Merry Hallows’ Eve!

Whatever you are celebrating, be happy, be merry and also remember those who have gone before us.

In the home stretch for the release of Obsidian Moon, Obsidian Eye.

And Samhain creeps ever closer.

I can’t wait for the release of Obsidian Moon, Obsidian Eye. It’s the second book of the series – and slightly different in tone. Darker, perhaps – but the tenacity of the Lang shines through as always.

Also started wondering if I could write RPG fiction. I am a fan of Games Workshop and Catalyst Lab Games fiction (“fluff”). D (my husband) suggested writing steampunk fiction for Leviathans and I put it off, thinking that the story in mind – Asian/Chinese steampunk with flying warships – would not work. I posted it yesterday. Perhaps my story might work or it might not even ring a bell.

Samhain is end of the week. I will remember those who have passed and cherish those who are here. Halloween, All Hallow’s Eve – have fun and stay safe!

Wolves of Singapore

The lovely Nerine Dorman interviewed me on her blog:

Wolves of Singapore, a meeting with J. Damask


Yesterday was my last day at work. I still have mixed feelings about it. I am going to miss my students.

Of course, I went back straight into writing though, at the moment it’s not bringing in the dough. 😉 I added a new chapter for Path of Kindness: http://jolantru,

I will be speaking at Writecamp held during Singapore Writers’ Festival. The topic is genre fiction.

OMOE excerpt

Just to tease you a little…

Something about this country crushes the soul and breaks spirits. Some pundits say Singapore was just built for the sake of commerce: a machine, nonetheless, soulless with a heart of stone. You see it in the faces of people who stream into the train stations or walk down the streets hurriedly, lost in their own worlds–bland, boring and pragmatic. Not a nice description of Singaporeans.

Yet Singapore still attracts a steady flow of immigrants, eager to start new lives, drawn to the prospects of safe streets and secure jobs. The same goes for the Myriad–new lives, new homes, new landscapes for theirs to change and modify. They bring their own politics, petty grievances and bad habits. We mostly stick to our own business. Sometimes the politics overlaps. Sometimes it doesn’t.

Sometimes the petty grievances follow individuals or families until the present day. There are Myriad factions good at holding grudges. Tit-for-tat, an eye for an eye. Tooth and claw. Fang and talon. Grudge-bearing honed into an art-form.

Sometimes old histories refuse to go away. They nurse them and let the bitterness fester. I have witnessed this first-hand. The bitterness becomes a dagger that twists the psyche, a weapon to slice and dice emotions. It’s an ugly business. We end up having to deal with the mess for years.

I often think we are all composed of grievances and grudges, little and big dark secrets. Some of us walk like live billboards, the grief and rage hanging around like ominous thunderheads. Some prefer to keep the grudges secret, like tiny slivers of steel that sink into their intended victims like voodoo curses.

But this is Singapore, not a back street in New Orleans. Singapore–living on the edge of the Ring of Fire. Singapore–strait-laced on the surface, but roiling with untamed rage beneath, like the magma. Bland, boring and pragmatic? I don’t think so.

* * * *

The dreams returned, creeping in, at first as strange nonsensical snatches of colors and voices then fleshing themselves out in full detail. I was pregnant then with my third child, a boy. Dreams often accompanied my pregnancies. Real, powerful Dreams, as Ling would say–with a capital “D.”

Most of the dreams had a common theme: obsidian. I was not a big fan of semi-precious stones and held only a cursory interest–useful when I browsed the aisles in a random New Age shop. I would have to ask Amethyst, one half of the fey sister pair, about it.

Black, glistening, sharp-edged serrated teeth. Fangs. Elongated canines. In various forms: statues, sculptures and…temple figurines.

At first I ignored the dreams and figured it was my overworked subconscious, compounded by my Lang side and pregnancy hormones. In the dreams, wolf-me bristled, bared teeth and protected self or pack. The obsidian theme persisted until I gave birth and the frequency dropped drastically and eventually tapered off. Or so I thought.

When Aidan turned one, the dreams returned.

This time, the fangs morphed into a more definite shape.

This time, I knew there was trouble.

Book Clubs on Goodreads

Goodreads is such an interesting place and I have gone bookclub-crazy. 🙂

The Myriad Bookclub: For the discussion of all things Myriad and J. Damask’s urban fantasy set in Singapore.

Oysters, Pearls and Magic Book Club: For the discussion of Mirra’s world – YA fans and readers welcome!

[Interview] Delving into the dark with Nerine Dorman

I had the opportunity to interview Nerine Dorman, a fantastic author of dark urban fantasy and vampire tales. She is also a Lyrical Press content editor and I have the great fortune to work with her for my two novels.

Without further ado, the interview:

1. What inspires you?
A lot of my stories come into being from cues that I take from my environment. Part of what I do for a living is write travel and lifestyle-related editorial for newspapers, and this necessitates visiting new places and meeting new people. But sometimes I’ll be watching a film or reading an article, and an idea will jump out at me then. Music is also a big one and snippets of song lyrics evoke an image or a relationship between people and the story starts flowing from there too.

I believe that authors are people who are often in tune with the subtler undercurrents in their environments. It’s a form of perception. Also, authors have inquisitive minds. They turn over ideas then want to play with them and make them their own.

2. What prompted you to write horror set in South Africa?
I like to write what I know. I feel more comfortable writing about places I’ve already been, so what better approach than to keep a familiar setting where I understand all the nuances. The other motivational factor is that as far as South African settings go proportionately in what gets published, it’s something special. Because my publishers are all in the US, and my readership mainly US- and Europe-based, I feel my writing gives them them a taste of the exotic.

Being a travel writer only helps in this regard, because I know my descriptions are spot-on.

The other thing with South Africa is that we have a very rich, mixed cultural heritage. There is so much going begging here to be included. One of the legends that I touched on in my novel, Khepera Redeemed, was the story of Antjie Somers, a bogeyman used to scare children.

3. Tell me more about South Africa. How was it growing up in SA?
I grew up during the height of the apartheid era and that definitely had an impact on me. We were used to the idea of violence and the fear of imminent bloody civil war. We were very much a nation divided, yet I count myself lucky to have grown into adulthood during the exciting times of the establishment of South Africa’s first real, multi-racial democracy. I’ve seen both the old and the new South Africa. Kids are growing up today who have no idea what it was like.

We were very isolated in the old days due to the socio-economic sanctions that were at their height during the 1980s. Also, as a white South African, I was ashamed of my skin colour and my cultural heritage. My generation was very conscious of this pariah status, constantly looking toward Europe and the USA instead of taking pride in our heritage. Much of this has changed now, I’m glad to see. We have so much happening here now in literature, film, music and art.

What I love about living here is the natural beauty of our land. Much of it is largely unspoilt and there are many national parks, game reserves and wilderness areas. I love getting out into the arid Karoo, which is the semi-desert region in the heart of our country. There I really gain a sense of space and isolation. Also the people are very open and hospitable. Yet by the same measure, I love the city where I live, Cape Town. It’s one of the few places where you can drive 20 minutes from the city centre to find yourself amid wine farms or by the beach. Despite some of the issues, like crime, there is so much to do here, be it to go wine-tasting, whale-watching, hiking, eating out, attending film festivals, literary events or listening to live music. Cape Town’s people are also very cosmopolitan and we really have a melting pot of cultures. Africa meets the West and the East, all at the tip of Africa.

4. What kind of motifs appears frequently in your fiction?
It totally depends what I’m writing, but I often touch on magic. A lot of my characters are part of a subculture or are bohemian. I like juxtaposing people who have opposing views, and I often touch on the conflict that arises from such situations, be it religious or cultural. Music plays a big role in my stories, and I admit to loving my creatures of the night—vampires.

5. Last but not least – wolves or big cats?
Definitely wolves. I’ve always felt an affinity for wolves but I prefer to see them as wolves. Very rarely have I written about shifters who take on the monstrous wolf-man form. I do have one who has a cameo appearance in most of my stories when I write about the fictitious Cape Town club, The Event Horizon. But I’m not going to spoil the fun. Readers need to guess who he is.

Follow me on Twitter @nerinedorman

My horror/urban fantasy titles:
At Lyrical Press:

Urban fantasy collaboration with Carrie Clevenger:
Just My Blood Type:

Romance writing as Therése von Willegen
Tainted Love:

Hell’s Music:

Writecamp Singapore

…where I will talk about genre fiction in Singapore.

I can’t wait for Singapore Writers’ Festival.

Oysters, Pearls and Magic at the Pigeonhole

Oysters, Pearls and Magic is now being stocked at the Pigeonhole:

The Pigeonhole.

Life update and a bit of OMOE

So. Marking. The boon and bane of every teacher’s life. I have 140 scripts to mark and up til the 17th. At the moment, I am tackling the thickest pile. GAH. My eyes and gigantic leaps of logic, suspending beliefs etc. I end up marking their grammar.

My urban fantasy novel (book two!) is due to be released. I am not sure what or how to feel. Excited, yes. The first book has generally positive reviews, though the two-stars ratings do smart a little. A writer’s life – have to roll with the sticks and stones.

Previous Older Entries