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Stop Trying To Reinvent Yourself

New year, new you? Well, that’s just the WORST RESOLUTION to have. And if you’re gasping at the notion… I’m here to tell you why.

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Original Works

Rebirth [12 Genre Months]

Once upon a time—a story always begins. The same four words that captures a child’s curiosity upon utterance—the opening to many stories, folklore, and legends. Alas, there was one beginning that commenced differently. It was a beginning that came forth once every five-hundred years—a beginning that repeated itself over, and over, and over again. For upon its very first once upon a time, there would never be an end—a fictional happily ever after that ceased to exist.

I was twelve-years-young when my mother told me the story. It began as a tale of a great adventure, where the hero traversed the golden dunes in the North Desert in search of the Fountain of Youth. It was said that beneath the great sea of sand was a cave—one that would rise above the earth when a mortal, worthy of its gift, should stumble upon it. And, like every other story, the hero had been worthy since birth. Still, it took the hero thirty-seven years to face his destiny—he had just turned sixty when he uncovered his calling.

It was a fateful evening when the ground shuddered and groaned. A rocky chamber emerged before the hero’s aging eyes, striking him in wonder and awe. It’s iron-grey accents, disparate to the surrounding topography, revealed a winding hollow that descended into the earth. And, the hero had no reservations. He strode into the mouth of the colossal chamber, leaving the world at the foot of the cave.

As the uneven and slippery path led him into the abyss, the hero soon found himself out of light’s reach. But in that darkness, where the hero thought of assembling a torch, he heard a disembodied voice—it asked a simple question with a deep resonance that reverberated through his bones.

“What do you seek?” The ghostly echoes of the question sent a shiver down his spine.

‘What do I seek?’ the hero thought to himself. The answer was easy. The hero had long sought for one thing and one thing alone—it was the reason for his quest, and it was the very thing the cave was said to offer. So the hero replied, “I seek what you promised.”

Just as the hero uttered those words, the cave trembled. And almost immediately, the hero hesitated—should he stay or should he run for his life? Then realising how he had wasted many years for that very moment, the hero stood his ground. And at the resolution, the trembling ceased.

Silence and darkness reigned. A nothingness prolonged—seemingly perpetual to warrant a response. But before a word left the hero’s lips, a faint light flickered in the hollow up ahead. It drew nearer and nearer, until the hero could see its very form—a ball of light akin to the sun.

Again, the hero was uncertain—should he embrace the fiery orb or step out of its way? Was it the gift he had longed for or a curse of death? The hero chose to remain. And as he closed his eyes in expectation of the magical light, the hero felt a warm sensation entering his chest. The comforting heat extended to every inch of his body. Then, it dissipated—its heat lifting from his being as a cold draft stirred around him. As the gift was dispensed, the voice returned.

“You will live for a thousand years, and a thousand more. Never will you meet death.”

Thus, the end of the story—the closure that every mother offered as she tucked her children to sleep. Alas, that wasn’t the end. I would know, as I went on the same adventure, only to discover that the story never ended there.

Unlike the hero, I wandered a few years short of twenty. I thought myself lucky—having not to spend another night in the soulless desert as a mortal. But as I uttered the words of the hero and embraced the gift, I came upon the part of the story that diverged. Oh, how I had hoped for a warm and comforting sensation in my being. Oh, if only the legend was true. Alas, the gift was a curse.

As soon as the fiery orb nestled in my chest, an eruption of raging heat burst forth. A searing sensation scorched my skin from the inside out. And before my very eyes, ash rose from my being. I thought I was dying—I felt myself die. To my dismay, I was still alive. When the pain eventually ceased, I could no longer feel my body. The only sensation that remained was an unending fire that stirred within.

“You will live for a thousand years, and a thousand more. Never will you meet death,” the voice said.

It was too late then. I would have renounced the gift but I had lost my voice. No longer was I mortal. I had become the sun. And I was destined to grace the skies for all of eternity—to live as a mythical creature that would be reborn in its own ashes over, and over, and over again. Thus… once upon a time, at every quincentenary, my story continues.


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

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

Writing Journey

[NEW] Music Meets Story

There are times where I rely on music to complete a story, to set the mood, and to inspire creativity. And seeing how music has the power to shape a tale, I’ve decided to embark on a writing challenge inspired by original compositions.

Collaborating with ten composers from all around the world—amazing and talented artists from the United Kingdom, Sweden, Greece, Turkey, Poland, Denmark, Azerbaijan, and the United States—I’m ready to push the boundaries of my imagination as I attempt to write stories thematically in sync with their creations. Sounds interesting?

Truthfully, this idea is both exciting and daunting. And it’s something I’ve been contemplating since the middle of last year, though not entirely ‘new’. I have done a similar piece in the past—a Harry Potter fanfiction accompanied with music. But… it wasn’t easy. Thus, I am at it again—the challenge being the main reason I’m on this ‘new’ adventure. So, will you join me on this quest?

The first story will be posted in February, and I do hope to see you there. Until then, don’t forget to stay awesome!

Writing Journey

My Thank You Note To You

As we enter a new decade, I just want to say a huge thank you for your support, your readership, and your encouragement. Thank you, so very, very much, for sticking around—embarking on my different endeavours in the past years.

Since 2011, I’ve transitioned from fanfiction to original fiction to crowd-funding novels and to videos. And honestly, I wouldn’t have done it all if I didn’t have you by my side. So whether you’ve just come on-board or have been around since the start, I hope you know that your presence means a whole lot to me. After all, everything I do would be in vain if not for you! For if I make no difference through my words, it would all be for nothing.

With that being said, I’m moving into this new decade with an exciting new plan for this blog, more videos on my Facebook page, and a book series I intend to keep writing. And though I do not know what the future holds, I do know that I’ll have you—or at least, some of you—who would still stick around until the very end. So thank you in advance for another decade—who knows where we’ll all be in 2030. Perhaps… in space!

Keeping this short and sweet, I’d like to wish you a Happy New Year! And may your next decade be filled with amazing adventures, wild escapades, and a great story worth telling for generations to come. Stay awesome and keep dreaming, my friend!

With lots of love, Jeyna ❤️

Writing Journey

20 Reasons Why ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ Don’t Work

If you’re thinking about writing your own list of New Year’s Resolution, think again. Here are 20 reasons why it isn’t going to work for you:

1. They don’t work.
2. They simply don’t work.
3. When was the last time it worked for you?
4. It hasn’t worked since 2001 and it won’t work now.
5. But maybe… it’s just you.
6. Maybe you shouldn’t set ideals you cannot achieve.
7. Maybe your lists of to-do’s are pure fantasies.
9. Maybe you should stop aiming for the cliches as well.
10. Lose weight? Really?
11. But maybe it’s not about the list at all.
12. Resolutions don’t work because you simply like the idea of them.
13. Resolutions don’t work because you can’t find enough drive to put in the ‘actual work’.
14. So instead of aiming to complete a checklist you’re secretly not passionate about, maybe try a different approach.
15. Instead of being disappointed when you fail at the end of the year, start being honest.
16. Forget those resolutions and aim to be honest with yourself.
17. After all, if you’re 100% honest with yourself, you’ll know exactly what you truly want.
18. And if you truly want something, you’ll work toward obtaining it.
19. So forget the whole list you just only wrote.
20. And get ready for a whole new adventure unlike any other.

Original Works

The Winter Raven [12 Genre Months]

Every year, at the arrival of the winter festivities, there came a call for the bravehearts—the warriors of hope, the heroes of peace, and the defenders of faith. A call that was sent to the chosen few—a call that came as a raven, perched on my window sill. Little did I know, being chosen meant that Christmas would never be the same again.

“Mum!” I called from my bedroom. “There’s a bird on my window. And it won’t fly away.”

I was an ordinary nine-year-old, who had just attempted to shoo the feathered creature with a pillow. Alas, it stood stock-still with unwavering determination to accomplish its task.

“What bird?” my mother replied as she strolled in. After a quick glance around the room, she headed to the window to pull it shut. “How many times do I have to tell you to close the window before bed?”

“The bird,” I merely replied.

My mother shook her head as she turned toward me. Believing that she had dealt with the raven, I slipped under the warm comforter—ready to call it a night. Alas, night had only just begun. Once my mother bade goodnight, flicking the lights off as she did, I heard an echo of a deep raspy caw. It sounded almost ghost-like—not of an actual bird. And when I couldn’t ignore it any longer, I sat up and looked at the window.

There it was—on my window sill with an illuminating purple gem between its beaks. It bore no gifts earlier and I hesitated. Was it safe to approach the creature? But as a curious child—who still believed that there was magic in the world—the glowing stone was the perfect bait. Slipping out of my bed, I went to the avian messenger to unknowingly accept my heroes calling.

That night, the cut and polished stone determined my fate. For the next three years of my life—on the fifth of every December—my raven would return. I would take the stone from its beak and glimpse into the chaos of the world—the invisible monsters with life-sucking fangs and soul-crushing claws that sought to destroy the remaining hope of the year. These otherworldly beasts roamed the streets and entered homes in search of unsuspecting victims. And it was my mission to stop them from destroying my slumbering neighbourhood.

Who would have thought that a child could be a hero? I was nine-years-old when I was gifted the light—the radiant and blinding amber of hope that beamed from the palms of my small hands. It was the light that kept my family and friends safe. It was the light that made me the unsung hero. And though it meant that Christmas was when the monsters of my nightmares came to life, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. For when I turned thirteen, the messenger went to another child.

At thirteen, I knew that my quest was over. Still, I couldn’t forget. And every night since, I would wonder about the shadows of humanity—was there an eldritch spectre outside my bedroom door? Unfortunately, it was no longer up to me to save the day. Another hero had been chosen—a reality I had accepted until my own child spoke of a bird on a chilly December night.

“Dad!” she called from her bedroom. “There’s a bird on my window. And it won’t fly away.”

“A bird?” I asked as I entered her room. Turning to her opened window, where I saw no avian creature, I frowned. “What bird?”

“There.” She pointed at the vacant space within the window frame. “It’s just… looking at me,” she added.

It had been over twenty years since my own encounter. And I would have shut the window—just like my mother did mine—if not for the strange inkling to keep it open.

“Dad, can you close the window?” she prompted. And therein, I remembered.

“It won’t hurt you,” I said. Crouching by the side of her bed, I continued, “But if it has a stone in its beak, you have to take it.”

“There’s no stone,” she stated.

“Not yet.” I winked.

“Okay. But what does the stone do?”

“It makes you a hero,” I replied. “It’ll make you brave. And even if the monsters scare you, you’ll be strong enough to destroy them.”

“Okay, dad.”

“Goodnight, Hope,” I said.

Flicking her bedroom lights off, I could only wonder if it were all true. I had grown to doubt. Still, I found a hint of belief. And if there was one gift I could offer my child this Christmas, it was to help her uncover the superhero within.


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

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

Videos

Why You Should Stop Trying To Fit In

Should you stay true to yourself or create to be on trend?

As creators, we often find ourselves wrestling with this question. We often contemplate if we should just follow the crowd. After all, it seems to be the way to go if we want to succeed. But… is it worth it?

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Original Works

Faith | Work | Love

“Tis’ the season to fall in love,” she said. “The snow is falling. The mistletoe is waiting. If anything, Christmas is when you find the one.”

“Right,” I replied. “But-”

“Just look at the movies! And don’t get me started on Hallmark,” she added.

“And your point is…”

“My point is that this is your season,” she said, with a gentle nudge of the shoulder.

With a halfhearted smile, I returned to the unopened files on my desk. As the week-long holidays were just around the corner, I intended to complete the remaining work at break-neck speed. Alas, my colleagues often found their way to my workstation with invites to Christmas and New Year parties—none of which I had any intention to attend.

“So you’re coming to the office party, right?” she continued. “You’ll get to meet the guys from the other departments.” She winked.

I sighed. If only the party wasn’t mandatory—our manager had invited each and every person with a personalised card—I would’ve skipped out. “Yea, I guess,” I replied.

“Great! Who knows, you might just find the love of your life,” she said with a beam.

“Awesome.” I gave a thumbs up before plugging in my earphones.

Oh, how easy I’ve made it for everyone to think that I was a Grinch. After all, I hadn’t shown much enthusiasm for the holiday. But truthfully, that wasn’t the case—I adored Christmas. I loved sitting by a decorated fireplace as the Christmas tree lights flickered on the surrounding walls. I enjoyed the company of family and friends as we shared a warm cup of eggnog after a hearty Christmas dinner. I didn’t even despise the music—I would prepare my very own Christmas playlist in November. But things had changed—Christmas was no longer about faith, love, and hope. Christmas was all about finding the one. And just like she said, don’t get me started on Hallmark.

If only I could celebrate Christmas the way I wanted to. If only I could make this holiday my own. If only I could return to the good old days—building a snowman with my sister, guessing the gifts under the tree, and singing cheesy carols without shame. And just as I thought about home, there came a ping from my desktop chat.

‘Wanna go home for Christmas?’ my sister sent.

‘Flight is expensive now,’ I replied.

‘So you’d rather spend it with people trying to hook you up?’

I chuckled. “Are you going back? I thought you couldn’t.’

‘I changed my mind,’ she said. ‘I forgot what Christmas was like.’

‘Me too.’

‘I’ll see you at home then,’ she added with a wink emoji. And at that moment, I knew that she had bought her air tickets—that she would be home for Christmas, experiencing the very meaning of the season that had been lost for many years. This year, my sister had the courage to choose her own holiday story—did I?

That night, before I slipped under the cosy covers of my bed, I made up my mind. I had no plans to stand under a mistletoe at my office Christmas party—unfortunately, I would have to gracefully decline the invite. I also had no plans to fall in love—to write my own cliche Christmas romance. There was, after all, more to this holiday. And since it was still my choice on how I wished to celebrate it, I chose to do so in a way that mattered to me.

‘I’ll see you at home,’ I hit reply. And then, to both my mother and father, I sent, ‘I’ll be home for Christmas. It’s where I belong.’


Faith, work, and love were words given by Caroline Guisson on Facebook.

This bite-sized piece of holiday fiction was written to remind us all that we still have a choice on how we wish to celebrate the end of the year—whether it’s falling in love, spending time with family, or using this time to reconcile, let’s celebrate in a way that matters to us.

Now, it’s your turn! Write a story with the three words given. As the words are pretty ‘Christmas-y’, you could write your own Christmas story—perhaps a piece on what this season means to you.

*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 To End A Bad Year

We’re almost a month short of 2020 and I’m sure that not all of us have had a great year. I, for one, underwent a few challenging seasons—from the betrayal of the people I trusted to the questioning of my self worth, approximately six months of 2019 wasn’t the best. In fact, there were times when I wondered if things could actually get better—was there hope of a brighter new year? Was there actually a light at the end of the tunnel? So if you have had a rough year, you’re not alone. And let’s be honest—after what we’ve gone through—stepping into the new year feeling hopeful… is easier said than done.

Personally, I refuse to see my 2019 as a failure. Despite the deep waters and dark valleys, I did learn and grow from all the negative experiences. But as I entered the third quarter of the year, I was afraid in believing in a better 2020. I didn’t want to hope only to be disappointed again. I found myself asking, what if… it doesn’t get better? What if… the monsters get stronger? What if… it is all downhill from here? And that is when I realised—every year in my life isn’t meant to be the best year ever. Every year in my life is simply a chapter of my story—a story that will have both joyful and heartbreaking moments. And when I look at 2019 from this perspective, I uncovered my missing hope.

I found my hope in 2020—not as a greater year than 2019 but as a year that will advance my story. Frankly, I’ll never know what’s in-stored for me in the new year—2020 might be just as tempestuous, or perhaps there will be rainbows. But alike the adventures I had embarked on in 2018 and the storms that I overcame in 2019, the coming year will speak for itself. It is a new chapter with its own plot that will eventually become a part of my lifelong story.

So, how do you end an unfortunate 2019 with hope? Embrace it. Accept that 2019 has passed—a chapter that is about to close—and look forward to the next page where you’ll be entering a new stage of your life. And whatever 2020 has for you, remember that it is but another chapter of many more to come. After all, your life isn’t defined by a single chapter but your journey from one to the other.

Original Works

Circle Of Chalk [12 Genre Months]

‘I was sixteen. I was sold to a brothel after my father’s death. And just when I caught a glimmer of hope—a glimpse of survival—I was framed for murder. If, for a second, you thought that our dystopia had ruined all chances of a meaningful life, think again—all I ever wanted was to escape the gallows.

‘The year was 1259—one thousand, three hundred, and fifty-nine years after the Red Sun grazed our earth. What was once a thriving planet, with expeditions to the moon, had become a wasteland. Our people were forced to start over and our nations returned to their primeval state—to a past where famine and plagues descended upon the poorer folks, where the kings were chosen by the gods, and where my father died a poor man.

‘My father had accumulated creditors over his many years of Wei-Qi—a game he sought to master, in hopes of reclaiming the very wealth he’d wasted from it. Upon his death, I was sent to the House of Red Lanterns to repay his debts. It was the home to unfortunate women who danced in silky crimson dresses, plucked lyrical string instruments, and served sweet tea and cakes to its male guests amongst other unspoken services. It wasn’t a place for a child. But in the midst of its hopelessness, I saw a light. My saviour entered the brothel’s rosewood halls as a tax collector—the man who soon made me his second wife.

‘I knew. I was well aware—I wasn’t saved because of love. I was rescued from a life of prostitution because of my youth. I was young and fertile—I could bear the tax collector’s child, and I did. I gave birth to his one and only son, and became the mother of the heir to his fortune. Alas, that didn’t sit well with his first wife. It was bad news for the lady of the house—bad enough news for her to murder her husband, frame me for his death, and claim my child as her own. And that is why, Judge Bao, I am writing this to you. I need you to save me.’

“Another letter from the portal?” Dominic asked.

“Yes, as though our own universe isn’t filled with enough injustice,” I replied. “This Judge Bao is getting out of hand. Someone over there has made me out to be a hero.”

“Well, you did solve that one case with the butterfly dream,” Dominic said. “You’re quite the Sherlock Holmes.”

“Please, don’t get started with Sherlock Holmes,” I replied as I handed the letter to Dominic.

Standing from my oak desk, I headed to the bookshelf in my private study. Surely, its occupants had the answer to the hapless girl’s case. Perhaps one of the great kings of the past could free her from her inequitable predicament. But just as I retrieved a thick leather-bound book, an idea struck.

“Are you still getting those letters—the Sherlock ones?” Dominic asked. “I thought they stopped.”

I chuckled. “Stop? See that pile over there?” I said, gesturing at a box brimming with unopened envelopes. “They keep coming. Heck, I’d rather be a beekeeper at this point.”

“You’re afraid of bees,” Dominic stated.

“Precisely. Now read that letter and give me some advice, Watson.”

Dominic retreated to an armchair by the lit fireplace. And after a brisk read, he said, “This seems pretty straightforward.”

“Yes, I’m sure. So how do we help her?”

“I have no idea,” Dominic said. “If I did, I’d be you.”

“You’re always of great help,” I said. “Thanks for being here.”

“You’re welcome, Solomon.” Dominic hopped off the armchair. “Better get to replying that poor child. The gallows is a deadly place to be.”

“Yes. Death waits for no man.” I shooed Dominic to the double doors before returning to my desk. Hopefully, with the right instructions, the magistrates on the other side would save yet another soul—hopefully, that would be all from that universe for a while.

‘Dear fellow judges,

‘It has come to my attention that the tax collector’s second wife is being framed for a murder she did not commit. But to say that she is innocent without proper investigation would be a crime. Thus, I have found a solution to unravel the truth.

‘Before the girl is unjustly sentenced, draw a circle of chalk around the heir of the fortune. Then, instruct both the lady of the house and the girl to pull the child out of the circle. Whoever refuses to hurt the child in the process is the true mother of the boy. And though that will not discount the murder, it will reveal the true liar.

‘Best regards, Judge Bao’


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

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