Yes, this edition’s reached your inbox early—which means, yes, I’m officially unemployed now.
First things first though
I hope that you and yours are all right. It’s a confusing, uncertain and scary time, but—fingers firmly crossed—we’ll all pull through unscathed. So, wash your hands, stay at home if you can and be safe.
Buy my books
TALES FROM A TINY ROOM: a short genre fiction collection.
MR MEMPHIS: a supernatural wuxia/ western comic.
INFINITE WORLDS #3 should ship out next week, so if you’ve pre-ordered a copy, expect it to arrive in your mailboxes over the next two weeks or so. If you didn’t pre-order a copy, you can still get one now, while there’s still some left.
Remember: issues one and two sold out pretty quickly, so don’t miss out on this chance to get my new short story, “To Ashes”—as well as other fantastic stories, loads of great art and comics, and an interview with Del the Funky Homosapien.
In the meantime, you can get free worldwide shipping from BooksActually’s online store until 10 April 2020, with the code ‘RFH’ and a minimum order of three books. Obviously, I’d suggest TINY ROOM as one of those books, but also LONTAR #10 as another, especially since “To Ashes” is a sideways sequel to “Satay”, my contribution to LONTAR.
My second-to-last day as a full-time copywriter was the start of spring. Now, we’re not ones for seasons besides Really Fucking Hot here on the equator, but I’d like to believe that the timing was pretty auspicious.
Being away from full-time work and generally just taking things slow has, for the most part, felt like inhaling a massive gulp of air after nearly drowning. I honestly had no idea how exhausted I’d been from this last year until I took a moment to breathe.
There’s a bit from a recent edition of Warren Ellis’ Orbital Operations newsletter that jumped out at me:
I don't give up. But I don't give up myself, either. So I won't be number one. But I'll still be me. You have to be okay with that trade. And you have to be okay with looking in the mirror and still seeing a recognisable version of yourself. And if you smile, then the smile has to be real, whether it's rueful or not -- not brave, desperate or terrified.
I couldn’t recognise the man in the mirror for a long time. And I wasn’t the only one. Friends, family—they all saw the change too. It was really only around the start of this year when I began to see hints of the old me again—and even that took a tremendous amount of effort.
But it was with that clarity that I realised what I needed to do: take the time to rest. And I mean really rest, not just spend a weekend catching up on The Voice (I am honestly surprised by how charismatic Nick Jonas is, I gotta say); taking the time to find myself again, and pull him back out from a sea of misery.
That’s what this is about. That’s why it felt like taking a deep breath after nearly drowning—because I was.
I was planning on still keeping a schedule, albeit a somewhat loose one, but my partner pointed out that resting meant not adding the unnecessary stress of holding myself to a schedule, no matter how loose I intended it to be.
Plus, part of that schedule included heading out to do what I call method writing, at least once a week, where I write in a location that fits the mood of the story. That plan’s obviously gone out the window, since I’m isolating myself at home as much as I can right now.
Still, despite all of that, I have been writing a wee bit. I’ve actually got an idea for a new book, but it’s still way too early to talk about it. Also…
Dog days are over
I’ve got a solid working draft for PROJECT: MANSIONETTE, my new short story that I’ll be submitting for a dog-themed anthology. It’s still very rough, but the heavy lifting’s done. Now, all that’s left is to beat the thing into shape, which is arguably the fun part.
Ghosts, of one kind
I’ll also be writing the next two episodes of GHOST MAPS next week. These episodes are extra long and work as a two-parter. Kyle and I wanted to try something a little different, and experiment with length and audience attention spans. Also, the way we’ve structured these stories justifies the extended episodes.
Ghost, of another
Nine Inch Nails dropped two new releases! This really doesn’t have much to do with me, aside from how well documented it is that I’m a massive fan of Messrs Reznor and Ross, and that these albums will probably be my go-to writing tunes next week.
Back to me
I’m planning to remain happily job-free for around three to four weeks, but after that, it’s back to freelancing. I want to try something a little different though. As much as possible, I’d like to do work that makes me happy, not just stuff that keeps me contented or simply paid.
I’ll make a more public announcement closer to when my break’s over, but here’s a heads up for you guys: I’ll be doing short story commissions. 500-word pieces for SG$25 each. You can pick a genre, give me prompts, ask me to include specific names (if you’re planning on giving these stories as gifts), or just roll the dice and let me write you something off the top of my head. Everything except the rate’s negotiable.
I figure, if I can make decent scratch off this, I’ll go all in for as long as I can. If you’d like one, reply to this newsletter and we can discuss your story. I won’t start working on it till after these next few weeks, but you’ll be at the top of the list.
The 2020 Book Shelf
I haven’t been as good, in March, about keeping to my resolution of reading thirty-six books over 200 pages this year. I did, however, throw myself into a couple of solid poetry collections, as well as a healthy serving of comics and a wonderful illustrated guide to Singaporean coffee culture.
And that’s it. Once again, no real photos for this edition, so let’s close off with a throwback to late last year, when MR MEMPHIS was part of Jim Mahfood’s Singapore comic stash.
One more time, here’s where you can buy my books.
You can also add me on Instagram for more regular updates, as well as some book reviews.
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See you again next month.