Why “You’re Beautiful” Almost Didn’t Make it into The Last Winter Moon

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In The Last Winter MoonJayse pulls Michelle — disgruntled from injustice — onto the back of a korelian cat, and they race up the steps of the Arriscylean palace.  He pulls her off and tells her, “You’re beautiful when you’re scared.”  She laughs, and Jayse says, “You’re even more beautiful when you smile.”

This almost didn’t make it into the final book, for reasons similar to changing a line of Dastin’s in An Eclipsing Autumn, which was something like, “Smile for me,” which I thought was so unforgivable that I just had to change it.  (Telling women to smile is a whole ‘nother problem, though.)

I took special care in crafting Michelle and Jayse’s relationship.  When I brought up having second thoughts about this line (“You’re beautiful”) to my friends this past summer, one of them asked me how close Michelle and Jayse’s relationship is to my ideal relationship.  I said that it was pretty close, at least for a sixteen-year-old girl, like Michelle is by the end of her journey.  It was what I would have wanted when I was sixteen.  A life of adventure, danger, and maybe just a little bit of romance, and when it really comes down to it, saving the world is the most important thing, and romance won’t get in the way.

Michelle and Jayse’s relationship is supportive, playful, innocent, and sweet, but never really sexual.  Heck, I was pretty prudish when I was sixteen (same as you see in Michelle’s disgust toward Dreana’s seduction).  I wanted to write a relationship that I would have wanted when I was her age.  I didn’t want to have to force sex into their relationship to make it more realistic, or whatever, because Michelle and Jayse know the stakes of their duties.  They know they can’t just make out all day, forgetting the horrors of the world, because they just want to lie next to each other and stare into each other’s eyes.

When it really comes down to it, I suppose it’s a sort of message to young readers.  Not all romantic relationships have to be physical and sexual.  Don’t give up your duties and ambitions for someone else who’s going to change you and make you forget them.  I wanted to send a nice, healthy message with their relationship, instead of romanticizing something unhealthy and abusive.

Sure, there is physical attraction in their relationship.  You see it all over Michelle’s thoughts when she first meets Jayse.  She even blurts out “Oh my God, you are so hot” the first time they speak.  (I don’t really count this toward any kind of profession of love, because he doesn’t even know what it means :’D And her “you’re hot”s to Gediyon don’t count.)

A few times, Jayse says stuff like, “I didn’t see Goddess Saei, but I don’t need to,” and looks at Michelle, “I suppose the wait was worth it” and “I think you beat me in that competition” (in regards to a silly game they were playing to see who’d show up to dinner the prettiest) and at the end of The Starriest Summer, says, “You look magnificent.”  BUT, he hadn’t said outright that he thinks she’s pretty.

I did this on purpose because I didn’t want their relationship to be based on physical attraction.  He finds her cheerfulness and optimism sweet and adorable.  Once she finds out more and starts to break under the pressure, he’s right there to keep her on her feet. He falls in love with her when they find out how much they have in common with their unwanted responsibilities, and they work together to support each other.

Same with Michelle.  Sure, she’s immediately smitten by him from his looks, but she’s more interested in a friendship with him, and it’s not until after she loses the Prince Imposter that she realizes she might have romantic feelings for Jayse, too.  As her adventure goes on, she also comments less on his looks, and even manages not to freak out and not get a nosebleed when he’s shirtless in An Eclipsing Autumn.  (Also, him being bloody and having nearly died might also have something to do with it…)

And then there’s this scene in The Last Winter Moon.

Hot Spring

She’s just whatever when he’s lying in the hot spring, cleaning himself off, and then when he jumps up to kiss her, she’s like, “Oh… oh this is happening. OH GOD I DON’T THINK I CAN HANDLE.”

Anyway, the point is, I didn’t know if I wanted to keep the line “you’re beautiful” in the final version of the book.  However, my friend said, “It’s already been established that their attraction toward each other isn’t based solely on looks, so saying ‘you’re beautiful’ is just a nice assurance that he thinks so.”

I had thought of changing the line to, “You’re adorable when you’re scared,” but after my friend told me that, I was convinced it wasn’t as impactful.

She then asked me, if Michelle and Jayse have the ideal relationship, then what about Gediyon and Dreana?  And I said, “Oh, they’re adults, they can do whatever the hell they want.”

Also, what’s with Michelle glowing and having white hair and reaching down toward Jayse in the picture at the beginning of the post?  1) Read The Last Winter Moon 😉 2) The scene doesn’t actually happen.  It was just an image in my head that I wanted to illustrate 😀

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The Last Winter Moon Teaser – Blancande

The first audio promotional teaser for The Cycle of the Six Moons:  The Last Winter Moon!  With Kyle Land as Isel Mingon, Steven Kelly as Jayse, and Elissa Park as Dreana.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FoCAT9Hsuu8

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! 😀

The Cycle Plays Out

 

The Cycle Plays Out

I feel like showing off some artwork for An Eclipsing Autumn, so here we go! 😀

This is from the chapter “The Cycle Plays Out.”  Michelle has made her hair longer for the performance, and Gediyon is wearing black because he’s working backstage.

Here’s the full, uncropped image:

The Cycle Plays Out-full

A closeup of Michelle and Jayse’s costumes:

The Cycle Plays Out - Michelle Jayse closeup

And the costume design sketch:

Ceremony of Crescent Starrs costumes

Pretty happy with how it turned out 🙂

An Eclipsing Autumn Trailer Reveal!

Well, if you’ve been following my blog, you’ll see that I’ve already posted the trailers individually X’D

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But anyway!  YA Bound Book Tours is hosting the trailer reveal for blogs!  Check out that page here!

I also have them on a handy page here!

watchbookteaser-livelaughlove

Here they are all together:

Saei and Cyal, Reincarnated – Blog Post

The Wolf’s Den – Blog Post

Blood Trophy – Blog Post

Champions Reunite – Blog Post

A Royal Plan – Blog Post

Or if you want to watch all the trailers in one handy-dandy playlist :3

Yay 🙂

An Eclipsing Autumn Teaser – Champions Reunite

The fourth audio promotional teaser for The Cycle of the Six Moons:  An Eclipsing Autumn!  With Steven Kelly as Jayse and John Archer as Gediyon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frHz6miSFh0

This miiight be my favorite teaser out of all of them X’D Maybe because Gediyon has a bigger role in it, and, like, he’s my favorite character and John’s voice is super hot here *cough*

But also, I love the music, because I feel like it sets the atmosphere, and the whole scene is mysterious and, what is with Gediyon?!  Actually, I pretty much like this whole chapter. Something happens at the end of it, and a ship sets sail :’D…uh, literally.  And figuratively.  Ahem.

Anyway, enough gushing.

As usual, Steven and John were a blast to work with.  I asked Steven to go back into an English accent for this one, since that’s his natural Arriscylean accent, and it’s what he speaks when he’s most comfortable.  And he’s comfortable around Michelle and Gediyon, so duh.  I love the part where he’s explaining to Michelle the girl from Gediyon’s past, giving these general descriptors like they’re the most important thing in the world, and Michelle’s just like, “Uh.  BIG DEAL?!”

In this scene, Gediyon’s pretty sleep deprived.  He hasn’t slept for at least three days because of the Third Moon, and he’s survived something like three hundred other contestants in the tournament, so he’s pretty exhausted.  I was trying to schedule a recording session with John when he admitted he hadn’t been sleeping very well, so, heck, let’s do it.  Method acting.

Asking him to do Gediyon’s last lines in an American accent was a last-minute directorial decision.  Given where the lines he says are actually from, I thought it would be more appropriate to use a different accent, much like Jayse uses a different accent when he’s trying to appear more common in front of people he’s not familiar with.  So, his accent switch is deliberate.  As the writer and director, I think it’s cool, and I hope listeners won’t just be like, “What happened to his accent?”

Just one more teaser trailer left 😀

Check out their links in the video description! ❤

An Eclipsing Autumn Teaser – Blood Trophy

The third audio promotional teaser for The Cycle of the Six Moons:  An Eclipsing Autumn!  With Kyle Land as Mr. Gum, Elissa Park as Dreana, John Archer as Gediyon, and Steven Kelly as Jayse.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNqNJozbi3M

I chose this scene ’cause I really wanted to do the part where Gediyon and Dreana “officially” meet 😉

I held auditions for Mr. Gum, and Kyle–who was the first to audition–was the one who nailed it.  So, BAM!  Role goes to him 😀  Since Mr. Gum only has one line in the book two promos (he’ll have more in book three’s promos), I asked Kyle to go ahead and just do the lines on his own without my directing.  Actually, his third take was hilarious, but I felt it would be out of place if I included it because it was so over-the-top.

The other characters were already cast from book one’s promos.  Fun times directing Elissa to act ridiculously seductive, John to act all sheepish with a few jokingly seductive takes himself, and Steven with just…two…very…small lines :’D

I also chose this scene because I thought Michelle’s reactions to Dreana hitting on Gediyon while they’re supposed to be in the final round of the tournament was hilarious.  Michelle pretty much thinks Gediyon is a saint, and she thinks Dre is a slut, put ’em together, and Michelle gets overprotective like, “STAAAHHP.”  Even Elissa was like, “Wow, girl, calm down.”

There was a fun bit when I was directing John to sound cut-off when he says “Lady Dre–” and I was laughing so hard that I just SCREAMED once he started the line, so we could get a proper cut-off kinda sound 😀 Fun times.

Check out their links in the video description! 😛