Friday, April 5, 2024

It's been a while! Three more titles out!

 It's been a long time since I posted here! I've been busy. (And I never really was made to be a blogger either...)


I've recently published three more titles. Two are stand-alone novels. The third is the first of a trilogy! You can check them out here:

Auxiliary (The Living City Book I)

I've worked on this series for the last twelve years. It's finally *almost* done. Two more books to publish!


The Wishlord Trials 

Steampunky sci-fi with a made character (think a glass/metal doll!)


The Angels of Phnom Penh

Near-future Dystopian, military, mechas, thriller-ish 


I'd love, if you love them, for you to leave a review! :)

Friday, June 10, 2022

What I've been up to

 So my last post was... almost last year. I'm apparently not good at blogging about fiction-related things. (But I do have a blog with trip reports from my various adventures now so if you really wanna know what I'm doing you're probably more likely to find info there!)

As for the fiction-writing side of things I've been very busy. I've submitted to various mags and publishers and burned myself out. I wrote... idk 500k words already this year? And I'm also feeling the burnout from that. (Not that that'll in any way stop me.)

I'm also getting ready to publish some more stories to my Amazon/KDP account. These will be four full novels of 60-100k words. I've been working on those for a long time now and feel like they're ready. I'm also exhausted waiting for publishers/agents/whatever to get responses to me so self-publish it is.

The four novels are:


This one is a treat. It's about a machine, an object owned by an inventor, a bit like if clockwork girls were real. Glass's father, the inventor Makriakoff has disappeared, but there's one way she might be able to find him. The Wishlord Trials are about to start, and if Glass wins, she'll get a rendez-vous with the Wishlord. As his name implies, he grants wishes, but only one to the winner of the Trials. Glass is determined to get in and battle her way to the end, even if the judges and other contestants don't think a delicate girl made of glass and metal can fight against human muscle, weapons, and cruelty.

The Angels of Phnom Penh

Binh Ca, whose name used to be different, is a tattoo artist's assistant and nothing more since the Java-Celebes Military Junta destroyed the Neo-Angkor People's Alliance, but when her old commander, a woman by the name of Kattina comes calling, her life once again changes. Kattina wants her to take up her old armour, to infiltrate a factory that used to produce the singlemost powerful weapon of her people: The Angels of Phnom Penh, and find something possibly even stronger. The Angels of Death. To do that, Binh Ca has to use her wits, her ally Hy Kim, and every memory of the war she can summon. Only if she can find the Angels, she might have a chance at kicking the JaCelebes out of her country and returning safety to the streets.

The Lifesmith's Daughter

 Kat (name might still change) never knew she had a different father until the General came to find her. He needs her, but his urgency has nothing to do with love. He needs her to confront her demonic mother, to trick a goddess into giving him her power, and only then, he will release the Lifesmith who has raised her. The goddess however offers a different deal: if Kat frees her, Kat will have her power, to do with as she pleases. The problem is that Kat doesn't have any magic- she'd never been taught how to use it. The only things she can call her own are the swords and shields, the animals, the tiny war-machine she whittles from wood like the Lifesmith showed her.

The Nightmare Conquest

Xia Shan thought she left the life of a Command tactician behind when the war against the Kines ended, but now, she's starting to dream about them again, and the things they did to her people when she was young. After the war, she sequestered herself on a tiny farming planet with a boy she saved from the destroyed planet Kalkattan, but when the boy starts to show signs of an alien illness and her old General calls, she has to choose: fight for Command once again and risk the peace she's gained, or flee the people who nearly destroyed her in their battle against the alien foe, and try to save Horus's life.


The books have been professionally edited and I've so far got covers for Glass. I'm working on the rest. (It's more difficult than I thought to get exactly the cover you want!) I'll update if there's any development or the date has set for these babies to go live!

Side note: I'm still trying to find a way to get stories to you for free. That's also more difficult than I thought. But let's see what happens!

See you then!

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Thoughts on If This Goes On (Don't Panic) Podcast Episode 24

 Today's a bit of a different blog post than "usual" (what even is usual! I incoherently post once in a blue moon about random things.). I just finished the most recent episode of the "If This Goes on Podcast" and the while Cat and Alan's talk with Cadwell Turnbull was a delight, the real heavy-hitter came at the end, where Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki talks about African Publishing (that's Publishing on the African continent as I understand it, rather than African fiction, although you could argue that most Publishing done on the African continent is probably African. Anyway, moving on...) in a special column.

Most of the things he said struck me very hard, because, even though I'm not African, I could definitely feel the pain behind it.

The first thing he talked about is how publishing is US-centric and how it can be incredibly difficult to get into the business if you're not there. I won't go into too much detail about this other than to say he's definitely right. I was only lucky enough to work in Publishing over the last three years because a UK publisher was looking specifically for someone in the country where I currently live. That, however, was an outlier position in outside sales, and more academically inclined than I would have ideally liked.

Of course, it's not the only position you can get here with a publisher, however, if we're talking fiction, the options are severely limited. There are a few smaller publisher and one literary agent here who take English works. I'm not sure about the local language market as I don't speak the language and have no interest in publishing in it.

The even more pressing point Ekpeki addressed was the difficult of getting an MFA program if you're not in the US/if you're an international student. This problem has been bother me for some time, and it's not limited to the US.

In 2020, I did an MA degree myself, however, it took me quite a bit of searching to find it, and it wasn't what I wanted 100%. Don't get me wrong, it was good, but it wasn't as useful as it could have been, through no fault of the university (ok, some). The thing is, this was a literary MFA in creative writing, with a heavy focus on literary writing and poetry, and I was frowned upon (reflected in my grades as well as other comments I received that I won't go into detail here) for writing "genre".

Now, the obvious question is: Why would you take it if it's not the kind of creative writing MA you wanted to take? And the answer is two-fold. Firstly, and not as important for this post, I like trying out new things and I learned a lot even if it wasn't what I actually wanted to learn. There's definitely a benefit of taking some high-brow literary fiction classes as well as all the fun genre courses. And poetry did turn out to be less complicated than I always thought it was.

The other, more important reason, the same issue Ekpeki explained he felt was the problem with being African (imo interchangeable with "international" in this case) and trying to get into courses in the US: my MFA was affordable.

And that's an issue that gets my blood near the boiling point.

Why? Because I've a) been in the situation before, as described above, and b) it's absolutely unacceptable in EDUCATION (of all things!) to ask a president's ransom for teaching (of which the teachers don't see even 10% anyway). I've also been personally trying to look into more degrees I could take out of interest (I have many interests) but they're both impossible to afford and extremely inaccessible to people who don't live in the same location as the university.

Here's an example: (I was recently looking into doing an additional degree in something eco-geo-centric (like environmental science, geology, geo-something) but I've also been keeping an eye on supplementary MFA courses in Creative Writing over the years. In order to keep this post somewhat on track let's take a random MFA example from the internet.)

I googled "best creative writing MFA" and came up with Iowa University:

The first thing that immediately strikes me (which Ekpeki also mentioned) are the application fees:

Then let's look at the resident/US student costs:

And let's compare them with the international student costs (I'm looking at the "without assistanceships part because who really qualifies for these?):

As you can see, international students pay a lot more in tuition fees, and I really can't see why. All the international-student specific fees in the leftmost column don't really add up to $10k.

The above is just one example but I've seen plenty more. In the areas I was also looking (environmental sciences and so on) the trend is even more pronounced. A course taught in the US/UK might cost somewhere between 3-7k (UK mostly) but for international students it's 13-17k (and this does definitely not include living costs!).

So, considering that I, a white person who's not had a too-hard life (if you discount childhood poverty) after becoming an adult cannot afford this, how can anyone from any country with a less stable currency than the euro even dream of affording this? Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki explains that what we can get for a short story sale in the US can feed an entire family in his part of Africa for a year.

And still US and UK universities both are shouting from the rooftops about equality and diversity, which strikes me just as ridiculous as the company meeting in which 20 (mostly) straight, white people discuss how POC and BIPOC-spectrum people can feel more included in day to day company life. (Here's a thought: How about you ask the people you want to feel included?)

Anyway, I digress and return to the topic at hand:

There is no reason for international students to have to pay more than national students for being taught a certain subject. It doesn't matter if the people the teacher is speaking to is from Africa, China, Sudan, or the US. Their time is (should!) always be worth the same. There are no more administration costs for international students than national students. Data input is not that difficult even if you have some special forms for internationals. (Forms, I might add, that the university only has to check and register, but not fill out or do anything significant with, as that labour too falls on the student.)

Therefore I can only agree with the gist of Ekpeki's assessment: They want our money, but they don't want us.

It's the only conclusion we can make about universities and various other institutions: They spout a lot of bullshit about being diverse and inclusive because it's required nowadays if you don't want to be shunned, however, they don't really care to hear anyone's voices, only the sound of proverbial coins hitting their proverbial bank vaults.