ART: Opal the Sage

Opulence Windlore. When this dragon clansman showed up for Bathed in Moonlight, it must have been a “confluence of destinies,” because he charmed his way into all my future plans for the Amaranthine Saga (and quite possibly a future Interlude). A song-writer and storyteller of some fame, he’s long-winded, high-handed, self-important, and often smug … yet somehow manages to be (as Sinder would put it) one of the good guys. Opal is due to recur in Bk7. ::twinkle::

. . .

Where are my manners?” Seyroo beckoned him closer. “Char, this good dragon is Opulence Windlore, widely known as Opal the Sage, a tale-bringer and lore-singer in high demand throughout the Widelands.”
“Charmed,” said the dragon, whose smile was winsome and wily.

Bathed in Moonlight
(Songs of the Amaranthine, #7)

Opal the Sage | Art by FoxOfTwilight

. . .

Oooh. I happen to have a clip from Bathed in Moonlight, in which Opal presents Char with a choice:

ART: Warm Enough?

January’s Art Card. One of my “resolutions” for the new year involves my Patreon. I send out monthly mailings to thank supporters. In the past, I’d choose note cards or stationary that suited my mood for the month. This year, with my mailing list growing steadily, I’ve made the commitment to have cards printed every month. They’ll feature story-related art, book covers, etc. And most will incorporate book quotes or (like this month) an original story snippet.

For January, I wanted something in-character and cozy, so this month’s art card/story will feature two of the Five, longtime friends Harmonious Starmark & Lapis Mossberne. Teaser here. The full illustration is under the cut, so click for more! ::twinkle::

::twinkle::

ART: Consort Call

Puppies vs. Kitties. I held a poll over on Patreon, then again on Twitter, offering readers the chance to decide which they wanted in time for Christmas. In both places, kitties won the day, and so I bring you another illustration of cast members from Bk6. On the off chance that those here haven’t yet found the time to indulge in Bk6, I’ll keep the full illustration under a cut.

. . .

::twinkle::

ART: Brotherhood

Found Family. Argent Mettlebright has become an advocate for the rights of all crossers, offering them a safe haven at Stately House. But dragon crossers command a special place in his regard, largely thanks to Kyrie.

. . .

Every child of the Rogue, no matter how wretched the circumstances of their begetting, was a precious life. Yet they’d been born bereft. Orphaned. Unwanted. Exploited.
Tsumiko wanted them. And now that Kyrie knew, he was urgently, tenaciously insistent. The boy could not, would not leave them be. They were his kindred. No, Kyrie counted them even dearer. He wanted Argent to find his brothers and sisters. And to bring them home.

Pimiko and the Uncharted Island

. . .

Keeping the full illustration under wraps, since I know some of you haven’t been able to finish Bk6 … and I do have an unholy dread of spoilers. But I did want to announce that this art (and an original story snippet) will be featured on December’s Quarterly Art Card for my patrons. More about my Patreon on this page >>

. . .

here there be dragons (and spoilers)

ART: The Doctor Will See You Now

Trulore Clinic. We’re a month past the release of Pimiko and the Uncharted Island, so I’m going to begin sharing some of the art FoxOfTwilight created for the book. To be extra-safe (so as not to spoiler those of you who haven’t been able to read), I’ll keep the full art under a cut.

. . .

“There is a dragon.”
“I knew it!” Boon pounded against the barrier, dragging his claws over its unrelenting surface. “I knew I was close.”
“Yes, yes, yes. Argent wants them, too.” Inti wearily chanted, “Dragon, dragon, dragons.”

Pimiko and the Uncharted Island

here there be dragons (and spoilers)

ART: Bloom for You

Hajime and Naoki. We first meet this duo in Flattered by Flowers (Songs of the Amaranthine, #8). Naoki is a bookseller in the city of Keishi, and he befriended Junpei, who became a regular at his shop. Only after a bit of tanuki mischief did Junpei realize that Naoki wasn’t alone.

“Tell me what you see,” Naoki prompted, his expression guarded.
Meeting a red-eyed gaze, Junpei offered a respectful nod. “I see another man with long, black hair and a lavish crown of red flowers. You are similar to Kusunoki, but Matsu’s friend has more height and girth and wears hakama.”
With a heavy sigh, Naoki said, “Junpei, meet my longtime companion, Hajime.”

Flattered by Flowers
Songs of the Amaranthine, #8

Bloom for You | art by FoxOfTwilight

November’s Monthly Mailing. Qualifying patrons will be receiving “Bloom for You” art cards this month. They’re large & lovely (4×9″). If you’d like to get in on mailings like this, consider supporting my storytelling over there. I’ll do my best to spoil you. ::twinkle::

forthright on Patreon >>

ART: Seafaring

Release Eve. Tomorrow is release day for Pimiko and the Uncharted Island (Amaranthine Saga, #6), but since the digital edition will no-doubt begin showing up on e-readers this evening (in my timezone), I’m kicking off the festivities early with new art!

Seafaring | art by FoxOfTwilight

Boonmar-fen first shows up in Bk2. He’s one of Adoona-soh Elderbough’s boys. Boon has his mom’s eyes, but his hair/fur color comes from his dad (Ninook-dex hails from the Trebellaire pack). Boon and Merit Starmark (Harmonious’s eldest son) go way back. They’re childhood friends. And of course, Boon is leader of the elite taskforce to which Juuyu, Sinder, Moon, Colt, and Hallow belong. This wolf’s a real casual guy. Easygoing in a way that doesn’t fool Tenma for a second:

. . .

For the first time, Tenma could appreciate the fact that for all their impressive physique, Hanoo, Yoota, and Ploom were adolescents. Adult wolves carried more muscle, and this one radiated a more primal quality of wildness. Maybe because the Nightspangles were city boys, and this wolf had none of their ability to blend in.
The wolf’s tail swayed the way Hanoo’s did when pleased, which Tenma took for a good sign. He touched palms with the wolf, but words failed him.
Eloquence smoothly handled things. “Boon, this is my classmate from New Saga, Tenma Subaru. Tenma, this is Boonmar-fen Elderbough, a formidable tracker and a friend of our clan.”
“M-may I ask about your name?”
“Sure, kid. That’s real nice and proper of you. And I don’t mind going through the formalities if Merit don’t.”
“Doesn’t,” sighed Merit. “Who taught you Japanese?”
The wolf reeled vaguely with his hands. “Island enclave. South Pacific. I’ll admit he was sketchy, but it was all he had to trade.”
“You traded language lessons for …?” prompted Quen.
Boon crouched, arms outspread. “More like surfing lessons, but he liked to talk, so I picked things up pretty quick.”
Quen huffed. “So you traded surfing lessons for …?”
“Oooh, you know how it is.” Boon waved off the question. “The less said about some things, the better.”

Kimiko and the Accidental Proposal
Amaranthine Saga, #2

. . .

::twinkle::

ART: Blue Stones, Black Fur

Bathed in Moonlight. I know there’s other stuff also going on in the seventh story in the Songs of the Amaranthine collection, but Char and Rinloo-dex are two of my favorite people. Have you read their story? If not, do! Bathed in Moonlight is on the must-read list before you dip into Pimiko and the Uncharted Island, which releases in less than a week!

Blue Stones, Black Fur | art by FoxOfTwilight

. . .

Bolder now, Char reached down and set the tip of one finger upon brown skin.
Warm.
There was a sudden clamor of impressions—dark and wild and strange. Snatching back his hand, Char scowled at the wolf for being so wolvish. He still didn’t see the appeal. But then … a smooth blue stone caught his eye. And another. And more! They were the most wonderful color and polished to a treat. They caught the shine of his happiness, which doubled until the wolf was bathed in moonlight.

Bathed in Moonlight
Songs of the Amaranthine, #7

A closer crop of one curious moonbeam.

::twinkle::

ART: Marvelous Actors

5th Inktober = 4th Anniversary of Jacques-tober. (Okay, maybe I’m trying too hard to shoehorn a 4 into the festivities.) Are you ready for a whole month of daily updates for Lord Mettlebright’s Man? It’s a little early to begin (Jacques never has been much of a morning person), but Cat and Canary brought coffee and are quite willing to bolster their good friend in any way. (Ah, cats.)

Marvelous Actors | art by FoxOfTwilight

For those who may need a refresher, Cat & Canary (or more properly Canarian & Catalan Evernhold) are two of Deece’s “sexy older brothers.” Jacques met them back in Chapter 203: “Charmed, I’m Sure” of Lord Mettlebright’s Man. But of course, YOU first met them in Governed by Whimsy (Songs of the Amaranthine, #4), since they’re the founders of the acting troupe to which Ambrose belonged. If you’ve been reading ALL the things and paying attention to details, you’ll know that in the current LMM/SAGA timeline, Canarian still works closely with his uncle, Hisoka Twineshaft … and that he and Cat are quite cozy with Jacques. Sometimes. (Ah, cats.)

Note: There’s a whole chart to sort out Himeko Evernhold’s household, but here’s the short version:

::twinkle::

ART: Samesies

Countdown. We’re one month away from the release of Pimiko and the Uncharted Island, so I’m doing a character reveal. Here’s a teaser. Full illustration is under a cut in case you DON’T want to know anything more before you get to read the book. ::twinkle::

Pim Moonprowl, the titular character for Book 6, is an American actress. But you knew that already. Or did you? Pim has been around for a while. In fact, she was first mentioned in Bk3: 

A commercial was running for some new drama in the fall line-up. The old man kept it muted, but his gaze never left the screen. He was long and lean like the other Armstrongs she knew, but his hair was pure white, and his blue eyes were partially obscured by reading glasses.
“You see that?” he asked.
She shook her head in confusion, then realized he wasn’t looking. “No, sir?”
He pointed with the remote. “Pim Moonprowl. First openly Amaranthine actress on primetime. Get this … she plays a wolf.”
Melissa stared blankly at the clip. The actress was clearly meant to be part of a team of investigators. A tracker with bare feet and baubles at her throat and ankles, clad in a form-fitting corset and a furry miniskirt the same color as her tail.
“Ever seen the like?” he demanded.
“She’s very beautiful,” Melissa managed as she watched that tail flick and curl.
The old man gave her a disappointed look, then harrumphed. “She’s very feline.”
Uncle Abel asked, “Does it really matter? Rivven all look the same to me.”
“Next time you ask for a puppy, you’re getting a kitten,” groused the senior Mr. Reaverson.

Tamiko and the Two Janitors
Amaranthine Saga, #3

::twinkle::

ART: Mani-Pedi

The Adorning of Dragons. Stately House has become a peaceful retreat for those Argent trusts and respects. Lord Mossberne is one of the fortunate few, and he has long-since made himself at home.

“Mani-Pedi” | art by FoxOfTwilight

Although it’s only been hints here and there, it’s clear that those who call Stately House home love Lapis. He’s there as often as he can be. Throughout Book 4, Kyrie recalls Lapis often and fondly, since the dragon lord has been mentoring him almost since birth. Lilya is similarly attached.

Lilya had always considered Lapis part of her family. His face had been bending into view since her cradle days, because he doted on Kyrie. But Lapis was too kind to part her from the brother she adored. He had two arms, and so he would carry them both away. Some of her earliest memories involved midnight blue hair, trilling lullabies, and reaching for sparkling baubles that seemed to be singing.
Lapis came to Stately House more than any of the other members of the Amaranthine Council, and she was sure that in his heart, their home was his home.

Mikoto and the Reaver Village (Amaranthine Saga, #4)

Isla Ward is similarly close to Lapis, though their relationship has taken a turn toward the professional. Since she’s Hisoka-sensei’s apprentice and a diplomat in her own right, she works closely with everyone on the Amaranthine Council. But Lapis is practically family. Indeed, in Bk4, Lilya refers to him as “Uncle Lapis.”

::twinkle::

ART: Dressage

Jacques & Nonny. While Nonny does show up briefly in the main books of the Amaranthine Saga, you only really get to know the goat-crosser if you read Lord Mettlebright’s Man. He first appears in Ch54: “Prat” and goes on to become Jacques’ apprentice. Fun Fact: for those not in the know, in the audio editions, Travis Baldree gives Nonny a Cockney accent.

“Dressage” | art by FoxOfTwilight

. . .

Jacques took delivery of a parcel from Uppington and immediately sought out Nonny. “My years in dressage left me with more than high boots and a riding crop!”

Lord Mettlebright’s Man, Ch315: “Mentoring Style”

. . .

Zooming in, because Fox gave Jacques some very special badges:

::twinkle::

ART: Such a Gentleman

Jonnet. (Or Soques). I recently hosted a poll over on my Patreon, asking folks to weigh in on “Jacques x ???” People do tend to ship him variously, and I may have a small pile of new art pending that features Stately House’s butler/favorite uncle + various other cast members. Jacques and Sonnet won by a landslide, and the timing for this piece couldn’t be better. ::twinkle::

“Such a Gentleman” | art by FoxOfTwilight

. . .

Who would you vote to see with our Mr. Smythe?
(He has so many good friends!)