8 Things I’m Grateful For In 2018

1. My trip to the UK. Though it was not the best nor the most memorable, I finally visited Potterland of which I thought was impossible.

2. My novel, The Slave Prince, finally hitting bookstores after the arduous hours spent on fundraising and editing.

3. My 3/4 page feature in The Sun newspaper. Who knew I would be given that much print space? Certainly not me!

4. My whole CLEO experience—from the photoshoot to the luncheon—that pushed me into the most awkward social situations, which have now made me a little bolder and more willing to say ‘yes’ to social events.

5. The many times I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone, agreeing to ‘things’ I never thought I would agree to, to push my limitations both in my personal and work life. I accepted so many challenges this 2018.

6. Learning a lot from my day job that has helped me to map my personal plans for the future. I never knew I could take such a route on my authoring journey. I never knew I would be so fond of the words, ‘business’ and ‘consultant’. Simply being willing to learn has helped me to see the endless possibilities standing before me.

7. A life plan for 2019 and beyond that doesn’t just involve writing novels but has a more meaningful purpose. Finally, there’s more to do! And I cannot wait to share it with you. So be sure to keep an eye out for the upcoming posts!

8. My friends, especially the (unlikely) people who are so supportive of my plans and have offered a hand to help me make it happen. And my family, for still being a close unit—still going on family trips and spending Sundays together. Hopefully, next year won’t be that much different.

After all that has happened and that is to come, I have a feeling 2019 is going to be an amazing year. 2018 is just the start of my novel, and like all epic adventures out there…. it’s about to get exciting!

Is there anything in your 2018 that you’re grateful for? Make a list!

Writing Journey

This Story Begins In 2005 [#TRUESTORY]

I scrolled through my blog recently and realised that I don’t share enough personal stories. I do address certain topics based on experience, but nothing from, ‘hey, I was once an annoying kid,’ to, ‘wow, I said the cringiest things on Facebook.’ So today, I thought, let me share a #truestory.

This story begins in 2005. It was during those formative years in secondary school that I began exploring other forms of writing aside from short stories. I would write scripts for my school’s drama competitions, and I would write poetry–a whole lot of poetry. I thought I wasn’t good at short stories because I never won any writing competitions. So, I tried poetry instead. But even then–churning out both story-based and self-reflective pieces–I knew nothing about the rules and the mechanics of this art. I just wrote. And whenever I wrote, I would submit my poems to a local newspaper in hopes of being featured in their Wednesday student column.

Then 2007 rolled around. It was my final year in secondary school and I experienced the loss of two family members in a single week. My maternal grandfather passed away a few days prior to my paternal aunt. I wasn’t close to either of them as I can’t speak mandarin or hokkien–two of the few Chinese dialects in Malaysia. And, I only saw them once a year during Chinese New Year. So the loss was a strange kind of loss. I was sad–I cried when I heard about my grandfather, while I was unexpectedly called out from school–but… I didn’t know why.

At their funerals, of which I had to travel from one state to another just a few days apart, I wrote two poems. I used to carry a notebook around for when inspiration strikes, and conveniently, I had my notebook with me that week. Of course, I wouldn’t say their deaths were ‘inspiring’, but it led me to writing a piece titled, ‘Death’ and a piece titled, ‘If’. They were rather morbid pieces if I could say so myself. But it seems… I write better when in unpredictable and uncomfortable situations.

Shortly after those events, I returned to school and my carefree teenage life. Since I had two new poems, I submitted both of them to the same local newspaper. I didn’t expect anything, but twice, my friends hollered at me–after having flipped through their daily newspapers. They came into class saying, “Jeyna, you’re in the newspaper!” You see, my school allowed students a paid subscription to the daily newspaper. These students would receive their copies every morning. I wasn’t one of these students–my dad would buy the newspaper himself–and thus, I had no idea if my work was published. I had to be told, and on both occasions, the announcement from my friends and teachers were awesome surprises. Alas, it only happened twice. There was no third time, despite the dozens of poems I submitted.

Eleven years later, on May 30th 2018–coincidentally a Wednesday–I received a Facebook message from a friend with a snapshot of a different, but also local, newspaper. I knew I did an email interview. I even chose a handful of pictures to send to the journalist. But, I had no idea when the piece would be out. Being Facebook message–oh, how technology has advanced–brought back that same feeling when I discovered I was featured in 2007. This time however, almost a decade later, it wasn’t just my name. It was an almost full-page spread with my picture. Eleven years later… “Jeyna, you’re in the newspaper!”

Read The Online Version

If you’ve actually made it this far into my story, or if you follow me on Facebook and Twitter and have seen my status update itself, you might have noticed something. It took me eleven years. Eleven… long… years. Not one year, not three years, not even five years to be somewhat recognised, but eleven years. And I say ‘somewhat recognised’ because it’s only the first step. It’s a small accomplishment in comparison to the dream of having my book made into a movie. But, it’s a success nonetheless–one worth celebrating, just like the time my poems were published.

Now, if you don’t mind me asking, how many of you have been at your craft for almost a decade? If you raised your hand, let me applaud you for your tenacity and passion. Perhaps it’ll take you longer to see the fruits of your labour, but you will see it one day. You already have the drive to keep going and you shouldn’t stop. Don’t waste the years of blood, sweat, and tears. It is all worth it. Your dream is worth it. Your passion is worth it. Your story is worth it.

On the flip side, how many of you have been at your craft for less than a decade? If you’re thinking of giving up, don’t you dare! I cannot say you will achieve something in eleven years, but you shouldn’t give up just because ‘nothing’ is happening. Something is always happening when you invest in your talent. The only ‘nothing’, I dare say, is that ‘nothing’ is impossible. It might take you eleven years–it might even take you more, or perhaps less than eleven years–but nothing is impossible. Every step you take toward your dream is the first step toward something big. It’s just the start! And just like those of us, who have been chasing after the stars for many years, your dream, passion, and story are worth it–every muddy road, narrow trail, and arduous climb. After all, every path you take will eventually lead you somewhere.

This is a true story. This is my story. But this can be your story, too.

Original Works

Black Ghost – Pt. 1

Black Ghost Part 1

Clang, clang, thump. Clang, clang, thump.

The familiar rhythm of my machines played in the background as I got up from my seat. There he stood, fingers interlocked so tightly together they were turning white. He was scared, so scared I would fire him.

“Do you know what this is?” I asked, as I waved the article he wrote in my hand.

“I’ll write another one, Mr Trots,” he quickly replied.

“This is rubbish. A useless piece of rubbish!” I shouted, as I tore up the brown paper and threw it in his face.

“I’ll- I’ll-”

“You’ll give me a piece worthy of my paper. No junk stories! Do you hear me?!”

He nodded his head vigorously.

“Clear this mess and get out of here!” I ordered.

He scrambled to gather the torn pieces of paper, but when he took too long I shouted for him to leave. I should have had him fired, but that wasn’t the day.

As I reclined in my armchair, I picked up my half smoked cigar and shut my eyes. The sound of my machines began to build up like an orchestra. The rotating of gears and the pressing of ink onto smooth brown paper was music to my ears.

Behind me was a wide glass panel that overlooked the machines. I made sure to have sight of them because they reminded me of my success. I started out as an amateur journalist, but I soon ran a news publication. I had hundreds of people under me, I owned a big house, I had my own driver, and I was well known throughout the city. I have never failed to remind people of my success, and they would do well not forgetting it.

The soothing clanging and thumping took me deeper into my thoughts. But when I was about to hit another climax, something sounded wrong.

Clang, clang, thump, THUD!

My eyes shot open. As I whirled my chair to face the machines, I noticed black smoke seeping out from the gears. I watched as it slithered towards the glass panel. All of a sudden, there was a loud thud and I nearly fell out of my chair.

Within a split second, the smoke shaped itself into the upper body of a human being and slammed its hands onto the glass panel.

It did not have much features, only blue eyes and a smoke tail below its waist. I stared at it in horror, unsure of what to do. The only moment my eyes looked away was when I heard a knock on my door, and by the time I turned back to the black ghost, it was gone.

That night, I had trouble sleeping. I lay in bed and watched the ceiling fan spin. The black ghost did not follow me home, but even though it was not visible I could still feel its presence.

What did it want from me? That was a question that kept hammering in my head even when morning arrived.

As I clocked into work the next morning, I pulled my office blinds up to look out at the empty desks outside. I was always early, and that day was no exception. The office was very quiet except for the young journalist typing away at his desk. He must have burned the midnight oil for the story I wanted, and just as I was thinking of him, I saw him rise from his desk and walk to my office.

“Mr Trots, I have written another story,” he said as he handed me the paper.

I immediately noticed the many correction marks beneath the different words. And that alone annoyed me.

“Do I not provide you with enough paper and ink? Or are you just too lazy to type it out again?”

Of course, I knew that making corrections took more work than retyping, being he used a typewriter, but I decided to overlook that fact.

“I, I just wanted…”

He could not continue, so I let him shut himself up and began reading the story. But while I was reading it, I saw him fidgeting at the corner of my eye. As I looked up to give him a glare, I saw something that widened my eyes instead.

Floating in front of him was the black ghost. He did not seem bothered by it as he continued staring at the ground, but when I opened my mouth to ask him about it, the black ghost entered his body.

Standing up, I demanded, “Did you see that?!”

He looked up at me and then at the paper in my hand. He swallowed hard and stopped fidgeting.

“Are you deaf? Answer me!” I began to panic.

“Mr Trots,” he paused and inhaled deeply before continuing, “I quit.”

“What?” His words caught me off guard.

“I quit. I don’t want to work for you anymore. You’re a prideful, egoistic tyrant and I’m sick and tired of your treatment. I quit and I will never come back!”

Before I could find the words to answer him, he stormed out the door. And just as he took a step out of my office, the black ghost seeped out from him and stayed behind.

It seemed as though the black ghost could not leave my office. And as it watched the young journalist pack up his things and leave, I watched it. After the man was gone, the black ghost simply vanished.

I was so certain the man was possessed. He would not have quit if not for the black ghost. What was the black ghost doing? Why was it bothering me? What was its plan? Whatever it was, I was not going to let it succeed.

To be continued…


This story was too long, so I decided to split it into two parts! You can read Part 2  here 🙂

Do let me know what you think of this story! Also, what do you personally think is the black ghost?

I would love to read your theories and your comments. So be sure to leave them below!

© 2013 Jeyna Grace

(For more short stories, click HERE)