#MusicMonday: Like I Can by Dave Feril

Dave in a reindeer-inspired look for a Christmas gig!

Some of you probably know him by now since you’ve heard Elevator, but let me properly introduce you to our gig group’s vocal powerhouse, Dave Feril! ✨

If anyone is to be found spontaneously breaking into song and dance, that’s Dave. A true free spirit, there is no greater joy for him than collaborating with a good group of like-minded people and enjoying the social and emotional connections he makes with others. He is active in Cebu’s performing arts community, advocating causes through theatre and music, and when not working on his singing and songwriting skills, he’s out on the front lines as a nurse and healthcare worker.

You’ve probably heard of him as the singing voice of Victor, Hotel Fen‘s protagonist, but he also makes a very good Evan of Dear Evan Hansen, and he just really has some crazy pipes. Here’s an example:

Hope you can follow him on Spotify and YouTube and show him some love too!


Are you ready for the vacation of a lifetime? Grab a copy of HOTEL FEN, an urban fantasy novel by Meri Benson and Marie Sinadjan, from your favorite ebook and print store. For fans of Norse mythology, magic and fantasy, star-crossed romances, stories of vengeful old gods, and diva black cats.🐺

Hotel Fen News and Updates: New Editions, Merchandise and Accompanying Short Stories

Are you ready for the vacation of a lifetime?

Hi, everyone! It’s just been a little over three months since Meri and I published Hotel Fen, and our little one has been holding up well despite everything 😊 It’s not a bestseller or high up the ranks, and it hasn’t gotten much in terms of reviews and ratings, but that’s also understandable since we really didn’t have a plan past getting it out there. Now that I know more about marketing and the publishing industry in general, having learned from my author friends and having participated in creative conferences and events, I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to do better as we move forward. 💪

Since it’s Thanksgiving weekend in the US, I also want to take this opportunity to thank everyone in the online writing community who’s helped me in my author journey! Aside from Meri, and our ever-supportive friend and Hotel Fen stan Bri, I especially have to mention these lovely people: Amanda ‘Li’ Griffiths, Mae Clair, Sara Flower Kjeldsen, Staci Troilo, Kyle Robertson, Andrew McDowell, Dona Buenaseda, Dave Westfall, Rebecca Lemke, Nick Battaglia, Neil Mach and Christopher Milner. Thank you so much, and I truly appreciate all the support and help you have extended to me! 💖

Anyway, here are some of the recent Hotel Fen highlights and happenings! 🐺

Hardcover & Merchandise

As Meri posted in her blog sometime back, Hotel Fen is now available in hardcover! She also has some goodies left over from WindyCon, so if you’d like to buy a rune set or a rune keychain or Ada stickers, please go ahead and contact her for orders! 😄

Rune keychains!

Philippine Paperback Edition

Yup, that’s the Philippine edition.

We went wide when we launched Hotel Fen last August, but there was a surprising demand for print copies here in my locality. The catch: ordering via Amazon costs about $15 just for shipping. Yikes. So I looked around and tried to find a way to make the book available in a more affordable fashion, and that was how I learned about Central Books and their Publish On Demand service. (Many thanks to Rhegie De Guzman for the assistance! 🥳)

It took a few months, mostly because of the pandemic limitations that are still in place, but the paperbacks are finally available! 💖 While it was possible to change some things to reduce printing costs – such as the paper type or the font size – we opted to stick as close to the Amazon version as possible for consistency. Only that this time, shipping to my area costs only a little over a dollar instead of 15! Plus they’re available in bookstores nationwide, as well as through Central Books’ online distribution outlets, and I don’t have to worry about reprinting and restocking when they get sold out. And Central Books took care of copyright registration too, as well as obtaining the ISBN!

So for those in the Philippines, you can now get a copy through these channels:

  • Central Books website
  • Shopee
  • Lazada
  • Central Books physical bookstores
    • 927 Phoenix Building, Quezon Avenue, Quezon City
    • C.M. Recto, Manila (San Sebastian)
    • Makati (Lyceum) Mandaluyong (SM Megamall Bldg. A)
    • Cebu (GV Building)
    • Davao (Aldevinco Shopping Center)

Flash Pieces & Short Stories

Part of wanting a collective universe of sorts for my writing is the opportunity to come up with little stories such as these. I love taking a spin on scenes, showcasing minor characters, and presenting different angles to a plot point or issue. Hence why I’ve had a lot of fun writing short pieces for the Hotel Fen universe, even if these aren’t directly related to the first book! 😉

I have one more short on file, but I’m still waiting to hear back if it’s gotten accepted somewhere. 🤞

Music

Over the last three months we’ve released five songs so far:

You can find all of them in this playlist, and feel free to save it for future releases! 🥳 And we do have a few more in the works, which we hope to release as we lead up to the sequel in 2022.


Are you ready for the vacation of a lifetime? Grab a copy of HOTEL FEN, an urban fantasy novel by Meri Benson and Marie Sinadjan, from your favorite ebook and print store. For fans of Norse mythology, magic and fantasy, star-crossed romances, stories of vengeful old gods, and diva black cats.🐺

#FlashbackFriday: Stranger #writing #prompt #challenge #flashfiction

photo from Stocksnap

With NaNo keeping me quite occupied this month, let me share with you instead old flash fiction pieces I’ve written. These are really old, like circa 2016-2017, and I haven’t edited these or anything as of this posting. Hope you enjoy, anyway! 🙈

The prompt for this was waiting.

My father was a kind man – or so I’ve been told.

Hard to say for certain, though, since he’s almost never around.

Mom had said over and over (I can quote her in my sleep) that I shouldn’t resent his absence. After all, he was only doing his duty, and he was doing a darn good job at providing us a life of luxury. But I barely ever saw him growing up, because those were the years before the comforts of video calling were within reach.

Every time he came home, I saw a stranger from a faraway land.

He showered us with presents and treats, of course. Mom would get an Hermès or something just as fancy. My sisters would receive Chanels. I’d have a shiny new gadget. We’d go on posh family vacations then visit our relatives and friends to tell them all about it, because why not?

Then poof, he’d be gone. Again. Back on the road to el dorado.

And I’d be waiting, not for his return, but for the time when he no longer has to leave.


Are you ready for the vacation of a lifetime? Grab a copy of HOTEL FEN, an urban fantasy novel by Meri Benson and Marie Sinadjan, from your favorite ebook and print store. For fans of Norse mythology, magic and fantasy, star-crossed romances, stories of vengeful old gods, and diva black cats.🐺

#ThrowbackThursday: I’m In Love With A Wonderful Guy

South Pacific, November 2013.

Kindred Hearts wasn’t the first time I played a nurse. I’ve also played Navy nurse Nellie Forbush of the musical South Pacific – twice, in fact, since aside from the 2013 production, it was also our school play back in my senior year.

The musical’s plot plot centers on an American nurse stationed on a South Pacific island during World War II who falls in love with a middle-aged expatriate French plantation owner but struggles to accept his mixed-race children.

Anyway, here’s a snippet of one of my songs from the show:

Now those of you who’ve read Hotel Fen (or at least checked it out) might be wondering if playing a nurse had led to Silje being a nurse? Actually, no. But being surrounded by nurses did. My boyfriend, Manuel, is a nurse and has been our consultant for the medical stuff in the book. Dave, Victor’s singing voice and a good friend of mine, is also a nurse. And another close theatre friend, Chino, actually immigrated to Norway with his family to work as a nurse, and he helped me “proofread” the Norwegian lyrics to Elevator. 😉


Are you ready for the vacation of a lifetime? Grab a copy of HOTEL FEN, an urban fantasy novel by Meri Benson and Marie Sinadjan, from your favorite ebook and print store. For fans of Norse mythology, magic and fantasy, star-crossed romances, stories of vengeful old gods, and diva black cats.

#WeirdWednesday: Defense Mechanism #writing #prompt #challenge #flashfiction #norsevember

A brahmin moth caterpillar.

Wednesdays are now for the weird and the whimsical, so here’s my latest response to the bug challenge!

Today’s bug is the brahmin moth caterpillar.

This particular caterpillar resembles something altogether alien. Their tentacle-like spindles reaching up from the abdomen serve as a (likely very effective) defense mechanism.

Yeah, you can all probably guess what this piece is about 🤣


Defense Mechanism

The baby twisted in her crib like she’s some sort of caterpillar, and the motion looked uncomfortable. Painful, even. Though it wasn’t until her spine protruded through her semi-translucent skin, making the ridges uncannily visible, that Hel stepped back, aghast. She’d seen something similar before, and her heart sank at the realization. “She’s a shapechanger, too.”

Loki, however, simply picked up the child and cradled her to his chest, cooing softly. It was a display of gentleness that only his family ever saw. “My beautiful girl.”

“He’ll want her gone,” Hel said in a small, trembling voice.

“I know.”

“You can’t let it happen.”

The Trickster pressed a kiss to his baby’s forehead. “I know.”


Are you ready for the vacation of a lifetime? Grab a copy of HOTEL FEN, an urban fantasy novel by Meri Benson and Marie Sinadjan, from your favorite ebook and print store. For fans of Norse mythology, magic and fantasy, star-crossed romances, stories of vengeful old gods, and diva black cats.🐺

Publishing Success Stories: The Mobile Library Volume 2 Issue 1 #magazine #aerogrammearts #writingcommunity #flashfiction #fantasy #mythology #norsevember

Volume 2 Issue 1 of the Aerogramme Center for Arts and Culture. Cover by Kateryna Kobylianska. “To Merge with the Close One,” 2021.


Hi, friends! 💖 It’s been a while. There’s a lot going on for me at the moment, enough that I’ve actually dropped the ball on NaNo, but today I just wanted to share that three of my short pieces got accepted for publication!

My stories Sacrilege, Twin, and Perfect World are now part of the latest issue of the Aerogramme Center for Arts and Culture’s Mobile Library. The Aerogramme Center for Arts and Culture was founded by Zoë Elena Moldenhauer in March 2020, with the aim of providing multi-digital opportunities during the pandemic closures and furthering artistic creativity among emerging and mid-career artists and writers around the world. She graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art with a BFA in Painting, Art History and Curatorial Practices. Her curatorial projects explore the intersection of art and activism as a vehicle for social change.

The Mobile Library is the Aerogramme Center’s magazine. Each publication is unique, pairing artists and writers together, at different stages in their careers, to build a collaborative experience. Volume 2 Issue 1 was curated by Zoë around the theme Mythology, and features the following authors and artists: Mark Bickley & Amy Bassin, Carolyn Adams, Eve Lyons, Igor Zusev, James Johnson-Perkins, Kateryna Kobylianska, Laura Moverin, Lu Sakhno, Meropi Papastergiou, Osvaldo Vázquez, Veronica Jarrín Machuca, and yours truly. 😊

You can read the issue below, download it from the Aerogramme Center’s website, or purchase a print copy for $15.62.

I answered the call for submissions as I enjoyed their previous issues of the Mobile Library, and I thought it was really cool of them to come up with an avenue for artists and writers around the world in the midst of the pandemic. Love the combination of visual art and the written word, too! In fact, I’m still not over the art Zoë had selected to accompany my short piece Perfect World, which is part of the Hotel Fen universe.

Carolyn Adams, “Door,” 2020.

Enjoyed the magazine? Which piece is your favorite? Which piece of mine is your favorite? And tell me about your publishing success stories, too! 😄


Are you ready for the vacation of a lifetime? Grab a copy of HOTEL FEN, an urban fantasy novel by Meri Benson and Marie Sinadjan, from your favorite ebook and print store. For fans of Norse mythology, magic and fantasy, star-crossed romances, stories of vengeful old gods, and diva black cats.🐺

#MusicMonday: Warrior by Ennah

Ennah as the Queen of Hearts of Alice in Wonderland

Today I’d like to introduce you to my other gig sister, Ennah! 👑

Ennah and I are workmates (yes, she’s the third artist-accountant I’ve introduced to you by now 😂) and we used to perform for office events until we got swept up in the themed parties craze. Since then she’s played a lot of characters opposite mine, as well as together with Dave and Mikaela Rose, and with every performance I grow more and more in awe of her. She’s versatile and full of energy and a good dancer!

And, yes, she was Black Widow in these Avengers gigs.

Here’s her segment from one of the latest projects we did together, which was a virtual performance for our office’s equivalent of Bring Your Child to Work Day a couple of months ago. Guess which Disney princess she is? 🐲💚


Are you ready for the vacation of a lifetime? Grab a copy of HOTEL FEN, an urban fantasy novel by Meri Benson and Marie Sinadjan, from your favorite ebook and print store. For fans of Norse mythology, magic and fantasy, star-crossed romances, stories of vengeful old gods, and diva black cats.🐺

#FlashbackFriday: Hypothetical #writing #prompt #challenge #flashfiction

photo from Stocksnap

With NaNo keeping me quite occupied this month, let me share with you instead old flash fiction pieces I’ve written. These are really old, like circa 2016-2017, and I haven’t edited these or anything as of this posting. Hope you enjoy, anyway! 🙈

The prompt for this was fish.

“Hypothetical question,” she started to say, leaning forward ever so slightly. “So there’s this girl, and she has a guy friend that she really likes. But he doesn’t seem to get the hint. Should she go ahead and tell him, so she’ll know if he likes her back or not?”

He averted his gaze to his hands, which he’d wrapped around his cup of coffee on the tabletop. “What kind of hints has she been dropping? Maybe she’s not doing a very good job at it.”

Her cheeks flushed. It was a rather chilly morning, and it wasn’t helping. “For starters, she spends her morning breaks with him. That’s five times a week. Also, her texts have emojis.”

He shifted in his seat, sneaking a shy glance at her before looking away again. “Don’t all girls text with emojis?”

“This hypothetical girl doesn’t.”

“But she has a boyfriend,” he said, lifting his head so he could look at her in the eyes. His own glistened with a strange sort of light – was it hope?

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She was smiling now. “He must be hypothetical.”


Are you ready for the vacation of a lifetime? Grab a copy of HOTEL FEN, an urban fantasy novel by Meri Benson and Marie Sinadjan, from your favorite ebook and print store. For fans of Norse mythology, magic and fantasy, star-crossed romances, stories of vengeful old gods, and diva black cats.🐺

#ThrowbackThursday: Avengers, Assemble (Part II)

Hey, heroes hang out in malls sometimes!

The office event wasn’t the only Avengers-themed gig we had back in 2019. In July we were also invited to an event called Hobbyverse, and we were all too happy to oblige!

Here’s a number I did with Ennah – who I’ll introduce to you all properly in a few days 😉

We didn’t eat shawarma afterwards, though. We had dimsum instead 🤣

Girls just wanna have fun!
Thor definitely had been the crowd favorite. 😉

Are you ready for the vacation of a lifetime? Grab a copy of HOTEL FEN, an urban fantasy novel by Meri Benson and Marie Sinadjan, from your favorite ebook and print store. For fans of Norse mythology, magic and fantasy, star-crossed romances, stories of vengeful old gods, and diva black cats.

#WeirdWednesday: Human Cadaver Studies #writing #prompt #challenge #flashfiction #norsevember

A scorpion fly.

Wednesdays are now for the weird and the whimsical, so here’s my latest response to the bug challenge!

Today’s bug is the scorpion fly.

This terrifying insect certainly looks like something out of a horror movie. If their appearance isn’t enough to give you nightmares, maybe this fact will: this fly’s interest in human corpses have assisted scientists in human cadaver studies.

To no one’s surprise, my piece is Hotel Fen inspired again 😂 I give up, guys.


Human Cadaver Studies

“Do the dead Dream?”

Hel watched her Queen smash the head of an opposing Pawn with her massive axe. The chess pieces were made from bone, but their blades were live steel. She glanced across the board at the image of her brother, her lips on the unmarred side of her face turning up into a ghost of a smile. “Who wants to know?”

The Queen spun around and decapitated the Bishop that tried to sneak up from behind her.

Fenris was lounging like he had all the time in the world, though he could never quite muster their father’s carefree demeanor. There was a tension in his shoulders even as he shrugged and tried to appear nonchalant. “Just curious.” He was in human form today, his blond hair framing his handsome face and roguish grin. The Midgardians liked that look, his sister knew.

“What are you planning, brother?” Hel’s attention was not on their chess game anymore. The remaining pieces launched into a melee soon after, with Fenris’ army being decimated first. Then the Queen hacked off her own comrades’ heads.

He grunted. He could never win against her, no matter what the game. “A better means to track them down.”

“Scrying has not worked?” A not-so-subtle jab. Did he really think she wouldn’t know that he’s working with someone outside of the family?

His expression tightened. “No, it has not.”

She took the Queen’s axe and picked her nails with it. “Come visit, then, little brother. Let me show you how the dead Dream.”


Are you ready for the vacation of a lifetime? Grab a copy of HOTEL FEN, an urban fantasy novel by Meri Benson and Marie Sinadjan, from your favorite ebook and print store. For fans of Norse mythology, magic and fantasy, star-crossed romances, stories of vengeful old gods, and diva black cats.🐺

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