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Who Is Thom?

Thom was raised in a royal household. His parents were the King and Queen of Alpenwhist. For the first fifteen years of his life, Thom had everything he needed. He was granted most of what he wanted. And, he lacked (almost) nothing. He lived as a prince in a grand royal palace. He rode only stallions and dueled with the finest blades. He studied with the best scholars and ate from plates of gold. That was the life of a prince. And as a prince, he did his royal duties and acted princely whenever he made a public appearance. It was second nature to him–being a prince was all Thom knew… until he wasn’t.

Who is Thom? Is he a prince or is he not? Does he have royal blood or is he just an impostor? Who is Thom, really? Thom… is us.

He’s us when we question our identities, when we’ve lost sight of who we are, and when we have no confidence in our abilities. He’s us when we’re unsure of our decisions, when we’re afraid of the future, and when we can’t find a name to call ourselves. He’s us beyond the princely vest, farm boy hat, and beggar cloak. He’s us in, perhaps, a few phases of our lives, when we’re discouraged, doubtful, and hesitant. There’s a Thom in every one of us, and there’s us in the Thom from Alpenwhist.

Though his adventure may be different from ours, what he goes through isn’t foreign. He may not be from this world, but his emotions are reflective of our own. Thom is not a stranger nor is he a friend, but he is certainly someone we know.

Who is Thom? The better question would be, who are we?

As The Slave Prince hits bookshelves next Tuesday, I hope many of you are able to answer that question. I hope you know who you are, what your passion is, and how you want to live your life. But if you don’t know who you are, don’t lose hope. If Thom can discover his identity in such a confusing and troubling time of his life, so can you. He isn’t just a work of fiction–he’s hope that all of us, no matter where we come from and what we’re going through, have a name. We have a name not coined or dictated by others, but a name that truly reflects our inmost being even in the darkest of times. We have an identity we can be proud of–an identity uniquely our own. And when we truly find ourselves, we won’t lose sight again.

Let’s find ourselves, stay true to who we are, and face the unknowns in life unafraid and unashamed. Let’s be the heroes of our own stories, as it is… after all… our birthright.

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Posted by on May 24, 2018 in Writing Journey

 

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My Last Letter To Thom

Dear Thom,

Can you believe it? It has been over five years since we started–five years of telling and retelling, imagining and reimagining–and in a little over a month’s time, your story will finally be released to the world. It took us awhile, huh? Time sure flies. You’re even an adult now, and boy do we need to catch up!

So, how’s life in Daysprings? Is Daysprings still the warm and welcoming village I last remembered it to be? How’s Haratio and the girls? Tiger is all grown-up now–is she more like Seanna or Catry? How are the Eklaysians? Oh, and do you still write to Mika? Did you manage to find out who his uncle is? Even though we worked on the book last year, we never really talked about these things. I didn’t even ask about your love life! Yes, I should know. And if you don’t intend to tell me, I’ll just ask her instead. But, all these surface questions aside, how are you…really?

I’m fine–if you’re curious about me. Life in my world isn’t as magical or as adventurous as yours. I have a pretty interesting day job, which can get rather busy at times. As it eats most of my creativity, I’ve not spoken to Robb in months–he seems to be OK with that. I do plan to write the second installment of his story this year though–after your story reaches the masses. And that will be soon… very soon. Wow, isn’t that a little nerve-wrecking?

Honestly, I’m kind of nervous about what people will say about the work we’ve created. So far, the early reviewers have been kind. But… it seems not many are willing to give your tale a shot. It’s unconventional after all. Still, I think we can both agree that the number of books sold isn’t as important as the people who read your story. So let’s just hope that The Slave Prince touches lives instead. That is why we wrote it in the first place, right? And no matter what happens, we’ve done good.

With May 29th around the corner, it saddens me that our journey will soon come to an end. Even though we’ll still be friends, we won’t be seeing much of each other any longer. No more late night conversations. No more coffee breaks. We’ll part ways–recalling our history only when we gaze into a starry night sky. If it is possible, I don’t want us to be like that. But only time will tell if we can continue to work on your story. And until the unknown future comes to past, I wish you all the best in life.

May you go on more great adventures, Thom. May magic beckon you to live more heroic tales. May you never forget who you are. And may you always believe in the power within you. You’re a prince, Thom. A true prince–the Majestas Regia will always remind you of your story.

It has been a pleasure, meeting, knowing, and working with you, Thom. Let’s not forget what we’ve created together. And let’s continue to do great things until the very end.

Yours forever, Jeyna.

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2018 in Writing Journey

 

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The Majestas Regia

themajestasregia

Seven year-old Thom shuffled up the steps of the tallest turret in the prince’s palace. His goal was the highest window. It overlooked the army training camps in their New Year celebration.

Once at his comfortable spot, he peered down at the bright lights and loud cheers. Everything below looked like a play set, except he couldn’t reach down to join the fun. Thom was still too young to attend the celebration with his family. And he hated it. Missing out on all the songs and games, despite how rowdy they could get, was like missing out on the best birthday party in the kingdom. Yet no matter how much he begged, his mother always said no.

Resting his chin on his crossed arms, Thom imagined growing up. Oh how he couldn’t wait. It seemed wonderful to be an adult. He could even make the climb up the turret without huffing like an angry bull. Sighing, he made a wish for the years to fly by. If only he had magic to speed up time.

“Your highness! I – I found you. You shouldn’t be up here,” his royal maidservant said. She stopped a few steps below in attempts to catch her breath. It looked like some adults never outgrew the panting. “It’s time for bed, Prince Thom. The queen will be back to check on you soon.”

Thom frowned. He mentally noted to pick another turret next year, since the maidservants knew of his special spot.

“Your highness, come down with me, please,” the maidservant pleaded.

“I’m tired,” Thom lied. “Carry me.”

He had grown in the past two years, and despite hating being carried, it was a torture to those who spoilt his fun.

“Ca-carry you?” The maidservant looked aghast at the idea.

“Yes, carry me,” Thom ordered.

He skipped down the few steps and jumped into the maidservant’s arms. Stumbling backward, the maidservant quickly leaned against the wall, saving them both from a bone-breaking fall.

“You’re getting heavier, your highness.”

“I know.”

Thom held on tight as the maidservant huffed and puffed her way down the steps, all the while smirking at what he deemed was justice. When she finally dragged them both into his bedchamber, he climbed off and waved her away.

“Shall – shall I tuck – tuck you in, your – highness?”

“No. You can go.”

The maidservant gave a bow before shuffling out of the room. When she shut the doors, he heard her inform the guards to keep watch. Grunting, he knew his plan to escape was foiled.

Not yet tired as the night was still young, he climbed onto the windowsill and looked out into the night sky. The stars twinkled across the black canvas, while the clouds drifted by the pastel full moon. The music and laughter of the celebration could be heard, but only as a distance whisper carried by the wind. Nothing was out of the ordinary, and it was quite a disappointment to the imaginative little prince.

“Not even a single dragon,” Thom muttered, as he heaved a sigh.

“And a good thing, that is,” someone replied.

Turning, he saw his mother walking toward him. He didn’t hear her enter, being occupied in his search for something magical.

“A horrible thing, that is,” Thom corrected.

“Why?” his mother asked. She pulled an armchair near the windowsill and gestured for him to come down.

“It means there’s no magic tonight,” Thom replied. Obediently, he climbed off the hazardous ledge and planted himself on his mother’s lap.

“Magic comes from within, not from outside.”

“Then magic is boring.”

His mother laughed as she wrapped her arms around him. She gave him a tight squeeze before poking at his rib.

“Hey!” Thom pushed her hand away, holding back a childish giggle.

“You know, if you want to find magic, all you have to do is look at the stars.”

“The stars?”

“Look right there,” she added, pointing toward a direction in the sky.

Thom leaned closer to her arm, and aligned his sight with her finger. But all he saw were a cluster of twinkling dots and no magic.

“What’s there?”

“You can’t see it?”

“See what?”

“The Majestas Regia. It’s a constellation only royals can see.”

“I can’t see it. Does that mean I’m not a royal?”

“Look carefully.”

“I am. What does it look like?”

“It looks like a crown.” His mother began to draw in the air. When she was done, she asked, “Do you see it now?”

“No.” How she could point it out bewildered him. Knowing it would take too much effort, he stopped trying and turned the other way.

However special the constellation was, it seemed like a waste of time trying to find it. It wasn’t magic. It was just a bunch of stars. And the fact that it could only be seen by royals? Well, he didn’t like that thought either.

“You can’t give up so quickly, dear Thom.”

“There’s a dragon over there, can you see it?” Thom pointed in the opposite direction, hoping to change the subject. There wasn’t a dragon, of course, but he could easily imagine one.

His mother laughed and pulled his hand down. “Just because you cannot see it, doesn’t mean you’re not a prince.” It was as though she’d read his mind. But it was to no surprise, as mothers had that special magic within them.

“Who says I’m not a prince?” Thom snapped. “It’s just a bunch of stupid stars.”

“You see, that’s why magic isn’t on the outside. It’s on the inside.” She gently tapped at his chest. “To see it, you must believe it. You’re a prince, little one. A true prince. And one day, you’ll find the Majestas Regia as quickly as you gaze into the night sky.”

“I will?”

“You will.”

“What are you doing?” Seanna asked.

She skipped down the steps of the ember-glowing farmhouse. Seated on a log in the open field, Thom instinctively shifted to make space for her.

“Looking for something,” Thom replied.

“What are you looking for?” Seanna asked, plopping down beside him. She dropped her gaze at the ground and began brushing the wet grass with her boot.

“Not down there, up here.” Thom pointed to the stars. “The Majestas Regia.”

“Oh, the royal constellation.”

“Is there anything you don’t know?”

“I don’t think so. Did you find it? They say only royals can see it. I’ve tried looking for it before, but…”

“You didn’t find it?”

“No.”

“I guess the saying is true then. Or, it’s just prove that there are things Seanna cannot do,” Thom said with a smug.

“Well, can you?”

Thom pointed to the sky, where his index finger hovered by the tip of the crown. “Over there.”

“You’re lying,” Seanna scoffed.

“It’s really over there,” Thom insisted, connecting the stars with his fingers to draw a crown on the invisible canvas.

“Whatever. It’s almost dinnertime.” Seanna got to her feet and dusted her pants. “By the way, Reid and Tavia are joining us for tonight’s Passover celebration.”

“Oh, okay. You go ahead then.”

“We won’t wait for you to start.”

“I’ll be right in.”

“There’s turkey pie.”

Thom chuckled, before looking at the sky once more. And just like his mother had said, he spotted it as quickly as he lifted his gaze. It was there, to the right of the moon, the Majestas Regia.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Merry Christmas (eve) dear reader! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas day, full of love, hope, and good food.

I also hope you liked this short story 🙂 It is actually a teaser for my crowd-funding novel, The Slave Prince. I know it raises some questions, but that’s the whole idea!

If you’re new to my blog, The Slave Prince is actually in the running to being published as part of the Sword & Laser Collection Contest. If it piques your interest, do give it a look-see. I have until the 15th of January to be in the top 3 books. Then, it’s a guarantee you’ll see it on bookshelves next year! So head over to the project page to read further. The prologue and first 2 chapters are there too, for some light reading this Christmas day 🙂

(*UPDATE: The Slave Prince has been entered into the Geek & Sundry Fantasy contest. The contest runs till November 1st, 2016 and the same rules apply!)

The Slave Prince © 2015 – 2016 Jeyna Grace

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2015 in Book Teasers

 

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Sunday’s Wake Up Call #InksharesReviews

sundayswakeupcall

Yesterday morning, my phone rang the cliche Nokia (not a sponsor) alarm at 6am.

I crawled out of bed with the ghosts of my strange dreams and made myself a cup of coffee (of course, only after I’ve brushed my teeth). Then, I got ready for the Inkshares review-a-thon live stream!

Don’t worry, if you didn’t manage to catch the live stream while it was still live, you can watch it below.

My interview starts around the 10:20 mark (I wasn’t nervous at all! Pfftt.. yea right). I spoke a little about The Battle for Oz and The Slave Prince, as well as what I do as my day job.

But wait… don’t just watch mine. Watch the whole thing! We also had Gary Whitta (scriptwriter of The Book of Eli and the upcoming Rogue One) and Adam Gomolin (Inkshares VP) with us. Aside from that, there were mentions of many books worth supporting on Inkshares. So if you have a couple of hours to spare, check it out!

By the way, I know I mentioned in the interview that The Slave Prince is ranked #10 in the Sword & Laser Collection contest, but I just realised it has been bumped to #11.

Vader-nooooo
If you have yet to see what it’s all about, please do 🙂 I’ve added a new chapter too, and will continue to do so as more people come along for the adventure.
 
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Posted by on December 21, 2015 in Others

 

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Snatched Off The Page

snatchedoffthepage

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!) 

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2015 in Others

 

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