Tuesday, December 29, 2015

New poem!

My latest poem, "Assimilation," is up at inkscrawl, a journal of minimalist speculative micropoetry! I share a table of contents with some wonderful people, and the editor, Bogi Tak√°cs is a delightful person who keeps an eye out for marginalized voices! E tweets about #diversesff with a series of recommendations.

"Assimilation" was inspired by the batik-dyeing process and Sean Kelly's Rainway challenge dress on Project Runway!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Forgive Yourself, For There Are Stars

Content warning for talk of depression and suicide.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Quick hit fic: Dinosaurs

At UC Riverside, there are two different science fiction reading groups for graduate students, one out of the English department which is more theory-based, and one out of the Creative Writing department which is more craft-based. I attended the latter one, and we had a writing prompt last month: a flash fic, 500 words, on the keyword "dinosaurs." 

Because of a variety of reasons I didn't get around to writing my dinosaur flash fic until the meeting itself, and while everyone talked around me, I quickly typed up some 483 words. I had the idea for the first part most of the month, but didn't know how the rest of it would pan out. But I knew I wanted to think through evolution, and generational change.

Here it is!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Strange Horizons sale!

I am very, very, very happy to announce that I made a sale to Strange Horizons, one of my favourite zines on the 'net! It is my very first professional short story sale, and I was a little nervous about whether or not it could ever find a home, since it's in second person. 

It went up today! Please check it out: Liminal Grid

Thursday, September 10, 2015

New poetry sale!

The wonderful Bogi Takacs is guest-editing inkscrawl, a micropoetry journal, and e has put together a wonderful table of contents! My poem, "Assimilation," will be part of "Atypical Weather" that will come out later this fall. 

I can't wait to read what my fellow contributors have written! This will also be Stephany Lu's first publication, and I am SO excited to see eir work! 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

"Colour Kuning"

I wrote this during the Bersih 2.0 rally a few years ago, and am bringing it back for Bersih4.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A Quick Summer Reading Challenge

Last fall, when I TA'd for a course on introductory science fiction, I compiled a list of venues which publish science fiction and fantasy stories and poetry, for free online reading. How many such venues are there? The answer is: a lot. 56 in my list (which includes two sites of audio podcasts). The list sat on my Dreamwidth for ages, and I don't know if any of the students ever got around to reading any of them. Even I had only ever read three of them regularly, and never read most of them.

This summer, that will change! I have set myself a summer reading goal: I'll work my way down this list, and select three stories to read from each venue. Just three, then move onto the next one. The idea is to get a sampling of all the venues. 

My criteria for picking which stories to read should be simple; I'm still doing the Tempest Reading Challenge for most part. However, I've already broken the rule a couple of times, but it doesn't matter that much because for most part, I gravitate towards names that are Asian, and if they sound Western, then they're names I don't know how to pronounce. 

I'm halfway through the C's now, and thoroughly enjoying the exercise! I'm also finally reading fiction by wonderful acquaintances whose work I've never read!  I hope to get through this challenge within the month. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Two New Publications!

This is an exciting week! Besides being the first week of the new quarter, and the week a good friend visits me after five years of not seeing each other, two of my poems went live! 

Strange Horizons published "Magpie Wings," a science fictional re-telling of the folktale "The Cowherd and the Weaver Girl" in which the characters are separated due to, essentially, class differences. There are several variations of the story: usually she's a fairy, he's a mortal; sometimes they're both celestial beings but have different roles which keep them separate; she is always of a higher class than he is, though, and serves in the Jade Palace as a handmaiden of the Jade Empress. She goes to live with him for a while and they are happy, but her duty forces her to leave. In Heaven and on Earth, they pine for each other, and the magpies on their yearly migration, take pity on them and offer them their backs so they can meet each other. Their story is commemorated in the skies, so I used the common English names for the constellations: Altair and Vega. 

My second poem came out in the new Stone Telling! It's the JOKE issue, which makes it doubly exciting. I'm so honoured to be sharing a Table of Contents with really fine writers like Emily Jiang and Mari Ness, Pear Nuallak and Alexandra Erin! My humble poem, "Yes, I Am A Were" is a pun poem based on this joke that was going around Tumblr:
A lycanthrope decided to come out to his friend. On a full moon night, he transforms.
"My God," says the friend, "you changed into a wolf!"
"Yes," says the lyncanthrope, "I am a were."

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Piece-meal Poetry: "Healing"

Every sliver of injustice in our bones
must be picked at, or
sucked from the marrow;
else slit open the flesh,
reach in with your knife,
remove the festering source.

What good are your tools
of righteousness, of goodwill,
if they cannot break the fever?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Fast Fiction: A Sedate Escape

My friend Patricia posted a challenge to a writing group I'm part of:
What does your past or future Malaysia look like, 50-60 years from today? Write it as a story or a poem, both works.
Bonus Points: If your character(s) speak in Manglish or variations thereof
Double Bonus Points: If your setting has magic/future tech
Triple Bonus Points: If it's Malaysia in outer space WITHOUT referencing politics 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Moving from Mainstream Reading

The other day, K. Tempest Bradford posted a challenge to XOJane: Stop reading straight white cis male authors for a year! Typically, people are up in arms because how can they stop reading their straight white cis male favs! And how dare anyone tell readers what to read! And isn't excluding people based on their identity discriminatory anyway! But this challenge comes from a very particular place. In much of the English-language reading world, most of the authors who get the most attention tend to be straight white cis men, especially in the science fiction fantasy world. In trying to read widely, and read what the mainstream rates the most highly, it's easy to fall into a trap of reading the same type of writer, over and over again.

As Silvia Moreno-Garcia points out, narrowing one's reading to particular themes, lists, and kinds of authors is actually a very normal and useful exercise. In English degrees, you will have classes like "Writers of the 18th  Century" or "Literature of the Fin de Siecle" or "Women Writers." My own English Hons. degree demanded that students take a particular range of courses that ensured we read a corpus in each century from the 16th onward, and took specialized seminars besides (the ones I took were on "Democratic Individualism" and the aforementioned "Women Writers"). It was a very valuable education; I learned about how writing trends shifted and reflected the norms and changes of the society that it was written in. Each century has its zeitgeist, captured by the literature of the time.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Jupiter Ascending Movie Recap!

Recently, I went to see Jupiter Ascending, and right now I can't think of a more wonderful movie to have experienced in theaters! Perhaps the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. But Jupiter Ascending isn't an adaptation, except one of the imagination, especially of the young imagination when we were busy creating impossible characters that people told us were unrealistic.

It was so fun, my fan buddy Jeanne and I had to recap it! We included as much detail as possible, and added commentary. Jeanne's commentary is in blue, mine is purple! Read the first half of the recap at her blog!

This recap will be long, and image-heavy, so you've been warned! Without further ado, ACT II:

Friday, February 6, 2015

Table of Contents & Cover for The Sea Is Ours!

Sometime around this time last year, I sent out a call for submissions to The Sea Is Ours: Tales of Steampunk Southeast Asia. Over the next few months, my co-editor Joyce Chng and I would receive many submissions. Many didn't make the first cut. A few got past, but eventually we could not use them. We were eventually left with twelve stories, with various levels of editing work required, each unique. After that it was a matter of deciding their order, and then getting a cover.

I approached Khor Shing Yin, an artist I found through Tumblr, who, it turned out, is Malaysian-Chinese, although she's spent most of her life in the States. We met briefly at San Diego Comic Con 2014, and more recently last August in Los Angeles. For SDCC, I made a frantic last-minute request for her to make up a promotional postcard that I could bring to raise awareness of the anthology. The result was the following: 

I was elated! It was based off a photograph of a street in Melaka, with the kind of architecture one might see in many SEAsian cities. Also, there was food! Shing also works with very delicate watercolours, very different from the other kinds of art that Rosarium, my publisher, featured in their catalog. 

When the manuscript was finalized, we needed a cover, and I asked her to re-visit the postcard again, update it a bit more, and thus: 

The food stall remains, as did the streetway. But how we have even more of a glimpse into the worlds that The Sea Is Ours will offer! Without further ado, I present to you the table of contents: 

"On The Consequence of Sound" - Timothy Dimacali
"Chasing Volcanoes" - Marilag Angway
"Ordained" - L. L. Hill
"The Last Aswang" - Alessa Hinlo
"Life Under Glass" - Nghi Vo
"Between Severed Souls" - Paolo Chikiamco
"The Unmaking of the Cuadro Amoroso" - Kate Osias
"Working Woman" - Olivia Ho
"Spider Here" - Robert Liow
"The Chamber of Souls" - zm quynh
"Petrified" - Ivanna Mendels
"The Insects and Women Sing Together" - Pear Nuallak

Several of these writers are no strangers to publishing, and I am pleased to introduce some new writers to the scene! They are all very talented and worked very hard, and I am proud to say that I am their editor. 

I will post more details on ordering and the Kickstarter as they come! 

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Reading Gilman

When I was in my first year of undergrad, the prof had us read "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. He asked us, "do you think it's a psychological story of a woman going mad, or a ghost story?" and we picked "woman going mad" so he took the side of "ghost story," and proceeded to point out all the things that could be read as a ghost story.

He also taught us that this was based on Gilman's experiences so we weren't totally convinced of its ghostliness at all.

Years later I'd read "The Rocking Chair" and "The Great Wisteria" and now I can totally buy the ghost story angle, because she was a ghost story writer too.

"When I Was A Witch" is still my favourite Gilman story so far, though.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Note To The Bank

My brother sent me an email with a PDF scan of a letter I received from Scotiabank, the bank I had been using in Canada, for quite a while. I had no problems with Scotiabank and moving cross-province was a pleasure. 

The letter tells me that my account is now inactive, since I haven't used it in 2 years (which, yes. I still do have my Scotiabank card though!), and that accounts inactive for ten years revert all its funds to the Bank of Canada, which I did not know. I should make a small deposit once in a while. Perhaps I will forward my next few checks towards it. 

I filled out the appropriate blanks, ticked the appropriate ticky-boxes (how satisfying ticky-boxes are) and wrote my address at the back of the envelope. On the front I wrote the address of my Scotiabank branch, all the way in Hamilton, which must be snowy at this time of year. I can still remember its edifice and the last time I walked into it to explain that I would be gone, a long time (hoping not forever). 

It still feels strange, to this day, two years and a bit after moving here, to finish my address with "U. S. A." It is still a foreign place, an exotic location that I never expected to find myself in. I never expected to write that as part of my address. Perhaps on a postcard, perhaps to a penpal, but never as a resident. I wonder if this feeling will ever go away. 

An Acceptance!

The other day, I received news that I had placed third in the Strange Horizons Reader Poll, under the Columns category. I am flanked by Rochita Leonen-Ruiz, in 2nd place, and Cassandra Khaw in 4th place, with the inimitable Genevieve Valentine in the 1st place, and John Clute in 5th. This is passing strange, to me, considering I have contributed only one column there in the past, a reprint of a response. However, it chuffs me to know that I have made an impact, and many dear friends are also listed in the various categories, such as LaShawn Wanak for her short story "21 Steps to Enlightenment (Minus One)," and, well, practically everyone in the Poetry category! I've never seen the like of Bogi's poem before, and still cannot wrap my head around it. And M. Sereno's big splash onto the spec-po scene is to be envied and celebrated. 

Today I have further news: I have sold a poem! This will be my first, and hopefully not the only, acceptance of the year, which is happy news and will hopefully set the tone for the rest of the year, publishing- and writing-wise. I hope to share it with everyone sometime soon! 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Dusting off Ye Olde Blog

I've been percolating with a lot of thoughts lately that just don't seem to fit on Tumblr or Twitter, and which I don't care to put on LiveJournal or Dreamwidth because those are more personal. So, I will be blogging here more regularly! 

Re-reading a lot of these old posts, I cringe at some of the things I've written, how clumsily I wrote them, how wordy I got when less could have been more. But then, I've always been a wordy person--I really like filler words! 

Many things have happened since 2011. My life has taken me so far abroad into a strange exotic land where I feel strangely disassociated, like I cannot believe I truly live here. My health has changed. My priorities have changed. I picked up new hobbies, set down some other ones. I probably should not have started writing this at 11pm, but them's the breaks. 

Have a flash fic from 2010:

"Simply put, you don't want to fuck with Kancil," Sang Buaya said.

She thought this over. "What about Agan Peland-"

"You especially do not want to fuck with Agan Pelanduk. He will turn you inside out. Stay away from all of that family. Bloody tricksters."

She didn't care to bring up the fact that he, as someone who used ambush as a way of hunting, was as much a trickster as either mousedeer.