Fabled Kingdom: Book 1 in PRINT

It’s finally here!
…And I finally got the print quality to as good as it can be.



Purchase Information

Amazon** || Lulu

**If you buy this in print, you can buy the ebook version for $0.99 with Amazon’s Matchbook Program

Amazon || Smashwords (PDF)* || Apple iBooks*

Also available on Kobo and Nook, but the older versions of these ereaders may have difficulty displaying the pages. Please read a sample first before buying.


More on the Printing Process

I didn’t expect so many problems with the printing, but in retrospect, I can see where the problems came in. I used Lulu and Amazon to do my printing, and both turned out very good once I got the settings right. The interiors are high quality black and white art, which are identical in both books. Below, I talk about what went wrong with both printers.



I’ve been printing with Lulu for years, and I messed this one up by accidently choosing the wrong paper settings. Lulu has changes its interface every now and then without telling you, and I accidently clicked the “white” paper setting for the 6″x9″ size without realising that there is NO good quality white paper setting for that size. The end result is that I got an inferior paper quality, which shocked me. In the end, I changed it to a cream colour page, which is high quality and is what differs the Lulu book from the Amazon book.


Amazon Createspace:

Oh boy. It’s my first time printing with Createspace, and it took a while to get right. I think CS has the best print quality out of all the printers out there, but the entire process is a black box. The best thing about CS is that human beings actually handle the printing process, but that’s also the biggest problem. The human handling your files can tweak your files without you knowing what they did, so the end results can mean that your colour cover could look different from one test print to the next. The good news is that once it’s been approved, the settings stay the same, so your next book will look EXACTLY as the previous one, right down to where they cut the paper (usually a few mm off… eh, can’t be helped. Lulu has the same problem).

Anyway, the mistake I made is a very important one. I can sum it up as: NEVER SUBMIT GREYSCALE FILES TO CREATESPACE. It seems that if you submit 600 dpi greyscale files to CS, they will automatically downgrade it to 300 dpi without telling you. In the end, I got around this problem by turning my greyscale files into black-and-white dot art through the photoshop “halftone” function. At least no one can do anything to black and white files, so that’s why the Lulu and Amazon books look identical in its print results.

The other good thing about CS is its Kindle Matchbook Program. Right now, if you buy a print copy of book 1, you can get the ebook version for 99 cents. An excellent thing.

Fabled Kingdom

Hi all! I finally got some time to post up news about my latest project, a fairy-tale inspired fantasy called “Fabled Kingdom”. It’s planned for 3 volumes, each with 7 chapters.

NOTE: I’ll be serialising the first 2 volumes online here. Updates 3-4 pages every Friday.


Book 2 out in December 2015!

Chapters 6.5-8 (in PDF*) out in March 2015!

Amazon** || Lulu

**If you buy this in print, you can buy the ebook version for $0.99 with Amazon’s Matchbook Program

Amazon || Smashwords (PDF)* || Apple iBooks*

Also available on Kobo and Nook, but the older versions of these ereaders may have difficulty displaying the pages. Please read a sample first before buying.

See More Photos

What if Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother isn’t her real grandmother?
What is her two trueborn grandmothers are both queens – and one is good, while the other one is evil?


The Story

Fabled Kingdom is a 3-volume fairytale-inspired YA fantasy. It’s a comics-prose story, written and drawn by me. It will be released both in print format, and as an e-book series.

The story is about Celsia, a ‘Red Hood’ training to be a healer under her grandmother’s tutelage in a small village deep in the woods. One day, she discovers a shocking secret – her grandmother isn’t her real grandmother. Forced to leave her village, she goes on a quest to find her two trueborn grandmothers, who are both powerful queens of magical kingdoms. Accompanied by her childhood friend Quillon and the cheeky faun Pylus, her first destination is the ‘Fabled Kingdom’ of Fallinor, a magical kingdom that was destroyed 60 years ago. Or… was it?

You can also read this on DeviantArt, SmackJeeves, Tapastic, and on my website.


Background Information

As you may know, Fabled Kingdom is a comics-prose story, and it was originally accepted by a major publishing house in 2013. However, I didn’t like the contract terms they offered, so I declined. Only 3 chapters of the book was done at the time, and now, I’m halfway through chapter 8. I decided to finish the book on my own, and then see what happens.

Doing this story has been quite an interesting experience, because in terms of length, there is a direct comparison. ‘Fabled Kingdom’ is a 3-book series much like ‘The Dreaming’ was (done 10 years ago), except that FK is in comics-prose format, and TD was a traditional manga story. Due to the differences in these formats, I was able to directly compare the amount of work required to do both. And here is where it gets real interesting.

‘Comics-Prose’ was originally conceived to (1) reduce the amount of time required to draw a single comics page, and (2) to shorten the number of pages required to tell a sequence of events. After having done about 212 pgs of ‘Fabled Kingdom’ (compared to 166 pgs for volume 1 of ‘The Dreaming’), I can declare the points below:

  • ‘Comics-prose’ uses a lot of prose, but ultimately it’s comics. Its length is calculated in pages, not words. Saying a comics-prose story is 70,000 words is a meaningless unit of measurement. Like comics, page count is what matters.
  • It reduces the number of pages required to tell a sequence of events by about 30%. I estimate that 50 pages of comics can be reduced to 30 pages of comics-prose.
  • It reduces the amount of time to draw a single comics page by 40-50%. This is an average, because that depends on the complexity of what’s depicted on a single page.


Some more statistics for comparison. These are approximates only:

  • ‘The Dreaming’ vol.1 = 166 pages’ VS Fabled Kingdom’ vol.1 = 210 pages
  • 7 chapters of ‘The Dreaming’ (166 pgs) took 8 months of 10-hour work days VS 7 Chapters of ‘Fabled Kingdom’ (212 pgs) took 7 months of 6-hour work days.
  • ‘Fabled Kingdom’ vol.1 has 26% more pages than ‘The Dreaming’ vol. 1
  • I estimate that ‘Fabled Kingdom’ tells 1.5 times the amount of story that ‘The Dreaming’ does in a single volume.

I’ve mentioned before that I have no intention of going back to doing traditional comics, and this is why. Traditional comics is back-breaking labour; it really is. Having done it for 10 years, the burn-out is terrifying, and it doesn’t get faster or better – in fact, the whole process just gets harder, because you get older.

I’m older now, less naive, and less committed to being chained to my drawing board all day long without even being able to go out for lunch or to meet friends. When I did ‘The Dreaming’, I literally had NO social life. My friends didn’t see me for months at a time, and I almost lost touch with a lot of people. Now that I’m doing ‘Fabled Kingdom’, I have no trouble going out daily, and meeting my friends once a week. I usually start at 4pm, and get two pages completed (pencils, inked, toned) by 12am at night (with breaks in between for dinner, etc). Even on a really busy day, I still manage to get a full page done within a few hours.

To be honest, I feel relieved.

Short Ghost Stories: The Man with the Axe in his Back

“Short Ghost Stories: The Man with the Axe in his Back” is an experimental book I finished recently, a series of 8 short ghost stories. I first wrote them in proseformat, and then converted half of them into comics-prose. The purpose of this is to explore the best way of creating comics-prose – whether by converting a prose story, or by converting a comics story.

As a result, there are TWO versions of the same book. One with all 8 stories in prose-only format, while the other has 4 of the stories converted into comics-prose. In terms of conversion, it was successful… but ultimately, I found that it’s best to convert a COMIC into comics-prose, as I’ll explain further on in the past.


BUY AS EBOOK @ $4.99:
(Discounted to $2.99 until 31st August 2014)




Table of Contents

You can sample the stories on my site. I’ll be posting half of the comics-prose stories up on this site, starting in August 2014!


Thoughts on “Comics-Prose”

I’ve learned more about doing comics-prose through doing these stories, and my conclusion is this: Comics-prose is COMICS. I used to think that it’s 50/50 prose-comics, perhaps leaning more towards prose, but I turned out to be wrong. I started doing comics-prose by taking my comics and turning some of the panels into prose, and I find that this is actually MUCH easier than the other way around.

Turning my prose stories into comics-prose was HARD. Perhaps it was the way I write, but that’s why I managed to only turn half the stories into comics-prose. I found that often times things needed to be rewritten, but most of all, redundancies tended to pile up. There’s also this problem I call “prose-picture” tautology, which is where you have a picture of something, followed by prose that describes what happens in the picture, or PART of what happens. This is normal and not completely avoidable, but it seems to happen a LOT more when I converted prose into comics-prose, leading to rewrites.

My conclusion is the comics-prose is actually a form of compressed story-telling in comics. Manga is the ultimate in decompressed story-telling, and oddly enough, this form of comics story-telling is meant to compress manga-style story-telling.


Thoughts on professional copy-editing

I hired a professional copy-editor that works for a large publisher for this project, and while it was an interesting experience, I’m not sure I’ll do it again. It’s not the price, which was reasonable, nor the quality, which was good. It’s because the copy-editor, while managing to spot a few inconsistencies in the stories, also managed to INTRODUCE inconsistencies.

This became a huge problem between the comics-prose and prose-only versions of the story – ultimately, it became hard to reconcile the two versions using the same text. I imagine in the future, the comics-prose and prose-only versions of the same story will HAVE to be copy-edited separately. Which is too much hassle, so I just won’t bother (for now).

Buy My Short Manga Collection as a $4.99 PDF

Last week, I posted up a Table of Contents for “The Dreaming”, a series I’ll be running until March (on DeviantArt). This week, I saw goodbye to drawing traditional manga, at least for a long while.

Here is the collected edition of all my best short manga stories in PDF format @ USD$4.99, drawn from 2000-2010. It’s titled ‘Queenie Chan: Short Stories 2000-2010‘, and it’s sort of a eulogy to the last 10 years of my work. As you all know, I’m drawing comics-prose now, and am planning on writing a long blog series on my 10 years as a professional manga artist. I think self-publishing this collection is a good way to say ‘bye!’ to that part of my life.


Buy as PDF @ USD$4.99 on Smashwords: here. It’s also available on Apple iBooks, Kobo and Nook.
Buy as E-book @ USD$4.99 on Amazon: here

Buy as Print book @ USD$13.99 on Lulu: here
(USD$4 for US shipping, $8 for International shipping)
Queenie Chan: Short Stories 2000-2010

Here are the list of stories:

They’re all available online, on this website.

  1. Sister Holmes (Mystery)
  2. Elevator (Ghost Story)
  3. The Two-Dollar Deal (Cute Romance)
  4. Forget-Me-Not (Chinese Fantasy Mystery)
  5. Shoes (Ghost Story)
  6. Sleeping Chick (Cute Animal Story)
  7. Portrait of a Sociopath (Real-life horror)
  8. Message to You (Cute Romance)
  9. Ten Years Ago Today (Serial Killer horror)
  10. Keeper of the Soul (Epic Fantasy)
  11. A Short Ghost Story (Ghost Story)


Some Thought on Self-publishing

Believe it or not, the most interesting thing about putting this book online as an e-book was how far the e-book market has come. In 2010, when this e-book thing got series, I actually turned my manga stories into e-books and tried to upload them onto e-book stores such as Apple’s iBookstore. They were rejected, probably because they were comics, and I was very disappointed.

It’s now 2014, and that’s completely changed. Apple iBooks now totally accept comics, and there are dozens of e-book sites that let you buy e-books and sell your own. Smashwords itself lets you upload your work to iBooks, Nook and the Kobo, letting you manage one sales account rather than three (NB. There seems to be some image display issues with the older Nooks. Avoid it if you’ve got one, and stick to the PDF format on Smashwords). They take 15% off the sales price of your work, on top of that of the 30% charge by Apple/Kobo/Nook, but that’s still a 55% profit. Do you know what you get in a traditional book contract? 8-10%, and that was years ago (now, it’s much worse).

The biggest surprise, however, was Amazon. Amazon obnoxiously charges a 15c download fee per megabyte, which stacks the odds against comics a lot due to the big graphic files (Hence this volume is +$1 on Amazon). But I must say that Amazon is extremely user-friendly, and while it requires slightly more paprework to start an account there, they have a special program that you can use to make your comics view better on the Kindle. They didn’t have that a few years ago, and now they do. That’s progress.

Anyway, next week, I’ll be posting some industry posts – basically a retrospective of my experiences working as a pro manga artist in the last 10 years. The thing is already written, yay, and is pretty long. It’s only the first section though, so wow. This is gonna get serious. Stay tuned!