Chatting · Monthly Goals

November Goals 2022

Hello. Sorry this post is a little late, but hey, it’s finals season. Congratulations to everyone who survived NaNo, regardless of whether or not you won! It’s a crazy month with a high bar and I’m proud of anyone who attempted the challenge all the same. As we head into the hecticness of the holidays, be sure to take it easy on yourself, and enjoy the time with your families. I’m wrapping up my semester, and now that I have a job locked down for after graduation, I had to buckle down to catch up on all the work I’d been neglecting in pursuit of the job search, both for classes and clubs. But I still took advantage of my extra free time, so let’s see what I was able to accomplish!

WON – 5/9 GOALS

Make author stickers for inventory and set up shop – hurrah just in time for holiday merchandizing. Forgive this shameless plug.

[Image Description: three photos of the six different stickers available at the ko-fi shop. 

First sticker: A cartoon hand holding a detailed handgun that is still smoking. The font says, "Checkov's Gun Leaves No Survivors" in black font with a background of blood spatters behind it.

Second sticker: A stack of five books with vibrant covers, and on their spines the stack reads "add it to the T B R." The books are orange, then yellow, green, blue, and red. The background is purple.

The third sticker is a screenshot of a web browser with a purple background. The search engine is called "Forbidden Knowledge" and in the search bar it says, "It's for 'research' I swear . . ." There are five open background tabs with different searches. Preserving mummies in space. Is embalming fluid flammable? Can you survive an autopsy? What if you microwave lava? How to build a trebuchet.

The fourth sticker is of a glowing white cutlace sword surrounded by black swirls that almost resemble lightning. The background is of a night sky. The sticker doesn't have any font, but in the shop it's called "A Well Armed Author"

They’re live! Do you need to do some holiday shopping for your favorite writer? Need an answer to give to relatives asking for a wishlist? Just finished NaNoWriMo and want to get yourself a treat to celebrate winning and/or surviving? All these stickers are $2-$3 with some discount options available for the ones that didn’t turn out quite perfectly, and shipping is free. Every sticker is designed and hand-made by me! Grab yours here!

Any money I make from this little endeavor will go towards paying the rent for my website, and contributing towards my publishing fund to pay illustrators and editors. WordPress just upcharged the price of domains form $8 a year to $19 a year and the price of my plan went from $4 to $8 to $15 a month in the past year, so any little bit helps! This also means I can turn off WordAds because in the whole six months I had them turned on, I made a grand total of 55 cents. ~yaaaaaaaayyy~ Nobody likes ads so we’re not doing that nonsense anymore! Buying a few stickers will keep this site running for a whole month, so if you want an easy way to support what I do here and also get some neat art out of it, this is the way to go. I’ll be adding lots more designs in the coming months too, so let me know if you have any requests!

Finish editing Runaways during NaNo – For context, I impulsively decided to do NaNoWriMo on the first day of the month with absolutely 0 prep and after not having touched a word document in over 6 months with the singular goal to start writing again. I was tackling the 3rd draft of Runaways, which meant my wordcount was all kinds of wonky, and a combination of school obligations and travel meant that I didn’t come anywhere near hitting my mini-goal of 30K, much less the true 50K that’s customary for this challenge.

However, in the midst of this, I’ve totally re-plotted the 2nd half the story, added two POVs and outlined two weeks of down-time in which character development, exposition, and training occur. This book was never going to be finished this month, but I’m very pleased with the progress I’ve made regardless. Counting on winter break to get caught up!

Drawing/embroidery for patch jacket/dice bag/free space for other misc. Creative Nonsense. – I had a few back-burner projects in various stages of half-completion going into this month that I wanted to make progress on, so this was a “free space” goal if I managed to do anything for these mini arts. I made another patch for my jacket, in the logo of my favorite band, The Amazing Devil.

I also finished this drawing, which is called “I AM CREATON BOTH HAUNTED AND HOLY” inspired by the song Creature by Half Alive. After laying out the poses and basic values, I decided to record the coloring process so I could put together this time lapse.

This is my first time using the video block so in case that doesn’t work, here’s the final artwork!

Stay up to date with fanfic and archive PMs – I talked a bit last month about the preservation of digital history, specifically messages with friends on dying sites, and how I wanted to create a backup of them for my personal reference. I’ve been slowly working on this project but there are hundreds of thousands of words of correspondance in my old fanfiction.net accoung and so it’s been a slow process. This one gets partial credit!

Blog, IG, Pinterest scheduling – I hope you all didn’t mind the self indulgent sharing of my various side projects from November. Thank you for sticking around nonetheless!

Stay up to date with Goodreads and reviews – LOL what’s “reading” during midterms??

Attend at least one NaNoWriMo write in – I did, and I met a new friend! She’s a grad student at my uni, and we’re gonna keep meeting up to write throughout the end of the school year!

Read and reply to inkling stories – Oh my goodness, there are so many. In case you missed it, The Inklings Challenge is a month-long writing event for Christian authors of fantasy and science fiction, inspired by a real challenge attempted by the original Inklings writing group. For this tumblr challenge, participants were randomly sorted into one of three groups, with each assigned to a different type of speculative fiction story inspired by their namesake. You can read my story, “To Light and to Guard” on this website here. I’ve been trying to go through the archive blog and catch up, but it’s a slow process because of the sheer number. This is the best problem to have, in my opinion.

Clear out Tumblr drafts – To be fair most of these drafts are inklings stories I saved so I wouldn’t lose them, but to get to all the other tag games, I had to get through the inklings stories first. We’re getting there!


Thanks for reading! What are you working on this month? I want this blog to be more than me shouting into the void. If I can use this platform to help boost other creators, I’d love to see your work too. If you want to have your recommendations and/or your own writing featured in a Resource Rec post, or if you want to collaborate with me, you can leave a comment below for both, or contact me on either tumblr or IG! If you feel so generously inclined, you can support my writing by leaving me a tip or buying stickers on my Kofi. Until next time, thanks for reading and happy writing!

Misc. Creative Projects

“Who are you?”

Hello dear readers! Today I’m sharing another diversion from the usual writing excerpts to share a webcomic I drew! These characters come from a tabletop roleplaying game I do with some of my closest friends, set in the world of Avatar the Last Airbender. The story takes place about 5 years after the end of the series, in a newly formed Republic City. Our characters all came to the city to attend the new school there, to learn diplomacy and foster positive relationships between the nations. Nice idea in concept. In reality, the bad blood never dried, and a terrorist group tried to sabotage the opening festival. Our characters found the plot and helped intervene to prevent most of the damage, but couldn’t find and diffuse all the bombs before they went off. In the aftermath, Seraphine’s cousin died. His cousin’s twin sister, Asira, went mad with lust for revenge, to the point of hurting anyone who tried to get in her way, including civilians and classmates, which landed her in jail until she could calm down and process her grief.

Unfortunately, Asira had other ideas, learned how to self-combust, and went onto be an arc villain. This scene takes place shortly before she broke out of jail, when we were still trying to help her recover. Seraphine – the girl dressed in grey – is a firebender, and Asira’s cousin. She belongs to my friend Sarina. Asira herself is an npc, and our DM is my friend Theele. My character is the airbender in the back, named Sora. I had a conversation with Asira as well, in the second half of this scene, but I had to stop illustrating here for the sake of time. I originally drew this comic as a birthday gift for Sarina, and wanted to share it here as well, now that it’s done!

Figuring out how to illustrate a comic and handle the workflow of the sketching, panel layout, inking, flat colors, and lighting for each shot was a huge learning curve. I’m sure I could have been far more efficient with this if I had chosen a different method of rendering that didn’t require me to blend every layer individually, or used more copy-paste to transfer details from one panel to another. You can see how the quality drifts between pages as I both learned a better process and lost my patience haha. Rendering the effects of the spectral flames was also a fun challenge, because neither Seraphine nor Asira can really see them. During this scene, Sora used her spirit-seeing ability to watch Seraphine’s aura and monitor her emotions, to make sure she wasn’t growing too volatile, which is what the various wisps of fire and particle effects are meant to represent. I had a lot of fun drawing this comic all the same, and there are so many other moments I’d love to bring to life in the future.

Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed the story, even though it was out of context. Let me know if you’d be interested in hearing any more DnD stories in the future! I’ve been in a half dozen campaigns and there are many more antics to share. Also feel free to leave recommendations for post topics! I’m looking to fill up my queue for the coming months and I want to hear what you want to see me cover. If you feel so generously inclined, you can support my writing (and other creative endeavors) 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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Short Stories

To Light and to Guard

This story is my entry to The Inklings Challenge 2022. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s a month-long writing event for Christian authors of fantasy and science fiction, inspired by a real challenge attempted by the original Inklings writing group. For this tumblr challenge, participants were randomly sorted into one of three groups, with each assigned to a different type of speculative fiction story inspired by their namesake. I was in the Chesterton group, so I chose the prompt “Intrusive Fantasy”: Stories where the fantastical elements intrude into the real world. There was also a prompt list of seven Christian images to incorporate into the themes of our stories. If you’d like to read more about the challenge, and read the other submissions, you can find all relevant links on the tumblr blog that is hosting the challenge!


Marcia squinted into the fog and cursed the night. Roiling storm clouds obscured the clear light of the full moon, casting shimmering beams and warping shadows over the bog. Wind whipped her short, straight hair across her face. It stuck in the corners of her mouth whenever she took a panting breath and flicked into her stinging eyes. For the dozenth time in half as many minutes, she swiped it behind her ears, frustratingly aware that it was a futile effort. The sky hadn’t opened into a downpour yet, but the freezing mist clung to her clothes, her clammy hands, her eyelashes. Any other night, she could hear frogs croaking, birds crying, and the water rippling as turtles breached, but now, only the howling gale filled her ears. She gritted her teeth and stomped forward aimlessly.

This was all Conner’s fault.

Continue reading “To Light and to Guard”
Chatting · Monthly Goals

September Goals and MERCH UPDATE

I forgot there was an extra Friday in the month, whooooops. My bad. HAPPY OCTOBER, IT’S SPOOKY SEASON!

In all seriousness, I’m home this weekend to celebrate my brother’s Eagle Scout, so everybody better leave him lots of congratulations in the comments. I’ve been scrambling to get my work done around the travel plans, and while I started this draft, I completely missed adding it to my queue. But all the same, this was a hectic month. Fall semester of my Senior Year includes several project-based classes, running most of my clubs, doing undergrad research, working at the school makerspace, and hanging out with my friends. It’s been a ton of fun, and I’m determined to make the most of it, much to the chagrin of my sleep schedule. So before time gets away from me again, let’s go over some cool announcements!

Merch Update!

I recently started a new job at the maker-space at my school, which means I have FREE and totally UNLIMITED access to all sorts of neat machines, including 3D printers, a laser cutter, a waterjet, t-shirt printers, and a sticker maker.

In short, I’ve gone mad with power.

Continue reading “September Goals and MERCH UPDATE”
Short Stories

“The Edge of Infinity” Audio Drama

What is the most dangerous thing you can do?

What do you think of art? 

A digital painting of a pale woman with dark curly hair cut in a bob against a star field background with red blood splatters. She is knitting fabric in an intricate pattern, and the fabric is also woven with stars and splattered with blood. She smiles at the camera.

Last quarter, I shared a short script titled “Edge of Infinity” that asked some deep questions. It shares the conversation between a war criminal and her accuser in a prison at the end of the universe, and how they grow to understand each other. I grew to love the characters and didn’t want to leave them behind, so as promised in my last email, I enlisted my friend Sarina Socko to help me record it by voicing Merari!

Sarina is a triple threat singer, dancer, and actress, pursuing a career in the theater industry in California. She also participates in the punk/emo fashion and music scene, and makes DnD dice and jewlery. I’ve been best friends with her since I was 16 and she’s an absolutely delightful person. Be sure to show her some love and subscribe to her on other platforms!

Instagram: @seraphine_7378

TikTok: @Kavalan_Pulse

This audio drama is about 12 minutes long and is fully edited with background sound effects. Learning how to use Audacity was a fun adventure, and Sarina did most of the coaching for my vocal performance as Aella. It was a really fun challenge to branch out of a purely written medium, so I’m curious to hear your feedback! Click the link below to listen to a preview of this story.

If you’d like to listen to the full version, sign up for my mailing list at this link!


If you have any requests for website post topics, short story prompts, or would like to be interviewed for the blog, please reach out to this email ([email protected]) or shoot me a message through my tumblr or instagram. 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 · Monthly Goals

August goals

The end of summer is always a time for transition, and this year was especially hectic. I had to finish an internship, move home, which involved packing and a nine-hour drive across 3 states. Then I spent a hectic week at home, catching up on administrative adulting stuff, fixing my car headlights, and seeing friends, before moving two hours back to school to start my senior year! The beginning of the semester included starting two new jobs, taking on my capstone project, hanging out with my best friends who are now my roommates, and kicking off the three clubs I help to run. It’s been crazy and quite fun, but I’m glad to be into a routine. With that context, let’s see how I did with my writing goals, shall we?

Won – 3/6 Goals

Continue reading “August goals”
Short Stories

The Sea of Savage Stars

I wrote this story as an entry for Writeblr Summerfest’s short-story competition! The prompt was “Sharing Stories around a Campfire”. This story is an entry into the Real World Sequence: a science-fiction/magical realism anthology I’m developing to release in the future. The other stories in the Sequence are available on my mailing list, if you’re interested in reading more. I hope you enjoy this adventure!


Tonight, Notos and Boreas enjoyed the luxury of making camp on an asteroid with an atmosphere. They were halfway through a routine supply run to the opposite side of the ring, and they had made most of their stops on hunks of rock barely large enough to fit the two dragons and their riders. Boreas settled down, shaking the shrub-pines on their back, and stretched out with a sigh that ruffled their rider’s cloudy puff of hair. The old spacer never used a helmet. Their bond was so intertwined that they shared even their breath. Two minds, two bodies, one name, one spirit.

Notos was still growing used to that experience. They’d only bonded a few months ago, and while it surprised them how easily they’d slipped into sharing a soul, there was still an awareness, on the periphery, that rider and dragon were two separate beings, and not truly extensions of each other. When they watched Boreas, and their smooth—effortless, even—coordination that came with centuries of experience living as one another, Notos couldn’t help but be acutely conscious of their own clumsiness. How could it still be so disorienting to see out of someone else’s eyes, to feel each shudder of a step in your own bones, for the rider’s back to ache after a day of heavy flying though their dragon worked the wings?

No time to complain about the hard journey. It was only their first of many promising adventures, and what a blessing to be chosen to accompany one of the most accomplished Travellers of their tribe. They would prove themselves to be the best pupil the ancient being had ever seen.

In a matter of minutes, their human helped unload the sleeping bags and food supplies for dinner, then harvested firewood from the branches growing out of the dragon’s back. Soon enough, a soup was bubbling over their small blaze. With satisfied stomachs and smoldering coals, they settled down under the open sky for the nightly story time as Boreas began to slowly speak.

On the planet Sainha, enormous rivers cut apart the continents, emptying into freshwater seas. To survive, the people fish. Like all things, they must maintain a careful symbiosis, for if they take too many creatures from the rivers, soon they will empty of all life, and the endless rush of water will erode the earth itself. They taught their children from a young age to only take what they need from certain schools, and to always leave an offering of land-grown plants for the remaining members, as a thanks for fair trade.

In turn, the fish would not attack the humans unprovoked. Remember, these rivers are as great and wide and deep as a canal. Their denizens grow to fit their surroundings, and it is rare to find a specimen any smaller than a child. Eels the length of a barge. Sturgeon the size of sea dragons. Catfish with barbs as thick as your arm. Schools of dozens of sharp-toothed things patrolling the currents. If they wished to feast on human flesh, it was a small matter to snap one from shore and drag them under the choppy waters.

Once, there was a fisherman who allowed his soul to be seized with pride. Thinking himself above the creatures, and above his fellow men, he set out to attain a prize to prove he was the greatest fisherman of them all. His friends asked, “what makes you the best?”

He answered, “I can catch the largest fish!”

They asked, “What good is a larger fish if it capsizes your boat and you cannot reach shore?”

He answered, “I can catch the rarest fish!”

They asked, “What good is a rare fish, when you can take food from a large school that will not miss a single member?”

He answered, “I can catch the most fish at once.”

They asked, “What good is a large catch, when the river is so full and you can find food so fresh?”

He answered, “I can catch the most dangerous fish.”

They asked, “Why risk your life when there are others that take easy bait?”

He could not answer their queries, and this infuriated him. He stomped away, simply shouting, “you’ll see,” before taking his tools and boat and set out into the most remote cove, where even elder fishers dared not venture. He furnished his net with hooks, not simply one sharp line, but a mesh of barbs, meant to maim and capture all that it encountered. He held it in a white knuckled grasp as he threw it over the side and waited.

In an instant, the force of a creature impaling itself nearly jerked it from his hands. Another hit, then another, as a school caught itself in his trap. Despite the wounds, they could still swim. With a mighty jerk, they dragged him from the boat and into the water, where he became the bait for more of the creatures, hungry for human meat as they hungered for his flesh. The vicious cycle of capture and consumption continued, until the man was only a skeleton, and the fish were only shreds.

When he did not return, the townsfolk worried, and set out on expeditions, but they could not find his body. They went to the temple and asked their god to find their foolish friend. The god asked the fish near shore, who told of the great battle that raged that day, and the god understood exactly what they meant. He traveled to the cove, and cast a net of woven moonlight to pull the skeletons from the water, murky with the spilled blood. The god placed the cycle in the sky as a warning and a memorial. To this day, the people of Sainha look at their constellations and describe it as a sea of savage stars.”

With that, Boreas extinguished the fire. Notos looked to the sky, letting their eyes adjust to the lack of light from the campfire. The dilation happened almost instantly, as if on command from their dragon’s physiology. Their rider felt their attention drawn by their dragon’s sense of direction and both looked into the depths of space. Delicate white lines formed in their vision, connecting distant solar systems into constellations, and outlining the skeletons of the doomed creatures.

“We must be careful flying through their battle tomorrow. It still rages in its new form,” Boreas said solemnly. “Now get some rest. You’ll need it.”


Thank you for reading! Next week I’ll be sharing my monthly goals update, so be sure to check back for that, or to leave a writing prompt in the comments. 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 Flute

This is an excerpt from Runaways, chapter 4, when Hannah first encounters the villain! She left home looking for her lost little sister, Cecelia, who she thinks was stolen by The Pied Piper. She found a faerie, or more accurately, he found her… If you aren’t familiar with this story, you can check out the WIP page for an introduction and other excerpts. I hope you enjoy reading!


Are you prepared to pay the Piper?

No! This is all a trick! Her foe stands before her and she didn’t even notice! If he’s here, where is Cecelia? Why doesn’t he play his flute? Is he toying with her? Is she just his entertainment? Disgust and anger replace the fear. She takes a menacing step forward, intent on wiping the condescending grin off his smug face.

“You stole her! Give me back my sister!”

“Or else?”

He raises the flute to his lips.

Continue reading “The Flute”
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

Continue reading “June Goals”
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””