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Writing Journey

To Everyone Who Has Ever Doubted

The world is full of voices but none as loud as the villainous whisper in your head—relishing in your insecurities, jabbing at your failures, and empowering the cynic within in the absence of self-confidence. Your inability to perform, though only in theory, feels like your destiny—a fated inescapable moment where your future is but a disappointment. So why bother trying? Why subject yourself to false hope? You can’t escape the antagonistic voice, surfacing at every one of your attempts to prove yourself worthy—punishing you for wanting to believe.

But there, in the destitute of faith, you see a light—faint as a lonely star on a cloudy night. Its glimmer far from your reach. Its glow barely grazing your wet cheeks. You can’t feel its warmth but you can see it. It is the hope in the enveloping darkness—the dawn of a new beginning. And so you choose, hushing the rustle of skepticism, to give credence to a possibility—that perhaps you are capable. Perhaps, you will one day succeed. Perhaps, you are not a lost cause after all.

At that resolve—giving yourself one more chance—an ally rises from your misery. It wields the stubborn boldness of a hero. Unlike the challenger of your potential, its voice bestows a profound courage. It names itself the champion against the beast that means to destroy you. And in the presence of a formidable adversary, it bears only a fearless demeanour—a commanding and unwavering disposition. You didn’t know—when you choose the light, you awaken the warrior inside.

As defenders of our dreams, desires, and self-worth, we will always be at war. There will always be a voice, echoing our doubts, blunders, and shortcomings—feeding on our vulnerabilities. But that doesn’t mean the battle is lost. We all have a warrior within us—a spirited fighter who, in the midst of uncertainties and difficulties, will push forward until the very end.

If you have ever doubted, you are not alone. None of us are free from the discouraging questions that linger in our heads. But know that you are more than those pessimistic whispers. You have the strength of a soldier, the perseverance of a victor, and the heart of a believer. The fight will not be easy—you will take painful blows and tend to deep wounds—but you cannot be defeated. The moment you choose to hope—a source no darkness can overcome—you’ve already won.

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Writing Journey

The Realm Of Plum Blossom


“I cannot be imagining this,” Robb said.

What Robb thought was a little town wasn’t a town. The source of the fireworks and music was in fact a city—a great city of colourful streets, laughing children, and a glistening stream that routed through.

Stone bridges connected the pebbled shores of the stream, where wooden food stalls ran their businesses. The citizens strolled in loose silk-layered clothing, seemingly dancing as a draft stirred in their motion. The people also held a friendly face, filled with expressions un-repressed. And the second Robb felt self-conscious, he noticed everyone’s hair and eyes—all as dark as his, against a variation of skin tones. It was like he’d returned home, and the sudden desire to stay was a difficult temptation to resist.

Excited to explore, Robb steered his raft to the shore. Not knowing where to start, he took a long panoramic view of the city. When he spotted what looked like palace walls, at the end a wide street paved along two rows of white, brick shops, he headed in that direction.

Already amazed by the stalls at the stream, Robb was wonderstruck by the shops along the street. The single storey buildings selling herbs, fruits, cloth, toys, and even food, was the cheerful and cleaner version of Tentazoa’s dark zone. Every vendor, who laid their items on a table out front, had Cheshire grins as they invited passers-by to take a look. Robb found himself stopping at a few shops, wishing he had money with him. It was hard to put down the hairpin Myra would’ve liked and the bamboo painting that would’ve liven up his bedchamber.

Finally, when he made it to the end of the street, his lips parted. The palace wall rose into the sky, and its crimson red entrance loomed overhead. Armoured soldiers guarded its royal ground, all armed with golden and red spears. But the height of the wall and the dragon carving on the double door weren’t what awed him. Against the fortification stood stone statues, towering like titans, with crowns on their marble heads. They lined from both sides of the door, along the wall, with no end in sight.

“Wow.”

“Wow indeed,” a voice replied.

Turning to the direction of the voice, Robb saw a girl. She was around his age, if not younger. She wore a flowing dress made from layers of white, pink, and red cloth—the colourful attire complimenting her long, black hair, fair round face, and small but cheerful eyes.

“Hi,” Robb greeted.

“Hello,” she said, with a teeth-flashing smile.

“Are these the kings and queens?” Robb asked, as he gestured at the statues.

“Yes. Those are their tombs.”

“Tombs?”

The girl shrugged. “Some say they are. I’ve never really seen a royal burial though. So, you know. Are you new here? You’re new here, aren’t you?”

“I guess… you can say so.”

“Which town are you from? That’s one weird costume, by the way,” the girl said, lowering her gaze to his shoes.

Robb admitted that he did look strange. For starters, nobody sported the colour black. There was plenty of white, but not a single black in sight. And oddly, no one seemed to care about his dressing. No one took a second glance, except for the girl.

“I know. It’s for a show,” Robb said. Then hoping to avoid any further questions, he asked, “Do the princes and princesses have statues too?”

“They do. But you won’t find them here. They’re at the royal temple.”

“The royal temple?”

“Up the bamboo mountain.”


It’s the first week of March! You’re supposed to get a story today. However, I’m in Kiwiland—far from my story machine—taking a break from reality. So instead, I thought I’d share with you a snippet of my already written, but yet to be published, novel!

What you just read is a small part of Chapter 6 from Book 1 of the Raindrops Trilogy, Whispers Of The Wind!

I chose this section because it’s one of my favourite parts in the book. Writing about this realm allowed me to dive deep into the historical Asian landscape of which I have always found to be beautiful and awe-inspiring. So fingers-crossed, you enjoyed this glimpse into the realm of Plum Blossom too!

Now, if you feel like I’ve just conned you into a half-baked story, I did no such thing! You can actually read the full novel of Whispers Of The Wind on Swoon Reads for FREE. Yes, you can embark on this adventure at no cost!

Swoon Reads is a platform where readers decide which book gets published by Feiwel & Friends (an imprint of Macmillan). By putting Whispers Of The Wind on Swoon Reads, I stand a chance at landing a publishing deal. So if you’ve yet to check the book out, please do so! I need you—every single one of you—to lend me a hand in this quest of turning my imagination into a reality.

Videos

Who’s The Most Successful Person In The World?

YOU WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO GUESS!

After spending ZERO time on research, I’ve found the most successful person in the world. And, you’ll be surprise by whom it is.

Want more videos? Head over to my Facebook page now! Oh, and…

If you have any questions you’d like me to answer in video, leave a comment or drop me an email at jeynagrace[at]gmail[dot]com! Your question can be completely random—want to know who my favourite Harry Potter character is? Well, ask away!

Original Works

The Above [12 Genre Months]

“Do not, I repeat, do not do it again,” my mother chastised.

I had yet again provoked her with my disobedience. And though my actions were intentional, it wasn’t because I relished in my mother’s ire. It was simply because she had never given me a reason to stop. After all, I was curious—often wondering why not. Why was I forbidden from the surface? What danger did the beyond present that warranted punishment? What happened—a century before my birth—that forced us to live underground?

“Do you hear me?” my mother asked. Her anger had abated but she remained exasperated—a vexed disposition I could undo with a false promise.

“Yes,” I said. “I won’t do it again.”

My mother handed me a pair of yellow garden gloves. “You are to weed the garden. And if I hear any complain of truancy, you’ll be weeding the garden for the rest of your life.”

“Yes, mother.”

It was pointless to argue and more so futile to ask about the surface. My mother refused to disclose a single detail. Our subterranean society had kept the secrets of our past locked away, and only a chosen few were allowed to unearth the truth. So perhaps, my mother herself didn’t know what was in the above. Perhaps, she was merely repeating what her mother had said to her.

With the large garden gloves—appeasing my mother once more—I headed to the garden. From our small dome-shaped abode, I exited into a narrow tunnel that led to a fork in the path. Having memorised the passages—impossible to navigate if one is a foreigner with no guide—I took a right at the junction, then descended toward another split, where I turned left toward a seemingly never-ending hollow. When I finally came upon the end, there was a thick metal door. Turning the heavy handle, I entered yet another dome.

The dome, of 360 feet tall and wide, was called the garden. My mother was the chief caretaker of the only green space in our realm—the only place where one could gaze upon a palette of bright shades other than stale brown. It homed a variety of flora, sprouting from a carpet of deep green grass that spread across the floor and up the concave wall. It was paradise. It was also the meeting site for my expedition team—oh, if only my mother knew.

“Got caught again, I see,” my fellow weed-puller greeted.

“There’s always a next time,” I replied. “Did you learn anything new?”

Zee was the son of a chosen—his father frequented the above. Whenever his father returned, there would be new samples, ovules for the garden, and a journal full of notes.

“Nothing except that it remains inhabitable,” Zee said.

We had known that the world beyond was inhabitable for the past five years—the reports proved that we could ascend and start a new life. Alas, our people chose to remain. It was a strange decision—in spite of a reason to create a better life, there was no intention to move. Those un-chosen were still prohibited from venturing to the above—the claims of danger lodged into the minds of our people despite the lack of records to prove them true.

“I’ll try again tomorrow,” I stated. “Want to come along?”

“No,” Zee replied. He usually sat out of a mission if he had a valid excuse. But that day, he didn’t have one. He simply said, “I don’t want to do this anymore.”

“What? Why?” Not him too, I thought. Zee had been with me from the start. He was always excited to try and try again. So why the sudden change of heart?

“Just,” Zee said.

“Just?” I asked in disbelief. Zee was the third member on our team to abandon our cause. What reason could he have for giving up a better future—to live in a place full of possibilities, free from this mundanity? “Just is not a good reason,” I said. “Aren’t you tired of this aimless life?”

“I’m tired of trying,” Zee said. “Maybe, one day, we’ll be chosen. Then we’ll see the above without getting in trouble.”

“You want to keep waiting? What if you’re never chosen?”

“Then I guess I’ll just make do.” Zee shrugged.

“What is that suppose to mean? You’re willing to live here for the rest of your life? We already know what lies above us. We know it is worth the risk,” I reasoned.

Zee shook his head. “You can keep trying but I’m done.” He didn’t wait for me to respond, stalking toward a colossal tree of which its very seed came from the land we were banned from even glimpsing.

“Zee,” I called out. “You can’t just give up.”

Zee turned a deaf ear. Alike the two before him, he had relented. But at what cost? Was our search for purpose a meaningless pursuit? Was it justified to let go—to never gaze upon the hues of the sunrise and the awe-inspiring oceans? Would I lose hope too?

No, I will try again tomorrow as I said I would. If I had to spend my days weeding the garden, I would. If I was the only one left believing, then so be it. I had no plans of outgrowing my faith because the above held a promise the present could never offer—the above held a future.


12 Genre Months © 2019 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Original Works

You | Me | Us

You.

Where you come from, the night never sleeps and the day never ends. A dimension where dawn and dusk aren’t defined by nature but by your very hands. It’s an unceasing universe powered by the undying vision of its driven core. A realm I call foreign, though not quite—known waters I’ve yet to tread. And should I choose to venture into this familiar yet unexplored plain, I will have to wield a courage unprecedented in my domain.

Me.

Where I come from, the night isn’t night and the day isn’t day. A place where time is relevant to its inhabitants—an undefined and fluid pace. It is a single moment in a single space that homes a million stories. Its mythical depths full of untold tales—its very essence defining its entirety. I cannot leave this realm—of strange and unknown adventures—not without taking a piece of its soul. And should I ever go beyond, I risk converging our seemingly different worlds.

Us.

Origins diverging from the start. Polarities in space and time—disparate beings in dichotomous habitats. But perhaps, there will be a moment when we aren’t worlds apart—our realms coalescing with merging topographies. Our planets aligning on the same plain—orbiting around the same blazing sun and surrounded by the same myriad of glistening stars. Perhaps, if we take a risk, we will find that we are not so different after all.

The north and south, though poles apart, are both covered in snow. Yet an auto-antonym is an irony in itself—is to cleave to cling or to split apart? And here—the very definition of you and me—is us; the sui generis nature in plurality finding singularity—a distinctiveness of individuality in pronoun. If the risk is simply redefining, will we take it—will we choose to believe in… us?

Paths don’t cross without reason—just as parallel roads don’t remain disconnected without cause. And perhaps, if we believe, we can build a new world together. A place better than our own—a place where we define what us… means to you and me.


You, me, and us were words given by Natalie Fong on Facebook

Since it’s Valentine’s Day, I thought it’d be fitting to write a love story (?) Or at least, my attempts at something poetic about love in flash fiction. Honestly though, I don’t even know if this can be classified as romance. What do you think—is it Valentine’s enough?

Now, it’s your turn! Write a story of your own with the three words given. You would probably do a better job than I did. So if you’re feeling romantic, why not turn these three words into a story of your own?

*To download the banner, left-click then right-click to save.

3 Words, 1 Story © 2019 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Writing Journey

How Many ‘Passions’ Is Too Many?


One passion is all you need.
Once you’ve discovered what you are truly passionate about—the sole thing that will make your life meaningful—focus all your energy into growing that single passion alone. After all, passion is hard to come by. And because it is a rare commodity—critically endangered like the Amur Leopard—you must give it all your time, attention, and resources. But, if you have two passions…

Then two passions is all you need. Having more than one passion means equally dividing your time between them. You will need to focus your energy into growing both of them at the same pace. If you love to run and love to sing, be sure to clock in enough hours each week for both of them. It’s important that you don’t neglect one for the other. But, if you have three passions…

Then three passions is all you need. You can now balance your time between the three things that make you happy. If you’re burning out from one of your passions, you should switch to another. But because they are all your passions, you must be committed to all of them. They are your passions after all, and your passions are lifelong. But, if you have a collection of passions…

Then this post will keep going with silly and non-applicable rules.

Guys, there’s no number of passions you’re allowed to have. There is no limit—there are no rules. I, myself, have more than one activity that I’m passionate about. And guess what? I’ve taken on new passions and dropped passions over the course of my life too. So if you have a single passion, that’s fine—you don’t need three. But if you have three passions, that’s fine too—you don’t need to sacrifice any of them. You are allowed to be passionate in different ways and areas. You are not obligated to grow each passion at the same pace. And you most certainly can let go of the things that no longer bring meaning and excitement to your life.

Personally, having a few passions give me the opportunity to take a break from one or the other. Collectively, these passions make my life more meaningful—writing gives me purpose, exercising gives me focus, and travelling gives me rest. However, this does not mean I’m free from doubts or the thoughts of giving up. But the very essence of passion—the desire and love that stirs within—keeps me going despite the ups and downs. So whatever your passion is, and no matter how many you have, don’t box passion with guidelines. Nurture your passion but don’t redefine its nature.

Now, if you’ve yet to find something that you’re passionate about, don’t fret! Finding the thing and activity that brings you joy is a journey of trying, challenging, and exploring. Some of us take longer to find what we love while others are quick to uncover their desires. At the end of the day, you move at your own pace—just like passion itself. So give yourself the time to understand yourself better and soon, you’ll find the very thing that you can call your own.      

Writing Journey

[Newest Novel] Read ‘Whispers Of The Wind’ For FREE!

Yes, you read correctly. You can now read my complete novel, Whispers Of The Wind—Book 1 of the Raindrops Trilogy—on Swoon Reads for FREE! Yes, all 61,376 words of the novel for FREE!

But wait… what is Swoon Reads?

Swoon Reads is like the X-Factor of publishing. They publish under an imprint of Macmillan—their publishing decision weighing heavily on reader feedback. So YOU choosing to read and rate my book will help me land a publishing deal! But do note that Whispers Of The Wind will ONLY be on Swoon Reads from 28 January to 28 July, 2019. After which, should the book be not of Swoon Reads’ choosing, I’ll remove it from the site and use the comments gathered to improve the manuscript. So… if you want to read my newest novel, here’s your chance!

Now, what is Whispers Of The Wind about?

“Seventeen-year-old Robb is the king of Zeruko. He, and his twin sister Myra, ascended the throne after their father’s passing. According to many, King Daemon—arch-nemesis and ruler of Tentazoa—murdered the late king. But despite the claims, Robb believes his father is still alive.

With a desire to bring his father home, Robb leaves Zeruko with his trusted friend Spion. The pair travel to the realms of the universe through the magic of raindrops. From the hazardous trip behind enemy lines to the festive East Asian-esque Meihua; from the kingdom hovering above the clouds to the military-driven Bevattna; from the heterogeneous society of a tunneled realm to Robb’s duel with the heir of Tentazoa, every step in his journey uncovers a gem of his past, present, and future. And in one foresight, Robb learns of the daunting fate of Zeruko.”

Whispers Of The Wind is a book I’ve been working on for the past few years. The first draft was completed in November 2015 and has since been rewritten and edited countless times. The book has even gone through a title change! This year, I intend to finish Book 2—its sequel—with hopes of landing a publishing deal for Whispers Of The Wind at the same time.

Okay, so how does Swoon Reads work?

It’s very simple! All you have to do is sign up for an account and you’ll have access to the entire book. Once you’re done reading, please, please, please leave a rating and a comment—if you enjoyed the book, please rave about it! The publication of this book, and possibly the entire trilogy, is in your hands. As you know, I cannot do this on my own.

Remember, the book will only be available until 28 July, 2019. So for all those asking what’s next—what am I writing and what is it about—you can embark on that adventure right now!

Videos

The #1 Cause Of A Creative Block

Guess what? It’s not a lack of inspiration or ideas.

A creative block occurs even when you have everything laid out. So no, it’s not because you’re NOT CREATIVE enough. It’s definitely not because YOU DON’T HAVE TALENT. There’s something else… and it always seems to get in the way.

Want more videos as such? Head over to my Facebook page now!

Original Works

A Single Coal [12 Genre Months]

The world was different where I came from. At the rise of the blazing sun—the start of a broken record—the people awoke in preparation of night. They donned their wide-brimmed hats, clicked their cowhide leather boots, and locked their loaded revolvers in well-worn holsters from quotidian gun-slinging. Because unlike the cliches of the wild wild west, of which most of my dusty town proved true, there was something that made this world different—something we all fought that redefined how we lived our lives.

In the neighbouring cowboy towns, no men were allowed guns. There were no duels, whether it be under the sun or in the darkness of night. Most people died from diseases and at the hooves of their own horses—rarely would one see gaping holes in their abdomen. Occasionally, a band of bandits would pay an unwelcome visit but that was as rare as justice. The most exciting thing you would find is a tumbleweed, and even that was a sign of peace.

My town, unfortunately, had no peace. And ever since I was old enough to wield a fork, I was taught to wield a weapon. When the rooster crowed, my father would holler for me and my sister. He had a shooting range of old cans and glass bottles set beside the barn with loaded pistols ready to be fired. My sister and I would spend our mornings firing and reloading. But when my mother called for lunch, training for the day was over. My father would then head into town for the daily town meeting, while the rest of us cleared the mess from the night before—salvaging everything that could be reused for the coming dusk.

For the first twelve years of my life, this repetition was normal—boarding up the windows and sleeping with our guns under our pillows was what we called life. But everything changed the evening my father returned with dreadful news.

“I pulled a long straw,” he said to my mother.

My mother’s eyes widened. She didn’t know what to say. What did the news mean to our family? Neither my sister nor I fully understood. As far as I knew, those who drew long straws didn’t all come home. The family across our field had drawn long straws many times and once, their second son didn’t return. However, as much as such information should be made privy to everyone in our town, nobody told the children—I had learned of it from watching my neighbours and eavesdropping on the murmurs between my parents. Still, I found it strange that it was the first time my father uttered those words.

“I can’t buy out of this one,” my father added.

“Then we leave. There’s still time,” my mother replied. She took a quick glance around the living room before reaching for me and my sister. But before she could do anything further, my father pulled her to a corner.

Their murmurs began. They often thought we didn’t understand or that we couldn’t put the pieces together. And for the most part, we couldn’t. But that evening, we knew something was wrong—terribly, horribly wrong.

“We cannot abandon this town,” my father stated.

“Then who should I send tomorrow when you don’t return?” my mother retorted. “Myself or the children?”

“I will return.”

My father reached for the brown sack he had tucked beneath the old bookshelf. He often said that the sack was filled with coal, dousing my curiosity to peek inside.

“I want to go with you,” I uttered. I didn’t know what I was signing up for but I hadn’t miss a shot since I was ten. There were echoes of gunfire every single night—I could help my father shoot whatever it was they shot under the moonlight.

“No. You stay home. I will return in the morning,” my father said. “Don’t worry. It’ll just be like last night.”

Not waiting for my mother to protest, my father gave us each a peck on the cheek and left. For a few minutes after, my mother stood staring at the closed door. But the second she snapped out of her daze, she boarded the door up. That night, the gunfire sounded different—they were loud and never ending. The hours of the night also seemed to tick slower than the night before. And when day finally arrived, I had not rested even for a minute.

My father came home as he said he would. The first thing he did was refill the sack with coal. That morning, I learned that it was true. My father wasn’t lying—it was indeed coal. It was the only matter that protected him. But from what, I didn’t know.

Today, I pulled a long straw. It has been three months since—representing my family at the daily town meeting. And tonight, I would see what we’d been fighting. It might sound crazy that no one has ever spoken about what the night brought to our little town in the desert. But at the very least, my late father gave me a reason—the purpose behind our battles in the dark.

“We fight in the darkness for the light of day,” I told my sister. “And if you ever draw a long straw, a single coal can light your way.”


12 Genre Months © 2019 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Writing Journey

Why You’ll Never Be Ready

If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives. – Lemony Snicket

If I waited to write my first book, waited to start this blog, waited to make videos—waited to pursue my passion… I’ll be waiting for the rest of my life. There would’ve been no stories told, no lives inspired, no leaps taken, no new experiences, no exciting surprises, and nothing to look forward to—the very thing that turned my humdrum existence into an imaginative and meaningful life. Heck, if I waited until I was ready… I wouldn’t be writing this today.

Personally, I don’t believe in readiness when it comes to pursuing our dreams. Readiness is not important, and it shouldn’t dictate whether we write that book, record that song, or enroll in that art class. Readiness is simply an excuse. And oftentimes, we use it as a reason to postpone the important pursuits in our lives. But, what is ‘readiness’ an excuse for? You might not like the answer but I’ll say it anyway—readiness is an excuse to not face the fear of the unknown.

We are afraid of the future. But… not the future in general. Our fear stems from a pessimism at reality that is ingrained in our human nature. Being optimistic is a choice—the believing that even in the darkest times there is still light. Being pessimistic, unfortunately, is often a default. But I’m not saying that being an optimist removes the fear of the unknown—this fear still exists. However, optimism gives us the little light we need—a light that can help us envision enough to take a leap of faith.

You’ll never be ready. You’ll never be able to predict the future either. But you have a choice. Is readiness a valid excuse to delay your dreams? Is being afraid of the unknown a sensible reason to put your life-changing plans on hold? Yes, you might fail. Yes, your work might not be the best. Yes, what you hope for might not come to past. But just because these are possibilities, they are not reasons. Heck, they don’t even exist to be legitimate reasons. Have they occurred? No. Will they occur? Perhaps—you don’t know for sure. And the paradox: not knowing is the reason to start.

Not being ready is a bad excuse to not pursue your dreams. But not knowing what will happen is a great reason to start chasing them. Life can only go two ways—the way we want it to and the way we don’t want it to. We can’t control what will happen nor can we predict the end result. What we can do, however, is choose to discover the other side.

Unlike avid hikers, I dislike hiking. My only goal, while I mutter under my breath about how torturous it is, is to find out what’s waiting for me on the other side. I like the discovery free from my expectations. It motivates me to complete the climb. And… at the very end of a hike, despite how tiring the ordeal, I find my reward—a sense of accomplishment. I now know what’s there! It might just be a plain landing surrounded by more trees, but now I know. And perhaps on my next climb, I will find the amazing view of snow-capped mountains I’ve been dreaming of. Now… there wouldn’t be any discovery without the climb, would there?

So stop waiting to be ready to go after your dreams! Be excited to find out what’s at the very end of each journey. Don’t be afraid to set sail because of the unknown. You might not know where you’re going—you might not end up where you’ve planned—but you’re going somewhere! And somewhere is always better than nowhere.