The Helm of Darkness (War on the Gods, #1) by A. P. Mobley

41ykgfebyylAndy and Zoey are two normal teenagers living in the modern day—that is, until they’re knocked unconscious in a freak storm sweeping the United States. 

When they wake up, the world they know has been tossed away. Their city is in ruins, strange creatures walk the earth, and worst of all, everyone is gone. They stumble across Diana and Spencer, two kids around their age who possess incredible magical abilities, and who claim to be the demigod children of Greek gods. Not only that, they also claim the year is 500 AS, five hundred years after the gods conjured a massive storm that destroyed most of humanity and helped them take the world as their own once again. 

Andy and Zoey are soon handed an impossible task: To save humanity. To lead a war on the gods. 

They’ll have to battle monsters, death, and their own inner demons to survive and to protect the people they love.

REVIEW: A sweet dive into the world of greek mythology | ★★★☆☆

A sweet dive into the world of greek mythology in the eyes of young adult humans and demigods. As a fan of greek mythology, this is definitely a fun read for me, although it caters to much younger readers than myself. Maybe apart from Spencer, I couldn’t find myself that much invested in the main characters, but the adventure and the world-building makes for a wonderful ride. A solid start to a series and will definitely check out the sequel!

It’s been a while since I last posted anything, so I guess I’m overdue for an update. My social media is pretty much updated (more or less) but it seems that blogging is a different beast. Without further ado, here are a few updates:

Wedding

I recently got married (last May) in Cebu, Philippines and I’d say the wedding was quite fun and great and it went better than we expected. 😁  It’s a black-and-white beach wedding and here’s a few shots:

Credits: Venue — Plantation Bay Resort & Spa | Coordination — BridesBestfriend.ph | Event Styling — First Of April | Photography — Blinkbox Photos

WIP

I joined Camp Nanowrimo in July… and failed 😭. My plan was to go for 50 hours and I got in about 5 😂. 

Right now I’m reworking my entire outline (again). But this time, it will be very detailed, as I will be fleshing out story and character developments starting from the ending and going backwards as much as I can. I want to make sure that all the necessary loose ends are tied up nicely as I seem to have that habit of creating new subplots as I go without any idea as to how they’re gonna be tied up in the end.

For those points in the story where I have no idea what to do, I do some writing sprints to get the juices flowing. And if I find something I can use in the outline, I get to put it in there and scrapped what isn’t really needed. If I write a particularly good scene or idea, I’ll keep it in my notes for reference later when I start drafting.

So This will definitely take a lot more time as my story is quite massive and I may not be able to fully complete my outline by the time NaNoWriMo in November comes along. But we’ll see! I still intend to join NaNoWriMo regardless of my WIP progress (and win it).

Here are a few things that are helpful to me:

MyWriteClub is in beta right now, Scrivener is a paid app but there is a free trial period, and WorldAnvil has a free tier but I’m using a paid tier for the option to make my world private.

Work

Right after the honeymoon, I started working again and I found that I really like the company I’m working at right now compared to the last one. However, my time for writing will be incredibly shorter now but I’m planning to write on weekends and weeknights.

Weekends

… specifically Sundays shall be the days I’ll be uploading new content here on a regular basis! (Starting with this one!)

Website

I have another website mainly for my poetry book at sathepinemarco.com created by Partridge Publishing, the supported self-publishing company I hired to self-publish my book (because I didn’t know anything about self self-publishing the time I bought their services). The website is part of the package so that’s nice, but I don’t know if it can even be updated without having to pay them, or if I can update it myself. I did ask, but no response as of yet.

Lastly, this website (sathepine.com) is the one I’ll be updating, of course. Since my last post, I have made some changes to the design and layout, including the theme, so hope you like it!

Only Words (Shane Ashby Trilogy #1) by Summer Kiska

419ky6iv5blIf magick defines me, who am I without it?

Has your boyfriend been turned into a bunny?  Does your creepy stalker need a time-out as a toad? Or maybe you want a little more oomph in your spells? Shane Ashby—Celtic witch with three times the power of your average magick-user—has you covered.

Or, well, at least I used to.

I’ve been cursed. That’s bad enough, but now I have to defend against a sister I never thought I’d see again. And with the worst timing ever, a desperate, if irritatingly attractive warlock shows up at my door in need of a tutor. Apparently, I’m his “last hope.”

Somehow, I have to figure out how to keep breathing, not have an emotional breakdown, and make sure no one around me gets caught in the crossfire. All while having one proverbial hand tied behind my back.

Sure, I’ve got this…

 

REVIEW: A fun read with a refreshing perspective | ★★★★☆

It’s such a refreshing perspective for a story to be told from a witch whose speech is limited due to a curse. I had a lot of fun reading this book, and from Shane Ashby’s interesting point of view. It was incredibly easy to like her, and the love interest Jeremy Reeves as well. Though to be honest, I am rooting for the other guy, only because he’s a P.I. and a teleporter! There are few other characters in the story but none of them are bland, including Freya, the cat! Overall, this is definitely a good read and a great start to a trilogy.

A hand held
A shy gaze
A kiss

A love lost
A memory
You miss

Midnight
You lie awake
And reminisce

For all
You have left
Is a wish

To return to
That long-forgotten
Bliss

 

Unknown Element by Brittani S. Avery

518i87uvc7lIn fifteen-year-old Rex Marshall’s mystical world, beings are classified by and can harness the powers of Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Light, and Darkness. When Rex, the rebellious son of an abolitionist councilman, impulsively purchases the freedom of Meenal, a peculiar blue slave, they discover a deep connection over one commonality: both don’t know who—or what—they are.

Rex and Meenal’s journey of self-discovery and Rex’s need to defend his birthright and inheritance takes them to the Saldur Empire, the country from which Rex’s homeland, Maventa, won its independence—the same place his missing mother hails from. As Rex acts as ambassador between Maventa and the Saldur Empire, his connection to his mother becomes stronger than ever, and his origin becomes eerily clear.

The quest to unearth their elements may prove life-threatening— or worse.

REVIEW: Intriguing but with character issues | ★★★☆☆

There are some aspects to enjoy about this book, but it’s significantly hindered by the main character Rex who is difficult to like. Even though his hot-tempered personality is meant to be part of a mystery, it’s still difficult to follow such an unlikeable lead. His behavior (and some others as well) is also a bit much for a teenager although that may depend on the culture? For me, it’s cringey mainly because they’re underaged. However, the world itself is interesting and there are other intriguing characters such as Meenal. So, if there is a sequel to this book, I will still continue with the series, hoping that Rex would have developed into a better character.

 

IMG_7244

I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo last month and achieved my initial goal of 30,000 words a bit early, so I increased it to 45,000 which I still achieved with the final total of 45,349 words!

IMG_7245

Unfortunately, it feels like a hollow victory.

I wrote 50,000+ last NaNoWriMo and realized that I needed to change the outline of my WIP and rewrite some scenes in a different POV.

So I rewrote the 45,000+ words with the previous 50k-word draft as a guide.

But that is only Part I of my novel, which is meant to consist of 3 parts.

It feels like I haven’t progressed at all, even though I did make improvements. But even then I felt that I should have just let it be for the meantime and continue on writing until I complete the whole novel. I would still have the chance to make improvements later on, anyway.

It’s just that Part II is so daunting because of the scenes that it requires. So I guess I chickened out and revised Part I instead (and it’s not even finished, some scenes are incomplete!).

Actually, the whole book is so ambitious! For example, I have a spreadsheet full of made-up words because the seventeen-year-old me — who started this whole thing — decided I needed a made-up language. Now I feel compelled to translate anything “ancient” that I come up with. I can’t just name random characters normally because all the other names are made-up — again, courtesy of seventeen-year-old me — and I have a shit ton of characters. And there are three magic systems. Not one, but three.

41sc1mtntjlRight after Camp NaNoWriMo, I started reading Save the Cat! Writes A Novel by Jessica Brody. The first part talks about the hero… and with my multiple characters, I’m kind of stuck. But I am enjoying the book and learning a lot from it. I love the exercises at the end of each topic but I want to do them in sequence. I’m still stuck with handling the character arcs of the potential main characters, and choosing the one true main character from among them. According to the book, “If you’re writing a story with multiple main characters and/or multiple points of view and you’re still having problems figuring out who the hero is, or whose arc is the biggest, try asking yourself, Which of my main characters is most like my reader?” and this is definitely helpful for me.

The title itself is also a struggle for me. At first it was supposed to be “The Moonseeker’s Medallion”, then I changed it to “Davathad” which is supposed to mean war in my made-up language, but I’m not quite satisfied with either of these. But I’ll leave it be for now and I’m definitely coming back to it once I’m done with the first draft.

Like the title, I’ve now come to the conclusion that it might be better to write or rewrite the prologue and first chapter of my novel once I’m done with my draft. I’ve probably revised both of them 10 times or so, wondering if they set the right tone or if they provide a good hook. Instead of worrying about them, I should just continue on for now and by the time I get back to them, I’ll be a better writer with a better grasp of my story. Here’s hoping.

Last week, I let my fiance read my prologue and first scene of the first chapter. When I told him the story verbally, he seemed quite bored and I felt quite bored telling it. 😬 Not a good sign. I had ended up telling him a bunch of backstories and when I realized he was bored, I just stopped and decided maybe he didn’t need to hear it right now 😅 When he read the synopsis, he said it’s too generic it could be written by an A.I. 😂 It’s true because I feel that the not-so-generic plot points are spoilery so I just gave a broad overview of the story.

With aid from a mysterious medallion, the Dragon King and his forces invade the Elder Kingdoms to prevent a dreaded prophecy, while a secret society aims to stop him and restore balance. 

This has got to change. I want to change the term “Elder” as well but I can’t think of a replacement. (Off the top of my head, “Elder” has been used in Harry Potter “Elder Wand”; in Skyrim/”Elder Scrolls”; in Witcher “Elder Blood”, “Elder Speech”, “Unseen Elder”; in Monster Hunter “Elder Dragons”; and I’m sure other places as well! I use “Elder Kingdoms” and “Elderblood” in my book but if I could change them into some other term I will.)

Anyway, before I let my fiance go, I asked him to read the prologue and the first scene of the (very long) first chapter which was only a few pages. I was hoping to get some constructive criticism and maybe some idea on how to improve it because I’ve been revising them several times already. He was able to provide some good feedback, and surprisingly he actually liked them. He said I shouldn’t change them and that they give enough reason for the reader to continue with the story. But note that he himself did not continue because he wants to play his MMORPG already 😂

Something else on my mind is getting a Critique Partner. I don’t have one. But I don’t know how much I can commit to writing my own work and critiquing others because I’ll be going back to work as software engineer in June. My writing time will be decidedly limited then. My very ambitious novel will probably take a long time, considering I won’t be satisfied with one draft. It has to undergo at least five revisions before I will be satisfied to even get to the beta reading phase. I have to plan out my timeline first as well as what I intend to so for July’s Camp NaNoWriMo and November’s NaNoWriMo because I’ll be participating for sure.

This post is meant for future me more than anyone else. But if you’re reading this, I give you my thanks 😊

I know
What this is
What you are
And you say
There’s a cure
It won’t scar
But this cure
To the venom
Is a curse
Makes
Things
Worse
So I’ll try
Just a sip
Just a drip
And we’ll see
If it’s worth
The trip

I guess it has been available for a while now, but due to some issues that needed resolving and *life stuff* (sigh!), I’ve delayed announcing it. I hope you give it a chance and leave an honest review when you can. Without further ado, here it is:

41uhdr784el._sx311_bo1204203200_What Have You Done to the Angel?

Buy in Amazon | Buy Kindle eBook | Goodreads

What have you done to the angel?
Why have you injured her wings?
The bliss of her smile has faded.
Her hands have been soiled by your sins . . .

Inspired by personal emotions and her dark imaginations, Sathepine Marco shares a compilation of poems penned during her teenage and young adult years when she was gripped with angst, depression, and heartaches. As she leads others through her darkness, Sathepine invites introspective reflection while sharing a glimpse into her own heart and soul as she grappled with all that accompanied pain and sadness, sometimes conveying them through angels and demons with her words.

What Have You Done to the Angel? shares a thought-provoking collection of poetry that allows anyone who has suffered heartache to know that they are not alone.

Buy in Amazon | Buy Kindle eBook | Goodreads

Note: This is not a religious book, in case you may be misled because the title included the term “angel”. I am an atheist, but I prefer not to shame or judge people solely because their beliefs are different from mine, religious or otherwise. However, there are a couple of poems in the book that speaks to my struggle with faith written a long time ago. If you are curious about that, it may be worth reading, but please don’t buy it expecting it to be a religious book.

6fe24e68-485b-47eb-8899-28a4352560b5

Take a deep breath
And be brave
Sometimes it’s okay
To misbehave

I’m right here
Never far
Not afraid
Of who you are

Because i’ve glimpsed
Behind your slight
Veneer of bitterness
And I saw light

The poisoned apple pie
I’ve tried too many times
The hero of a lie
Who’s done too many crimes

The angel of pretense
Up high on golden wings
Ignoring consequence
The saint of hidden sins

And I feel nothing but
Faith in you destroyed
So speak to me not
This contract’s null and void