Original Works, Writing Journey

New Adventure: The Return To Eklaysia

A New Role-Playable Sequel!

Oh yes, you probably didn’t see this coming, and… neither did I. What is this and where can you get it? Let’s start at the beginning—I’ll keep it short, don’t worry.

It all begin in the middle of last year, while the pandemic kept everyone indoors, that I found myself in my first ever D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) campaign. I didn’t think I would find a new hobby of which I truly enjoy and look forward to, but after a few months in, D&D was life! And, with that enthusiasm, I decided to create my own campaign based on my YA fantasy novel, The Slave Prince.

So why did I base it off my novel? Well, I thought it would be fun—for myself and my existing readers—to breathe new life into The Slave Prince with a sequel. And since I didn’t want to write a new novel, I turned it into a D&D campaign. But… I didn’t just create it, I played it, too!

As an author who loves to plan, being a DM (dungeon master/game master) wasn’t easy—I couldn’t prepare myself for everything that was about to happen. But the experience of DM-ing my own campaign was a new and interesting experience, and I can only wish I had the chance to be a player myself. Alas, what fun would it be as a player who knew all the #spoilers?

Now, I promised to keep this short didn’t I? After creating and playing my own D&D campaign, I’m now releasing it to public for free. If you’ve read The Slave Prince, this role-playable story will allow you to embark on the sequel as a character yourself. But… if you’ve NOT read The Slave Prince, this stand-alone adventure will give you a glimpse of the original tale without having to buy the book. Though, I won’t deny that reading The Slave Prince will give you the lore you may need to enhance the adventure as a DM.

Do note that this is my first D&D campaign—I’ve never written a campaign before, but I did my very best to provide everything a DM/GM will need. So feel free to add your own touch to the story, and I would really appreciate any and all feedback should you give it a try.

HOW TO DOWNLOAD FOR FREE:
1. Head over to gum.co/TheReturnToEklaysia.
2. Type ‘0’ into the ‘Name A Fair Price’ column, then click ‘I Want This’.
3. Fill in your email address, and… you’re done! The pdf and digital assets will be sent to your email.

In the pdf, you’ll not only find the story but location and non-playable character descriptions, the realm map (from the original novel itself, hand-drawn by John Robin), and puzzle assets.

I do hope you have fun with my little role-playable sequel! And… if you’re interested in checking out The Slave Prince, here’s all you need to know:

For fifteen years, Thom believed he was a prince of Alpenwhist. He had climbed the castle turrets to survey his kingdom, learned to duel with the sharpest blades, and stirred up palace intrigue in disguise. But one day his identity is suddenly shattered by the revelations of a blind woman: he learns that he isn’t a prince at all, but a wretched slave.

In a kingdom where ruthlessness is part of everyday life, Thom fears this new truth could be deadly. He takes flight, running from the life he knew and the one he despises, but the call to free his people beckons him home. Armed with a magic stone that instructs him through surreal visions, he must topple his once beloved brother who has since become a tyrannical king.

Writing Journey

Magic Rain, The King Is Dead, & I Turned 30 Yesterday

Oh yea, I finally turned 30. But… that’s not the reason for this post. The reason for this post is, once again, Whispers of the Wind.

The last time I rallied support for Whispers of the Wind, it was in the running for publication on Swoon Reads. This time… it’s in the running for publication on Inkshares!

Now, I could’ve written a whole appeal post again, but I’m sure you’ve read enough of it. This round, however, I’m asking for one simple action… and one simple action ONLY:

Click This Link > inkshares.com/books/whispers-of-the-wind
This link goes to the book page and any form of traffic helps with its ranking! Or, so I’ve been told.

If you’ve clicked the link and feel like doing a bit more, for this now 30-year-old author, here are 5 other things you can do to help:

1. Follow the book!
Following will add numbers to the book, which reflects public interest to the publisher. If you’re not 100% interested, just follow anyway! I won’t spam, I promise.

2. Share the book!
Maybe your second cousin from the other side of the world would enjoy it…?

3. Read the book!
Magical raindrop portals and the search for a dead king—if this intrigues you, why not give the first chapter or two a read?

4. Review or Comment on the book!
The algorithm says, the more engagement the higher percentage of being published.

5. Pre-order the book?
Nah, it’s 2020. I just made that option available for the book page to look complete instead of a draft layout.

That is all, my dear reader. In this book writing slum, I do hope that joining the contest on Inkshares will help me get my groove back. After all, I have 3 more books to write in this book series. So thank you for your support! A little… goes a long way.

Writing Journey

Whispers of the Wind Is Now On Wattpad!


Read Whispers of the Wind on Wattpad for FREE!

And since you’re here, which cover style do you like better?

Photo Concept VS Minimalist Direction

What Is ‘Whispers Of The Wind’ About?

Royalty. Magic. Realm Travelling. 

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 heterogeneous society of a tunneled realm, every step in his journey uncovers a gem of his past, present, and future. And in one foresight, Robb learns the daunting fate of Zeruko.


Why Wattpad?

You. Me. Fantasy.

I’ve been on Wattpad for a while now, but I’ve never really paid much attention to the platform. As building a Wattpad readership requires as much effort as a blog, I chose to spend my resources here. That being said, you will find my short stories on Wattpad too as I compile and upload them yearly. Which brings me to my YA fantasy series.

While I’m in a limbo on what to do next—pulling Book 1 off Swoonreads, and contemplating between the publisher, agent, or the self-publishing route—I didn’t want to keep the series from you. After all, it has been a while since I’ve announced of another book. Hence, Whispers of the Wind is now available on Wattpad.

By publishing the chapters on Wattpad, I hope to generate more conversations about the novel with you. The platform allows for comments at every paragraph and chapter, giving me better insights on what you think about the story. Wattpad also creates a space for us to have conversations outside of the books—a great way for me to connect with you on a more personal level. So, if you’d like to embark on this adventure with me, head over to Wattpad now! I’m really hoping to see you on the other side.

Note: You’ll find the first 3 chapters of the book on Wattpad. Fret not, the subsequent chapters will be published every Saturday starting November.

 

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!

Writing Journey

So, What’s Next?

Recently, I’ve been asked this particular question by almost everyone I meet, “What’s next? Are you writing another book?” So to answer everyone else, who may have this question in mind, I thought to share my response here.

The next, after The Slave Prince, is the Raindrops trilogy.

Or, at least, I hope it remains as a trilogy and not become a series. Why? Because trilogies and series aren’t really my thing. I’ve discovered, through writing Book 2, that writing a trilogy is quite a challenge for me. As Book 1 was completed–sent to beta readers–in April 2016, a handful of story facts have gotten lost in time. I’ve misspelled some of the not-so-important character names, I’ve confused certain plot lines, and… I’ve forgotten how some of the places actually looked like. I had to reread Book 1 before writing Book 2. And yet, even after doing so, I’m still making mistakes!

When I think about it, a trilogy is just a really long book. It shouldn’t be too difficult to remember what I, myself, have concocted. Alas, I’m better suited writing standalones of 60k to 70k words–my sweet spot. And funnily enough, I’ve only just learned this fun fact about myself. However, I am going to complete this trilogy. With Book 1 done, how can I not write Book 2? It would be silly to stop a story when I’m this far in. I just have to tough it out and get it done–you have no idea how many times I’ve coaxed myself to keep going. Why did I even think writing a trilogy was a good idea? This writer, right here, had no idea what she had gotten herself into.

With that said, I plan to pitch Book 1 to agents once I finish the first draft of Book 2–it should be done by this year despite the turtle pace. I also plan to spend a good amount of time next year rewriting Book 2. Honestly, that is about it with my plans. All I can do as a writer is to keep writing–to keep running the race. I don’t know what will happen along the way. I might not find a publisher even after I’ve completed the entire trilogy. Or, I may land a publishing deal next year. Anything or nothing can happen. But, I do know what’s next.

For me, it will always be the next word, the next sentence, the next chapter, and the next book. It’ll always be one story after another. Despite how tiring it may be or how unmotivated I sometimes feel, I’ll keep writing. Stopping midway in this journey is, and never will be, an option.

PS, if you’re curious what Raindrops Book 1 is about, let’s just say it follows the tale of a teenage king in search of his father who many believe to be dead. With the magic in raindrops, this youthful king leaves home to travel to other realms. 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 his duel with the heir of Tentazoa, every step in his adventure uncovers a gem of his past, present, and future. And in one foresight, this young king learns the daunting fate of his own realm. That… is all I can say. Hopefully, you’ll get to read this book one day.

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.

Writing Journey

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.

Writing Journey

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 re-imagining—and in a little over a month’s time, your story will finally be released to the world. It took us a while, 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.