First Sentence, Work-in-Progress

Get up!

Admiral George Dewey, 1 May 1898


Admiral George Dewey defeated an outdated and woefully under-equipped Spanish fleet at the Battle of Manila Bay, 1 May 1898

“Don Alfredo and Jose Rizal” in Sou’wester, Spring 2007:

  • As Jose Rizal was lined up before the Spanish firing squad, labeled renegade and underground solidarity worker, George Dewey entered Manila Bay.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Novel-In-Progress ‘Blue Water, Distant Shores’ Started As a Short Story

An excerpt from the short story (which self is thinking of sending out, after so many years): Apologies, she may have posted this excerpt several weeks or even several months ago. She’s adding a further paragraph.

What’s interesting is, the name of the main character never changed. It was always, and still is, Matias (and she personally knows not a single person with that name). It always amazes her when she finds this story again: because the cadence! She pulled it from the bottom of a pile of stuff, just a few minutes ago.

Matias had no recollection of going back to bed but when he next opened his eyes it was daylight. A last fragment of dream slipped from his consciousness. He sat up, feeling bereft.

He stayed with the Bishop for almost a week, receiving his instructions. It was May; the heat was at its greatest. At night, a servant shuffled into his room and, from a pole running the length of the low ceiling, lowered folds of gauzy white netting around the bed. He had difficulty sleeping. He spent long nights listening to the faint whine of invisible mosquitoes, just beyond the white gauze. In the morning, the Bishop remarked on the dark circles beneath the young priest’s eyes.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.



In Progress: Fantasy

“I was on my way to the Citadel,” she said.

I performed an elaborate yawn.

#amreading GRRM’s A CLASH OF KINGS

In preparation for Game of Thrones‘ final season, airing sometime 2019, self has set herself the task of reading the books. She’s read one so far; it was in her cottage in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig two years ago, and it was still there when she returned last year.

Writing dialogue is hard. Writing Game of Thrones fan fiction dialogue is even harder, especially when one hasn’t read the books. George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones dialogue is so on point!


Maester Luwin to Bran Stark, p. 442, A Clash of Kings:

“We look at mountains and call them eternal, and so they seem . . . but in the course of time, mountains rise and fall, rivers change their courses, stars fall from the sky, and great cities sink beneath the sea. Even gods die, we think. Everything changes.

“Perhaps magic was once a mighty force in the world, but no longer. What little remains is no more than the wisp of smoke that lingers in the air after a great fire has burned out, and even that is fading. Valyria was the last ember, and Valyria is gone. The dragons are no more, the giants are dead, the children of the forest forgotten with all their lore.

“No, my prince. Jojen Reed may have had a dream or two that he believes came true, but he does not have the greensight. No living man has that power.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.





Manila Noir was edited by Jessica Hagedorn and published by Akashic Books in 2013.

Hagedorn wanted a brand-new story, so self wrote her one, which she titled “Desire.”

“Desire” can be found in Part III (“They Live by Night”) of the anthology. The story’s setting is Ermita.

What parts of a bird are edible?

Epifanio did not know. He would guess: eyes, tail, breast.

Afterward, when they were all gathered in the small lobby, they were offered warm Coke in thick glasses, no ice.

Why would anyone ask them a question about birds? They were there to study to be seamen: most of them were from Negros, like Epifanio. The rest were from Marinduque, Zambales, Cagayan de Oro, Davao.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Current #wip: The History of War On An Island (Working Title)

About the occupation of a Philippine island during World War II:

Honorato was sent to the mountains. He had just turned 18. His father worried because he was tall, because he was good-looking, because he was the eldest and bore the hopes of his parents on his narrow shoulders. So, hide, his father told him. Hide as far away from the city as you can.

Originally, this was even longer than my other historical novel, Blue Water, Distant Shores. But, a month ago, I broke it apart and it’s now very fleet: just under 250 pages.

Stay tuned.

#amwritinghistoricalfiction: Manila, 1757

Self making this up as she goes along. From her novel-in-progress, Blue Water, Distant Shores, p. 135:

“Manila is a city of 50,000 souls,” Saturnino says, with an air of pride. “It is one of the largest cities in the Orient. A river, the Pasig, empties into the bay just below the Fort. Both sides of this river are built up with industry. You will find no want of commerce here.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

LANDSCAPES OF THE MIND: Mendocino Art Center, 27 & 28 January 2018

“You said on the phone the other day that you’re a teacher?”


“What subject do you teach?”

“Everything, pretty much.”

Exotics, by Callan Wink (Granta 128, Summer 2014)

This coming weekend, self is teaching.

A two-day writing workshop on just one subject: Landscapes.

Students will try their hand at writing only one thing: landscapes, both real and invented.

You do not need to be a tested writer, only a writer who is willing to be tested.

Thank you, Mendocino Art Center, for allowing self this opportunity.


  • A journey is more than just a movement through physical space. It is also movement through an emotional landscape. This writing workshop will be about journeys, both real and imagined: journeys of retrieval and nostalgia, as well as journeys of discovery. We’ll map emotions, moods, as well as physical space. We’ll do it all by sitting in one physical space. I’ll share my process with you. I’ll show you how.

Albion, California: January 2017

Stay tuned.

#amwritingfiction: “The Hole Over the Islands”

Self is really crushing the writing. This is her 2nd story in two days.



It must be her recent trip to the Philippines.

No, it must be her recent trip to London and the Philippines.

No, it must be her recent trip to Paris and London and the Philippines.

No, it must be her recent trip to Ireland and Paris and London and the Philippines.


The following story is true.

You probably know that Filipinos are considered very spiritual people. Imelda Marcos was quoted as saying that the spiritist attribute that Filipinos have is due to the direct connection of the Philippines with a black hole directly over the islands. Or something like that. Well, this story has something to do with ghosts and spirits.

Back in 1982 (or so), during All Saints Day (or is that All Souls’ Day?), our family decided to contact my Dear Departed Dad by playing ‘spirit of the glass.’

‘Spirit of the glass’ is kind of like a Ouija Board, but instead of a disc, it uses an upside-down glass.

(Story to be continued. Stay tuned)

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