Story Notes

Below is a master list of my published stories. If you’d like to learn more about how the story came to be and the process behind the writing, just click on the title of your choice.

Blushing Blue

In a world where tattoos come to life, aspiring tattooist Aiva and her diver sister Yunka are living through the aftermath of a typhoon that smashed their village to smithereens and swept away many lives–including that of their mother. One day, the girls find a valuable sea rock containing the ink used in making magical tattoos and Yunka comes up with a dangerous idea for cheering up their father, one that Aiva is guilted into going along with.

Call of the Rimefolk

Manila, 2136. Migs is a government programmer at a dead-end QA job. When his partner Roland, a successful sculptor and university professor, gets a grant to study psychic alien life forms called the Rimefolk on Pluto, Migs is forced to deal not only with the impending separation, but with his own life’s lack of direction. Interspersed with expedition logs of the first Earth team on Pluto, who studied the Rimefolk but never quite revealed all their findings on the creatures.

How the Jungle Got Its Spirit Guardian

In the village of Tozk, everyone has a set role: the men hunt and the women cook. But Daza, the village healer’s son, is a hopeless hunter–even after years of training under Tozk’s best hunter Idra, and his daughter, the ruthless and musical Tenu. Daza has a gift with food, however, and the lengths he and Tenu will go to hide that gift will shake both Tozk and the surrounding jungle to their very cores.

Ink: A Love Story/An Author Takes a Wife

Two authors enter a mangkukulam’s shop and come out with magic ink. They both write their perfect lovers into existence: easy on the eyes, intelligent, and well-versed in all the things that please their creators. But even constructs that well-written will begin to question what more there is to their existence.

In the Shadow of the Typhoon, Humans and Mahiwaga Cooperate for Survival

Two months after Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan), journalist Rosa Herrera is invited by the diwata Maria Cacao on a magical relief operation spanning Central Visayas to witness how life goes on (with a little magical help) after the storm.

First Play For and By Tikbalang Triggers Uproar on Opening Night

Journalist Ma. Rosario P. Herrera chronicles from conception to opening night the controversial attempts of an ambitious theater director to bring to life on stage a play adapted from the Tikbalang epic Noladi, whose troubled production is populated by various creatures of Philippine mythology after most of its human cast and crew left in protest.

Odd and Ugly

In 19th century Philippines, a kapre is stunned when Maria, a young woman from the nearby town, forces her way into his tree and declares herself his housekeeper. As the months roll by and they fall in love over reading lessons and mundane chores, the kapre doesn’t know if he can keep his secrets from her. But Maria has a few of her own up her sleeve, and their secrets combined may either save or destroy them.

Song of the Mango

Saha sings like she’s god-touched, yet she’s the lowliest of the Ayuran tribe’s handmaidens. Tila is heir to the Ayuran’s history and songs, yet she sings like a frog. Saha has always hated her lot in life–to serve Tila–but she becomes an unwilling participant in her brother Maragat’s courtship of Tila despite the promising future it would bring her. When Maragat’s hunt for the dowry boar goes horribly awry, only Saha’s voice can bring him back; but performing for all-powerful Diwata in exchange for favors will have far-reaching consequences across not only among the Ayuran, but across the rest of the archipelago as well.

To Megan, with Half My Heart

Told as a letter from Elena to her daughter Megan. Childhood friends Leni and Vince have much in common: they ride the same school bus; they love stories about mythological creatures; and they don’t feel like they fit in. Vince even talks about kapre, diwata, and duwende as if they exist, to the delight of his bullies. As their friendship blossoms into a romance as they age, Leni starts to realize that there may be more to Vince’s half-foreign heritage than she thought—something inhuman. She believes she knows Vince well, but how much does she really know him?

Have Your #Hugot Harvested at This Diwata-Owned Cafe

Maria Makiling, diwata, businesswoman, and now restauranteur, opens a pop-up cafe along Maginhawa Street where she serves up delicious food with human heartbreak as the prime, secret ingredient. The people she harvests from are usually victims of Martial Law and Duterte’s drug war.

Chosen Mother

Dalena Arathen finds herself mother to a Chosen One at a mere seventeen years old. Because of the Historie, she knows that the mothers of Chosen Ones tend to die horrible deaths to help galvanize their children to action. Determined to live out her dreams—and her life—she quits her job as an inn waitress and tries to balance motherhood, goal achievement, and staying alive.

Child of Two Worlds

Set in Dean Alfar’s world of Hinirang, Adelfa Marquez is given up by her Ispancialo sugar baron heir of a father to her mambabarang great aunt. As she was born in the invisible city of Biringan, the Aghoy of the city has a claim on her, too. Growing up pulled back and forth between two magical traditions, she must pick one permanently by the sunset of her sixteenth birthday. What happens when she meets a bumbling cartographer who shows her an alluring third path?

A Mask for the Queen of Shards

The Queen of Shards is a cruel and vain woman. Threatened by the idea of her son Cerulean’s potential bride replacing her as queen, she ensnares all the young women of the queendom in a contest of artistic skill that no one can hope to win. One of those who tries her luck is Cerulean’s childhood friend and secret lover, Apricot. She fashions a mosaic mask for the Queen, but Cerulean’s sister Emerald gets in the way. Is Emerald friend or foe? And will anyone be able to survive the Queen’s cruelty—even and especially her own children?

The Museum of Incomplete Statues

A young woman feeling stuck in life visits a spiral-shaped museum. Will she find what she’s looking for at the end of it?

Voices in the Air

In this direct sequel to “Song of the Mango,” Saha and Tila have escaped the palace of Kailogan and have come to a village by the river. All is not well; its young women are disappearing and a Kataw is to blame. Tila wants to help them but Saha doesn’t; how can she help anyone when she barely knows how to help herself, reeling from the grief of losing Maragat?