The last time I posted a story on this blog was on November 27th, 2020. That was over 2 years ago. Since then, I’ve not written a single story.
To be honest, I kind of lost my passion for creative writing. Since I started this blog in 2011 up till 2019, I had been posting stories and/or some form of content every single week. And, before I knew it, it became a chore. I felt like I needed to write stories and did so, even if it no longer brought me joy. It’s safe to say, that after trying to return to this space in 2011, I still couldn’t find the excitement and passion I once had for creative writing.
Then, just yesterday, I felt a strange tingle in my chest—a desire to return to writing stories again. Perhaps, the daily grind of copywriting and editing has sparked a longing to tell stories once more. And though I may be a little rusty on the creative ‘storytelling’ front, I’m ready to get back to it… with a few projects in mind. But, before I start a new chapter, I have to close another.
As of this post, The Battle for Oz and The Slave Prince will no longer be in print distribution. However, I’ve spoken to my publisher and we’ve decided to continue digital distribution with a price slash. That’s right, both books are now only 0.99$ for the digital copies! So if you’re interested in checking them out, head over to Amazon or Barnes & Noble to dive into those adventures.
Now with that chapter closed, I suppose I’m ready to embark on a new adventure! And if you’ve read this far, thank you for still being here. I will announce where I’m headed with my writing soon, and this time… I promise both you and myself that I won’t go AWOL again.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Oh, what a scary notion for us creatives who need our wild imaginations and out-of-this-world ideas to create. Yet, sometimes, we feel like we are losing it. We seem to be missing our creative spark. ‘Where did it go?’ we ask. The once blinding light-bulb isn’t lighting up our heads with grand epiphanies. And all that remains is a dull sponge squeezed dry by our reality.
Alas, feeling uncreative isn’t foreign to us. And in certain seasons of life, our creativity dips and dives like an unexpected roller-coaster ride. From moments of great ingenuity to days of zero artistry—what is happening? Why are we failing to concoct anything worthy? Are we growing too old to be creative? Have we, perhaps, lost it?
Let’s be honest, we would like to think that creativity is an eternal engine fueled by passion and determination—if we have enough drive, the sweet juices of our childlike creativity would keep flowing, churning never-ending art that we can be proud of. After all, creativity is second nature. It is instinct. And, we’re right! The good news is… our creativity is indeed eternal. Unfortunately, it is not an engine.
In moments when we feel uncreative—when fresh perspectives and novel concepts fail to surface—perhaps, it has nothing to do with our imagination. Perhaps, it is the result of the ups and downs of life. Or perhaps, our creativity is now being expressed differently—presented in a different mould, through different means. So if you wonder, ‘Have I lost it?’ Fret not.
We will never lose our creativity. It is impossible to lose this hardwired part of our identity. You may not be able to harness it now, but it doesn’t mean you’ve lost it. Your creativity is still there! After all, there is no such thing as an uncreative… creative.
I tried hard to write a short story last week to be published on this blog—pulling up my work file about 3 to 4 times in hopes of completing it. Alas, I just couldn’t get past the 200 words. And it wasn’t because I was lazy. After staring at the page for minutes on end, I knew that it was simply because my mind drew blank.
So, I did what I rarely would do and missed a week of posting. Despite wanting to create, with attempts at forcing an idea into fruition, I was unable to craft. And I wondered…
‘Was it okay to skip a week of posting? Was it okay to… not create? As a creator, who are you if you’re not creating?’
Now, I know that these days, most of my readers are not following my blog for the stories. Yes, despite being an author, somehow… you guys are now into this kind of content—content that is less fictional and more personal. So perhaps, you didn’t even notice the lack of a story post last week. Perhaps… it is only I who insists on being disciplined at writing week in week out. Still, who am I… if I don’t actually write?
I am STILL… an author.
And if you’re asking yourself the same question—who are you if you take a break or can’t seem able to create—this post is for you.
You are STILL a creator.
Yes, discipline is good. Yes, being consistent helps you to hone your craft. I advocate creating and creating often! But there’s nothing wrong with taking a break. There’s nothing wrong with admitting that sometimes… you just can’t create because of reasons you might not have. And it doesn’t mean that you are lazy or that you’re giving up—you know when you’re trying! It simply means that you are human with creative struggles all humans face. And being unable to craft something new doesn’t mean you are any less of who you are.
At the end of the day, doing what you love shouldn’t be a burden. Doing what you love should be an expression of your very being—of who you are from the inside out. And if you can’t create today, fret not. You will create tomorrow… because creating is what you were born to do—it is what you do best, and it is a part of who you are.
Someone once told me, and I paraphrase, “You are not an aspiring writer. You write, so you are.”
Now, I forgot who this person was—it was many years ago, when I first started this blog and called myself an aspiring writer. But ever since I read that comment, I stopped using the word all together. Why? Because I realised that truly owning your ambition isn’t to aspire but to do. And when you do, you become—when you become, you no longer have to aspire. You are what you say you are.
Of course, that’s not to say that the word ‘aspire’ or your aspirations are bad. This word holds a positive connotation. But there will come a time when you will have to stop aspiring—a time when you have to disown the word and take control over what you want to do. After all, you can only aspire so much before you actually have to take action. But if that time never comes… then the word carries no meaning—to a certain extent, it becomes a roadblock because you grow comfortable simply… aspiring.
So, if you’re aspiring to do something or be someone, it’s time to stop. Stop aspiring to be a comic book artist, stop aspiring to be a baker, stop aspiring and start doing. Ditch the word the first chance you get because… you don’t need it! You are what you say you are and it’s high time you own up to it.
You probably entered 2020 with hope of a better year—that perhaps, this year would be kinder than the last, that you would finally achieve what you’ve set out to achieve, or that you would get the break you long deserved. Alas, it seems that 2020 isn’t going too well for you. In fact, it seems to be the worst year for almost everyone with all that is transpiring.
So if you feel like you’re on the verge of giving up or breaking down… you’re not alone—that’s a pretty normal human response. After all, you’re not made of steel. You’re taking on new challenges head on—learning to adapt and react as quickly as possible for your survival. And being that none of us are immune to fear, anxiety, and uncertainty, tackling these unforeseen circumstances is no easy task. But in the midst of it all, know this: you are far more resilient than you think.
Whatever obstacles you’re facing, whatever emotions you’re feeling, and whatever life throws your way in this season, you’ll survive it. Things may not get easier, you may not achieve all your goals, and you might find yourself stumbling along the way, but you’ll make it to the finish line nonetheless. And when you’re forced to make changes in your life, it’s a show of how capable you are at maneuvering around those roadblocks—all of which will prove that you are a fighter.
So if no one has told you yet, let me be the first to tell you: you are more determined and tenacious than you could ever imagine—abilities that are hardwired into your being, only to be unleashed in difficult times. You may not believe it now. You may even be at wits end, unsure if you can bear the crushing weight of reality. But when it is all said and done, you’ll find yourself stronger and braver than before.
Don’t lose hope, my fellow warrior. You’ll get through all of this… because that is simply who you are.