First Sentence, Work-in-Progress

Get up!

In Progress: Fantasy

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

I performed an elaborate yawn.

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.

#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)

#amwritinghistoricalfiction: BLUE WATER, DISTANT SHORES, p. 14

“You have been spreading falsehoods. You are a wicked child. Why do you cause your mother so much grief? What evil has infected you? Do you delight in making her miserable? What does it serve?”

Matias is so frightened that he cannot speak a word. “Do you know what mortal sin is?” the priest continues. He rises from the desk. He looks immense, immovable as a boulder.

#amwritinghistoricalfiction: Blue Water, Distant Shores

The language may be a bit portentous. Nevertheless, here is from p. 7:

So the story begins. It is a story of churning oceans, ships, dragon’s breath, siren calls. A story of leviathans and faith, about islands and the building of ships. About Hell and Paradise. About blood and fever. And greed, of course. That, above all.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. 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.

More Merry, Merry


4th Floor, near Charles de Gaulle. The first floor of this building is a store that sells harps. The window stays lighted at night, and she loves to look at the harps on display.

Self was planning to walk along the Champs Elysée. She’s had a big breakfast and is now back in her room, writing her novel-in-progress.

Last night, she walked a few blocks to the Arc de Triomphe and got off this moody night-time shot:


Christmas Eve, 2017

This morning, she went down for breakfast, and eavesdropped on the other guests: they talked of reading books, falling asleep at midnight, taking a leisurely stroll.

She will spend Christmas Day writing.

(Oops, not quite. She remembers the artists in Tyrone Guthrie telling her that things do not all close down on Christmas. She looked up the Louvre. It is open today. The hotel has been asking her to let them clean her room because she’s been inside most of the last two days. So that’s what she’ll do: she’ll take the metro to the Louvre)

Stay tuned.

nth Draft, Novel-in-Progress

Mebbe this novel will never see the light of day? Mebbe it was ever meant to be a long short story? Like, 50 pages long?

Here’s a conversation that was in the very first draft, three years ago. And survived today’s mad pruning. So, this is the kernel. The nut. The Ground Zero:

“Describe it,” the Archbishop says. “Did it descend from the heavens? Or was it walking along the street? Was its countenance clearly visible? Did it seem expressive?”

The Archbishop’s deep-set, green eyes focus intently on Matias’s face. He presses one slender forefinger against the side of his aquiline nose and waits for Matias to answer.

“It was a creature. Earthy. Very like a cow.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


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