A story been written during my sleepless nights, fairly accompanied by my SSRI drugs, a cup of frappucino and a chunk of optimism. Presenting you, my deadly trial on becoming the most random, engineering-major, truly amateur fictional writer, 'Dead Cat For Zoey'. Well, if Sophie Kinsella, Emily Cassel or Stephanie Meyer happen to read my book, please, don't flush mine into your bowl. That's too rude! Haha.
blacky dead cat

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Laughter is the best drug

It's boring to say, well, 'laughter is the best medicine', because we've heard that a lot, thousand countless times, so it's time to change it, into something fancier and nicely audible to our ears.
Why can't we just say, 'laughter is the best Paracetamol' or something more specific, like 'Laughter is the best Iberet Folic 500 that Abbott has ever manufactured in it's entire productions' for migrain-ers.

So, what's up with laughter? Did I choke hard till death because of laughing MAO. Noooo. But what happened yesterday evening, when I was spending my time with my little cousin, is truly capturing the meaning behind above saying. Pondering yourself about what will happen tomorrow, is really a pain in the ass, as you can always plan, but you can't really execute it the way you envision it to be. Planning is crucial, nevertheless.

This kid, quick-witted kid actually, is my medicine for these unproductive days. He just knows to cuddle himself among grown-ups, and he casts his cuddly face the whole time as long as the face can bear such gaiety gestures, and it is great to be kids again, just by watching him on his homemade blase, an eternally good sport, no matter how tired he is, after hours in school.

Cutting things simpler, my Sony Webbie had captured everything into digital bytes, as I am not gonna pass such gleeful moment, so that it would inspire me to smile more, and just 'LOL' at my problems.

I was trying to be a serious interviewer in there, but as we started, he had pulled the laughing-gas trigger, successfully, and the gas was translated into burst of laughter as he said;

"Okay...who is the ..- I like to play I-SPY game.." [See? Heard enough? He just changed his question just like that, right in the middle, and since then, I can't help myself anymore, for being a serious interviewer in the background]

and then, I asked, "What is I-SPY game?" Along with his trademarked poker face, he did his best part again, shivering all the butterflies in my tummy, as he said,
"What is YOUR COLOR?"
I was like, 'what?'..you can't be serious? Is that the I-SPY type of question, asking people, what is your color? LOL :D. God this kid really deserves a nice spanking on his butt, till it gets red, for his creepy talk. And not enough with that chaos, he barked again,

"Who is the fattest man in the world?" Yeah, like I know one.

He talked about LOL, and surprisingly, he knew WTF too. Sigh. This is the internet era, where kids as small as him, knows lot better than us, the post-adolescents.

And the rest of the video was muffled with more goofy jokes that he made, till the very last second, as I asked him to wave goodbye to the camera, but instead, he teased me with his original, lame but really a pure sarcasm, though he didn't intend so, but he pulled it off, triumphantly, like a real 'Raja Lawak' of Malaysia.

Thanks Nusshan for the silly jokes. It's really helpful for the meantime.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dan da Xin Xi

I took a quick rest from talking and blogging about my book, hoping that everything would be on auto-pilot, and because it is internet, especially facebook, it is possible to let the program to run by itself, with very little supervision. Alongside, I had launched my own advertising campaign with Fb, using the CPC method (cost per click) with the bid of $0.10 per click, and spent daily budget at most, $3.00, meaning to say, I should get 30 clicks per day. But that '30' is a non-guaranteed conversion, as out of that number, might be there are few slips - not all people would sign up as a fan. So, it's okay, we try.

Back to the main topic. I spent these days by feeding my wild side of curiosity, by reading books, whether fictional or non-fictional. I got 'It's Not About the Coffee' written by a former President of Starbucks International, I gorge on 'Google Speaks' - a complete autobiography of how Google was founded, why they called it Google instead of Go-Ogle (Haha), till the latest products and genius free but 'with-a-price-to-be-paid-later' by those two founders. I also got a book from MPH - AirAsia story - about how Tony Fernandez. built his empire, by purchasing the lease at RM1, with RM40 million debts, as he took over the failing airline company and turn it into one of the best and largest low-cost-modeled airlines in the world, and now with his other ventures - Tunes hotel, mobile prepaid, F1 Malaysia, low-cost web hosting etc.

Well, people said, 'Never put all your eggs in one basket', and I said, 'Try to find eggs that can take up baskets in it'. Huh? Yeah, well, sometimes, we need bigger eggs, with harder shells.

So, last night, I pulled on this book 'Cerita Saya: Lim Goh Tong', it's in Malay translation, and you can get it in English and in Chinese language too. I would like to quote on this, as he said-

" Memang benar saya suka ambil risiko; dalam hal ini saya berbeza dengan peniaga Cina lama. Bla bla bla... Saya yakin bahaawa untuk berjaya dalam perniagaan, kita harus ada sikap yang disebut orang Cina 'dan da xin xi', iaitu, berani tapi berhati-hati"

That's about it. So, 'dan da xin xi' means going bold, going big and nasty, but CAREFULLY. I kinda like this saying, it nails it. I know, he's doing casino business, which is something that we might not want to involve in, but learning from this business guru, about his endless passions and visions, are harmless, my friend.

The best part in this book, is about 'the first love encounter', as always, the 'best' part, haha. Especially when it's written in Malay it sounds really 'perky' and bouncy and sprightly. Read this, if you doubt my words-

"Pada masa pendudukan Jepun, saya berkedai menjual perkakasan di Jln. Pudu, KL. Di sebelah saya tinggal keluarga Lee yang mempunyai anak gadis bernama Kim Hua. Gadis remaja itu matang (matang? Erpp? I start to laught at this point, but controllable) dan rupawan. Saya jatuh cinta pandang pertama (OMG! At this point, I was trembling on the floor, laughing out loud. I dunno man, it just 'nails' it, again. When the word 'matang' meets 'rupawan' then eventually touched up with 'Saya jatuh cinta...', I couldn't resist it anymore. I laugh real hard till the eyes got red. Seriously. That's why I can't and never read Malay novels with the 'Cinta' titles in front, it just funny. It's not romantic anymore). You don't laugh? At all? Come one, it's funny! No? Well, you're not that humorous, are you?

Anyway..hikhikhik (still laughing), he finally got married at 26 and that girl was only 16. But a year later, bad news come, which made me stopping 'LOL' at him.

"Suatu malam dalam April pada tahun selepas perkahwinan kami, isteri saya bermimpi bahawa ibu saya menegurnya kerana masakannya tidak sedap (Wow! That was heartbreaking...). Keesokannya isteri saya bertanya, "Emak abang (abang?!...phewiittt) berkulit cerahkah, mukanya kurus sedikit, rupanya macam Dewi Belas Ihsan?"

Then, Lim said , "Yeah, that was right. That's mom", sort of (I used simpler wordings, pretty lazy to type in the lengthy sentences).
Few months later, he received a letter that Mom had passed away on that April, the month which the wife got the dream. It's pretty sad, right?

Other keynotes, and noteworthy highlight, is his crucial stand and firm grip on his principle of 'doing the impossible with sheer possibility'. And these few lines, below, really give us a giant SLAP on our faces, especially the skeptics.

"Apabila saya mengenang kembali, terlintas juga rasa kagum akan keberanian sendiri berkata kepada para pencemuh: "Ketawakanlah saya sepuas hati, sampai pecah perut pon takpaaa (I just made up those 'sampai pecah perut...' and on. Haha. So that it sounds better! Isn't it?), saya tetap akan naik juga ke gunung itu".."

That's the spirits! Love that one. Love it, love it, like it! It tells me and us, that we are not afraid to be a laughingstock, because of our crazy dreams, and so-called ambitious planning. Let them barking and yelling like hell, but we do our job and we do it with our hearts and heads, not mouths.

Nobody wants to be in that ghostly Genting once upon a time, but today, we pay a thousand ringgit, per room per night, to those 'ghosts', so that we can have a very chilly, less-sweating first night of marriage (hik hik hik) with our 'matang and rupawan' newly-wed wife, (I laugh again. Sorry guys. Can't handle it! Seriously) in a very cozy suite, and we make lots of babies then. Always wear an 'umbrella' if you're not ready, yet. Hopefully. :D

Take a good care of yourself. And the girl next door. Walla!
(I have to finish this short, I can't HANDLE it. It's funny. Malay-translated books really funny, sometimes)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Have a good one. With your new. Twin sized bed.

You look so defeated lying there in your new twin size bed.
With a single pillow underneath your single head.

I guess you decided that that old queen holds more space than you would need.

Now it's in the alley behind your apartment with a sign that says 'It's free'.

And I hope you have more luck with this than me.

You used to think that someone would come along.

And lay beside you in a space that they belong.

But the other side of the mattress and box springs stayed like new.

What's the point of holding onto a-never-gets-used?

Other than a sick desire for self-abuse.

And I try not to worry, but you've got me terrified.

It's like your some kind of hurry to say goodbye, say goodbye, say goodbye.

You look so defeated lying there in your new twin size bed.
You look so defeated lying there in your new twin size bed.

Someone genius enough wrote this. What matters most in a song is the lyrics, same goes with life, and it's principle. As you go along with these deepening words, and it's like biting every palette of your heart, tearing it apart with many sheds of regrets, as you console your heart and keep telling yourself, 'She would be fine...with her new bed...new guy...new life' but how would you know she would? Why would u still care about her?

Why would you? Because it's not about her.

It's about the bed, the boxsprings and the memories as we laid down our head against the headrest, talking about the endless future as we made fun of the wobbly fan under the ceiling that we rested, but we are not worried, 'cause the melancholy song that we lip-synced together as the mighty Sun crept up her beams into our windows, was still playing in the background, carelessly, of what we had done in the past...As the lyrics remain lyrics. And it plays through our heart. It resounded through the squished bed as we sat down. And your new twin size bed stays like new, as you still waiting for someone to replace, though the guy would be a new...And you've got me terrified..again

P/S: Just a quick review of the lyrics, nothing fishy, and has nothing to do with my book. Just sharpening some vocabs over here and scaring away those gloomy thoughts.

Friday, April 16, 2010

There is a light that never goes out

Read the title of this post? Sounding familiar? Well, if you're a fan of the once-upon-a-time British indie band, The Smiths, you might notice it.

"To die by your side, is such a heavenly way to die...." - That is part of the lyrics. Curious? Youtube it. Haha.

Hope is a bulb!

So, where are we now? How's the progress of this book?
First, thank a zillion, to all my friends, past and present, and some new supporters who support this project, by signing up as a fan in the facebook page. A friend of mine, Dayah Dayun, she did blog about this book and this rally too - you're the man! (though you're a woman).

I just checked my mailbox today, and...there is a light! Of hope! My senior at Vandy, Aminah, she left a message in my message box in fb, and she asked me to try this publishing house, Silverfish.
Thus, I did as what she said. I shot an email to the only email address they provide, somekind of default email add, like info@blablacompany.com
So, this is what I wrote, that I copied and pasted from my email entry:

Hi there,

I don't know if I am asking the right 'place' or the right people right now, but I am keen and optimist in finding a publisher for my debut book. It's an English fiction and I have contacted lots of publishing houses in Malaysia, like Alaf 21 and PTS, so forth, but none of them is publishing books in English, anymore.

So, the thing is, I want to dedicate this book for my graduating seniors from United States, this coming May, as well as my other friends of my old, alma mater, and I am really hoping my manuscript should be given a chance and a place in this industry.

I have 'google' a lot, looking for publisher. That's why I am asking Silverfish, If they publish or know some publishers that would work well with new, amateur writer like me.

Thanks and hoping,
Azrin Z.

That was my email. And they did reply! Thank GOD! And it sounds...hope, though really a tiny one. So, below is the content of the reply:


First of all there is no way we can get your book out by May even if we agree to publish it. We have a long queue already. Secondly, we have to know what genre your book is in and you have to send us a sample of your writing -- about 20 pages, A4 double spaced, .doc format -- by email and we shall get back to you.

Simple but, at least, gives me a small shed of lights, in publishing this book. So, Im thinking of submitting the first two chapters, for a sample, and a proofread for them.

I hope that everyone will pray that they will LOVE IT, not just like it. Okay? I'll update more about this later. Thanks for your never-ending supports, appreciate it so much! Keep spreading the words~

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I'm not going down without a fight

It's 3 a.m., I can't sleep at all, when I recalled back what happened yesterday morning. Yeah, I'm still talking about the rejections. They are really heartbreaking. It wasn't totally their faults, but I need to go through another hard times since last January, and now, April isn't that promising either, it full with hopes but aimlessly diminished, like all these 3-month efforts are just bags of trashes.
Crying during shower doesn't help, though a bit relieving. I got out, with no single shed of tears left, I disposed them, those despairs, and I'm going for a rally for myself. I had moody dinner with my dad and he was the victim for this small but resilient tantrums.
I am not going down without a fight...I don't take NO for an answer. And so do you.

REJECTIONS are tough...and heartrending

I know...I don't like the heading/title I put above either. Nobody likes rejection. The ripple effect of rejection is dejection, for sure.

It happens, again. It took three months to write and produce this book, but it took a minute and three emails to destroy everything, all at once. You have no idea what I'm talking about now, don't you? It's okay, I'll tell you.

If you read previous post, I was so excited about finishing this book and in fact, it is done, with the 'THE END' phrase been put there. With all the joys, punches into the stale air, sleeping soundly with sweet dreams, but I woke up today, with despairs...just another disappointment and rejection of life.
I was looking for a publisher, thus, I emailed few publishing houses. The first one was PTS. It was a great email, great heading, neat and polite Malay sentences, but, well, they said they don't carry English fiction. So, it's fine, I respect that and it is part of their vision and mission to only produce high-quality Malay novels. Again, it's fine, no big deal.

Second, I emailed Alaf21, through one of the employee. I shot them two emails, one on yesterday and one today. After hours of waiting for a reply, I got one. This is when the sense of rejection getting thicker and mind-bloating. They didn't accept English fiction, anymore, because the sale was bad and not getting much responds from readers, Malaysian readers. So, I lost, zero against two. They won, I failed badly.

But it didn't stop there. Two rejections don't make Jack a dull and depressed boy. I google more and more, I type in 'Malaysia novel publishers', 'Malaysia english novel publishers', 'English fiction publishing in Malaysia', 'where to publish book in Malaysia', all sort of keywords, well you get the idea. I also tried 'where the heck is English book publishers in Malaysia' - of course, it won't work that way. I came to one result, it was Ameen Kreatif, another publishing company. Before that, I had a brainchild of looking for local english novel in MPH online bookstore, and there were few, and I checked the publishing companies that came along with those books. So, I tried, but some websites are not active, some show the typical '404 Page NOt Found' and some don't even have websites.

Okay, about Ameen kreatif, they now mostly focusing on Islamic books and Malay literature, but still, I am a stubborn guy, with thick-faced, plus they used to publish english novels. Cutting the story short, I shot them an email, the same wordings I used for previous submissions. The company- a guy, replied few minutes later. Same thing. They don't publish English fictions, no more kid! The reply was honest and naive, so, I accepted it. And so, I accepted all the rejections today.

Is it too much to ask, just to, at least, take a look at the manuscript and we can talk later about publishing it, right? What do you say? I don't know. I feel dejected, depressed. White flag.
What should I do?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I finish the novel, like seriously

It's 3.10 a.m. in local time, Monday - Miracle happens.

Finally, the three-month-old efforts have come to a stress-free ending. The book now is done. Do you know, how hard it is, just to put the word 'THE END' in one word document, after you have written thousands of words all this while?

I don't know what to write, I'm so excited and I'm all worn out now. It's tiring. I need a good sleep now.

This is the end. This is the proof, that I'm not just talking and dreaming. I put my words into action and the most important thing is, proving myself, not proving others. Now, I believe more in myself, the one that I have lost since January ago. This is my second debut in life, and I'm climbing again. I messed up last time, but this time, no more.

This is the end of all my griefs, my despairs and disappointments. The End. The answer for my silence for this past three months. (Sorry guys that I didn't reply your birthday wishes and greets on my Facebook wall. It took a lot of courage to do that.)

I'm not going down without a fight. Thank God, you're my only hope and strength.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The novel has come to an end

Phewww...There is nothing more relievable, other than finishing something you have been working on, for about 3 months now.

So, I finally, I came to the last chapter and the word counts so far is 58,125 words. I was planning for only something less than 55,000 words, but thank God, I surpass the expectation.
And the next thing, especially today, is to finish up everything. And tonight, I need to make a thorough review from the 'Preface' till the very last page (I still don't know how should I end the story actually).

Other hand, I haven't made up my mind, on which publishing houses should I go. Whether it would be Alaf21, PTS, Utusan Publications - I don't know, because I don't have much information about any of them. I used to email someone from Alaf21, and she told me a bit about the company, the royalty distribution and stuff.
But the most important thing now is - How should I end my 'DEAD CAT FOR ZOEY' novel?


Friday, April 9, 2010

Linda Ronstadt vs. Zooey D.- Who you with?

When I browsed Youtube for the latest song from She & Him, my father asked me to look for some old songs that he used to love during his teenage life. We search for Deep Purple's Temple of the King, Paul Anka's Papa, Boney M's Ma Baker (a song tribute for a mother and sons robbery plots, where they were shot dead by FBI) and some other songs, like from Rod Stewart and Gun N Roses.
Everything was fine, until he asked me to type in the name 'Linda Ronstadt' in the search field. And the result was amazing, I mean, I was stunned! Why? Because she imitates the look of an everyone-dream-girl, Zooey Deschanel. Check out the vid below:

Well, it wasn't that close, but the way she picks her guitar, the hair-do, the dressing, big, fat eyes - it leads to a phenomenon called 'Karma' or rebirth of the old into the new one. I don't believe such thing, this might be a sheer coincidence. And of course, Zooey is much adorable..Haha...


Both are great singers - Zooey is folk/alternative figure, Linda was once labeled 'Queen of Rock' and she did country, folk, rock and roll too. So, the jury is, both are good, one is cuter than another. Which one??? Haha...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I'm In The Sun with She & Him

Well, not much people know about this alternative/folk band, but they are pretty famous in USA, and now they are shattering the world with their latest album - Volume Two.
The collaboration between Zooey Deschanel and M.Ward, is super-genius! super duper~ She's a great singer-songwriter, and Ward is great too, with his slumber face and well-skilled guitar strumming, make this band something that stand out proud, beating the hell out of the crowd.

Volume One is a very successful one. I had the full album since last year and it worth hours of listening. I wonder if they can keep up the good work with their second debut. Hopefully, they will and of course, they won't be disappointing, because, I have the proof!

Here is the foolproof! Introducing: In The Sun, fully written by Z.Deschanel. You'll be amazed!
Hit the green play button, TO PLAY, duh!

She & Him - In the Sun .mp3

Novel progress:
Word counts: 57,312 words
Current Chapter: Still on 'The Wall of Change' and some additions to 'I Deserve to Know to' chapter.

Just in case, you need the lyrics, I'll attach it here, in this post;

It's hard to be ignored
When I look at you
You look so bored
My baby, my darling
I've been taking a beating

Well all right
(Well all right)
It's ok
(It's ok)
We all get the slip sometimes every day
I'll just keep it to myself
In the sun
In the sun

It's hard to take the blame
When I look at you, you're so ashamed
My baby, my darling
I've been thinking of leaving

Well all right
(Well all right)
It's ok
(It's ok)
We all get the slip sometimes every day
I'll just keep it to myself
In the sun
In the sun

Well all right
(Well all right)
It's ok
(It's ok)
We all feel ashamed sometimes every day
I'll just keep it to myself
In the sun
In the sun

Thanks for reading!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Novel for Death Cab for Cutie fans

How many times in your life, that you ever fancy a band, from your childhood till you turn 40s or 50s? How many? Not much right, 'cause normally, it is the band who forgets you first. Most music bands in Malaysia, they don't last long (some only lasted for a year or two) and how could they have loyal, die-hard-fans, if they are not even loyal among or to themselves.

Well, since I was 14 or so, I used to listen to lots of slow rock, sentimental, and indie rock bands, and of course, it would be more from the Beatles and the Smiths. But it was pretty hard to find their records. But my most trustworthy band is Death Cab for Cutie or DCfc, an indie band from America, lead by Benjamin Gibbard (vocals, guitar), Chris Walla (guitar, production), Nick Harmer (bass) and Jason McGerr (drums).

Since the 'cassette age', I've been following this band, through their various discographies, like 'You can play these songs with cords', 'Something About the Airplane', 'Narrow Stairs' and so on.
Why I listen to them? For no reason. I don't know, the main aspect is the lyric. It's not like any other song,their songs are usually melancholy songs about feeling both smart and confused, hopelessly romantic but wary of love.

The screenshot of my iPod, on the left, with all the albums of this indie band, is the foolproof!

And my latest novel, 'Dead Cat for Zoey' has something to do with that 'wary of love' and i'm the hopelessly romantic, smart and confused. Haha.

So, where's the novel is going now?

Word counts so far: 55,896 words
Current chapter: The Wall of Change (name changed from The Wall of Many Stories)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Four bottles of isotonic and sore throat

It's getting hot in here. In Malaysia. Really hot and long drought. Hot Indian summer, as most Americans referred in their writings.

I don't do anything today, not adding even a single word into my I-don't-know-if-it-gets-published-or-not book. That's too much adjectives there, right? So, I got fever and chill, thanks a million to my dad for buying me four bottles of 100PLUS isotonic drinks, 'cause I felt dehydrated so much, like running back-t0-back marathon from Kedah to Johor, then to Kedah, yeah, that kind of exhaustion and dehydration. See what I mean? And I got horrible sore on my Adam's apple (mine but Adam's. Isn't that conflicting each other?)
Also, watch out for second wave of the H1N1. A community advice from the guy in Dead Cat for Zoey.
So, sorry, no book updates.

Word counts: Refer previous post
Current Chapters: Same goes. Refer below.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Way behind schedule. It's April now!

Pheww...I haven't start writing since yesterday, but now, I have just finished the chapter 'Who is she, actually?' and currently, about to start a new chapter, that I refused to call 'Wall of Many Stories', because I haven't got any good heading for it yet.

You read Twilight, don't you? I don't. Okay, I did, once, but just few pages, the first saga. But that's not the whole point. What I am trying to do here, is to challenge that goddamn good and now, rich-and-famous, Stephenie Meyer. (But she's pretty cute lady, at 36, which isn't that bad for that age! Check out her pic below-->)

Only that she's married, with three kids. Forget it!!

What about her? She wrote that book based on her dream, on one smelly-breath morning, and from then on, she kept writing till she finished the whole book - within three months. 3 MONTHS? She's kidding me.

Fine. I started mine, the chapter 'Venti Incident' when I was in my sister's house in Taiping. I got a dream too, but it was night, past midnight and I can't sleep. So, I trembled myself in front of my laptop and punched the keystrokes right away. The idea was like a downpour! Like a flood running down from the sky into formatted text in Ms. Word. And it was January 20th 2010. And it was just 1131 words been written that night. Bummer!

So, I got 19 more days to April 20th. I need to catch up with my writing. 3-month book challenge!

Word counts so far: 53, 426 words
Chapter finished: Who is she, actually?