ART: Her Colt

Fira folded her arms over her chest. “Human men like docile, doting, dainty wives.”

Ricker blinked. “You are not … large.”

“Compared to mares. But my stature is considered a misfortune. I am ungainly, cumbersome. You know, I have even been described as coltish.”

He snorted his way into a whinnying laugh and swooped her into his arms.

“Her Colt” | art by FoxOfTwilight

::close up::

ART: Perfect Fit

Governed by Whimsy. While you’re (hopefully) enjoying the newest Songs tale, here’s art for the previous one. Ambrose is no doubt attired for some new theatrical in this Rococo-inspired ensemble. And the shoes! “The very kind of extravagance that he both craved and could not have.”

• • •

“My proportions require specialty craftsmanship. And fittings.” Which was as close as Ambrose would come to admitting he had big feet.

Governed by Whimsy
(Songs of the Amaranthine, #4)

“Perfect Fit” | art by FoxOfTwilight

Close-ups:

::twinkle::

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).

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

• • •

ART: Fundoshi Swim Club

He strolled toward a line of festive banners rippling on a line above the cliff wall. Jacques smirked when he recognized the shameless display. His own green fundoshi hung among the rest. Lifting his coffee cup, he toasted the freshly-painted sign—FUNDOSHI SWIM CLUB.

Lord Mettlebright’s Man
Ch151: “Morning Meander”

Fundoshi Swim Club | FoxOfTwilight

ART: Heart of Wardenclave

Waaseyaa & Zisa. As we head toward release day for Mikoto and the Reaver Village, I’ve been encouraging folks to read/reread Marked by Stars (Songs of the Amaranthine, #1) because it tells the story of the founding of Wardenclave, which is where Mikoto’s story is set. Although it’s been simply ages, Amaranthine lifespans = recurring characters.

At the very center of Wardenclave are a dog, a tree, and his twin. Remember them?

• • •

Glint sat on the ground, held out both hands, and found himself with his arms around a fabled imp. Would wonders never cease? “Do you have a name, boy? Or must I guess?”

“Brother named me.” With a flash of dimples and a flutter of lashes, he sweetly said, “I am Zisa.”

“It means orange,” Waaseyaa murmured.

“Welcome, Zisa. We’ve been waiting for you.”

“I know.” The child was suddenly nose-to-nose with Glint. “I know everything.”

Marked by Stars

• • •

“Heart of Wardenclave” by Nicko

Mikoto and the Reaver Village (Amaranthine Saga, #4) is now available for pre-order on Amazon. Release Day is September 22. I’ll begin taking pre-orders for signed books on September 1. You can also shelve this book on Goodreads >>

Quarterly Art Card

Incentive #001. One of the incentives I’m offering patrons (starting at the Twinkle tier) is a quarterly art card. The first will mail out in June. It’s a lovely depiction of the Cooper family that I commissioned earlier this year. (Guess what? Lara is working on art for all four of the Songs of the Amaranthine stories.)

Art Card, The Den

The Den | art by Lara Pickle

forthright on Patreon >>

ART: Brothers Evernhold

Coming Attraction. Release day is tomorrow, but most of us with pre-orders will be receiving a digital delivery tonight. So here’s fresh enticement in the form of art (and another tiny teaser). Governed by Whimsy will introduce you to members of the Leclerc Company, a traveling theater troupe with a vast repertoire, founded by the brothers Evernhold.

•  •  •

“Do I have the pleasure of addressing Mademoiselles Dimityblest and Demerara?”

They whirled guiltily.

Tailored gray suit. Chartreuse vest. Velvet shoes. Peridot cuff links. Fanning feathers in the band of the hat in his hands. The gentleman’s tone was cautious, and Greta could guess why. He looked her up and down through glasses with lavender-tinted lenses, shaggy eyebrows on the rise.

Greta rearranged her many parcels, using them as a shield.

“Who might you be?” Lulu’s posture slowly shifted. “Canarian?”

“None other.”

He lowered his glasses, revealing eyes of the same deep orange as his mother’s. Mahogany hair swept away from his brow in waxed waves. “I’m widely known as Monsieur Canarian Leclerc, founding member of the acclaimed Leclerc Company. How may I be of service, ladies?”

Governed by Whimsy (Songs of the Amaranhine, #4)

•  •  •

FoxOfTwilight was good enough to create a portrait of my two theatrical dandies, who are quite good at drawing in the crowds wherever they may be performing. Continue reading

ART: Lapis Mossberne

“Hello, Sealed Boy.” Lapis Mossberne is a dragon, a scholar, a bachelor, a romantic, and a charter member of the Five. If you’ve been missing him (he last appeared in Bk2 of the main series), be sure to read Lord Mettlebright’s Man, where he’s been helping Jacques Smythe (of the Uppington Smythes) face his fear of dragons. ::twinkle::

•  •  •

“You’ve had too much star wine, Lord Mossberne.”

“I know.” He exhaled on a fluttering note that definitely wasn’t human. “It did not help. It never does.”

Mossberne? As in Lapis Mossberne? Tenma stopped breathing. Could this person really be one of the Five? Catching Quen’s eye, he pointed and mouthed dragon.

Rolled eyes and a nod.

But the exchange may have been a mistake, for the dragon lord’s head turned, and light fell upon a lean face, putting fire into half-lidded sapphire eyes. “El-o-quence,” he drawled. “Why is that boy sealed?”

He slithered out of Quen’s grasp, and an instant later, Tenma was holding up a bleary Rivven who smelled strongly of flowers, spice, and liquor.

“Hello, sealed boy.”

Kimiko and the Accidental Proposal

•  •  •

Lapis Mossberne by FoxOfTwilight

Lord Mossberne by FoxOfTwilight

Want more art? Try the Cast Portraits and Fanart tags.

ART: Connoisseur

Jacques Smythe of the Uppington Smythes. Maybe he wasn’t your favorite character in Tsumiko and the Enslaved Fox, but Uncle Jackie is here to stay. Lord Mettlebright’s Man will probably hang around for several hundred (admittedly short) chapters, skimming through the backdrop of the series, giving you glimpses of life at Stately House from the point of view of an ordinary, unendowed, freeloading gentleman’s gentleman.

Jacques Smythe_Connoisseur by FoxOfTwilight

Connoisseur | art by FoxOfTwilight

•  •  •

He was still sulking in his linen cupboard when the younger Starmark tapped lightly and proffered a dainty crystal goblet. “My father sends his compliments and would like your opinion of his gift.”

“Why?”

“Argent spoke highly of your palate.”

Naturellement.” Jacques lifted, tilted, swirled, and sniffed with patent hauteur. Thick amber, bedizened by tiny galaxies. Holding the first sip in his mouth, he closed his eyes and knew bliss. “What is this?” he sighed.

“Star wine.”

Lord Mettlebright’s Man, Chapter 59: “Discerning Palate”

•  •  •

Who else has high hopes for Jacques? ::twinkle::

Lord Mettlebright’s Man begins here.

ART: Founders Coffee

Jiminy & Melissa. I enjoy surprises, which is probably why I’ve never advertised the inclusion of Founders Coffee in Tamiko and the Two Janitors. That way, my longtime readers would enjoy stumbling across the elements I borrowed from one of my fanfics (Froth, Mir/San AU). Mostly setting & the fact that Founders is run by brothers/owners.

•  •  •

“You’re packing crystals. Can I have a peek?”

He crossed a line by slipping his fingers under the cloth, questing upward. A moment later, she had the offending hand twisted and pinned to cold stone. The angle forced him down, and she reinforced her objection by pushing his head until his cheek met marble.

“Ow.”

Melissa’s face flushed, and she checked to see if anyone had noticed her manhandling the barista. Both Mom and Magda had been thorough and creative in teaching her ways to dissuade unwanted masculine attention.

The other barista stepped up. “I do beg your pardon, miss. Did his antics unsettle you?” Pressing one large hand to the back of Jiminy’s head, his voice deepened to a growl. “He knows better.”

Tamiko and the Two Janitors (Amaranthine Saga, #3)

•  •  •

Founders Coffee by FoxOfTwilight

Founders Coffee | art by FoxOfTwilight

•  •  •

Details, Details: Melissa is the biological daughter of Christopher Armstrong, the “Kith handler” who visits Kimiko’s classroom back in Book 2. Chris was raised by the Nightspangle pack, which is why Hanoo, Yoota, and Ploom all knew him (and his partner Cove).

ART: Ash and Kip

Two Janitors. It’s not often that a book has 3 titular characters (okay, okay, Betsy, Tacy, and Tib comes to mind, but that’s old school and really beside the point). I showed you Fox’s portrait of Tamiko on release day. Meet the janitors!

Two Janitors by FoxOfTwilight

Two Janitors by FoxOfTwilight

**Please do keep your comments here spoiler-free. If you need to unburden yourself, there’s a Squee Post that’s a free-for-all of reactions & speculations. ::twinkle::