writing

We Must Create The Fantastic

I’ve spent the past few months reading speculative short fiction by Filipino/a writers. It’s a fun way for me to explore my roots and also helps me to discover the kinds of stories other Filipinos/as are writing. Thanks to the magic of ebooks and Amazon, I’ve been able to access some wonderful collections of stories originally published in the Philippines (and for a while, difficult to find in the United States). One of my recent purchases comes from an annual anthology series entitled Philippine Speculative Fiction, which began in 2005 as the brainchild of husband and wife writers/editors, Dean Francis Alfar and Nikki Alfar. They strove to promote the writing and reading of speculative fiction in the Philippines by publishing some of the best stories they could get their hands on. Fast forward to 2017, and the anthology series is still going strong with volume 11 currently in the works. I’ve been reading one of their special anthologies, Best of Philippine Speculative Fiction 2005-2010, just to get my feet wet. Instead, I plunged into the deep end. It’s been a revelation thus far. (more…)

Remember To Use Stones (StokerCon 2017)

I just endured two and a half days of pure horror! But that’s kind of what you’d expect from a conference called StokerCon, which is organized by the Horror Writers Association. This past weekend, I attended the second annual StokerCon on board the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA. Once one of the finest ocean liners in the world, she now serves as a hotel and historic site. The ship actually saw some action during WWII, when the Queen Mary was conscripted into the war effort. She was then known as “The Grey Ghost” due to her new paint job, and she played a role in transporting troops from the United States to Europe. Oh, and she’s also haunted.  (more…)

Strike Hard And Fade Away

With spring officially upon us, I took the opportunity to clean up my laptop’s hard drive. It’s amazing how many files full of stories, ideas, and assignments I’ve amassed in the past two years as an MFA student. After organizing my stuff in a way that would make Mary Poppins teary with pride, I spotted a folder I had labeled “Old Stuff.” Everything I had written pre-Stonecoast had been placed into that folder prior to my first residency. I haven’t looked at any of the files in there since, so of course, I pulled a Pandora and opened the glittery box. (more…)

But That All Changed When The Fire Nation Attacked

It’s been seven days since the end of the historic and crazy U.S. presidential election of 2016. I’m still trying to process the reality that Donald J. Trump is the president-elect of the United States and how that will impact my life for the next four years. As a writer, I’ve always allowed ideas to ripen in my head before I pluck them, prep them, and serve them on the page. Regarding the election, I’m not sure if I’m ready to express my thoughts, but there are times when physically seeing my words actually helps me to navigate the mixed emotions roiling within. So, here goes. (more…)

Blood And Typewriters

I’m a writer. I’ve been writing stories since I was around seven or eight years old. And yet, it took me almost 20 years to truly embrace that part of my life. I used to be ashamed to say that I’m a writer because of the inevitable follow-up questions like, “What have you written?” and “Where can I buy your books?”. Not all writers are famous novelists. Some writers don’t even want to be published; for them, writing is something personal and private, like a journal or diary. As for me, I have a handful of publications to my name, mostly short stories. I’m not famous by any means. I’m a small fry compared to the sharks and whales circling the vast literary ocean. Nevertheless, my time both at the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and the Stonecoast MFA Program have given me the confidence to claim, “Yes, I’m a writer.” I no longer have a problem admitting that I don’t have a novel published or that you’ve never heard of me. It’s okay. I’m currently working very hard to change that. 🙂 (more…)