Had a poignant dream last night, thought I’d share. Tales of Mu already told this story, but it’s my dream and my emotional resonance and I don’t care. You’re reading my blog for a reason, hang in for my wild ride.

So, college lab setting. We’re sitting down to day one, intro style labs, partners are assigned at random. The instructions are to fold the page in half long ways, print your name at the bottom, cut it in half and exchange halves with your partner for tracking all the generic details we’re going to share with each other.

A slow but familiar feeling of dread has building since I walked down the hallway to the classroom. As I hold the pencil in my hand (a pencil in a science lab, I know. That’s dreams for you *shrugs*), it feels awkward and unwieldy. I do not write in print often, and I never write out my name. Not this name.
My given name. I can see the letters. I can see that they are all there, but I keep writing them out of order. The first name comes out well enough, it’s not that far off from the name I go by. But the last name, my father’s name…
“Hey!” My lab partner snatches her half of the paper before I’ve sorted out fixing the spelling. I don’t look up. I don’t shout. I can’t react.

She waves the paper about with glee, squealing like she’s won some sort of lottery. Smooth, pale skin, pretty, well-behaved hair, tiny, feminine– she’s won a lottery all right. One she’s never appreciated or even noticed.

“Those are orcish characters– you’re a half orc!”

My stomach drops out. Orc. I am no orc. Just ask my uncles. I stare fixedly at the letters on my remaining paper, pencil starting to strain under the pressure of my grip. I can’t relax my fingers.
The teacher is restoring order in loud, clear tones. I had spoken to her in her office, well before lab. I speak to all of them, just in case. This always happens, sooner or later.

“That explains why you’re so tall! Do you wish you had tusks? Your brow ridges are so small though, you don’t look orcish at all! Must be on your father’s side then, or you’d be a lot thicker, wouldn’t you. Gosh, you’re so lucky! I wish I was tall–”

“You’re the kind of girl who tells goblins they’re such a pretty shade of green, aren’t you? Ask them if they wish they had more warts on their nose?”

I shouldn’t have spoken. It was quite, even toned, but it was still an outburst. Still going to be blown wildly out of proportion, as always. Everyone will be chittering about how I lashed out, totally lost it. Battle rage.

I stand as carefully as I can, move in slow measured steps to the door, down the hall, to the bathroom. I don’t think about which one I use. It’s not the one I’m allowed in, but it’s the one I feel comfortable in. It’s between classes anyways. I need a little comfort. I don’t look in the mirror.

I want to tuck my feet up on the seat, perch like I used to, hide. But my legs are too long now. My body too wide for my elbows to fit if I wrap my around myself. So I just sit, very still, hands on my knees, staring at the beige stall door. I do not cry. I cannot cry.

Teaser Tuesday Chapter 10 part 2

Things are really getting dramatic with this week’s #TeaserTuesday — as if I haven’t been a big bag of drama already.


Seth would not lay down to sleep beneath the ice.

He beat at it with swollen fists, the rhythmic thump keeping a time for his slowing heart. He would not sleep here, he would not. The il’m pulled at him, murmuring the sweet promises of peace that lured so many servants of Il’Dao into the dark. She wanted him, after so many years of drawing on magics that shouldn’t be his. But Seth hadn’t fought the il’m for so many centuries just to give up now.

I love the rich, vivid pictures Seth and Naj paint for me to describe their inner landscapes. I don’t know if it’s being strong magic users, or their unique situation, or what, but every time I go deep inside their heads, it’s always viscerally beautiful.

It’s also confusing as fuck to write.

Scenes like this just kind of pour out, and I’m always thrilled with them in the moment. When I come back around to the editing, I always can’t help but feel a moment of “WTF?” They’re jarring, disorienting, but that’s kind of the point. Hopefully, I’ve made the division between illusion and reality clear, but if not… Well, it’s not always so clear cut in real life sometimes, either. Check in on Saturday and let me know what you think. This is one of the chapters I’d most dearly like feedback on.

For all my Latinx followers

Guys! Check out this Kickstarter! My friend Zabet makes amazing stickers, and now she’s running a KS for Latinx pride stickers! I’m super excited about these, can’t wait to get my set and slap ’em all over my car, laptop, and phone case. Please help get the word out and share some pride!

Teaser Tuesday Chapter 10 part 1

This week’s #TeaserTuesday is one I’ve been super excited to get to.


Her wings swept forward and left red in their wake, her hand swept through and left behind drops of purple to mingle and bleed into the red. A twirl and one wing swept it aside to leave a swath of inky darkness that hid her behind it. Furious motions cut through it in places, letting color accent the darkness until she threw herself through it, her wings arcing back to carry the darkness high as if hoisting the night sky itself.


Nica’s illusion dance is one of those moments I just sit back and enjoy my partner’s writing. That all comes to a crashing halt when it’s my turn to write, but until then, it’s a pure pleasure. This week will be a sensory rollercoaster, so buckle your safety belts and come on back for Saturday‘s update.

World Building June: Week 1

What a fun week! I’ve really enjoyed doing World Building June’s 30 day challenge. As always, life has gotten a little in the way and I’m behind a few posts, but I’m really happy with what I’ve gotten.

Day 1: Intro

Asylum, at its heart, is the answer to every time I’ve ever asked “But what if those were real…” Read more…

Day 2: Geography

Asylum exists layered over the world we know and love, shaped by ties to our reality and the magic that sustains it. So it has it’s own New York, London, L.A., but also massive magical wastelands where physics go slant and monsters are just around the corner. Read more…


Day 3 explores races, Day 4 covers History, and the rest of the month will cover so much more! Come check out more posts for World Building June!

Teaser Tuesday Chapter 9 part 3

This week’s #TeaserTuesday teases in more than one way.


On a dramatic whim, Naj pinched his left thumb and forefinger together and flicked his wrist. A wave of darkness boiled from his hand, spill down and curling around the floor like smoke, It rose to fill the room around them, plunging them into a sightless nothing in an instant. With an equal but unseen twist from his right hand, a pure, white light burst forth, chasing the darkness to the corners of the room. In an unnecessary but elegant flourish, Naj called the power back to him in a curl of his fingers. It was only slightly diminished, as illusion magic hardly needed any energy at all, but it had been worth the show.


Get it? Just a tease of his power? Just me?

I’m so delighted with how this scene turned out, mostly because I can see how far its come. In its original form, this was a long and barely researched chunk about mudras, tossed in there to show Naj’s Indianness like a costume. Not only is that wrong (he’s Middle Eastern, as much as the world’s actually line up), but it was lazy and bad writing. I knew it was, I knew I was just playing when I wrote it. It was fun, but it was authentic (to me or the culture). So I’m glad to see this shape up into something that fits the world, and doesn’t disrespect the wonderful one we live in.

Come back on Saturday to watch Naj really shine. He loves to show off, give him some love people!

World Building June!

So apparently, in addition to being #Pride month, June is the month for world building–which, as you all know, is my jam. I’m following along with World Building June on Tumblr, and I’ve had a load of fun with the three days I’ve done so far. So far we’ve done a basic intro, geography overview, and touched on races/cultural backgrounds. I’m thinking of doing a weekly recap mirror on this blog, but if you want to read my entries live every day, you can find them on my Tumblr under the tag #worldbuildingjune

Fellow writers! Come join the fun!