Clockwork Carabao

At some point in February (or was it March?), before the craziness began and I was thrown into a den of psychotic little Voldemorts, I had a story in mind that I wanted to send out. It had gone through several revisions, at least three of which changed the entire story itself. I had gone from writing about a girl who’d watched a mechanical bird fall from the sky to a girl’s first time siphoning gases from a volcano. I admit, both are still viable ideas to work with, and more than likely I’d probably get back to them at some point.

But it turns out I was having a bit more fun with Hati and her rather engineer-y mind. And besides, who wouldn’t want to tinker around with a mechanical carabao?

Fast forward a couple months later and here I am, sitting and writing about the anthology my short story is going to be in!

Corie and Sean Weaver at Dreaming Robot Press have been superstars, and after three years of having published the Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide, they’re at it again! Next year, the 2018 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide is set to be released, with my short story “Clockwork Carabao” as part of the fantastic list of children’s science fiction stories. It may not be my first time having been published by DRP, and certainly not my first time writing about my steampunk sandbox, but it’s always exciting to have the opportunity to see my work in print.

And I swear the covers keep getting better and better!

About the 2018 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide:

“When I was a child, the school library had a Girls’ Section, which included fairy tales, and a Boys’ Section, which included all the science fiction. Things have changed, of course, but not enough. There is a strong need for science fiction, as opposed to fantasy, aimed at girls, especially in the middle grades. This anthology is an important contribution to the effort to fill that need, and I’m delighted to be a part of it.”~ Nancy Kress, winner of six Nebulas, two Hugos, a Sturgeon, and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award

We’ve got another great collection of 24 stories from amazing authors, ranging from Nebula and Hugo winners to relative newcomers to the field. Our characters are white, black, asian, latino. Human and robot. Everyone belongs here.

Help us make the fourth collection of the Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide a reality.

To participate in the Kickstarter, click hereAny donation helps. We are so close to our goal!

Party up in hurr.

On top of that, to help promote the Kickstarter, we’re having a YEAG author party! Feel free to hop onto the discussion on Facebook. I will definitely be there tonight, June 29 from 6-9 pm EST, posting a few things about life, the universe, and everything. (But really, I’ll probably be doing random posts about writing and steampunk and science fiction video games…)

Click the image to go to the author party page on Facebook!

Come find me on June 29 from 6 to 9 pm EST! I’ll try to be interesting. Key word “try.” (Or, you can just say hello by leaving a message on one of my posts and I’ll have all sorts of warm fuzzies for having your support :D).

Here’s a sneak peek to my short story, “Clockwork Carabao”!

The mechanical carabao was the strangest contraption Hati had ever seen.

By that point in time, she’d already seen much more than a normal young girl with regards to mechanical animals. She’d even made a few of them herself and had been proud of the prize she’d won at the Junior Mechanicking Competition back at floating Rizal. The prize invention, a mechanical kitten that was also used as a pill dispenser, which her father and mother found quite charming, sat at home—a strange, metallic centerpiece on their large dining table.

And yet this carabao was something new.

– “Clockwork Carabao” by Marilag Angway

I wonder what my engineering friends would think of a mechanical carabao…

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Wrap Up: March 2017

Lots of moving around during the month! I’ve been charged with apartment-sitting in the city, so I’m obviously going to take advantage of my current location and attend more NYC-related activities. Which means food and booze and books. Not necessarily in that order. Work hasn’t let up yet, and I may have gotten sick in the middle of last week, but I’m fighting it like a BOSS because I’m traveling in a couple weeks. Urgh, timing, I swear.

Books Read

It’s funny that I have so many book-related pics but I don’t even think I’ve read much in March! At least, nothing super-substantial, save A Conjuring of Light, which took up the majority of the last few weeks. And I mean to review a few others in April, but I’ll put them here because I technically finished them a few days ago.

Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda || Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson || A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab || A Life in Parts by Bryan Cranston || The Velocipede Races by Emily June Street

Currently Reading

The Cinderella Murder by Mary Higgins Clark || Portal of a Thousand Worlds by Dave Duncan || Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs

Writing

I started a few writing prompts here and there, but nothing substantial. It is a start, but it could still be better.

There is some writing progress on the publishing front, though! I managed to sell a short story I had been writing a couple months back, so that’s always lovely to see. Just got through line edits, too, though that’s as much I can really say about it, since the anthology doesn’t even come out until next year!

Movies and Television

Hah. I think the Academy Awards broke me, because I’ve seen a total of three movies in March. I hadn’t even bothered with putting up an image for it, because they were so meager (Hell or High Water, Miss Sloane, The Lobster, La La Land…again). No television shows, either, because I may have given that up for Lent. Um. Yeah. My Netflix has gotten very little activity on my part.

Video Games

Batman: Arkham Knight – I totally decided not to finish this game. It’s too rage-inducing, especially when one of the effing main quests makes you do a damn BATMOBILE CHASE. And the pace is merciless. So yeah. Not finishing this ever.

Final Fantasy XV – I gots me a chocobo! Clearly that is the important bit. And my gosh, the side quests and open world are much better than what I saw of FFXIII. Honestly, I haven’t played a FF game as fun as FFXV since FFXII, so that’s saying something. That said, I found myself listening to the old, nostalgic soundtracks as opposed to the new ones.

Fooding

Baking galore! There was clearly a lot of food I did in March.

Chocolate Chip Espresso Cookie || Laduree Macaroons || Jacques Torres Cookie and Hot Chocolate || White Russian Cupcakes || Spinach Artichoke Dip || Chocolate Ganache || Homemade Tortilla Pizza

Miscellany

Author signings galore! Amidst my work schedule I managed to squeeze in two Books of Wonder visits at the very end of February and the first week of March to see authors I loved (Schwab and Ahdieh). With them came other authors whose books I’ve been interested in reading for the longest time, so I also yoinked their stuff. All in all, lovely days, these author signings.

And then of course there was Dr. Seuss Day on March 2, and Reading Across America during the week. Because I work with older kids now, I had them dress up as fictional characters as opposed to Dr. Seuss characters. My own attempt at Delilah Bard was kind of conversation-starting, at best.

Nerdy News

I am so stoked for American Gods, I can’t even. So many yesses with the staff, and the pictures! Mr. Nancy looks awesome.

Doctor Who trailer! It’s been a while since DW has been on TV, and there’s some bittersweetness to the fact that this will be Peter Capaldi’s last season.

I mean, I already love Emma Watson so much, but gosh, I friggin’ love Emma Watson.

Video game making summer camp. For girls. I mean…WHERE WAS THIS WHEN I WAS A KID?

This is pretty exciting news, the fact that an African-fantasy got picked up as a TV series. Cannot wait for this, too!

Of NaNoWriMo and Writing Tags

I don’t know what fuels me to go crazy on November by signing up for NaNoWriMo, but there it is. It’s happened again. I’ve decided I’d do it. Even though in all honesty if I was trying to write another full-length novel I’d probably die because yes. It’s overkill. I really need to work on editing my other novels before hitting up a new one.

BUT ANYWAY.

Here’s a tag to stem the tide. Credits to Kristina’s video blog for this NaNoWriMo tag! I thought it might as well be an intro to my crazy world of National November Writing Month.

NaNoWriMo Tag

The Questions:

1. How many times have you done NaNoWriMo? – According to my account, six. This year would be my sixth time.

2. How did you first find out about NaNoWriMo? – Hmm…I know I’ve heard of NaNoWriMo years before I’d actually decided to take part. It was probably during college, though, and my writing during those years was shoddy at best. I really didn’t have the time! Big mistake on my part, but I’m glad I joined when I did.

3. What was the name of the first novel you attempted with NaNo? – I’d titled it “Falada” after the horse in the fairy tale, The Goose Girl. Because, surprise surprise, it was a Goose Girl retelling. “Falada” has since morphed into a story all on its own, and maybe I’ll dust it off and edit it once more so I can actually query it. This time, under a different moniker.

I learned a lot about horses writing this story...

I learned a lot about horses writing this story…

4. Give us a 1 sentence summary of what you’re writing this year. – Not so much writing, but editing. Severely editing. Like…pretty much half-rewriting this story. ATM, the title of my steampunk novel is “Amber and Tourmalines,” but yeah. It’s just a working title. My sentence summary:

Someone nefarious is blowing up airships, so one kingpin smuggler is having none of that nonsense and decides to take matters into her own hands by investigating the whole thing–and hiring a down-on-their-luck private detective.

5. What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever been given? – It’s always going to be “Write what you know.” It was something I’d been told in college, when I was often stuck trying to figure out how to start scientific essays. I think the advice is also fitting for fiction. I start each blank page just writing down what I know about my particular story. If I know a character’s motivation, I jot it down. If I know my setting the best, I plan an entire map on paper and start incorporating plot within the details of my world. If I know exactly what the next scene is going to do to my characters, I jot down outlines of the scene and fill in the blanks soon after.

Or this. Word vomit is good.

Or this. Word vomit is good.

6. Did you ever take a year off from NaNo? Why? – Yes. Well, officially, yes. Unofficially, I never really stopped writing. I did take a break in 2014, though, because that was the year I’d started full-time as a teacher. I wrote several short stories that year as my last “hurrah,” and wrote nothing I wanted to query or publish until the following year.

7. What’s your biggest inspiration when figuring out what to write? – Everything I read, really. Or play, or watch. The entire world is one damn inspiration.

8. Read us the first sentence from one of your novels. – Oh god. Um. Well, I mentioned “Falada” and briefly talked about “Amber and Tourmalines,” so I’ll pull the first sentence from my Arabian Nights-inspired novel, which I’d titled “Djinn Kissed”:

Daggers flew and scattered just as the music sped up.

9. Why do you love writing? – A question I ask all my creative writing students. They pretty much sum up why. I think writing is a celebration of words, and I like the taste of words in my fingers. I love reading it, I love the stories people tell. I love the worlds people create. Being a part of that kind of creation is a reward in and of itself, and it’s a type of fulfillment I wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else. Unless I were drowning in a sea of strawberry shortcake, of course. *cough*

Yosh. That was fun.

Are you joining in NaNoWriMo this year? Consider yourself tagged! And add me as a buddy!

Chasing Volcanoes: A Czech Translation

seaisoursOnce upon a time (re: a year and a half ago), I wrote a steampunk story that revolved around a destroyed Northern Philippines (speculative volcanic eruptions and the like). I sent it out, I squeed about finding a home for it (many thanks to the wonderful editrixes Jaymee Goh and Joyce Chng, and publisher Bill Campbell at Rosarium Publishing for the acceptance!), I squeed again when it got illustrated (by Pear Nuallak), and I practically did a funny little dance in the middle of my living room when it finally, finally, FINALLY got published.

(I did another funny dance at the local B&N soon after I saw it on a scifi anthology shelf…but I swear I didn’t cause that much of a scene!)

And while I am grateful that this particular story went out into the world amidst critiquing eyes and steampunk enthusiasts, I am still wonderfully surprised at the feedback over “Chasing Volcanoes.” I certainly didn’t expect to get an email about it–and the rest of the The Sea is Ours anthology–being translated into Czech. The fact that the title of said Czech book IS a translation of “Chasing Volcanoes” has gone above and beyond any expectation I have with the stories I’ve written.

But there you go. It’s happened. I’m squeeing again. I’m writing about it again.

Thanks to Jan Kravčík at Gorgon Books, “Chasing Volcanoes” has got a Czech coating. And honestly, that cover is beautiful. While I know nothing in the Czech language (well, correction, I now know what “Kroceni Sopek” means), I am truly astounded–and excited–at the increasing readership, both for my story (because honestly, why wouldn’t I be excited that my work goes out there?) and for the wonderful fellow Southeast Asian authors I’ve shared the anthology with.

Now, if only I’d known about this translation BEFORE I’d gone to Praha last summer. I suppose maybe next time (because there most certainly will be a next time!) I visit Prague I’ll try to find my way into a bookshop.

Anyway, for the Czech readers out there, watch out for Kroceni Sopek, coming to you in a few weeks!

Writing Wednesdays #6: Prompt Exchange

Of course it’d be me who ends up with a romance prompt. Leave it to my writing voldies to drag a kissing story out of me. And then make me end it in a TRAGEDY.

I’m getting way too ahead of myself, though.

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This week, I had the writing voldies think up different prompts, which would then be thrown into a hat (or, in my case, a basket), and then they would randomly grab a prompt written by either themselves or by someone else. To keep it interesting (since I have no idea whether their prompts would be vague, obscene, or uninspiring), I added some of my own.

Amusingly enough, a bunch of my own prompts got picked out of the basket, and I was right glad that one of my voldies had to do a poem about cookies. Right. Glad.

Anyway, I ended up with one of my eighth grader’s prompts. And I spent a great deal of time telling her how much I hated her for having me write a bad romance. With a tragic ending.

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Write a romance story that ends in a tragic event. What happens to the girl/boy that is left behind? What do they do after the tragedy? Or are they both dead?

Oath and Blood

“Better return that,” the knight warned, her dark eyes narrowed into dangerous slits. “I can see your scrawny shadow from all the way over here.”

The thief chuckled. “I should be flattered to be watched by you of all people.”

The knight grunted. “It’s my job, you cretin. Put it back.”

The “it” in question had been a priceless heirloom handed down from one Mage King to another. Strangely enough, while the artifact itself–a ring of potentially combustive power–had tons of magic, it couldn’t be protected by magic. Which explained why Cala was stuck guarding the Ring while the rest of her mates were at the new queen’s coronation.

How could she even explain what San was thinking?

“I trust none but the Queen’s Champion, Cala, you know that.”

Sure, Cala had seen the logic to that. The problem with guarding the most sought-after relic in the kingdom was that many thieves would test the waters and attempt a theft in the middle of the coronation. Guards would be too focused on the new Queen San, and rightly so.

The Ring was too tempting, though. Not even the most notorious thief could stop himself from its attempted pilfering.

Cala could take on any thief. She knew the one standing before her, much more than she knew the queen. And Cala knew this thief’s weakness.

She knew it because it was her weakness, too. Sort of.

“Come here, you felon,” Cala growled.

Corvin complied, taking the lady kngiht into his arms and placing a gentle kiss on her nose before crushing his lips onto hers.

Breathless didn’t even cut it. She was definitely in trouble.

“I’m sworn by blood oath, love,” Cala said. “You shouldn’t have come.”

“I know,” he whispered. “But it was time. And you were worth it.”

Cala was no delicate flower. Yet she couldn’t stop her tears. She pulled him down again for another kiss. She didn’t want it all to end. It would, though. It had to. She could feel the blood oath tugging at her, compelling her to do what she did not want to do.

“It’s fine. Do it,” he whispered, softly, sadly. “I forgive you. And I–”

The blade went through, silencing Corvin before anything else could be said.

Cala watched her lover slowly fall, and she looked at the Ring. The Mage Ring that needed protecting.

Damn the queenshe thought. Damn her and the bloody throne and the blood oath.

Damn the magic from preventing her to take her own life.

She looked at the ring again and shifted her stance. She could hear another thief coming.

It would be a long night ahead.


On a lighter note, the same eighth grader ended up with my “fairy princess wants to be an astronaut” prompt, and she totally drew the fairy princess character!

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I cannot with my writing voldies sometimes.