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Blog Backstory: “When I Grow Up, I Want to Work at NASA”

I have always been fascinated by the stars. As a child I collected National Geographic magazines, bugging my parents to buy me every single one that had anything to do with the universe. I especially loved those that had covers of swirling galaxies and countless stars.

Not surprisingly, my dream was to become an astrophysicist and work at NASA.

stars

In high school, our science textbooks featured successful Filipino scientists in every chapter. Early in my first year, I scanned my textbook frantically, flipping from one chapter to another, hopeful and excited to find a kindred spirit. But to my dismay, none of them worked at NASA. That was when it dawned on me that my dream would be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve. I was a only a little girl from a third world country, who trudged through her academic years on scholarship grants. Maybe I was smart enough, but the endeavor would be expensive, and I couldn’t ask that from my parents.

So I abandoned my NASA dream, but not my love for the stars. My father introduced me to the Star Wars novels, and I went crazy over them. While my schoolmates were all about Sweet Valley High, I was engrossed in science fiction, fantasy, mythology and action-adventure books. When the Internet started taking hold in the Philippines, I wasn’t chatting over mIRC as most teens my age were doing; instead, I was lurking in Yahoo! Groups, easing into the world of roleplaying. And writing fanfiction.

It’s been a decade or so since, and here I am. Finally brave enough to start embracing what has been my real dream all along – to be a writer.

You might be thinking: “Wait, what? From a scientist to a writer? That’s such a big leap!”

writing

But it really isn’t. The characteristics of scientists aren’t too different from writers. Scientists are curious, open-minded, keen observers, resourceful, purposeful, good communicators, persistent, creative, critical thinkers and courageous.

So are writers.

I might never travel to Mars, but I sure can write a story about it.

logic vs imagination

What’s this blog for, then?

I’m currently working on a series I’ve come to call Prometheus’ Fire. The story has taken on different forms during the years, and now it’s finally coming together (I literally merged several ideas). But instead of outright publishing the first book, I’m going to start with posting short stories here – hence the name Stories of the Fire. You’ll get glimpses of the world I’ve built, I’ll introduce you to my babies, and you can join in the adventures by leaving feedback and participating in the interactive bits I’ll be putting up every now and then.

I’m excited to start writing the special content, but I’m even more thrilled that I’m officially opening up this universe to all of you.

So please don’t be a stranger, and say hello! I’m glad to have you on board. 😉

adventure

Message

Message

Fifteen Minute Reads (Or Less)

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I put my hand against the bark. It was warm, like it remembered.

Well, maybe it did.

I was surprised the tree was still alive. After all, I was certain it had been an awfully long time, because nothing here looked, sounded or felt familiar. Something had been unleashed upon the world, a force dark and violent and destructive, and it had warped the terrain into something unrecognizable, almost alien.

Yet in the midst of the wilderness stood this strange tree – strong, tall and beautiful, the only visible living thing for miles around. I could see why it had become the stuff of legend, the people of this age calling it the World Tree.

My fingers found indentations on the bark that felt too geometric to be natural, and I leaned in for a closer look. What I saw took my breath away.

They were numbers.

At first I couldn’t…

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Rendezvous

Rendezvous

Fifteen Minute Reads (Or Less)

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The last thing Nora imagined to find on the rooftop of their office at nearly midnight was a cute guy.

She’d suspected all along that Luella was some kind of weirdo (although an annoyingly pretty one) with her strange habits and inexplicable contradictions, but she didn’t expect her to be scandalous. Yet there she was with some guy, secretly meeting on a foggy night like star-crossed lovers.

Nora pressed herself up against the nearest wall just as he said, “I came as soon as I could.” She was pretty sure they were hugging, and she felt another pang of envy. For all of Luella’s faults, everyone seemed to like her just fine.

“I called Eli, but they’ve cancelled all flights,” the stranger continued. “We’ll have to do it ourselves.”

His last words suddenly made Nora nervous. So this wasn’t a date?

Even Luella sounded anxious. “Jonas, you know I’ve never…

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Bottomless

Bottomless

Fifteen Minute Reads (Or Less)

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“Are we there yet?”

Nora had been thinking of the exact same thing, but she didn’t give herself permission to voice it out. They’d been walking for what felt like hours, down a staircase that spiraled into oblivion, and she had no intention of admitting that she was as frightened as hell. Not when she was the outsider in the group and the weakest link in the chain.

“I don’t recall you being claustrophobic, Eli,” Luella said, but good-naturedly.

Eli huffed in indignation. “I’m not. But I’m sweating like a pig, and all this sweat is ruining my makeup. I need a retouch, pronto.”

Luella laughed, and she seemed genuinely amused because it was loud and contagious. Loud enough to echo through the cavern, contagious enough to make even Jonas smile.

Jonas caught Nora looking at him, and turned his head to meet her gaze. She realized a…

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In Plain Sight

In Plain Sight

Fifteen Minute Reads (Or Less)

Luella’s resumé was a minimalist one-pager. It looked almost sad. “What do you think?” she prompted, looking expectantly at Jonas.

He was frowning. “How are you going to get yourself hired with credentials like this?” He pointed to the space between the Education and Character References sections, which only contained a horizontal line.

“Pleasing personality. And I’m good at doing what I’m told.”

“Is this seriously scented?” Eli asked, sniffing his copy.

Luella’s smile never left her face. “Took a page from Legally Blonde.”

Only Ruvie seemed to look convinced, nodding in satisfaction. “I like it. No one’s going to care about the average pretty-faced girl with no ambition.” She grinned. “Talk about hiding in plain sight.”

“Just be careful you don’t let your smarts show, girl,” Eli reminded. “If the boys find out you’re really from MIT, they’ll get seriously discouraged.”

Luella’s expression turned serious. “You know what’s…

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Exhibit

Exhibit

Fifteen Minute Reads (Or Less)

Art appreciation had never been Jonas’ thing, but he lingered by the giant graffiti wall with interest. It was bright and loud and abstract and untraditional, sticking out in a room filled with polite paintings in golden rectangular frames.

Also, it was unfinished; a burst of color, and then white nothingness.

Like me, he thought, lips pursed together in silent contemplation. He, too, stood out in a crowd. Not just because of his soldier’s frame, but also his upbringing, and the reality that he was a man who could never really be whole.

Please tell me you actually like this,” Luella said, stepping up beside him, her hands casually tucked into the pockets of her jacket. Coming up behind her was Eli, her rather flamboyant friend and the artist responsible for the enigmatic piece of art on display.

“I’m going to take your silence as a compliment, so please…

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Errand

Errand

Fifteen Minute Reads (Or Less)

“Aren’t you scared?”

She glanced at the boy beside her; he was so small, but his eyes were sharp. Untainted, yet unafraid. She, all the more, had no reason to be. “It’s okay. She’s my friend.”

His expression was curious. “Friend?” Jonas asked tentatively, as if trying out the word for the very first time.

Luella nodded, her gaze on the path ahead. Something – or someone – was out there, just behind the veil of mist. “She’s not gonna hurt us,” she said with the certainty of a seven-year-old.

He seemed to sense the presence, too, for he suddenly tensed, and instinctively put his hand inside his jacket. He was only eleven, but he’d been forcibly trained as a soldier of the mountains; his fight-or-flight instincts were kicking in.

But Luella remained impassive. If she was breathing hard, it was only because of the hike, and not out of…

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Blog Backstory: The Ancient World, Myths, and Filling the Blanks

Got caught up in a whirlwind of offline crazies, so I’ve got no short or snippet to share yet. But just to keep this going, here’s another backstory post. 😉

Running parallel to my fascination with the stars is my fascination for the ancient world and its myths. I started out with Greek mythology, then moved on to Norse and pretty much everything else that has “ancient” stamped on it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no expert and I don’t have all the gods and goddesses and creatures and history memorized. I’m no archaeologist and I’d probably be too scared to actually explore uncharted territories. But I love seeing old (er, classic?) architecture, I dream of traveling to Stonehenge and Machu Picchu and the Giza Pyramids, I gobble up books about Atlantis and lost civilizations… you get the drift.

Now you know why this project of mine is called Prometheus’ Fire. It was inspired by the myth – how Prometheus stole fire from the gods and gave it to man. But now you also know I like all sorts of ancient stuff, so will that manifest itself in the course of the project? Absolutely! (In fact, this is like the ultimate fusion of all the stories I’ve ever attempted to write. And, not gonna lie, I want to build a Harry Potter-esque universe, where the stories never end. 😍)

On top of that, I’m the type who likes speculating and reading between the lines and filling in the blanks. I mean, I used to write fanfiction – if only because it allowed me to delve into the obscurities, where I feel countless possibilities lie waiting. I wrote alternate endings, backstories for minor characters, scenes from someone else’s point of view, prequels. And with myths, it’s really not so different.

One last tidbit: in trying to think of a differentiating factor for my project (there are too many stories of the mythological sort out there after all), I decided to sprinkle it with the local flavor. I’m from the Philippines, and I couldn’t resist drawing inspiration from the history and culture that’s all around me. Self-segmenting vampires, anyone?

So there you go. Prometheus’ Fire will be a modern tale with ancient roots. There’ll be myths and superstition and crazy adventures. Interested yet? 😁