This year I’ve managed to post two free stories, Electric Blue & Catnip and You Make Me…Crazy. Both of which I was happy to finish and turn into e-books. I had a lot of help with both e-books and I truly appreciate those people who contributed. In between the day job, unbelievable accidents and life in general, I’ve managed to think up new plots. Following please find e-books by yours truly to look forward to.
On the desk:
A Rescued Life
Genre: M/M Romance
Rating: Mature/ R - this book contains content considered unsuitable for young readers 17 and under, and which may be offensive to some readers of all ages.
Stabbed and left for dead, Toshiro Shindo is at the end of the rope: no hope, no one to care, no reason to live. And then Jason rescues him, and shows him kindness and then love. When the man who stabbed him returns for him, Toshiro fights to keep the life Jason rescued.
I recently finished this, you can read it right here. I’m hard at work re-editing it and getting it ready to become an e-book. I’ll post an update when the book is available for free on Smashwords. Thanks L for the awesome cover. I’m amazed every time.
That Dog, Young Jae
Genre: M/M Genre
Min Ho Jun hates everything about Young Jae. It doesn’t help that the man practically lives in the same house with him, so he has to put up with him every single minute. When Min Ho’s best friends leave the country for a year, he is left with no one to talk to.Life takes an unexpected turn when he finds love in the most unlikely place.
This story is a short I wrote a while back. I reread it the other day, and it was full of nostalgia. I think I had the most fun writing this story. That Dog, Young Jae is available on smashwords, although its cover is undergoing a change,and I’m re-editing it. My awesome friend and I have recently decided to make a new cover and re-edit it. Both of which will go up soon. (Thank you, L. For your hard work.)
Jade Sang is an aide worker with the Seren Foundation, posted in Mombasa. She’s worked in hard places, helping refugees in camps and it has taken a serious toll on her. She is recovering in her quiet home by the beach when she gets a call that her fiancee is in trouble. Jihu Ming is the reason why Jade joined the Seren Foundation. He’s a doctor working with aide organizations offering medical services in refugee camps around the world. Recently stationed in Dadaab, Jihu’s vehicle is attacked by militia and he is injured. Afraid for his life, Jade decides to find him in Dadaab and take him back to Seoul.
She enlists the help of Derek Woo on the journey to save Jihu. Jade and Derek’s connection is fast, and irrevocable. They fall in love on the journey to save Jihu, and have a hard time parting. When it comes to love and marriage, Jade is faced with a decision that affects three lives.
This is a work-in-progress, currently available on this blog. Read it here.
Genre: M/M Romance
Rating: this book contains content considered unsuitable for young readers 17 and under, and which may be offensive to some readers of all ages.
When his boyfriend stands him up again, Haje Young decides to meet his twin brother for a drink instead. On their way home, Haje, his twin brother,and their best friend get into a tragic road accident. Right after his brother’s funeral, someone tries to kill him and Haje makes a terrible discovery.
He must find a way to trust the man who saves him from death while he works to find Zavier, the man Haje believes is responsible for his twin’s death.
This is a story I’ve worked on for too long. I’m working on finishing it. I’ve had a few troubles in the editing process, but I’ve found a solution. I’m pushing it to end by the end of this year. (angel of good fortune, please look upon me.) It is a work-in-progress you can read here.
You Make Me…Mad : I started this because I missed Kim Jaehan, Dan and Rebellion. There are those stories you write just to enjoy the art of making up a story. This is one of those.
So, my end of year schedule is full right? I hope I can reach these goals of mine.
- Patience – People (meaning me) should take their time before jumping to the conclusion. Patience is important in everything.
- Funny – Find humor in situations, conversations, people. It makes life easier.
- Gestures – Have a conversation only with gestures. I assure you, you’ll communicate better with the other person. If not, you’ll atleast have fun doing it. Language barrier makes this so much fun and amusing. Try explaining you want a toilet with gestures….lol.
- Endurance – Everything has a start, a middle and an end, like a story. Situations in life are like this, it’s how you endure through them that defines you.
- Precise – It’s not easy to be straightforward. I don’t have this ability, but I wish I did. It would cut down a lot of the trouble that finds me.
- Spontaneous – Have the courage to do anything at unexpected moments.
- Creative – Integrate this in everything but the truth. Don’t be creative when you’re telling the truth. Always serve it up cold. ^_^ if you can. That’s tough to do too.
Wow, I think my world would be a tad insane. People would communicate in gestures, (Insert image of flailing arms) Laugh a a lot, as everything would be funny and creativity can get pretty interesting.
It’s been a while since I blogged about the craft. Yes, I’ve come to think of writing as a craft. If you do it everyday for months on end, you start learning a few things along the way. You also learn that you don’t know anything about the craft, and hence have to keep learning more. Writing is an evolving process, I don’t think the learning stops. However, there are those things that I need to keep it alive. Those vital things that flavor the writing mojo. They’re different for everyone, for some, this list might even be absurd. Why? Everyone has their thing, their particulars, their mojo, I just wanted to share some of the things that fuel my writing.
- Whenever I move, I always seek out that spot in the house where I can find my quiet writing moments. So far, it’s always in this one corner close to a window in my living room. It doesn’t change. This corner is a sacred place. Piled high with reference books, notepads, pens and my computer. Everyone who finds me in that corner knows, don’t bother me. At first I thought this was kind of rude to the people I live with. You know, they’d talk to me, I’d be going like, “Hmm..” “Ah ha..” “Mmm…” At some point, they’re like, we get it, don’t talk to Sui, she’s in her corner. I felt guilty for that, and I’d try to pay attention. Now, I’m unapologetic about it. Writing is serious business if you’re going to get anywhere with it. Since I like it so much, I’ve decided to take ownership. So, when I’m in my corner, don’t disturb.
- Music – I need it, I go through it like its food. I find that I need fresh music all the time. It just fuels my creative side, so I listen to loads of music from all countries. I don’t even care that I don’t know what they’re saying in the lyrics. As long as the music speaks to me and my muse. I listen to it. So, I’ve ended up with this huge strange collection that no one understands. Hehe.
- Culture – I’ve worked hard to distance myself from this, but alas, it isn’t going away. I’ve had a life of moving through different cultures. Each one with its own set of rules, beliefs, thought process. There have been ultra liberal lives, and ultra conservative lifetimes in my years. Each one has left me with an impression, and you find it sneaking into your writing. What can I say, I’m a child of the world. So, I tend to lean toward writing people who’re going against the norm, forging their own cultures, or embracing those social constraints in their own way. Hence, culture is often in the middle of my writing.
- Drama – Hehehe….so I hate gossiping, I’ll never start a rumor about anyone. However, when you go out or you’re sitting with the girls for tea, or drinks. You know the conversation gets pretty crazy even when you don’t want it to. I love listening to the many drama-like sagas people go through. It’s amazing really. It makes me think that I’m not quite living life or something. Most times, these stories end up coloring my writing in some way. I’m grateful to all those who tell them to me.
- Loyal supporters – You know, this is the most special thing that you can have in your writing life. Someone who’ll read your work and tell you, ‘You did good here. I loved reading that story.’ It’s even better when you’ve been down in the dumps and you get a message from someone who reads your work. They ask you, ‘Hey, how are you doing? Are you still writing? I haven’t seen anything new from you lately, what’s going on?’ That’s really special, so I cherish that the most. Note to all, even if your work is read by one person, make it a point to connect with that one person. Write for them, you’ll gain confidence. (L, shout out to you for your constant support.)
So, those are my five things I cherish in my writing life. I’m sure you have your own, if not, discover them.
Derek leaned on a white Woo Securities Range Rover at four o’clock in the afternoon, his gaze on the arrivals exit. He’d skimmed the file Peter had handed him, so he knew he was looking for a petite Korean woman with long straight black hair. He couldn’t believe they were doing this. His frown deepened when a short Korean woman emerged wearing high shoes and a short green summer dress. She carried a matching bag, and talked rapidly into her phone. Gods, they were going to need to stop in the city to get her practical clothes.
Damn it, his father loved putting him in situations he couldn’t handle. How could his father let this happen? His team would have managed just fine without an added burden. And this woman was going to be a burden. Just looking at her—
“Excuse me,” she said in a soft voice that startled him.
When had she reached him?
He met startling brown eyes that reminded him of caramel.
“Hello?” she said again, looking at the logo on the side of the car. She held out her hand to him and smiled. “I’m Jade Sang. Are you the one waiting for me?”
He nodded and took her hand.
Slender, soft, she gave him a firm handshake, and he decided she was stronger than she looked.
“Luggage?” he said, opening the passenger door for her. He looked back expecting to see a porter following her.
“Goodness, no,” she said getting into the car and patting the green bag she carried. “I have everything I need right here. Shall we?”
He closed the door and hurried around to the driver’s side.
“You didn’t tell me your name,” she said when they were on their way out of the airport.
“Derek Woo,” he said.
“Nice to meet you, Mr. Woo,” she said staring at her phone with a frown.
“Please, call me Derek,” he said.
She glanced at her watch just as her phone rang.
He turned on to Mombasa road headed to the main city.
Jade answered her call and he found himself listening to her side of the conversation.
“I’ve landed,” she said. “I’m fine; the security company guy picked me up as promised. Is your man waiting for us? I don’t want any delays. As far as I know, the convoy leaves at 4 a.m. in the morning. I know…I’m not expecting any sleep…please just keep me updated. Thank you, Tao. Yeah, yeah, I’ll call you later.”
She ended the call and shoved the phone into her bag. “We have to make it the UNHCR offices in Westlands. There is a man waiting for us with the security documentation we need. If we miss him, this will turn into a nightmare. The UN has grounded flights to Dadaab.”
He nodded surprised by her take-charge attitude. He’d expected a simpering socialite especially when he’d read that she was Dr. Min’s arranged-marriage fiancée.
She sat back in her seat and let out a tired sigh.
“I can’t believe this is happening.”
When she didn’t elaborate, he felt compelled to ask, “Can’t believe what is happening?”
She looked at him as though surprised he was there. When she didn’t answer, he frowned.
“Goodness, please call me Jade. What did you ask me just now? I’m sorry; I have so many things on my mind. I’m half-afraid that we’ll get to the UN offices late and find that man gone. When I think of the traffic we’re going to meet the moment we hit Haille Selassie Avenue, and then on to the next roundabout. I’m afraid I’ll go crazy.”
He couldn’t blame her. Traffic was a nightmare during rush hour. He gave her a small reassuring smile. “We’ll make it.”
She nodded, though he could see she didn’t believe him. Instead, she sat with her bag on her lap, her fingers clenched tight as he drove as fast as he could on the busy highway. The moment they hit the main city, they both groaned at the gridlock. Her cell phone buzzed and she tensed reaching for it.
“Tao,” she said her tone slightly strained. “Do you have any news?”
Traffic was at a stand still so he watched her instead. She had her eyes closed, as she listened to her caller. Her left hand bunched the fabric of her dress as she gave a soft gasp.
“How is he doing?” she asked. “How bad is Jihu?”
Derek frowned. She was shaking slightly and he worried she might break apart. His blood ran cold at the thought of a crying woman when they were stuck in traffic.
God please don’t let that happen.
He glanced at her again. She’d opened her eyes; they were red, worried, but no tears. He breathed in relief when she took in a deep breath that seemed to calm her.
“Good, okay,” she said, her tone stronger than she looked. “We’re stuck in gridlock. Please convince Will to wait for us. We’re doing the best we can.”
She ended the call and sat staring at her phone.
“Are you alright?” he asked tentatively.
She nodded. She let out a heavy sigh and nodded to the still cars around them.
“I wish we could fly over all these cars.”
He chuckled. She turned to look at him and he winked. “We could click our heels together, and suddenly we’ll be in Westlands.”
When she didn’t crack a smile, he continued, “You can be Dorothy, and I’ll be Toto.”
She laughed then. A sweet musical sound that dispelled the shakes, and brightened her face, he stared. She had a beautiful laugh.
“Much better,” he said when he could make words. “I was afraid you were going to break apart there.”
“You’re a bad joker,” she said wiping her eyes, “Dorothy and Toto, really? Is that the best you can do?”
He smiled. “It got you thinking of something else.”
“Are you this complicated with your other clients?” she asked.
“I don’t get pretty clients like you,” he said, as traffic started moving. “I meet terrible people, in terrible places, this is refreshing. What do you do, Jade?”
“I work with the Seren Foundation,” she said. “Until two months ago, I was a case worker in Arsal. Now, I’m on desk duty in Mombasa.”
“You’re the guys who’ve started grassroots projects to get communities educated. It was the first logical project I’ve heard since I came here.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Most NGOs and Foundations fund groups in these regions. They go to an area, and pour money to fund groups of fifteen or whatever in the hope of lifting poverty. When they leave the area and come back a year later, those people they funded are still in poverty. It is a raging cycle that doesn’t help anyone.”
Jade put her bag at her feet and shifted in her seat to look at him.
“That’s why we started our grassroots projects. Two months ago, I met these amazing pair of twenty-year-old ladies in Lamu. They make rugs that would rival Persians, so beautiful. I had them join our project where we taught them the basics of business, and advertising. The other day, they came to my office to let me know they had an order of one thousand rugs from a company in Nairobi. It made me happy. They’ve gotten three other ladies to help them make the rugs, so they’ve created jobs. Their families will be okay.”
“Did you give them start-up capital?” he asked.
“We gave it in increments, working from business registration, getting licenses, since they had a product; we helped them buy enough materials to cover orders for a while. We’ll see how they manage their funds. Once a team or individual is part of the Seren Program, we monitor them for three years. When they make it through the three years, we get them to mentor newcomers. Have you heard of Tamani Candles?”
“Yes, they’re always advertising on local television.”
“They’re one of our success stories. Four guys who got a candle-making machine. They went through the program, and didn’t look back.”
Traffic let up and he took a by-pass that would lead him away from the main city. He would cut through upper hill and find his way through back roads to Westlands.
“I think you love your job,” Derek teased her, happy to have distracted her.
“It’s great to see someone make use of the knowledge you give them. We’re not just handing them money, we’re teaching them what to do with it, and to multiply it. When they get it right, it changes a whole community. That’s really powerful, you know.”
“Was it what you wanted to do?” he asked.
“Well,” she frowned and shook her head. “I’m not sure I ever knew what I wanted to do. I joined the Grassroots Project months ago. Before that, I was in Jordan working with people who’d lost everything. They’re not ready to think about growing communities, just going back home.”
“Refugee camps,” he guessed.
She nodded and he caught the shadow that passed over her eyes. He knew what those shadows meant. Jade Sang had ghosts of her own.
Her phone buzzed and he concentrated on shortcuts to Westlands.
“How long ‘til we get there?” she asked him.
“Ten minutes,” he said.
“Please wait for us,” she said into her phone. “We’ll get you home if that’s the problem.”
She met his gaze as she said that and he gave her a confirmation nod.
“Thank you.” She ended the call and let out a soft sigh. “If he stays, I’m keeping his number. My friend Tao says he’s a good guy, but you never know with these things. I’ve been burned before.”
“First time I landed in Nairobi, I paid five thousand shillings for a taxi ride into the city,” he said.
She laughed. “Jeez, you must be the type not to ask questions. It’s always been about one thousand five hundred.”
“Hey, the cost made sense. That’s around sixty dollars, right?”
She snickered. “You must have had a newbie look.”
“You’ve never had that happen to you?” He gave her a skeptical look when she shook her head. “You’re lying to me. Mzungu always get cheated the first time.”
She grinned at the Swahili name for white foreigners. The locals had called her that more times than she could remember.
“I did my homework on money,” she said.
“Typical,” he teased.
“You must keep receipts and balance your check book every week.”
“Don’t you?” she asked.
Did he have time?
Well, lately yes, but he’d rather build a deck than sit down to crunch numbers.
“Who burned you?” he asked.
“You said you’d been burned before. What did you mean?”
She shrugged. “I trusted a woman to deliver documents for a friend of mine who was stuck in a police station. The woman even charged a fee. Anyway, she took her time, and arrived the next morning. My friend had to spend the night in a Kenyan holding cell. It wasn’t a good experience.”
“What was your friend doing without documents?” Derek asked with a frown.
“She was at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Jade breathed a sigh of relief as they turned into the UNHCR building. The moment they parked a tall black man came running to them and Jade got out of the car.
“Are you Will?” she asked.
“Yes,” the man said with a wide smile. “You must be Miss Sang. I was anxious because I need to get going and I didn’t want to leave without meeting you.”
“Rush hour traffic on Mombasa road,” Derek said in explanation for their lateness and instantly got a look of understanding from Will.
Will handed Jade a brown envelope. “These permits should get you through the checkpoints. If you’d waited, there is a convoy leaving tomorrow afternoon—”
“We can’t wait,” Jade shook her head. “We’re late as we speak.”
“Very well,” Will said. “You have my number, call if you run into resistance.”
Jade thanked Will for waiting for them. Will wished them a safe journey before he hurried back into the building. Jade hugged the envelope and turned to him. She let out a soft sigh then shivered. It was getting dark.
“I forgot to book a hotel,” she said in a tired voice.
Derek stared at her and before he knew what he was saying, he heard his voice.
“You can stay with me.”
Thank you for reading…to be continued..
The sun slides in the horizon, turning the sky a gorgeous orange. I wondered why I left my phone on the table today. If I run back to the house, I’ll miss the moment, if I stay, I can’t share this with anyone else. In the end, I sit on the white sand, I tell myself tomorrow is another day. Another sunset will come, I’ll take a picture of that one. But, today’s was beautiful…it made me smile.
Today, I thought I’d share something my friend tells me all the time. It might be familiar to you, it might not, but he’s always telling me, “Ichi-go Ichi-e.” This phrase translates to ‘one time, one encounter’. My friend mostly says it to remind me that something only happens once, I can’t redo something because it won’t be the same. I have to treasure each moment that comes to me, because it won’t be the same tomorrow. Such powerful words, watching today’s sunset, they rang through my head more than once.
So, I’ve recently celebrated a birthday. One that I was happy to actually celebrate. Earlier this year I had a hard time, and I’m grateful to have seen my birthday this year. As I sat surrounded by family and friends who loved me, I felt lucky. And it was like ‘ichi-go ichi-e‘ for me. That happiness, it was special, and I’m glad to have felt it.
As you read this, I hope you have moments you treasure, because they’ll never happen again in the same way.
Happy Korean Thanksgiving
추석 잘 보내세요!! (Happy Chuseok)
It’s that time again when we meet our family and our friends, and are thankful for all of them, while eating as much food as possible. Once again, this year I don’t get to see too many of my family members, but I do get to see my friends. So, we’ve planned a feast of food, and loads of drinks. I hope you all enjoy a wonderful celebration. To everyone, be thankful for your family, and remember those who’ve left you. Be grateful for the year, and the things it has brought and hope for more as the year ends.