Writing Journey

The Realm Of Many Faces

The tunnels of Dunkel winded, sloped, and forked without any signs of where each turn led. Yet, Spion knew. Left, left, down, right, left— he appeared to have memorised the map of the universe. But that notion itself was quite a stretch. You would have to visit Dunkel more than once to understand how the realm was built. There was a higher probability Spion moved by instinct.

“Are we going in the right direction?” Robb asked, as they ascended a tunnel.

It had been a good hour since they bought the hooded cloak for Robb’s disguise. His calves now ached from the underground hiking as sweat trailed down his back in the stale and humid air.

“It seems we’re going further away from the ground,” Robb added.

“There’s no grid with these tunnels. I have to go by gut,” Spion confirmed.

“I thought so.” Robb hesitated on offering to take the lead, but it seemed silly since he was generally bad with direction. So he asked, “You have no idea where we are then?”

“I’ve been here before. You don’t have to worry. We’re not lost,” Spion assured.

“Right, I trust you. I always trust you.”

After three descents and six corners—close to another hour later— they reached the bottom. With a maze-like route, Robb had no idea how they arrived to the right of the city square. In fact, it was a miracle they made it altogether.

“There should be an inn nearby,” Spion confidently stated.

Stepping into a crowded street, Spion gestured forward and Robb tailed along. Just like the tunnels, getting lost was plausible. The buildings around the city square were unorganised. Some alleys tapered, some pathways widened, some structures tilted, and many walkways led to dead ends. It was as though a giant hand scattered the mud-made buildings and let them take root. There was no city planning involved, and the only landmark for Robb to gain his bearings was the city square.

Keeping Spion in sight, Robb stole quick glances at his surroundings. And in that collection of people, he discovered Dunkel’s unique trait. No, it wasn’t the brown, blockish architecture—to his surprise, it was the people. The citizens of the realm were the ideal definition of diversity. And their differences were impossible to disregard when they came together.

Most of the realms Robb had travelled to homed citizens with similar genetic traits. But Dunkel was the first he’d traversed with a thorough mix, spurring a great many tongues. Despite having learned the universal language, a multitude of dialects filled the air. It only reinforced his theory that the ancestors of the current generation originated from other realms. They might’ve migrated from neighbouring worlds, or they could’ve lost their way during the Sorxcistos’ reign. Robb didn’t see the allure of Dunkel and how it could’ve drawn diverse populations. So the latter sounded more rational in explaining the heterogeneity.

“Interesting,” Robb muttered to himself.

“What is?”

“Nothing. Where’s the inn?” Robb asked, as they turned into the main street.

The street was the widest space by far, with the exception of the city square. But ‘widest’ was an overstatement, as it could only fit five people shoulder-to-shoulder.

“Up ahead,” Spion replied.

With no distinction between the buildings, and not a single one sporting a sign, Robb was about to ask Spion to be specific. But before he could, he heard a voice. It interrupted his train of thought. And aside from what it said, it sounded close—too close for that matter.

“You don’t want to go there,” the voice whispered.

Turning around, Robb expected to see a grimy face. But in the absence of the source was the common crowd shuffling about their businesses. Did he imagine the voice? No, why would he? Unfortunately, with a street packed like a can of sardine, there was no guessing who had spoken.

Tugging Spion to a halt, Robb asked, “Did you hear that?”

“Hear what?” Spion replied. His eyes instantly narrowed.

Then, to prove Robb wasn’t crazy, the voice returned. In its coarse whisper, it added, “They know. They know you’re here, Your Majesty.”


I know, I know, I’ve left yet another seemingly half-baked tale for you. But just like The Realm Of Plum Blossom, this is an excerpt from my newest young adult fantasy series, Whispers Of The Wind

If this snippet has intrigued you, I have good news. The full manuscript of Whispers Of The Wind can be read on Swoon Reads for FREE! You don’t have to pay a single cent to travel through the magical realms with Robb! But why Swoon Reads?

Swoon Reads is a platform where readers decide which book gets published by Feiwel & Friends. By putting Whispers Of The Wind on Swoon Reads, I stand a chance at receiving a publishing deal. And, because it’s May, Swoon Reads will be making their next selection of books within this month itself! So if you’ve yet to check the book out, please, please, please do so. If you’re still reading it, please do leave a comment and a rating at your earliest convenience. Your assistance will increase my chances of being noticed by the editors—increasing the odds of not just publishing deal but perhaps a life-changing deal.

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.

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!

Others

What’s Coming In 2017?

whatscomingin2017

It has been a good year.

I know the internet has hopped on the bandwagon of 2016 being the worst, but I’m afraid I cannot come along for the ride. Personally, 2016 has been better than 2015. Yes, the world has lost great people. It has gone through changes that has and will continue to affect my life. But despite the weak economy, the absence of influencers, and the uncertainty of 2017, I am grateful. I’ve achieved something this year. I still have my family and friends. And I’m still alive. The same cannot be said for many others, and that is why I will not – I cannot – claim 2016 to be the worst year (of my life). Still, I am looking forward to 2017. It is going to be a better year. And I’m hoping you will join me as I journey into the unknown.

So… what do I have planned for 2017?

The Slave Prince

Officially in November, The Slave Prince received a full publishing contract from Inkshares. It won the Geek & Sundry Fantasy Contest thanks to the generosity of many, and it’ll possibly be on bookshelves late 2017. As the year progresses, I’ll be sure to update on how things are going. I’m extremely excited to see the book be made and cannot wait to hold it in my own hands. If you’ve yet to check the book out, head over to the book page! You can pre-order your copy in advance to receive the book before it is released to the public.

Beneath The Crimson Star (진홍빛 별 아래)

The Clubhouse has ended after 3 years! There were 75 chapters – a total estimate of 63,000 words. My goodness. That was long enough. So moving forward, there will be a new blog series. The introduction to this series will be made in January, and will commence in February. Just like The Clubhouse, there will be a poll after each chapter. However, unlike The Clubhouse, Beneath The Crimson Star is inspired by East Asian history and culture. Hence why I couldn’t help myself with the Korean title (obvious Kdrama addict is obvious). Though it is not based on any historical characters or events in particular, it’ll be influenced by some. So keep at eye out for the introduction coming soon.

Three Words, One Story Challenge

This writing challenge continues on. However, I’m running short of ‘word sets’ to choose from. So if you have any three words you’d like me to concoct a story with, read the introduction of the challenge and leave your words in that comment section. So far, the challenge has done good for my writing and imagination. It has forced me into different genres and expanded my capacity to create using un-relatable words. I’m glad I started it and I intend to keep it up in the coming year.

The Raindrops Trilogy

2017 is the year I am to send Book 1 to publishers, and write Book 2. Yes, this is more of a note-to-self point. Of course, if I succeed in grabbing a publisher’s attention, you’ll hear it first on this blog.

Well, that’s all I have planned. Doesn’t seem a lot, I know. I’d rather not pile my plate, when I’m not sure if I can finish my meal. But who knows? Anything can happen. Thank you for sticking around this 2016! Whether you’ve only just come onboard or have been around since 2011, your presence is greatly appreciated. You’re the reason I’m still here! So thank you. I hope your 2017 would be a great one. And wherever you are, let’s endeavour to make the best of the coming year. It is how we approach it, that makes it worthwhile.

Blessed New Year, awesome reader! And Happy Holidays.