aiming for two book releases in 2016


Wow I haven’t been in here since forever.

I realized that I did not have a major print release last year, and so perhaps two books this year will even things out?

(I’m sure Mina Esguerra is looking at this and thinking, oh two books in a year? You’re so cute.)

Mervin Malonzo is busy working on the art for After Lambana. Here are some sample art I posted a while back to remind you/get you all excited. [Further reading: “Visprint announces 2016 Komiks Line-Up” on Flipgeeks.]

I sincerely have no idea how readers will react to this story. I also have no idea how readers will react to Wounded Little Godsmy little novel slated for release in March. [Further reading: “Eliza Victoria has Another Book!” on Whatsageek]

[We geeks band together, as it turns out.]

In other news, I will have a poem in the 42nd issue of Neon Literary Magazine. Thank you to editor Krishan Coupland. Check back on the leap day, and please consider pre-ordering or subscribing.

I’ve spent today putting the finishing touches to the eBook editions of issue forty-two of Neon. If all goes to plan, the latest instalment of the magazine will launch at the end of this month, on February 29th. If you want to be one of the first people to get hold of a copy, why not place a pre-order, or even subscribe?

From a brief biography of a man raised as a chicken, to a mortuary romance, to a tale that teeters on the edge of a precariously-assembled tower, this issue is packed with excellent poetry and fiction. There’s even a grotesquely surreal comic by Swedish artist Janne Karlsson, and an innocuous-looking but unique broadside by poet Jaclyn Weber.

Other writers featured in issue forty-two include Luke Silver, Clifford Parody, Jane Flett, Mack W Mani, Tara White, Eliza Victoria, Gregory Cartwright, Caroline Hardaker, and Natalia Theodoridou.

This will be our largest print run ever for an issue of Neon. Thanks to everyone who has already subscribed or purchased a copy – and for everyone else, it’s never too late to do so.

I am still writing–though not as fast and as often as I used to, as I want to. Work and life get in the way, you know how it is. But I’m enjoying working on the new novel (a murder mystery/fantasy), even if my scattered notes and plot timelines are driving me crazy. I have broken past the 100-page mark. I have a good feeling about it.

after lambana update + new poem + new story + surprise!

So! Some announcements.

1. I have a new story called “At the Diazes’” in LEAP + , magazine of the Asia Pacific Writers & Translators.

ESSAY : Filipinos write back by Jose Dalisay Jr.
FICTION: The Passport by Noelle Q. de Jesus
POETRY : A colony by Allan Pastrama
POETRY : If to measure the brief length of the plane by Allan Pastrama
POETRY : Octopus by Enrique S. Villasis, translated from Tagalog by Mikael de Lara Co
POETRY : Sing Like You Mean It by Joel M. Toledo
POETRY : Man vs. Himself by Joel M. Toledo
ESSAY : American Visa by Jack Wigley
FICTION: At the Diazes’ by Eliza Victoria
POETRY : Zoo Sonnet by Isabela Benzon
POETRY : Brief Letter by Isabela Benzon
ESSAY : The Functional Value of Plain Jane by Augusto Antonia Aguila
POETRY : Beneath the Underdog by Jessica Hagedorn
POETRY : The Evolution of Bruno Mars by Jessica Hagedorn
POETRY : The Day a Storm with my Mother’s Name Came by Kristian Sendon Cordero, translated from Bikol by Marne Kilates
POETRY : The Sorrow of Ancient Fire by Kristian Sendon Cordero, translated from Bikol by Marne Kilates
INTERVIEW: The 5-Spot Interview: Andrea Pasion-Flores by Tim Tomlinson
INTERVIEW: The 5-Spot Interview: J. Neil C. Garcia by Tim Tomlinson
POETRY : The Sadness of a Tongue by Genevieve L. Asenjo, translated from Kinaray-a by Ma. Milagros Lachica
POETRY : The Water I Love is a Stranger by Genevieve L. Asenjo, translated from Kinaray-a by Ma. Milagros Lachica
MEMOIR: Sa Loob by Sandra Nicole Roldan
POETRY : How Our Towns Drown by Gemini H. Abad
ESSAY : Arsenal by Jhoanna Lynn B. Cruz
FICTION: Dai vidas du’l grandu investigadores: El caso du’l toro perduto by Dean Francis Alfar. (From The Lives of the Great Detectives: The Case of the Missing Bull)
POETRY : Charcuterie by Krip Yuson
POETRY : Disguise by Krip Yuson
POETRY : A country of bees by Brylle B. Tabora
FICTION: Enough of This is True by Ian Rozales Casocot
POETRY : One Life by Carlomar Arcangel Daoana
POETRY : Self-Help by Carlomar Arcangel Daoana
FICTION: Stress Management by Glenn L. Diaz
POETRY : Ballistics by Mookie Katigbak-Lacuesta
POETRY : País Tropical by Marne Kilates
ESSAY : A List of Advice for Traveling to the Country Your Family Departed by Laurel Fantauzzo
FICTION: An excerpt from “First Job” by Gabriela Lee
POETRY : The Traveller’s Song by Jose Rizal, translated from Spanish by Marne Kilates

This is one of the pieces in the collection of interconnected science fiction stories that I have been working on. Another piece is “The Target”, which will be included in the tenth volume of Philippine Speculative Fiction.

Click through to read, and of course feel free to share the link.

This is how it begins:

Chi was going through an inconvenient personal crisis that evening, and so he could hardly focus, or care, when the representative from the family said, “You’re not the Chief Engineer?”The girl, the homeowner’s eldest daughter, looked like she just stepped out of a cocktail party. Black dress, white pearls, no-hands glowing blue deep in her ear, probably the party host urging her to come back. Her, whatever her name was. Joanne told him on their way there but now he couldn’t remember. “Good afternoon,” the Hestia SmartHouse’s front door chirped, for the third time since the moment they arrived on the front porch.“There are no visitors listed in the log for this hour. Please enter the passcode to let yourself in.”

“No, ma’am,” Chi told the client, and out of nowhere came her name. Georgia. Georgia Diaz.

“He’s tied up in meetings at the moment and sends his regrets.”

“Ma knew the Chief Engineer,” Georgia said. “The lady who took my call said he’d come here personally.”

“We’re Senior Engineers, ma’am,” Joanne said. Stress on the senior, making it sound like Chief, only without the fringe benefits. “We’ve got you covered.”

They got the call an hour ago. Georgia planned to just drop by the house for a minute or so, grab a shawl she forgot in her room, when she was greeted by an empty house. She was afraid her family—her parents, her younger sister, and three younger brothers—got locked up in one of the rooms, activated the SoundEraser, and forgot the passcode to deactivate it. It had happened before, Georgia said. One time her mother forgot to close the door to the master bedroom, and her youngest brother, aged seven, slipped inside, locked the door, and accidentally soundproofed the walls. A bedroom in a Hestia SmartHouse could let you in but wouldn’t let you out without a passcode. It was one of the SmartHouse’s Anti-Theft features. Families had caught burglars that way. Or cheating husbands. Unfortunately, with the SoundEraser up, Georgia’s youngest brother had already screamed himself hoarse for two hours and his sisters didn’t even hear a peep.

Sometimes the SmartHouse is just too smart, Joanne had said with a shrug. It happens. Aside from the SmartHouse, Hestia Industries also designed manacles and jail cells, so it was a no-brainer, really.

2. I will have a new poem in an upcoming issue of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly.

3. We won’t be able to release After Lambana in time for Komikon this month, but we will have this out by early 2016. Here, let me distract you with some art from Mervin Malonzo.


4. I will have a new novel out from Visprint before the year ends. We’re done with the copyedits, and I’m just waiting for the cover and chapter art. More about this later.

See you!

notes from the philippine literary festival 2015

    • There were still a lot of people despite the INC rally blocking EDSA. Probably people from the South of Metro Manila? Happy to see the crowd.
    • The moment I sat in the Visprint area, someone approached me to have copies of my books signed. Buena mano! Salamat, Kevin.
Photo from Kevin.


Philippine Literary Festival 2015

Philippine Literary Festival 2015

Photo from EK
  • Our first stop was at the “Translation: A Creative Act” panel in the Namayan Room, with John Green English to Filipino translators Luna Sicat, Julz Riddle, Bebang Siy (who was cosplaying Margo Roth Spiegelman) and Ronald Verzo, moderated by Anvil’s RayVi Sunico. Happy to sit next to Elyss Punsalan. It was an excellent talk about the difficulty of translating not just language, but class, culture, and nuances in perspective. (How do you translate “fuck” when the word “sex” is used in the same sentence? How do you translate “state” when we don’t have an equivalent in Filipino? Do you use “lalawigan”? “nayon”? Why do American authors love using “my” — my floor, my bed, my room — and how do you translate that without sounding awkward in Filipino? How do you translate the “poverty” of living in a trailer park, when some Filipinos live in houses smaller than these trailers? How do you translate a story that is not believable to you, as a Filipino author and reader?) I really enjoyed it. Sulit ang pagpunta sa Makati.

Philippine Literary Festival 2015

  • Book signing pa more. Thank you Anne and the others who dropped by.


  • Before the night ended, Mervin Malonzo and I were able to share a few pages from After Lambana. We were in a corner of Ballroom 2, sharing the time slot with Meganon Comics.
    Photo from Meganon Comics’ Tepai Pascual.

    Photo from Tepai.
  • Sharing with you some snapshots here (from pages 10, 14, and 16). Some people in the audience expressed excitement, so that’s promising!

Lambana, the realm of the Diwata, has fallen, the Magic Prohibition Act has been signed into law, and there is something wrong with Conrad’s heart. Only magic can delay his inevitable death, and so he meets with Ignacio, a friend who promises to hook him up with Diwata and magic-derived treatments, illegal though this may be.

But during the course of the night, Conrad may just discover Lambana’s secrets – and a cure to save his life.

from After Lambana

from After Lambana 2

from After Lambana 3

Thank you to the National Book Store and the Visprint team for making this happen. Sa uulitin!

new books, new stories, and more

How have you been? We’ve had storms making landfall in the country, one after the other, as if we’re an important bus stop for their tour or something, and the news has been pretty strange, Chris Brown sitting next to Iglesia ni Cristo expelling members sitting next to the discovery of a possible second Earth. Sometimes my stories can’t keep up with reality.

On to the updates:


20150723_092933You can buy the book straight from the publisher.

  • Mervin Malonzo is making headway with our comic book collaboration, After Lambana. It was also featured on Bookwatch. See the gorgeousness.

Art by Mervin MalonzoArt by Mervin Malonzo


  • A story of mine, “The Seventh”, is accepted for publication in the 9th issue of LIKHAAN: The Journal of Contemporary Philippine Literature. From the referee’s notes: “A disturbing narrative pursuing the uncanny as both atmosphere and lingering effect. The story is relatively short but it builds up to a palpable sense of horror…”
  • Tangent Online reviews Lontar #4.

“Rebecca’s life is falling to pieces one memory at a time in ‘Fade’ by Eliza Victoria. Her dreams are a fractured mix of reality and portent, while her waking life seems to be fading into an ever more nebulous fantasy of false memories and disquieting omissions. What is real and what isn’t splits further when the people in her dreams come to life during the course of one oddly deja-vu-like day. Unexpected visitors promise to bring clarity to the whole mess, but already suspecting she can’t trust her own mind and memory, how can she be expected to trust the words of two seemingly random strangers?”

“Dwellers has paranormal and suspense elements that got me right at the edge of my seat. Victoria’s work is something you shouldn’t miss—her prose is fluid and engaging, not to mention that you’ll get so immersed in the books’ universe, you’re going to want to dive in to more of her stories.”

Now: Line-edited around 40K words of a new short novel, for publication (hopefully!) before the year ends. Title and teasers to follow. Thanks again to Visprint, Nida and Kyra for the love. Also working on a collection of interconnected short stories.

‘after lambana’ sketch sample

Mervin Malonzo has begun working on the art for After Lambana and posted a sample below. (This is a panel from the first pages of the book.) Exciting times.

Love the Tabi Po Easter egg. :) Can you spot it?

after lambana art by mervin malonzo

And now with color. Amazing work by Mervin!




Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the 2014 Philippine Literary Festival. Thank you to Visprint and the National Book Store for making this happen.

The venue was huge! This was in Ballroom 2 of Raffles Makati, with a seating capacity of 500.

PLF 2014

Here are Budjette Tan, Karen Francisco, and Mervin Malonzo looking over the artworks the Visprint artists will be exhibiting.

PLF 2014

Left: Art from After Lambana, me and Mervin’s comic book project. Right: Art from Alternative Alamat, an anthology edited by Paolo Chikiamco.

PLF 2014

The Ballroom fills up as people get ready for Manix Abrera’s launch of his second silent comics collection, 14.

PLF 2014

Here we are serving as a sideshow for the ManixCon (term courtesy of Paolo Fabregas). Haha! (I say this with fondness.)

PLF 2014

See? #ManixCon

PLF 2014

I joined a panel called “Emerging Writers Primer: Author as Businessperson”, with Karen, Mervin, Carlo Vergara, Mina V. Esguerra, and Nida Ramirez, with Siege Malvar as host. I enjoyed it! I hoped it was informative to the young writers in attendance.

Photo from Paolo Chikiamco (Alternative Alamat, Mythspace).
Photo from Paolo Chikiamco (Alternative Alamat, Mythspace).

Thank you to Mays and Tere for sharing their photos.


with tere

I went to Ballroom 1 to listen to the Komikero panel. Very interesting discussion about the process of creating comics.

That’s Carljoe Javier, Adam David, Rob Cham, and Budjette.

PLF 2014

A closer look at the amazing After Lambana art. We are aiming for a 2015 release. Watch out for it.

PLF 2014

Posing with my boys.

PLF 2014

Thank you for dropping by!

PLF 2014

‘let’s talk philippine comics’ with studio salimbal

On Sunday afternoon, we went to Fully Booked High Street to meet up with the comics creators comprising Studio Salimbal.

Since we were there early we had lunch first and I hunted down a copy of Yvette Tan’s Kaba, her collection of 50 scary tales in Filipino. It’s so small! Here’s a copy, with my brother for scale.

Studio Salimbal

Studio Salimbal

The talk started on time at the Forum (4th Floor, Fully Booked, right on the floor with all of the comics). I was surprised by the number of people who showed up. Some had to sit on the floor, or stand up at the back and outside the door.

Here’s Paolo Chikiamco talking about Studio Salimbal.

Studio Salimbal

Something about the studio:

There’s a lot of talent out there.

Within the Philippines and without, there is a glut of wonderful artists, incredible writers. If you’re a comics fan, you almost have too many choices, both paid and free, in terms of genres and formats and creators (not to mention the other media battling for your attention).

I’m not complaining, mind you — as a reader, as a fan, this is a golden age. As a creator, seeing so many good stories is a welcome challenge.

But it must be said: To reach readers in this golden age, it’s not enough to simply be good — you have to stand out.

It can be a daunting task for one person —

— less so, for fourteen.

Say hello to Studio Salimbal:
* John Amor (Urban Animal)
* Koi Carreon (Mythspace: Lift Off)
* Paolo Chikiamco (Mythspace)
* Cristina Rose Chua (Mythspace: Humanity)
* Mico Dimagiba (Mythspace: Uncommon Ground)
* Jules Gregorio (Mythspace: Devourers of Light)
* Mervin Malonzo (Tabi Po)
* Butch Mapa (Grimm Fairy Tales: Realm Knights)
* Elbert Or (Bakemono High)
* Tintin Pantoja (Who is AC?)
* Noel Pascual (Crime Fighting Call Cente Agents)
* Paul Quiroga (Mythspace: Black Mark)
* Borg Sinaban (Mythspace: Unfurling of Wings)
* Budjette Tan (Trese)

Our goals are simple: to create comics, and to create a community. To do so creatively, coherently, consistently.

We will be in stores. We will be at conventions. But we’ll also be online in a big way, with most of our stories being serialized as webcomics, because that allows us to give readers something new easily, consistently, and constantly.

How constant? By 2015, we believe we will have enough comics that we’ll be able to publish a new page every weekday for the entire year.

Our site at — designed by the multi-talented Mervin Malonzo — will be launching this April. We’ll be running Mythspace: Lift Off as our lone weekly comic to start, followed by another Mythspace story later in the year. We’ll be using this year to test the waters, to form a community, to get used to working as a team. But behind the scenes, we’re already working on next year’s stories, and it’s a buffer we’ll be looking to maintain moving forward.

The goal is simple — not easy. But that’s why we’re doing this together — and why we would love to have you all along for the ride.

The Salimbal, after all, is a magical ship from Philippine folktales that allows people to travel to a better future. In our case, we’re hoping that our own tales will help create a better future for Philippine comics.

I sat at the Writers Panel, and we talked about our processes, schedules, the places where we get our ideas, and a little about problematizing the Filipino identity as writers (which I think deserves a panel all of its own).

Studio Salimbal

The next two panels were for the artists, and a presentation of future projects. Important topics discussed were the sustainability of the industry (can we earn enough to quit our day jobs and just produce comics?), production (is it possible to not tailor our production around the convention schedules, ie can we produce more than two new titles a year, or at least finish an entire run instead of releasing several First Issues?), and distribution (can we distribute in places other than the book stores?).

I went up and presented After Lambana, which you can read about here.

After the talks closed, I had the chance to say hi to Bea Pantoja of The Dalaga Project. I didn’t know she was Tintin’s sister!

And here is Studio Salimbal, posing for their class picture.

Studio Salimbal

A random celebrity sighting when we left the venue. My brother with Marc Abaya. Notice the book he’s holding. :)

A final pose before we headed to IHOP. Breakfast for dinner, the best kind of dinner.

Studio Salimbal

Many thanks to Paolo for the invite, and to Mervin for the great art for After Lambana. Mervin is aiming to finish the book this year, so we can have a print run next year. Exciting times ahead.

I’ll be at the Komikon next week! See you all there.