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Never in my life will I ever forget November 11, 2014.


It was exactly one week after his birthday on November 4, and two weeks after the birthday marking the conclusion of the second decade of my life. In this time of change, after being stuck on Emmy (my special nickname for him) for over 10 years, I was dealing with some extremely confusing emotions and struggles... and I decided to write about it.


For the past 7 years, every year, I wrote a poem for him on his birthday—which I would never send. But this love was dying a slow death, and I knew that a poem wouldn’t fulfill any sort of purpose this year. I needed to close this love, and the only way I could see that happening was if I wrote a story, symbolically closing that love as I closed the book I planned to write. 


It was an experiment at first. I first called it “A First Love Story” (did anyone else gag?!), and then I fortunately changed the title to “Dripping Mascara” because I remembered a college professor of mine telling me how much she loved that title for an essay I wrote. Besides, it was the same title for the diary entry I wrote at the age of 12 as I said goodbye to Emmy for the first time. It was decided, then. On November 11 of 2014, at the stroke of midnight, I published the first four episodes of Dripping Mascara. The story cover, which I created by myself completely on Microsoft Paint (see process above), took 6 hours on a Friday night, at which time I slept at 4 am... but like everything about this story, I got nothing but joy from developing it. 


And now, we have completed 10 seasons, 132 chapters, and a collective total of 370,000 lines. I have laughed, cried, and punched pillows as I have written this story I so love to tell, and then did the same things all over again as I read all of the amazing reactions to my story. I have gotten songs (@alinaj0y) and little movies (@123camomile) that have warmed my heart. I've met an unmatched audience, and it is an honor to have your readership as I write this saga. 


This story has grown life that I never anticipated it would even in my wildest dreams. You have called yourselves Mascarettes (believe it or not, I didn’t come up with that term… it was suggested on the Q&A by a reader). You have told me to make this saga into a real book in hundreds of messages, and even a movie in dozens of others. You have helped me heal, helped me grow, and you gave birth to a confidence and motivation for writing that would never have been possible without your overwhelming support. I have made friends from all over the world, both writers and non-writers. I have heard your most intimate struggles and listened to you thank me, telling me that my story has given you hope, joy, and strength. You have always thanked me, but that doesn’t feel quite right. Because honestly, I have to sincerely thank YOU for the gift of letting me touch your heart with my story. It is such an honor and privilege for you to give me that chance, and I can’t thank you ENOUGH.

"From the light, teasing humor to the infinitely darker undertones in this story, Dripping Mascara is perhaps the most brilliant and successful Episode stories I've read... it's the first story I recommend to anybody new to Episode."  | Ana C.


“I'm a new player & I'm absolutely hooked on your story! The way you connect chapters & small fragments of information together, my jaw literally drops every single time! …You [have to] turn this story into a book someday, I've been writing for almost 20yrs & I can tell you have a gift.” | @msmedieval83


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Original "Dripping Mascara" cover sketch
Drawn over "Dripping Mascara" cover sketch
Lined "Dripping Mascara" cover sketch
White background "Dripping Mascara" cover
Final "Dripping Mascara" cover

Click on each image to see the full size of each step in the creation of the book cover for "Dripping Mascara"...

∙ The Author's Message ∙

∙ About The Story ∙

TEASER ∙ Ancient powers are waking, old enemies are descending... and a childhood crush is all Shelley needs to be up at night.


SUMMARY  Can first love survive a second chance? After having been orphaned due to a tragic murder-suicide, Shelley loses touch with her crush and childhood best friend, the sweet and gentle Matthew. What happens when she attempts to reignite a connection with her old flame—who is no longer the same boy she knew—and who does she turn to when she discovers secrets of her heritage and family that begin to threaten her very life? 


INFO  "Dripping Mascara" is a Romance/Fantasy/Drama story seen in the user stories section on the Episode Interactive app. It also has elements of comedy, horror, adventure, and mystery. Currently, "Dripping Mascara" has 76 episodes, 6 seasons completed, and has 3 upcoming seasons. It also has over 2 million reads on the app. It has won several awards in the Epsiode community and is well-regarded for being an original, unique romance story with long, suspenseful chapters after the plot picks up in Chapter 4. Each season represents an individual plot arc, like an independent season in a TV drama, but remains connected in many respects as one cohesive story. Download the Episode app on your mobile or tablet device and fall in love with this story of resilience—packed to the brim with romance, drama and a touch of magic.


PLOT Life can get messy, and it shows in Shelley's dripping mascara. Ripped away from everything she knew and loved in her comfortable childhood at the tender age of 13, she has been thoroughly displaced after tragedy meets her family. This meant losing touch with Matthew, a sensitive soul who was her only best friend, her social crutch at school, and a deep crush of hers. Five years later, the turbulence in Shelley's young life has calmed down, but she still wonders about Matthew—and she can't deny she doesn't still have feelings for him despite years of silence. Perhaps her nostalgia was borne of young trauma that caused her to latch on tightly to a living reminder of those "gilded days"... whatever it was, Shelley resolved to reintroduce herself to Matthew and see if her feelings might be reciprocated. Returning to San Jose causes her heart to swell and jump with every reminder of the life she once led, especially Matthew's sweet mother and now 8-year-old sister, Miriam. However, meeting Matthew again after years of losing touch surprises her because he has changed so much over their years apart. Although punctuated by moments of confusion on Shelley's part because of some of his actions, matters sour significantly between Shelley and Matthew because he plays with her emotions and carries different expectations of a relationship than her. Epsiodes 1-15 collectively form Season 1, "Heartbreak", which ends with a shocking family tragedy and thrusts Shelley into a world she had no idea existed, much less one that she was central to...

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