Free fiction: Beloved.

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Beloved, based on/inspired by the Song of Songs

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You have wings, therefore you must fly

The Book of Imaginary Beasts: Book #53: Erase and Rewind

Contains a story by me.

Also an awesome publication that is sadly ending its run.

ICFA: thoughts, reflections and ruminations

My trip to Orlando for ICFA was nothing short of a tale worthy of “An Incredible Journey” proportions. Seven hours to Dubai, then a two hours transit before flying to Orlando with a total of thirteen hours.

I landed at Orlando International and the first thing I saw were raptors in the sky. To me, seeing raptors with their huge wings soaring on thermals is a good sign. That means that things will/would go well. But Customs was something else for me: it was more than a hour’s wait to have my passport checked! I am glad that Jaymee waited for me patiently and I got to Orlando Marriott in one piece, very thirsty and very jazzed.

Walking into the corridors of the hotel and seeing the ICFA standee was mind-blowing. I am here! I am finally here! I went mad over the table with the free books (by the end of my stay, half of my luggage was books). Then we managed to get our room and gosh, a hot shower was the best thing on the planet.

Dinner was at the Crimson Tide and the company was solid: Jaymee Goh, Isabel Yap, Alyssa Wong, Fran Wilde, Ted Chiang, Sam Miller and Bradford Lyau. Then it was bed-time and my body clock trying to adjust to the time zones (Singapore is technically in the future).

The next morning saw us at Denny’s: John Chu, Emily Jiang, me and Jaymee. I loved the omelette. At the same time, while we ate, I saw an ibis!

I am fast forwarding a little,  bear with me.

Met Nisi Shawl and had a total fangirl moment. Met Tempest and I love her to bits! Then I met Nalo Hopkinson. And you know what? My mind is blown and I am in total awe of these fierce women.

Caught up with Helen Young. We had mussels. Talked about Australia and that we really need diversity in fantasy, not just lip service. Then I also met up with Keffy, Julia Rios, her husband Moss, Amal El-Mohtar, Rachel Swirsky, Gail Carriger, Mari Ness – and of course, the story of Febreezed male huly dulies is now storified. 😛

Friday morning saw me reading The Lessons of the Moon from the Accessing The Future anthology edited by Kathryn Allan and Djibril al-ayad . I thought I really garbled the reading, especially from the start – and was surprised that people actually loved it, to the extent of nominating it for the Hugos! I was – and still am – very flabbergasted. Thank you, Shaun! The reading taught me never to self-reject, that my voice does matter. My work is good and I am proud of it.

And met Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman! It was warm and fun resting on the huge cushion (need to get one for the house)

Saturday morning, before I flew off, was a panel with Eric Flint, Madeleine, and me. Publishing, the hard work, the reality of it etc.

Thank you so much for welcoming me to ICFA. I loved the dawn swim with Fran, Julia, Amal, Moss and Rachel. Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity, Karen. It has been a very powerful experience for me. I do not get to attend conferences and conventions frequently – and this has been a miracle. ICFA this year was right smack in the week-long term break for me. Thank you so much for the conversations, for the hugs and for the encouragements.

I am very very very  grateful.

I can’t tell people that they must go to ICFA. This year was a confluence of luck, finances and timing for me. For me, I can’t drop everything just to attend a con or conference – so this is a very big miracle for me. For many, it’s just time, finance and work that affect our decisions to attend a con. Accessibility in so many levels matters – I hope to see that such opportunities can be given to people. Many thanks to Con or Bust for their help!

Spring!

Gardens By The Bay, Flower Dome, 26/3, Hanami.

sakura3

The Two-Headed universe, rebooted

I ought to write something about ICFA, but my head and heart are so full, I need time to digest things.

So, I distracted myself with making new covers for the Two-Headed universe YA books.

swordandsilence

and

swiftletshonor

Sword And Silence
https://www.wattpad.com/myworks/3915556-sword-and-silence

Grateful.

I am so glad that The Lessons of the Moon touched many people during the reading at ICFA.

The short story (starts with a poem) is in the awesome Accessing The Future, edited by Kathryn Allan and Djibril al-Ayad, an athology that looks at disability in science fiction.

I am flabbergasted that it is even Nebula or Hugo standard. I should not  self-reject – but there are days when I feel that my story is not that good, or Clarion-level, or even readable.

It was inspired by my biopsy. In 2014, I discovered a lump in my breast. I was given a breast surgeon who then sent me immediately to do a biopsy. It turned out benign, but it scared me. The following year where I underwent treatment was harrowing as the medication was strong and I was often chronically fatigued.

The day of the biopsy was just as harrowing. My breast was so inflamed that the local anaesthetic did not work; I literally spent the entire procedure in pain as the extractors stabbed in and I could actually feel the thud when they bit into flesh and fat. I was bleeding quite a fair bit too. I spent the day recovering at my parents’ – and it was during this time the words of the poem first entered my head. I just had to write them down.

So, to the many people who loved the story, thank you so much. I am very very very grateful to have shared this story and a very dark moment in my life.

T-minus 6 hours to flight.

I will be on radio silence since I will be away for ICFA until Sunday (one day will be spending transiting in airports).

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