New Release: Insignia: Volume 4

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New Release: Insignia: Volume 4

I’m super pleased to finally announce that Insignia: Volume 4 is available! I haven’t read the other contributors’ stories yet (I just got my author copy today), but I’ve been told by the editor that the age range for this collection is 16+.

INSIGNIA Vol.4 includes 9 Asian fantasy stories with a mix of literary, contemporary, myth-based, and historical fantasy pieces. Countries included are Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Japan, China, India, and Nepal.

PART I: Adventure / Folktales

‘Four Claws’ by Allison Thai
‘I Found Love in an Urn Full of Ashes’ by Joyce Chng
‘Jentayu’s Tear’ by Anna Tan
‘Ribbons & Bones’ by Kelly Matsuura

PART II: Adult / Literary Tales

‘The Fireflies of Todaiji’ by Russell Hemmell
‘Birds of Heaven’ by EK Gonzales
‘Last Train to Begunkodor’ by Nidhi Singh
‘Untouchable’ by Sheenah Freitas
‘White Lady’ by Tina Isaacs

You can get this anthology at Smashwords and Amazon right now. More retailers to come!

My story, “Untouchable,” is set in Nepal and its about a girl who comes of age and overcomes society’s general stereotypes. I’m super excited that I can share this story with you because I’m just so proud of it. Even though it’s fantasy, it still has a very literary feel to it and the topic has always been something I’ve wanted to write about in some capacity. I’ll share an excerpt later on this week!

Also: If you’re a book blogger or author interested in reviewing this anthology, please let me know and I’ll send you a review copy.

A New Beginning

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A New Beginning


It’s been a while since I last wrote a blog post. I’ve been going through and optimizing little things such as the presentation of my work and reorganizing some of the pages. If you’re wondering where all of my other blog posts are, you can find them by going to the sidebar and selecting “Archive” from the Category dropdown menu. And if for whatever reason that doesn’t work, I’ll tinker around behind the scenes and figure out why.

I wanted to start over. While I was publisher at Paper Crane Books, I stopped being an author and I stopped responding to my audience (which I hope is you!). I knew I wanted to start over, but because it’d be weird to start over from absolute scratch, I decided to archive my blog posts (so that old blog posts are still linkable and viewable!) and restart this thing called a blog. If you want to do a guest post or if you’re an author who would like to be interviewed, please be sure to contact me! At the bottom of my contact page, there is a list of guest post topics that I’m actively seeking. Pitch me an idea and we’ll talk!

So what have I been up to? Mostly tidying up my day job. Now that Paper Crane Books is essentially closed (or rather, more like taking a long hiatus), I’ve moved on to freelance work. While being a publisher, I discovered I really like designing books. Like a lot. My freelance book design business will be called Tokki Book Designs and should be open by the beginning of February. I’m super excited about this new venture and having an official place to point potential clients to will be super helpful.

I also have exciting news about new stories!

If everything goes well, in the first quarter of this year, my short story that’s set in Nepal about a girl who finds strength within herself during times of adversity will be published in Insignia, Volume 4! I’m so proud of this story and I’ve really wanted people to read it. Not only that, but I’ll be in fantastic company! You can read a bit more about the other authors who will be participating in the anthology by clicking here. Here’s the cover for the anthology:

Gorgeous, right?!

I’m also keen on participating in the #12for12stories challenge that was created by Alexis A. Hunter (read her blog post for more info), but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to keep up because I really want to finish The Guardian this year and wrap up the Zincian Legend trilogy. My main priority is my novel. It will happen. Definitely. If I can’t find the time to write 12 short stories in 12 months, then it’s no biggie, but I do hope to write at least one short story per quarter.

Those are my major writing goals for 2017 right now. I have a couple of other goals I’d like to achieve, but more on that later. I still need to set a few things up before I reveal anything more.

If you weren’t aware, I have a newsletter! I send one out about once a month. I’ll send a super short note to subscribers if I have an upcoming event or new release. My monthly newsletters contain writer advice, monthly updates, upcoming events, and I let subscribers see cover reveals first and they’re the first to know about other bookish news. If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, sign up by clicking here.

And that’s all from me for right now! Whew!

So what are your goals for 2017? Will you be telling any new stories? Doing anything creative and fabulous?

Memorial Day Sale!

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Hello everybody!

Long time, no see. Just popping in really quick to tell you that you can get 7 stories for the price of $0.99 between now and May 29 on Amazon and Smashwords. If you’re interested in fantasy fiction and especially interested in diverse reads and want something fast to read over this holiday weekend, then check out Insignia, Volume 3. The stories in Insignia, Volume 3 take place throughout Southeast Asia, so you can “travel” to another continent while enjoying a backyard barbecue with the family. It’s a win-win!

I contributed a little tale of revenge to this particular anthology. I realize now that I forgot to make a formal post about it. It’s been a wonderful experience to have my story included in such a talented pool of writers.

Here’s a quick excerpt of my story, “The Third Eye.”

Some say the only way out of the provinces is to marry someone rich. When a class graduates, it’s almost as if a great migration happens, as hundreds of hopeful women pack up and head to the city. Many will come back. Some will stay because they found success, or simply because they’re too ashamed to come back.

My sister was one of those girls. The night before she was to leave for Manila with a group of girls from neighboring villages, she told me how our superstitions would be the end of us. How if we kept believing in imaginary creatures, we’d always be seen as stupid. Ignorant. Impossible.

She spat on our beliefs, cursed our way of living, and then pointed to a tree where a family of duwende lived. Our family apologized to them on her behalf and offered them food, but my sister rolled her eyes at us. I guess she was too sophisticated for such things. She had too many dream and aspirations.

But all of that ambition was wasted.

She’s dead.

Her body was found beside the duwende tree in the morning.

You can read more excerpts of the other terrific stories here:
“Horse Feet” by Celestine Trinidad
“Interlude” by Eve Shi
“The Island” by Melvin Yong
“Running from Shadows” by Joyce Chng
“Never Seen” by Kelly Matsuura
“Spirit of Regret” by Eliza Chan

Remember: This sale ends on May 29, so grab any one of the Insignia books for only $0.99!

I Am Not Throwing Away My Shot

I Am Not Throwing Away My Shot

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The Grammys aired last night. I usually watch the performances, but last night, I made sure to definitely tune in because news came out that the cast of Hamilton were going to perform the opening scene “Alexander Hamilton.”

To say that I was excited to hear the news would be an understatement.

I’ve tried to keep my love of Hamilton contained to just the immediate family, but there’s just so much to love about the musical. It’s revolutionary. I mean, “how lucky we are to be alive right now.” I had heard of news of the musical earlier in 2015 and the buzz kept building up until I finally saw this:

After that humorous number, I had to check it out and looked up the cast recording on Spotify and it’s been a whirlwind obsession since then. This article from Buzzfeed is a pretty accurate list of my descent into obsession.

Missed the Grammys last night? Check out the LIVE opening number from this wonderful musical here:

How powerful is Hamilton? Powerful enough to change my entire perspective. You see, Hamilton is not just about a Founding Father and America’s birth. It’s so much more than that. It’s also a piece about a man who came from nothing who worked as hard as he could to get somewhere. And maybe it was that tenacity and super catchy song “My Shot” that made me realize I wasn’t going to get anywhere if I kept complying to doing things I knew left me unfulfilled. So I took Hamilton’s advice and told myself that I was not going to throw away my shot. I wanted to prove to myself that I can live the creative lifestyle I wish to. But I won’t get there if I keep waiting for it. I need to seize my opportunity.

So thanks to Hamilton, I started changing everything around. Quite literally. I feel like I’m starting to manage my time better already since my last post and have met a few goals already, too. And if I’m feeling unfocused? I just play “My Shot” again and again and again to get me energized and ready to seize the day.

One of the only major things I still need to do is fix this website. But the new logo is almost ready!

Oh, the little things.

What keeps you motivated on your goals?

And as an added bonus: Want the featured image to use to decorate your PC? Grab a widescreen version right here. If there’s enough interest, I’ll make a standard size and mobile sizes to decorate all your devices.

Download the Hamilton wallpaper!
My 2016 Resolution

My 2016 Resolution

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An entire generation of readers and approximately two generations of artists have all been mourning this week. Legends in the arts, both Alan Rickman and David Bowie passed away at the age of 69 due to cancer. Each death was met with shock (had anyone known?) and public outcry. Though I was never a fan of David Bowie (I just never really got into most of his music), I’m well aware of how vastly different the music scene would be right now if it weren’t for him. Being a fan of Harry Potter and Alan Rickman’s work (I might have first stumbled upon him from Dogma?), his death has saddened me the most. No one else was more fit for the role of Severus Snape and no one else would have been able to deliver the single word that made everyone a Lily X Snape fan for life (face it, we all went down with that ship).

The outpouring and grief from fans has been at once touching and eyeopening. Their deaths, it seems, has made every creative take pause.

The above has been one of my favorite things I’ve seen someone say. Both men were fiercely creative and bold. One was probably more “weird” than the other. But they were both brave and they both pursued what they loved.

And because of that, I’ve decided to make a resolution this year. I don’t like to make new year resolutions because, let’s face it, everyone breaks them eventually. Last year I wanted to dedicate a year to myself, but it never happened. In fact, I seemed to have double-down on the amount of work I was taking on and didn’t dedicate to work on anything of mine. But this year, my resolution is a little different. I’m allowing myself to be creative. Because I keep adding to my workload, I haven’t had the energy or drive to really work at my craft for the past three years. I have a first draft finished for the last book in my trilogy, but I’ve been lacking the energy to complete it. When I did find myself with spare time, I just wanted to nap. Or think of anything else besides a book because I spent all day reading and editing everybody else’s work. I’ve already started downsizing my workload and by the end of February, I hope I’ll have enough time (and energy) to start working on my writing a little bit every day. Even if it’s 10 minutes. 10 minutes is still better than 0 minutes. With the amount of work I’ve already cut from my workload, I no longer feel like I have to skip a workout session and I allow myself 5-10 minutes already on practicing the ukulele. And I feel happier and more focused already.

So here’s to a year of being brave and creative. Have you made a resolution this year? What is it? Have you been affected by David Bowie or Alan Rickman’s deaths or some other celebrity/creative who died this early in 2016?