Grief and Writing and My Mom

I wasn’t planning on writing this for a few more weeks, but then I started writing a story yesterday that came from a dream, and it seemed to better fit today. So, let’s start with that dream: Last May, my mom died of cancer. Then, sometime between last October and this month (I can’t remember exactly when it occurred) I had a dream that when I was coming out of the barn where I ride horses, I got a phone call from an unavailable number. When I answered, my mom was on the other end, and I told her, “But this is impossible. You’re dead.” She agreed and then carried on as if everything was normal. The moment I woke up, I knew I wanted to write a fictionalized version of that. And yesterday, after months (possibly even a year) of sitting on it, I finally started it. Naturally, it brought up some feelings, and I made myself tear up for the first time while writing. So that was…fun?

And yes, I am going to absolutely post a bunch of pictures of my mom, because she was the best. I know a lot of people don’t want to be like their parents, but if someone told me I was like my mom, I’d be nothing but thrilled and honored they thought so.

When my mom was still alive, I called her pretty regularly after work or after riding to just say hi, and we’d talk on my drive home. And sometimes she’d call me around the time I was usually done working to do the same.

There were numerous instances after she was gone where I’d get into my car and get this almost instinctual thought – I don’t want to call it a thought, because it wasn’t a thought. It was more like an automatic thing I was supposed to do because I’d done it so often, but thought will work, I suppose – to call her. That was followed by a near immediate reminder that I couldn’t. And that sucked. So. Hard. It was like a nice little punch to the gut. Like having the rug swept out from under me. Thankfully that doesn’t really happen much anymore.

When we first found out she was dying of cancer, I asked my boyfriend how I was supposed to function as a normal person after she was gone. It’s crazy how we do, actually, eventually, continue to just function after someone we love dies. How we get used to a new normal without them. How we can even be happy without them in our lives, as impossible as that seems. Or, at least, I learned to function like a normal person. I’m sure not everyone is able to do that.

And naturally I think about her daily whether it’s just from seeing her pictures on my desk or when she comes up in conversation, but generally there’s not really sadness associated with those thoughts. Like of course I wish she was still here, and I miss her. She was never anything but loving and supportive. But it’s normally surprisingly easy to just continue life without being sad.

But there are moments where her being gone sucks extra hard. Big moments where I want to call her and tell her exciting things have happened, and I can’t, and I hate it. Last year, after she was already gone, I managed to finish a draft of book one of the Enorians Saga. This year, I not only finished writing book two in five months and then revising book one in another three. Neither of which I ever thought I could ever manage so quickly. And then I got my MFA in writing, and my professor had nothing but good things to say about my thesis.

And it was so hard not to be able to call her about all of that. Especially because I feel like she started all of this when she picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and read it to me when I was a kid. I’ve probably said this many times, but I honestly believe that I wouldn’t love reading and writing and fantasy, I wouldn’t be the book crazy person I am, if she hadn’t done that for me, because before Harry Potter, I didn’t like reading. I want to share it all with her and go, “Look. You did this. This is because of you. And I can never thank you enough.”

I’m sure there will be many more moments in the future when I have similar feelings. But thankfully I do have a bunch of other wonderful supportive people in my life that I can tell all the exciting things to. But it would still be pretty cool if cancer wasn’t such a bitch. To everyone who has lost someone to cancer, I feel your pain, and I hope you can find some joy in the world beyond their passing and remember only good and happy moments.

Now, let’s end with a little excerpt from that story, which is currently untitled, because titles are hard. I didn’t use much from my own life in this beyond the whole mom died bit. But this is one moment, the moment I mentioned above when getting in the car, that I did pull from my own experiences. It wasn’t quite as dramatic for me, but I wanted to try to illustrate just how much it sucks:

“As she slumped down into the front seat of her car, Phoebe had a momentary instinctual desire to call her mom. It lasted only a second before the realization hit. Before she remembered that she couldn’t, because her mom was dead. Her heart plummeted into her stomach. Her stomach dropped down into her pelvis somewhere and vanished. All her insides had been sucked out of her, leaving her with an empty, hollow feeling. Her throat burned along with her eyes, and her cheeks grew warm as she felt the tears pooling.

She’d thought she was done with this now. It’d been over a year since her mom died. She’d had many moments like this over the first few months after her death. Moments that left her trembling and crying. Moments that left her breathless with unexpected grief.”


What I wrote over the last week (since 11/5 in this case):

“The Folly of Blissfruit” – A myth about an enorian fruit (blissfruit) that causes crazy amazing highs and why enorians shouldn’t eat it. 

“The First Aesan” – A myth about Aesa’s decision to take children to her realm upon their death rather than sending them to the Aether.

“Aesa’s Ring of Conception” – A myth about a Velite woman who desperately wants children but can’t have them and Aesa’s special ring that allows conception no matter the circumstances.

Children of Oher Chapter One: The Wedding – This one started out as a short story idea that, entirely unsurprisingly, has grown into novella length. Kora Mercer gets kidnapped by the Children of Oher and is forced to marry one of their young men because the group hasn’t had a female child born in years, so they have to resort to pulling women in from outside their walls. But when she realizes her new husband, Asher Webb, is in love with his best friend and wants as little to do with all this marriage business as her, she has to decide whether to trust him in hopes they might escape their prison together.

Untitled story about someone struggling through a busy lunch shift at a restaurant.

Untitled story about a girl who one day she gets an unexpected phone call from her dead mom.

More things written from Rowan’s POV that weren’t originally written in Rowan’s POV, just for funsies.

To see little excerpts from all the things, go check out my Instagram.

What I’m reading this week:

Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories by Kelly Barnhill

I also just finished Blackbird Broken by Keri Arthur yesterday and am impatiently awaiting the release of book three, Blackbird Crowned.

National Novel Writing Month & Meet the Gods

For those who don’t know, every November is National Novel Writing Month for us crazy writers. The goal is to write 50,000 words in thirty days. I’ll be honest, I’ve never managed to successfully do it. At least not during November. Though, I suppose last year technically counted as successful, since I finished enorians book one, even though I didn’t hit 50,000 words. I did write over 50,000 words in both April and May, but I did that while being off work because of COVID. So does that really count? (I guess it does a little. It was just a lot easier haha)

Since I’m not working on a book at the moment, my plan is to write a combination of short stories and more enorian myths so that maybe next year I can start sending out some stories. I’m updating my Instagram daily with little excerpts from what I worked on that day as well as brief explanations, so check that out if you’re interested to see what exactly I’m working on.

Speaking of enorian myths, let’s meet the gods! And what better way to meet them than for me to share the creation myth? But first, here’s a list of each god and what they represent:

Aesa – The Mother God – Goddess of Life, Air, and Childbirth

Loros – God of Day, Light, Crafting, and Money

Nora-Vel – Goddess of Nature, Medicine, and Wild Animals

Invero – God of the Sea and Weather

Verox – God of Night, Darkness, and Future Sight

Merse – Goddess of Love, Mercy, Obsession, Desire, Music, and Sunrise

Goriel – God of the Harvest, Agriculture, and the Homestead

Aethos – Goddess of Death, Disease, Decay, and the Cycle of Life

Borea – God of Hatred, Insanity, Revenge, and Sunset

Enos – God of War, Battle Strategy, Heat, and Fire

Kalasandria – Goddess of Secrecy and Deception

Trosk – God of Art, Markings, and Beautiful Deaths

Kezerien – God of Destruction and Natural Disasters

Zura – Goddess of Knowledge, Time, and Future Sight

Serth – God of Misfortune

The Creation of the Gods

In the beginning, Aesa, the first of the gods, was alone. She did not know where she had come from or how she had come to be on this plane with only the blue sky and sun, the barren land, the empty oceans, and the starry night for company. But from somewhere deep within her, she understood that she had the ability to create life.

And so, with her many sets of feathered wings, she flew as high into the sky as she could and there, she pulled a ray from the sun. She cradled it carefully in her hands, the warmth filling her with joy and excitement. When she landed on the dirt again, she blew gently on the glowing ray, sending it floating away from her. The sunray expanded until it took up nearly all her vision, and then it slowly took the form of a man, a man made of pure light. And so Aesa breathed life into Loros, the first of her children.

Next, she plucked one of her own many white feathers, for she knew Loros could not be her only companion. She blew on the feather, and it twirled into the sky. Aesa followed it with her sight until she had to squint against the brightness of the sun. When it came into view again, the feather had become a small, white bird, which fluttered down onto her outstretched hand. She smiled, stroking its head with her fingers before setting it down on the dirt. From there, the bird grew into a large, white beast with the front legs and head of a snarling feline, antlers sprouting from its head, and the back half of a slender deer with cloven hooves. It was equally beautiful and frightening. And so Aesa breathed life into Nora-Vel, her first and only daughter.

While Loros and Nora-Vel got acquainted, Aesa flew to the vast oceans. She swooped down and scooped up two handfuls of water, cupping them in her palms. Bringing the salty sea back to land with her, she blew on it, sending ripples over the small pool in her hands. And from that water, sprang Invero, fully formed and covered in scales the blue-green color of the ocean with fin-like wings. He dove back into the waters that called to him. And so Aesa breathed life into Invero, the child she would rarely see, for he stayed beneath the waves from which he had been made.

As she stared at the other half of the world, the dark, starry half, Aesa’s loneliness had not quite faded. She flew back up, high into the sky, as she had earlier. But this time, she plucked a star from the inky blackness. And when she brought it back down with her, Loros and Nora-Vel came to investigate. They watched their mother blow on the star cradled in her hand. It floated away from them, expanding as it went, until the darkness blotted out their vision. It formed slowly into something like the shape of a person, filled with swirling galaxies and stars. They swept forward to greet their siblings and mother. And so Aesa breathed life into Verox, her youngest child, the dark star.

Aesa wanted to create more life, a people who could keep the gods strong with their worship. But first they needed a place to live, and so the next day, the five gods set to work creating a habitable world.

Nora-Vel walked around the world, passing from the bright half into the dark and back and everywhere she went, entire forests sprouted up behind her. Grass grew beneath her clawed feet. Flowers sprang up from her hooves. When she flicked her long tail, birds burst into being, and when she rubbed her antlers on the bark of trees, tiny mice and rabbits and other such small animals tumbled to life.

Invero, deep in the oceans, had already begun his work, creating all sorts of sea creatures large and small and underwater landscapes to rival those of his sister’s in beauty. But even with the sea creatures for company, Invero felt a strange longing for others like him. And so he left his oceans to walk the land in search of his siblings, creating rivers in his wake. When he paused, water puddled around him, deep and wide, forming ponds, then lakes.

Loros and Verox went in search of building materials to create forms in which to hold their light and darkness. In the middle of the world, they found mountains. They took rock and they took the trees their sister had created, and they went to the oceans to collect sand from the beaches, and Loros built himself a forge. There, he crafted beautiful, white armor to hold his light in the form of a man. And he created a set for his sibling, as well, out of glass so all could see the star-strewn darkness swirling within.

Aesa was glad to see Invero join them again, and she marveled at the beauty of the casings Loros had created for himself and Verox and praised Nora-Vel for her exceptionally lovely forests. And she smiled, feeling joy and contentment surrounded by her children.

Then Loros fell in love with Nora-Vel, and in that fresh, new feeling of love, something burst from his chest. She was made up of pale yellows and oranges and pinks, her long hair shimmering with the colors of sunrise. And so Merse was born, and she was more beautiful than anything Aesa had seen before. 

It did not take long for a brother to be born to Merse. From the union of Loros and Nora-Vel came a being with the body of a furred, four-legged beast with cloven hooves and the torso of a man, though this, too, was covered in a dusting of fur and had an extra set of arms. He immediately set to creating the fields the enorians would need to grow food. And so Goriel was born, the strongest among them. 

With the world as prepared as Aesa thought it could be, she gathered twigs and plucked feathers from her wings and tied them all together with strands of her hair. And when she had formed them into the shapes of people, she pressed a kiss to each and tossed them into the air, where they floated away, turning into the first mortals, beings with feathered wings and horns like their creator, each equally beautiful. And they walked together into Nora-Vel’s forests to create shelters and hunt for food while Goriel readied their fields for them. And so Aesa created the first enorians.

And all was well. The newly created enorians worshipped their gods and produced children who worshipped their gods. Aesa took to the sky, and with the help of her first enorians, she added more life to the vast blue space. Her breath created pillowy, white clouds and the beating of her wings and the wings of the first enorian swept the wind into being.

But then Nora-Vel had another child, this one a dark being with gaunt features, sickly skin stretching over sharp bones. When one of Nora-Vel’s creatures died, as all beings do, the child took it into her lap, cradling it to her, stroking it tenderly. And so Aethos was born and was tasked with caring for the dead.

Loros knew this could not be his child. For he saw how bright and glorious and strong his son was. And this dark daughter, she could not have come from him. He accused Verox of coupling with Nora-Vel behind his back. Verox could not deny their betrayal, for who else could have created such a child? And Verox fled, not wanting to fight their brother.

Loros chased Verox around the world, and the brightness and darkness mixed as they flew, creating dawn and day and twilight and night. Loros chased his sibling for many days and nights, so many that their flight caused the flowers to bloom and leaves to fall and a coldness to envelope the world from the sheer force of their chase. When Loros finally caught the younger god, the cold had faded, and flowers had begun to sprout again. The two fought over Nora-Vel, and though neither had a true body, Loros sliced open his sibling, sending blood splattering down into the volcano and into the shadows of the mountain over which they raged.

A man burst from the blood bubbling in the lava, fully formed and armored, full of rage from the feelings coursing through Verox, with huge, sweeping horns and large, strong wings to take him wherever the fighting may be. And so Enos was born, ready for battle.

Another crawled slowly out of the red pool in the shadows of the mountain, the blood changing colors as it formed her body, turning a strange greenish blue color for a moment, as if the color had inverted. She slunk toward the fighting gods, crouched low, creeping up behind her brother, ready to strike. And in the shadow of the hulking Enos, she seemed to vanish, wrapped in shadows. And so Kalasandria was born, the blood forever dripping from her wings.

Nora-Vel came to where the siblings fought and shouted at them that she was not a prize to be won and she could be with whomever she pleased. She made them stop their foolish fight sparked of jealousy, and Aesa was grateful, for she did not wish for such discord amongst her children.

But while Nora-Vel helped Verox clean and heal their wounds and Verox greeted their new children, Loros struggled with his feelings of betrayal. How could his sibling do this to him? His beloved sibling for whom he had created that glorious armor? And in those bitter feelings of anger, of hatred, of betrayal, his light started to dim. Gone was the blinding brightness created by the sunray from which he had come, instead his inner light turned to warm oranges and reds, deep, dull yellows and pinks. Not unlike the colors of his first child, Merse. And as he cried tears of rage, from those tears came another child. She rose to her full height, dark and withered in appearance, the top half of her body wrapped in armor and a spiked cage surrounding her head. The swirling black mist blocking the rest of her body from view seemed to leach all the light from her surroundings. And so Borea was born.

Aesa worried things had gone wrong, but after the creation of Borea, Loros seemed to have calmed, his light coming back to full brightness again. And so they continued perfecting their world for the enorian mortals who worshipped them.

The animals came to Nora-Vel, asking her to make them beautiful, for most were the brown of tree bark or the white of her tail hairs. And so she asked Aesa to pull some blue from the sky, and asked Loros to give her some of his light, and asked Verox to offer a bit of the purple hidden in their inky darkness, and asked Invero for some green scales, and asked Merse and Borea for their red and orange and pink feathers, and she took some of her own, white hairs. From all the things her siblings and children had given her, she formed a being of swirling color to paint the animals and the leaves of the trees and flowers. And so Trosk was born, and they set immediately to work to create more beauty in the world.

While everyone else was busy helping with the forming of Trosk, Kalasandria and Enos had a violent, fiery, sparking romance, and when their son came into being, the clouds burst open with a downpour of rain. Thunder cracked and light zigzagging across the sky and striking Nora-Vel’s precious trees, setting them ablaze. Fire leapt across his flesh, the ground spider-webbing beneath him. And so Kezerien was born, his skin crackling with lightning, sparking out at anyone who came near.

When the storm had settled, the enorians, now trailed by multiple children, came to Aesa to ask her why the days had stopped turning to night, for when Loros and Verox stopped their chase, the world had settled back to its original state, half light, half dark. They missed the beauty of the sunrises and sunsets, and they feared the dark half of the world, where they believed dangers lurked, and they could not track time without the coming of night and day, as they had become accustomed.

And so Aesa asked her four children to create a new being who could ensure the passage of time. They assembled the materials, going to the mountains to mine metals and to the beach to get more sand to create glass. And while Loros began to craft their newest companion, the rest of the gods gathered around to wait. When he finished, she stood before them, made of glass and wrapped in an exoskeleton of metal, but she was not yet finished. Loros gave her a bit of his light, for the day, and knowledge of crafting. Verox spilled forth their darkness, for the night, and touched her brow to bestow their future sight. Merse pressed a kiss to her cheek, bestowing on her the colors of sunrise and with those, her love. And with Borea’s sunset offering seeped in the blackness, her hatred. Invero poured water into her, giving her all she would ever need to know of the oceans and its contents. Nora-Vel blessed her with the understanding of nature and medicine, the life cycles of plants and animals. And Goriel gave her knowledge of the harvest and all that went along with growing and feeding the mortals. Enos gave her appreciation of battles and war. And Kalasandria made her understand the importance of secrecy and gave her the ability to see into the past. Kezerien taught her about the storms and destruction and how vital they could be to life. And Trosk painted her, lining her with blue and filling her empty eyes with the same, the color of the flowers and the birds and the sky just before night fell, and with their careful strokes they taught her the beauty of life and art. Aethos brought her the body of a lost creature, and when she touched first the beast and then the face of the frozen being before her, she bestowed unto her the importance of death and its necessity to life. Finally, Aesa stepped forward, and blew gently into her face, instilling in her the knowledge of birth and life. Eyes flickered open and deep within her core, a blue light pulsed slowly. And so, with the help and knowledge of all the gods, Aesa breathed life into Zura and tasked her to ensure time and all its events moved as it should.

With day and night circling the world, with the seasons changing as the days passed, the gods settled into their new lives, reveling in the worship of their mortals. But one mortal, the youngest son of the two first enorians, did not worship as he should. He struggled through his life, forgetting offerings and prayers, letting days go by without a thought to the gods. He was too busy to remember days of celebration, despite his parents’ insistence the gods had created them and deserved his time and energy. Misfortune befell him again and again. His crops failed to grow. The animals he hunted fled before he caught them. His boat capsized as he tried to fish, turned over in a storm. His fields flooded. His cattle died of disease. He did not find love, like his siblings did when Aesa created more enorians. He could not understand what had gone wrong.

Upon his death, he came to the gods, begging them for understanding. They stood above him, pointing fingers and judging him on the things he had failed to do. If only he had worshipped and given offerings and sacrifices as his parents and siblings, they told him. All the misfortune befalling him had been his own fault, his foolishness. And from the shadow created by the youngest son from the light of the gods, a new creature pulled himself from the grass. He crouched on six limbs, four spindly arms and two sturdy, taloned legs. He slunk away to the forest and watched them, stroking his long fingers over the coarse, grass-like fur of his shoulder. And then he crept away, out of sight, away from these most glorious and powerful beings, glowering at them from the shadows. And so Serth was born, the last of the gods.

It was not long before the gods decided they, too, wanted their own people as Aesa had created, for they thought it wasn’t fair that the enorians only looked like her. With her help, they created numerous races, one for nearly every god.

Aesa gave her people her soft, feathered wings, and her kind and gentle nature and tasked them to bring forth the life she sent. She called them Aesa’s Chosen.

Loros gave his people the knowledge to expertly craft and the ability to bring brightness to the dark with their shining markings, and he made their wings strong and powerful so they could fly close to his light. He called them his Light Bringers.

Nora-Vel gave her people the gift of medicine and the ability to hunt with extreme precision and modeled them after the creatures she had created, instilling in them her love of nature. She called them Velites.

Invero gave his people the ability to breathe underwater and gave them scales and fin-like wings to move around swift and efficiently beneath the waves, ensuring they could join him in the ocean at any time. He called them the Deep Ones.

Verox gave their people the ability to see in the dark, during their time, and some, they blessed them with the skill to read the fate and future in the stars. They called them Veroxians.

Merse gave her people her passion, the power to create feelings of lust or devotion within others, and she blessed them with stunning beauty and a great affinity for music. She called them her Cherished Mersians.

Goriel gave his people the strength to work the fields and the ability to grow plants, particularly food, with much greater success than other races, and he blessed them to take his form, covering them in fur and giving them hooves. He called them his Herdsmen.

Aethos, already too busy caring for those who had passed beyond this realm, did not create a race, for all people became hers once they joined her in the Aether.

Enos gave his people his love of battle and blessed them to be excellent leaders, debaters, and rousing orators, and he gave them scales and ensured they loved the heat as much as him. He called them his War Bringers.

Kalasandria gave her people her sneaking skills, creating small, lithe beings capable of blending into shadows and being as quiet and secretive as her, and blessing them with the ability to read people well and judge character; some could even hear whispers of the past. She called them her Sandrian Whisperers.

Borea gave her people the ability to create feelings of hatred in their enemies, and in special cases, some did not even need the cursed mist to create the rage and anger within other enorians. She called them Boreans.

Trosk, like their sister Aethos, did not create a people, for they were too busy painting the world, adding beauty to it, and they saw the beauty in all people and all things and did not feel a need to have their own race.

Kezerien gave his people destructive elemental powers, showing them how to breathe and throw fire, form ice, and use lightning to destroy, and the other gods thought this was too much power for one race, but each race had their own special abilities, Aesa told them, and these were Kezerien’s choice. He called them Kezerites.

Zura decided to only bless one enorian at a time rather than create her own people. Upon that enorian, who could be from any of the eleven races, she passed her knowledge of all things, extending their life by placing a gem in the palm of their hand, and gave them glimpses into the future to ensure all stayed as it should on the mortal realm. She called them her Zaria.

When Serth joined them, they were surprised, for they didn’t know yet he existed. And when Aesa asked him if he wanted to create a race, he said no, for all he could give his people was the misfortune from which he had been born. And so the gods and the enorians were created, and that is why Aesa is called the mother god, for all life spawned from her, and she watches over everyone, gods and mortals alike, even now.

What I wrote over the last week:

A first person version of “The Spirits of the Sea,” which will likely end up being the start of a novel-length story.

A scene from book two that’s originally written from Vivian’s POV, rewritten from Rowan’s POV (just for funsies. I love and miss Rowan).

What I’m reading:

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson (Yes. Still. So close to done, though! By next week I’ll have a new book to share. Maybe a couple.)

A final note: Starting next week, I’ll be posting on Saturdays instead of Thursdays, since I’m starting a new job that gives me weekends off (Woohoo!). To see regular updates, check out my Facebook page or Instagram. Happy Thursday!

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

Belinda McCauley

Writer. Reader. Creator.

Daan Katz, Author

Where Magic Meets Reality

A.M. Sӧtemann

Writer of Fantasy and Lover of Books and Horses