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Dedicated to all those who are interested in world folklore, culture and nature. Comments and constructive criticisms are welcome!

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Asian Anthology New Writing Vol 1 Edited by Ivy Ngeow

Asian Anthology - Twenty-four short stories edited by the multitasking and multitalented, Ivy Ngeow. Published by Leopard Print Publishing and sold at Silverfish books and Amazon.

The anthology gives us a slice of life across several countries in Asia - from Japan to India, covering the time period from the 1970's to the first decade of the 21st Century.
Since it's quite daunting to tackle 24 stories, I'm only critiquing the few which caught my fancy here; however I will do a more comprehensive review on my blog.
Female protagonists featured in many of the stories and a few focused on the emotional pain faced by women who are still single, despite being successful career women. EP Chiew's Her Fluttering Womb is a well crafted and stylish story set in Singapore, featuring a protagonist who seemed to have an adolescent-like obsession over her own body who eventually gains agency over herself; and A Sparkle of Fireflies by Doc a Krinberg, featured a successful, self-assured woman from Kyoto who is nevertheless devastated at being objectified by the man she initially admired. One can't help feeling gutted that in the 21st century, otherwise independent women seemed to be defined by their relationship with men.
However, in Day of Silence by Yvonne Lyon, the woman had the upper hand in the relationship. In this atmospheric story, she had an epiphany during Nyepi, the 24 hour period of silence and isolation, observed on the island of Bali.

The significance of food in Asian society is a recurring theme. Spring Onions by Yang Ming is a touching story of a mother and daughter in conflict. The mother is desperate for her daughter to do well in her school exams, a route out of poverty in the fiercely competitive Singapore society. The mother comes vividly to life in this story, however I sometimes got confused by which mother the writer is referring to since the grandmother is also appears in the story. Laksa Uncle, by Jenny Hor made me want to eat laksa 
😁; while the tongue in cheek, Mee Mamak by VS Lai has a feisty female main character who is desperate for the perfect plate of mee mamak to forget a hard day at the office. In Riding the Killer Fish by Sylvia Petter, the female protagonist takes a huge gamble as a show of faith and to win the approval of a man. Cheung Louie's Winter Solstice (a boy who is part of the underground freedom movement in Hong Kong) is about a family in conflict, due to the choices made by their strong-willed offspring. In both Winter Solstice and Spring Onion, food helps to bring the family together.
However, these were my favourites:
Night of the Seventh Moon by Winston Lim. This is about a group of British ghost hunters who decided to spend their holiday in a haunted hotel in Penang during the Hungry Ghost Festival. The story, comical in parts, reminded me of an Agatha Christie novel. Unfortunately, the story is written almost entirely in the 'Tell' style, and would have been a lot more gripping with a bit more 'Show!' The other reason I'm drawn to this story is because I'm familiar with the folktale/urban legend it refers to...
I quite enjoyed The Brooches by Krishnaveni Panikker which seemed to feature an unreliable narrator. I think she could have pushed this POV further and fleshed out her main character(s) by being more ruthless with them. The story also leaves two issues unresolved - who ransacked the room on that fateful night and why was that particular brooch taken?
The Dog Walker by Ivy Ngeow is also delightful. I found myself being invested in the fate of this unattractive, middle aged, financially challenged protagonist and his oversized dog, which is always a good thing. However, the rich spoilt niece could have played a bigger role in the story... and can a 60+ year old dig a grave by himself?
And Buaya Tembaga, Bujang Senang by Mason Croft does not seem to have a death or even a crocodile although there could be one lurking in the shadows... But it does gives us an insight into life in Tioman island and this very famous legend from Sarawak. I happen to know something about this legend not mentioned in the story - Bujang Senang only attacked people on the lower reaches of the Baram river, where the clans who killed him when he was a man, lived. He did not attack his own tribe, who lived in the upper reaches of the river.
Overall, four doggo stars 🐶🐶🐶🐶

Friday, September 23, 2022

A Writer's Journey Through Folklore

 For those of you who missed my talk, I would like to share with you some of the slides taken from my presentation (the first few slides were mostly rants, which I'm going to omit, because rants can be boring!

I rekindled my interest in children's literature when my daughter was born...

But good quality children's books published in Malaysia (in English and even Malay,) seemed lacking...

Published writers also felt a lack of support from bookstores...

Since this was in the future, I decided bravely and optimistically to become a writer...

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

IBBY 38th International Congress at Putrajaya, Malaysia

 IBBY 2022

I had the privilege of being invited as a guest Plenary Speaker at the IBBY 38th International Congress at Putrajaya yesterday on 5 Sept 2022 with Sharifah Osman and Heidi Shamsuddin.

Of course, there were at least 50 other speakers and delegates from 40 countries from around the world, including the winners of the Hans Christian Anderson Award.

I was quite nervous before my talk 'A Writers Journey Through Asian Folklore' and wondered if I had the energy to talk for 20 minutes... and then found that I didn't have enough time! Will post a more detailed write-up of my presentation on the next blogpost.

😁 Met some interesting people - book sellers (who want to sell my books!), members of IBBY Korea, literary agents, an academic from the US who recommends books...

The winners of the Hans Christian Anderson Award: Marie Aude Mural from France and Suzy Lee from South Korea.

The highlight of IBBY2022 38th Congress was the announcement of the Hans Christian Anderson Award - this award is given for a body of work rather than one single book. This year, the Writers Award went Marie-Aude Murail from France and the Illustrator's Award went to Suzy Lee from South Korea. Marie-Aude, who addressed the issue of censorship said one of the challenges she faced was the dwindling readership in French worldwide and also her inability to get her book published by a mainstream publisher, due to it's controversial content. She was a brilliant speaker, prowling the stage with her huge personality and confidence.

Her most celebrated book appears to be Miss Charity, which was translated into various languages.

Suzy Lee, who described herself as a picturebook artist, creates wordless picturebooks almost exclusively - she sees the book, the paper and its folds and her illustrations as a seamless work of art. She won a publishing contract with Corraini Edizioni based on her student project, entitled Alice in Wonderland.

Suzy Lee, with the cover of her first book, Alice in Wonderland

One of the most notable winner of the Hans Christian Anderson Award was Astrid Lindgren from Sweden, the creator of Pippi Longstocking. She won the coveted prize in 1958 and went on to found the even more notable Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for children's literature.

Many thanks to Prof Muhammad Sidin Ishak and Dato Ahmad Redza, President of MBBY for this honour. Also delighted to meet Dr Jamilah Mustafa and Mr Mingzhou Zhang, former President of IBBY. It was amazing to meet another speaker from Malaysia, Nor Azhar Ishak, who won the IBBY Country award for illustrators and Swati Raje from Pune, India, who is passionate about preserving regional/indigenous languages from India, through her organisation, Baasha. I also had the pleasure of meeting Evelyn Sue Wong from Singapore, who was there on behalf of the Singapore Book Council and to publicize the Asian Festival of Children's Content 2023, which is going to be a live event, after going online for three years.

Evelyn Sue Wong is the author of the Mynah trilogy - three multilingual picture books about a talkative Javan mynah!

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Reconstructing the Tale of The Princess of Mount Ledang

The story of the Princess of Mount Ledang holds an enduring fascination among Malaysian writers and there have been a number of retellings and reimaginings of her story in the last decade or so. Writers who have published stories about the Princess of Mount Ledang, each added their own perspective. 

From the single tale about the attempt by the Sultan of Malacca to woo her, we now have a 
plethora of sources to reconstruct the story of her life, beginning with her parents (and even 
her grandfather) and that of the only man she ever loved, Nakhoda Ragam. This is not surprising
because when it comes to Malaysian folklore, the most celebrated love story revolves around 
the Fairy Princess of Mount Ledang.  

Readers might want to explore the subject further by revisiting the following short stories: 
The Princess of Mount Ledang by Leela Chakrabarty and Girl on the Mountain by 
Preeta Samarasan, both stories appeared in The Principal Girl, Edited by Sharifah Aishah 
Osman and Tutu Dutta; and also Princess, by Daphne Lee which appeared in her collection 
of short stories, Bright Landscapes.

1. The Principal Girl - Edited by Sharifah A Osman and Tutu Dutta

The Principal Girl is an anthology of mostly folklore based tales written by Malaysian and Singaporean writers. We learn about the origin of this mysterious princess in Leela Chakraborty's story, entitled, The Princess of Mount Ledang. Told in straightforward old school style, it appears that her mother is the daughter of a hunter-gatherer who lived in Mount Ledang. an accident brought them to the attention of a clan of were-tigers (harimau jadian) who lived in a hidden vale on the mystical mountain. The daughter of the hunter was given in marriage to the prince of the clan of were-tigers and their only child was Puteri Embong, who later became known as the Princess of Mount Ledang.

A second story in the collection, Girl on a Mountain, by Preeta Samarasan draws a very different picture of the Princess from what we imagine her to be, from folklore.  Instead of a mysterious magical princess living in a rarefied world, Samarasan depicts her as a fiercely independent wild child; a young woman who holds sway over people by the force of her personality (and not by magic) and her power over nature (which is of course, magical, even if the narrator claims otherwise.) The story proved to be one of the most popular in the anthology. In a way, Samarasan's story tally with Chakraborty's story of a wild carefree princess raised by a clan a shapeshifting weretigers.

2. Bright Landscapes by Daphne Lee

After her childhood, is a coming of age story. According to legend, the Princess met the love of her life as a young woman, on her first trip downriver on a magical skiff which carried her to the sea. The eagle-eyed Nakhoda Ragam spotted her from his perahu and fell in love with her. They were married soon after and spent their honeymoon sailing on the Straits of Melaka. But tragedy struck, the Princess accidentally stabbed him with her  golden needle and he died in her arms. She had not known, he was cursed to die from the prick of a needle...

Daphne Lee's collection of folklore based tales has two stories about the Princess of Mount Ledang. the first one, Princess, is an overwhelmingly sensuous reimagining of the story with a shocking ending, told in the style of a folktale crossed with a steamy romance novel. Although I was shocked at the fate which befell Nakhoda Ragam, my favourite character in all of Malay folklore, the story was intriguing and seemed to be another piece of the puzzle in the story of the legendary Princess of Mount Ledang. In fact, in this tale the narative acknowledged and expanded on the Princess' link with the clan of weretigers in Chakraborty's story.

3. Eight Jewels of the Phoenix retold by Tutu Dutta

The final chapter in the saga of the Princess of Mount Ledang is retold in Eight Jewels of the Phoenix. This story is based on the famous legend, where the Sultan of Malacca, tries to win her hand in marriage in order to acquire "a wife who would outshine all the wives of the princes of the world" took place centuries after the death of Nakhoda Ragam. We all know that the Sultan failed miserably to win over the morose beauty. 

As for the princess, according to legend, "To this day, the princess is said to reside in a magical cave in Gunung Ledang, where she transforms from a beautiful young girl in the morning to an old hag at night." (parts in quotation came from an article by Joane le Roux, In pursuit of a were-tiger, which appeared in the Nov 2, 2014 issue of the New Sunday Times.)


Friday, November 27, 2020

Bright Landscapes by Daphne Lee - A Commentary


(This is a commentary and not a review because I'm analysing the stories as a writer as well as a reader.)

Bright Landscapes by Daphne Lee. This is a collection of short stories by the celebrated former columnist for The Star. Lee is widely regarded as an authority on Children's Literature in English in the region; however this collection is adult fiction. Although Lee has published two other books as an Editor, this is her first book as an author. This slim volume of 150 pages contain 10 dark tales, most of which were entertaining but a few not quite fleshed out. What she succeeded in doing was to create contemporary stories with  the hybrid/fusion of culture and folklore which is Malaysia. 

I've noticed that Malaysian writers who write stories set in Malaysia tend to stick to their own cultural milieu, i.e. Chinese Malaysian writers tend to write stories set within Chinese community and culture, Malay Malaysians write about characters in their own community, Indian Malaysian writers write stories based on Indian culture, with Sri Lankans narrowing this down even further and so forth. When characters of different races appear in the stories, they tend to be token representations. Well Lee has actually broken this mold - her contemporary stories feature characters from the diverse communities which make up our country who take on the cultural tropes from different cultural traditions to produce their own unique hybrid culture.

Common threads which run through these stories include children and family, marriage, births and deaths, and oddly enough tigers.

My favourites were: After The Funeral, All Was Still and On Jugra Hill. After The Funeral is a chilling tale of abuse and abandonment perpetuated by the patriarch of a traditional Chinese family, told from the point of view of the teenaged granddaughter. The supernatural entity, created by the grandfather, who 'gave away' a severely  handicapped child, is from Malay folklore. After the death of the grandfather, the creature is set lose and starts to haunt the family. The granddaughter searches for a way to put the creature ton rest and finds it in her own Chinese traditions. It should be noted that the story is so indirect and subtle, one has to connect the dots. But this is a matter of style.

All Was Still is an evocative and haunting tale, again featuring a female protagonist from a Chinese family (I think;) however the story draws on Malay folklore. It features at least three tiger spirits, and I felt grief and outrage at the acts of human cruelty which created them.  It is beautifully written and I love the descriptions of the little girl in the story. As with After The Funeral, one has to connect the dots to piece the narrative together; the story also has an ambiguous ending which nevertheless will leave you feeling bereft. 

On Jugra Hill is a hair-raising black comedy which has the potential to be developed into a lock door murder mystery. Fans of detective fiction will recognise the setting - a group of people stranded in a posh house in the middle of nowhere with a storm brewing in the horizon - although there is no dead body in this story. The characters have oddly familiar names of people in real life; I only wish they were more likeable. As for the plot, for some reason, I completely missed the clues the writer dropped and had a 'what just happened here?' jaw dropping moment! Still the story will carry you along on a wild ride and was hair raising fun!

The stories which didn't work for me were: Orang Minyak - can a woman be more lacking in agency and commonsense? I would have expected her maternal or survival instinct to kick in if only to save herself. Perhaps She is another story which I failed to understand, it seemed to be about a woman who abandoned her family and life in general, and had nightmares of being buried or being reborn by the earth. The third story called The Dead, was a woman who presumably died during childbirth and could not accept her fate; which was understandable enough. 

The stories which could have done with a bit of tweaking were: The Pontianak, Princess, and The Tiger Bridegroom. In Pontianak, the narrator tells her two dinner guests the story of her uncle who married a pontianak. One gathers that the uncle had an affair with a bar maid, who may have died in childbirth.  Two things bothered me about the story - one is the fact that the dinner guests, a gay couple, were so unlikeable but more importantly did not seem to serve any real purpose in the story. In settings like this, usually one or both guests knew something the narrator wanted to unearth, or trap them into admitting.  

The second thing which bothered me were the errors in folklore. In the story, the uncle trapped the pontianak with a needle and red thread, in the purple heart of a banana tree. In traditional folklore, the pontianak is associated with the sundal harum malam (possibly the champaca or the pala tree) and not the banana grove; it is the orang minyak who haunts the banana grove. Also, traditionally, the pontianak does not feed on the body parts of men, she looks for the placenta of the newborn and also the fresh blood spilled during childbirth. The story would have been a lot more suspenseful, with more 'showing' and less 'telling.' 

Princess is told in the style of a folktale crossed with a steamy romance novel. Although I was shocked at the fate which befell Nakhoda Ragam, my favourite character in all of Malay folklore, the story was intriguing and seemed to be another piece of the puzzle in the story of the legendary Princess of Mount Ledang. If you are interested in following the journey of the Princess, The Principal Girl has two tales relating to her: Girl on a Mountain by Preeta Samarasan and The Princess of Mount Ledang by Leela Chakrabarty. You can follow the trials and tribulation of Nakhoda Ragam in these three books of mine: Eight Treasures of the Dragon, Eight Fortunes of the Qilin and Eight Jewels of the Phoenix.

The Tiger Bridegroom is also told in the style of a folktale, and is quite an amusing and entertaining story. My only complaint is that the characters appeared to be caricatures, but that is a matter of personal preference. 

The last story, Endless Night, is a story I've read before. And it is still as powerful and evocative as ever, on rereading.   

Thursday, April 30, 2020

The Blood Prince of Langkasuka - Background and Synopsis

I'm super excited to announce the publication of my 10th book 
The Blood Prince of Langkasuka, by Penguin RandomHouse SEA! This is a reimagining of the Raja Bersiong (the Fanged King) legend from Malaysia. Buy the book from


Raja Ong Maha Perita Deria was a historical personage from 12th Century Kedah, who could have been the world’s first vampire.  His story first appeared in the Hikayat Merong Mahawangsaalso known as the Kedah Annals. This is a Malay literary work recounting the founding, history and fantastical tales of Kedah, a state in north of the Malay Peninsula. The work thought to have been written in the late 18th century or early 19th century, contained details of the Kedah royal geneology. Interestingly, it mentioned that Raja Perita Deria was also known as Raja Bersiong

The story is based on the Bujang Valley civilisation, which recent studies indicate could be the oldest archeological site in Southeast Asia. The setting is the Kingdom of Langkasuka, which was under the suzerainty of the Sri Vijayan Empire. Historians speculated on the existence of Sri Vijaya for a long time, but could not pin down its exact location. This was because Sri Vijaya was a thalassocracy - an empire at sea, and it was difficult to ascertain where its capital was. 

However, by 1993, historian, Pierre-Yves Manguin had proven that the epicentre of Sri Vijaya was along the banks of the Musi River, in what is now Palembang on the island of Sumatra. Between late 7th Century to early 11th Century, Sri Vijaya rose to become a hegemonic maritime power in Southeast Asia. They had a fleet of perahu, probably manned by the Orang Laut - Sea Gypsies who exist till today. In a sensational discovery by National Geographic, it has been proven that these people are able to stay under water for up to 15 minutes due to genetic mutation. 

Apart from the Wikipedia, The History Channel and National Geographic, my other source of information include eavesdropping on speculative posts among history buffs in groups such as the Malaysian Heritage and History Club on Facebook. The choice of Langkasuka for the setting of this story was based on their recommendation, although Tambralinga was also mentioned as a possibility. One of the tantalising information which emerged was the Vidyadhara Torana of Sri Vijaya (Faerie Gate of Sri Vijaya) - a legendary gateway to the city made of solid gold.

A Sri Vijayan perahu depicted on the walls of Borobudur. Source: Wikipedia

Map showing location of Sri Vijaya and Langkasuka. Source: Wikipedia

The Rational:

The Blood Prince of Langkasuka is Young Adult fiction. It is a dark fantasy/folklore coming of age story, featuring a protagonist who is a vampire, wrapped in a murder mystery.

This book would make an interesting addition to books written as part of the diverse storytelling movement and the right of young people to see themselves (and their culture) in books. Being a folklore-based fantasy, with cultural and supernatural elements from Malay, Orang Asli, Chinese and Indian sources, The Blood Prince is also in line with current YA trends. There is interest in this part of the world and Malaysian folklore is seen as new/unexplored territory as opposed to so many books which have been written, based on Western folklore. I also incorporate elements from the local folklore of flowers and plants, in the story. 

As the story is based on a historical personage, Raja Bersiong, widely known in Malay folklore,  the book should generate interest in Malaysia and Singapore, especially among readers who favour dark tales. The fact that it incorporates ancient Langkasuka myths and fierce supernatural entities from Indian and Orang Asli folklore, including a Queen who is half Yakshi (faerie-like being from Indian folklore,) should also generate interest in other English-speaking countries - India, the UK, US, Canada and Australia.  I have also researched the subject of vampires in folklore and literature in some detail, so there are many fascinating things to write and talk about. 

The two Beta Readers (one is a young adult in her twenties, while the other is an anonymous Editor) who read the manuscript have described it as 'quite chilling,' but 'well paced and plotted, with well developed characters... and written with near native speaker fluency;' and 'the writer has breathed life into the story and given it an original twist.' 

Dancers from the period could have dressed like this. Illustration from Pinterest.

The Synopsis:

Raja Perita Deria, is a carefree and arrogant seventeen-year-old; and his story begins with a seemingly ordinary night out with his close friends - Chula, Yala and Satra - three highborn young noblemen, a close knit group of friends who were fiercely loyal to the prince. That night they dined at an elegant Chinese tea house on the outskirts of Kota Aur, the royal city of Langkasuka. However, later in the night, a chance encounter with a dark beauty in an abandoned temple, almost ends Raja Perita's life and changes him irrevocably. 

Ruins of temples such as this, are found all over the Bujang Valley and also in Sumatra. Source: Wikipedia
The prince is carried back to the palace by his friends but remains close to death for a long time. After an incident involving the cook and a dish of bayam tainted with blood, which was served to the prince, his mother the Queen, discovered that he needed blood to heal and for sustenance. This is the most well known incident in the Raja Bersiong folklore, but it should be noted that the famous gulai bayam incident is only a single chapter in the book. If you are unfamiliar with the story, you can read it here:
As heir to the throne of Langkasuka, the prince is also caught in the larger political struggle surrounding the kingdom which is being watched by the two powers of 12th Century Southeast Asia – the Sri Vijayan Empire and the Khmer Kingdom. To show its loyalty, Langkasuka sends Sri Vijaya a fabulous flowering plant made of beaten gold. And in a surprising turn of event, Sri Vijaya courts Langkasuka by offering the prince the hand of a Sri Vijayan princess, while the Khmer Empire seems curiously aloof. To everyone’s surprise, Raja Perita, who previously had not seem particularly interested in women, is drawn to Princess Chaya of Sri Vijaya. However, a spate of violent deaths in the palace of Langkasuka implicated the prince and his close friends,who watched helplessly as Raja Perita is slowly driven over the edge. 

A Sri Vijayan Princess could have dressed like this. Pin from Pinterest.

Despite the fact that the cook and Raja Perita's friends have been sworn to secrecy by his mother, news of the prince's strange appetite slowly leaks into the countryside and create mistrust among the people towards the palace. Could the killer be one of the prince’s beloved friends or perhaps Raja Perita himself?

Friday, April 17, 2020

The Blood Prince of Langkasuka

A manuscript I started researching while in Zagreb, Croatia in 2013 may have found a home at last. Huge sigh of relief after a writing journey which involved six revisions and five rejections 😫  There is even an advance! 😜 I'm so grateful the manuscript will now be a published book 😊 

The story was first written for the Calistro Prize, when I came across the call for submissions on the Malaysian Writers Community page on Facebook. Living in Croatia, a central European country where vampire myths are rife (Rumania is just a few hundred kilometers away) I decided to write a story based on the legend of Raja Bersiong, Malaysia's very own vampire.

As the rules were fairly vague, asking for manuscripts which were 6,000+ words, I submitted a 12,000 words  manuscript. Sadly, it was not even shortlisted. I later revised it and added another 20,000 words and submitted this to MPH Publishing and Hachette India, but this was also rejected. Another round of revision and an additional 5,000 words later, a submission to Gerakbudaya resulted in a positive preliminary review! I was under the impression that they would publish the manuscript but the trial went cold... But still the review assured me that I was not barking up the wrong tree, so another round of revision followed. I understand the reluctance of Gerakbudaya to publish this book since they are known mainly for non-fiction and I am grateful to them and to the anonymous Editor who did the preliminary review, otherwise I might have abandoned the manuscript at that stage. It should be apparent by now, that I'm a short story writer and my novellas are usually short stories which have been stretched a lot, with sub-plots added!

After the last revision, I made a submission to, the publisher famous for all things Science Fiction & Fantasy. Sadly (in hindsight, fortunately) The Blood Prince of Langkasuka was rejected. I wasn't all that devastated because they usually publish digital books and I still prefer physical books. I mean, you can't show people a Kindle and proclaim, 'This is my new book!' Meanwhile, Nights of the Dark Moon, a collection of dark folktales from Asia and Africawas published by Marshall Cavendish in November 2017. And in 2019, Gerakbudaya published The Principal Girl, an anthology of feminist tales from Asia, edited by Sharifah Aishah Osman and I. We were delighted that The Principal Girl turned out to be quite a hit with Malaysians readers.

In 2018, there was a lot of publicity around Penguin Random House setting up an office in Southeast Asia and the fact that they were looking for manuscripts. So, it seemed logical to make a submission in 2019. It took eight months for them to reply, but I'm delighted! Many thanks to Nora Abu Bakar, the Associate Publisher, for picking up the manuscript.

Image may contain: possible text that says 'The Blood Prince of Langkasuka- Raja Bersiong reimagined. To be released in 2020'

Nov 2019 Reimagining the legendary Raja Bersiong (the Fanged King) - as an angst ridden 12th Century Sri Vijayan prince. Perhaps the first vampire in recorded history, as the name is mentioned in ancient Kedah genealogy. The Blood Prince of Langkasuka is dark folklore fantasy and a chilling crime story... and yes, I'm writing as the 'other'  #asianvampires #asianfolklore #thebloodprince #vampires

Image may contain: 1 person, possible text that says 'The Blood Prince of Langkasuka will be published by'

Cracking the emoticon code: The Blood Prince of Langkasuka will be published by Penguin Random House SEA. For me, an achievement unlocked 😅. Many thanks to the publisher for accepting the manuscript and to Singapore children's writer, Don Bosco, for pointing us in the right direction. #asianvampires #asianfolklore #vampires #thebloodprince 

Someone on Twitter asked for the reason behind the title of our books. So the reasons for choosing this particularly long winded title were:

1. Refers to the term Prince du Sang/Prince of the Blood - a person legitimately descended in dynastic line from a realm's hereditary rulers. The term has a slightly different meaning in French, but I'm using it as meaning 'a prince from a royal bloodline.'

2. The 'Blood Prince' also implies that the Prince in the story is a vampire. 

Image may contain: possible text that says '1st round of revisions completed after Editors' (Development) feedback re: The Blood Prince of Langkasuka'

Apologies to a few old friends for cancelling lunch and failing to follow up. Revisions were completed at 6pm on 30 Jan 2020 and emailed on the same day. 

Image may contain: possible text that says 'Update on Blood Prince of Langkasuka: Development Editor has handed over mss to Copy Editor mpss'

Feb 2020 Update: The Blood Prince of Langkasuka. The manuscript went through two revisions with the Development Editor - including expansion of critical moments in the story i.e. slowing down the pace to create more tension; restructuring one chapter and an entirely new ending! I probably added another 4,000 words to the manuscript; now in the hands of the Copy Editor who will look at grammar and syntax 🤔 #bloodprince #bloodprinceoflangkasuka #asianvampires #asianfolklore #langkasuka

Image may contain: possible text that says 'Blood Prince of Langkasuka Copy Editing completed March 2020. Penguin SEA uses single inverted commas' not "double inverted commas."'

The secong stage, Copy Editing, was completed in March 2020. Apart from fixing a minor plot hole, most of the changes at this stage involved getting the manuscript publishing ready in the #penguinsea house style. Apparently, Penguin uses single inverted commas and not double inverted commas, which I thought was the standard. however, according to Editor/writers such as Martin Bradley and Leon Wing (find them on Facebook!), single inverted commas are actually the British standard. 

I was also impressed by the fact that both the Development Editor and the Copy Editor were unfazed by the many Malay words such as gulai bayam and Tok Batin, and a sprinkling of Sanskrit words used in the manuscript. In fact, the Copy Editor corrected the spelling of Vidhyadhara Torana, which I hadn't realised was misspelt!

#bloodprinceoflangkasuka #bloodprince #asianvampires #asianfolklore #malayfolklore — in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.