Book, Book Review

Why I Love Rin Chupeco’s Writing

Sometimes I blog about writing (most of the time), but every once in a while, I like to ramble about what I’ve been reading. Last fall, right around Halloween, I read The Bone Witch.  

If you are familiar with the series, you know it’s by Rin Chupeco. Since reading that book, I’ve read many more of her books. And I’ve come to the conclusion that I love her books.

I’ve read the first two of the Bone Witch trilogy and am currently reading the third. I’ve read The Girl from the Well and just bought the second book The Suffering.  

I’ve also read both the books in the Never Tilting World set. Honestly, as soon as a I get a chance, I’ll be reading the other books she’s written too.  

The question you may be asking is why do I love her books so much…  

  1. The Pacing 
  • Her books are full of adventure, and they just go. I find them hard to put down.  
  • If you’ve read my books or my short stories, it’s the kind of pacing I like to write as well.  
  1. The Viewpoints 
  • In the Never Tilting World books, each chapter is a different viewpoint, and she rotates through them for the rest of the book. I love this. The story is told from so many different perspectives. It gives details and insights that would be missed in a different narrative style. 
  • In the Bone Witch Trilogy, there are two narrators, and their differing viewpoints add layers to the story.  
  1. The Grey Characters 
  • What I mean by this is there are characters in her books who are neither good nor bad.  
  • She writes some very strong good guys and some epic villains, but my favorite characters in her books tend to be the ones who are a bit of both.  
  • The Bone Witch Trilogy centers around a bone witch, think necromancer.  
  • In the Never Tilting World books, one of the main characters has to endure trials that give her both light and dark magics.  
  • In The Girl from the Well, a ghost helps free the souls of lost children, and at the same time, kills the people who’ve harmed those children.  
  • I can’t get enough of this type of character!  

As you can see, I really love her books. If you like Young Adult Fantasy / Adventure / Horror, read one of her books, or maybe two or three.  

As always, happy reading and writing today and every day! GO READ A BOOK!  

short story, Writing

Magical Archeologist

(April 2022’s short story of the month)

(Finally done, I KNOW! SOOOOOOOO LATE!)

Don’t let this one get away, she thought to herself. Tom had the look of a man quietly planning his escape. Christine watched him closely as he tried to check his phone without making it obvious that he was checking his phone.

Christine cleared her throat loudly. Tom barely heard it through the din of the music.

“I’m sorry,” Tom said. “Did you ask me something?”

“I wanted to hear more about your work,” answered Christine, while batting her eyelashes and smiling her warmest grin. Her eyes went to his phone, but she hoped he didn’t notice and quickly looked back at Tom’s face.

“It’s honestly about what you might think. Artifacts come in. I run them through tests. Data is collected and verified. If the item is genuine, the museum keeps it.” He shrugged.

“It has to be more exciting than that. What is the strangest item that’s come in?” she asked. She wouldn’t let him get away easily. She knew there was something here. She’d felt it the first time they’d met. She locked her eyes on his, hoping he would glance up and there would be an instant connection between them.

He kept shifting his gaze back to his phone and looked at every item on the table, avoiding her at all costs. He couldn’t stop thinking about earlier that day.

Christine waited an awkwardly long time before she cleared her throat. Tom’s involuntary reaction was to look towards the sound. Christine was staring at him intently with one eyebrow raised.

“I’m sorry,” Tom said. “Did you say something?”

Christine was trying not to lose her patience. Maybe she’d been wrong, again. It wouldn’t be the first time she’d fell hard for a man she barely knew.

She straightened up in her seat and sighed. “I was just making conversation, but I can see that you have other more important things going on. Perhaps this was a bad idea.” She dropped the cloth napkin on the table and pushed her chair back.

Before she stood, Tom reached across the table and touched her hand.

“Wait,” he said. “Don’t go. I’m sorry. You’re right. I’ve been very rude. Let me…let me explain. Please.” He had to tell someone, even if she would think he was crazy. He had to say it out loud.  

Christine thought about it for a second. Her heart wouldn’t let her just leave without giving him a chance. She sat back down, lowering herself without looking away from him. She was worried that if she broke eye contact, he would return to his previous distracted state.

Tom waited until Christine was fully sitting again. “Okay,” he said and then took a deep breath. “I know what I’m about to tell you will sound crazy, but I swear it’s true. I haven’t told anyone because I don’t really believe it myself.”

Christine sighed again and folded her arms across her chest. What now? Her impression of Tom had clearly been wrong.

Tom watched her face change from simply annoyed to judging. “Please, just let me tell you everything, and then if you want to leave, I won’t stop you,” he said.

“Fine.”

**********

Tom put on a freshly cleansed set of gloves and said the enchantment spell that activated all the magics sewn into the fabric. Today was going to be another day of opening packages and finding mundane objects, just like every day had been for the past few years.

When he’d graduated and entered into the field of magical archeology, he’d been young and thought he would be one of those famous wizards who discovered a legendary magical artifact. He’d daydreamed about it all through his studies. How could he not? Every course focused on another area of magic and told another story of how it had been rediscovered by some unsuspecting wizard. Then that one find solidified their career. They rode that wave for the rest of their days, landing the best jobs, at the best museums or worked for private collectors. Some didn’t even have to search for funding. Tom wanted all of that for himself.

However, when he finally found work after applying for every position under the sun, he realized that magical archeology was not as exciting as the books made it seem. He spent his days sorting through items that people mailed to the verification department.

The packages were scanned and if even a microscopic amount of magic remained, the scanner fed it to the verification department, also known as Tom. He worked alone in a room filled with machines, many of which he didn’t get to use. Few objects were more than rudimentary magic items. They had trace on them from being in contact with a spell, but so far, nothing was a truly magical item.

This week he’d verified a small pile of cauldrons. Yes, they’d been used for magic, but no, they didn’t have any magic of their own.

Wands came in by the dozens. People wanted to know if a famous wizard had used them. Again, like the cauldrons, the wands were usually mundane, and there was rarely enough magic left in any of them to complete even a small light spell. And to date, he’d not been able to verify previous users of the wand. Something like that required DNA or embedded magic. Wands of that caliber were usually passed down and inherited by family members. They didn’t need the magical verification department to prove their value.

He could have buried himself in the countless number of stones that were sent in. Stones had magical properties, but they weren’t magical without someone to conduct them.

What he really hoped to find was something that a truly powerful wizard had imbued with magic. The greatest find of them all would be a Book of Shadows. Wizards each made their own. They spent their whole lives filling them with personal spells and information. Their magic soaked into the ink and melded with the pages. Books belonging to really powerful wizards had more magic in them than most people could summon in a lifetime. And for some reason that no theoretical physicist wizard could explain yet, the magic never faded from them.

prompt, Writing

July’s Prompt

July is trying to get away from me, like so many of the months earlier this year. I’m not letting it happen.

Focus. Focus. Focus.

I am avoiding distractions and checking my to-do lists several times a day —- it seems to be helping.

If you are here for the short story of the month prompt, look no further:

They’ve done all these studies about how twins remain connected, psychically, their whole lives. I haven’t seen Sally for twenty years, but sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with pain in my knee and I know it’s her pain, not mine. Or I’ll be taking a walk and I’ll feel…

Complete the Story

I can’t wait to share this one with you. I love writing stories about twins who are connected!

Whatever you’re working on, I hope it’s going well!

Happy reading and writing today and every day!

Life, prompt, Writing

June’s Prompt (plus my excuses)

Okay, let’s be honest. If you follow my blog, you may have realized that I haven’t posted a story in a while. And, I am behind on my normal posting schedule (which is just a personal goal I set for myself, not something that is life or death).

To be honest, up until Memorial Day, I was working a lot more than I usually do, but it’s been over for a couple of weeks and I haven’t made progress on any writing lately.

I was reading an article lately that talked about how starting projects (writing, crafting, diy) is really fun but finishing them can be intimidating. I think part of my personal fear right now is that when I finish editing my current novel project, I want to try and get it traditionally published. This fear is leading to an almost insurmountable amount of procrastination on my part.

The idea of tackling the publishing world terrifies me, so if you can, send some happy vibes my way.

I’m going to try and buckle down and set myself the goal of being back on track by the end of July! (You all saw it, that makes it official!)

And if you’re here for a writing idea, I am getting to that as well. Here is June’s short story prompt:

She told him to try again, and he did, and she couldn’t help but laugh. “I told you I wasn’t a dancer,” he said, protesting. “But you’re an athlete,” she said, “you…”

Complete the Story

Now let’s get to writing!

Happy reading and writing today and every day!

My new DND figure I painted last month!
Life, Writing

Updates on my Blog

I’m very happy to announce that I’ve finally gotten around to making some much needed updates to my blog. My temporary job is finally over (for now) and I have free time again! This means the blog and other endeavors, like writing, will be getting my full attention again.

If you get a chance, check out my new color scheme and layout… Plus I organized all the short stories of the month in easier to navigate tabs. I’m excited about it even if no one else is!

Short Stories!!!! (Click to read all the stories!!)

Happy reading and writing today and every day!

short story, Writing

Mary, Chaos Incarnate

(March 2022 short story) SUPER DUPER LATE

You know when even the things you dislike about a person make you love her even more? Well, that was Mary. On the one hand, she could talk endlessly about obscure texts. You couldn’t help but be drawn in. Her passion for obscurity was like a magnet bringing those in her vicinity nearer.

But, at the same time, she would go to great lengths to prove her point. Sometimes it was too far.

At this moment, she is about to get herself fired again. I am watching it happen, and there is nothing I can do to stop her. There wouldn’t be a point. If I try to intervene, it will only redirect her anger towards me. I don’t want to be in those crosshairs.

I only hope that when she is done telling the owner why his family is wrong to practice the school of magic that they’ve practiced for generations that he will not hold Mary’s outburst against me. I don’t want to lose my job.

Of course, there is also the chance that once he fires her, and believe me, it’s coming, she’ll ask me to quit in solidarity. It’s happened before. I hate job hunting. I’m not as charming as Mary, which is hard to believe at this moment as I’m watching her argue with someone about their family’s way of life.

Mary isn’t the only witch like this. She’s just too young to understand how incredibly rude she’s being. I tell her all the time that if she wants to educate people and change their minds, there is a polite way that they might actually listen to, and there is the Mary way, which immediately puts everyone on edge and shuts down their ability to listen to anyone.

But there is no arguing with Mary…

She was raised by a single father, a witch who collected spells as a hobby and who used those spells to try and force others to his view of the world. He was the magical world equivalent of an eco-terrorist. His daughter is a chip off the old block.

It is strange to me that I simultaneously love her passion for magical theory and hate the way she chooses to wield it.

I keep wiping the counters but stop when I hear the boss say, “that’s it. You’ve gone too far.”

“I’m just saying,” replied Mary.

He cut her off. “Get out. Right now. You don’t get to speak to me that way.”

“If you would only listen to what I’m saying,” Mary sighed. She rolled her eyes and pulled off her apron. She held her head high and her shoulders back as she walked around the counter. When she reached the other side, she glanced over towards me.

I shook my head. I silently pleaded with her to not drag me into this.  She shrugged and kept walking. The shop was silent, even after the door shut, ringing the bell above it.

I didn’t make eye contact with the boss and wiped the counter and made myself look busy.

“I’m going to the back,” he said as he stomped off and disappeared behind the “employees only” marked door. As the door was swinging on its hinges, I heard a few words he was mumbling to himself.

“Arrogant brat,” he said just as the doors stopped swinging.

**********

“Mary?” I yelled as I closed and locked the door to our apartment. I hadn’t seen any lights on from the street, but that didn’t mean anything. I’d closed the shop tonight; she might already by asleep.

“Mary?” I said again. No answer.

I took a few steps and turned on the lights. I scanned around and didn’t see her. Our studio apartment was small enough that I could see every inch of it from the entry way.

I wasn’t concerned yet. Maybe she decided to blow off steam. I checked my phone for the umpteenth time but there weren’t any messages from her.

I texted her asking her where she was and if she wanted any company. Knowing Mary, and I have since we were in the same kindergarten class, she was probably caught up in some drama.

She had a habit of going from one catastrophe to the next. You know that saying about celebrity deaths coming in threes, or whatever, that was true about Mary and disasters.

The first was getting fired today. Maybe she was out in the midst of disasters two and three. Hopefully whatever the tragedies were, she wouldn’t bring them home with her.

I looked again at my phone and saw that she hadn’t even read my message yet. It was pretty late. Should I be worried?

This was one of those moments. Mary wasn’t even here, and I was being drawn into her chaos. This time I vowed to not let it pull me in.

I worked on distracting myself instead. I plugged my phone in and placed it on the nightstand. I walked away from it.

I figured the best way to keep away from it was to keep busy. I tidied up, did the dishes, swept the floor, and even took out the garbage. Cleaning the whole apartment took just over thirty minutes.

I plopped onto the bed and reached for the phone. I stopped with my hand still hovering over it.

I would not be drawn in. I would not check my phone. I would not call her or text her.

Whatever was going on, she was in charge of her decisions. She knew where we lived. I didn’t need to check on her.

I took a deep breath and resting my hand in my lap realized that I’d been pulled along in the wake of Mary’s drama for too long now. I wanted to be in her life, but I didn’t need to rescue her or get arrested with her, either of which was equally possible.

The door to the apartment swung open with such force it banged into the wall, adding another dent.

“You are not going to believe what happened to me tonight,” said Mary dropping her bag and belongings and using her foot to kick the door shut.

Life, prompt, Writing

May 2022 Prompt

I swear I don’t know what is happening this year. I am soooooooo behind at this point. I’m not making excuses. Time is just getting away from me, and there are not enough hours in the day.  

My current distraction from writing is that I have a temp job that I normally do twice a year (once in the spring and once in the winter) that normally lasts two weeks to a month at this point in the year, and this year, it’s running into its second month now. Basically, I’m working on a project that I was not expecting to be at this point in the year.  

However, on a happy note, I’ve chosen a writing project to work on when I’m not busy with that job, which should be over in early June (maybe…).  

If you’re here for the prompt of the month, look no further: 

They were getting married in just three weeks, and things were not looking good. They hadn’t found a decent band, and Sheri was not going to have a DJ at her wedding. While Daryl didn’t have an opinion about anything, his mother seemed to have an opinion about everything, even the…  

Complete the Story

In addition to that story (which is due by the end of the month), I still need to write the story for March and April. (If it seems like I have no control over what is going on, sometimes it feels that way…) 

As a reminder, here is the prompt I should have written about in March

You know when even the things you dislike about a person make you love her even more? Well, that was Mary. On the one hand, she… 

Complete the Story

And the April prompt:  

Don’t let this one get away, she thought to herself. Tom had the look of a man quietly planning his escape. Christine watched him closely as he… 

Complete the Story

Happy reading and writing today and every day!

prompt, Writing

April 2022 Prompt

I swear I don’t get this behind on things all the time, though it seems that way sometimes. I still haven’t finished the short story for March… and April is almost over! Ugh!

Despite my tardiness for this post, I am working on a short story for April as well. Here is the prompt for this month:

Don’t let this one get away, she thought to herself. Tom had the look of a man quietly planning his escape. Christine watched him closely as he…

Complete the Story

I hope everyone is meeting their writing and reading goals this month! And if you’re not, know you are not alone. I’m personally blaming it on the weather. Mother nature in Washington can’t decide if it’s winter or spring, and it’s making me crazy.

Happy reading and writing today and every day!

Life, Writing

State of the Novel Address 2022

My eyes have finally healed enough for me to work on writing again. The last two weeks I’ve been outlining a new novel.

This is a new step for me. I don’t normally outline before I start writing. What I like to do is write and then make mini outlines of what I want the next three or four events to be. Generally when I start writing a novel, I have an end point in mind. Then, I work to get my characters there by preventing them from getting it too soon. (At least that’s how I think of it in my mind).

So at this point, the next step should be drafting, but…

There are two other stories that I want to write. Both are in different stages.

My three projects are:

1. Mages of the Lake (already wrote about 50,000 words during Nanowrimo last year) This one could be worked on. At first when I wrote it, I didn’t really want to do more with it, but now that some time has passed, I can see what needs worked on and what I’d like to change.

2. A New Novel Set in the Magical Realms Universe. This one would focus on Zak before he met Jamie. This is the one I’ve been outlining.

3. A BRAND SPANKIN’ NEW novel about magic that’s been hidden and then found in our time.

So… my brain can’t seem to focus because I keep thinking about all three. I’m honestly not sure which one to work on now. I would like to pick one and get it to a final draft.

I’m going to work on the outline for the second one until I decide. By April, I am going to decide and focus and buckle down!

Anyway, happy reading and writing today and every day!

prompt, Writing

March 2022 Prompt

How is it the 15th? Seriously? What have I been doing this month? I can’t figure it out…

I am behind with everything this month! But in happy news, my eyes are finally at a point where I can read and write again. I’m outlining my next novel and will begin drafting hopefully by next week!

If you’re here for a new writing prompt, look no further:

You know when even the things you dislike about a person make you love her even more? Well, that was Mary. On the one hand, she…

Complete the Story

I hope everyone is having a great month!

Happy reading and writing every day!