My next big fantasy, “Blood Princess” (working title) will require a full world map 😉 So, decided to make one from scratch.
Now, I’m no geologist, but I know just a taaad about continental drift.
I started with an oval of the world, drew some fault lines, and then had some land mass bleed out onto the earth. Things begin to drift, collide, create mountains and continents, leaving islands in their wake…
I know I wanted a big “main” continent, so there it is smack in the middle, while the smaller continents are there on the sides. I’m not sure if I gave the world enough water, though
Taking the poles and equator into equation, I painted in some deserts, icy wastelands, forests, mountains, and it’s good to go!
Suuure, I could have just painted any old land mass and gone with that, but I thought doing it in a somewhat more scientific way would be more fun 😀
Eventually, I’ll fill out a fair portion with land marks and cities, but for now…hey, it’s a map of the world!
Here’s a gif of the process 🙂
Of course, you can do this in a much more low-tech, kid-friendly way with some construction paper, scissors, and glue 😀 Use some blue paper as the sea, cut about 1/3 the size out of green paper, cut a jagged outline for pangaea, cut that up, and rearrange over the sea for your own world map!
I asked my amazeballs artist buddy Brandon Lacey (who designed The Cycle of the Six Moons cover art, check ’em out here!) to come up with some character concept for an upcoming high fantasy “Blood Princess” (working title).
Here are two main characters, Khalida and Lake (with Astra).
Khalida is, well, a princess. A chubby–albeit beautiful–princess. Lake is her mentor who has an animal familiar named Astra. In the exercise below, I wrote her as a “falcon,” but I’m open to changes since, again, this is all very early concept. Brandon drew her with some beautiful plumage, which I am aaabsoooluuutely fine with.
I think Khalida’s design was easiest for both of us to come to an agreement. The fiery colors just work for her.
Lake’s colors took some playing with, but I like the result here 😀
As a writing exercise centered around the word “hot,” I wrote this fun piece that, in some way, will probably end up in the final story.
Steaming, jasmine foam trickled down the sides of Lake’s body onto the hot stone slab beneath him. He nearly inhaled a mouthful of bubbles when the attendant splashed cool water over his back. The shock rejuvenated him with all the energy he needed for the nighttime festivities ahead. Lake’s pulse quickened as he mentally rehearsed his performance with Astra. His golden falcon shimmered beneath the bathhouse’s geometric dome ceiling, and her amber eyes blinked lazily as she watched the cloud of soap disappear from her master’s head.
Fully rinsed, Lake ran his fingers over his exfoliated arms. His skin was reddened from all the scrubbing, but it was smoother than he could ever recall. However, the delights were his only, as soon enough, his ceremonial robes would cover every inch of his body.
“Let us dry off in here,” he called to Astra. She swooped down from the ceiling and into the hot chamber next door.
Once he left the washroom, the water on Lake’s body began to evaporate. He threw on his sheer under robes, which immediately stuck to his skin. As he smoothed out the wrinkles and fastened his belt, Astra rose to the ceiling to gulp cooler air. Lake would have to hurry back to his quarters before the heat overcame him and he would want to take another bath.
Thinking of the crimson robes hanging in his wardrobe, Lake waved to his falcon. “Come, Astra.”
A high voice gasp came from above. “Lake, it is you!”
Already startled from a girl’s voice, Lake slipped on the tile when he saw stubby, tan fingers folded through the holes of the geometric ceiling. A pair of large, emerald eyes peered back at him.
“Your Highness!” Lake sputtered.
This time, heat of embarrassment washed over him. He covered himself as modestly as he could, scrambling back to the washroom and out of the princess’s sight. Astra remained by the ceiling of the hot chamber, munching on a newt that Khalida had slipped her. Khalida’s giggles echoed into the room, and the bemused attendant watched Lake with a dripping bucket in hand.
“Your Highness!” Lake spat, more sternly this time. “Do you realize how improper this is?! To climb the men’s bathhouse! To see me in such a state!”
A giggle rang in each of Khalida’s words. “What are you going to do? Tell my mother?”
Lake’s voice deepened gravely. “How much did you see?”
“Oh, Lake, I told you, the only birthday gift I wanted from you was to see your face. I knew you were handsome! Come out so I can see you again.”
Lake could feel his whole head swelling with blood. Anyone could see through his sheer robes, but the princess was so naïve that maybe the only thing she cared about seeing was his face.
The attendant inched closer to him, wearing an expression that said, “Is that Princess Khalida?” Lake nodded to him.
“A very happy birthday to you, Your Highness,” Lake called to her. “Now, please, would you allow me some privacy so you may see me again fully clothed? And please take caution in climbing down the roof.”
Khalida giggled. “Certainly! Thank you, Lake! I’ll see you later.”
The men stood in silence as Khalida blew a kiss at Astra. They heard rustling in the trees overhead as Khalida jumped off the roof and climbed out of sight.
Lake exhaled all the air in his lungs and slouched forward. The under robes adhered so closely to his drenched body that bubbles formed beneath the cloth. Lake started to peel the robes off and told the attendant, “I need another rinse.”
Throughout February, I created mockup covers for my next book, The House with Two Faces (which I guess I should abbreviate to HTF, like I did with CSM). For the first few days, I kept adding and changing things, then added and changed more covers.
Here’s what the first poll looked like:
1, 3, and 4 got the most votes. A lot of people chose #1, I suppose because of its adherence to the title and its simple vector style which is similar to The Cycle of the Six Moons covers. But I wanted to make sure that this book has nothing to do with CSM, so I wanted to stray away from that.
I still liked #2, though, mostly because of how it has to do with “magic!” and those who actually read the synopsis made good points about the second cover.
So then, instead of narrowing down the results, I offered a bunch of alternatives.
In the end, it came down to 3 and 4.
So I offered even more alternatives by making #1 look more art deco with the corner pieces and the font, and I liked the red I added to her face, so I added that to #2.
BUT IT WAS STILL MISSING THE MAGICAL ASPECT. So then I did THIS
And I really liked #3 because of magic and 20s buuuut still, the votes were super close between #1 and #2.
I gathered 357 votes total.
That put #1 at 44%, #2 at 38%, and #3 at 18%.
#1 was preferred by high school and middle school students, as well as girls.
#2 was preferred by people my age and older, as well as boys.
So, in the end, I guess we’re going with this one.
Which is actually my least favorite cover ’cause I just don’t prefer photographic images of faces on covers 😅
Anyway, this isn’t a “final mockup” cover. It’s just what I’m going to use when I post the first three chapters on Wattpad so I can get beta readers 🙂
I love researching how to “do something,” especially when I’m bored at work, so of course when I decided to make a trailer for The Cycle of the Six Moons, I searched all over Google for various ideas. I wanted to document my process in case it might help someone else, so here it is!
One of the first lighthearted moments in The Last Winter Moon. Of course, it’s because Isel Mingon/Mr. Gum/Whatever-His-Name-Is makes a reappearance!
I picked out this scene specifically for Kyle to do. It was a scene I wanted to do since I held auditions for the character. The character has two distinct personalities, Isel Mingon–the flamboyantly happy Bubble salesman–and Mr. Gum, a cold, conniving businessman. (You’ll notice in this scene that Jayse still holds some resentment toward him for what Mr. Gum did to Michelle and Jayse in An Eclipsing Autumn.) And there’s also a serious-as-hell personality that you see here.
He and Dreana actually know what’s going on behind the scenes, but they’re keeping quiet for Michelle and Jayse so they won’t know how bad things really are.
Kyle was an absolute joy to work with on this scene 😀 I love his energy and interpretation of the lines.
Check out everyone’s links in the video description! 😀
Sign up for the trailer reveals for The Cycle of the Six Moons: The Last Winter Moon! Trailer REVEALS? Yes, there is one trailer for the whole trilogy, five fully-voice acted teasers, and another special video! 😀 Sign up here!
Check out the illustrations for the teasers below 😉
My buddy Tadao–who likes to read what I call “boring books” and from them does “boring writing” (he studies Buddhism, and sure, what he’s told me does sound interesting, but it’s academic so, you know, non-fiction, myeehh, “boring writing”)–planted an idea in my head the other day that I should make a diagram of The Cycle of the Six Moons.
(All the information below is presented in-story in An Eclipsing Autumn, but you don’t need to have read the second book to understand the information, and there aren’t any spoilers. It’s supplemental material.)
But if you’re more into boring diagrams, here’s a cut-and-dry table.
The Dark Mist
The Night Devourer
The Conquer of Hatred
Halting the Passage of Souls
The Black Hole
World of Origin
once a year
every two years
every ten years
every two hundred years
only when the sixth moon is inevitable
harmless darkness that can’t seep indoors
crops wither, fish become scarce, livestock fall ill
anyone who falls asleep loses their motivation to live
those in regions with a sun and moonrise on opposite horizons go berserk and kill everyone in their path