black letters, occasionally turning a page, pretending I was advancing in the story, really just emulating everyone I was jealous of, everyone who could read, everyone who understood the words on the pages.
What’s that? Wanna step outside and tell me I can’t read this?
You have a limited life experience and little vocabulary as a child. You don’t know what’s wrong and you wouldn’t know how to express it if you did. But, you feel it. You feel it as strongly and as naturally as you feel anything when you’re an adult. Somehow, I knew it was wrong that I couldn’t read these books. I knew I should be able to do it. I felt more than potential inside of me, it was certainty. In a strange way, I guess I couldn’t understand the words because, when I looked at them, they were the least important thing there—there were ghosts, auras, extensions of consciousness, and something spiritual on those pages. The best I can describe it is to say that there’s a whole spectrum to sight. In this universe, there are gamma rays, x-rays, and all types of things you can’t see with your eyes, but they are there, and if you could see them, you’d be seeing a world unlike any you’ve encountered.
When I stared at these books, that’s what it felt like.
I was seeing things that shouldn’t have been there.
I kept it a secret since I thought people would laugh at me.
No, Justin, we’re laughing at—with, WITH, you! We’re laughing with you!
For years, I cycled this behavior. Few school successes, often academic failures (or my mother doing my homework while I watched), fake-reading at night, which as time did progress, became less fake reading, but I didn’t get as better as one might think, and didn’t start really getting better until eighth grade, when remarkably, I suddenly became able to learn, and I was able to do so effortlessly, and did it outside of my control. Against what one might expect, this ability made me even less interested in school, as I only needed teachers for those things that were really complicated. Besides, this new ability to focus, this new found well of knowledge in me, gave me a confidence to begin pursuing the goal I had one evening made for myself many years before, during one of those long, late night fake reading sessions.
I had decided I wanted to write a novel.
The notion was so pure, and it instantly resonated, and since I’m prone to being tragically romantic, I bought into it instantly on faith. I started to work seriously on my writing then, passionately, without the incentive of grades or money or fame, just enjoying my time on the keyboard—sometimes for escape, sometimes for art, sometimes for love, sometimes for things that felt so important they might save the world. (If you’ve written, you know writing makes you feel that way). It stayed with me past high school, to the end of teen years. When I was over 21 and my friends were going to bars, I always met up with them later in the night, cause I needed a few hours to lay down some words. When relationships began, there was writing. When they ended, there was especially writing.
Soon it became more than writing.
It became Sykosa.
And Sykosa became the novel I had dreamed about all those years ago when I was lying in my bed. It wasn’t my first novel, but it was the first in a way, in the sense that it met my criteria for a novel, and I had finally felt the satisfaction I thought writing a novel should bring.
I’m very proud of this girl!
And this guy, too.
So here it is:
Sykosa (that’s “sy”-as-in-“my” ko-sa) is a story about a sixteen year old girl trying to reclaim her identity after an act of violence shatters her life and the lives of her friends. It’s been described as ‘gritty, intense and definitely not a book I'll forget’ and ‘This book really snuck up on me. I would find myself thinking about it when I was driving or doing other things.’ Basically, Sykosa and her friends attend a weekend-long, unchaperoned party at Niko's posh vacation cottage, where Sykosa will confront Niko and her friends over what happened last year. She will also have to deal with her new boyfriend, Tom, and decide if this is the weekend she wants to lose her virginity to him.”
Hope you check it out!
Hey! Justin Ordoñez wrote a book called Sykosa. It’s about a sixteen year old girl who’s trying to reclaim her identity after an act of violence destroys her life and the lives of her friends. You can find out more about Justin at his blog, http://sykosa.wordpress.com. You can also find Sykosa, the novel on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007N709IG/
Author: Justin Ordoñez
Price: $12.95 paperback, $2.99 ebook
Publisher: TDS Publishing
Release: March 2012
Publisher: TDS Publishing
Release: March 2012
Kindle bestseller The Destiny of Shaitan is a delicious blend of gods & humans, sacred & profane; a gripping ride offering a glimpse into your own power.Partially set in a futuristic Bombay, this coming of age story is painted against the backdrop of a post-apocalyptic world.When Tiina accompanies Yudi on a mission to save the universe from the ruthless Shaitan, she seeks more than the end of the tyrant; she seeks herself. Driven by greed and fear for his own survival, Shaitan bulldozes his way through the galaxy, destroying everything in his path. Tiina wants Yudi to destroy Shaitan, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Shaitan being killed by his son. But she finds that Yudi is hesitant to do so. The final showdown between Tiina, Yudi, and Shaitan has unexpected consequences, for Shaitan will do anything in his power to win the fight. The stakes are high and the combatants determined. Will Shaitan's ultimate destiny be fulfilled?
Thank you to the kind people at Tribute Books for the following giveaway! Here's what you can win:
A PDF copy of the novel!
***INTERNATIONAL!*** (Open to Everyone!) Giveaway policies: · To Enter: Please leave a comment indicating why you want to read this novel and leave your e-mail address. · This giveaway ends on August 15, 2012 · This giveaway is open to those 18 years of age or older. · All giveaway winners will be announced on the blog. · I can disqualify any entry as I see fit. · I will use Random.org to select the winners. · Once the winners have been notified, they will have 24 hours to confirm their interest otherwise new winners will be selected.
Happy reading until next time!