How To Say Goodbye (With No Words)

She sees him for the first time, backlit by reflected sunlight, and she knows, instantly, that no goodbye will ever be enough.

How To Say Goodbye With No Words is a short fiction about a girl who meets a boy at a swimming hole; about how the world changes for the people you love; and about the pieces that remain of them when they’re gone.

It is also about falling in love with a robot.

How To Say Goodbye is now up on Gumroad for $3—less than a cup of coffee!—but you can find the first part right here, if you’d like a tease.

There’s someone new at the swimming hole, the secret place we escape to every summer afternoon when the bell rings. Spring from our seats, dash into sunlight, pile into cars that are more rust than vehicle. It’s a half hour drive through dusty rural roads, and we blast music the entire way. Soon, we know, we’ll be free from this school forever. If only these trips could last as long.

We figure something is up when we see the new car parked by the hidden hole in the bush, the gateway to the track. Who else knows about our place? Surely nobody. I turn to my best friend, whose forehead is already creasing with bafflement beneath her dark fringe.

El, upon falling out of the single left door of another car in our entourage, smacks a hand against her face and groans. Someone asks for clarity, El mutters and pushes ahead, sweeping blond hair back. She’s not one to explain when she’s angry, and she sure looks pissed.

We follow the tangled path down and around through still-blooming gorse until it opens up on a wide, layered plateau of stone and the river beyond. Afternoon sun ripples across the glassy swimming hole, the water clear enough to see the bottom of the opposite shore, but so deep the water nearest our jutting stone platform turns a deep blue-black.

Standing at the edge of the rock is a guy, his dark hair ruffled from the trek through the bush. He watches us emerge with a wide-eyed humour, and El blows a harsh breath from her nose.
“Parents wanted to give me a babysitter,” she huffs. “Someone to keep me ‘in line.’ He’s my end-of-school gift. Ugh.”

He’s a bot. Even without El’s words, we can see it in the way he moves, as if he’s an alien in human skin trying to pass as one of us. Still, he must be a pricey one: dark hair on his arms dances with the summer breeze, emotions flicker across his face almost naturally. One of those companion bots designed to change and grow, updated each year to keep up with their owners.

There are moments in life where a person meets someone new and their world changes perceptibly. Twine tightens around their heart, drawing them to this person. From the way my lungs fail as our eyes meet, his sparkling with unexplained joy, I know this is one of those moments. It’s unreasonable, right? No person can possibly predict that anyone is destined to be in their lives.

And yet, I know he is. A bot, bought and given to my friend. Impossible, ridiculous, unbelievable.
But, my world has already shifted to make space for him to occupy. My heart is tangled up, invisible lines weaving our futures together.

I take a breath, and even the air tastes different.

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Tourist | About

Have you ever wondered what it would be like for your mind to be in another body? For your self to no longer be entirely you?

Tourist, my new serial fiction, explores this idea in a not-too-distant future where artificial minds are almost accepted alongside biological humans. Tourist is both a mystery and a story of self-discovery, and will delve into dark places with mental health and emotional connections.

After a fatal car crash, Allegra finds her artificial mind placed in a new body previously belonging to a young woman named Melissa. This body comes with more baggage than Allegra expects: Melissa’s best friend claims she was murdered, and seems determined to force Allegra to help her solve the mystery.

Newly struggling with depression and a shifted sexuality, Allegra must learn to navigate a stranger’s past, new relationships, and dark secrets that threaten to tear apart the lives of those she cares for.

Like Mountain Sound, I don’t have an exact number of chapters laid out, but I imagine Tourist will end up being around 12 chapters in the end. There is a page to keep track of characters and chapters. Content warnings will also be on this page.

Tourist will begin on Friday 30 and be updated every three weeks from then on. Similarly to Mountain Sound, chapters will be posted the Wednesday prior on my Patreon.

I hope you enjoy my new serial! I’m excited to get it started.

Want early chapters and extra insight on Tourist? Become a Patron!



Guest Post: Lost Stars and the Hopeless Romantics

I align myself as being aromantic. Most definitions describe aromanticism as “an individual that experiences very little to no romantic attraction.” So why do I rank Lost Stars as my favorite new novel in the Star Wars canon? A young adult novel that tells the story of two “star-crossed lovers” on opposite sides of the Galactic Civil War? What about the countless numbers of romance webtoons I subscribe to on Tapastic and Line Webtoons? In what world does this make sense?

Something about these stories appeals to me. In Lost Stars the two main characters, Thane Kyrell and Ciena Ree, are so very well written. While reading it you feel for them. You understand their actions and reactions. Their acceptance. Their experiences are things that could happen to us in our lives, you know – besides the whole spaceships and superweapons thing obviously. For me, using their story to live out what it would feel like to be completely devoted, to truly love another, makes sense and doesn’t make sense at the same time. There are many factors in our world that enable us to connect with others on a romantic level. For some it comes naturally, others it takes more time to develop, and for others like me, that “thing” just isn’t there.

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Being Something: Asexuality in BoJack Horseman

BoJack Horseman is a weird show. It treads a fine line between dark humour, satire, depression, and, though not ever-present, hope. It’s ridiculous, and, at the same time, totally and inexplicably human. That a show starring an anthropomorphic horse-man could so deftly capture human struggles could say a lot of things, but perhaps the distancing from the real world is what helps the show swerve so quickly from inane to heartfelt.

So it shouldn’t have been any surprise that BoJack would be one of the first shows to introduce one of its lead characters as asexual—though still unlabelled, and perhaps not ace, but something very close. In hindsight, it’s no surprise that BoJack would do it; at the time, however, it was jaw-dropping. Not just because of the fact it happened, but because of how it was treated.

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Leia Organa, and the Women Left Behind

Spoiler warnings for Version ControlUnwind, and The Fold.

Let’s talk about ladies. More specifically, let’s talk about god damn General Leia Organa, biological daughter of the biggest mistake of the galaxy and the bravest queen to ever grace Naboo’s picturesque vistas, adopted daughter of verified owner of the Galaxy’s Best Dad mug. At the tender age of nineteen, she stands up to Vader himself; decades later, she’s leading the only resistance the New Republic has against the First Order.

She is vitally important, not just in the GFFA, but in science fiction in general. Why? Because she still has her voice. She falls in love, becomes a slave (ugh), gets married, has a kid — and years later, she still has a voice.

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Mountain Sound | Postmortem

When it comes to my own personal work, I view deadlines as more of a guideline than hard law. I’m not bad at time or project management, I just have 0 accountability when I know I only have myself relying on me to finish. Mountain Sound was one part testing my ability to start and finish an on-going project, one part forcing myself to share creative writing, and one part actually making myself consistently write my own story.

My initial goals were to post chapters on time and to write a story I could be proud of. Whether or not it gained an audience wasn’t part of my plans, so when people did read and enjoy Mountain Sound, that was just a super cool bonus!

What worked:

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Mountain Sound | Ten

Blinded by her anger, Harper fights to escape Efa’s tight hold on her. All she can feel is the burning desire to grab the soldier hurting the dog by their collar and—

Efa lets out a mechanical scream. She shudders, then crumples, her arms dropping from Harper’s waist. The girl, driven by her own momentum, propels herself forward. Ears ringing, she falls to her hands and knees—except her right hand isn’t there to catch her like her brain expects. She slams into her arm’s stump and keeps going, her head cracking against the floor.

Sharp pain bursts across her entire skull like fireworks, stars filling her vision. She tries to rise, but the world tilts dangerously as a loud whooshing drowns out all other sounds.

“Efa,” she says, more whimper than word. “Help me.”

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Three Ways Social Fandom Can Inspire Us

I’m a nerd. I’ve been one since Pokemon first aired in little ol’ Aotearoa and I tried to make Pikachus out of modelling clay with my mum. The attempted Pikachus melted, I still loved them.

Much of my childhood was dominated by Pokemon, to the point that I would actually say my childhood was defined by it, as well as Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. These franchises helped me form strong friendships, find a love for the creative, and explore an interest in books and film. Most of all, these things helped me encounter joy in hard times. Being a nerd is as much a part of me as my love for food.

Recently, cynicism has been everywhere. Or, has it always been? It seems that whenever enough people love something, a vocally negative group pops up to disagree. So let’s talk positive:

There have been three defining moments for me recently that sparked something inside me. As if, for just a second, the clouds had parted and sunlight had shone down upon me. Weird, right? Who even remembers what happiness feels like these days? Not me, apparently.

Wait, didn’t I say I was going to talk positive?

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How Civil War Revives Ultron’s Black Widow

Since her introduction in Iron Man 2, Natasha Romanoff—better-known by her superhero alias, Black Widow—has, until very recently, had to fill the role of Sole Female Superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Avengers franchise. From her absence in toy lines, to the way her various directors have bounced her between the rest of the Avengers for the sake of sexual and romantic tension, to Marvel not giving her a solo flick, it’s pretty clear that being Black Widow isn’t always all it’s cut out to be.

Despite all of this, Natasha Romanoff has managed to grow from unknown-to-casual-film-goers into an almost universal fan-favourite. She is one of the metaphorically strongest heroes in the MCU, no doubt a reaction to Marvel not giving her a solo movie. Or rather, she’s a strong and compelling character when it’s a film directed by the Russo brothers.

Otherwise? Ehh.

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Mountain Sound | Nine

Frosted grass crunches beneath Efa’s feet as she flies across the paddocks. Dead to the world but still living, Harper sleeps, safely held in the droid’s arms. For Efa, there’s the niggling worry of concussion, wondering if they should take a break so she can check the girl over.

But the thought of the soldiers coming to and making chase with their ship and their guns wins out.

And so Efa runs.

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