Chatting · Monthly Goals

June Goals

Well, we’re halfway through the year and it’s been a great six months of beating writers block and burnout back into the hell from whence they came with a very big stick. I tried to take some time off this month to rest, work on low-stakes side projects, and enjoy long chill chats with friends instead of constantly working, and I think it’s helped a lot. I’m still exhausted, but in a satisfied, “I’ve spent my time well” sort of way, and not the frantic “I’m running out of time” that I’m used to. I’m settled down at my internship, living alone for the first time in my life, and learning how to manage my free time like an actual adult. Weird stuff. Let’s see what I did with my first month of summer “break”!

Won by 2 – 7/10 Goals Completed

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Chatting

“The Edge of Infinity”

Is the expansion of our universe not a lofty enough calling for you? I stitch together spacetime at the edge of infinity and pry open the rifts in reality with the bloody edge of imagination itself. I pair particles into atoms and expand existence through eons of exhausting, exacting labor.

Aella
Continue reading ““The Edge of Infinity””
Chatting · Runaways

Meet the Runaways Side Characters

If you’ve been subscribed to my mailing list for any amount of time, you will already be familiar with this colorful cast from my upcoming middle grade portal fantasy, Runaways! Since I’ve launched the newsletter, I’ve been sharing exclusive short stories that give each of these characters their own format in a new, slightly strange format. Eventually, I plan to compile these free, early releases into a companion collection and release them alongside the book itself. But until then, I wanted to share these brief introductions, so you can all get to know them as well!

Continue reading “Meet the Runaways Side Characters”
Storge · The Laoche Chronicles

Construction and Camaraderie

This is a 4101 word long excerpt from Storge Draft 2.5, in chapter 9. At this point in the story, Luca has earned a job with Acheran, displayed his magic in the arena, and practiced controlling his magic after his family goes into hiding in the Avian city. Meanwhile, Lyss, queen of the Atilan, has imposed city-wide curfews, manipulated the Avians into joining her side, and placed a ransom for Luca, while the Anarchists plot their next move. All the links go to those excerpts I’ve previously shared, if you want to catch up, but hopefully that summary should give you enough context for this snippet! If you aren’t familiar with the story, you should first check out the WIP page. I hope you enjoy reading!


Acheran solved his puzzle for the seventh time as the moon slid past the rings to mark the second half of the night. Only a lunatic should know how to tell the time by the slant of the beams through the ceiling door, but Acheran was all too familiar with this hour. He laid on his stomach so his wings formed a shadowy tent over him. Nimble fingers assembled the ball out of carved stone pieces and dropped it to the cushions in exasperation. In any other circumstance, the night would be a relief, a time when the world was quiet, and he had time to think and create in peace, briefly unrestrained from the demands of the day. He treasured the opportunity to fly in wide circles over the city and wander through the clouds as moonlight sliced through the moisture.

Stupid Atilan curfew.

Continue reading “Construction and Camaraderie”
Storge

After the Arena

This scene comes from Chapter 4 and shows the fallout from the attacks in chapter 2 from the villain’s subplots. Keenan is a unique side character who bridges the gap between the Atilan court and the ordinary Debilan that make up most of the city and poses a foil to Luca when they meet later in the book. This scene is his introduction! If you aren’t familiar with the story, you should first check out the WIP page. I hope you enjoy reading!


The guards stumbled on the battlefield as their targets vanished from behind their spears and attackers disappeared mid-blow. Keenan tripped over another guard and hit the ground with a grunt. On instinct, he pulled his shield over his head, but when no attack came, he cautiously lowered it again. The fallen soldier beside him groaned and pulled himself to his feet before extending an arm to his squad leader.

“Where’d they go?”

Keenan searched the area. The anarchists left glassy patches on the sandy floor of the arena where they stood. Scorch marks from their spells. What magic let them vanish without burning alive? No matter. They left. The fight ended. Now he had bigger problems to face. Spectators trampled each other to escape and piled against the locked gates. Dead bodies littered the two sections where the Atilan sat.

“It doesn’t matter! Get those doors open!”

The soldier armoed and ran. How many soldiers did he have left? Two unlocked the gates. The others recovered from the shock and made their way to him. At first glance, four fallen. Among the carnage stood Atala Lyss—one of the council and the highest-ranking lady among the Atilan and the city. Blood splashed her white dress, but whether it was hers or someone else’s, Keenan couldn’t tell.

“Captain!”

He spun to face her and made an armoe. “Are you injured?!”

“The others are. Remove the council to the palace infirmary. Where are the anarchists?”

“They’re not in the arena anymore. We don’t know how they escaped. A flash of magic and then-“

“Send someone for the investages so they can figure out what this means. What about the rogue fighter?”

“The one with wild magic? A Debilan boy, I think.”

“Where did he go?”

“I didn’t see. I was across the arena in spear formation with my squad. He probably escaped with the crowd after the anarchists disappeared and we opened the gates. I apologize, I thought it was for the best if- “

“No matter, you chose right. We will find him. Bring the injured Atilan to the temple for healing. They will receive treatment after the council. Later, we will send officials to identify the murdered Debilan.”

“Velis.” Keenan made his acknowledgment of her requests with another armoe and hurried to direct his squad.

Medics came with stretchers soon after, and he moved with them into the temple, where enormous statues of Daza and Nymbi glared down upon their worshipers.

What is this? Their eyes asked. A new sacrifice? We want more.

Continue reading “After the Arena”
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)

Continue reading “Meet the Storge Side Characters!”
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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Runaways

The Replacement

Welcome to this year’s Halloween special! Earlier this month, I had you vote on what kind of content you wanted to see, and you chose an “In-Universe Spooky Story,” which worked out perfectly with this month’s theme of framing structures and horror! You can read last year’s Laoche drabbles here. Chronologically, this short takes place before the events of Runaways. If you want to learn more about the story, you can visit its WIP page, and if you want to read another short story in the same universe, you can sign up for my mailing list here to read “Jack of Fables”. Shameless self promotion aside, I hope you enjoy this story! Have a very Happy Halloween!

“Ma! We’re ready to come in now! Can you put on the water for hot cocoa?”

Hannah stomps the snow off her boots in the garage and props her sled against the wall. Cecelia trails in after her, but groans upon seeing the empty wood rack, already knowing what comes next. Their mother emerges from the kitchen, wearing an apron and holding a half-peeled apple.

“You never got wood,” she observes.

“Do we have to? I’m freezing, and I already started getting undressed.”

“Your father comes home any minute, and we need to stoke the fire. I’ve been making apple butter all day, and lost track of time. There are only ashes left. Why didn’t you do your chores before you played?”

“But Ma, it’s almost dark!”

“It will take you twenty minutes to fetch the wheelbarrow from the shed and fill the rack. Only three loads. I’ll let you finish the job tomorrow, but work until sunset.”

“It’s snowing, the wood will get wet,” Hannah wheedles.

“It won’t turn green between the stack and the house. Stop making excuses.”

“We’re all wet. We could catch hypothermia and die.”

Continue reading “The Replacement”
Runaways · The Laoche Chronicles

“Matter” – The Real World Sequence

The Traveller bites their lip and nods their appreciation. After a second’s hesitation, and without another word, they join the Keeper at the line and begin hanging the wash. Their fingers linger on the fabric, so soft and shimmering, woven from starlight and space dust. Her home traps so much light, so she spins it into threads. It’s satisfying for it to go to good use, and the robe looks lovely on the Traveller, their warm brown skin emerging from the amorphous golden-white wraps.

“Thank you,” the Keeper says. The last time anyone volunteered to help was eons ago. Two million, five hundred sixty-three thousand, four hundred and eighty-nine days ago, to be exact.

The Traveller nods again and drapes a sheet with deft, practiced movements. When they speak again, there is a wistful tone in their voice. “I used to help my mother with the laundry. We hung it outside in the summer, and by the fireplace in the winter. Fourteen sets of clothes, every week. I’m sure you can imagine how long it took to match the socks.”

“That’s the benefit of living alone in the bottom of a black hole. No one cares whether you match your socks.” The Keeper gives them with a conspiratorial wink, and hikes up the edge of her skirt just enough to show the different patterned footwear.

Continue reading ““Matter” – The Real World Sequence”
Storge · The Laoche Chronicles

Magic Practice

This scene is from Storge’s second draft, in chapter 9. The Laine family is hiding after Luca and Grace revealed their powers during The Arena Attack, which you can read here. 1100 words, no content warnings. I hope you enjoy this look into my magic system!


“Luca, what in all of Laoche’s Lands do you think you’re doing?” Grace asked, flinging open the door of the apartment. Luca jumped, dropping a metal knot with a clatter.

“Um.” He fumbled for the puzzle and tried to hide it behind his back, but she snatched the still-glowing object before he could pull it from her reach. It buzzed with the magic, warm to the touch, and she clamped her hands around it as if silencing a bell. The feeling transferred into her fingertips and arms, pins and needles that danced along her skin, a surge of life. Then it dissipated, and the metal cooled again.

“Enne noticed your practice,” she said, handing it back to him.

“Only Enne can hear the magic,” Luca protested.

“We don’t know that. Besides, Acheran feels magic with his wings. What’s stopping others from noticing too?”

Luca sighed. “There’s nothing else I can help with, and mom and dad won’t let me come find work with them. I’m bored out of my mind and I just thought…” He trailed off. He let his fingers idly dance over the puzzle’s edges, but didn’t release his power. “It was a stupid thought. I’m sorry. That could have put us in danger. I’ve worried Enne, haven’t I.”

“Annoyed, yes, worried, maybe. I don’t see any guards banging on the front door, do you?” Luca gave her a half-smile at that, and she sat cross-legged next to him. “What were you trying to do?”

Continue reading “Magic Practice”