The Images of Writing – Part II

This time I come not just with maps, but with character concepts too! (I have maps too, of course, but if you’ve been keeping up with my Tumblr you’ll see that they’re a little different.)

Tale

I’m so happy with how the ref for Belle went. I know that I want Terian to have a Hungarian/Romani culture (which means some name changes for Belle and the kingdom) so I wanted to reflect that in her clothing. It’s brightly colored with designs that are reminiscent of calico. (Note to self- Look up the history of calico.)

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And here is a promised map! In case you were thinking, “Geeze. Her mapmaking skills are way better than in that last image post,” put yourself at ease. I didn’t art this myself. I used an amazing tool called Inkarnate. It’s abilities are rather stunning, although there are a few suggestions that I made.

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Beast

These two are the lovely Tilverune and Kryiol. (As you can tell, I only have a female base right now. Male characters are put on hold.)

Tilverune has a lot of Inuit influence, both in her culture and fashion. Which is really, really fun.

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Kryiol, on the other hand, is a mutt. A little Romani, a little Grecian, a little Super-Futuristic. Inspiration for Kryiol came almost entirely from my friend TRG.

 

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And finally, a map for KISA! This one is a lot more basic, as I was getting frustrated with how large the mountains and trees were. (You can only scale it down so far, which is one of my software suggestions.) So I stuck to icons and rivers, although I now wish that I had kept the land a parchment color rather than showing the ice/greenery/desert. But oh well.

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(Please take time to notice the beautiful little Skelside and dragon off to the right, folks.)

So there’s my images of art update! I’m currently working on concept art for Ella of Tale (Polynesian/Samoan influence), and will get to work on Snow’s armor as soon as I’ve gone over Slavic fashion with TRG! You can expect a research post pretty soon about what I’ve been finding out, because it’s actually pretty cool.

Speaking of expecting things, this is as good a time as any to relay my Devious Plan™. I’ll be posting Book Blab reviews on Fridays/Saturdays, and anything else comes out on Tuesdays/Wednesdays. In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t give myself leeway like that, but we’ll see how the scheduling works itself out.

 

If you enjoy my writing, please hit the follow button or fill in your email for updates. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, or you can email me at j.a.apricity@gmail.com. Thank you for reading! 

 

 

 

A Few Thoughts on Typewriters

A Few Thoughts on Typewriters

Most authors adore typewriters.

Even if it’s just a cool aesthetic, typewriters are the trademark of our work. They’re hipster, they’re trendy, they scream “I’m cool, I swear!”

They’re also a pain in my cuticles.

I was blessed with a typewriter of my very own a year ago. It’s a 1960 portable mint-green Swiss Hermes Rocket. It’s small and doesn’t weigh a ton, and is banged up enough that not all of it closes up properly, which I didn’t mind in the least. Which is good, since closing it all up would just mean yanking it all apart again in order to untangle my ribbon.

Which isn’t the last of my woes.

Sometimes, when I start a new line, it will ride up and continue typing while caught halfway through the old line and the new. It has a tendency to crumple one sheet of paper after the other, and even the ones that come out unspoilt are usually crooked. My margins rarely work, and my fingers usually slip between the keys and are torn to shreds when I instinctively yank the precious tools-of-my-trade back up to safety.

Oh how I unconditionally love my little mint-green monster.

For all the drawbacks as compared to a keyboard or pencil and paper, I’ve completely become a typewriter snob. I can’t think properly on other machines now. Queen has been entirely written on my Hermes Rocket, and the majority of Beast before it. And both Curse and The Highwayman will follow suit.

Writing’s a fickle thing. Inspiration is hard to come by, so most successful authors live by the rule “Butt in chair.” But there’s no denying that it’s easier when one is inspired. So on with the treacherous ribbons, traiterous mechanics, and carnivorous keys. There’s a reason most authors adore typewriters.

The Best of KISA

The Best of KISA

So I’ve been writing Knights in Shining Armor as responses to weekly writing prompts from Irene on The Inklings. This chapter has gotten the best response by far, and doesn’t require much knowledge of the world to understand, so I’m posting it here. Enjoy!

 

Aalina guided her horse through the woods, leaving the dark castle behind her. It was a terrible night to try and leave secretly; her horse’s white fur and her white cloak reflected the full moon brilliantly, making them far too visible. But it was tonight or no night, Aalina knew.

The horse–Veritas–gave a snort, tossing his head slightly.

“Hush,” Aalina scolded him. She felt like a weathered old grandmother. She looked like one too, even though her face showed her to be no more than five and twenty. But her body had a weary stance beneath it’s armor, and her eyes held a coldness that came with seeing far too much of life. Where her hair lacked greyness, her worldview more than made up for it.

And it was little wonder why. Though her body had a tired stance, there was a grace to her movements. It was the movement of a warrior, trained and seasoned.

The grim woman steered her stallion between trees, making her way to the main trade route between Bannantyne and King Reinhold’s kingdom. She was finally headed home, after this mess of a diplomatic trip.

Home.

Home was where a warm drink and bed awaited her. Home was where she wasn’t guarding the backside of an entire kingdom from the scathing Bannantyne’s. Home was where Reinhold was.

Yet, ironically, she never felt more out of place than when she was near him.

Aalina came upon the trade route. It was empty, the chill of winter not quite receded. She was the only person visible, a pale knight dressed in the ethereal light of the moon. A sword hung by her side, and a long cloak flowed over her horse’s flanks. Her dark hair spilled out of the helmet, her dark eyes staring straight ahead. Each clop of a horse’s hoof brought her closer to home.

Yes, this trip had been a disaster. Reinhold had sent Aalina in a final, desperate attempt to make peace between the two kingdoms. But Reinhold’s stance on magic was too relaxed for Bannantyne. Aalina had been as humble as possible, playing down their army’s strength and their importance in the world, but it had been of no avail. Reinhold was an immanent threat in their mind. A single knight could not change that view.

The journey home stretched out for several days. Aalina felt she was getting too old for it all. Perhaps her body hadn’t aged since the deal, but Aalina thought that perhaps the cold hurt old bones not for the aged structure, but for the aged soul.

And Aalina’s soul was ancient.

The trade route narrowed as she neared Reinhold’s castle, the usual paths taken by merchants splitting off towards large cities and not solitary fortresses. Soon, Veritas was walking through untended woods, muzzle straying from time to time towards a tempting clump of greenery.

But at one point, Aalina pulled Veritas to a stop. She turned her head ever so slightly, ear catching a noise on the wind.

Talking. Not too unusual, perhaps; this part of the forest was close to the castle. But one voice was very familiar. And the other not at all.

Aalina dismounted swiftly and unsheathed her sword, stalking towards the noise.

It was Princess Forestyne, speaking with a hooded man. Between the princess’ fingers danced a purple light, streaming like ribbons from hand to hand.

A thousand thoughts ran through Aalina’s head at one. The Bannantyne Kingdom would attack us for having a magical royal. Why is Forestyne not on the castle grounds? Who is the hooded man? 

They all coalesced into a single thought.

Stop this. 

Aalina stepped into the clearing, sword pointed at the hooded man. He was magical, no doubt of that. Stopping him would be tricky, if he chose to put up a fight.

“Step away from the princess,” Aalina said, voice gruff.

Forestyne reacted behind her, gasping or screaming or somesuch thing. The girl could never react to a thing usefully.

The hooded man stepped back, holding his hands out.

“I mean the princess no harm,” he said.

“Leave.”

“I only wished to-”

Leave, and I will discuss this with the king,” Aalina growled.

The man looked past the knight towards the princess, then vanished.

Aalina turned and wrapped an arm around the princess’ too-tiny waist and slung her up onto Veritas, her sword still in one hand. Aalina mounted in front of the girl, then urged the horse into a canter.

“Why did you do that?” Forestyne demanded when she got her voice back.

“I should be asking that question of you,” Aalina responded. “But I will leave it to your brother to pose.” She ducked a branch.

“Don’t tell Rei-” Forestyne began before the tree branch caught her mid-sentence.

Aalina galloped across the castle grounds before bursting through the main doors. Her horse’s hooves clattered with a ferocious noise on the flagstones before coming to a stop in front of the throne, where Reinhold sat.

Reinhold raised a single eyebrow up past the rim of his crown.

“Knight Aalina? Forestyne?”

Forestyne dismounted and left the room, purple skirts swishing. Aalina looked down at the king.

“I’m afraid I bring a lot of bad news,” she said.