Friday, 24 June 2016

A writing update!

I have been sitting staring at this blank space for ages, trying to write a little piece of flash fiction, but I have to admit that I am all fictioned out. So I guess I'll write a writing update.

I looked at my submissions tracking list and realised that I have submitted a short story almost every month since January. Well, if you take into account the fact that I submitted two in Feb, that makes up for the non-submission in March. Oh wait, and two in January too (not counting the stuff I edited to submit for fellowships). I've had 3 rejections so far (boohoo) and I'm waiting for the other 4 to be rejected (hahaha; yay self esteem.).

Things I'm currently (or should be) working on:

  • The short story for submission to Insignia, which will probably happen because I just need to sit down and edit the darned thing. Especially the ending. 
  • The novella for submission to Tor, which will probably not happen because I am terrible at SciFi; I think I am going to abandon my ridiculous attempt which is going nowhere. At least I'll be able to recycle these plot bunnies in something else. 
  • Putting together the script for next month's drama thing, which I NEED TO CHASE PEOPLE FOR. OI. 
  • Revising Semicolon and possibly getting people to workshop it because I really want to do something with that script but it's just not really working. Ugh.
  • The Christmas Thing (sigh), both for my church, and for my godfather's church, because I always overcommit and cannot say no. Yikes.
  • Editing the Snow Queen retelling which is actually written but I don't know if I like enough.
  • ABSOLUTION. I need to finish Absolution and rewrite it. No matter what I think I want to work on, it always comes back to this one. For some reason, my spirit is telling me that this is key, even though I don't know why. 
  • Putting together Codes as a single, because I can. And hey, the more I throw out there on the market, the better, right? I think. 
  • The Wide Open Drabble I want to do for LUMA's Wide Open exhibition
  • Probably a flash for the #mywriters' Penang chapbook we're planning?
Yeah. So help me God. lol

Anyone has like an hour or so to do a quick beta/critique of a short story for me? :D

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

#bookreview: The Princess and the Captain by Anne-Laure Bondoux

The Princess and the CaptainThe Princess and the Captain by Anne-Laure Bondoux
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Skimming through the reviews, you find a very polarised opinion of the book. To be frank, if you're looking for a happy ending, don't bother reading this book. If you're looking for a tale of magic, love, adventure and the fantastical, you just might like it.

Princess Malva is sick of her life and the expectations her parents, the Coronador and Coronada of Galnicia, have placed on her. Encouraged by her tutor, the Archont, Malva makes a dash for freedom with her friend and chambermaid, Philomena. But at only sixteen, Malva isn't prepared for the dangers and the ordeals of the Known World. Escaping from one terrifying situation to another, Malva pushes on, driven only by her intense desire to reach Elgolia, the perfect utopia once described by a drunken sailor.

Orpheus McBott, of the line of the famous McBott seafaring men, has never set foot on a ship because of a head injury that would kill him after two days at sea. Then he discovers that the injury was a story made up by his father to keep him from discovering his pirating activities. When the Coronador calls for volunteers to go on an expedition to rescue his daughter, Orpheus jumps at the chance to fulfil his childhood dreams.

But the sea is a tricky thing and when Malva, Orpheus and their friends cross the Great Barrier, they have to face the ordeals set before them by the Catabea, Guardian of the Archipelago, in order to return to the Known World. If they fail, they will be tortured to death.

The Princess and the Captain is an enormously entertaining read, full of the fantastical and the magical. It's also full of heartbreak and tears and pain, of course, but that's all part of the story. Bondoux does not hesitate to press into her character's deepest secrets and makes them face their greatest fears - and their deepest desires. Malva is drastically changed by her adventure and you get to watch as she grows from a rebellious teenager into a wise young woman.

The story has a tragic end, as I said in the start, so if you really do not like sad endings, just don't read this book. Yet it is a book of hope and resilience amidst tears and there is much to be glad for too.

View all my reviews

Monday, 20 June 2016

#musicmonday: Saturn | Sleeping at Last



You taught me the courage of stars before you left.
How light carries on endlessly, even after death.
With shortness of breath, you explained the infinite.
How rare and beautiful it is to even exist.

I couldn’t help but ask
For you to say it all again.
I tried to write it down
But I could never find a pen.
I’d give anything to hear
You say it one more time,
That the universe was made
Just to be seen by my eyes.

I couldn’t help but ask
For you to say it all again.
I tried to write it down
But I could never find a pen.
I’d give anything to hear
You say it one more time,
That the universe was made
Just to be seen by my eyes.

With shortness of breath, I’ll explain the infinite
How rare and beautiful it truly is that we exist.


---

And it's curtains for W;T.

Saturn provided a fitting ending to the play, even as this rounds out my final post about it.

One day, I'll write a play as beautiful as this one. As poignant. As gripping. As devastatingly hopeful. 

Friday, 17 June 2016

In lieu of a #fridayflash, here's a... strange #poem? #throwback


I was looking for a pastel yellow slightly-smaller-than-A5 MGS co-op notepad with Forever Friends printed on it, which contains notes I remember writing for a Christmas exhibition/thing I once wanted to do that sounds very like what is being proposed for this year's Christmas thing, but I found this instead.

As far as I can tell, there were two brothers - Sean and Jordan - and Sean is writing about Jordan's cat, but I... have no idea what it was about. Or who they are. I remember writing a Jordan Dastream once, but WHO IS SEAN???? And why doesn't the last line rhyme? What was I doing? Why was I writing on exam paper? If I'm writing on exam paper, it's probably from... 1999? (Well, anytime from between 1998 - 2001, but likely 1999 because in 2000 - 2001, I was writing in a notebook.)

At any rate, if I can't find that notepad, I will probably have to reconceptualise everything. Boo.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

#bookreview: Indie Author Survival Guide by Susan Kaye Quinn

Indie Author Survival Guide (Second Edition)Indie Author Survival Guide by Susan Kaye Quinn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'd heard a lot of good stuff about this book, so when the second edition came out and I had money (i.e. Amazon gift card balance), I decided to get it. Also, I was there as a book blogger when she first released Open Minds, and then she started becoming like this big name in something like 2 - 3 years, and I'm thinking, dang, how did she do that?

Then it sat in my kindle for ages and ages and ages until January when I was working on releasing my novella (Coexist) and getting the jitters.

Well, the Indie Author Survival Guide has tonnes of good advice, some of which I read and went *phew! I'm doing that*, some of which made me cringe, like *oh noooooo am I making a huge mistake here?*, and others which are just, okay, I'll work on that once I get the stuff I'm working on out of the way.

I guess it's the most beneficial to those who are just starting on the journey - or better still, before you start on the journey so you avoid some obvious mistakes - though I'm sure older hands will also be able to glean some nuggets of gold from it as well.

View all my reviews

Monday, 13 June 2016

Friday, 10 June 2016

#fridayflash: Mince Pies



She'd been small then, a little slip of a child. Small-boned, brown-skinned, black-haired. Undeniably other. She peered up at the shelves of pastries. Stared at them hungrily.

He'd loomed large over her. Tall, white, hunched. A crazy grin on his face. Or maybe not so crazy. Just other.

"Which d'you want, eh?"

She pointed.

"Cat got your tongue?"

"That one, please."

"The mince pie?"

"Mince?" She frowned at it. Squinted, rather. "It's meat?"

He laughed. "Vegetarian meat. I assure you."

"Vegetarian meat?"

"Just pulling your leg. It's just a mince pie. You'll like it. It's dessert." He wrapped the little pie in a brown paper bag and passed it to her.

"Thank you."

"Merry Christmas."

---

I'm writing this in a cafe on Monday afternoon, contemplating the loss of my uncle. Funnily enough the first thing I thought about (true-blue Malaysian that I am) was that there would be no more British Christmas dinners. With roast turkey and potatoes and carrots, cheese cauliflower (no matter how much I do not eat cauliflower OR carrots), trifle and mince pies. Home-made pizza. Dry British humour. The strange way he pronounces things. Stupid things like how he nearly drowned me because I don't know how to goof around in the water like his boys. How I don't always know if he's serious or he's joking (hint: he's usually joking).

By the time this is posted, we would have buried him. We would have bid goodbye to his earthly shell, to the flesh that breaks down and returns to the earth that it came from. It is strange, this coming and this going. Life, death, eternal life. Assurance. Faith. Hope. It is different when a person was still outwardly strong and full of life, than when someone was already nearing the end.

But for now, this is goodbye, until we meet again.