Chatting · Reading Recs

Book Review: 8 Steps to a Side Character

Overall Impression

5/5 craft book with an easily accessible style that gave my poor frazzled engineering brain a much needed break from academic drivel, extremely useful summaries that made writing his article about 1,000,000x easier, and rock solid advice I will immedietly be adapting into my ever-expanding Storge excel outline.

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Storge · The Laoche Chronicles

Meet the Storge Side Characters!

I’ve done introductions for the main cast of Storge, links on the WIP page, but a year and a half into having this blog, finishing the draft, half rewriting the story, and re-writing half the story, it occurred to me you’ve never met the rest of the cast! It wouldn’t be an epic without a glossary of people to keep track of, right? Never fear, here’s a quick color coded reference: Gold characters are allies of my protagonists, friends and family members who don’t get their own POV. Purple characters are Atilan – the ruling class that oppresses the Laine’s religion and the Debilan population. Red characters are anarchists – rebels who seek to overthrow the Atilan and often hurt the Debilan in the crossfire. Blue characters are avians, usually the neutral party, who are unfairly pulled into the conflict. My goal was to create a believable world with realistic background actors who still felt like real people, and I hope you enjoy getting to know them today. So attempting to avoid spoilers, it’s high time I introduced you to the side characters of my high fantasy novel! (If you’re curious, my good friend Katie Koontz, who’s appeared on this blog before in an interview and in the gallery, drew the header image for today’s article)

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Chatting

March Goals Recap

Hello dear readers. Over the last month, I’ve put a lot of thought into the direction my stories and this author’s platform are going, and realized they don’t measure up to my dreams. As you might imagine, engineering school takes a lot of time and energy, but that’s no excuse for shirking my duties to fiction. After some serious reevaluation of my past goals, I think I’ve landed on a new system that works for me leagues better than anything I was doing before. It’s amazing to see what I can accomplish when I just put my mind to it, and stop wasting so much time doing trivial mortal things, like sleeping. So without further ado, let’s see what I finished this month!

Won – 4/5 Goals

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Chatting · Monthly Goals

March Goals Recap

Honestly, the fact that I finished this all shocked me, given the slow start to the month. I was super busy with social events, a bunch of exams and group projects, two trips to Philly, two flat tires (unrelated), and spring break, which was spent doing boring adulty stuff like taxes. From the look of this graph, it seems like I have a nicely defined and productive almost-daily writing habit, but the truth is most of this happens in adrenaline-inspired bursts when I should actually be doing my homework. Sorry, not sorry, Mass Transfer, fiction is much more fun.

Won across the board! 7/7 goals

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Runaways

Half Switched Siblings

Two teenaged boys with dark skin and hair cut about their ears standing back to back and wielding swords. They are both dressed in protective gear.

Hello, dear readers and happy spring! I’m not much for obligatory self promotion but I only do this every three months, so y’all are going to have to put up with me for a minute~

I’ve got a mailing list and I write new short stories and send them out every quarter! In case you couldn’t guess by the flowers that I have as my icon everywhere, this is my favorite season, and so this month I wanted to write a story that pays homage to the in-between. This short takes place at sunset on the vernal equinox between two worlds, with some characters who aren’t really one thing or the other.

Matteo and Marco are the Semivera twins, who appear as side characters in Runaways. In the book, they have a habit of bantering their sentences back and forth. They aren’t quite changelings, but they aren’t quite human. We also meet a weasel who’s smarter than your average animal, but also can’t speak. Several beta readers asked for an explanation, so I hope this helps! This story takes place about a year before the event of the major book and tells how the twins met their friend and found faerieland. It’s a wacky body-swapping changeling adventure about the Semivera Twins with a questionably experimental format, which I had altogether too much fun messing with.

If you want to read it, you can sign up at this link here and it’ll get automatically emailed to you!

Also when you sign up, you can have access to the backlog of all the other stories I’ve shared so far! I won’t flood your inbox, so I can promise this post is the most annoying thing you’ll read. Those other stories include:

  • A narrative rhyming fairy-tale poem about Jack of Fables – one dude from the 11th century who had an eventful (after) life
  • “Matter” – a magical realism/sci-fi story about a Keeper who lives at the bottom of a black hole giving a pep talk to a Traveller that falls in during their breaking point
  • “Brigid’s Visits” – a Christmas Carol ripoff exploring one of the side characters in Runaways, told in three verb tenses, because I enjoy making myself go insane.

That’s right, most mailing lists give you one cookie and I’m giving you the whole jar. What’s keeping you from signing up?

If you feel so generously inclined, you can support my writing by leaving me a tip on my Kofi or donating using the secure box below. Until next time, thanks for reading and happy writing!

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Chatting · Writing Advice

6 Ways DnD Has Made Me A Better Writer

This is a random topic compared to my usual posts, but it’s one that’s been knocking around in my brain for a while. I’m currently in five campaigns (that meet with varying degrees of regularity), I’ve finished several one-shots and two long-running games, and have two more on deck for the summer, so I’ve had plenty of experience coming up with whacky characters and navigating the dilemmas that the DMs throw at as. I’ve only DMed a few times myself, but I am always in storytelling mode, so this was really just the natural result of exposure to the clicky-clacky-math-rocks. This is less focused on mechanics, and more geared toward player dynamics and character creation, but I hope you find it useful!

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Storge · The Laoche Chronicles

Sparring and Scheming

This scene comes from the 2nd draft of my epic fantasy book, Storge. This is a villain POV chapter from the middle of the book, when the anarchists are planning their next strike against the Atilan government. I thought it would be interesting to explore a dynamic in which an antagonist wasn’t just a lofty individual manipulating others, but truly believed in a twisted ideology with a group of trusted friends. As an introduction: Esil is one of two main villains and the ringleader of the group. Amika is their tank, Samoth is the logistics guy, and Divad is the spy. They’re best friends who commit arson and terrorism! If you aren’t familiar with the story, you should first check out the WIP page. I wanted to share a different fight this month, but realized I already posted it, so if you want to read The Arena, you can also find that here! I hope you enjoy the scene!


Two days after their greatest victory and greatest defeat, the new Master of the Anarchists fought for his life. At least, that’s how it always felt when he sparred with Amika. Esil ducked under a crescent kick, dodged the spinning backfist strike, and danced away from hook punch just before it collided with his temple. Shifting his footing, he countered with a strike to her ribs, and she flinched back as his palm made impact. He retreated to reassess. There was his opening.

Master, I wish you would focus.” Samoth’s exasperated admonishment dripped with sarcasm. If Esil wasn’t so focused on making this shot, he’d have rolled his eyes. He cocked his leg up and-

Crashed to the ground as pain cracked through his shin. Across from him, Amika hopped on one leg, rubbing her own shin where it clashed against his.

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Chatting · Monthly Goals

February Goals Recap

Hello everyone, and happy March! I am more than ready for spring, and it’s already nice to feel my energy picking up as the days get longer. I really am just a plant. Seasonal depression sounds fake until the first warm day when you can smell the grass growing and you suddenly feel you can conquer the world. This was a busy month for me, with school hitting full stride, but I’m quite pleased with what I could accomplish so far!

Won by 2 points – 6/9

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Chatting · Interviews

Torn Universe: An Interview with Faye Fite

Today I’m pleased to introduce you to Faye Fite, one of my longtime writing inspirations, and the author of The Terebinth Tree Chronicles, which I reviewed last week! I am thrilled to have her on my blog today to talk about developing characters, specifically fighters. This was such a fun interview, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed conducting it!


Welcome! First, for a general introduction, can you tell me about yourself, how long you’ve been writing, and what you write?

Faye: Absolutely! My name is Faye Fite. I’m a disabled author of Christian speculative fiction and author of the Torn Universe, an expanded universe of science-fiction and fantasy short stories containing such things as desert elves, Aztec-inspired vampires, and sci-fi mermaids. I primarily write YA fantasy with tough, raw characters, vibrant cultures, and themes of strength, courage, and brokenness. I have been writing long before I knew how to spell properly. In my spare time, I am a college student studying nutrient metabolism and research assistant studying nutritional metabolomics.

Etta: Ah, that’s such a good pitch! It absolutely fits what I’ve seen of your work so far, and I love you say you do college “in your free time” haha. Big mood there. I’ve most recently read your Terebinth Tree Chronicles, so I’m most familiar with those characters, but if you think another character fits better for the questions, feel free to tell us about them too!

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Chatting · Reading Recs

Reading Rec: Terebinth Tree Chronicles

Hello everyone and welcome back to another reading rec! This month I want to talk about an author that I’ve enjoyed for quite a while now: Faye Fite. I found her blog back in high school when she still wrote under her other name, and the perspective she shared in her writing advice inspired me to get serious about my writing. Her books introduced me to the indie publishing space and the worlds of possibilities that open when you can control the content of your stories. Faye writes Christian speculative fiction that isn’t preachy and features badass disabled characters.

The Terebinth Tree Chronicles is a series of high fantasy short stories that share the backstories of Wanderer, Jayel, and Ailith – the future protagonists of an epic who are on a mission to assassinate the dark lord that’s plagued their world and ruined their families. Currently, three books have been released in this series: Colors of Fear, Flames of Courage, and Sounds of Deceit, but there are more on the way! Faye also has a few standalone books, including Skies of Dripping Gold, and So I Accidentally Killed the Chosen One, which are both part of the same expanded story-world as the Terebinth Tree Chronicles, called the “Torn Universe.” I’m not sure how they all connect yet, but it’s a really cool concept! Faye is also a member of the Phoenix Fiction Writers, and has published three short stories in their anthologies.

I can wholeheartedly recommend all of her writing, but today I especially want to focus on the characters in the Chronicles and how their arcs are set up to have satisfying conclusions within each backstory book, but leave enough open-ended questions for the rest of the series to continue building.

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