Art Fantastic: Interview with VN Benedicto

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 18 - 2010

VN Benedicto (zahntelmo on deviantart) is responsible for the artwork that graces Eliza Victoria’s story, “Elsewhere” in Usok #2. VN grew up in Romblon, in a place where the old stories (which remind VN of Lovecraft) are very much alive. He retained his love for local myths and legends, and is working on Diwata Nation, a shared world project that is very much influenced by Philippine mythology. A member of CG Pintor, and a digital painter ever since his brother gave him a Graphire4, you can view his works at his deviantart gallery. Today, we talk to VN about his love of myth, steampunk, and how he created the art for Elsewhere:

I was struck by the amount of local folklore inspired artwork you have in your deviantart gallery. When did you become interested in Philippine mythology?

I’ve been drawn to folklore ever since I was a little kid. I was fortunate to grow up in a place where oral folklore still exists, if you know where to look.

Where do you turn to for information about Philippine mythology and folklore? I’m a bit of an enthusiast myself, and resource materials can be hard to find.

In the interwebs there’s the Encyclopedia Mythica, Maximo D. Ramos’ A Survey of Philippine Lower Gods, even Wikipedia… also, I found John Maurice Miller’s Philippine Folklore Stories in the Gutenberg Project archives.

What is it about Philippine mythology that inspires you?

I love all mythology and folklore. But of course I’m more fond of the ones I grew up with, it’s what inspired me to be a fantasist.

Do you have a favorite myth or legend? What about a favorite character?

Let’s see… Well in our province there is an island called Kayatung that is supposed to be a capital of the engkanto realm and a lot of lore are tied to it. Old people claim to have seen golden ships arriving or leaving that island, possessed people are supposed to have been taken there during their possession, and people who go crazy are said to have [had their souls brought] there and will remain insane until their soul/essence returns to their body. There are supposed to be invisible bridges and roads connecting Kayatung to other engkanto cities. Sounds like a really nice place to visit, so if I go insane you know where to find me.
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Folk Tales Interview on SLIA Blog:

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 4 - 2010

Zarah Gagatiga did a couple of interviews in preparation for her upcoming book Tales From the 7,000 Isles: Filipino Folk Stories (co-authored with Dianne De Las Casas), including one with yours truly. She posted my answers on her blog, School Librarian in Action, so head on over if you’re curious. (Let me take the chance to remind everyone that I’m no expert when it comes to Philippine mythology though, just an enthusiast.) Here’s an excerpt:

d. As a writer and collector of folk tales, what is the greatest challenge you’ve encountered yet? Where do you attribute this challenge?

As a collector, the greatest challenge is finding material that not only gives a narration of the old stories, but also gives a proper context, one that explains what the myth as a whole or elements of that myth meant for the people and culture from which it originated. If I’m reading an epic, say, where the hero turns into a particular kind of animal, it’s very helpful to know whether that animal has a particular cultural significance. The old tales were always more than just literal narrations of events – like the universe itself in the eyes of many cultures, the old stories had layers, and if one simply reads a retelling of the story, without any context, that depth can be lost.

As a writer, the greatest challenge for me is trying to embrace these old myths and legends as a part of my Filipino heritage, without wrongful appropriation. These are my stories and yet, at the same time, they are not, because many of the stories which are considered Filipino folklore emerge from communities which pre-existed the idea of a Philippine nation, or even a Filipino race, communities which still exist today in a sort of grey area where they are struggling to maintain their unique cultural identities.

You can find the rest of the interview here.

RRT: Favorite First Lines in Speculative Fiction

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 9 - 2010


One year ago, 9/9/09, Rocket Kapre officially launched. In celebration of our first year anniversary, here’s a new installment of one of our most popular features: the Rocket Round Table. For this batch, the question – to coincide with the anniversary – is: “What is your favorite first line in speculative fiction?” Prose and graphic novels/comics were fair game (movies and television were not), as were local and foreign works – I only asked that the respondents include any first lines from Filipino-made spec fic that stood out for them. Feel free to add your own in the comments!

Thanks to all those who took time to participate in the round table, and for all those who have supported Rocket Kapre in its first year. Here’s to many more to come!

[Warning: Some language may not be safe for work, or children, or adults who like to pretend they're as innocent as children.]

ELBERT OR Comic book creator, university lecturer, graphic designer, freelance writer, entrepreneur (he’s part of Brain Food, which gives speech and writing workshops) Elbert is a jack of all trades and master of… well, lots. He currently runs Global Art and the Komiksabado Comics Workshop.

Happy first year, RK! How time flies!
I owe much of my interest in current Philippine SF to Dean Alfar’s “Kite of Stars,” and its first line/ paragraph which grabbed firm hold of me and has still not let me go:

The night when she thought she would finally be a star, Maria Isabella du’l Cielo struggled to calm the trembling of her hands, reached over to cut the tether that tied her to the ground, and thought of that morning many years before when she’d first caught a glimpse of Lorenzo du Vicenzio ei Salvadore: tall, thick-browed and handsome, his eyes closed, oblivious to the cacophony of the accident waiting to occur around him.

I wish I could say though that memory allowed me to remember each word, but I admit only to committing the first eleven words. But the blame lies solely on me and my poor memory.

Here’s to the next ten years for Rocket Kapre!

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CATHERINE BATAC WALDERCatherine is based in England and works as a research group administrator at the Department of Earth Sciences, Royal Holloway University of London. From 2005 to 2007, she moved across Norway, Finland and Portugal for a European MPhil. scholarship. Her fiction appears in Big Pulp, Demons of the New Year, Philippines Graphic, Ruin and Resolve Anthology, Expanded Horizons, and Philippines Free Press. She blogs at

Just when the idea occurred to her that she was being murdered she could not tell.” – The Small Assassin, comics adaptation of a tale by Ray Bradbury

At some time near dawn, on March 25, 1913, there came a loud knocking at the front door of the Uyterhoevens’ home in the Dayton View section of Dayton, Ohio.” – The Chess Garden by Brooks Hansen

At first glance, the picture looked like any other in a family album of that time, the sepia shade and tone, the formal poses, the men in solemn Sunday suits and the women, severely coiffed, in long skirts and billowing blouses.” – Fade by Robert Cormier

““I can do this,” I told my squirrel.” - Speed Dating and Spirit Guides by Rod M. Santos

In the tiny lifeboat, she and the alien fuck endlessly, relentlessly.” – Spar by Kij Johnson

My name is Kathy H. I’m thirty-one years old, and I’ve been a carer now for over eleven years.” – Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

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G.M. CORONELA Marketing Management graduate of De La Salle University in 1985, he is a first-time author with no literary background to speak of other than a genuine love of reading and a passion for writing. Coming across back issues of Writer’s Digest a few years ago started his writing career. Some previous personal encounters with the paranormal convinced him to pursue the horror genre. He believes that stories to tell and experiences to share are best put in written words. He is the author of Tragic Theater.

The night wind howls like a wounded dying animal.” (Trese Murder on Balete Drive) — This is a very compelling first line and it engages the reader’s interest in the story.

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DON JAUCIAN - Don regularly reviews books for several publications, both print and on-line. He is the resident bitch of the film blog Pelikula Tumblr. His book dump is

The Ascension of Our Lady Boy – Mia Tijam (PDF of Expanded Horizons #14, which includes the story.)

Let us begin with my earliest memory as a lady: Daddy had complained to Iyay who was my yaya(and his yaya before and his mama’s yaya before that) that I was lacking something strong in my bones and in my hips.

Tijam’s Lady Boy is hands down one of my favorite spec fic stories. It effectively combined Philippine culture, gay-isms and the whole ‘triumph of the heart’ thing. I like how the first line promises a wonderful story, equal parts whimsical and endearing, like Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros and it really delivers.

Visitors – Luis Katigbak

When they first arrived, they transformed themselves into everything we ever secretly wanted to be.

Stories of ‘encounters’ are never amusing. They mostly run as dubious paranoiac rants but in a few words, Katigbak manages to brush off the fluff usually associated with this tripe. ‘Visitors’ is beautiful, a different approach into the Wonderful World of Alien Mysteries; humanized and hopeful.

Brigada – Joey Nacino

When the news came, Captain Fernando Tabora of the Philippine Navy was meeting with the two-man salvage team at the top of Manila Hotel.

I’m a sucker for post-apocalyptic stories and Manila Hotel underwater is just too awesome to ignore. Just like the head of Statue of Liberty chopped off in Cloverfield!

Flicker – Ian Rosales Casocot

Something had apparently come to live, or stir, in the house down the road, that old mansion on the corner before one turned left down Mango Street, which led toward the coconut groves that bordered the farthest end of the village.

Suburban horror stories always fascinate me and Casocot’s ‘Flicker’ definitely sustains the tension from the first sentence to the last. It is eerie, ominous and it’s refreshing to see a horror story devoid of hysterics and cheap scare tactics.

[More after the cut]

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My Interview with Rochita Loenen-Ruiz

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On July - 27 - 2010

Oh, hey, look whose turn it is on the other end of the (figurative) microphone? Fantastic Filipina writer Rochita Loenen-Ruiz ( who is currently guest blogging at Ecstatic Daysinterviewed me, and Lavie Tidhar posted the conversation over at the World SF News Blog. Here’s an excerpt:

Q: What do you think are the obstacles or challenges that we face as Filipinos writing in a field that’s dominated by the West?

The first challenge is that, as I touched upon a little earlier, most of us Filipino speculative fiction writers are ourselves products of that domination. The books we read in our youth gave us many of the tools and techniques that enable us to be writers, but which, at the same time, might not be right for the kind of stories we now want to tell–at least not without some adaptation. Even the language many of us write in, which approximates American English, while serving as the basic tool of our profession, seems to add a layer of alienation any time we choose to write certain types of stories. You see that a lot in the komiks scene here, particularly the local superhero scene, where you can see creators struggling to decide when to use English, or when to use Filipino, or how to translate a concept or experience from one context/language to another.

There was a recent discussion with regard to the viability of the classic superhero in the Philippines–the type who only focuses on halting crime rather than effecting any social change–given that the scale of problems such as poverty and corruption here. And yet, classic superheroes are exactly what many of the creators grew up wanting to do. In the same way, I grew up wanting to write The Belgariad, or the Wheel of Time, but now that I’ve realized I want to write stories influenced by the historical Philippines rather than historical Europe, I find that there is no great body of fiction that I can turn to and build upon. (Which is one of the reasons I’m all for discovering Philippine myths and legends.) It’s a blank slate, and for a writer that is both exciting and terrifying.

The other challenges are more practical in nature, and apply more specifically to Filipinos who live in the Philippines and want to publish novels.  While the short story market is becoming more and more accessible to writers from across the globe, it’s still difficult for someone who doesn’t live in the West to get a book published in the West, even when we just factor in logistical matters, such as the fact that a writer who lives in the Philippines is less likely to be able to network at a convention, or attend a writing workshop like Clarion. The sad thing is, it’s not any easier for a Filipino writer to get a spec fic novel published here in the Philippines. Most publishers don’t appear interested in spec fic in general, and spec fic novels in particular. There are no literary agents here, nor conventions where an aspiring writer can approach an editor or publisher. That’s one reason why I believe that many authors in the future will take the self-publishing route–they simply don’t have a way to get the attention of publishers. I hope that Rocket Kapre can help change that in the future.

You can read the rest of the interview here.

Thanks to Rochita for taking time from her writing to interview me, and thanks to Lavie for sharing the interview.

Horror is Transgression: An Interview with Karl De Mesa

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On June - 21 - 2010


I did a quick-and-dirty interview with Joseph Nacino when Demons of the New Year first launched, and now I have an in-depth interview with his co-editor, horror scribe Karl De Mesa, up at Pinoy Pop–not just about Demons of the New Year, but his life and his newly released book “News of the Shaman”, published by Visprint. You can see the first part here, and the second part here. An excerpt:

Did they know from the start that you were a writer, and that you tend to write about people around you?

Yes, although maybe some of them would be surprised to see themselves in my fiction. But a lot of my friends aren’t really big fiction readers. My family doesn’t read my fiction for the most part. I’d tell them about a launch and they’d say “okay” but not show up, which is a good thing in general, because some things I’ve written, especially my non-fiction essays about growing up in the Philippine left, might make them angry.

Is it a different experience, writing about these experiences without even the venner of fiction?

Very. People have asked me why I don’t just become an overtly political writer. The truth is, hindi ako natutuwa sa ganoon eh. That’s actually the feedback I received from writing workshops: “Ikaw, ang dami dami mong material, bakit hindi ka na lang magsulat tunkol sa status ng Pililipnas?” Eh hindi talaga ako natutuwa eh.

When you’re dealing with taboos, with that kind of transgression, you take the reader far beyond their comfort zones. How do you ground them?

You ground them with characters who are real people, with sympathetic concerns and motivations. This is something Philip K. Dick was great at. Even monstrous creatures can have drives that people will understand: hunger, for example, is something we’re all familiar with–I used that for my were-dog story in “Tales of Enchantment and Fantasy”. Other creatures can be motivated by a need for control, say a Tikbalang in a crime family. The characters can be inhuman, but their motivations can still be human. They may have special needs, but that’s still a motivation that can be sympathetic.

I think this is one of the powers of horror: defamiliarization. That can also work to make the central form of a metaphor stronger.

You might also want to check out Fidelis Tan’s two part review of Demons of the New Year itself. Part one / Part two.

Art Fantastic: Interview with Benjo Camay

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On May - 26 - 2010

There’s no better complement to a Spec Fic story than some good fantasy or science-fiction artwork. CG Pintor is an organization of Filipino digital painters, co-founded by Usok #1 cover artist Kevin Lapeña, and now and then we’ll do interviews with some of their members. Today we speak with Benjo Camay (The-Hand on deviantart), who contributed a piece to the illustrated edition of Usok #1, namely the art for “The Coming of the Anak-Araw” by Celestine Trinidad.


What’s the first thing you remember drawing?

I remember that I when I was 4 years old I’d always draw a scuba diver thrusting a knife unto a shark’s body.

Uhm. Why? Did you have a deep hatred of sharks or something?

Actually, I don’t really know why I did that when I was a kid… maybe sharks are just so cool to draw?

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Usok Interview: Crystal Koo

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On May - 20 - 2010


Here’s the fourth Usok #1 author interview, this time with Crystal Koo, author of “The Startbox“, which now has an illustration by Kevin Lapeña.

Tell us a bit about how you came up with the idea for your story.

Given the theme that was set as a guideline for the issue, I actually started writing a completely different story, a very science-fiction one with a lot to do with computers. But I was having really big trouble with it, so one midnight I just abandoned it and started writing this one, without any planning at all, and for the most part of the first draft, it wrote itself.

What aspect of the story gave you the most difficulty?
Making the main character’s transformation credible.

Do you remember the first short story you ever wrote? What was it about?
I started off scribbling bits and pieces of things on lined paper and stapling them together into a “book” when I was a little girl. I can’t remember any of those. The earliest that I can remember is the first story I ever typed on a computer – something about a Molly.

Does your cultural background influence how you write, or what you write?
What I write, yes (the how is mostly influenced by the books I read). It’s a bit complex writing as a Chinese-Filipino who’s moving around Asia at the moment, so all kinds of considerations crop up, but most of the time I just make sure that I don’t pigeonhole myself into writing about one particular culture all the time.

What was the best piece of writing advice you ever read or received?
“The whole business of writing is to live with doubt: to do what you don’t know how to do, to place yourself continually in a situation of ignorance and inelegance” – Peter Carey. Not exactly advice, but it’s very reassuring, especially from a big guy in the business.

Usok Interview: Celestine Trinidad

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On May - 19 - 2010


Here’s the fourth, and final, Usok #1 interview, featuring our youngest author in this issue, Celestine Trinidad. Celestine is the author of “The Coming of the Anak-Araw” which now has an illustration by Benjo Camay.

Tell us a bit about how you came up with the idea for your story.

I had originally written a story about a storyteller (the same character in my story, “The Storyteller and the Giant”) and his apprentice, and that was the story I was supposed to be writing for the Palancas, but it ended up too long that I eventually decided to just turn into a novel—which, as with most ideas, had a life of its own, I swear—morphed into a series in my head. In that series, the storyteller and his apprentice will eventually face the same anak-araw that appeared in “The Coming of the Anak-Araw”, and they will be helped by other characters found in this story. I guess this is sort of a prequel to that, of sorts.

That is, if I ever get around to writing that series.

What aspect of the story gave you the most difficulty?

As Pao can probably attest, this story was very different originally, before he did some wonderfully extensive editing, hehe. Mostly I struggled with the pacing of the story, since in my head it was already part of that series of books I wanted to write, but this is a short story, and hence should be written differently.

Do you remember the first short story you ever wrote? What was it about?

I think I wrote a short story (complete with really horrible illustrations, hehe) about an alien woman whose planet was destroyed, so she sought refuge on our planet, and became a teacher. I…think she battled the aliens who destroyed her planet? And fell in love with this human co-teacher who guessed her secret, probably—I always was a sucker for romances like that. I lost the original version of that story, alas.

Does your cultural background influence how you write, or what you write?

Of course, as mostly I like writing about Philippine mythology, and those stories are the ones I am most comfortable with writing. I find our myths on the whole really fascinating, and love how you can play around with them, reinterpret them in so many ways. Being a doctor also influences my writing, because I always tend to include medical-related things in my stories (Sari is a healer in this one, after all, and works with herbs I once studied), I guess these are things I can’t help either.

What was the best piece of writing advice you ever read or received?

From my former Creative Writing 10 teacher in UP: “Keep reading and writing. Don’t let what other people say stop you from doing so.” It’s really simple advice, I know, but whenever I face rejections and feel like I can never be any good at this, I remember all those workshops we had with him, when he always found something nice to say about what we wrote, while still offering advice on how we could make those stories better. He was never harsh, and I’m immensely grateful for it. I’ve kept on writing, because of those first lessons I learned from him.

Usok Interview: Yvette Tan

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On May - 17 - 2010

Tomorrow, we’ll finally be launching the updated version of Usok #1, with a gorgeous new illustration for each story. We’ll also have an announcement regarding the future of Usok as well. As a celebration of the launch of the illustrated version, I’ll be posting short interviews with Yvette, Crystal and Celestine (I already posted interviews with chiles, and Kenneth, as well as artists Kevin and Tey (who did the illustration for Yvette’s story, “The Child Abandoned“). Here’s the third Usok #1 author interview, with Yvette Tan, author of The Child Abandoned


Tell us a bit about how you came up with the idea for your story

I was passing by Sta. Ana one day when I noticed the name of the church near St. Peter School called The Church of Our Lady of the Abandoned, or something like that. I thought it was a sad and beautiful name and that I must use it in a story.

What aspect of the story gave you the most difficulty?

I have a horrible sense of direction, so it’s the geographical parts of the story that gave me the most difficulty. I’ve been to Quiapo several times and until now, I still can’t name streets or remember how to get to places. Of course, that just gives me a reason to visit the place again.

Do you remember the first short story you ever wrote? What was it about?

The first stories I wrote weren’t so much original works as adaptations, and more graphic novels than fiction. In grade school, a friend and I used to draw scenes from Maricel Soriano comedies (the more Marias in the movie, the better). I also wrote a personal security handbook which I bound in wrapping paper and refused to show anyone. In high school, I wrote specially commissioned stories that starred my friends and the New Kid on the Block of their choice, as well as some horribly derivative fantasy, one of which was novel-length. This is probably why I flunked a lot of subjects.

Does your cultural background influence how you write, or what you write?

I actually don’t use my cultural background in my writing. I know I should take advantage of my Chinese roots, but I am so much more fascinated by the Filipino side.

What was the best piece of writing advice you ever read or received?

At a talk, John Maxwell shared his secret for getting stuff done. He said that every day, he had five goals that he should do, and he did them. It’s simple, and it gets the job done.

Taking the Plunge: Self-Publishing PinoyWriMos

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 14 - 2010

Every November, over a hundred thousand writers across the world participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month–although it’s very much an international affair now) and attempt to finish a novel in the span of one month. Many Filipino writers participate in NaNoWriMo as well, calling themselves PinoyWriMos, and this year, several participants have decided to self publish their novels in ebook form at this year’s Summer’s Komikon on April 17, 2010 at the UP Bahay ng Alumni, with the help of Talecraft. I spoke to four of the five young authors via email about their stories, and their decision to publish these stories on their own.

Tell me a little bit about yourselves, so our readers will know the context from which you approach your writing.

EK: Call me EK, ee-kay.  My real name can be easily found–I have published and may still publish with it–but since I am using a professional license now, I prefer to use the online handle for fiction-related matters.  My writing background is hard-knocks, coming from school newspapers, stage presentations, fan websites, fanfiction, and some original fiction.

Kuyerjudd: I started writing when I was eight years old, because the worlds I made (or the worlds that made me) were the very things that kept me going. In that sense you could say I’m a hippy writer. I keep my head in the clouds, and not a lot of people who write Western fiction get published in the Philippines, so I constantly end up querying agents from Australia and the US—with no luck as of yet. That being said, I keep my heart where it is … where it belongs: in the Philippines. Other than that, I’m sixteen, live with my parents, and I dream big. More? I write comedy, I don’t use the QWERTY, and I’ll soon rule the world. With brownies. Lots and lots of brownies.

Raven:  Actually, what led me to write Crimson Skies were the questions that I used to ask older people as a child (even a priest and a nun): ”Why do we have to die? When is the end of the world? Where is God? How sure are you it‘s not the devil talking to you?” The characters (in the story) ask these same questions themselves.

Pauline: I’m a Psychology major with too much imagination, not to mention an inborn fascination with the occult and the paranormal, yet one lacking the perseverance to slave through blocks of texts that end with a question mark. Much of what I write are products of my imagination, since I like creating facts from theories and theories from facts.

Most of these stories started as your respective NaNoWriMo projects. How many NaNos have you participated in? Do you think the challenge is helpful to new writers (in whole or in part)?

EK: This is my second year as a Nanowrimo participant, and this is my first complete story using this method.  My opinion is that Nanowrimo is helpful to new writers, giving them a solid goal and solid objectives.  The website makes a community of similar-minded individuals come together, which makes you feel less lonely as a writer.

Kuyerjudd: This was my first time doing NaNo, but not my first to write a novel. I guess I could say, yes, NaNo is helpful when you’re a budding writer. It helps you develop your voice, discover who you are as a writer, and, most importantly, teaches you how to deal with a deadline. And that way, the writing becomes less cold, as you go by your gut and an “anything goes” attitude. You become in tune with the eight-year old aspiring novelist that you were…

Raven: This was my first time to join the Nanowrimo and this is the first novel unleashed from my head. One of the challenges faced by a newbie is realizing that writing a novel isn’t something you can just play around with. It’s a rollercoaster ride because there are so many things you can do, but you have such a short span of time to do them, thus adding pressure. Since this was my first novel, figuring out of how to do things and put them together, while at the same time trying not to copy another author’s style even by accident, was crucial. There are many things to learn still, and just because you‘re able to finish a novel doesn’t mean it’s done.

Pauline: I’ve participated in NaNo since 2007–though my first year barely counts since I joined on the second to the last day. The challenge of NaNo was quite helpful, especially when I was just a greenhorn, since it introduced me to the real concept of the Deadline. Perseverance and stubbornness are also traits that I picked up through the experience, and I always get to hone my knack of writing-without-an-outline each year thanks to NaNo.

What made you decide to take your stories straight to the market, without the intermediary of a third party publisher?

EK: Speaking at least for myself, there is no local market that I could see yet for my kind of writing, which is in between children’s books and the adult fiction. This is not to say there are no readers; the local success of international YA titles show that there is a readership. Rather, there are no publishers yet seriously considering the kind of writing that some of us make.

Kuyerjudd: Hey, any opportunity to showcase your work is an opportunity worth taking. I find publishing in the traditional sense difficult–and yet I still query agents and publishers… Sometimes you have to show the world you want it before it gives in to your wishes. Plus, this is a great opportunity for a fledgling writer like myself to show the world what I’m made of.

Raven: I consider this a “suicide mission.” Sure anyone can write a story; but not everyone has the guts to put it up for people to read. Some writers do, but staying on the front lines is a gut wrencher, especially without a third-party publisher to guide you. Going straight to the market is the ultimate test of how far one can personally go for this.

Pauline: I prefer seeing things to the end. I see all of my creations as my babies, so taking them straight to the market is like watching them march down the aisle during graduation. I mean, what kind of parent would rather ask someone else watch his kid graduate?

Have you encountered any of the stigma that allegedly colors perception of self-published books?

EK: This experience of preparing for Komikon taught me that paid editors and the traditional system [of publishing] are around for very good reasons. They provide objective eyes for a story, and harness the business knowledge to market it.  But if Komikon is anything to go by, a lot of independent works deserve a chance to be noticed, a chance they will not get via the traditional system.

Kuyerjudd: I’ve often thought about self-publishing and what its pros and cons were, but right now”it sort of branches out as to what form you distribute your work in—you could do e-books or PoD. PoD is okay, but I’d rather go with e-books, as it’s less costly for three parties—the author, the reader, and nature.

Raven: When people hear the term “self published book”, some will be amazed that we have the guts to do it, while others will think that no self righteous publisher would take the stories so we’re doing it ourselves. Having a self published book is a challenge for us: we call the shots, true, but how long can we hold on to that?

Pauline: From a writer’s perspective, I do. Thoughts like: ‘Will people even pick this book?’ and ‘Am I even making any sense?’ plague me–I don’t know if those count as real stigmas, but I definitely feel anxious.

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About Me

Rocket Kapre is an imprint of Eight Ray Sun Publishing Inc. (a new Philippine-based publisher), dedicated to bringing the very best of Philippine Speculative Fiction in English to a worldwide audience by means of digital distribution. More info can be found at our About section at the top of the page.