writing

You Can Fly (World Fantasy 2017)

Last week I traveled to San Antonio, Texas to attend my very first World Fantasy Convention. It’s a huge gathering of writers, editors, artists, publishers, and fans of all things fantasy. This convention has been on my wish list for years, and with San Antonio being relatively close to Los Angeles, I finally decided to take the plunge. And boy, did I. This con left me gasping for air but wanting to continuously dive deeper into the fantasy genre and all its iterations at every opportunity. It was an overwhelming, enchanting, intriguing, and overall, fantastic (see what I did there?) experience. Let me attempt to summarize all the cool things during my three days at the convention. (more…)

Chain The Muse To Your Desk

As a writer, there will be days when the words spill from my mind and gush all over my keyboard. Those are good days. It’s sunny outside, the birds are chirping a merry tune, and my neighbors’ toddler is either asleep or visiting the grandparents. Occasionally, however, I’ll have really awful stretches where the words are stymied and nothing pushes the blinking cursor forward. I’m not talking about regular writer’s block, which I’ve written about before. No, this is far worse. This isn’t just struggling to find the right direction for a story or wrestling with a difficult scene. It’s apocalyptic: thunder and lightning accompanied by merciless winds, dead birds plummeting from their perches, and the toddler next door wailing like an air raid siren (which, admittedly, often happens on good days, too). This is what I like to refer to as “the inspiration abyss.” No matter how hard I try, I can’t get any of my ideas off the ground. Even if I manage to write a thousand words, they ultimately lead to a dead end, forcing me to start over. While writer’s block can last for days, the inspiration abyss can last for weeks. Currently, I’m dealing with a stretch that has now lasted just over a month. It’s the most frustrating experience as writer. I don’t have any quick-fix solutions, but I’ve developed a few strategies to aid me in my attempts to claw my way out of these bleak situations: (more…)

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…)