Farewell 2012!

To be honest, I am quite happy to see 2012 go. The year has been filled with ups and downs with the downs dominating the second half of the year.

Writing
Stories were published. Novellas were read. Submissions are – well- submitted. The Ayam Curtain, co-edited with J.Y.Yang, is published. A physical book, dammit!

And Yao Jin in Weird Noir. :)

Life
October, November and December were hardest on my emotions. The family is trying to cope with the issue of cancer. My cat has diabetes and has been in and out of the vet hospital. I think my emotions are frayed and gone to the point of exhaustion.

Finances
Not too pretty at the moment. I hope to get a job. Yes, job hunting, again.

I end this short blog post with a nice review of Phoenix With A Purpose.

Some food-related excerpts from Phoenix With A Purpose

Hot steam plumed in the air, issuing forth from various stations manned by harried servants. There were sounds of chatter and of chopping. The smells were overwhelming. All heat and steam. A young chef was decorating a dish with a carved edible figurine of a bird in flight. Two women were slicing fresh sea-carp into paper-thin petals, placing them onto fine porcelain plates to be served raw with a savory dip. Steamers with sweet and savory pastries were lowered into the cookers. A group of apprentice cooks was mixing sauces, ladling thin soy into delicate sauce bowls and blending spices into glutinous pastes.

~*~
Fei added a pinch of sea salt into the broth fei was making. It was a seafood broth, with cooked clams opened up like little pink butterflies and red crustaceans with bristly feelers and claws.

The cook beside fei regarded fei curiously. “You are new.”

Available on:
Amazon Kindle.
Smashwords.
Lulu
Part 1 & Part 2 (Wattpad)

Boxing Day!

It’s Boxing Day and in Singapore, it’s back to work for most people.

I also remember the tsunami that wrecked havoc eight years ago.

It’s nearing the end of the year. What have I done? What are my accomplishments? What are my successes and failures?

I want to be hopeful for the new year. I am hopeful… and wary.

What are your hopes for the new year?

***

The Christmas gift has been extended until the 31st of December, with added bonus. :)

Merry Christmas and Happy Yule!

A surprise for all Jan Xu fans:

Heart Of Fire – Chapter One.

christmasfeast

And Merry Christmas!

Path of Kindness ends.

pathofkindness

Last chapter goes up today/night: Kindness goes home.

Smashwords link to the whole novella: here.

Thank you for reading and supporting this web serial!

The Next Big Thing meme.

It’s going around. Was tagged by Graham Storrs, Aliette de Bodard and Bryan Thao Worra. ;)

***
1) What is the working title of your next book?
Heart of Fire. It is the third book of my urban fantasy series set in Singapore.
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
As it is set in Singapore, ideas are drawn from the many cultures and traditions, especially the Chinese. I also draw from character observation (people-watching helps, a lot).
3) What genre does your book fall under?
Urban fantasy.
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
My main character – Jan Xu – would be portrayed by either Grace Park or Ming-Na Wen. But of course, I would find a Singaporean actress to portray her.
The drake lord – Kevin Sutherland – would be fleshed out perfectly by Daniel Craig.
(I can dream on and on, can’t I?…)
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Jan Xu defeats her inner demons and pulls herself together to protect her pack against old and new enemies.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Not self-published nor represented by an agency.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
A year.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Charles de Lint?
It’s not your typical urban fantasy novel with the heroine getting it on with the hero (or villain). So, to be honest, I couldn’t find any books to compare the book to.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Singapore. And the wish to read something I could connect with.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Chinese traditions. An unique wolf-shifter culture. Something different from US-centric tropes. Something I want to resonate with.

I am tagging Joelyn Alexandra, Lina Salleh, and J. Y. Yang (who passed it to Sarah Coldheart). You are next, guys! *evil laugh*

A princess with a special gift?

When the Empress of the Phoenix Court, matriarchal ruler of the Alliance Planets, gave birth to her first daughter, the royal midwives took blood samples from the blood-covered newborn and ran routine tests. The princess was healthy, immensely so – and she carried the gene that would turn human to phoenix. The midwives brought the good news to the resting Empress who, tired after an exhausting labor, simply nodded and drowsed, the little princess in the crook of her right arm.

The gene carried the phoenix flame, the vital spark triggering the fantastic transformation from human to a mythological bird created from fire. No one knew how the gene came about, only that it was passed down from mother to daughter, from a matrilineal bloodline stretching way back to Old Terra. What people knew was that certain women could shape-shift into glorious birds of light and energy, and the gene could jump generations.

Stories and myths grew around this genetic gift, an almost magical aura surrounding the Phoenix Court which, in itself, was purely Imperial and political in nature, run by women and female relatives. These lordly women sent their starships across the galaxies, founding and strengthening the Alliance Planets, a conglomeration of planets and colonies formed after the Dispersal from Old Terra, with inter-marriages and pacts. As they spread their influence like large cosmic wings, so did the myths and legends of phoenixes.

***
Interested? You read it here. Free at Smashwords. Print link at Lulu.
Amazon Kindle.

Sometimes, the heart breaks.

This weekend has been an emotional roller-coaster for me. It is my wedding anniversary weekend. We had a vacation and it was fun. But when we came back, reality hit. My boy cat, whom I had looked after since kittenhood, was on the verge of death. We rushed him to a neighborhood vet who said they couldn’t ward him as they didn’t have the facilities. So, we brought him to another emergency vet who immediately warded him in and placed him in ICU.

I think I cried enough. Seeing him so sick, so dehydrated, broke my heart.

How do you mend a broken heart?

How do you heal it, bruised as it is by the numerous obstacles it has encountered?

How?

How?

How?

This year has been a year that I would have gladly forgotten. Finances are tight, people whom I love and care for are ill, and my health hasn’t been good as well. I am still looking for a job. At the same time, I am battling fatigue and stress. Not sure when I could stop, because obligations are fine as barbed wire. But I have learned and fought how to say ‘no’, how to draw my boundaries.

How much is my heart going to take?

Tip Jar for a Phoenix

phoenix with a purpose-1

Phoenix With A Purpose.

If you like it, do drop a tip of 1 dollar into the jar. Or what you can do is to like on Facebook or signal boost. Finances are tight for me this month and I am trying this again.

donate here.

EDIT:
If you so like, drop that tip into the jar if you like my other stuff!

A bit of what I am working on, of late.

Huge blue boxes. Five of them. They looked like old-fashioned book cabinets. A strange ghostly figure, clothed in a white protective baggy suit and netted helmet, moved about with a silver cylinder spouting smoke. When it saw Ah Ming approach, it waved a gloved hand and beckoned the young officer forward. Ah Ming walked on gingerly. Bees were flying around, going about their tasks. In a way, he thought, they are like me. A worker bee. Still, he had to curb the wild urge to run away. His nape itched madly, as if remembering the sting and the fever that felt like fire. He craved his safe little cubicle in a building right in the middle of the city. It was an ordeal.

***

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