Saturday 30 November 2013

super mini update: nanowrimo and book launch


And now I have a literary fest to attend and a book to launch this afternoon.

I wish I could blog more but that will have to come later.

Saturday 23 November 2013

Love in Penang goes LIVE!

Okay, so yesterday was a really crazy day for me. Three things happened yesterday - it was Shaun's birthday (happy birthday, Shaun!) and I attended KPMG's annual dinner (as a guest, haha!) and Love in Penang launched its online sales!



Where to buy?


2. Fixi's website (p/s yo, Malaysians! It's cheaper here!)

3. At Malaysian retailers near you!

Do drop by at our facebook page for more updates and come for our book launch on 30 Nov!

Sunday 17 November 2013

#nanowrimo update number 2

This is more or less today's starting point. It's still looking dismal, and looking at my schedule I don't feel I have enough time to catch up.

But... I will push on and try.

Also, because I'm weird, my story is now being updated on Wattpad at a pace of maybe 1 or 2 chapters behind where I'm writing. This delay is just in case I feel like changing some stuff here and there (which would normally be in the later chapters rather than the earlier).

There's also a Wattpad reader installed on my webpage here for your convenience. Wattpad also lets you read on your mobile device, with the code 29758100.

So to end today's update, here's another excerpt. (from a chapter not yet on Wattpad... lol!)
Song cleared his throat and looked at King Music. The royal couple broke their gaze, Music with a quizzical look on his face, Soprano with a slight blush. He nodded at Song, who nodded, and closed his eyes.
Fear gripped Song’s heart as he tried to listen for the Song. He cleared his throat again, licking his lips. The sound of the drumming fingers annoyed him, and he wanted to chew out the princess for being so annoying. A while passed before his lips parted again, and he started to sing. 
It started as a low rumble, like a grumble of pain, erupting into a blast of hurt. Struggling to control it, Song grasped at the stream, trying to direct where the song was going, but it was like fighting with a typhoon. A shrill whine soon appeared above the maelstrom - Soprano, fascinated by the rush of thunder was riding the wave. Eyes half-closed, Alto’s lower pitch soon joined in, adding minors and sevens into the mix. Tenor hesitated - this wasn’t the kind of song he had been expecting - but as King Music nodded at him, he also belted in his frustration and bitterness. In less than two minutes, it was over. As a Song, it was the most discordant and short piece to ever have debuted from the heir to the throne. But in a time where the talent seemed to be dying out, it was a welcome sigh of relief. 
“Thank you, son,” King Music said, tears streaming down his face. “After so many years, I finally have a successor.”
“A kind of strange song to sing for your debut,” Princess Alto sniffed, seemingly inspecting her fingernails. 
“I did what I could,” Song said tightly.
“We all do what we can,” Tenor interjected, trying to head off the argument. He scowled at Alto. She scowled back. 
“Well, now that’s settled - we can make the official announcement,” the King said, regaining his composure. He rose from his chair and walked forward to embrace Song. “Let’s go to the music room and work out a nice royal announcement song. Then we can get the arrangers to make it pretty for your Acceptance Ceremony.”
The two of them left the room. The Queen sat fidgeting in her chair for a while, but with a nod to Alto and Tenor, she left as well. 
“So - you think he’s the real thing?” Alto asked as soon as they were alone in the room. 
Tenor shrugged. “Maybe. That was a real Song. No faking it. Couldn’t you feel the resonance?”
A look of uncertainty crossed Alto’s face. She seemed determined to hate Prince Song. “Well -”
“It was curious, though, that he never once asked about Prince Bass,” Tenor continued. “Don’t you find that strange?”
“Well, not all the council is here. Maybe he assumed that Bass was not around.”
“When Bass was one of his closest teachers?”
It was Alto’s turn to shrug. 

Saturday 16 November 2013

#bookreview: Running Against Traffic by Gaelen VanDenbergh

Paige Scott spent her childhood shuffled between relatives who ignored her, and her adult life hiding in her crumbling marriage to wealthy David Davenport. When David suddenly thrusts her into a remote, impoverished world, Paige is forced to face the betrayals of her past - not to mention the colorful townies of her present. Unexpected friendships and her discovery of running propel her on a jagged and comical journey toward learning how to truly live.


Running Against TrafficRunning Against Traffic by Gaelen VanDenbergh
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paige Davenport had it all - a rich husband and an easy socialite life - until her husband drives her out to the middle of nowhere and abandons her at a ramshackle house. For the first time in her easy life, she realizes that 1) she has no true friends, 2) she has never appreciated all the good things in her life until then and 3) she has never actually really lived.

Running Against Traffic is a humorous story of how Paige slowly starts to pull herself together with the help of Deidre, Darnell, Al and Bryce - even if Al and Bryce need just as much help as she does! Paige was annoyingly useless in the beginning - I wanted to slap her silly - but grew over the pages of the book, even though she lapsed a few times.

Al was a conflict of sorts - one thing that bugged me a little was how VanDenbergh left so many questions hanging about him - like what was stopping Al from just sleeping with her? Was he just being gentlemanly? Did he have a problem with it? There were hints and strange conversations with Darnell, his brother, but nothing really concrete - or maybe I was too dense to pick it up. (Or was VanDenbergh trying to keep it clean? If she was, then she shouldn't have even gone there... lol. It felt confusing. Like, I'm going to have you two in compromising situations, but no, not sex. We can't have the two of you actually having sex.)

Overall, Running Against Traffic was a light, interesting read. True, some parts felt a little contrived, but it was an overall uplifting story of how even a spoilt young woman can rise amid challenging circumstances and make something of her life.

* I received a free copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews


You can pick up Running Against Traffic from AMAZON, BARNES & NOBLE or GOODREADS.

Gaelen VanDenbergh is a writer, runner, and compulsive list-maker who lives in Philadelphia with her family, a fat cat, and several fish. Her debut novel Running Against Traffic, was a Global Ebook Award nominee, a semifinalist in the The Kindle Book Review’s 2013 Best Indie Book Awards, a semifinalist in the Readers' Favorite 2013 International Book Award Contest, Indie Book of the Day, June 30, 2013, a 2013 Beach Book Festival Award nominee, and has received a four star review in InD’tale Magazine. When not writing, Gaelen enjoys reading, running races for charities, and spending as much time in Key West and the Adirondacks as she can.

You can find her here:

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Monday 11 November 2013

PSA/Wanted: Healthy Penangites

It's apparently Leukemia awareness month in my little world, so this is a little PSA/announcement/call for action/whatever you call it.

1. Stem Cell Donors Registration

p/s apparently we still need to make up the numbers to 100 before this drive/test can be carried out in Penang.
pp/s if you want to register as a donor, and you're in KL, you can contact Malaysian Stem Cell Registry (MSCR) Tel: +603-26162666

2. Donate Blood at Penang General Hospital

3. Provide support. Mentally, emotionally, spiritually.

Sunday 10 November 2013

First #nanowrimo check in

Okay, I wanted to check in more often, but I've been busy busy busy busy.
At any rate, this has been a good writing weekend, even if I'm behind.

Anyways, here's an excerpt:

He could feel the edges of a song rising in his head. A song of panic and confusion. A song of fear and failure. But even as he grasped at it, it fled out of his reach.
The rougher edges of his headache had dissipated in the fog, but it still felt as if bands of steel were holding him in his own head.

What’s going on?
He grasped the baton tighter in his hands, feeling reassured as it started to glow slightly. He closed his eyes and tried to concentrate.

Sing a song of confidence. Sing a song of faith.

But he couldn’t find it. The melody seemed to slip through his fingers, the rhythm stumbled over itself and the words seemed to be pulled right out of his throat. The baton glowed and sputtered in turn. He could feel his power and talent being sucked right out of him through the fingers that grasped the slender golden tube.

Drop it? Is it turning against me? Has it rejected me? Drop it? Maybe?
What are you doing?
His thoughts jumbled in his head and more than once, he wondered if there were someone else talking in his head.

The baton slipped out of his fingers.

What are you doing? Why did you let go? Would you so easily give up your one chance?
How do I know it is a chance and not a threat?
Find your centre, boy. Hurry. Find who you are.
Leave him alone. Let him find his way.
Pick up the baton; It’s your only hope.
Find who you are. Find your centre.
Who are you?
Who am I? I am…

The boy crumpled to the ground in tears. He couldn’t remember who he was. He couldn’t remember what he was there for. All he knew was that he was in a strange, terrifying place, with voices that argued against itself in his head. Something poked into him and he sat up, grasping the long, slender stick in his hand. He searched his memory, listening to the odd feeling in his heart that this was once very important to him, had been very important to him for a large portion of his life.

A surge of power flowed into his body and he gasped as it filled every cranny of his being: he felt as if he were on fire, as if hot gold flowed in his veins, as if he would explode if he did not burn up before that. The boy threw back his head and Sang.

The notes, soft at first, full of anguish and pain, dipped in confusion, soared into bittersweetness, running through the minors and grazing against the majors. Wordlessly, he sang – he sang pain into existence, sharp barbs that stung and bled; thick oozing blood that stained and would not be washed away. When he ran out of pain, he dipped into the depths of loneliness, the strain of always being together but always apart, the secret knowledge that he denied himself: that Beauty only wanted him for what he had, and not who he was, the knowledge that if he married her, if he pursued her, he would always be alone; her heart was not made to be shared. But what of his? He searched for the right notes, for the right swell, for the right flow to ride. He sang of comfort and contentment, of the pride of being, of the way he hid his heart, how he carefully held in his generous spirit and loving nature because it would never do, never ever do, as a Prince of the Land to fall in love with – with Cherry. Cherry, the sweet girl who had once brought his dinner every night without fail, who had once listened to him ranting without a word, who still managed smiled at him when he was exceptionally mean, who told him in the quiet of the night before he went to bed that he was an insufferable prick and his mother would be disappointed in him as a man, who he had dismissed without a word because she – he – she - his song softened as the tears flowed again, releasing the pride in him, releasing the pain and the hurt and the confusion, as he consolidated himself, throwing away the things that were bad, digging deep again for the boy he once was, and trying to become the man, the Prince, the King he would one day be.

Song opened his eyes.

Wednesday 6 November 2013

A quick half-asleep update

Nanowrimo started on Friday and I have less than 2,000 words.

Mainly because I took a 18 hour train to Hua Hin on Saturday afternoon, before which I was up almost all Friday night and Saturday morning trying to fix edits for Love in Penang before I left (which I didn't manage to and have to continue tomorrow). And so I was sleepy all afternoon on the train, through a few games of Resistance, and then we had dinner during which I felt train sick, so as soon as they fixed up the beds I took an early night.

The bed was quite comfortable, but when I woke up in the morning I couldn't write either because I'm not that good at concentrating in moving vehicles.

Then it was Speed Bang on the train, breakfast, hanging out at the shopping mall because the sun was too hot, some rest and a few measly words, then Plearnwan, awesome seafood dinner and a little night market shopping and 2 rounds of Bang until 2AM.

There were only 7 places left on the train and there were 8 of us, so we spent a lot of time discussing how to get back home - but that was settled on Monday.

Monday started at 7-ish with the power going off and the water going off (all for short whiles, thankfully) and then searing hot beach with the after effects of a mini typhoon, where there were really strong waves and lots of washed up squid. I did not take pictures of the washed up fish.

(I apparently can't paste the squid picture here cos it didn't get sent to facebook, but you can look it up on instagram.)

Then it was lunch followed by drinks at Let's Sea, and then a slight pause in the afternoon to rest/wash up/play Speed Bang before dinner.
After dinner we waited at the bus station for almost an hour before our bus to Hatyai arrived, where I crashed almost immediately (at I think 9-ish pm? or maybe 10) and then we had supper at something like midnight and reached Hatyai at 8AM. Where we immediately hopped on another van (at 8.30am) to take us back to Penang where by the time we ta-paued lunch, I got home at 2pm.
And then I worked, because I was supposed to.
And now I'm going to sleep.

Good night all.
I am tired and cannot think anymore.

P/S. I had a look at the cover for Love in Penang. Too bad I can't share it yet :P