World Fantasy Convention

I’m participating in my first writing (virtual) convention this week! It started yesterday, and it has been absolutely phenomenal so far! I learned so much already between the editing, world building, and query letter writing workshops. I can already see why people participate in these kinds of things on a regular basis. The next four days will be jam packed with just so many fantasy and writing panels and readings by authors and digital art shows. Many of which I’m sure will help make my writing better! I’m so excited to see what the rest of the week brings. I’m going to be mentally drained by Sunday night, but it’ll be so worth it.

Here’s a picture of Captain helping me learn about world building. Ever the faithful assistant (and demander of pets).

I didn’t do a whole lot of writing this week what with preparing for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), which starts Sunday, and also getting ready for the convention, but I did finish up a “short” (I say because it’s 27 pages) story I started a few months ago. I thought it might be fun to give a little excerpt from that, so here’s the first page and a half.


Excerpt from “Spirits of the Sea”

The wind moaned as it swept through Senrese in the early hours of the first day of spring. The villagers had long believed the moaning was caused by the spirits of the sea, and the fact that the sound seemed to originate from the water only helped fuel those beliefs. The wind rattled the shutters of steep-roofed houses, rustling well-kempt bushes and causing dimly lit lampposts to sway as it blew along the red bricked streets. The air smelled of an oncoming storm, the dark, swollen clouds covering the moon.

Newly sixteen-year-old Veerlie Smalbrok lay awake in her bed, staring up at the glow-in-the-dark stars. They were the same stickers she’d placed there with the help of her best friend, Marysa, when they were in first grade. She’d sat on her mom’s shoulders, sticking the little plastic pieces to the ceiling. Then they’d run next door to do Marysa’s room, too. She wondered, listening to the wailing wind make the rusting windmill atop the barn creak and groan, if Marysa was also lying awake with her stomach in nervous knots so bad it hurt. In only a few hours they’d both be riding, for the first time, in the four hundredth annual sea ride. Anyone with a horse would ride through town and down to the beach to wash their horse’s legs in the salt water to banish the evil winter spirits.

She almost grabbed her phone to text Marysa, but she didn’t want to wake her friend if she was asleep. The clock on her nightstand read 4:06. Only three hours until she had to be up.

Next door, Marysa Kenser slept deeply beneath her glow-in-the-dark stars. Her dreams were full of nightmares where her mare, Mellie, shrank to so small Marysa could touch the ground from her back. In one she rode through the streets naked. In another she felt herself pulled beneath the waves. She rolled over in her sleep, bunching the handmade quilt in her fists.

A few miles down the road, the moaning wind whipped through an open barn door, sending the hanging lightbulb swinging back and forth. Twenty-two-year-old Joren Holka stroked Wybren’s thick, bay neck. The gelding stiffened at the sound, snorting nervously. Joren couldn’t sleep, so he’d come to check on the horse for the sixth time since dinner. He ran his hands down Wybren’s legs, down across the feathers around his hooves, making sure the horse was in top shape for the ride that afternoon.

It was his and Wybren’s fifth year parading through the streets. His sister, Amalia, had just turned sixteen and would be riding their other horse alongside him. Their parents weren’t exactly thrilled at the idea of Amalia riding so soon, but it was tradition, and she’d insisted. Joren promised to keep her safe.

He did one last check of Wybren’s body, gave the gelding a pat, and went to inspect their other gelding, Soleil, before heading back inside to hopefully get a few hours of sleep before the long day ahead of him. A spattering of rain lashed against his back as he ran to the dark house across the yard…


What I wrote in the last week:

“The Soulbond Mark” – An enorian myth explaining markings

The last seven pages of “Spirits of the Sea” – Every spring the people of Senrese ride their horses down to the sea to wash their legs in the salt water. It’s said to get rid of bad winter spirits. But danger lurks beneath the waves, for the sea spirits require a sacrifice to keep the island flourishing.

What I’m reading this week:

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson (Yes, still reading Mistborn haha)

Writing Unforgettable Characters by James Scott Bell

Meet the Characters!

Today we meet the three POV characters of book one, and I’ve mentioned a few of the important side characters at the bottom. If only I had pictures of them, but those will come (hopefully soon). So, without further ado…

Aurea Alivau

“An angry screech ripped through the air. Clinging to her galloping horse, Aurea Alivau glanced behind her.” – Start of Aurea’s first chapter, book one of The Enorians Saga.

A Sandrian, (race based on Kalasandria, goddess of secrecy and deception) Chosen-of-Enos (aka Loyalist) spy/assassin, who loves her bff so very much, and is incredibly prejudiced against humans and Goriens. She’s the first in hundreds of attempts to survive a special marking that will help her succeed in her mission. Aurea is sent to Orien’s Haven to get close to Rowan to find the location of a woman her superiors have been searching for, for hundreds of years.

She’s 111-year-old but in human terms looks to be in her early twenties. She’s 5 foot 3, and in her human form she has short, curly, black hair, brown skin, and dark eyes. And in her enorian form she’s got black, shining hair that gleams teal in the sunlight, liquid black eyes, dark grey skin, sparrow-like wings that shine like her hair, and small, thin, dark horns.

Her hobbies include running, training, spending as much time as possible with Draea, and once she’s in Orien’s Haven, riding. Her likes: stormy weather, cats, the dark, water, cooking with Draea. And dislikes: humans, Goriens, dogs, and not being able to take long flights because her wings aren’t built for it.

Her closest friend is Draea Sandoval. She and Draea also have a black and white cat named Jinx. At the start of the book she’s coming from The Enosian Isles, but she lives for the rest of it in Orien’s Haven.

Rowan Darrow

“Rowan was keenly aware of how close Lena’s chest was to his back. He wasn’t sure what to make of her, though he’d decided to believe her for the moment.” – Start of Rowan’s first chapter, book one of The Enorians Saga.

The offspring of a human woman and half-Gorien (race based on Goriel, the god of the harvest and agriculture)/half-Lorosian (race based on Loros, god of light and crafting) man, Rowan is the self-loathing, people-pleasing, horse-and-dog-loving, master of Orien’s Haven and one of five on the council that protects Aldar’s descendants (who will eventually birth the prophesied child).

He’s 153-years-old but in human terms looks like he’s in his late-twenties. In his human form, he’s six-foot, red-haired, and pale with hazel eyes. His enorian form is a hot mess due to being half-human, so he almost never shifts into it.

His hobbies include horseback riding, hunting, playing cards with Robin, and archery. His likes: dogs, horses, coffee, kids, and spending time outside. And dislikes: fog (there might be mistmarked in there. You never know), himself/what he is, Londoners (and the stonemarked), Loyalists, and carving/whittling.

His closest friends are Robin Lorane, Siren, Dahlia Verral, and his dog, Ateela, and horse, Alvaro. He lives in Orien’s Haven.

Draea Sandoval

“Draea Sandoval burst into the dim infirmary room where her best friend of nearly ninety years lay on little more than a cot. Melting snow left bootprints behind on the stone floor.” – Start of Draea’s first chapter, book one of The Enorians Saga.

The half-Veroxian (race based on Verox, god of night and future sight)/ half-Enosian (race based on Enos, god of war) daughter of the leader of the Chosen-of-Enos, Draea is a still-grieving widow fifteen years after the death of her son and husband. She clings to the people she has left, Aurea and Akrin. And she has a strange ability that she believes comes from her father’s unnaturally long life.

She’s 147-years-old but in human terms looks to be in her late twenties. She’s 5 foot 8, and in her enorian form has dark greyish-brown scales covering most of her body, though her visible skin is the color of wet sand. She has long, shiny black hair, black eyes, and dark bat-like wings with typically Veroxian four-fingered hands at the tops. And her horns consist of short, sandy-colored spikes that run along and down the top of her head in two rows. She never bothers to use her human form.

Her hobbies include running, sparring with Aurea, cooking with Aurea, and basically doing anything else with Aurea. Her likes: stormy weather, sitting outside with the stars, flying, spending time with Akrin, and lying outside under the tree in their backyard with Aurea. And dislikes: Super bright days (her eyes aren’t great at seeing in bright light or in the dark), anything to do with hunting, cold temperatures, coffee, and dogs.

Her closest friend is Aurea Alivau, though she’s also very close to her younger brother, Akrin Ensori, and Aurea’s brother, Ansel. She and Aurea have a black and white cat named Jinx. She lives on the Enosian Isles.

Important Side Characters

Robin Lorane – Rowan’s Veroxian bff who has a six-month-old son and lives in Rowan’s mansion along with a number of other people.

Zaria (aka Kadrial Zeka) – The ancient Kezerite (race based on Kezerien, god of destruction) and Zaria (the mortal representative of Zura, the goddess of time) who was instrumental in the founding Orien’s Haven and has been advising the Darrows ever since.

Eliana Viaro – The human granddaughter of Rowan’s ex-wife who becomes close friends with Aurea.

Akrin Ensori – Draea’s younger, Enosian half-brother.

Droken Ensori – Draea’s ancient Enosian father, who is the leader of the Chosen of Enos.

Tristan Darrow – Rowan’s father who lives by and guards the portal.

Ateela – Rowan’s massive Irish Wolfhound.

Alvaro – Rowan’s buckskin stallion.


What I Wrote Over the Last Week

“The Wings of a Gorien” – A myth about Loros blessing a Gorien with wings – Goriens don’t have wings. Instead, they have a second set of arms.

“The Dog Aesa Chose” – A myth about a dog so loyal and loving that Aesa took him into her realm upon his death.

A scene from Draea’s POV that takes place between books one and two. Just for fun. No spoilers 😉

What I’m Reading Right Now

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie

Officially Have an MFA!

My final grades came in today, which means I officially have an MFA in Writing from Lindenwood University!

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

It took me years to finally decide to do it. At first I didn’t think it would be worth it or that I didn’t need to do it. People write books and get them published without any degrees let alone ones specially in Writing, after all. But after a while I realized I needed more structure. I needed other writers around me (even if it was just online). I needed, for a while, to be forced to write. And I’m so incredibly grateful I did it.

Yes, of course it cost a lot of money, because anything college-related is expensive, but it was so worth it. I read some excellent books, gained a better appreciation for short stories, had some amazing professors, met my writing buddy and very dear friend, and, of course, gained so much in terms of writing experience and knowledge. I can honestly say my writing and my books are so much better for it. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

If you’re ever questioning if something like more schooling is worth the time and effort and money, yes. 1000x times, yes. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

I only wish my mom could be here to see me finish, but that’s something I’ll talk about another time.

For now, have a beautiful night. My regularly scheduled post will be coming on Thursday. 😉

Share Your Friend’s Successes

My most amazing writing buddy and dear friend, Belinda McCauley, had a story published! And I’m so excited for her!

We met last year during our Creative Writing Master’s program and have been exchanging chapters and stories ever since. She’s the most helpful and gives the best unsolicited feedback.

It’s a beautiful story about a couple of friends and the things left unsaid between them. Go check it out! It’s wonderful, just like everything else she writes.

Hello World

Hi friends! Amber here. I never thought I’d be writing a blog. Fiction writing is definitely more my thing, but I like the idea of giving whoever ends up reading this some kind of update on what I’m working on and doing and just general life-things. So I’ll be doing one of these once a week or so.

Well, building a website was somehow much more difficult and time consuming than I thought it would be. It doesn’t help that I managed to somehow make a mess of things and delete the first one I made. So, that was super neat. But! Here we are. It’s done. Woohoo! Now I can focus on writing again instead of spending hours struggling.

Anyway, about me:

I’m a crazy horse girl whose love of fantasy novels stemmed from Harry Potter. Before my mom started reading the first one to me, I hated reading. Maybe that was because I struggled with the language since I’d only recently learned English, but either way, it wasn’t until HP that I found my love of books. I devoured everything I could get hands on after that point, and I haven’t stopped.

I have two adorably cuddly, attention seeking cats named Mario (pictured above) and Captain Thunderpants (pictured on the right), and I live with my amazingly supportive and creative boyfriend of nearly ten years, Josh – aka J.J. Emery – (pictured below), who has also been instrumental in expanding the world of the Enorians Saga as well as with planning the books.  

I’ve always loved writing, but to be honest, for the longest time I worried I wouldn’t like it enough to do it as a full-time thing (fingers crossed I manage to get to do that at some point in my life), which seems ridiculous now. Thanks to being stuck at home for two months due to COVID, I learned that I do, in fact, love writing enough to do it as job. In those two months I managed to finish writing book two of my Enorians Saga. I never thought I would manage to finish writing a book so quickly.

I also officially finished with my master’s program as of this week, which means I’m now a Master of Fine Arts in Writing! The plan for the rest of the year is to take it easy, since I managed to finish not only writing book two but also revising book one (for the…17th? time) as well as finding that master’s degree. I’ll be working on writing more myths and some short stories and preparing to tackle revisions and another first draft next year.

Have a beautiful day, all of you. Until next week! — Amber

I’m going to end every one of these by telling you all what I’m reading at that moment. So, what I’m reading right now:

Misborn by Brandon Sanderson

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield