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Original Works, Writing Journey

New Adventure: The Return To Eklaysia

A New Role-Playable Sequel!

Oh yes, you probably didn’t see this coming, and… neither did I. What is this and where can you get it? Let’s start at the beginning—I’ll keep it short, don’t worry.

It all begin in the middle of last year, while the pandemic kept everyone indoors, that I found myself in my first ever D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) campaign. I didn’t think I would find a new hobby of which I truly enjoy and look forward to, but after a few months in, D&D was life! And, with that enthusiasm, I decided to create my own campaign based on my YA fantasy novel, The Slave Prince.

So why did I base it off my novel? Well, I thought it would be fun—for myself and my existing readers—to breathe new life into The Slave Prince with a sequel. And since I didn’t want to write a new novel, I turned it into a D&D campaign. But… I didn’t just create it, I played it, too!

As an author who loves to plan, being a DM (dungeon master/game master) wasn’t easy—I couldn’t prepare myself for everything that was about to happen. But the experience of DM-ing my own campaign was a new and interesting experience, and I can only wish I had the chance to be a player myself. Alas, what fun would it be as a player who knew all the #spoilers?

Now, I promised to keep this short didn’t I? After creating and playing my own D&D campaign, I’m now releasing it to public for free. If you’ve read The Slave Prince, this role-playable story will allow you to embark on the sequel as a character yourself. But… if you’ve NOT read The Slave Prince, this stand-alone adventure will give you a glimpse of the original tale without having to buy the book. Though, I won’t deny that reading The Slave Prince will give you the lore you may need to enhance the adventure as a DM.

Do note that this is my first D&D campaign—I’ve never written a campaign before, but I did my very best to provide everything a DM/GM will need. So feel free to add your own touch to the story, and I would really appreciate any and all feedback should you give it a try.

HOW TO DOWNLOAD FOR FREE:
1. Head over to gum.co/TheReturnToEklaysia.
2. Type ‘0’ into the ‘Name A Fair Price’ column, then click ‘I Want This’.
3. Fill in your email address, and… you’re done! The pdf and digital assets will be sent to your email.

In the pdf, you’ll not only find the story but location and non-playable character descriptions, the realm map (from the original novel itself, hand-drawn by John Robin), and puzzle assets.

I do hope you have fun with my little role-playable sequel! And… if you’re interested in checking out The Slave Prince, here’s all you need to know:

For fifteen years, Thom believed he was a prince of Alpenwhist. He had climbed the castle turrets to survey his kingdom, learned to duel with the sharpest blades, and stirred up palace intrigue in disguise. But one day his identity is suddenly shattered by the revelations of a blind woman: he learns that he isn’t a prince at all, but a wretched slave.

In a kingdom where ruthlessness is part of everyday life, Thom fears this new truth could be deadly. He takes flight, running from the life he knew and the one he despises, but the call to free his people beckons him home. Armed with a magic stone that instructs him through surreal visions, he must topple his once beloved brother who has since become a tyrannical king.

Writing Journey

Looks Like… I’m Back!

It has been a little over 3 months since I last posted on January 28th, and boy, does it feel like I’ve been gone for a lifetime!

To be honest, after close to 9 years of posting weekly, I began to feel a little burned out last year. Of course, posting weekly wasn’t the only reason why I was no longer inspired—2020 was the year I transitioned from employed to self-employed, where I had a few business ideas and partnerships that flopped, and… well… the pandemic in general. The accumulative effect of all that transpired in the last year made 2021 feel like an extension of it. And perhaps, I just lost my drive to keep writing for this blog—one that I’ve spent many years building. But, the good news is…. I’m back! And, I’ve also gotten my first dose of vaccine!

With that being said, however, there will be one minor change in how I blog from now on. For many years, I made posting here a ‘job’. After all, I found myself feeling guilty whenever I missed a week. Hence, to find the joy in blogging, storytelling, and creative writing in general, I’ve decided not to impose the ‘once a week’ rule upon myself. Additionally, I will kickstart this renewed blogging spirit with the final story of 12 Genre Months—that I didn’t publish last December, nor write for that matter—this month. Yes, it’s time to get back to writing!

Oh, and to all who stuck around in my absence, thank you so very much! Oddly enough, I’ve been getting traffic and new subscribers in the past few months… of which I’m quite confused about since I’ve stopped posting for a while. But thank you, nonetheless, for joining me here. I do hope you will stay onboard as we embark on a ‘new’ blogging adventure together!

Writing Journey

What Happens When The New Year Is Hopeless?

It seems that 2021 isn’t the new year we were all looking forward to. And though that statement might sound discouraging, the question we have never asked is why—why must every year be a fresh start? Why are we so quick to disregard the year before when perhaps… a new year isn’t meant to be new, but a continuation of our story?

After an arduous and uncertain 2020, many of us hoped for a better 2021. We wished for a semblance of the life we once had, where the cares and struggles we used to face now somehow seem trivial. We yearn for some form of normalcy without the face masks and the lockdowns—a time when we had some control over our lives. Alas, life has reached a level of unpredictability that attempting to plan, hope, or even survive is a daily challenge. So what do we do when 2021 isn’t a new year?

Many would like to pretend 2020 and 2021 didn’t exist—that we have skipped two years in this lifetime. Unfortunately, these two years are as real as they can be. And maybe… just maybe… these are the years where we learn to appreciate life. Instead of constantly chasing a new beginning every year, in hopes of forgetting what we deem as horrors of the past, we now embrace the continuity of life. Because life… doesn’t restart at every January 1st.

Life is continuous. And a new year is a façade. We believe in better things to come every new year, forgetting that better things do come at different stages of our lives. We shun the obstacles and the troubles of the past, forgetting that those challenges made us who we are. So perhaps, a new year isn’t the answer to hope. The answer to hope is in life itself, where the memories of the years before remind us of our storms and rainbows—both the bad times… and the good times, too. Simply put, it is our experiences in life that give us hope.

So yes, 2020 was bad and we may not know where 2021 will lead us. But if there’s any consolation, the uncertainty includes a brighter and better possibility in the entirety of our continuous journey. After all, if we take some time to look back, we will realise… we’ve experienced it before.

Writing Journey

Finding Inspiration When There’s None

Once upon a time, I posted a story on this blog every Thursday without fail. The only times I skipped a week or two were perhaps once or twice a year when I’d go on vacation—almost as if I took an ‘annual leave’ from blogging. Alas, inspiration is getting pretty hard to come by. What was once a story a week became a story every fortnight, which eventually led to a story twice a month regardless of the weeks. Heck, I didn’t even post two stories last month!

So, what does this mean? The truth is… I’m struggling to find both inspiration and motivation. And yes, this is coming from someone who, I dare say, used to have plenty of those. Looking back at how I was able to write a story every single week amazes me. Now, where did this person go? She seems to have vanished.

Honestly, I’m unsure if this has anything to do with growing older and tired, the current pandemic, or the lack of overall creativity. I’d hate to think I lost my spark as a writer because I still love storytelling—with plenty of stories left to tell! Hence, I often wonder… where on earth can I find enough inspiration and motivation when there seems to be none?

Unfortunately, if you’re asking the same question, I don’t have an answer for you. I’m still searching—sometimes forcing myself to create just for the sake of creating, even when I know it lacks a certain je ne sais quoi without inspiration. Often, I merely write in fear that my skill would stagnate… or worse, deteriorate. And when I do hit publish on those stories, I am well aware that the process was far from enjoyable. I guess, there’s no sugarcoating it—writing is now harder than it used to be. But, if there’s any consolation, I know that I’m not alone.

If you’re in the same boat, you’re not alone, too. And I believe there’s nothing wrong with struggling to find the joy and spark in our art. After all, isn’t that part of the journey? If our adventure is free of wild winds and dry deserts, can we even call it an adventure? Every good story has its highs and lows, its victories and its losses, its celebrations and its tears—it wouldn’t be a story worth telling if there were no obstacles to overcome!

So Jeyna, and my dear reader, fret not. You’ll find the inspiration and motivation again. It may take awhile and you might have to search a little harder. Perhaps, you may even grow weary from the quest. But if there’s one thing you know for sure, it’s that your story… isn’t over yet.

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Writing Journey

Magic Rain, The King Is Dead, & I Turned 30 Yesterday

Oh yea, I finally turned 30. But… that’s not the reason for this post. The reason for this post is, once again, Whispers of the Wind.

The last time I rallied support for Whispers of the Wind, it was in the running for publication on Swoon Reads. This time… it’s in the running for publication on Inkshares!

Now, I could’ve written a whole appeal post again, but I’m sure you’ve read enough of it. This round, however, I’m asking for one simple action… and one simple action ONLY:

Click This Link > inkshares.com/books/whispers-of-the-wind
This link goes to the book page and any form of traffic helps with its ranking! Or, so I’ve been told.

If you’ve clicked the link and feel like doing a bit more, for this now 30-year-old author, here are 5 other things you can do to help:

1. Follow the book!
Following will add numbers to the book, which reflects public interest to the publisher. If you’re not 100% interested, just follow anyway! I won’t spam, I promise.

2. Share the book!
Maybe your second cousin from the other side of the world would enjoy it…?

3. Read the book!
Magical raindrop portals and the search for a dead king—if this intrigues you, why not give the first chapter or two a read?

4. Review or Comment on the book!
The algorithm says, the more engagement the higher percentage of being published.

5. Pre-order the book?
Nah, it’s 2020. I just made that option available for the book page to look complete instead of a draft layout.

That is all, my dear reader. In this book writing slum, I do hope that joining the contest on Inkshares will help me get my groove back. After all, I have 3 more books to write in this book series. So thank you for your support! A little… goes a long way.

Original Works

Spliced [12 Genre Months]

‘500,000 dollars or she dies. Call the police and she dies. You have until Sunday.’

I can end our marriage here—call the police or fail to prepare the money, either way, it’s my ticket out. I won’t have to spend a single cent on our divorce, and I’ll benefit from her life insurance. Is this a blessing in disguise?

No, don’t judge me. I can sense your disapproval, as if you have any clue on what my wedded life has been like. From the second I roll out of bed to the moment I shut my eyes, I am living in a nightmare—no meat, it’s bad for my health, no going out on the weekends, I have to help around the house, no guys night out, it didn’t include her. The last one is the straw that broke the camel’s back. And to think she was always accepting of my friends, and the time I spent with them, before we said, ‘I do’. So what changed? Nothing did. It was all an act—a ploy to tie me down and keep me from the rest of the world.

So, should I call the police or… play pretend? Which choice will make me a victim—lest I become a suspect in her death—as I weep over my wife’s lifeless body? You’re right, I should call the police. After all, where would I find five hundred grand? I’m not the one with the money.

‘You called the police. Do you think this is a joke?’

A blood-caked ear in the mail—the police dusted the letter and the severed organ for fingerprints, but came back with nothing. Yes, it was her ear. Whoever that’s holding my wife hostage knows what they’re doing. And, I’m kind of glad. It would mean she will never return. Unfortunately, I can’t celebrate just yet. The police have devised a plan—two black duffle bags of fake hundred dollar bills. We are to wait for the kidnapper’s next letter, as they haven’t yet disposed of my wife. But honestly, what difference will it make? If only I didn’t have to play along.

‘Drop the money under the slide in the playground on fifth avenue.’

I did what I was told but found another letter by the slide. The letter tells me where my wife is. Apparently, she’s at her family’s holiday home outside of town. But… that’s not the weird part—the letter tells me to go on my own. It says, if I tell the police where she is, I’ll find her dead. As bizarre as that sounds, it only makes sense to show the police the letter, right? I mean, we both know I want her gone.

No? Don’t tell the police? You do have a point—they’ll start to wonder why I’m not out of my mind, making rash decisions, because I’m desperate to save the love of my life. Very well, I’ll go to the holiday home on my own. I’m sure I can sneak away. Let’s hope the kidnapper sees the counterfeit dollars and kills my wife before I get there.

‘Wine cellar.’

How nice of them to direct me to her. At this point, I do think I should call the police. I am here, after all. By the time they get here, it will all be over. And, if my wife is alive, I just wasted my only chance at being free of this marriage. I’ll call-

No? What do you mean, no? It’s over anyway. So why bother any longer? Wait, I think I hear something. I think… there’s someone else in the house.

‘500,000 as promised.’

That was easy. Who knew he would listen to you? Well, I’m just as surprised as you are. Make good use of the money. And yes, I won’t forget. Just send me a postcard when you’re ready. Also, you might want to get a sharper blade—trust me, two bottles of wine doesn’t help.


12 Genre Months © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

(Click HERE for the list of stories in this writing challenge.)

Original Works

Black Holes & Brobdingnagians [Music Meets Story]

The ghastly one-eyed beast, towering at the height of ten average adventurers, charged toward me with a deafening roar. Teeth-baring in fury, its viscous saliva rained over the bodies of my deceased allies. And as the only remaining fighter, dashing for the exit of the grotto as the earth trembled beneath my feet, I wondered—how did we travel this far, only to meet an early demise? Would it matter if I defeated the colossal Brobdingnagian, now fueled with godlike wrath from its second wind? Was it even possible… to survive?

We should have stayed at Donjon, where the only battles were with crudely armoured bandits and the occasional city guards. But, Gwendolyn insisted we travelled through the black hole—‘a magical artifact that could raise the dead’ was her promise of the beyond. Unfortunately, she had been pulled apart by those monstrous hands, before she could even lay her starry eyes on the prized item.

“Take on a giant, they said. It will be fun, they said,” I muttered under my breath. “We are too weak for this.” I skidded to a halt at the mouth of the cave, where a cliff presented the longest fall to one’s death. “Stupid. Idea. Stupid. Stupid. Idea,” I cursed in between breaths.

“Stupid indeed,” an echoing voice, from within the depths of the cave, replied. “Are you going to jump?” The voice sniggered.

“No, I’m not crazy,” I snapped.

“Well…”

“This wasn’t my idea,” I said, glancing at the lifeless dismembered figures strewn inside the behemoth’s lair. “I don’t want to die. Not yet.”

“Well… if you stand there, you will.”

The voice was right—the cold-blooded devil now stood ten feet away. Reaching for me, I slid from its crushing grasp with a forward roll before pulling an enchanted arrow from my quiver. Lining it up on my bow, I aimed for the single green eye on the giant’s malformed face. I knew I had to make the shot—it was all I had left.

“Are you sure about this?” the voice asked, almost patronising in tone.

“Yes. Just…” I steadied my hand. “You…” I inhaled a deep breath. “Wait.” I released my one and only shot.

As the arrow whizzed through the air, I could almost envision the perfect bullseyes. Oh, how epic it would be when my arrow ruptures the enormous cornea. Alas, instead of piercing the menacing eye, my arrow struck the brute on its forehead. As anti-climatic as that was, the dead would have turned in their graves at the mere inch of inaccuracy… if not for the grasping brambles that burst forth from the bleeding wound. The prickly stems wrapped themselves around the monster’s head with its magical might, injecting potent purple poison deep into the skull of my foe.

Instinctively, the beast reached for the scrambling shrub in attempts to free itself from the coils of death. But no, escaping magic wasn’t easy. Its fate was now up to luck—the luck… of a dice roll. After all, the slaughter of my entire party was at the hands of fate—even if they, themselves, were the ones to toss the dice poorly.

“A strength check, right?” the voice asked.

“Yes.”

“And your DC?” the voice prompted.

“Just roll,” I said with a smug grin.

The dice rattled in the silence as an anticipation settled in the air. And in that split moment, I wondered if I had been overly confident. Did I make the right decision? Should I have used a different arrow? Still, it was fate that decided the outcome of the battle.

“Doesn’t matter what your DC is,” the voice stated. Then, with a chuckle, it added, “Natural one.”

The Brobdingnagian’s head began to enlarge, ballooning as the poison pulsed through its veins. And just as the giant took its last choking breath, its head exploded from the inward force of magic. Thick wine-red blood splattered in all cardinal directions, coating my armour in the remains of the once unbeatable enemy.

“That would smell for a few days,” the voice stated.

“I don’t care,” I replied. “Now, I need to revive my friends.”

“Revive your friends?” the voice asked.

“Yes, the magical artifact that raises the dead?” I prompted.

“Ah, that…” the voice paused.

“Please tell me it exists,” I said with bated breath.

“It exists,” the voice replied, after what felt like a moment of hesitation. “And, since you miraculously killed the giant, I’ll make it easier for you.”

“Cool, hand it over.” I could almost sense the eagerness of my fallen comrades—all ready to return to the living. Yet, I had an inkling there was more.

“No can do,” the voice said. “The artifact is inside the Brobdingnagian’s heart.”

“So, I…”

“You’ll have to dig it out.”

“Great.” What was a little extra blood? At the very least, it wasn’t the end of our adventure… yet.


This story was inspired by the original composition, Cyber Wanderer by Christoforos Koutsodimos.

Music Meets Story © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

(Click HERE for a list of stories in this writing challenge.)

Original Works

Monster [12 Genre Months]

Living is a gift—a chance to experience the fullness of emotions and the excitement of life’s many adventures. Yet, to some of us, existing is a curse. And if we had a choice, we would never have been born. For why would we, when our first glimpse of life is that of a monster.

Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change. But fret not, my dear Adam, you will grow to accept this change. Yes, it is indeed shocking at first,” he said. “But soon, it will be as if it was meant to be.”

No, it was never meant to be. He would often try to lift my spirits, cajoling me to embrace life and defend the soul within this body. But no, he could never understand—his mind was clouded by his own delusions, for this monster often thought himself a god. So how could he truly perceive mortality?

“No, Adam, you are not alone. Even that enemy of God and man had friends and associates in his desolation, why would you ever be alone?” he asked. “I am here for you, Adam, always. I will be your father and your companion. And I shall never leave you, Adam, never.”

If only he heard me—listened to my bleeding heart—he would know that loneliness was what I longed for. There was a peace that rested in my chest in his absence. Oh, how I often wished for him to never return. Without him breathing down my back, forcing my hand to become what I refused to be, I could actually find a nugget of joy in this life. Alas, he only sought to be with me… as all monsters do.

Nothing contributes so much to tranquilize the mind as a steady purpose. Let me help you find your purpose, Adam. You will find much happiness and meaning in life when you do,” he stated. “How about we visit the library tomorrow? Or, if you like, we can find you a suitable teacher—one who knows how to practice discretion, of course. We shall do that, Adam, yes, we shall.”

Did I have a choice? Should I ever refuse to do as he asked of me, he would extend a look of disdain—not that I cared for his approval, but each moment I disappointed him, I only sparked his desire to fix me. Hence, I always conceded. But perhaps, if I broke his heart countless times, he would soon put me in my grave—ah, the only gift that I would cherish… for eternity.

The different accidents of life are not so changeable as the feelings of human nature. It is all right, my dear Adam. You are allowed to feel as you should, and you are most certainly meant to make mistakes. After all, feelings and mistakes are part of human nature. So you mustn’t shun them.”

What did he know about human nature? And how naïve of him to think that every mistake was an accident. I knew what I was doing—there was no accident. The mistake was failing at what I had set out to do. Yet, he often looked beyond my intention. Perhaps, he was afraid—afraid to accept that I am not who he wants me to be.

We are fashioned creatures, but half made up. Thus, I am just like you, Adam. Do you think of me as a stranger—that I do not understand your plight? I do, Adam. I understand you. If only you would let me in, I can show you how much I am just like you.”

He was not like me, nor did he understand my plight. How could a monster ever comprehend my reality? If only I could flee from his unrelenting grasps. If only I was bold enough to venture beyond his prison. If only… he would offer me a choice. Alas, that is not what monsters do. I would forever be cursed to live with a creator, who wouldn’t even dare to look in the mirror. For if he saw his reflection, there would be no brilliant Victor Frankenstein. No, he would see a beast greedy with pride and mad for knowledge beyond his own mind—the real fallen angel who should have left creation to God.


12 Genre Months © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

(Click HERE for the list of stories in this writing challenge.)