Wednesday, January 30, 2008

governing angels

One of the stories I'm working on may or may not feature angels. If I do decide to go angelic, then I'll need names and such. Interestingly enough, there are 12 governing angels for each of the 12 months:

January - Gabriel
February - Barchiel
March - Machidiel
April - Asmodel
May - Ambriel
June - Muriel
July - Verchel
August - Hamaliel
September - Uriel
October - Barbiel
November - Advachiel
December - Hanael

Looking at the list, I'll have to come up with alternatives for Gabriel (too commonly known), Muriel (no offense to Muriel, but it sounds like someone's old aunt in a dull paisley dress), Uriel (known, though less commonly)... and Barbiel (because Barbie as an angel is sounds like something Matthel will releases as a direct to DVD movie really soon, with cutie cherubs and accessories) - now I must be careful when October comes around.

April's Asmodel sounds decidedly delicious, along with November's Advachiel.

But, as usual with me, we'll see.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

heights talk & kite at nbdb

This Friday, I'll be speaking about spec fic at Ateneo, courtesy of the good folk of the Heights. It's from 4:30-6PM and I hope to see you there.
Ateneo seems to like me this month as I have another soon-to-be confirmed speaking engagement there around next week.
And a couple of weeks from then, on Feb 15th at 2PM, Tara Sering moderates the National Book Development Board's discussion of my collection "The Kite of Stars and Other Stories" (here's the link for details).
This is interesting as I feel so distant from the stories in that collection, since the creative process of writing and developing them took place literally years ago and I'm now in a new place developing new stories. What the general reader doesn't realize is that whatever is published or printed is already old (to the author) by the time of publication (in relation to when it was written) - even Salamanca, written in late 2004, and accepted for publication in 2005, was published in 2006 (and that was considered fairly quick); I think only the Philippine Speculative Fiction anthos are faster (we select stories, edit, publish and launch in a few months).
I stand by every story in "The Kite", of course (yes, even the ones that, now, seem and would love to hear what other think. I just have to reread everything. The part of me that constantly wants to learn is stoked.

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what's the skinny?

The start of this year is quite hectic for my design agency, with a lot of work to be done. There's also the secret new business my partner and I are putting together (my aching head, I tell you), plus running the pet store and the food franchise. Sometimes, I'm overwhelmed, but then take a deep breath and dive back in.

On the writing front, I've made zero progress on the novel - which means I need a miracle if I want to compete for any of the three big novel prizes up for grabs this year (P200k is a very nice prize to aim for). But I won't get anywhere unless I get off my ass, smash the DVD player and all the reality shows I'm sadly addicted to, bury the DSLite and stop hunting for every possible Pokemon in existence, devote less time to non-productive writing, and simply get to work.

It's slightly better on the short fiction front, but the deadlines are looming. Last night I worked on the story for Exotic Gothic, got up in the morning and polished the story for Playboy, and ripped apart something I started for Rogue. By the time I was done, it was 4AM. And there is still the new fairy tale for next month LitCritter originals, plus something for Free Press. And Vin and I are talking about producing more Forlorn stories this year (in a few weeks, 3 Forlorn stories will be out - 2 in Philippine Genre Stories, and 1 in Story Philippines). Gah, indeed.

I'm usually on the side of disciplined writing (you know, writing on schedule regardless of how I feel), but once in a while, like now, it would be great to be slapped across the face - hard - by the muse of inspiration, collapse into a stupor, and wake up at dawn with bleeding fingers and several marvelous completed stories. Haha. I wish.

So what am I going to do about all this? Why, get a new laptop, of course!

I know, I know. But even just thinking about getting one those HP Pavilions makes me happy, and -here's the hard sell to myself- will make me instantly more productive.

So, this afternoon I'm taking a break from work and writing and will browse laptop showrooms and see what moves me. I've had my MSI ultralight laptop for more than 2 years, so I think my shoulder has healed and can handle the stress of something heavier once more.

We'll see.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008


It's sad but true: my guilty pleasure slash stress release slash time eater site Get Hostile has been shut down due to poor revenue streams. It's such a shame - Brian provided a venue for Acquire players of different stripes from all over the world. It was cool and fun (and, for a brief moment in time, I was #1 on the leader board).

It was Kate who introduced me to Acquire (and what an addiction it spawned, with us constructing tournaments and Acquire nights).

Here's to hoping to see Hostile somewhere soon!

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day of the vin

Happy birthday to my best friend of many years (it's both uplifting and sobering to realize just our friendship is measured in decades). May words of wonder and everyday magic be yours until we celebrate the next one!

Here's to you, Vin!


Friday, January 18, 2008

oh man! (asian prize)

Peter Gordon, Executive Director of the Man Asian Literary Prize, will be in Manila on Thursday, January 24, to promote the prize among Filipino writers and to speak on "International Opportunities for Filipino Writers". The UP Institute of Creative Writing is hosting his talk, which will be held that day at 2:30 pm at the AVR Room, 2nd floor, Rizal Hall (Faculty Center), UP Diliman.

The Man Asian -informally known as the "Asian Booker" - was established in 2006 and made its first award in 2007 for the best unpublished novel in English or English translation by an Asian. Filipino fictionist and UP professor Jose Dalisay Jr.'s novel Soledad's Sister made the shortlist of the inaugural prize, which drew 243 entries from all over Asia. The deadline for the 2008 Man Asian is March 31.

Gordon will speak about the prize and on literary publishing in Asia in general. The UPICW is inviting all interested writers, translators, publishers, teachers, and students to attend the lecture-discussion, which will also feature Dr. Dalisay and fellow novelist and columnist Krip Yuson.

Peter Gordon is also a founder and former Director of the Man Hong Kong International Literary Festival (held each March in Hong Kong), founder and editor of the Asian Review of Books, and publisher at Chameleon Press. He writes a weekly op-ed column in the Hong Kong daily The Standard and is chairman of the Russian Interest Group at the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce.

I hope to attend (and encourage all LitCritters to do so).

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

is it me or...?

Is something wrong with Gmail? Since yesterday, I haven't been able to access my webmail. I click on the link and am rewarded with a blank page.

update: it's my laptop, it seems. I can reach Gmail via other computers. Grrr.


Monday, January 14, 2008

on inventory

I'm pushing for the goal of having my writer friends (as well as myself, of course) write six new stories this year, one new piece of speculative fiction every two months. To the international professional writers, this is a piece of cake (I'm convinced Jay Lake writes a new story every week). But in this country, where writers tend to take months or even years to generate a single new short story, it is quite a challenge.

The goal is to develop inventory, a number of stories that can be submitted for consideration to various markets or competitions. Rather than panic-writing for the Palancas for example (though I remember the strange delight of doing that when I much younger), it's good to have some completed stories that one can revisit or polish. Having an inventory, apart from giving the author a sense of security (being a working writer), also permits the author presence in publications. A writer, after all, is supposed to write.

Discipline becomes the key factor. It is one thing to write when inspiration strikes; it is quite another thing to write on demand. Some would argue that only stories written in the white heat of inspiration are worthwhile. I tend to disagree. The final verdict is given by the reader who is unaware of how the story was developed - what matters is that the story is a good read, which means it is well-written and engaging. Behind the scenes, unseen, is all the discipline of the author (I'm fighting my temptation myself, as the siren call of DVDs and the DSLite is nigh irresistable).

I have nothing against writers who take their time writing. Some of the best work comes from very long gestations. But the flip side is also true. Some of the best work comes from authors who can write quickly and produce fiction of consistently good quality. As a reader, I'd rather follow the work of an author who is of the latter sort - I get to experience his or her worlds more often. As an author, my own impatience drives me to action.

Back to inventory. As of now, I have stories upcoming in Story Philippines, the Digest of Philippine Genre Stories, Tales of Magic & Enchantment, Story Junior, and Growing Up Filipino. Most of these should be out before the end of the first quarter. But my own inventory is exhausted, due to unexpected sales last month. I need to get in there and write some stories. I just have one completed story, left over from last year.

A US anthology editor requested a new story from me, due March. The thought of contributing something to the antho that previously had killer authors like Joyce Carol Oates, Neil Gaiman, Nancy Collins and Terry Dowling (some of them returning in the new book) has caused me more than an upset stomach. Plus there are the usual markets that I submit to, and I would like to have a couple of pieces there this year.

In the "well, sure, but I hope it's fiction" file, I got feelers from Playboy magazine (it seems that the brand is launching a Filipino edition) if I'd be interested in writing. Of course I am. The US edition of this men's mag has published a veritable who's who of authors. I honestly don't know if this will push through or, if so, if I'll have anything to do with it. We'll see.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

sage for dockers

sage for dockers

*not the real ad but a dad can dream, right?


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

litcritters: a new year of reading, writing and critique


Selected Transmissions from Synthesized Human Emulation Mk by Nikki Alfar
OpPlan Sanction by Alexander Marcos Osias


The Millenia Bloom by Vin Simbulan
Sleeping Beauty Syndrome by Kate Aton-Osias

Next week

The New Mother by Lucy Lany Clifford
Tonino and the Incubus by Peg Robinson
Mars: A Travelers Guide by Ruth Nestvold
Pride and Prometheus by John Kessel


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

hey, hey, briefly

Sorry for the bloggy absence but between getting back to Manila, parties, jetlag, work, writing and Pokemon Diamond, I've had little time.

Thanks to everyone who wrote and texted me on my birthday (I know, 39 is such an odd age, while 40 - next year - is terrifying, like the point of no return).

I'll tell you all about our trip back, post pictures and generally start blogging again soon.

Belated everything to everyone!