Happy Father’s Day. I’ve been saving up an illustration of Timur’s smol family, and this is the perfect day to unveil it. I am placing it under a cut, though, since it’s a spoiler for the end of Mikoto and the Reaver Village (Amaranthine Saga, #4). I consider it a companion piece (of sorts) to “Two Halves.”::twinkle::
Taking Pride. It’s always nice when readers care about a character I’m fond of. Jacques Smythe of the Uppington Smythes has come a long way since Bk1. (And he has a long way to go, too! ::eyebrow waggle::)
June | art by FoxOfTwilight
Little Ladies. Back when I posted “Naproom,” art that features Michael reading bedtime stories to Lilya & a bunch of boys, someone asked if there were no female crossers at Stately House. There are! Fox and I had already been plotting a companion piece of sorts, with Ginkgo in the garden.
“Garden Girls” | art by FoxOfTwilight
. . .
From left to right: Be’el-garva, Ginkgo, Tawny, Mei, and Kyrie. Plus assorted kittens and Ephemera. (Who else has begun playing spot-the-nippet in Fox’s art?) Yes, Tawny is part lynx. And Mei’s Amaranthine parent is from one of the cozy clans. A chipmunk!
Tawny’s arrival at Stately House can be found in Lord Mettlebright’s Man, Ch55:
Argent appeared suddenly, as if he’d been leaning against the door this whole time. He relieved Adoona-soh of a tawny-tailed toddler who hissed and bared tiny fangs. “Desist,” he chided.
Like that would help.
She went limp.
Most of the time, the girls are mentioned alongside the boys, like in LMM, Ch83:
Gilen with his banded tail.
Tawny, the little feline with a big hiss.
Raife of the unfortunate hair.
Mori, whose eyes were far too old.
Mei, who clung to Mori and called him brother.
But where had Nonny gone?
But they’re sometimes singled out for special attention, like in LMM, Ch155:
Sansa and Isla paddled in the shallows, giving Annika and Mei a swimming lesson. How they’d pried Mei from Mori’s side was a mystery. Tsumiko sat close enough to the water that waves swished around her and a skittish Tawny. Poor kitten.
And naturally, when Kyrie & Lilya are reminiscing about home in Bk4, its their foster siblings they miss:
She could almost see Gilen’s banded tail disappearing high above, with Tawny in close pursuit. And hear Mori’s stern voice reminding everyone to stay with their buddy. Right now, she even missed Nonny, who was a terror and a tease with everyone except Uncle Jackie.
Kyrie stopped inspecting a cluster of mushrooms growing up the side of a tree like stairsteps to say, “Jarrah would call for a climbing contest.”
So true. She said, “Finnick would have lost his shoes by now.”
“Disa would beg to be carried.”
“And Raife would give in first.” Lilya tightened her grip. “I wish we could have brought everyone.”
With a wistful smile, Kyrie said, “We miss them because we love them. They are a part of us. Our family.”
Our little cobra-crosser is Be’el-garva, who also received a mention in Bk4. (She hasn’t yet arrived at Stately House in the current timeline of LMM.)
Mother asked him to be gentle and kind and patient. Give newcomers a chance to see past the red eyes and horns and scales, to see how much his other denmates liked and trusted him. And mother was wise, because that’s how it always worked out. Even the worst crybaby—which was Be’el-garva, a little half-cobra—would trail after Kyrie, wanting to hold hands.
Look forward to daily chapters of Lord Mettlebright’s Man in June. (It’s become a Pride Month tradition.)
Available Everywhere (Finally). Since it looks like Captured on Film has turned up in virtual storefronts internationally, I can finally share some quotes, art, and snapshots. Let’s begin with the brothers themselves! ::twinkle::
Dare Together | art by FoxOfTwilight
His brother ran a hand over a dark blond beard. “Hear me out.”
Okay, this was already bringing back bad memories. “No.”
“I came to invite you.”
“Remember how Dad would take us camping?”
Caleb held up a hand. “Invite Dad. He’d be thrilled.”
Josheb’s eyes narrowed. “I’m making this official. I dare you, Caleb Dare.”
“Can, too. Just did.” From his doubly superior height, Josheb smirked. “Live up to the name, or live down the shame. You know what’s riding on this.”
As one, they both looked to Nessie, whose tail thumped the floor.
“I have two fathers.” In the aftermath of the accidental proposal, I’m sure Quen would have liked Uncle Laud’s opinion on the matter. After all, Laud practically raised him. Quick Reminder: Laud Starmark is one of Harmonious Starmark’s younger brothers. As you can see, Laud strongly resembles his mother (Radiance), having inherited the Ambervelte pack’s distinctive coloring.
Uncle Laud | art by FoxOfTwilight
. . .
Wolfs has tails!” exclaimed Ever, his own a blur. “But dogs is best.”
Tenma asked, “Are you a dog?”
It was exactly the right thing to ask. “Yeth! Like Da. Him’s mine.”
Lapis interjected, “What of poor Eloquence?”
“Yeth.” Ever belatedly acknowledged the dragon a wiggle-fingered wave and patiently explained, “Him’s mine, too. My bruvver.”
“And the silent lout over there?” inquired Lapis.
“Rise. Him’s mine, too.” In a loud whisper, Ever explained to Tenma, “Him’s Kiff.”
The dragon lord chuckled. “I was referring to the one with no ready excuse for his reticence.” At Ever’s obvious confusion, Lapis offered a broad hint. “The one with white hair.”
“Uncle!” With that, Ever slid from Tenma’s lap and trotted across to Laud, who sat on the floor beside the door.
Eloquence explained, “Laud Starmark raised me and remains my mentor. My den is his den.” He tried to think of a way to explain their relationship so a human could understand. “I have two fathers.”
Kimiko and the Accidental Proposal
. . .
Can we just take a moment to appreciate Quen’s training hair?
REMINDER: I have a (novel-length) serial story planned called Kimiko and the Cycle of Moons. Once I reach my community goal of 400 patrons, I’ll begin posting exclusive chapters. “Loosely based on the old Amaranthine tale, ‘The Wolf and the Moon Maiden,’ this serial will involve three sisters, twelve pledges, and the long-awaited stirring of a sleeping landmark.” If you’re looking forward to more Quen & Kimi, join the ranks. We’re currently over 1/4 of the way to that goal. forthright on Patreon >>
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
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.”
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::
Long Sleep. Amaranthine don’t need sleep often, but when they “go deep,” it’s often for days. Of all those you’ve met, Hisoka-sensei may have the most difficult time catching enough rest. His many obligations tend to infringe upon a normal sleep pattern. But Argent (ever the strategist) has found an effective counter. While Hisoka cannot indulge every month (and still pushes his limits), he’s found a safe haven in Jacques Smythe.
Catnap | art by FoxOfTwilightclose crop
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 >>
Two Sides. Last week, I teasered this piece of art over on Patreon with a close crop. (I always do. Peeks are a perk of patronage.) Seems especially appropriate that I post this piece today, since Sonnet steps seamlessly (dare I suggest fluidly) into a new role for his family in Hemmed in Silver.
• • •
When Pennythwaite called them for dinner, he sounded strange. Strained.
Concerned, Wyn hurried to the kitchen, only to draw up short. Triggs showed up a moment later and with a surprised grunt, backed into the corner. Pennythwaite was clearly holding himself in check, a sure sign he was thoroughly flustered.
Beck sauntered in and swore. “Sonnet, what are you doing?”
“Getting ready for our children.”
Gesturing widely, Beck squawked, “You’re in a dress!”
“Well, I was thinking.” Sonnet calmly slid a platter and a covered dish onto the table. “They’re children. They’ll need mothering.”
Hemmed in Silver
Songs of the Amaranthine, #5
• • •
Sonnet | art by FoxOfTwilight
Redefining Himself. Based on what responses I saw, Sonnet rather stole the show in the fifth Song. He’s a dog by birth (one of Harmonious Starmark’s grandsons, actually), but he ran away from home to live as a wolf. Sonnet Skybellow fancies himself a lone wolf, but he may be the only person who actually believes that. To quote myself (from another story), he mothers beautifully. ::twinkle::
The Cooper Family. Each of the Songs of the Amaranthine stories has its own part in the larger story. In Dragged through Hedgerows, we meet Daroo-fen Clearsong, whose duties and vows have set him apart from the packs, making him a lone wolf. Used to masquerading as a human, Daroo/Drew figures he can pull off another kind of impersonation: family pet.
“Making a Home” | art by FoxOfTwilight
Fun Facts: Daroo is over seven feet tall, and Charles is barely five. Quite the height difference. Also, Daroo isn’t the first lone wolf you’ve met in the Saga & Songs. You’ll learn more about their choices (and consequences) when that other fellow deigns to recur. ::twinkle::
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).
Avian Minstrels. We’ve worked up a little surprise for Christmas, setting the copperplate shopping list from Hemmed in Silver to music. But because I’m shy, it’s a Patreon Exclusive. (More about becoming a patron here >> ). Meanwhile, you can enjoy the companion artwork. Here are Pennythwaite and Thrussel, who are surely more tuneful than Mr. Right and I. (But we had fun with our little ditty.) ::twinkle::
“Songsters” | art by FoxOfTwilight
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::