New Story Idea: Butuan Gold

Is it too early to start talking about a new story, when I am nowhere near the finish line with The Malicious Wind?

Well, early or not, I am quite eager to share this new idea that’s been brewing the last few months. Partly because I am incredibly excited about this idea (that sometimes I wonder about shelving TMW and starting on this), and partly because I would love to hear what you all think about it.


A double-heist set in 15th century Kingdom of Butuan (now a province of the Philippines), the story follows two groups of characters.

The Dimatulak family are expert con-artists who have swindled their way through the Tagalog nobility. Bored and looking for a new challenge, they set their eyes south to Butuan, a kingdom brimming with gold. Rumours tell them of an underground treasury with more precious minerals than all the islands of the archipelago combined. Doing what they do best, the Dimatulak family comes up with a plan to steal the treasure.

On another part of the archipelago is a rag-tag group of former servants and slaves, who have recently survived a shipwreck. With no money and no master, they hear of similar rumours and decide that freedom and wealth would suit them better. They bring together their skills from hardened lives to empty the treasury and fill their pockets.

Unbeknownst to both groups, they set the robbery to the same time: the upcoming lunar eclipse. Both are more than prepared for their own heists. Unfortunately, they didn’t prepare for each other.

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My Art Process

It’s always fascinating to me to see other artists’ processes of making artwork, so I thought I’d post mine. I’m only an intermediate artist, so this is probably not going to be as complex as others you might have seen. Actually, I think my process is pretty straightforward.

Before I jump in, these are the tools I use:

I used to use GIMP, but these days I mostly just use it to manipulate images once most of the painting is done on Krita. (I love open source software, by the way, as you can tell.)

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Tuesday Tunes: UDD

I’m starting a new series of posts where I share some of my favourite music. Whenever I’m involved in any kind of creative process (ie. brainstorming, writing, drawing, and yes, even programming), I like to have a steady stream of music in the background. It’s actually pretty surprising to me that I could have gone this long on social media without really talking about music, considering how they often inspire my stories and art pieces.

You’ll notice very quickly that most of the artists that I’ll feature are foreign (at least, foreign to the mainstream North American music scene; not necessarily foreign to me). I would say that on average, I listen 90% of the time to Asian artists, and only 10% to North American / European artists.

I’m really excited to begin this series, because I feel like there aren’t a lot of people who listen to the same music as I do, and I would love to introduce these talented folks to a new audience, or meet like-minded fans.

Up Dharma Down

Kicking this series off is one of my favourite bands, UDD (once known as Up Dharma Down)!

UDD is a Filipino band whose music is a little difficult to describe. Some say they are alternative-rock, others say electro-pop. The band itself refuses to be boxed in by genre, so perhaps that’s where the difficulty comes from. Their songs range from rock with jazzy undertones, to short upbeat instrumentals, to pop with 80s/90s flair. Like I said, a little hard to describe. In the 15 years since their formation, they’ve come out with 4 albums, each packed with songs that span a wide range of genres.

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Names from my WIP

For those of you who have been following me for a while, you would know that my current WIP (tentatively titled The Malicious Wind, by the way) is inspired largely by precolonial Filipino culture. However, the setting isn’t exactly precolonial Philippines, just something more or less based on it. So the names I’ve chosen are also based on Filipino words, but with some letters altered.

Names based on Tagalog words

There are two groups in my story that are derivatives of the Tagalog peoples: the Katamans and the Dayungans. In the story, they are in conflict with each other, which is why I chose to base them on the same group. Otherwise, I think I would be drawing inappropriate or inapplicable parallels where the conflict is concerned.

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Quick Update

Hello guys! I know it’s been a while since my last post. I am very much aware that I am more sporadic than heat waves here in Canada (not impossible, just rare and unpredictable), and I am hoping to rectify that. I know I’ve said this before, and you probably don’t have a very good reason to believe why it should be different this time, but I am actively planning a blog post schedule. It turns out that I do have a lot of things I want to talk about; it’s just that in the past few months, I have been too lethargic to believe these posts are worth talking about. But I think with a bit of effort, I can make them interesting for you guys.

I also want to get back to blogging more regularly, because the writing process is so solitary! Maybe I feel so lethargic because I just don’t have that sense of community. Maybe I’ve been experiencing something of a chicken-and-egg problem.

Here are a few ideas I have for upcoming posts:

  • what inspired certain aspects of my WIP
  • ideas for my next stories (yes, I have lots of ideas — the problem is finding the time to work on them!)
  • art-related posts like the Schoolism courses I’ve been taking or my process for completing a piece
  • book reviews, or at the very least, things I’m reading or planning to read
  • personal posts about things I deal with as I figure this “author” thing out
  • music — yup! I have never posted about music before, but I listen to lots of music, and I have been meaning to share my favourites for some time now

Feel free to suggest other ideas as well. Like I said, my blogging skills have stagnated a bit, and I am not up to date with the blogging world. What would you guys like to hear about from me?