#FeatureFriday: Meri Benson

Photo by Paul on Stocksnap.

Welcome to my first #FeatureFriday, where I introduce you to creatives and artists I love. We’re starting off, of course, with my lovely Hotel Fen co-author, Meri Benson!

I met her in a writing community around two and a half years ago, where we randomly collaborated to write a short piece to the prompt ‘childhood friends to lovers.’ (We found out very quickly that we’re both suckers for that trope.) Our styles and strengths and weaknesses complemented each other’s very well, so we began to work on more shorts and prompts, just for fun really, until I started contemplating the idea of collaborating on a story with her.

Fast-forward to October 2020, when nearly every author I knew was gearing up for NaNoWriMo. I have never managed NaNo because of my day job’s demands, but I thought that, maybe, she would be okay to do a mini NaNo with me… and she agreed!

We released Hotel Fen last August. 🥳

Prior to our novel, she’s already published several short stories, spanning a myriad of genres, on Amazon — all of which you can check out here.

Her short “Lingering Ice” was also just recently published in Flora Fiction‘s 2021 fall issue.

Grab a copy of Hotel Fen, an urban fantasy novel by Meri Benson and Marie Sinadjan, from your favorite ebook and print store. Just in time for the spooky season!

#ThrowbackThursday: I’ve Always Been A Smart Girl

Ah, that night I got to pretend to be one of my favorite book characters — Annabeth Chase of the Percy Jackson / Riordan universe.

I’ve been delighted to read about musicals reopening on Broadway and the West End… but also a little sad that we’re not ready and able to resume live performances yet here in my province. Restrictions have eased some, sure, and indoor dining is now allowed at 50% capacity for those who are fully vaccinated, but the days of themed parties and cozy pizza parlor concerts are still on the horizon.

Since I’ve been in a nostalgia kick, I’m doing #ThrowbackThursday this week! 🥰 And today I’m sharing with you one of my video performances all the way back from 2018, when my friends and I did a show called Blondetastic for our theatre company’s Theatre Thursday initiative. That’s right, we went blonde and sang a myriad of songs by blonde characters! Since we had full control of our lineup, I grabbed the opportunity to sing one of my favorite songs by one of my all-time favorite (book) characters: My Grand Plan from The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical, the torch song of one Annabeth Chase.

And if you fancy a singalong, Rob Rokicki, the musical’s composer and lyricist, put up karaoke versions of some of the songs on Spotify. 🎤

He was also super kind and commended my performance. 😭

I have more Blondetastic stories to tell, but I’ll save those for future installments of #ThrowbackThursday. Do let me know if you want more, though, so I can dig something up for next week! ✨

#WorldbuildingWednesday: The Rainbow Bridge of the Gods

Photo by Todd Cravens on Stocksnap.

People probably know this from the Thor films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but Norse mythology speaks of a rainbow bridge called Bifrost, which connects Asgard, the world of the Aesir tribe of gods, with Midgard, the world of humanity. Bifrost is guarded by Heimdall, a god of whose eyesight is so keen that he can see for hundreds of miles by day or by night, and his hearing is so acute that he can hear grass growing on the ground and wool growing on sheep. During Ragnarok, however, the giants will breach Heimdall’s defenses and cross the bridge to storm Asgard and slay the gods. (Source: Norse Mythology for Smart People)

What does this mean for our Hotel Fen heroes, then? A later chapter offers a hint:

The king of Asgard wasted no time. “Heimdall, see to our defenses.”

#WIPWednesday will resume next week!

Grab a copy of Hotel Fen, an urban fantasy novel by Meri Benson and Marie Sinadjan, from your favorite ebook and print store. Just in time for the spooky season!

#TeaserTuesday: Hotel Fen Book II

Photo by Forrest Cavale on Stocksnap.

While I still can’t share snippets of the Hotel Fen sequel, I can, however, say that the aurorae are going to be visible this time around! Aurorae, particularly the aurora borealis or the Northern lights, are considered the Holy Grail of skywatching, and these beautiful dancing waves of light have captivated people for millennia.

Did you know, though, that this is actually a rather violent event? Energized particles from the sun slam into the Earth’s upper atmosphere at speeds of up to 45 million mph (72 million km/h), but our planet’s magnetic field protects us from the onslaught. As that magnetic field redirects the particles toward the North Pole, the process transforms into a cinematic atmospheric phenomenon. (Source: Space.com)

Violent and dramatic? Kind of fitting, really, since we’re talking about a Norse myth based novel. ⚔️

Grab a copy of Hotel Fen, an urban fantasy novel by Meri Benson and Marie Sinadjan, from your favorite ebook and print store. Just in time for the spooky season!

#MusicMonday: Elevator by Dave Feril

I’m a big fan of musicals, so as we were finishing up my debut novel Hotel Fen, I told my co-author Meri that I wanted our book to have a soundtrack. She was 100% on board, so I then reached out to some artist friends to collaborate. And Elevator was born.

In true musical fashion, it tells of a scene in the novel — the meet-cute the blurb talks about!

The music was composed by Peter Clark Guisadio of 0300 Hours, with the lyrics by yours truly; I had some help with the Norwegian lines from a Filipino nurse friend who moved with his family to, that’s right, Norway. I also performed the female vocals, while Victor was voiced by Dave Feril. And the vocal recording, mixing and mastering was taken care of by my brother, Michael.

Listen to Elevator on Spotify and let me know what you think! 🎧

#ShareSunday: Iceland Virtual Tour

Photo by Camila of Nordic Visitor.

Welcome to my first #ShareSunday, where I’ll be sharing anything and everything under the sun. From random online finds to life anecdotes and stuff I’ve encountered in the course of my research for my books and writing projects… yeah, this is the miscellaneous section of my blog, but I hope you’ll enjoy this too!

Today I’m sharing with you this spiffy Iceland virtual tour! ❄️ These virtual tours have been a godsend to my wanderlusting soul, and this one will transport you all the way to the Land of Fire and Ice (no, that’s not actually Westeros 😛). Aside from the fact that my debut novel Hotel Fen takes place in Norway, I’ve always been fascinated by the Nordic countries, because their landscape is so different from what we have here in the Philippines.

How about you, do you have any favorite virtual tours? Please tell me about them! ✈️

#ShowcaseSaturday: Victor

We skipped #FeatureFriday because of my song release, but this post isn’t exactly to make up for it. I figured I’d do something a little different on Saturdays — instead of featuring artist friends and creatives, I’m going to introduce you to the characters in my stories! 🥳

And I’ll start, of course, with no less than our Hotel Fen protagonist: Victor Elysan.

Photo by Matt Moloney on Stocksnap.

You know the guy, or at least from the book blurb. He’s caught in a writing stump on his book on valkyries when he wins a free trip to Hotel Fen, a vintage, Norse mythology themed resort in the Scandinavian mountains. But let me tell you some more things about him!

1. He’s a professor.

A junior level prof, but yeah. In the US, you can technically finish your PhD by 25 and roll into a professor position.

2. He’s a cat lord.

Or at least, he has two cats back home. Ada, the grumpy black cat he meets in the hotel, makes it three.

3. His best friend is a girl.

She’s a red-haired Brit named Jolene, and yes, she’s named after the Dolly Parton song. Victor describes her as a “mistress of bad puns” and a “jane of all trades and master of none,” so it looks like [redacted] will meet his match if he sticks around with the gang long enough.

Victor and Jolene also dated in college for three days, but have managed to stay friends.

4. He sees runes when others see English letters.

While he’s in the hotel, at least. But he is more than familiar with them, owing to his Norse mythology specialization. (The runes we reference to in the book are those of the Elder Futhark.)

5. His singing voice is Dave Feril.

Dave is a dear friend and one of my favorite singers, so when Meri and I decided to have an original tie-in song for our book release (Elevator is a duet of Victor and his leading lady), we didn’t even have to discuss who we’d ask to give life to our hero! He is active in Cebu’s performing arts community, advocating causes through theatre and music. He’ll protest it, but we call him the Ben Platt of Cebu. I mean, you be the judge:

Stay tuned next Saturday for my next character showcase! 💖

New Song Alert: Writings on the Window

It’s here! My new song Writings on the Window, which I wrote for the Hotel Fen universe, is now out on all major streaming platforms. I hope you enjoy this brand-new track for our leading lady, Silje. 🦄

Writings on the Window

music from the Hotel Fen universe by Meri Benson and Marie Sinadjan
composed and performed by Marie Sinadjan
instrumentation, mixing and mastering by Michael Sinadjan of Michael Sinadjan Records
recorded at The Cave

I thought I’d lost my mind
Lost track of what was real
I didn’t know who I was
Or what this is I feel

The wolves, the ghosts
The writings on the window
Are we even here at all
Should I let myself fall

Thought I’d imagined it
That night on the beach
I didn’t know who she was
But I know what she feels

Somehow I feel it too
A yearning, old and true
So stay and don’t let go
‘Coz you deserve to know

The wolves, the ghosts
The writings on the window
I’d been wrong all along
For I was coming home

I thought I’d lost my mind
Lost track of what was real
Now I know who I am
And I know what I feel

The wolves, the ghosts
The writings on the window
I’d been wrong all along
For I was coming home

For I was coming home
I was coming home

September Roundup

It’s no joke, time flies. Hotel Fen was just a dream at first, then suddenly September is ending and my baby is (gasp) a month old! If you’re into urban fantasy or you’re looking for a read for the spoopy season, grab a copy of my debut novel with Meri Benson through your favorite distributor. 👻

My best friend Joie also launched her poetry over at Made in Hevn this month. Hope you can check it out!

Upcoming Events and Opportunities

  • My new single, Writings on the Window, drops tomorrow!
  • Cebu Business Month‘s 2021 Creative Entertainment Week will be in full swing soon! The week-long event aims to boost the Creative Entertainment Industry in order to position Cebu as a global Creative Entertainment Hub in the Philippines. Register through this form or via the CBM app.
  • Filipino writers and illustrators are invited to the ROMANCECLASS X KOMIKET comics project. Are you interested in creating romance comics? Register today!
  • It will be #PortfolioDay on Twitter this October 12th. If you’re an artist looking for your next gig, this is your chance! Check out PortfolioDay.art for the participation guidelines.

(Photo by Lisa Fotios on Stocksnap.)

Indie Wednesday

Are you an indie writer or artist? Hop on over to this post 👇🏻 and tell the world about your work!

Fae Corps Inc

We are all about promotion of the indie here. Are you a indie artist or author? Post links to your work! This is the place to brag about your work. Or do you know an indie that needs to be seen? Post a link. Sharing is caring after all. We also welcome you to post services for the indie… If you are an editor, cover designer, or something like that… Post that link!

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