May’s Birthday Giveaway Prizes!

There are only TWO WEEKS left to enter May’s Birthday Giveaway over on my Patreon! One lucky fan is going to win this personally curated, Starborn-inspired prize pack, including:
⭐️ May’s ring (raw cut herkimer diamond set in a gold plated brass band, size 6 or 7)
⭐️ A 100-page “Create Your Own Future: ocean motif lined spiral-bound notebook
⭐️ A purple star charm pen
⭐️ A sting of 20 star microlites
⭐️ Two May and Em stickers (see the WIPs in this post)
Remember: this contest is open internationally and is free to enter!

May’s Birthday Giveaway Contest! (UPDATED)

With The Wind and the Horizon now complete there are a bunch of things I’m working on behind the scenes (details to come!)

But while I get those fun things ready, I wanted to run a contest to celebrate Starborn fans!

May’s birthday is on September 29th, but I’m going to be giving one of YOU the gifts! Throughout the entire month, subscribers to my Patreon will be able to enter to win one specially curated Starborn Series prize pack full of goodies from and inspired by TSATO and TWATH, including a couple of items I hope you’ll be as excited about as I am!

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HOW TO ENTER (UPDATED):

  1. You must be a subscriber of my Patreon to enter. All tiers are eligible but will grant you different numbers of entries: Free = 1 entry | $1-$4 = 3 entries | $5 – $9 = 4 entries | $10+ = 5 entries
  2. Comment on this Patreon post with your guesses and/or hopes for what will happen in the third and final Starborn book.
  3. Earn an additional entry for ever new person you refer to (new referrals must enter the contest and mention you in their answer so I know to give you the bonus entry!)
  4. You must enter by 11:59 pm EST on Sept 29th to be eligible. One grand prize winner and two runner ups will be chosen.

And, yes: the contest is open internationally!

I’ll share photos of the prize pack once the final items arrive. I can’t wait to read your guesses!

The Wind and the Horizon: Chapter Fifty Seven

[ First | Previous ]


May stood frozen in shock as Mila hurried forward and wrapped her long arms around her.

“I can’t believe this,” Mila whispered, her voice high with genuine surprise. “I never thought I’d see you again.”

Neither did I, May thought. She had forgotten how to form words.

Mila stepped back, her hands still gripping May’s shoulders, and peered at her as if she needed to double-check that it was indeed her ex-lover standing before her.

“Oh my stars, May. What happened to your face?”

“I was in a car accident.” May mumbled, repeating the lie she told the ticketing agent and holding a hand over still-tender scar on her chest.

“Oh no, was it the Rocket?”

May’s heartbeat tripped over something so familiar coming out of the mouth of someone who had been a stranger for so long. It had been five years since Kane had blackmailed May into sleeping with him; an unspeakable surrender she had done to protect the girl she loved. Five years since Kane revealed their clandestine relationship to everyone they knew, regardless of how much of herself May relinquished. Five years since Mila had fled from Omea instead of facing the fall-out, leaving May, heartbroken, to suffer alone.

Somewhere in the back of her mind, in the places where May had tried to shove the memories from that time, she knew she was mad at Mila. No, she was furious. But in the here and now, she was hurt and scared. To be standing in front of a familiar face – one she had at one point in her life felt safe and at ease with – helped alleviate her anxiety enough to eclipse her anger.

“No,” May answered after a beat. “The Rocket is still with us.”

Mila laughed, light and polite. “That’s a relief. Kai would be devastated if something happened to that damn van. What are you doing up here?”

I could ask you the same thing. In the early years, when May was still nursing the ache of Mila’s abandonment, she imagined her ex on a different island in the Iewa archipelago. The idea that she might have still been on Hoku this whole time made May’s head spin.

“I’m actually headed to the mainland. I sail out tomorrow.”

“What?” Mila’s eyes stretched wide with disbelief. “Are you kidding me?”

“It’s a long story,” May said with a shake of her head.

A moment of awkward silence passed between them, Mila twisting her hands as she watched May shift on her feet and look anywhere but at her.

“Well, if you don’t leave until morning, would you like to grab dinner with me? It would be really nice to catch up – you could tell me this long story of yours.”

May chewed on the smooth corner of her lip, opposite the side still healing from one of Melanie’s blows.

“I don’t know. I kind of need to find a hotel for tonight. My sailing is super early.”

“You could stay at my place if you want,” Mila blurted, seemingly as much to her own surprise as May’s. “I live pretty close to the shipyards, so you wouldn’t have far to go in the morning.”

Bad idea, May’s mind screamed. Nope, nope, nope.

But as a loud-talking group of teenagers pushed past them, May felt her anxiety flare. How long had they been standing out here in the open? The idea that a mystery Loyal might have spotted her made her blood run cold; the idea of being alone right now, even more so.

Mila saw May’s hesitation. “I have a pull-out couch. We could make dinner there and catch up. I promise not to make it weird.”

Too late.

May sighed, shrinking under the curious gaze of a passing couple who gestured at May’s injured face and whispered to one another.

“Okay, sure.”

*

May had anticipated a cramped little apartment, not the cozy two-storey home Mila led them to.

“Home sweet home!” Mila sang as she unlocked the door and stood back to welcome May inside. “You can put your bag down anywhere. Can I get you something to drink?”

“Just water please,” May answered, dropping her pack by the door and following Mila into the kitchen like a skittish toddler.

They set to work on dinner, Mila insisting that May sit and relax and May outright refusing. As they filled their plates, Mila opened a bottle of wine, filled a glass for herself, and then raised an eyebrow at May.

“Are you sure I can’t tempt you?”

May’s mouth salivated but she shook her head resolutely. She had done such a good job all day and besides, she felt it was smarter to keep her wits about her.

They retired to a modest dining room with a wide picture window that faced a lush, well-tended yard on one side and a wall of framed pictures on the other. May faced the window so she could watch the pink-faced birds chase each other through the trees while she avoided Mila’s gaze. The conversation was strained, neither really willing to be the first to dive into deeper waters.

“So, the mainland, huh?” Mila ventured carefully.

“Yup.”

“That blows my mind. Your family must be freaking out.”

“It’s not my first time.” May scrapped what was left of her meal absentmindedly around her plate. She had been hungry, but her discomfort made it difficult to finish. “I’ve been living on the mainland for over a year now.”

Mila nearly choked on her sip of wine. “Maybe, are you kidding me? Where? Why?”

Rubbing her palms along her thighs, May forced a tight smile. She used to love the sound of her nickname coming out of Mila’s mouth. Now it just sounded wrong.  “Like I said, it’s a long story.”

“I’d love to hear it, if you’re willing to share.”

May turned to look at Mila for the first time since they’d sat down. She sat at the head of the table to May’s left, the fading light of the day cascading through the wide window framing her in an angelic haze. Something caught May’s eye, glinting on Mila’s left hand.

A sizeable diamond was perched on her ring finger. May twitched with surprise, unable to look away before Mila realize what she was fixating on.

Mila looked down at her hand and flushed.

“Oh,” was all she said.

Turning gingerly in her seat, May finally looked at the pictures covering the wall behind her. Almost every single one featured Mila’s beautiful, happy, smiling face with a handsome man at her side. He appeared to be a bit older – perhaps by about ten years – and based on the large print of the two in the middle of the wall with him in a fresh suit and Mila glowing in crisp white, he was likely her husband.

May looked back at Mila, her mind racing.

“You’re married?”

Mila pulled her hands off the table and hid them on her lap as if putting the ring out of sight would do anything. “I am. His name is Temu. He’s not here right now though – he travels to Topaia a lot for business. He – we – own a store in town so he goes over to source product. Isn’t that cool.”

Trembling, May got to her feet. “When?”

“About a year after I left.” Mila sounded only inches tall. Her lovely face was crestfallen with shame. “I had nothing when we met. He doted on me, gave me a fresh start. He’s good to me.”

“You’ve been here the whole time.”

It was meant to be a question but in truth, May didn’t need to ask. Of course Mila had been on Hoku the entire time, only a couple of hours away. And she had started a new life, with a man who spoiled her, while May had languished in a town that hated her; while May paid for the things she had done for her.

“May, I’m sorry.”

Now May was angry.

“Do you have any idea what they did to me? Did you ever stop to wonder what was going to happen when you ran away and left me there?” May’s voice raised steadily until she was shouting, her hands balled into tight fists at her sides. “I did everything you asked me to, Mila. I let him touch me and hurt me to keep you safe.”

“I know, I didn’t-“

“You turned on me like everyone else.” May was quaking with years of pent-up hurt and rage. “And then, when things got worse, you abandoned all of us. Did you think it was just going to stop? Do you have any idea what I went through while you were up here starting over with some guy? Did you even care?”

A sob escaped Mila’s throat, signalling a flood of tears. “May, I am so, so sorry. I was afraid and impulsive. I can’t even begin to imagine what I put you through.”

“You’re right,” May spat back. “You can’t.”

Mila rose and came to May with her hands out in surrender; desperate and pleading. “Not a single day has gone by where I haven’t thought about you and felt horrible about what I did. You have to believe me, please. Is there any way you can forgive me?”

May searched her with glistening eyes. She had learned so much about herself and love in the years since Mila’s betrayal. She had also learned a lot about forgiveness, and so she shook her head sadly.

“No,” she said quietly. “I don’t think I’m ready for that. Coming here was a mistake. I should go.”

She turned, making a beeline for the front door. Mila rushed after her and took May’s hand in hers.

“Please, Maybe, don’t go.” Mila begged through her tears. “Giving you a place to stay is the absolute least I can do.”

“I don’t owe you peace of mind, Mila.”

“I know, you don’t owe me anything.” Mila clasped both hands around May’s palm and softly pulled her closer. “You don’t have to forgive me, and you don’t have to stay if you really don’t want to. But it would be amazing if you could at least give me the chance to try to make things up to you. I want to help.”

May pressed her lips into a tight line, ignoring the ache from the still-healing split. As hurt as she was, grudges and cruelty didn’t come naturally to her. It was hard for her heart not to soften just slightly at the genuinely look of remorse on Mila’s face. The fact that it was getting steadily darker outside didn’t help.

“I’ll even sleep on the couch,” Mila said in a small, hopeful voice. “You can have the bedroom all to yourself so you can get plenty of rest before your trip. Please, just let me do this for you.”

Letting out a deep exhale, May relented.

“Fine.”


[ Next ]

Updates of the Quick and Fun Variety!

Every time I log in to my blog these days it kind of feels like coming up for air. Between writing, commission work, and a few other projects I’m also preparing to get married in a week and a half! So, to say things have been chaotic would be a bit of an understatement.

Still, before said chaos pulls me back under, I wanted to share a few quick updates!

#1: The WIP Podcast interviewed author Zoraida Cordova!

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Zoraida Cordova – author of Labyrinth Lost and the upcoming sequel, Bruja Born – recently joined us on The Work in Progress Podcast as our first ever guest! Not only was it hella exciting to talk to an author whose work I deeply admire, she also had a wealth of information about playing the long game in publishing. Oh, and she’s also super cool. You can listen to the episode on Anchor or subscribe on some of your favourite podcast apps!

#2: I did my first public reading!

A little while ago I was asked if I would like to participate in Vancover’s Dominion Reading Series, hosted by the International Centre of Arts and Technology. The event on May 25th focused on works of YA fantasy, and while The Star and the Ocean isn’t quite young adult, it was still a thrill to get to read a couple excerpts for an audience!

#3: We hit an exciting milestone on Patreon!

Last week we hit the minimum amount of patrons at the “Floofers”, “Boofers”, and “Snoot Boopers” reward levels on my Patreon to unlock monthly commission contests!

Here’s how it will work: every month, subscribers at the above mentioned levels will be entered into a draw for a free commission (note: patrons at the Snoot Booper level get two monthly entries). Winners will get a full body, cell shaded art commission of a character of their choice (or even a portrait of themselves! I don’t care!)

ALSO, we’re only $9 in monthly pledges away from my first goal! Once I hit $50/month I will begin releasing two new early access chapters of The Wind and the Horizon per week until the book is finished. Subscribed patrons are already a full month ahead as it is, so this is a major bonus for TWATH fans!

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Chances are this will be my last post aside from chapter updates until after the wedding, so I’ll see you on the other side!

Tips For Making Your Wattpad Story Wattys Worthy

Watty’s season is here again!

For anyone who isn’t super familiar, The Wattys are like the Oscars of Wattpad. Every summer hundreds of thousands of books are entered for consideration, with only a small group ultimately winning the coveted title in a handful of categories.

Screen Shot 2018-05-15 at 12.10.50 PMLast year I was extraordinarily lucky enough to be one of those winners. The Wattpad edition of my first novel, The Star and the Ocean, was named one of 50 winners in 2017’s Watty Awards. It’s an accomplishment I still haven’t gotten over, and it’s exciting to know that a new round of authors will soon get to experience that special thrill for themselves!

But if you’ve been following me for a while, you know I actually submitted TSATO for The Wattys in 2016 as well (it was only because I didn’t finish the book until February of 2017 that it was eligible to be re-submitted last year as well).

Needless to say, I didn’t win the first time around.

While I didn’t say anything publicly, I was SUPER heartbroken over it. I, like so many other entrants, truly thought my book had what it took to win. But because I knew I’d have a second shot I excused myself from my pity party and took some steps to make sure the book was as good as it could be when the contest opened back up again in 2017.

Whether you missed the mark last year or are planning on giving it a shot this year for the first time, here are some of the things I did to get my book ready for the Wattys!

Look for feedback and actually do something with it

Even the most constructive criticism can be hard to take, but if you want to improve your work you’re going to have to suck it up. Ask your readers for feedback and pay close attention to what they have to say. A lot of it might end up just being matters of preference but if you see legitimate issues cropping up, make the effort to address them.

I completely restructured the beginning of The Star and the Ocean, as well as the length of my chapters, in September of 2016 because of reader feedback. It was a massive undertaking (not to mention a frustrating pain in the ass) but in the end, it did make the story stronger and more attractive to readers.

Finish your story (or at least be as close as you can)

Technically your story doesn’t have to be finished to be eligible for The Wattys (in the past you’ve been required to have a minimum of five parts up) but I truly think it helps. The first time I submitted TSATO it wasn’t quite halfway finished, whereas last year it was complete. I’m sure the judges do their absolute best to keep an open mind when going into unfinished stories, but you’ve got to admit that it’s easier to appreciate and understand a full and complete work over a handful of chapters. Think of it this way: would you ever pick a favourite movie based solely on the teaser alone?

Get those reads

This piece of advice is completely based on speculation and observation. The number of reads your story has don’t technically factor into the judging criteria, and there are definitely winners each year with only a few thousand reads. But the majority of winning stories tend to have read counts on the higher side. Does it matter? Probably not. Does it hurt to try? Nope.

If you’re stumped over how to drum up reads, begin by understanding that no one breaks the 100k read mark overnight. When I submitted TSATO in the Wattys the first time I had around 3k reads by the time the contest closed. In 2017 I had over 100k when the contest opened. It’s a long game and you have to be committed to playing it.

Admittedly, a lot of my reads came from features; first by making the Wattpad Featured Fantasy list and again by their official LGBT account. While Wattpad has since changed how its Featured List works, there are still plenty of other Book of the Month lists you can apply – or have someone nominate you – for. I also recommend entering book clubs. They’re a bit time consuming but you’re guaranteed reads PLUS most book clubs require participants to leave feedback, which we already know can also be helpful.

Be kind to yourself

Would it be amazing to win? Damn right! Are you a shitty writer if you don’t? Of course not. Not everyone can win and there are SO MANY great books out there that will never win anything. No contest defines your worth as a writer, so don’t let this one stop you from doing what you love!

Best of luck to everyone who throws their hat into the ring this year – I’ll be rooting for you!


Get early and exclusive access to writing and artwork on my Patreon

Enjoy my tips? Want to help support my work? Donate on Ko-Fi

The Artist Life For Me: My Support and Work-With-Me Master Post!

As some of you already know, I lost my job at the end of February.

While the news was completely unexpected, I decided to treat this major upheaval as a blessing in disguise.

Anyone who writes and creates while working full-time can tell you how challenging it is. Finding the time to dedicate to your craft while also spending most of the day working is hard enough; Couple that with trying to spend time with loved ones and maybe even take care of yourself, and you understand what it means to say “there aren’t enough hours in the day”.

All I’ve ever wanted is for my creative projects to be how I make my living.

So, rather than rushing back into the job market, I’ve decided to the artist life an honest shot. Over the past month I’ve spent hours a day writing; Treating it like the priority I want to be in my life. I’ve also been hustling on several side projects – you know, the ones that pay the bills, ha ha!

I’m really, really excited to be giving writing and art a real chance to be my new full-time job.

But to make this work, I need those side hustles! So, if you’re looking forward to all the extra content I now I have time to pump out and/or you just want to help make the dream happen, here’s how you can support my work!

Subscribe on Patreon

If you’re trying to decide on how best to support my work, Patreon gives you the best bang for your buck! For as little as $1 a month (yes, seriously!) you get new early access content every single week. You’ll also get lots of exclusive content like stories and artwork, plus steep commission discounts and entry to monthly contests!

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Donate on Ko-Fi

Not everyone can make regular financial commitments to their favourite creators, and I get that. Whether you’d like to tip me for the content I share, or you just want to make a single donation to help me along, the Ko-Fi platform is the easiest way to do it!

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Commission me

My art commissions are now open, with no slot caps! I’m open for character and cover illustrations, social media avatars, and even merch designs!

Shop the Starborn Store

I’ve recently added a bunch of new designs to the Starborn Store, with more on the way! If you’re a fan of the Starborn universe (The Star and the Ocean, The Wind and the Horizon), this is the only place to get your hands on official merch! Have requests of a design you’d like to see? Hit me up and I’ll do my best to make it happen!

Hire me

In my previous life, I was a communications professional. I’m university educated (University of Toronto 0T8) and have completed post-graduate studies in public relations, with a decade’s worth of experience under my belt. I even taught college-level social media courses for four and a half years!

Add this to my experience in the world of books and fiction, and I your one-stop shop for all kinds of projects and initiatives, including:

  • Beta reading
  • Sensitivity reading (bisexuality, chronic depression, generalized anxiety disorder, anorexia)
  • Copywriting (blog posts, articles, newsletters, advertising copy, etc.)
  • Press release writing
  • Social media consultation

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And finally:

TELL YOUR FRIENDS!

Can’t support me yourself? That’s okay! There might be people in your network who could benefit from my services and/or who might like to read the things I write!

New Designs Added to the Starborn Store!

I’ve just added a brand new collection to my merch shop called Starborn Style. These designs are perfect for anyone who wants to rep their Starborn love but don’t want to rock one of my illustrations out in the wild (don’t worry, I’m not offended!)

Sign-up for Redbubble’s newsletter for exclusive promo codes (there are lots of opportunities to get in on a good deal!) or keep an eye on my Twitter feed where I also share the codes!

Here’s a sample of what’s in store (ha, get it?)

Have inspo for designs you’d like to see added to the store? Just let me know! I’ll be adding more designs over time.

Happy shopping!

The Wind and the Horizon: Chapter Twenty Seven

[ Start at the Beginning | Previous Chapter ]


The only visible reaction Em had to May’s announcement was the tension pulling at her shoulders.

“Where?” she whispered, throwing quick, surreptitious glances to her right and then left. She didn’t want to tip whoever was following them that they had noticed.

“A few feet behind us,” May whispered back, knowing that breaking into a run would have been the worst decision she could make but desperately wishing she could anyway.

“Melanie?”

The memory of the relentless Loyal woman who had pursued them more than a year ago in Tenna, flipping their whole world upside down, flashed through May’s mind. Her stomach clenched.

“No.” Thank goodness.

Em licked her lips and May could tell what she was thinking – they were sitting ducks out in the open like this; they needed to lose the agent.

Based on the amount of people milling through the massive main hall of York Central Station, it was clear the city was a busy and popular place to be. Everyday commuters wove expertly through swarms of gawking and disoriented tourists. May noticed a rather large gathering – a tour group from the looks of things – congregating close to a coffee stop built into the smooth limestone. She nodded discreetly in their direction.

“Good call,” Em muttered. Without another word they crisscrossed through a stream of people heading in the opposite direction, splitting up just enough to make it harder to keep an eye on both of them without wandering out of sight of each other.

May got to the tour group first and wedged her way into the cluster as if she belonged there. She kept her head down and, rather than stopping in the false sense of security the densely packed crowd provided, continued through to the other side. The tourists themselves were in such a state of disorganization they didn’t spare her a second glance. She emerged in time to see Em skirting around the far side of the group, the hood of her sweatshirt up and ducking low.

Moving faster now, they scurried into the coffee stop and around the line. Em scanned the room.

“If there’s a way out of here,” she said. “It’s going to be through their back room.”

Behind the counter and the three hectic baristas hung a curtain that blocked the back from sight. May homed in on the solitary woman working the bar – young, pretty, with plenty of black eyeliner – and leaned over the counter to get her attention.

“Do you need the bathroom key?” the barista asked, sounding not unfriendly but certainly distracted.

May shook her head. Em watched her carefully, wondering what her girlfriend was up to with the frightened look she had pulled over her face like a mask.

“Is there a way outside through the back?” she asked in a hushed, hurried voice. “There’s a creep who was on our train and now he’s following us around.”

For the first time the girl stopped moving, her expression dropping in an instant. Her dark-lidded eyes flicked up to the buzzing line of customers as if she might be able to pick the guy out without knowing more than what May had told her.

May was banking on the chance that the barista probably could have, had their pursuer been real.

“Shit,” Em hissed, turning sharply away from the crowd and tugging on the drawstrings of her hood. “I just saw him lurking in the hall.”

“Okay.” The barista glanced quickly at her co-workers before nodding toward the curtain. “Come with me.”

She waved May and Em around the counter and held back the curtain so they could slip through.

“Right there.” She pointed to a heavy-looking metal door against a back wall. “It will let you out in the alley.”

“You’re a lifesaver,” May whispered in gratitude.

“The world needs more sisterly solidarity,” Em said, giving the barista a salute. “Thanks for leading the charge.”

The girl smirked. “Good luck out there.”

Out in the alley, May let herself smile.

“That was brilliant, babe,” Em said with a laugh. “Quick thinking.”

“I feel a little guilty about lying to her now,” May admitted.

“Don’t. Women can be creeps too. Now which way should-”

Mid-turn, Em stopped dead and stared open-mouthed at the entrance to the alley. May looked over her shoulder. It was as if the world itself ground to a halt; the Loyal woman was already there.

May grabbed Em’s arm and tried to pull her in the opposite direction, but she stood solid, transfixed.

“Please stop running,” the woman pleaded, hustling up to them while throwing anxious glances behind her. “You’re going to draw attention to us if you keep this up.”

Em was still gaping. “You’re…”

“Marina,” the woman finished, looking flustered. “Connor’s sister.”

And just like that, the world resumed spinning, leaving May feeling nauseous.

“All that freaking out for nothing.” She doubled over, hands on her knees. “There had to be a better way to get our attention without scaring us like that!”

“Consider it a compliment to your evading skills,” Marina said, still fidgeting. She shifted her weight from foot to foot, twitching at every sound. “I had a hard enough time following you as it was. But we’re not out of the woods just yet. Come on, we’ve got to get you two out of the open.”

Silently May and Em followed Marina as she sprinted down the alley and to a curb in front of the building. As soon as she stepped out into the open a white SUV tore out from a row in the sprawling parking lot and lurched to a stop in front of her. They piled in, the vehicle speeding away before the girls even had a chance to sit down.

May wrestled off her pack and pulled it onto her lap as she sat back. Eyes closed, she let out a sigh of relief. When she opened them again, she looked to the driver’s seat, wondering who their getaway driver might be.

But the driver’s seat was empty.

“What’s going on?” May shrieked, fresh terror flashing through her like a flood. “Where’s the driver?”

Em looked up from the seatbelt she was trying to stretch around her, pack and all.

“Holy shit!”

“Please stop yelling,” Marina begged. She was focused on her phone, typing rapidly as the vehicle sped along, driverless.

“This car is driving itself.” May felt like she was dreaming. “You can’t blame me for freaking out!”

At a stop light, Marina crawled into the driver’s seat and buckled herself in. She pressed her thumb into the screen embedded in the dash. The lights illuminating the dashboard features faded from green to blue and suddenly it was clear that Marina was in control.

“You know,” she remarked, meeting May’s wide eyes in the rearview mirror. “Most people are impressed when they see my auto-valet program in action.”

“Yours?” Em leaned forward between the seats. “As in, you invented it?”

“Concept, code, and fabrication,” Marina replied, her eyes firmly trained on the road. “Now sit back, the windows aren’t tinted up here.”

May looked to Em who whispered.

“She always was a smart cookie.”

She gave up on struggling and buckled the seatbelt around herself, pack still on her back.

Marina steered them down a winding series of side streets, through sleepy neighbourhoods and passed bustling mom and pop shops selling produce and home furniture, far away from the chaos of the downtown core. The space between houses grew wider, the homes set farther back from the road, and eventually Marina slowed and turned the vehicle down a tree lined drive. May pressed her face to her window, peering through the trees at the expansive, lush grounds leading up to an impressive home that looked like it could have housed three families comfortably.

“Woah,” she muttered, awestruck. Not even Mr. Anoki – the well-to-do theatre director back home in Omea with all his glamorous galas – had a home like this one; May had never seen anything like it in her life. “Do you live here?”

“I do,” Marina answered. “With my family.”

Em’s gaze was intense as she scanned the front of the house. “Are the others already here?”

In the driver’s seat, Marina shifted, her lips pressed into a tight line and tapped a button on the dash screen. She didn’t say anything, acting as if steering her SUV into the yawning mouth of the garage ahead took every ounce of her concentration.

“Marina,” Em pressed, louder and impatient.

The garage door clunked into reverse as Marina shut off the engine.

“No, they’re not,” she answered without glancing back. Her tone sent a shock of cold racing through May’s veins. “Let’s talk inside.”


[ Next Chapter ]

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Welcome to 2018!

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! Wishing you all an incredible 2018! 🥂

I hope you like my EmMay Champagne dolls! Patreon patrons can get a high-res text-free version of this image, plus the line art for colouring!

The Star and the Ocean is now on Goodreads!

I made a surprising discovery this past weekend, babes!

I don’t really remember how I stumbled across it, but apparently The Star and the Ocean has been listed as a title on Goodreads!

It seems the listing is connected to the Wattpad edition of the book. Even though I have no clue how it got up there (did Wattpad submit it? Does Goodreads comb the internet for web novels?) it’s still pretty cool to see my book up on a site used by so many readers.

Despite the fact that I still plan on publishing the Starborn Series in some capacity one day (once the web edition has been re-written and polished), this listing feels like a little victory. As a web-based author, I often feel – and openly bitch – that people don’t take web novels seriously. Forget the fact that many of us write full novels, take the time to proof and edit like trads and indies do, PLUS make our work as accessible as possible (which is to say, we give it away for free); our books are constantly relegated to the bottom of the reading hierarchy (if they’re considered at all!) Getting listed on Goodreads makes me feel like I’ve earned some sort of badge of legitimacy.

Hard work aside, I know I’ve been really fortunate with my online readership. I’ve seen some heartwarming successes since I started publishing online back in 2016. Because of this, I’m trying to pay it forward by advocating on behalf of other web-based authors to help change the perception that web novels “don’t count” as real books.

If you’re someone who has read TSATO: thank you! Your readership and support means the world to me! If you enjoyed the book, I would deeply appreciate it if you could take a minute to rate and/or review it on Goodreads so other readers can find it too!

Looking for other ways to help support your friendly neighbourhood web-author?

  • Those able to commit to monthly pledges will get early and exclusive access to writing and artwork (including future chapters of The Wind and the Horizon and other perks like contests and commission discounts) on my Patreon.
  • Not able to make monthly pledges? One-time donations can be made via my Ko-Fi account and are just as appreciated!
  • And if financial support is off the table (no judgement – I get it!) please consider sharing my work with others instead!

P.S. are you a fellow writer? The WIP Podcast updates with new episodes every weekend! This past Sunday we tackled a topic near and dear to our hearts: the New Adult age category in fiction. Find us on iTunes and Anchor!