Others

Be A Protector

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‘Protector: a person in charge of the kingdom during the sovereign’s minority, incapacity, or absence.’ – English history.

I’ve thought about this. I’ve thought about this long and hard. And I’ve decided.

Now, I’m not loaded. I don’t have an overflowing bank account. But after seeing your generosity in supporting my dream, I’m inspired to pay it forward. You showed me what it means to give selflessly, and I want to do the same thing too.

No, this isn’t about a giveaway. Though, there are a couple more to come this month and they’ll be announced on Facebook.

So, what am I talking about? I’m talking about… slavery. I’m no expert on this issue, but I’m aware of its existence. I’m aware that it has ruined lives. And if there’s one cause I want to stand by, it is this: the fight against modern day slavery

There are approximately 36 million slaves in the world today. 50% are minors. And if you have $90, you can actually buy yourself one. This makes me angry. Children have been robbed of their childhood. People have been robbed of their rights. Families are torn apart. And for these individuals, living is meaningless.

I know… I am no Thom. I’m not a prince with a calling to save his people. I don’t have a magical aid. But I want to do something if I can. Hence, I’ve decided to give RM2 for every reader that pre-orders The Slave Prince to Change Your World.

Change Your World is a movement I’ve believed in for many years. Based in Malaysia, it exists to create opportunities and platforms for the young generation to ‘Save Lives’ through their creativity. This is as creative as I can get – telling stories. And if I can use my stories to stand for justice, then I should do it.

So, if you’d like to fight alongside me in this cause, pre-order a copy of The Slave Prince. I can only match two ringgit to a reader. But if you think it’s too little, forget ordering my book, reach out to Change Your World and support them. Saving lives is far more important.

For all those who’ve been eyeing the Geek & Sundry contest, there’s a month left. If you’d love to see my book hit the bookstores, please grab a copy at your earliest convenience. It only takes 5 minutes to help this dreamer – only 5 minutes to change a life. And if you stand by me, winning a publishing deal would be a walk in the park.

Writing Journey

Write What You Know

writewhatyouknow

Should you or should you not?

‘Write what you know’ is a statement you’ll hear the moment you decide to be a writer. It’s a cliche advice with two camps: the camp that supports it and the camp that doesn’t. There is no unanimity with this notion. Having both pros and cons, it naturally creates opposing beliefs.

Should you write what you know, you save time. You save money. You don’t have to put in as much effort, as when you’re writing what you don’t know. Writing what you know is easier. But writing what you know also puts you in a box. It doesn’t expand your horizons or challenges your ideas. In a way, it makes you complacent. So should you or should you not, write what you know?

Let’s take a step back and look at the statement from a different perspective.

As people with expanding intellect, we have the tendency to complicate things that aren’t meant to be complicated. Simply taking this advice as it is will give us the answer we need.

Write what you know.

You know the sky is blue. You know salt is salty. You know silk is soft. You know birds chirp. You know death is heartbreaking. And you know the joy of reunion.

You also know the sky changes colour as the day progresses. You also know salt makes food less bland. You also know silk clothing is comfortable. You also know a chirping bird can be both annoying and pleasant. You also know life goes on after death. And you also know memories can bring about laughter.

You know a lot, don’t you?

So should you write what you know? Yes. You should.

Writing what you know doesn’t just encompass what you’ve learned in school. In fact, it shouldn’t encompass head knowledge at all. Writing what you know is simply drawing from your experiences as a human being, and giving life to whatever you’re writing.

When I was writing The Battle for Oz, I hadn’t read the original book I was spinning from. I only read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz long after the book was completed. I also didn’t read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland until after I was done reading Oz. Heck… I didn’t even finish Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. However, I still managed to complete The Battle for Oz with the help of Google and what I already know.

With my own life experiences, I was able to create a story without even being a fan of the original works. And that itself, made The Battle for Oz my book. Your book and your story is yours because you’re writing with what you and only you know. No one can write like you, or craft stories like you, because they’re not walking in your shoes or experiencing life as you do. The statement that ‘everyone has a story to tell’ holds true.

At the end of the day, writing what you know is only natural. Writing isn’t grounded in the knowledge of a genre or a specific idea, but writing is grounded in you. Knowing yourself plays a big role in writing. And focusing on putting yourself in your works, instead of merely gathering knowledge, makes a piece all the more believable… and all the more unique.

You don’t have to be the best, most knowledgable writer in the world, to write what you want to write. You can write about anything and everything, as long as you know yourself.

Now… for some Calvin and Hobbes humour.

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I hope this post answers this question, should you be looking for an answer. But even if it doesn’t, I hope you’ll write with you in mind.

You know a lot. Don’t underestimate yourself.

(Edit: Based on some comments, I’d like to clear a possible misunderstanding: I’m not saying don’t do research and write from solely what you know. Do research. But don’t ever feel like you don’t know enough to embark on any writing journey.)

Writing Journey

Set A Quota, Meet The Quota

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Let’s be honest, I wouldn’t know what to kick start this year of blogging with if not for Zoey’s comment. Aside from my writing journey, Zoey has also asked about my writing process and how my average writing day looks like. Thank you for asking, Zoey! I’m more than happy to answer.

So, let me get right to it. When it comes to book projects, I go by the practice of ‘Set a quota, meet the quota‘. This is how I complete books within a set time frame. How do I go about it exactly? There are two ways.

The first is, A Book In A Month.

When I graduated from university, I spent the first month after graduation writing The Slave Prince. I told myself I would get a job after I was done. I gave myself 20 days to complete the book, and I did so by meeting the quota of one chapter a day.

My chapters for novels are a minimum of 2,500 words (more is welcomed, less is not). Without fail, I sat down in front of my laptop around 10pm every night and wrote until I met the word count. I didn’t go to sleep until I was done. I didn’t give myself an excuse to skip a day (unless it’s the weekend). And there was no such thing as a writer’s block, because I pushed through them. If I had to write a sucky chapter, I did it anyway – I knew I could edit it later. In 20 days, the novel was done.

These days, since having a day job, this isn’t something I can do unless I’m writing something short of a novel. My novellas and novelettes usually follow this A Book In A Month practice because of a shorter word quota, but not my novels. Which brings me to the second route: Two Chapters A Week.

Two Chapters A Week is exactly that. I write two chapters a week, usually on Tuesday and Friday. On Monday, I rough edit the chapter I wrote on the previous Friday. And on Thursday, I rough edit the chapter I wrote on Tuesday. Wednesday is kept empty just in case I haven’t prepped anything for this blog – sort of a last minute thing.

I would set the quota of 2,500 words or more and complete it before I go to bed. This was how I got Trails of the Wind (book one of my work-in-progress trilogy) done. I wrote Trails of the Wind between August to October last year, with a holiday break in Japan in between. Two Chapters A Week gets a novel done in around 3 months.

Again, there’s no such thing as a writer’s block. I MUST write on Tuesdays and Fridays. No excuses – fix horrible chapters later – just keep writing. I know that if I break my pattern, I risk never finishing the book, and that is something I will not do. It’s against my character to start something and not finish it. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t dropped books before – most of the time a result of not having a chapter list.

“What’s a chapter list?” you ask.

As a standard procedure prior to writing any book, no matter which direction I go, I spend a day or two mind-mapping and drafting out a chapter list (a.k.a a skeleton). I create a timeline where I write a few short sentences to describe each chapter. Most of the time, when I start writing, I deviate from the original plan. But I still create a chapter list, because it helps me to keep going. Should I feel lost in the middle of my writing, I can always look back at the chapter list and see if I should incorporate some of the ideas to push the story in the right direction. Since I impose no rule in following the chapter list by heart, it is simply there to keep me accountable – to help me finish the book. And there is no doubt that those short lines have been of great help.

So, there you have it! My writing process and how I go about it.

If you’re curious as to whether I participate in NaNoWriMo, my answer is ‘no’. My writing schedule always happens shortly before or after NaNoWriMo. With all the planning and writing, jumping on board would be too taxing. I also don’t want to hold on to an idea just for the sake of participating in NaNoWriMo. I prefer to write while inspiration is still fresh. Perhaps one day, my schedule will align and I’ll get to participate.

Now how about you? What is writing process like? Is your practice similar or do you have a different procedure? If you don’t have one, feel free to give my ‘Set a quota, meet the quota‘ a shot. It might work for you too 🙂

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I hope this post has been helpful. If there is something you would like me to write about, leave a comment below or send me an email. I’m not a writing prodigy nor do I have ample of experience, but I’m happy to share whatever niblets I own 🙂

Thank you for reading dear reader, and have a wonderful weekend. Oh, and to all who celebrates the Chinese (lunar) New Year, 新年快乐!

Others

A New Year, A New Journey

2015 has been good.

It was a year I self-published my novella, Dr. Slubgob’s Letters, and crowd-published my novel, The Battle for Oz. It was a year I started to earn royalties… for the first time in my authoring career! And a year I pulled through The Clubhouse series. 2015 was also a year I finished the first book of my first trilogy. It’s safe to say, I wrote a lot this year.

So what’s up for 2016?

Honestly, I’m not sure. I don’t know where my authoring career would go in 2016. I don’t know if there would be a 2nd print run of The Battle for Oz. I don’t know if The Slave Prince will be a success on Inkshares. And I don’t know if I should also crowd-fund the first book of my trilogy. But what I do know is the change I want to incorporate on this blog.

Blogging in 2015 was slow. The growth in readership wasn’t large. But that isn’t what’s bothering me. To be honest, the interaction with you is what I’ve missed throughout 2015. So for 2016, I intend to change things up.

Being that The Clubhouse series has to finish (as I don’t like leaving stories hanging), I’ll be posting a new chapter every fortnightly in 2016. In the weeks in between those chapters, I’ll either post short stories, talk about my experiences, voice opinions, and maybe share personal tips and tricks – all under the sun of writing and fiction. I hope that this variety will get you responding again. I won’t deny, it’s been lonely having no one to talk to. And I’ve thoroughly missed you.

Do I sound like a clingy ex? We haven’t broken up yet, have we? Oh, no, we haven’t. If you’re still here, we haven’t. So let’s rekindle this love affair. If you have any topics you’d like me to cover, do let me know. Having a livelier blog is my goal for 2016. Speak up if you have something to say, I’m all ears! If you don’t like commenting, because it’s not your thing, my inbox is always open to emails and I check it everyday.

With that being said, I just want to add a thank you for your faithful following of my blog. I know I didn’t do much in 2015, but I’ll make sure 2016 is better. Thank you for staying on board in this slow current and thank you for the constant support. Please remain seated because the ride isn’t over.

Cheers to a Happy New Year, my dear reader. May your 2016 be filled with lots of adventure and fantastical experiences. I hope it would be a great year for you, as I hope it would also be for me. Let’s have a memorable year together! *cue imaginary fireworks*

Others

Snatched Off The Page

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I wrote a special note sharing what it means to have another novel successfully funded on Inkshares. I thought I’d snatch it off the page itself and share it here.

With the successful funding of The Battle for Oz, I feel extremely blessed to be able to hold my book in my hands. I don’t expect to have another successful round, as the first time was a miracle in itself. But I do hope that I would be given a chance to showcase more of my works to the world.

I know this is every author’s dream. I’m no different, I’m definitely not special. But I go into this project believing in crowd-funded publishing, and I want to build my foundation in this industry as an author. It’s quite a difficult industry to break into, many know that, but I want to try and I want to succeed.

Succeeding again would mean it isn’t impossible for anyone to accomplish their authoring dream. Succeeding again would mean there is hope for all authors, no matter who you are and where you come from. I hope to see crowd-funded publishing as a new platform for authors, and I hope to use it as my own in the long run.

So do consider The Slave Prince, not as another book to read, but as a democratized book – chosen by the people. Consider the concept of this platform and how it can make a difference, not only in the publishing industry, but in the lives of authors around the world. No, Inkshares has not paid me to say this. I just really believe in this platform 🙂

It has been 6 days since I launched the project, and I’ve collected 13 pre-orders so far. I’m #8 in the top 10 books, but still rank far below to be published by Inkshares. The gap seems to be growing wider with the top 3, and I could really use your help to close it.

Being a Malaysian author, living in a country with a weak economy and small publishing industry (I still love Malaysia though), crowd-funded publishing is my hope of building an authoring career. Getting support from the local scene is extremely difficult, especially when $10 is over RM40! Aside from that, I’ve exhausted all my personal contacts with The Battle for Oz, and I don’t want family and friends to feel obligated to help again. Hence why I have to count on my international readers… hence why I have to reach out to you. Safe to say, you’re all I’ve got.

When I was crowd-funding The Battle for Oz, a handful of you came on board and backed me up (which I am very grateful for). This time around, I need more than a handful. I need a movement – a shocking moment in time where my international readers decide I’m worth a shot. Will you be part of this movement?

If you’ll like to give me a chance, which I hope you will, please check out the The Slave Prince. Consider joining the royal family, and claim a royal title for yourself. It’s not everyday you can be a duke or princess 🙂

The prologue and Chapter 1 of the book are currently up on the project page. You can give them a read and see if the premise piques your interest. Only 35 days left before the competition ends! Only 35 days before I find out if I’ll be holding another one of my books in my hands.

(By the way, I’ve confirmed with Inkshares: you do get a 5$ store credit when you sign up for the first time on Inkshares. You know what this means? A 50% discount off the e-book!) 

Others

Happy Birthday, Jeyna!

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No, no, I’m not here to wish myself ‘happy birthday’. I know I kind of did, but that’s not what this post is about.

Firstly, The Clubhouse is taking a break this month. I need to ‘re-plot’ this series. Secondly, I have a special announcement to make. No, my birthday is not the special announcement. The special announcement is… *drumroll please*… my new book!


Yes, there’s going to be a new book! 

This book is titled The Slave Prince. It was written in January 2013 and for two years, I’ve been editing it… unsure on which platform I should publish it on. And then I thought, why not put it up on Inkshares? So I did. The project is now live and it’s part of the Sword & Laser Collection Contest!

So, what is the Sword & Laser Collection Contest? 

This contest runs on Inkshares from now till January 15th, 2016. The top 3 books with the most unique reader pre-orders will be published by Inkshares and will possibly be added to the Sword & Laser Collection. It is basically a race to get the most orders in a month’s time. I’ve worked with Inkshares before on The Battle for Oz, and I’m hoping for a chance to work with them again.

This means, I need your help.

You can read all about the book HERE, check out the prologue of the book, then consider pre-ordering an e-book copy (at $10) to help kickstart the project. I know I cannot succeed in this project without your help, but I don’t want to hustle for money either. The crowd-funded publishing industry is a tough platform to break into, but I believe it is a platform that gives hope to all authors – no matter who you are or where you come from. So please, please do consider sparing me your $10.

Succeeding a second time on a crowd-funded publishing platform would mean a lot to me. The first round itself was a Christmas miracle, and I’m praying for another Christmas miracle this year too 🙂 Would you help me make it happen? I really hope so.

*If I’m not mistaken, you get a $5 store credit upon signing up on Inkshares. That’s 50% off the e-book price of my book. Good deal, eh? Go check it out! 

**On a separate note, the cover above is a temporary cover. There’ll be a better one soon.

…..

Well, that’s my announcement! Thank you for giving it a read and thank you for being a part of my writing journey. I’ll have a year end update soon to share my blogging plans for 2016. For now, I’ll just leave you with this.

By the way, don’t you just love the snow that comes around every December on WordPress? I definitely love it. Ironically, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Oddly, it gives me hope too. Wow, who knew digital snowflakes could leave such an impression.

P.S. Inkshares is having a Buy-1-Free-1 offer on The Battle for Oz. So if you have no idea what to get for a bookish friend this Christmas, do check it out!

Others

The Sixscriber Milestone

sixscribermilestoneI know, what a bad play with words. ‘Six’ and ‘Sub’ do not sound alike, so forgive me. I tried. And failed.

ANYWAY, why the horrible title? Well… I’ve hit a milestone! The 6k subscriber milestone!

Thank you so much to all the sixscibers of my blog 🙂 Many of you have been around since the very beginning, while some of you have just hit the subscribe button, but each of you has helped make my blog grow. Thank you for being a reader of my works and thank you for supporting me. I’m always trying to improve and I’m really grateful that despite some horrible writing, you are still around. Thank you so, so very much!

This year, I’m looking forward to more awesome adventures with you. There will be more book releases, one even in paperback, and I just cannot wait to see how 2015 will play out. I do hope you would still be with me when the year ends. Chasing dreams can get lonely and tiring, but knowing that you enjoy my works will keep pushing me forward 🙂

Lastly, BUY MY BOOK! BUY IT NOW! BUY! BUY! BUY! Lend me a hand and pre-order my soon to be released novel. It would help a lot! Thank you in advance! (Now you have to buy it 😛 )

Keeping this extremely short and sweet, I just want to say another big thank you. I don’t know what else to add to express my gratitude, but do know that I’m really thankful for you… thank you for being here!

*If you have suggestions, questions and comments, you can leave them down below or send me an email. I’m always happy to hear from you. Which writer does not want to hear from their readers, am I right?

Have a good week! 

Others

2015, Here We Go!

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The crowd-funding project for The Battle For Oz is over and guess what? It is a success!

I have never imagined raising this much money in such a short time and I’m just so excited! I had a super huge backer a few days before it ended, who practically gave enough to cover the remaining shortage. Thank God! Yes, thank God and that backer!

But they are not the only ones that deserve my gratitude. Firstly, I want to thank my parents for their support. They really went out of their way and helped me seek potential funders among their friends. They were more gung ho than me, boldly getting their friends on board. It’s safe to say, the majority of funds were raised because of their friends. And to be honest, I did not even ask them to do so, they just did. Thanks mum and dad ❤

Secondly, I want to say thank you to every casual adventurer, realm traveller, and chosen one. The project was funded by 147 people, but the actual number is more than that. A lot of people handed me cash, and though their names are not in the system, I’m extremely grateful for their support.

And lastly, thank YOU 🙂 All those who tweeted, Facebooked, reblogged and funded the project, thank you so, so much.

That being said, I promised to do a lucky draw for subscribers who funded a minimum of 5USD to the project during the crowd-funding stage. But since not many participated, I’ve decided to just give a free copy to each subscriber that funded the project. I have sent you guys an email about it, so be sure to hit reply with your details 🙂 *If I left you out, let me know.

If you are new to my blog and would like to know more about The Battle For Oz, you can pre-order the book HERE. It is currently priced at 17.99$, which includes shipping. I would definitely update you on the progress of publication through this blog as days go by. Hopefully, I would be able to hold the book in my hands soon. Gosh, I can’t wait!

The Battle For Oz could finally be my big break. But even though I do not know where this book will take me or how my career as an author will take off after this, I know I could not have done it without the faith I’ve gotten from every supporter. My journey might still be a long one, but I know that dreams CAN come true, if you and I believe 🙂

Thank you once again! Now, excuse me while I digest the fact that this is really happening.

*Shameless plugging time: it has been awhile so… like me on Facebook! Follow me on Twitter!
#TheBattleForOz if you have any questions or would like to find updates through social media. O.k, goodbye!