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December 2009


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Dec. 15th, 2009

Part II - As we come into December

Currently listening to : Paul O'Dette, I don't know what song it is, but it's just damn good.

Where was I?

Oh yes, June!

June: There was work, exhibitions, work, and more work. But June was also the month where my very first review came out.


And the time when I first found out AOW was sold in Kinokuniya. Imagine my delight. It was sheer bliss.

It still makes me grin like a bobcat :D

July: The newspaper interview :) Well THAT was an interesting experience. It taught me how to handle reporters as well, and although I did get my feet wet in this interview, I learned the do's and don'ts.

English version:

Malay version:

August: I learned about AUSSIECON. Omg...I've always had this dream of attending conventions, and when my editor asked me if I was attending, I thought, why not? :D It's about a year away, but I have a lot to plan for it...especially in getting the manuscript polished and ready for pitching. >.< I am excited. I am nervous. I can't wait to see what happens.

September: My birthday came and went with as much craziness as I thought it would. Had a crazy fun time with my Chicas, who bought me a pair of beautiful OTs, and I think this was when we started having our relationship talks...wasn't it, chicas?

October: Eid celebration :)

November: My chicas' birthday outing!! We had a great lunch, we went to watch A Christmas Carol, we went shopping (or tried to, but couldn't find anything nice), we went bowling :D Ju, you owe me a rematch!

This was also the month I discovered a new plot direction for POA. Gave me a headache for a while there, but it's all sorted out now. I'm geared to have the book done asap, simply because I can't wait to get to books 2&3, AND I can't wait to re-vamp EG.

December: Nothing much has been going on, but there were a lot of catch-ups with friends. I think I wrapped up the year building stronger friendships :) strengthening the bond with my mom and siblings, and breaking away from...certain people.

I'm still waiting to see what will happen at the end of this year :) Looking forward to 2010, where there are many things planned. Those things being:

1. My degree intake. About time I get a degree. It'll most likely be Public Relations, Mass Communications. So, here's a warning to ye lecturers. I have TONS of questions. (just kidding)

2. Finishing POA. *dances*

3. MELBOURNE!!! - I can't wait for this. I have a lot to prepare prior to Aussiecon, and am in the midst of doing so. Yes, stating the obvious, but really. I need a press kit, business card, and most importantly, a convincing manuscript!!

Have a good weekend folks :)

Dec. 9th, 2009

Taking a break from the serious blogging...

Currently listening to: Andaluz, by Cantiga, from the album Martha's Dragon.

Part II of this year's recap will come up later tonight :) I'm in the midst of trying to rearrange my brain to follow the minor tweaks in the plotline. (I think Jim got it spot on in explaining the 30,000 word slog, cuz he's a genius!)

Another buffer was needed to ease out all the bloodthirsty action. Now all I have to figure out is WHICH scene would best fit the story in its entirety.

Anyway, ladies and gents, pirates and wenches, I give you, the halfway point!

45000 / 90000 words. 50% done!

Long way to go still, but the pieces of the puzzle are in place, and there's no turning back from this point on. I'm very excited to see where the story will go from here, and although I already have a route map in my head on where I should go and a rough ending, I know enough by now to know nothing is certain :D

It's scary. But fun. Scary fun!

So, at this point, any word of advice before I tread through the unknown jungles of world-building and plot hammering would be awesome.

I'd love a plot bunny, but I think my wolf-muse would gobble the thing up.

Onwards! Tally ho! Wish me luck :D

Dec. 2nd, 2009

Part I: As we come into December

....the realization that we have less than 30 days before 2010 hits me like the sound of a massive, ringing bell.

To say that it has been an absolutely interesting year would be an understatement to 2009. I have had SO many experiences, both good and bad, that my mind balks at the measure of trying to compress all these things into the banks of my memory. 2008 has already lapsed into oblivion, leaving mere tendrils of the more important, momentous moments on my cerebrum (wracked as it is by those countless migraine pills. I now have the memory of a gold....oh hey what's that??).

SO! In lieu of that, I decided to get myself an organizer. Though initially I had no intention of expanding those little notes into a detailed chronology of 2009, I believe it IS a good idea to do so.

And so, without further ado, I present to ye, my recollection (Ju, pinjam your ayat XD).

January: Miserable month. Partly due to having left Media Prima, where I've worked for 2 years. I was more attached to the friends, colleagues and job I left behind than I would've thought. And by hell I missed my Kak Boss! So that removal, that...sudden displacement from a familiar territory hit me hard enough to make me weep every few days. To make matters worse, my short story, To Kill A King, was rejected by Writers of the Future. Didn't even make the first cut, and I was too mule-headed to realize the brilliance of the story was dampened by the lack of structure. (Yes bro, it took TEN pages to kill the king! It won't happen again, no worries XD)

February: Attended my very first writer's workshop, with Jeremy Sheldon (I believe?) as the speaker. It was a definite eye-opener. I have NEVER been exposed to a writer's workshop before, and learned a whole LOT. Met new friends too. Eeleen and Sharon! Hi! *waves*

Three letters folks: G...Y...M

That has GOT to be one of the best decisions I've ever made. Gym was great. I was more fit than I had ever been in life, and getting a trainer that eats dumbells for breakfast (kidding) taught me to push my own body beyond my perceived limits. Also, I discovered parts of my body I never knew existed. Unknown until pain and muscle cramps made them REAL.

March: Attended my first reading. READ at my first reading :D Well THAT was an experience I am eager to repeat. ^^ Met Eeleen again (hi eeleen!), and many wonderful folks at Seksan. Imagine my delight in discovering a local writing community.

Training....training...and more training. Spent a lot of time in Shah Alam. By this time, the worries I had of working in the new place have died down :)

Ages of Wonder was launched in Toronto! I sulked the whole day because I couldn't be there to meet my fellow writers and editors. :( But Julie E.Czerneda & Rob St. Martin did such a wonderful job editing the book. I learned a lot from them :D And gosh, to SEE my story turned into BOOK form was just amazing. I can tell you why writers keep writing. That FIRST sale, seeing that FIRST story on the shelves...it's just surreal.

April: *checks organizer*....well I'll be damned. Nothing much happened this month...just work.

May: BANDUNG!!! My mother had been planning to go to Bandung for a very long time, and we decided that this year would be the year to go. The idea was to have my mom visit my dear grandmother first, with us following during Raya this year. BUT, my yearning to see my grandmother got the best of me, and I decided to follow my mom.

IT WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE YEAR. I can tell you that :) I rekindled my love for the Vanderkoeck clan, I hugged my grandmother for the first time in 13 years, I met my aunts, my grandfather. Satisfaction :)

It was all bliss, until I went back to Malaysia and contracted....Denggi.

Gahh. That was the most boring 5 days of my life. I was stuck in the hospital. I didn't feel sick beyond having a flaming throat (I am actually VERY thankful for that. Other denggi patients suffer worse, or so I've been told), and missing my mother, yan, my grandmother....And thinking constantly about WORK! With a big exhibition coming, it was a BAD time to be hospitalized. And hells bells, that needle through the top of the wrist HURT! I had to drag my IV carrier around wherever I went, to my roommate's amusement.

But, it was another eye-opening experience. You won't know who your real friends are until you're sick and bed-ridden.

My family of course was there for me :) Yan squirmed everytime I showed him the needle on my hand. Mom was so worried because she was in Bandung. But she was sick too, and I was more worried about HER health!

I think this was when the whole chicadome started, though neither of us knew what to call it yet. :) Jules and Jocey visited almost everyday. They bought me my favorite Starbucks latte, flowers, food, a Scruffy, and stayed with me every night to keep me company. More friends came, Bro, Imran and Pat to cheer me up, and their daily messages to see how I was doing (with pat's constant Can I get you something to make you feel better? texts) warms me heart it does :) Marl came too, and Mak Andak. I think I had visitors practially everyday, so yea :D I felt great, because I must've done something right to deserve such kindness from people :)

To the point where the doctor commented that I won't get better if I keep downing the latte and the scones...and the nurses smiled to see the flowers on my table, reminding me how lucky I was to have such strong support :D

To all who came, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. To all who didn't but sent well wishes and constant reassurances, thank you :) Because of all of you, I recovered quickly, thank god, and was back to work the following week.

June: OGA..
Oh dear lord...what a crazy month. Had a TON of funny experiences...one being stuck in the middle of the uh...road. OGA, the oil and gas exhibition, was very interesting. Tiring! But interesting nonetheless.

Okay, Ra'kir is calling. Time to write POA. Look out for Part II folks :D Have a great night.


Nov. 3rd, 2009

Quick update

So here's the problem with leaving your story untouched for a week - You come back to it feeling like it's the most horrible piece of crap you've ever written. And because of that one week of absence, you have not only removed your mindset out of that story....you spot all the tiny little flaws that weren't there earlier.

Or then again it could just probably be my mood.

See, I've even lost the mood to write this blog entry.

Oct. 23rd, 2009

Writely update

So yes, I've been busy. The lack of posts would attest to that :D There have been plenty of plot points that stretched the story in places I didn't count on...but all is well.

42500 / 90000 words. 47% done!

I'll write a more detailed version of this post when i have the time. Now it's back to the book :D

Sep. 30th, 2009

Bits of news

So it says here I owe the government about 16k, from the study loan I took about 5 years ago when I was a student. It wasn't a surprise, really, but still...having to fork up the money to start paying the loan is making me wince, especially with the all important Melbourne trip coming up next year. That second job I've been planning to find is no longer something I should put off. Ah well!

There's a birthday entry coming up, plus a snippet, maybe! But for now, I can safely say there's steady progress. A shift in p.o.v that I didn't plan, which might work well with the rest of the story. It's still quite early to tell at this point....geez I'm sleepy.

38000 / 90000 words. 42% done!

Sep. 25th, 2009

Yay 25!

And to attest to my previous post, a friend pointed out: "5 years ago you were still peddling bread for a living."

Yay 25!

What's it like to be 25?

This space has been neglected for quite a while, obviously. I blame it partly on my current obsession on finishing POA, which I'll get right into in a bit.

So from my post title, it's obvious turned 25 (sometime last week). While that day went by like any other day, it did hit me that I've reached the two and a half decade mark.

People get married at this age, or chug their way towards their dreams, blazing a trail that suits them. Either way, it seems to me that 25 is a crucial stage of discovery.

What's it like to be 25?

In all honesty, the uncertainties are plentiful. I claimed to a friend the other day that not many people could say they're "exactly" where they wish to be at 25. I set out what I wanted to do, achieved several of the goals I crafted for myself when I was 21 (you know the whole, by the time I'm 25 I will etc etc thing). And while there are many moments of contentment and self-assurance, those moments do get weighed down by an equal number of concerns.

To another friend I professed that I woke up a few days after my birthday feeling absolutely sure of myself. Knowing exactly who I am, what I am, and where I should be (sheer bravado and ignorance, i tell ya). But those feelings, tempered at first by the focus of getting important things done and living life in the moment, were ripped apart just as quickly when a particular incident jarred my equilibrium and left me kicking and screaming like a besotted adolescent. Sure of myself? Hah, that was a joke. Perhaps I was, but I need to learn to keep that center present in my head at all times and not let my heart contradict the certainties so easily.

At 25, I see all that. Previously I would've let the emotions ride their course. Now I wake up feeling stupid for throwing unnecessary fits over things that don't matter in the first place. It's a learning process, and I am hopeful that by the time I turn 26, that emotional sobriety will set in completely.

Call it being greedy. We've always been taught that people never get enough of what they want, and plenty of what they need.

So, am I where I wish to be at 25? Yes, I am. I've managed to lay the foundations of my life so far, and am in the process of paving the road now. Next year promises, PROMISES to be even more interesting, with my first ever WorldCon attendance, my finishing POA and sending it out, and the certainty that I will write more stories.

Speaking of which, moving on to POA.

36835 / 90000 words. 41% done!

Ta-da! I admit, it isn't as impressive as those thousands of thousands of words that the pros pile on their WIPs every single day. It took me nearly the span of a month or more to come up with another 7000 words, but, the progress is there, and I'm happy. Lets just hope it turns out well enough to catch the interest of publishers :)

Cheers folks. More entries soon!

Aug. 3rd, 2009

Long week ahead

So after days of struggling, I finally manage to hit 30,000 words. I'm about quarter-way through the novel, with a few details to tweak, but I'll do those when I'm done with the book.

Speaking of which, AussieCon is next year, and I'm making plans to attend.

More entries soon. I'm in for a very long week.

Jul. 13th, 2009

Writerly updates :D

Currently listening to : Cantiga - Cantiga 281, The Princess Royal

Chapter 7: DONE! That took me faster than I thought, and I've already laid the foundations for chapter 8, tweaked the loopholes in 4,5,6....which sparked a whole new list of things that need to be done.

Primarily, updating the wall. There's a plotline there for the initial chapters, but little on chapters 10 onwards. So, I need at least two whole weekends to do that. A new map needs to be drawn. POA has less characters than EG, so that's one headache gone, but the Dárvian's genealogy needs to be tweaked.

Word count: 26800/90,000

It's looking pretty good and the plot's so much tighter now. I'm pleased, for now. The novel will be a tiny one compared to the giants (those over 200,000 words) but you never know what happens. I've already added 6 extra chapters to the story (initially 20 chapters, then 24, now 26).

And ooh, if ye scallywags want to see a snippet...ye'll have to wait til i reach 30k, which isn't too far off now.

And oh yes, the interview is tomorrow (it's not a job interview, mind you). I'm nervous.

Tally ho!

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