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Admiral George Dewey defeated an outdated and woefully under-equipped Spanish fleet at the Battle of Manila Bay, 1 May 1898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



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.

Sentence of the Day: Kevin Canty


I was out on the porch, smoking a cigarette, enjoying the long, slow twilight of the northern spring, when I heard her scream inside the apartment.

— from Kevin Canty’s “Story by Bird” in the 6 October 2014 New Yorker

Kevin Canty has written three short-story collections and four novels, including Everything.

#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)

First Story of Self’s New Collection, “Magellan’s Mirror”

Self’s story was first published in J Journal, 2012. She just decided it will be the title of the new collection she’s completing. Thanks to the editors at J Journal, who published it and nominated it for a Pushcart.

Read the excerpt below:

And if our Lord and the Virgin Mother had not aided us by giving good weather to refresh ourselves with provisions and other things we had died in this very great sea. And I believe that nevermore will any man undertake to make such a voyage.

— Antonio Pigafetta, Chronicler of the Magellan Expedition

The crew encountered the giant during the winter, after months of battling the water just south of Brasilia. He was described by the sailors as being twelve or thirteen palmos tall, which is to say, over eight feet.

Stay tuned, dear blog reader. Stay tuned.

#novelinprogress: Blue Water, Distant Shores

This novel is going to live and die on the strength of the voice. It doesn’t matter that it’s set in the 18th century. All self knows is that if the voice isn’t true, it will never work.

She writes things set in the distant future, and those too are voice-driven. Like her story, This Is End, where the hero’s Friends-With-Benefits, Her, tells him: He ended me. Big ended me.

Or when she wrote about the Legazpi expedition of 1571 and crammed her story full of Spanish: De las Islas Filipinas. Paganos. Esta tierra fué la primera. La primera misa.

So of course, Blue Water, Distant Shores is voice-driven. Hard to sustain for 300 pages. Took her three years. Flash is really her jam.

pp. 7 – 8:

  • By the eighteenth century, Spain is already exhibiting signs of exhaustion, its sulky mind tossing and turning, preferring already the deep, fathomless sleep of history’s graveyard to the turbulence of exploration. In the Islands, the Church suffers grievous wounds. Perhaps there is no saving it.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Alimentum 2012: “Cake”

Alimentum began life as a print journal, then responded to the growing financial pressures on the small literary magazine by going on-line exclusively.

They punished self’s short story, “Cake,” in 2012.

A story of how a mother’s love lives on.

  • She was stepping in the front door of her own house. She recognized the red door, the brass knocker, the small square of glass through which she peered when someone rang the doorbell.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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