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An Excerpt from Beth Cato’s CALL OF FIRE

Last year, I read Beth Cato’s BREATH OF EARTH, the first book in her Blood of Earth series. Though I have a policy of not reviewing any works of fiction or even commenting about them in public, I must say I loved the read. I was also thoroughly impressed with the level of detail Beth built into her world, as well as the huge, huge fast-paced action.

Now, CALL OF FIRE, book two in the series is out!…  Read More »


Finally, GwenPhua.com is Revamped

For years I resisted updating Wordpress, for fear stuff would break down and I’d have a heap of work. I also strongly resisted revamping this site, because … heap of work. I wanted to write novels rather than sort through code. There was a reason I didn’t major in computer science. I HATE debugging!! However, one can only resist the tide for so long.…  Read More »


The Awesomeness of Getting an Agent

Despite having written and published non-fiction books and articles for real money over the years–and having people commission me to write that stuff–I never quite felt like a real writer. Even publishing a short story in an anthology didn’t help much. But now that I finally have an agent, a great one at that, I feel so much more assured as a writer.…  Read More »


23andme Explains My Odd Hair

In 2014, I spat some saliva into a plastic kit, and in a few weeks, my genes were spelled out to me. It was a long list of letters and numbers, consisting of rsid identifiers, genotypes (A, G, C, T combos), and their positions. Raw data I couldn’t read. Back then, 23andme mainly offered ancestry reports, which were never of interest to me. I took the test purely for medical (preventive) reasons, and relied entirely on my sister, a doctor specializing in integrative medicine, to get the data interpreted (only partially though). Anyhow, I’m not here to talk about my SNPs or mutations, but my hair!…  Read More »


The Real Me vs the Not Me

Sometimes I google myself to check what comes up. In case anyone out there tries hunting for me, I hope they realize not every Gwen Phua is me, even though it isn’t a common name. Most of the results do point to me, due to the large number of app reviews I’ve written in the past. Unfortunately, the top listing, the Gwen Phua on LinkedIn, is NOT me.…  Read More »


Deleted But Revived

On Friday, my entire site got deleted. Not by me. I’m sharing a hosting account with my dad’s company, and the web developer redoing the company website did something that got the folder containing my entire Wordpress site deleted. This was why I was very very reluctant to give them cPanel access.

It was a disaster to me. When I called the developer to complain, the guy said he’d check on it. He spent a good amount of time talking to his developer. In the meantime while I was waiting, I kept thinking, Why now? I don’t have the time to redo my entire site from scratch!…  Read More »


Photo Highlights: Kyoto, Japan 2014

On my first day in Kyoto–my second trip here–I took a train to Arashiyama, where I walked to the Togetsukyo bridge and nearby bamboo groves, followed by Tenryuji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site with gorgeous flowers and a moss garden. In Kyoto itself, I visited Ginkakuji (the Silver Pavilion) and walked down the Philosopher’s Path, a canal near Ginkakuji. Cherry blossoms, as well as peach blossoms were aplenty.…  Read More »


Photo Highlights: From Nagoya to Tsumago, Japan 2014

Nagoya was just a stopover point in my trip, and wasn’t exactly part of my vacation. It was memorable, however, for the food, since I was taken to a fabulous restaurant I’d never have found otherwise. From Nagoya, I took a day trip to Tsumago and Magome, preserved post towns that hail from the Edo period. Hiking along the trail between the two towns felt incredibly refreshing.…  Read More »