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.