Updatia

Jun. 28th, 2014 09:28 pm
jolantru: (Default)
Today, I saw two lyssa zampa moths, a male and a female. The male - dark-colored wings and all - perched on the wall. The female, however, was dead, her wings frayed.

I thought the season was already over. But I had see four moths this week, all taking shelter from the blistering heat and warmth.

Life is fragile. It comes in cycles, but it is fragile.

~*~

A bit late, but I have a free download on my website. Enjoy!
jolantru: (Default)
If you have been reading the Amazon/Hachette dispute. I am not sure if you have taken sides, but Amazon has put us hybrid and independent authors in a very difficult position. All the posturing, saber-rattling and yelling aside, where do we stand?

My books, unfortunately, have been published under their direct kindle publishing. But I know that there are also folks who hate Amazon. So I have also uploaded my books on alternative platforms like Smashwords, Wattpad and Gumroad. The unfortunate thing is that I cannot live on free giveaways all the time - an author has to eat it (and that’s why I still have a day job!).

The question I want to ask people is that will you even bother with non-Amazon sites? Will you even care?

Please think about this for a moment.

Thoughts.

Nov. 23rd, 2013 09:40 pm
jolantru: (clarity)
Remembering Anne McCaffrey.
She inspires me.
The Rider Trilogy is a tribute to her.

***

Today,
I remember
Being
A daughter of the sea.

***

1. There is a group for my YA trilogy fans and readers: the Quetz Convoy. Mostly on Twitter: #QuetzConvoy.

2. I have revived The Book of Phoenii: http://bookofphoenii.wordpress.com/

3. LAUNCH for Rider and Speaker: DOUBLE HAPPINESS - 12 December, Books Actually, 730pm.

4. I kinda completed my Nano. It’s a novella, but I don’t care.

5. Coping with a resurgence of depression, coupled with imposter syndrome.
jolantru: (Default)
So first week of the June school holidays is almost over. Three more weeks to go. I am sitting at my desk. My joints hurt. No sure what's happening, but the joint pain started a week ago. I am worried again about things like gout or arthritis or something else.

Here I am, thirty-eight. What am I? Who am I? For a while, I thought I was a wolf, or someone who was wolf-souled or wanted to be a wolf. Now nearing the big Four Zero, my paradigms have shifted: I have two girls, been in and out of work, dealing with my financial woes, writing books and stories... and actually getting them published. I have tried self-publishing, cyberfunded creativity and publishing with small presses. I have even been foolish enough to think I would get published by one of the Big Six, part of my bucket list. I have told myself that if I don't get published by forty, I would jolly give up, pack up my bags and leave. Or simply forgo my dreams of ever being an author. I would keep all my stories, store them elsewhere and throw the keys away.

Last week saw the print release of Wolf At The Door. Excitement, anxiety, people congratulating me, etc. Then something struck me hard: it sucks to be a local SFF writer, especially somebody without a name to herself.

Let me be clear with this. This is my journal/blog/personal sounding board. I am decompressing. I am dealing with my self-doubt that has reared up again with its teeth and many heads, snapping away at me. I want to give voice to it and deal with it.

And let me be clear with this. I am grateful with the support I have from the people whom I know have been with me all the way. Grateful, thankful... words fail me here. I don't know what to say, except a heartfelt Thank You. That's all I could do at the moment.

There are moments when I feel trapped by circumstances and the resentment tastes like burnt gunpowder. Trust me. I want to attend cons. I want to attend big-ass literary festivals. Damn, I want to be recognized. But things like work and family are not going away. A writer needs to eat. A writer still needs to live. So when I see people talking about cons and geek stuff, I get... depressed and the real depression kicks in. Getting out of bed is a struggle. Getting myself to believe myself is a battle. How come I can't do this? Why am I so unlucky? Why can I just shut up, pull my bootstraps up and "hang in there"?

For people who know me, I have hypertension. Then in the mid-2000s, I was diagnosed with depression. At the moment I look and feel 'normal', whatever 'normal' is. I hide it quite well, apparently, because people see the happy and cheerful Joyce.

At the moment I consider being alive a triumph.

What do all these things got to do with me as a writer? Writing helps me cope. Writing is breathing for me. Writing is an outlet, a world I can go in and be safe, feel safe. Yet the hydra of self-doubt is often lurking nearby. Sometimes I have it cowed. Sometimes I feed it and it grows bigger, more gnarly and hurtful. This will be a continual journey and battle for me until the day I stop writing and stop believing in myself.

So I keep on fighting, fighting and fighting.
jolantru: (sing to the dawn)
So, I didn't get the job at the local polytechnic. I threw out more CVs and yet another local polytechnic has picked one up.

I don't know. The ministry seems leery and downright punitive of people who strayed from their career tracks (or broke bonds or something). Singapore isn't a compassionate country and second chances... what are second chances? [Note: A country that needs a law for foreign domestic helpers to get a day off speaks a lot of said country]

Still writing, re-worked a pitch. Moving into the planning of print version of Wolf At The Door.

I posted more stuff on A Wolf's Tale, including a soundtrack for Rider.

And oh yes, Ostara is round the corner!
jolantru: (clarity)
Rainy day here. Good day to sleep in. Bronchitis slowly going away (but still coughing up lime-green phlegm - ugh, gross, I know...). D let me to sleep in.

Found myself going to an interview to a local junior college (high school for you guys in US). I will be teaching again for a term. Right now, we are going through paperwork and approvals. So, yes, I have a job.

An email conversation with a friend reminds me that I need to come up with a marketing plan for my book release. Wait, I got it written down somewhere... *rummages through her notes* Marketing is always the hardest...

Still working on My novella signal boost. Added social media aids.

***

Still feeling vulnerable. I want to curl up under the blankets and hide. But of course, I can't. I have to be wife, mother and daughter.

I have to be strong.
jolantru: (sing to the dawn)
I sit here, staring at the computer, wondering what to write. My bronchitis (boo, hiss!) came back and I have spent a couple of uncomfortable days and nights coughing my lungs out. Hot soups are an immense boon/help/salve.

I have started writing again. A new short and polishing old ones for eventual submission. Did a list of 2011 writery things - and I am stunned to see that the year is packed. Packed, I tell you...

So, what have I done this year?

Started work after half a year of looking after Dot. Went back to teaching, didn't work out and got a job as a writer at an educational company. Job unfortunately didn't work out as well, but it was a blessing in disguise.

Realized that I could work under pressure. Writing children's books is something challenging for me, since I am already writing YA fiction. Writing in different voices is definitely good training for writers.

Still working on my own inner issues, especially my self-esteem.

Writery-wise:
Rider, a YA science-fiction story is still in progress. I aim to complete it in 2011. I love this story!

To look forward in 2011:
"Apex Book Of World SF II" will be out in 2nd February 2011. My story "The Sound Of Breaking Glass" is in it.
"Wolf At The Door", my urban fantasy novel, will be out - 4th April 2011.
A short in an anthology by Drollerie Press.
The Singapore Sampler of SFF - the theme: Hybrid.
Print edition of "Oysters, Pearl and Magic" .
More submissions - hopefully to pro-level magazines.
Submission of book two of my urban fantasy series.

I will probably sit down and do a proper Watchnight vigil.

Have a good NYE!
jolantru: (sing to the dawn)
Here is Cub enjoying herself at the BBQ party: here.

We had fun. Eight screaming little girls - and I am still alive! Birthday presents, cake and balloons, beach runs, shell-picking.

Then chilli crab dinner with the extended family.

Mmm, I should spend some time with my Nano project and oddly enough, I am not fussy about it this year.

Thoughts: Lives matter. People matter. Social media and real life - do they intersect? And if so, why do people still feel lonely, lost? I believe this question isn't easy and not to be answered in a hour or a day.

Rainy weather always does that to me.
jolantru: (Default)
Common themes:
flight, phoenix, light, transformation/transfiguration, race, culture, biculturalism, feminism, gender, rootlessness, rootedness, belonging, wolf/shifter.

EDIT: trees, plants, gardening, coming-of-age.
jolantru: (clarity)
Not touching writing with a ten foot pole today.

Is tired of all the writing stuff - silent walls, silent people, just silent. Whatever happened to writing for fun?

Is disgusted with herself. But sometimes, it's just emotionally exhausting going it alone.
Read more... )
jolantru: (cute)
If I print Envisioning privately (using a local printing press), how many do you think I should print?

Likewise, how many of you would like to do a swap with me? My book for your stories, your music, your art etc?

Or you don't mind paying (5 Sing Dollars) via Paypal?

Ideas? Thoughts?
jolantru: (sing to the dawn)
Woke up, today, with a story title in mind! In the dream, I was combing through bargain-bin sff books. I saw some by Nix Williams. One book caught my eye, though it cost about 3.10 (SGD). The Adventures of Flair. It's a tale about a young dragon, set in a steampunk world. One book cover had a red dragon acting as a bi-plane. Hehe.

Writery stuff. Well, I am still debating whether I should go the traditional publishing route or not. Or that I would keep beating my metaphorical head against the windowpane (or desk). The market here in Singapore is severely limited. Not sure even how overseas publishers would take to my stories. They seem quite US-centric.

EDIT:
Thoughts on my current tale:
The main character has a Navajo boyfriend. She herself is Chinese (I keep seeing Eurasian though, in my mind - I mean, it's the future!). However, boyfriend is more fleshed-out than she is. She is a girl who can't figure herself out and is confused. She is slowly coming into herself, as a person. In short, she is growing up!
jolantru: (sing to the dawn)
With my 6 year-old going "Mom, this" and "Mom, that" (and my little unborn one kick-boxing inside), I ended up pretty tired by now (after 7pm). So much for bedrest or rest in other incarnations - it was "Mom, I want some water" or "Mom, I want a snack" or "Mom, can you play with me?". Yes, I realize that we need to spend more time with her...

... should I complain or take it all in, without letting the frustration out?

Gah. Well, at least I got some writing done. Gods know if I could even start writing once the baby arrives. Ow, she just kicked me. Kids.
jolantru: (clarity)
No, it is not book-burning.

No, it is not censoring.

Yes, it is about race, whether it is alternative history or speculative fiction or feminist fiction.

And no, criticism does not mean readers hate the author's work.

And no, criticism does not also mean that authors hate the readers.

Somehow, there is a severe breakdown in communication between author and reader, between author and fan. Mercury retrograde not withstanding. It has already appeared before. It has appeared again.

What I really desire most is that both sides listen to each other. Of course, it is easier said than done. Listening is a first step in education.

What I am seeing at the moment is that friendships are being affected and lost. Not good, because friends are supposed to be friends, not enemies, even though they have differences in opinions.

What I really desire most is for clarity of thought. Race, unfortunately, hits gut-deep and sometimes, reason is lost. It is not easy for people of color and minority ethnic groups and the hurt goes real deep.
jolantru: (sing to the dawn)
That's right. A decade. I am still nudged (gently, thank the stars) by ideas created ten years ago.

I was then an undergraduate in an Australian university (the University of Western Australia - anyone from there? Oh hai!) and deeply in love with Star Trek. I had also joined a chat site called Ten Forward and it was a fantastic place, where I got to know so many great people and learned a couple of things about fandom, myself and other aspects of Star Trek.

There were many types of folks there. People who came solely to chat. And then you had people who came to role-play. There were two who dominated the chat with their epic role-playing stories. Star Trek captains who were magical folk who could shape-shift into myriad things who were imperious to normal weaponry. In short, these two unleashed their imagination and everyone who were there ended up watching them act out (or type out) their fantasies/stories/imagination. They cycled through so many themes that it was simply exhausting to keep track. But of course, it was done in a spirit of fun and I was sure the rest of the non-role-players enjoyed watching the show, though some complained goodnaturedly and asked the two to get their own separate chatroom.

I ended up becoming a secondary character in their multiple epics and I created the Phoenix Court, a matriarchal Imperial family dominated by women who commanded the Court and starships. Of course, it was just a secondary plot-line and was ignored by the two main protagonists who co-opted some parts of my Phoenix Court plot.

Imagine Qing China, helmed by women and their daughters, and set in a science-fiction environment. And why Phoenix Court? These women could turn into phoenixes (phoenii?) but the gene/ability apparently could jump generations. It might be dominant in one generation, recessive in another. It would only affect females. Males could carry the gene, but they remain unable to shift from human to phoenix.

Now the Phoenix Court is back, in my head. Competing with my steampunk ideas, general speculative fiction themes and associated insanity. To me, when I write, I also express out what makes me tick - my various diverse aspects which make me "me". I feel a connection with the phoenix, not as a metaphor or a theme. Maybe, it is more totemic. But that is the joy of writing - to explore and to envision.
jolantru: (clarity)
... that, no matter how much I like fandom, there will always be nasty people around.
... that, when I write, I try to do research and not do a complete "white-wash". That's a bleeping cop-out and speaks of a lack of integrity on the part of the writer.
... that, as a writer, I have a responsibility when it comes to the content. Cause and effect, anyone?
jolantru: (me)
Living in Singapore has its own limitations: we do not have con(ventions). No Swancon, no Wiscon, no Gen-con. Sure, we have cosplay events... but as for a large-scale convention, nope. We do have SPORE-con, a gaming convention (run by my husband), mostly focussing on gaming (war-games, board-games and stuff in between). But the fan inside me craves interaction with other fans, say, in literary science fiction/speculative fiction. I would like to attend a panel discussion...

I used to attend Swancon for a couple of years when I was studying in Western Australia and all the Swancons I'd attended were fantastic (one being quite memorable when I met my future husband). Now, back in Singapore, I wonder when I would attend a con again...
jolantru: (sing to the dawn)
Is it wrong of me to dream of publishing a book via traditional publishing before I turn 40?

***

More of my thoughts on Young Adult fiction in Singapore (or lack of it).

I feel that there is an inherent bias, probably due to Asian family and moral values, when it comes to treating young adults as young adults. They are in between childhood and adulthood, grappling with growing pains, sexuality and identity/self-hood. Keeping them within the category of "Children" is not going to keep them forever as children - they are growing up and need books that reflect their changing and growing selves. They are searching for identity and books on ghost and horror stories are not going to help them in the long run. Where are the books that are inspiring, truthful, thought-provoking and rich in textures? Where are the local writers who are writing for young adults? I see a rise in children's books but none on young adult fiction. Listen, publishers, our young adults are reading. My students are devouring books like crazy. They want to read. but where is the market in Singapore?

When I was a young adult, I already started on books like The Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey. Likewise, I read Enid Blyton's Malory series. As I grew older, as a late teen, I read books by Catherine Lim. But as I started work on The Basics of Flight, I found out that there was no market (ie, no need for it) for young adult fiction in Singapore. This is sad, because there is a market for it.

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