ART: Unbraided

Quen & Kimi. Once I made the executive decision to leave Eloquence’s hair unbraided for this near-kiss, it became increasingly obvious that with his hair loose around his shoulders, Quen looks even more like his father. They’re both charmers in their own way. ::twinkle::

Unbraided” | art by FoxOfTwilight

ART: My Stash

Squirreled Away. So many of you ship this. Can’t really blame you. All I’ll say is … these guys certainly need each other. Behold, Jiro “Joe” Reaverson and Alder “Kip” Woodacre from Tamiko and the Two Janitors (Amaranthine Saga, #3).

“My Stash” | art by FoxOfTwilight

… you need to understand that the sigilcraft is mine. They’ll carry my … my signature. And according to the customs of my clan, that makes you mine.”
“So it’s a bond?”
“Sort of.” He really wished a better idea would occur to him. “It does define a new relationship.”
“Umm … in what sense would I be yours?”
“My personal stash.” Kip couldn’t quite meet Jiro’s worried gaze as he added, “My food.”


::twinkle::

ART: Naproom

Michael and the Crossers. Thank you to everyone who participated in the recent poll over on Patreon. Fully half of you (51% to be exact) asked to see our “halfers” next. Most of Stately House’s crossers are known by name thanks to Lord Mettlebright’s Man. Of all of my options, I chose Nonny, Gilen, and Jarrah in large part because they’ve had the most mentions & screentime. Jacques mentions Jarrah in Bk3: Tamiko and the Two Janitors, trying to pawn off the little hellion on Kip, and all three of these boys had their moment in Cross and Crosser (that IY x Amaranthine Saga crossover I wrote for my fanniversary last September), which I’ve excerpted below.

Naproom | art by FoxOfTwilight


Excerpted from Cross and Crosser:

::twinkle::

ART: Nestle

Happy Valentine’s Day

• • •

Nestle | Art by FoxOfTwilight

Quarterly Art Card. This is the artwork that’s featured on the next quarterly art card, which is one of the perks of patronage, starting at the Twinkle tier. “Nestle” will be mailed out to qualifying patrons in time for the vernal equinox (March 20), which is undoubtedly a notable day in Amaranthine culture. If you want a bit of Tsugent in your mailbox to mark the start of spring, you can find out more about my Patreon over here >>

ART: Hold Him Down

The Starmarks at Home. As I mentioned on this previous post, I’ve begun accumulating pajama pics. I suppose I like the relaxed, cozy ambiance … and the sense of catching a glimpse behind the scenes, where people are at their truest.

“Hold Him Down” | art by FoxOfTwilight

Ever’s grown a lot. One of these days, we’ll have to put him and Kyrie together in one pic so you can see the size difference. Canines (other than Quen) are tall & strapping, but Kyrie’s rather short & slight of frame. Tough to say which has the advantage, though. Everyone has their own strengths (and challenges).

ART: Silver Bells

Happy Dichotomy Day! One thing people keep asking me for is MOAR moments with Argent & Tsumiko. While I can’t deliver those in books set away from Stately House, I can treat you in other ways. Like so…

“Silver Bells” | art by FoxOfTwilight

For the record, 1) The jingle jammies were totally a gift from Lapis, and 2) Fox and I seem to have kicked off a whole series of cozy pajama pics. Expect more relaxed, at-home moments with more members of the cast in the near future! ::twinkle::

Time Skip & Timeline

Lord Mettlebright’s Man has hit a time skip. We left off in the summer after the end of Bk1, and we’re picking up again in the days before Bk2. So … roughly 2 1/2 years have passed. (Nngh. Maths.) SO! I’m using this opportunity to introduce the timeline terminology developed by the Amaranthine Council. It’s become the international standard for relative dates (similar to the usage of A.D. and B.C. by human historians) with the Emergence as its pivot. Both systems are in use, with the Integrated Dating System having secondary importance. It’s primarily used whenever people want to reckon time in direct relation to the Emergence.

  • Prelude – before the Emergence, noted as PR. (eg. Dragged through Hedgerows is set in PR. 5.)
  • New Saga – after the Emergence, noted as N.S. (eg. Tamiko and the Two Janitors is set in 5 N.S.)

• • •

To help anchor Lord Mettlebright’s Man in the new timeline, let’s run through a few events.

::twinkle::

ART: Barefoot Boys

Safe Place. Argent allows his sons to attend the summer courses at Wardenclave, which is arguably one of the safest places on earth. Which allows Kyrie to meet Mikoto, newly appointed headman of this historic village. “It is my honor to welcome you on behalf of Wardenclave. May the coming season find you stronger for your efforts and richer for the bonds we will share.”

“Barefoot Boys” | art by FoxOfTwilight

• • •

Sitting on the edge of the mattress, Mikoto was nearly the same height as the boy, who was compelling at close range. His fingers twitched, but he recalled himself and lowered his gaze.

“Curiosity can be a compliment.” Kyrie carefully picked up Mikoto’s hand and brought it to his face. “Some people need to touch me to be sure I am real.”

“They do?”

The boy smiled. “Touch is part of familiarization. And I find it reassuring.”

Mikoto’s fingertips grazed freckled scales. “You do?”

“I do. Because you are neither afraid of nor disgusted by me.”

What a thing to suggest.

“Not everyone finds the marks of my heritage beautiful.”

That remark was even more telling than the last.

The boy could see right through him. Had weighed Mikoto in a balance and somehow found him worthy. But Kyrie was also baring something vulnerable. People feared this gentle child? Flinched away or thought him ugly? Mikoto felt a surge of indignation, of protectiveness.

Kyrie shuffled closer. “We are becoming friends …?”

“We are friends.” Mikoto pulled him into an embrace. “And not simply because you are beautiful.”

Mikoto and the Reaver Village
Amaranthine Saga, #4

Quarterly Art Card

“Heart of a Dog.” As many of you probably already know, I have a Patreon account. (Details about why are on this page.) One of the incentives I provide as a thank you to my supporters is a Quarterly Art Card, and I’ve just revealed December’s. Since Harmonious Starmark’s story has become a Christmas Eve tradition all over the world (in the Amaranthine universe), I thought “Heart of a Dog” (art by FoxOfTwilight) would be Most Appropriate.

These are 5×7″ cards. You can kind of see the shimmer. I had them printed with a pearlized finish. (Very pretteh!) To get in on the offer, become a patron at the Twinkle tier ($4/month) or higher. This is a limited edition offer, and quantities are limited, too. Don’t dawdle.

forthright on Patreon >>

Every Word Matters

Doggish Naming Sense. The Amaranthine dog clans have a unique naming sense, which I sort of based on those quirky virtue names favored by early American colonists. Glint Starmark is the one who actually began the tradition by setting aside his wolvish birth name (Loor-ket), choosing meaningful names for his Kith children (like Path, Pace, and Trio), and giving his bondmate a doggish name (Radiance).

Their firstborn son Harmonious continued the tradition. His five sons are named Merit, Prospect, Valor, Eloquence, and Ever.

Other wolves who “married into” the dog clans follow the established custom by taking a new name. A good example would be Sentinel Skybellow (head of security at New Saga High School), who left the packs when he took Harmonious Starmark’s daughter Rampant as his bondmate.

ART: Two Halves

Kith Partner. I’m always so careful about spoilers, especially right after a new book releases. Not everyone has time to drop everything and read immediately. At the same time, maybe a bit of art will give folks a reason to read! ::twinkle:: This piece features partners Timur and Fend. One is the son of Michael and Sansa. The other is one of Minx’s cubs. (I’m pretty sure you can tell which is which.)

“Two Halves” | art by FoxOfTwilight

Timur whispered, “Between you and me, Fend is the brains of the operation.”

“You admit your Kith is smarter than you?” He was liking this reaver more by the minute.

“Part of why we’re such a good team.”

Sinder’s curiosity piqued. “How do you communicate?” 

Timur tapped his nose. “Whatever do you mean? Kith are intelligent, loyal, and make good pets. Everyone knows that.”

Mikoto and the Reaver Village

. . .

Thank you to everyone who has already taken the time to read, rate, recommend, and (especially) review Mikoto and the Reaver Village. Authors like me rely on readers like you (and the algorithms you sway).

Every Name a Story

Kimiko and the Accidental Proposal. There are three wolves in Class 3-C at New Saga High School, all from the Nightspangle pack in America. They’re used to mingling with humans, having grown up in an urban enclave, but they’re less familiar with the language and culture of Japan. Even so, Hanoo’s leadership qualities shine through.

• • •

Say, did you catch this mention back in Bk2?

Lapis arched his brows. “You require taming, so I am throwing you to the wolves. They clearly understand the process.”

Hanoo said, “We do. It was our job back home. Although it’s been a few years since we had to deal with a strong aversion.”

“Not since Jiminy.” Yoota rolled his eyes. “What a handful he was.”

Kimiko and the Accidental Proposal

ART: Summer Friends

“May the coming season find you richer for the bonds we will share.” Mikoto’s basically grown up at a reaver summer camp, so he’s used to friends who come and go. I keep calling this a buddy!pic for a buddy!fic, because I ship many ships that aren’t romantic in nature: friendship, kinship, mentorship, partnership. ::twinkle::

“Summer Friends” | art by FoxOfTwilight

They caught up to Timur in the kitchen of a modest house. He had his arm around the shoulders of someone who looked like a young samurai who’d mislaid his swords. Wavy black hair swept back from a broad face with strong cheekbones and a stronger jaw, but his quiet demeanor failed to intimidate.

“This is my new sparring partner, Mikoto,” said Timur.

By the look on the young man’s face, this was news. And good news, at that.

“He’s headman of Wardenclave, so mind your manners.”

Not that Timur was showing even a smidge of respect. And Ginkgo judged that Mikoto appreciated the oversight.

Mikoto and the Reaver Village

• • •

Every Word Matters

I have fielded many questions from readers who didn’t meet me in fandom first. Did my best to answer:

Why did you label Book 1 “the first miko”?
Are all of the main characters in your series shrine priestesses? No. While this certainly hints at the legacy of Japanese culture that helped inspire my fandom storylines, miko refers to the main characters’ first names. Book One is about Tsumiko. In Book Two, I’ll introduce Kimiko. Book Three’s story belongs to a lady named Tamiko… and so on. [From a blog comment from 2018, in which I teasered future titles. ::twinkle::]

Lynne asked…
For those of us not familiar with Japanese culture, would you please explain “Miko” and the significance of the prefixes? Is it a two-part name, like Mary Sue, Mary Ann, Mary Margaret? Or something else? Thank you ~

::twinkle::