SPG: February, Part 4/4


St. Paul Grimoire updates Fridays!

“Which way is he going?” Pete held her phone flat as she and Val walked.

“Still on the way to Grand,” Phin said through speakerphone.

Pete adjusted her sword. It was hidden by glamour now, and she and Val would’ve been strangers to their own parents with their warped features.

“What’re we gonna do when we catch up?” Pete asked.

“You’re the Hero,” Valene answered. “Jump him?”

“I don’t think Heroes are supposed to jump people.”

“Do not jump him!” Phin yelled through the speaker.

“I can throw my cloak over his head,” Val went on with a sly look at Pete.

Pete grinned. “Yeah, and I’ll punch him until he’s down.”

“Oh, my god,” groaned Phin.

The girls laughed.

Phin said, “He walked into Caribou.”

“Cool,” Val said. “We’ll catch up to him. We’ll call you if we need you to scry for him again.”

“I think I should stay on the line–”

“We’ll be fine,” Pete stressed with a roll of her eyes at Val. “Talk soon!”

Val swung the nondescript brown bag with the correct candles in it. “Maybe you can make yourself invisible and get close to him.”

“Don’t you know if I can? I thought you read the Hero grimoire.”

“Just most of it. The grimoires are annoying. A lot of the important information’s all the way at the back, but if you skip, it can get confusing.”

“Well, what did it say about Heroes?”

Val shrugged. “It was the smallest grimoire I’ve seen. It basically just said to make good choices.”

“What? What about my powers? Wasn’t there anything about, like, how I was able to fight off a fucking vampire?”

“Nah. It said everything’s innate, you know? Like your morality or some shit manifests as magic.”

“Will I lose my magic if I make bad choices?”

“No, you become a Villain,” Val said simply.

“Ok, then.”

Val could tell Pete wasn’t happy about this lack of information. She had been spending a lot of time helping Dakotah, and not much at all with Pete.

“I’ll read it again later. Like I said, I’m not done.”

Pete nodded. “Hey, how’s Marco?” she asked, warming up a bit.

“Girl, let me show you the snap he sent me yesterday, it is groooss.”

They were still looking at their phones when they reached Grand Ave.

“Shit, isn’t that him?” Val said suddenly.

She pointed across the street, where sure enough, Tou Chue was getting onto a bus.

“Run!” said Pete.

They did, but it was in vain. The bus shut its doors and was off before they could get across the street.

“Damn!” Val said.

“I’m calling Phin.”

Phin sighed heavily when he heard they’d lost their quarry. In minutes, he was directing them down Grand.

“Ok, he’s walking now…yeah, he just turned into Rondo.”

Less than ten minutes later, Val and Pete were also approaching Rondo Library.

“I can’t tell what section he’s in,” Phin said. “I just see books.”

“Ok, we’re in, I’m hanging up on you.” Pete tapped off and they entered.

Rondo wasn’t a quiet library. Kids ran around while parents talked together. Tutors worked at tables and two men gabbed at the counter with a librarian.

Tou Chue was sitting down at a computer. His paper bag sat at his feet.

“Ok, you distract him from the left and I’ll switch the candles out,” Pete said.

“Yeah, alright. I’ll pretend I can only speak Hmong.”

Pete frowned. “You don’t look Hmong right now.”

Val laughed. Pete’s change was obvious, but she couldn’t see herself and so had forgotten her features had been changed by glamour.

“Whatever,” she said with a shrug. “I’ll be half-Hmong.”

Then she was off, and Pete was circling to the other side of Tou Chue as fast as possible.

Pete approached as Val struck up a conversation with Tou Chue. She couldn’t understand, but Val gesticulated nervously and spoke quickly. Pete couldn’t tell if it was faked or Val’s real nerves.

She moved the chair next to Tou Chue. He looked and her and then back to Val. Pete crouched, reaching the pack of candles into the bag and grabbing the charmed fey candles out.

Her hand had just lifted out of the bag when Tou Chue heard the rustle of the bag and whipped around.

From Val’s perspective, one minute Pete was there, the next she wasn’t. Invisibility fell on her like a cloak just before Tou Chue turned.

When he turned back to her, she smiled widely. “Ok, ua tsaug.”

Then she turned abruptly and walked away.

She just kept walking, out of the library, around the corner, and then Pete flashed into appearance beside her.

Her Hero friend grinned broadly as she produced the candles.

“Yeees!” Val crowed, grabbing Pete’s shoulder and shaking her. “You were fucking invisible!”

“Lemme text Phin.”

“Tell him we’ll be back later. We need lattes.” Val tossed her cloak over her winter coat and led the way to Caribou.


Dakotah had reclaimed his place behind the counter and was talking animatedly to Phin.

“It was so cool, man, like all this nature around but then sometimes it would fade away into just light and air. You could feel things in the air, but we never saw anyone else. Or anything.”

“Sounds crazy,” Phin said.

“Anything happen here while I was gone?”

“Uh…” Phin brushed his fingers through his faux-hawk. Briefly, he explained what had happened.

“You mean those two dumbasses took my magic shit and are sitting at fucking Caribou with glamour on?”

When he said it like that, Phin had to admit it was a bad idea. They were way to casual with magic. Still. “She’s a Hero and Val knows everything about everything. They’re fine.”

Dakotah shook his head. “I dunno dude. I think we keep forgetting the bad stuff too quick.”


Pete and Val entered the gate and ran into Caitlin outside the shop, smoking a cigarette.

“Hey,” she greeted them.

“Aren’t you cold?” Val asked. Caitlin wasn’t wearing a winter coat and it had been bitterly cold most of the month.

“Still haven’t bought a coat. Most of my stuff was lost in the raid on Belfast.”

“I bet you’re glad to be somewhere stable,” said Pete.

Caitlin nodded. “This is a nice Sanctuary. Mine was a shithole, just sayin’. I fought so hard to be made Guardian and it wasn’t even that great of a place.”

“Well…” said Pete slowly. “That’s too bad.” She had gone with Dakotah to the Belfast Sanctuary and it had looked nice enough, but what did she know? Still, Caitlin had an unfriendly vibe and so Pete was inclined to disbelieve her.

Caitlin nodded and continued smoking, so the girls moved on.

“She weird,” Val decided when they’d walked far enough away.

Pete nodded. “She’s helping Dakotah though.”

“Yeah, I guess. But she’s still weird.”


My YA fantasy novel TURQUOISEBLOOD is out now! Get your copy here!


When the dangerous rogue dragon Anya crash lands in an isolated mountain village during a snowstorm, Kiri saves her life. Anya awakens seemingly cured of her madness and in thanks offers to show Kiri the country outside her village.

What starts as a simple pact quickly becomes something more as Kiri becomes embroiled in the intrigue of the royal court and the hunt for a murderer. 

Meanwhile, 200 years in the past, Pristina fights to stop a rising civil war. 

Get your copy on Amazon today!

HerStoryArc Post: Forget Pride and Prejudice, Watch Belle

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Check out my writing on Her Story Arc! In Belle, Dido just wants to lead the normal life of an upper class Englishwoman, but her mixed race heritage stands in her way. Eventually, she starts to draw parallels between the forms of oppression in her world. Read the whole review in “Forget Pride and Prejudice, Watch Belle.”


Like what you’re reading? Follow me on Twitter!

How to Make Pinterest Character and Story Boards

This image may not be 100% related to post content...

This image may not be 100% related to post content…

The title to this sounds like an instructional, but I’m really asking a question.

I’ve seen character and novel boards on Pinterest from a lot of other authors, and thought it was a cool idea at first. That’s why I decided to make my own. I have two Pinterest boards just for my novels, TURQUOISEBLOOD and DANA (here’s DANA below for reference).

Let’s use TURQUOISEBLOOD as an example. The novel takes place in the mountain country of Rak, where an albino village girl named Kiri takes up with the rogue dragon Anya to solve a murder. Their journey takes them to Rak’s lowlands, royal court, and deep into the mountains. At the same time, we learn the story of Pristina, fighting to stop a civil war in Rak 200 years before Kiri’s birth.

Because of this, my Pinterest board has pins of mountains, dragons, white-haired girls, and lots of clothing. But it suggests nothing of the narrative of the story, that there’s a mystery, a parallel storyline, or even other characters. Because of the changing fashion in the areas Kiri and Anya travel to, the clothing styles don’t have any consistency to anyone but me.

These two boards don’t have many followers. Likewise, I find myself less interested in other writer’s story/character boards. If I haven’t read the book, or if it’s unpublished (TURQUOISEBLOOD will be out in 2015!) then it’s harder for me to enjoy these kinds of boards.

In order to improve mine (New Year’s Resolution time?), I’m going to try out some new things:

1) Create a better narrative by writing more description in the header and on the pins.

2) Reshuffle pins so they more closely follow events of the novel.

3) Find more ways to pin to these boards. After all, the more you pin the more followers you get!

What about you? Has anyone seen an example of a good story-Pinterest board? Let me know what you’ve seen/done before! And send me your name so I can follow you on Pinterest 🙂


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Twin Cities Speculations Anthology Update!

“Welcome to Minnesota, where aliens go ice fishing, angels roam the streets of Minneapolis, and missing socks show up on a distant planet.”

News! (a little overdue, but…)

The review blog AmazingStoriesMag.com has reviewed our forthcoming anthology, Twin Cities Speculations! An anthology of all Minnesota authors, the review specifically highlights Eric Binfet, Lindsey Loree of HerStoryArc.com, and yours truly. Read it here!

Twin Cities Speculations is at the publisher’s now, so stay tuned for more info and my own story, which will be posted on my site soon!


TC Spec

Out soon!

“In Minnesota, there’s a lot of time during the six-month-long winter for creativity. The folks who wrote the stories in Twin Cities Speculations have dump trucks full of it. From ice fishing through an alien’s eyes to an alien fighting Ripley-style to save her race, to a grieving mother trying to save a strange child during an icy northern winter, you’ll find great entertainment here.”

–Deb Elliott, author of Race the Night

George R.R. Martin Works For Me


I just read a really good article by Neil Gaiman and I agreed with almost every single point, except his last sentence. The article, posted on his website in 2009, is about how writers who take a long time to finish series (he used George R.R. Martin and Patrick Rothfuss as examples) have a right to work at their own pace:

You’re complaining about George doing other things than writing the books you want to read as if your buying the first book in the series was a contract with him: that you would pay over your ten dollars, and George for his part would spend every waking hour until the series was done, writing the rest of the books for you.

No such contract existed.

I was nodding along enthusiastically at Gaiman’s points about writers not being machines who can produce on-demand, and how “life is a good thing for a writer” until I was brought up short by this sentence, which is, you guessed it, GRRM does not work for you.

He doesn’t? I thought. But, then, who does he work for?

I’m not a huge fan of either Martin or Rothfuss. My struggle is with Isobelle Carmody, Australian author of the Obernewtyn Chronicles. The first book in the series was published in 1988, the last has yet to appear. I didn’t even start reading them until 2006ish. Imagine the poor people who have loved and followed Carmody since the beginning!

See how it says 2012? Yeah, you still can't get those last two books

See how it says 2012? Yeah, you still can’t get those last two books

Why do we keep reading these series? Obviously because we love the worlds and become invested in the characters, blah blah blah. The real issue for me (and not for Gaiman) is the money. Technically, Carmody and others work for themselves and the deadlines their publishers give them. But who do the publishers work for? We, the readers–the actual book-buyers who could’ve spent that money on something else–are the ones actually funding the lives of these authors. If GRRM doesn’t work for me, then fine, but he can’t have my money.

When you write a novel, that’s art, and you can take 500 years to finish it if you want. But when you PUBLISH a novel, that’s a business contract, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect the next book to come out within ten years. Your  loyal customers deserve it.