Showing posts from May, 2023

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and My Books

The Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month draws to a close today. I thought it might be interesting to discuss how my Geomancer’s Apprentice books reflect the experience of Chinese immigrants in the United States. First off, it’s important to note that the Chinese diaspora encompasses millions of disparate experiences based on the time period in which it took place, as well as family and individual circumstances. I wanted my characters to reflect this diversity. To recap, my protagonists are Junie Soong and Joe Tham, a pair of feng shui consultants from Chinatown, Washington, D.C. The books—especially The Forgotten Guardian , the second book in the series—focus mainly on how Joe’s family came to America. Joe’s grandfather Tham Tiar Lung (placing the family name first, as is the custom for ethnic Chinese people) came to the U.S. in the early 1930s. Like many others before and after him, he used his connections to find a way around the Chinese Exclusion

The God Trees of Singapore

I saw this enormous tree recently in a suburban neighborhood in Maryland. I love seeing old trees, but especially old trees in the suburbs. They beat the odds. They survived, and thrived. Old trees also remind me of the “god trees” in Singapore. These god trees (called “shen shu” in Mandarin) are usually old. One famous god tree grows in the midst of a busy neighborhood of apartment blocks. The tree is said to be more than 100 years old. It existed long before the first apartments were constructed. According to local lore, the tree was so difficult to uproot, even with the use of bulldozers, that the developers gave up and built around it. People have worshiped at it for so long that the shrine at its base is now a registered place of worship, with its own trustees and list of charities. The tree, like many of the god trees in Singapore, is a banyan, a type of fig with aerial roots that hang from its branches. Buddha was said to have gained enlightenment under a banyan tree, so it’

An Eerie Tale for Mother’s Day

My mother Kim Moy told many stories about her encounters with ghosts. Believing in the supernatural isn’t at all unusual in Singapore and Malaysia, the two countries in which she lived. Mom’s ghostly tales inspired me to write my own. This Mother’s Day, I thought I would share one of her stories. This one occurred during the Japanese Occupation of Malaya, as Malaysia was then called. My mother was a teenager at the time. The Imperial Japanese Army started its invasion of Malaya in December 1941. The troops landed their boats in the northeastern part of the country and advanced southwards. The Japanese gained full control of Malaya when the British military forces surrendered at Singapore in February 1942. The occupation lasted until 1945. My mother lived with her family near Taiping, a small town in northwest Malaya. A small garrison of Japanese soldiers was stationed at the town during the occupation. One night, Mom had a dream about one of her older sisters. The sister had died a

Book Review: 'The Cliffhangers' by Naomi Jessica Rose

Five stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ This is such a well-crafted book. The story unfolds in fits and starts, sometimes doubling back on itself, the better to reflect the main character Pride’s confusion about who she is. Pride is searching for her real parents. She happens upon a group of kids who live in a ramshackle place named the Cliffhangers. They use their magical abilities to find things. She teams up with them, hoping they can help her find her parents. She lends her own magical skill to theirs. Through Pride’s eyes, the author masterfully builds a dystopian world ruled by an amorphous authoritarian government that imprisons its critics. The book is well-written and edited. I love the writing, the characters, and the author’s whimsy. I found many of the sentences a sheer delight, such as, “Plenty of them are children, with their little teeth, and gaps between them.” I’ll definitely read more from this author.

'The Four Perils' Now Available as Paperbacks, Ebooks

I’m happy to announce that The Four Perils , the fourth book in my Geomancer’s Apprentice series, is now available in paperback as well as ebook format! You can also read it for free if you’re an Amazon Kindle Unlimited subscriber. The latest book continues the adventures of Joe Tham and Junie Soong, two underdog feng shui consultants in D.C. who find, to their dismay, that they must save the world.  Blurb for The Four Perils ************ Where one door closes, another opens … Underdog geomancers Joe Tham and Junie Soong face their strangest mystery yet: why are ghosts in Washington, D.C., suddenly turning violent? And what’s reanimating the dead animals in the area? Junie is adjusting to life without Noah and her trusty wooden sword. She trains hard at her fighting and she unlocks her latent magical abilities with help from the Golden Dragon’s journals. Just in time. The new cases will stretch her strength, skills, and ingenuity. And as the feng shui consultants delve deeper i

Check Out My New Merch Store!

I’m excited to announce that I’ve set up a merch store! The store is at Redbubble, a global online marketplace. The store sells stickers, magnets, pins and T-shirts featuring art associated with my imprint Kampung Kreepy Books and my Geomancer’s Apprentice urban fantasy series. There are five different designs so far. If you’ve read the books, you will be familiar with the Laughing Buddha Cafe. Or how about the tagline “Who knew feng shui would be this dangerous?” You will know who “Hu” is once you read The Forgotten Guardian , the second book in the series. Little Kreepy, the chibi mascot for Kampung Kreepy Books, is actually a pontianak. She harks back to my Southeast Asian roots. A pontianak is a female vampire-like folklore creature that preys on men at night. Please check out the store! You can get volume discounts even if you bundle the products from my store with those of other artists on Redbubble. Visit the store .