So Far, So Good: 2020 Edition

Did I just jinx it? Crap. Forget I said anything.

One month in for the year, folks. Hope everyone’s still doing all right.

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Me? I’m doing great—‘cause I can finally update this list.

Previously, on this newsletter you’re subscribed to

That’s right. In case you missed the last edition, I’ve got a new short story coming out in March 2020.

Published in the third issue of the retro(ish) sci-fi magazine, INFINITE WORLDS, “To Ashes” is a sideways sequel to “Satay”, my contribution to LONTAR #10. And, yeah, you can read both stories independent of each other (but of course I’ll encourage you to get ‘em both).

Both stories are set in a post-apocalyptic Singapore, where a massive flood’s submerged the country. They revolve around the survivors who’ve made the remains of Marina Bay Sands their new home—and dubbed it Three Towers.


This whole “Three Towers-verse” (yes, I’m coining it now) started off as an idea that I had for a novel. I wrote “Satay” to see if the world had legs beyond just a concept in my head. I wrote “To Ashes” as a way to deal with my own frustrations with work at the time and how those frustrations messed with my sense of self. It just so happened to fit nicely into the same world.

I’m almost definitely gonna re-visit the Three Towers-verse again (maybe just Towers-verse? I don’t know…). Whether it’s another short story or I’m finally ready to take a crack at that novel, I’m not sure right now.

(The inspiration for this concept, by the way, came from a couple of pieces I’d read about The Tower of David, a real-life high-rise slum in Caracas, Venezuela.)

What else is going on?

Episodes three and four of GHOST MAPS are out now. Kyle and I are in the process of writing new episodes, which we’ll be recording soon.

I won’t bog you down with numbers, but the podcast has been doing pretty well across a variety of platforms. Kyle, Paul and I met up recently to discuss the future of GHOST MAPS, and HANTU in general, and we’re all pretty happy with the plans we have for the year ahead.


It’s been a struggle to get the the prose half of PROJECT: CUSTODIAN done. In case you’ve forgotten (you probably have), CUSTODIAN is a new project with Benjamin Chee that’s similar to what we did with MR MEMPHIS, where I’ll write a short story and Ben will remix it as a comic with a vastly different genre aesthetic. So, with MR MEMPHIS, Ben took my supernatural/ western short story and told it with wuxia visuals.

Anyway, I had most of CUSTODIAN worked out in my head and in my notebook, so I figured that once the actual writing began, it’d be easy peasy. Instead, the story went ahead and kicked my ass throughout most of the Lunar New Year holidays.

It’s frustrating, but it’s frustrating in the best possible way. While I really love it when my stories come together, I’m equally enthralled by the process of making them work. Ben’s been super patient with me, so I’ve put CUSTODIAN on hold for now, but I’ll jump back into it in about a week.


I’ve got at least three appearances coming up in these next two months. Unfortunately, I can’t really say anything just yet. Since I’m sporadically back on Instagram now (and will be back more regularly around the end of the month), I’ll just make the announcement for February there.


I mentioned in the last edition that I’m featured in the Know or Not? Podcast’s two-parter about writing and publishing in Singapore.

I’d previously linked to the first part, which is more about the publishing side of things, so I only make a very brief appearance. (Give it a listen though for an enlightening interview with Kenny Leck, the boss man of BooksActually and Math Paper Press.) The second part’s gone online since then, and focuses on writers, so I’m in there a fair bit more, with folks like Gwee Li Sui, Jocelyn Suarez, Gerrie Lim and Charmaine Leung.

Shelf love

I’ve been reducing the number of books and comics on my shelf to about half of what it was before. Part of the reason for this is that I’m now sharing a room with my partner and our cat, so it pays to be a bit more practical with space, but also, I look at my shelf and I realise that a solid half of those books are there because some arbitrary consensus says that They Should Be There.

And it's not that I hate those books (though, for the life of me, I can't remember the contents of quite a few of them), but that they're a reflection of what I thought I should be and not who I actually am now.

I'm glad I read them, but they need to make space for more stuff from my friends and fellow authors from Math Paper Press, more female authors and authors of colour and LGBTQ authors, more works from beyond the realms of sci-fi 'cause I spent so much time in one genre that, ironically, I did the one thing that sci-fi discourages: I boxed myself in.


On a related note, I’ve been pretty good at sticking to my resolution of reading thirty-six books of at least 200 pages each this year. And what a seriously fantastic selection for January.

Links

Bye

Once again, here’s where you can buy my books.

INFINITE WORLDS #3 | TALES FROM A TINY ROOM | LONTAR #10 | MR MEMPHIS

If you’ve already subscribed to this newsletter, thank you. If you’re viewing this on the web, hit the button below to get signed up.

See you again at the end of the month.

- WR

Whoa, Hey, I'm Not Done Yet

Say it now: addendum addendum addendum.

A decent chunk of news since the last edition went out, so let’s get down to it.

To infinity and beyond

The big one is that PROJECT: RETRO has officially been announced. My new short story, “To Ashes”, will appear in the third issue of INFINITE WORLDS, a retro(ish) science fiction magazine.

It’s the first internationally produced publication that I’ve been a part of and, aside from gorgeous art and comics, a couple more short stories, and a fucking stunning cover, it’s also got an interview with hip-hop pioneer, Del the Funky Homosapien.

INFINITE WORLDS #3 is scheduled for release in March. It’s a massive deal for me, so please pre-order your copy right now.

In the know (or not)

I’m featured very briefly on the new episode of the Know or Not? podcast, talking about my superhero origin as a writer. This episode’s the first of a two-parter and I’ll be on a bit more for the second part, which is out in two weeks.

Class is in session

I’ll be speaking at the National University of Singapore on 14 January, as part of its Comics Week. This event’s only for undergraduate students from the University Scholars Programme though.

My talk will be called “The Chaotic Science of Comic Scripts” and will focus on, obviously, the various ways to script comics, but also a fair bit about collaboration in general.

I’ll probably share highlights in a future edition of the newsletter (and maybe give this presentation again at a more public event later this year).

That’s a wrap

I’ve got another event in late February, but I’ll talk about that in the next edition. So, I’ll see you at the end of January!

(One more time though, pre-order INFINITE WORLDS #3.)

- WR

The Roaring (Yet Hopefully Boring) 20s

And not a single "2020 vision" pun, amazingly.

What do we have for the final edition of this newsletter for 2019? A little bit of looking back on this last month or so, a little bit of looking ahead to the new year. But first…

Buy my books

TALES FROM A TINY ROOM: a short genre fiction collection.

LONTAR #10: a post-apocalyptic short story contribution.

MR MEMPHIS: a supernatural wuxia/ western comic.

Conspicuously contented

I could easily just say that Singapore Comic Con (SGCC)​ was fucking amazing; that I had an absolutely wonderful time chatting with Jock about his work in film; and that hanging out with awesome artists like David Mack​ and Jim Mahfood, and getting a court-side seat to watch them work with Peach Momoko​, was one of the coolest experiences ever. I could totally leave it at that and that would be enough.

But, man, SGCC was so much more. It felt like the perfect complement to launching the expanded edition of TINY ROOM earlier this year⁠—to not only share my work with readers, but to also share it with the people who created comics that inspired me.

I gotta say a big ol’ thank you to Paul and the rest of the SGCC team, for roping me in to be a part of this incredible event and organising one of the best cons I’ve ever attended. And, of course, thank you to David, Jim, Jock and Peach (as well as her husband, Yo), for being so friendly, easygoing and just the best.

Wake-up call

The thing about hanging out with all those amazing creators though is that it reminds me that I’m a creator in my own right too. Almost as if to reinforce that point, a new short story of mine was accepted as part of an American sci-fi magazine—the very morning after SGCC. How’s that for a slice of serendipity?

The magazine’s scheduled for release in March 2020. Until I can make an official announcement though (probably in January), let’s call this PROJECT: RETRO. The story is called “To Ashes” and it’s a sideways-sequel to “Satay”, my contribution to LONTAR #10. It’s set in the same world—a high-rise kampung in the remains of Marina Bay Sands, where survivors try to build a new life after Singapore’s been mostly submerged in a massive flood. It features a brief cameo by someone from “Satay”, but mostly focuses on new characters.

(I’ve also learned that this issue includes an interview with one seriously funky rapper—cough cough hint hint—so let’s pair up that slice of serendipity with a nice, tall glass of fuck yeah.)

Baby, baby, baby, light my way

The con and the story all come on the heels of what was probably one of the best shows I’ve been to. I’m far from what you’d call a massive U2 fan, but they’ve been on my concert bucket list because… well, they’re U2. They’re Rock Stars in a way that very few bands are.

I’m not sure what it was about the show, but there was something about being down in front, moving along to the music, that really made me feel like I’ve mentally turned a corner for the better. Now, that’s not to say that everything’s been hunky dory since then. But if things are turning around for me, it certainly feels like it started here.

Or maybe it was just a really good show. I mean, that’s definitely a possibility. Rock Stars, remember?

A higher resolution

Which all leads me to what I’ve got planned for 2020. The overall goal is to focus much more on creating stories and generally working on my own happiness. I’ve set myself a couple of resolutions and, while I’ll readily admit that I’m aiming a little high here, I’m also totally okay if I don’t hit ‘em all. The point, really, is to try. So, in the following year, I plan to:

  • Read thirty-six books (at least two hundred pages each)

  • Write twenty-four short stories

  • Submit twelve of those stories for publication

  • Publish five things (a thing could be anything from a poem to a whole book)

  • Get my weight down to 68kg

  • Spend two Saturdays every month completely offline

I've got one more resolution, but this one’s a little bit out of my control. Aside from the list above, I really really really want 2020 to be boring as shit. No more hospital visits, no more financial panic. If I had to have any drama next year, let it be on the level of losing a sock or something.

I told my therapist about this yesterday and she said that it sounds like a good plan. And, hey, I think it’s a pretty positive sign when your resolutions are therapy-approved.

The final word

But she also told me to make sure that I give myself a pat on the back for surviving this past year.

I’ve spoken enough about how rubbish 2019’s been, but before I close the chapter on it, I want to say once again that the second printing of TALES FROM A TINY ROOM came out earlier this year. Something I created got a second printing, guys. How insanely awesome is that? For the who-knows-how-manyth time, thank you, Kenny Leck and the Math Paper Press/ BooksActually team for making my dreams come true—again—and for all the support you’ve shown me.

And what’s more, not only did I get to share the book with guys like David, Jim and Jock, but I also managed to get copies to creators like Jamie S. Rich, Paul Levitz (thanks, Tina!) and Kieron Gillen (thanks, Derek!), pictured here, hugging his copy.

So, yeah. 2019 may have been the worst year of my life, but all the shit that came with it still couldn’t dim its brightest moments. I survived—and that gives me hope for 2020.

Kennykuniya

Before I go, I wanna give a special shout-out to Kenny Chan, Senior Store Director at Books Kinokuniya, who’s making the shift to Merchandising Consultant from the start of the year onwards.

It’s thanks to Kenny that I’ve been lucky enough to promote both the first and second printings of TINY ROOM with in-store events. Plus, he’s just a really great guy too.

Congratulations, Kenny!

(I swiped that illustration from Sonny Liew, by the way.)

Bye

I’ve got a couple of events lined up for January and February, but can’t officially announce them yet, so expect an addendum to this edition soon. Other than that though, that’s it for me for 2019.

If you’ve already subscribed to this newsletter, thank you. If you’re viewing this on the web, hit the button below to get signed up.

Until next time, Happy New Year, everyone.

- WR

And Another Thing...

Addendum's such a funny word, isn't it?

Quick follow-up to November’s edition of this newsletter.

The long(er) con

Remember those two other panels I said I’ll be moderating at Singapore Comic Con (SGCC)? One’s with Jock, about his concept work for films like Dredd, Ex Machina and The Last Jedi. The other is a live art tribute to Stan Lee with Peach Momoko, Jim Mahfood and David Mack.

I’m obviously really excited for both panels, but I’m definitely looking forward to that second one just a bit more. After all, I’ll be up front for a live art demo with three amazing creators, one of whom is one of my favourite artists ever and another was awesome enough to provide a back cover quote for TALES FROM A TINY ROOM.

As mentioned before, all my panels are on 8 December. Get your tickets here and check out the panel schedules here.

Fruedian slipcase

I’ll pop by SGCC for a little while during the later half of 7 December too, just to say hi to David and Food One (and hopefully commission some original art from him). From 2:30pm to 4pm on that day, however, I’ll be at the ArtScience Museum as part of the “2219: Futures Imagined” exhibition.

My role in the whole shebang is as a literary doctor, prescribing books to people attending the exhibition. As my publisher puts it, “Very Sigmund Freud but in the best possible literary manner.” (Probably less talk about penises and mothers too, but that’s entirely up to you guys.)

Get your tickets for the exhibition here. The event’s Facebook page is here.

And we’re done

Yes, already. What? It’s an addendum.

See you all in person this weekend—and back here later this month.

- WR

Second Verse, Different from the First

The sequels are almost always better anyway.

You didn’t unsubscribe! This calls for a celebration. Group hugs in five.

This is going to be a short one. I’ve got a few announcements that I can’t officially make until early December, so expect an addendum to this edition next week. I just wanted to send this one out before the end of November, so I can (somewhat) stick to the schedule I’ve set for myself.

Buy my books

TALES FROM A TINY ROOM: a short genre fiction collection.

LONTAR #10: a post-apocalyptic short story contribution.

MR MEMPHIS: a supernatural wuxia/ western comic.

I’m gonna start every newsletter off with a similar call to action from now on. Ten years in digital marketing have taught me well—and also scarred me emotionally. You try to take the good with the bad.

The long con

I’ll be part of (and moderating) the panel, “Self-Publishing 101: From Your Idea to Their Long Boxes”, at Singapore Comic Con (SGCC). Joining me on stage will be Jerry Teo (Rex Regrets), Joeylyn Alexandra (Unstable Foundations) and my MR MEMPHIS partner-in-crime, Benjamin Chee. Spaces are limited, so make sure you register to reserve a spot.

I’ll also be moderating two other panels at SGCC. More on this next week though. That said, I can confirm that all my panels are happening on Sunday, 8 December, so get your tickets for the con now.

Etc.

My new review for BooksActually is online. It’s of Liyana Dhamirah’s Homeless, an account of the author’s life when she was pregnant and living out of a tent in Sembawang Park.

I’ve also written a couple more posts for SGCC, like this one and this one.

The new episode of GHOST MAPS is online too. We were recently highlighted as one of Spotify’s True Crime section’s featured podcasts, which was a little bit of awesome. And, yes, we’re well aware that we’re not True Crime, but that’s what happens when Spotify doesn’t have a Horror section.

Three questions with… Jethro Wegener

Every once in a while, I’ll do a quick interview with a creator who has released something new, I think deserves more attention, or both.

I met Jethro Wegener back in 2015 at what would eventually be known as SGCC. We started chatting after he picked up a couple of my books—and now he’s an author in his own right. His debut, Deep Fear, is a weird fiction novel featuring undersea beasties.

Tell us about Deep Fear.

Deep Fear is me wearing a whole bunch of influences on my sleeve. From cheesy 80s and 90s disaster flicks, to even cheesier horror movies like Deep Rising, and adding some Lovecraftian horror in there for good measure. I wanted all-out, gory action that never lets up, and some likeable characters to boot.

What made you want to be an author?

It's in my blood, I think. My mother is a librarian and I grew up with a love of books so deep that it will never leave me. I've been composing my own stories for as long as I could scribble badly spelled words on a page and I still am—although the spelling has improved somewhat.

What’s next?

The Lost City of Terror! Indiana Jones meets sheer terror is how I pitched it! It'll hopefully be done and published by next year at the latest.

You can get Deep Fear on Amazon now.

Head like a hole, heart’s pretty whole

The diagnosis from my cardiologist is that I’m fine. The diagnosis from my first therapy session, however, is that I’ve got mild depression and anxiety. Which means there’s a very real possibility that my anxiety’s manifesting itself physically.

While it’s definitely a relief to hear that all my tests and x-rays came back negative, I can’t help but feel that dealing with a physical problem would’ve been a whole lot more straightforward. My therapist has suggested some breathing exercises and a couple of other things to help, but there are days when taking deep breaths for five minutes in the morning just doesn’t seem like it’s really gonna cut it.

I realise, of course, that it’s a process and that I need to keep trying. My next appointment’s at the end of December, so hopefully there’s going to be some progress between now and then.

Doin’ it for the grams

Almost contrary to the idea of improving my mental health, I’ve re-downloaded Instagram onto my phone and will be somewhat more active on it till probably a little after SGCC.

I’d originally went on an Instagram diet after I realised that it was sapping quite a bit of my phone’s data and power, as well as my time and attention. And it’s not like it was helping heaps with book and comic sales.

Anyway, if you’re on the Instant Grans, you can find me at @waynegerardree, at least for the next few weeks anyway.

Links

Bye

That’s it for now. Between my mental health, finalising my appearances for December and my day job, PROJECT: CUSTODIAN continues to take a bit of a backseat. Hopefully, I’ll have made some headway on it by next month though.

Once again, here’s where to buy my books:

TALES FROM A TINY ROOM | LONTAR #10 | MR MEMPHIS

In the meantime, I don’t actually have group hugs for you, but here’s a photo of (from right to left) one of my GHOST MAPS collaborators Kyle, our buddy Chris, and myself. It was taken a couple of years back at the Illustration Arts Festival and is probably the closest you’ll get to a group hug through a newsletter, so you’re welcome.

If you’ve already subscribed to this newsletter, thank you. If you’re viewing this on the web, hit the button below to get signed up.

See you all next week.

- WR

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