The Black Magus

Real Love

I’m a hopeless romantic, through and through.

This was perhaps a bit silly of me, but after “The Scion Suit” gained a smidgen of attention on Reddit, I wondered if I should downplay the romance aspect of The Black Magus to make it sound more appealing to the sort of people who would actually read it — after all, I don’t think that I’d gain much traction with Twilight fans. But, I decided that would be rather disingenuous, considering that it’s right there in the very first chapter.

So there you have it: The Black Magus is the ultimate Mary-Sue fanfic, where the main character is a shy nobody who through sheer coincidence gains the attention of the most powerful magus on the planet. He competes against another magus to win her affection in a saucy love triangle, and ultimately pulls ahead by gifting her the most expensive car ever built. The girl, on the other hand, maintains an emotional affair with the other guy, just to prove how strong and independent she is after she’s married …


I’m totally not awesome enough to write that.

It’s not the sort of crap that’s always portrayed in popular romance novels. It’s also not the sort of “singles together” crap that we’re told to settle for because “romance doesn’t exist”. You won’t find any Taylor Swift songs that fit it.

It’s about devotion and compassion. It’s about two people joining together to become a family, and learning how to be there for each other. It’s about real love.

There’s also some stuff about magic and the world they live in, and a few other characters who have some dialogue and whatnot. You know, that necessary story-type stuff, to flesh it out into an actual novel and set up the sequel.

So, I have decided against downplaying the romance aspect of The Black Magus, because it is the entire foundation and structure of the novel. Please, don’t dismiss it because of a few bad stereotypes — I assure you that this story is different.

The Black Magus

The Black Magus characters


I know.

I spent over a year working on the first draft for this novel, and these are the only notes I made on the two main characters.


I confess, I’m terrible with notes, so I often find it easier and more organized to keep all of the information in my head. I don’t create character charts, or worksheets, or blah blah blah, because I make a point of locking everything in my mind.

Which is probably one of the reasons why I don’t fit in with writing communities.

Besides. Most of the time, I just listen to what they have to say anyway.

So, here we are: introducing the two main characters from The Black Magus, my upcoming fantasy romance novel.

Are you as excited as I am?

About Writing

Learning how to write from Bob Ross

Sometimes I like to turn on Bob Ross to absorb how calm and mellow he is, and I find it relaxing to sit and watch him paint for a bit. Children are highly chaotic entities, so I know how to appreciate the change in pace that comes with everyone sitting together watching a show that we can all enjoy.

It occurred to me that one could also learn how to write from Bob Ross, as long as you think metaphorically.

He doesn’t simply slap down blobs of color and call it done. He blends the paint, adds shadows and highlights, and is mindful of the details. He also doesn’t overwork the paint or try to control every single aspect of the picture, instead working with the textures of the brush strokes and allowing elements to evolve naturally.

And, as everyone knows, “There are no mistakes, only happy accidents.”

A lot of writers stop at the blobs of color phase. They’ll free write whatever passes through their minds then hit ‘publish’ without any more thought about the story. These sorts of writers can produce a lot of content in a short amount of time, but it will all feel unpolished and unsatisfying. Often, when I have tried to explain how these writers have good potential but they need to dedicate more attention to reworking their story, they get upset rather than accepting the advice (even when I’m responding to their request for criticism). So, remember, blobs of color are your foundation, but they are not your finished story. The first draft should not be your last. And no, your blobs of color are not more genius than anyone else’s. They all pretty much look the same.

Others will overwork the story to death. They’ll edit out the spontaneity of adventure, and reduce their characters to props who serve rigid roles, instead of letting them shine as quirky individuals. These writers don’t let the overall picture evolve naturally, and their stories feel formulaic. While they are often well intentioned, they don’t know how to let the story flow on its own.

There are also writers who put in too much detail, and create overly-busy stories with no clear focus. They forget to leave the background in the background. They throw too much information at the reader all at one, or create more characters than there’s room for. They describe the condiments instead of the picnic.

When you are in the process of editing, take a step back and try to visualize the story as a painting. Is there enough detail without being overdone? Did you let elements evolve naturally and follow the flow? Did you flesh out the foreground and leave the background appropriately hazy? Is it something that you would hang on *your* wall? Remember, you can always fix it.

And the next time you watch Bob Ross, just imagine that he’s speaking in metaphor and soak in all of his encouragement.

About Me

My malfunction:

There was a time when my life sucked. I’d complain about particulars, but I’m also intensely secretive, so you’ll just have to make do with that statement: it really sucked.

I didn’t have any money, but I had a laptop and spent most of my time hanging out at places that provided wifi, reading silly webcomics, browsing Imgur, and watching Hulu (back when they were still primarily free). It was my only distraction from how much everything sucked.

I looked forward to updates, and laughed at everything funny. It got me through the darkness, not unscathed, but still alive. Sometimes just surviving is a major feat in and of itself.

Writing is my talent and my passion. It’s what I have to offer to the world at large, outside of my ‘happily ever after’ that my husband and I have crafted together. It’s how I give meaning to lingering pain that would otherwise feel meaningless. I write because I am a writer.

I cannot, however, ask for much money from it. My soul won’t permit it.

I won’t be JK Rowling or Stephenie Meyer. No millions, no movie deals, no fame.

What I fantasize is giving someone else the distraction they need during a crappy time in their life, to help get them through it alive.

It’s not my place to ever know if I actually accomplish that goal or not, as long as I keep putting stories “out there” to land wherever they will. No ego stroking for me.

It’s the reason why I only write happy endings.

And that is my malfunction; the reason why I don’t advertise or solicit reviews. I firmly believe that I will be found by the ones who need to find me, and when they do I need to be within their grasp.

That’s how I will repay my debt to the Universe.

About Writing

Why I don’t read contemporary books

I’ve said repeatedly that I don’t read anything that was published this decade, because I’m a cranky bitch who hates everything about modern living … and all that. Hur hur.

I’m not doing this to be an irrational hater, but rather to analytically illustrate what I think is wrong with contemporary literature. At random, I have selected a paragraph out of a book titled, Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe, because another blogger linked to it recently (hello!), and I think it serves as a good example of why I have dismissed this decade’s literature all together.

Disclaimer: I have not read this book, cannot review the quality of the story itself, and haven’t the slightest idea of what the writing is like outside of the preview available on Amazon. I have absolutely no opinion on the book itself; my complaint is with contemporary writing practices.

From the sample:

They both turned to look out of the window of the assisted living facility in north London. Issy had installed Joe there when it became clear he was getting too absentminded to live on his own. Issy had hated moving him down south after he’d spent his life in the north, but she needed him close to visit. Joe had grumbled of course but he was going to grumble anyway, moving out of his home to anywhere that wouldn’t let him rise at 5:00 a.m. and start pounding bread dough. So he might as well be grumpy close by, where she could keep an eye on him. After all, it wasn’t as if anyone else was around to do it. And the three bakeries, with their proud, shiny brass handles and old signs proclaiming them to be “electric bakers,” were gone now; fallen prey to the supermarkets and chains that favored cheap white pulp over handcrafted but slightly more expensive loaves.

First, for some unfathomable reason, authors have all decided that they have a raging allergy to commas. Maybe they think it’s more conversational, that commas are outdated and useless, or they simply never learned how to organize a sentence during their schooling; whatever the case, reading feels more like delving into an overgrown forest where one is expected to hack their way through alone. It also makes it significantly harder to read out loud, since being expected to run on and on without any pauses in one long unbroken sentence gives a monotone effect that can be really quite hypnotic … Woah, sorry, got sucked into the wrong dimension there for a moment.

The worst, in my opinion, is something that I think of as “THE TWITTER EFFECT.” You never, ever, not in a million years, see sentences longer than 280 characters (most will stay under 140, which was Twitter’s original cut off point), even in novels. Yes, I know that Moby-Dick was ridiculous for having sentences that spanned more than one page, but that doesn’t mean the answer is to only write short, choppy, status updates in lieu of actual paragraphs. I blame social media.

The longest sentence in the quoted paragraph is 258 characters, including the improperly used semicolon. Four of them are shorter than 100 characters, which accounts for more than half of the sentences in the paragraph.

So, let’s rewrite it. After all, if I’m going to claim that I can do better, I might as well back it up!

They both turned to look out of the window of the assisted living facility in north London, where Issy had installed her grampa Joe after it had become clear that he was getting too absentminded to live on his own. Issy had hated moving him so far from his home, but she had wanted him close by for her to visit, and they had no other family members who were willing to help take care of him. Joe had grumbled, of course, but he was sure to be grouchy anywhere that wouldn’t let him rise at 5:00 a.m. to start pounding dough, so he might as well be grouchy where she could keep an eye on him. The three bakeries of his past, with their proud, shiny, brass handles, and old signs proclaiming them to be “electric bakers”, were gone now, fallen prey to the supermarkets and chains that favored cheap, white pulp over handcrafted, yet slightly more expensive, loaves.

The length is the same, but I combined the seven sentences into four to decrease the choppy effect of countless periods, and enhance the overall flow of the story itself. I used a lot more commas for clear organization, and with any luck, you should be able to read that sucker out loud without stumbling. Give it a shot, and tell me if I’m wrong.

Thusly we have learned: Use commas and think longer thoughts, ’cause I ain’t got nothin’ to read.

I need a rest after writing this post. Whew.

About Writing

My hope

I haven’t read more than a few pages of fiction novels published after 2010. That was the year the world became untenable for me, beginning with my inability to accept the popularity of skinny jeans and yoga pants. I cannot believe that anyone with functioning eyes can put on a pair of leggings, look in the mirror, and genuinely feel good about themselves. C’mon, you deserve better than that. You don’t have to treat yourself like crap just because everyone else is doing it.

As a Millennial, I keep my hopes up that one day we’ll explode on the scene and break all the molds. We’ll tell the publishing world in no uncertain terms that we demand better than 50 Shades of Grey, and crappy literature will vanish along with microwave dinners and Styrofoam cups. We can achieve so much more out of life than what the previous generations handed down to us.

I know what Millennials are capable of. I’ve seen plenty of brilliant short stories and creative ideas posted around the internet, but I have yet to find the officially published full length novels that are of the same quality. Maybe my peers have yet to realize the value of what they have to offer, and never work up the nerve to really throw it out there.

I know I’m not alone. I know you’re there.

Write with unhindered creativity, pour your love of English into every sentence, and do your best to hone your talent. Be artistic. Be real. Be different. Be you. Don’t rewrite Harry Potter and Twilight because they were popular, write the weird and quirky stories that you secretly post on Reddit. Just make them longer. A lot longer.

Self-publishing has become readily accessible to everyone, so you don’t have to follow the old channels of appeasement and rejection anymore — you can reach your readers directly. Don’t be afraid.

Join me, and we can change the literary world.

About Me


My personality type is INTP, which accounts for less than 6% of the female population. So when I say that I’m not a typical woman, I mean it; I’m not just trying to seem more interesting. Most women are ESFJ’s, making me the exact opposite of what everyone expects.

It’s the NT part that really makes me weird; intuitive yet detached. I firmly believe that there are at least three solutions to every problem, and if you can’t find the third one then you aren’t even trying. Self-sacrifice? Ha! I can find a way that will make everyone happy without any martyrs. Just watch me. Phishing for compassion is a waste of time, and I don’t care if you feel bad for me.

It freaks people out, because most of them have never met a woman like me. They want to stereotype and pigeonhole me, yet I never respond the way they expect me to. I am unpredictable and terrifying.

My personality type has frequently made me the target of bullying, and the general feeling of “I don’t belong with anyone, anywhere”, but despite that I’m enormously fond of it. I get a kick out of INTP memes, and I openly joke about my own “cold-hearted” nature. I have always prioritized being the sort of person *I* admire over pleasing anyone else, so at the end of the day I am satisfied with who I am without external approval. That’s what happens when you combine introverted with intuitive, thinking, and perceiving.

It is the reason why I write. I enjoy observation and introspection, and I see the philosophical value in every day life. I love the depth and complexity of human emotion, but I often approach it as something to be analyzed rather than swept away by.  I am, in many ways, a narrator rather than a character.

Who can tell a story better than a narrator?


About Me

Literary World

Whenever I take a gander at the hottest new releases on Amazon, I can’t help but feel like there really isn’t a place for me in the literary world. It’s not that I don’t believe that I have the skill to write, but rather, I think that society’s tastes have drifted too far for my novels to have much appeal.

I’m old fashioned, and I like sentences that flow well together as an easy thought, that can be read out loud to others. I like to focus more on straightforward storytelling, and I don’t particularly care about impressing anyone with my command of purple prose. I’m nothing like Game of Thrones, and I don’t feel any desire to erase my own voice in order to imitate the bestsellers. I don’t have any points to prove; I’m just make-believing because I like to, and savoring the process of filling up page after page.

I really couldn’t care less about what celebrities or the New York Times say about anything. Their opinions are more of a disincentive, to be truthful, and I will feel like an epic failure as an individualist if I gained their approval.

Sometimes I think that the real world is all about hyper-conformity, and trying as hard as possible to be “3 edgy 5 you” to prove how thoroughly you belong in the 21st century. Me? I’m enamored with the basics of True Love and Motherhood, and it doesn’t bother me that I don’t particularly belong to any century.

Ultimately, it doesn’t much matter. I’ve never been one for approval seeking, and in many ways I’ve lived my life to the opposite. As long as I’m happy and fulfilled, nothing else really matters.

I just kind of wish that I wasn’t so gosh darn weird compared to everyone else. Why can’t there be more weirdos in the world?

About Writing

The Chosen One

A trope that I see every now and then that drives me absolutely batty goes something like this:

Congratulations hero! You are the CHOSEN ONE! You have special powers that no one else does!

The intro is all about letting the audience know how super awesome this character is, being the Chosen One and all, and you think that you’re in for some impressive ass-kicking all around, literally and/or figuratively.

Then, as the story progresses, it turns out that the character isn’t that awesome after all, because:

  • They don’t want to be the Chosen One.
  • A dozen other characters are introduced who also have special abilities.
  • Their power turns out to not be anywhere near as cool as it sounds.

Any one of those three would put my teeth on edge, but for whatever reason I usually see all three of these together. I used to try to finish stories that pulled this trope, but experience has taught me that the ending never gets better.

So, let’s break down my bullet points:

  • They don’t want to be the Chosen One

I suspect that the writer is trying to be subversive with this one, but societal context has changed to the point that aspiring to be a mediocre nobody is par for the course — you can even decorate your home with quotes about how you will never do, say, or think anything unique or special. Personally, I have been heavily criticized every time I’ve taken on a new responsibility, often because others treat it as some sort of enslavement.

You have four kids? How on Earth are you ever supposed to do anything?

Oh, I don’t know. Occasionally the kids take off the shackles and I’m allowed a bit of sunshine; just enough to keep me going. So tell me, what do you do with your freedom? Work all day, then veg out on the internet?

Anyway, it would be far more refreshing to see a character who actually wants to be the Chosen One and takes the responsibility seriously.

  • A dozen other characters are introduced who also have special abilities.

I wish I could say that this is due to a lack of imagination, but I can’t shake the suspicion that it’s wish fulfillment on the part of the writer. Usually, the main character is no longer set apart, instead belonging to a tight-knit group where everyone knows everyone else’s pain, and never has to face the possibility of loneliness.

After the cadre has been formed, the enemies start popping up with even stronger powers to justify it all, and the hero is looking less and less unique and interesting. But at least the writer vicariously has imaginary friends!

  • Their power turns out to not be anywhere near as cool as it sounds.

This is the natural consequence of the previous bullet points. Even if someone is uncertain at first, they’ll naturally be drawn into enjoying ULTIMATE POWER when they realize what they can do with it, so in order to keep up with the mediocre aspiration, the ULTIMATE POWER can’t actually be all that seductive or useful. You also can’t make your friends feel bad by being obviously better than them, and the battles need more suspense by dangling the question of whether or not the entire group has what it takes to defeat the single bad guy. Working alone. Against all of you.

Wait, who was supposed to be the Chosen One again?

It’s a terrible trope, which unfortunately plagues the fantasy genre, so I keep coming across it. Le sigh.

Maybe we could try something new?

About Writing

Sex Scenes

Because I write romance, they’re inevitable.

As a reader, I tend to skip over sex scenes in books. Truth be told, I find them boring. Society has been so over-saturated with sex, that whenever another scene pops up, I can’t help but think of the quote from Yugioh Abridged, “Sex isn’t sexy anymore.” Most of the time, I’m not sure how those scenes contribute to the plot, and skipping them has no negative effects on my experience of the novel.

As a writer, my current WIP has a fair amount of sex in it, because marriage and babies are a huge part of the story.

I prefer to take an abstract view, and focus on the emotional aspect of it. Strangers meet on Tinder all the time, but deeply in love soulmates melding into one; now that’s something different. I don’t want to make my readers horny, but to fill them with butterflies and giggles; there are already more than enough resources for the latter.

Society has done a lot to divorce love from sex, to the point where a lot of people believe that the two not only have nothing to do with each other, but can be detrimental to each other as well.  I hope to illustrate that the two can be beautifully intertwined.