Sunday, December 28, 2014

Music Feature: Bond

Bond: West with the Night
Album: Play

No secret, I have an obsession with string players.  Bond's music gets me every time.  West with the Night was the music that inspired Chapter 50 of Return to the Castle (which...technically was a chapter about flying north into the night...buuuuuuut close enough).

As a bonus, this is Bond playing Winter from Vivaldi's Four Seasons.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Buon Natale!

I'm really excited to have a  short story ready for a Christmas release!

2014 has been crazy and amazing.  I say this over and over again, but I am so grateful to everyone who purchased a copy of Centernia, and completely humbled by the people who took the time to reach out, say hi, post a like, or follow Centernia on a social network.  I have been living with this tiny universe for almost two decades, and it was terrifying to share it with the world.  The fact that there are people who enjoyed the story enough to want to know more is so motivating.

I wanted to start releasing short stories because there will be nearly a year between each full novel.   To go so long without sharing a tale seems a terrible waste of the internet.  Short stories are also fun because I can reveal more about each character.  The story belongs to Jessi and Nico, but there are too many interesting people around them to not take the time to explore.

In high school I enjoyed creating little poems and tales around the holiday season, so I thought it apt that the first Centernian short story be a holiday tale.  I am also very aware that Misa has quickly become a fan favorite character.  Since she is the embodiment of hope, cheer and revelry, I could think of no better star for this story.  No, it's not a drunken elf tale, (perhaps that will be next Christmas...), but I hope the story gives you a peek into a Christmas past.

Frostbitten, a Centernian Christmas Story

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Centernian Fashion: Part 1, Basic Attire

Note: To best view these images, open this article in the stand-alone blog: here

The images used are sourced from retail outlets and fashion articles. I've cited all links in the captions. 

Basic Centernian Fashion
I'm happily in the process of drawing comprehensive character designs for Centernia. In order to do so, I've assembled an array of references which I've been asked to share. :-)

Centernian clothing is a combination of styles, the most common influences are Indian and Art Nouveau.  Clothing is often governed by asymmetrical lines, displayed in either cut, pattern or decoration. Nature is the inspiration for patterns, which are often based on fish, feathers, and flowers. Laces and buttons are common and zippers are very rare. Jewelry is popular among all classes, and earnings are worn by both genders.

Color vibrancy and class are connected.  Low-class citizens, such as the people of Rockwood, typically wear browns and greys.  In contrast, someone of the Trabalis upper-class would wear bright colors.  Rich dyes are expensive and a luxury the poor would not invest in.

Clothing is often layered and the most popular fabrics are light-weight.  Some people are more Ailurian, and thus have fur, making some clothing impractical and too warm.  Layered fabrics, scarves and sashes are popular to offset peoples' preference of warmth. Unlike many European-based cultures, Centernians have little concern for modesty.  It is not improper for a male to be shirtless in warm weather and women to feed their young in public.

Women's Clothing

The asymmetry commonly seen in the north, in cities such as Trabalis, derive from the Auroriate religion. In Centernia there is an asymmetrical flower bloom known as the dawndrop.  Legend states that this is the flower of the Goddess Aurora. Clothing that is based on this form is viewed as ultimate in beauty.

Asymmetrical sleeves are typical in Trabalisian clothing, and have a cultural purpose. Magic signets and castlemarks are most often placed on the upper portion of the back.  In order to display such marks proudly, a single bare shoulder is very popular.  When the Castle Aurumice was trapped under the energy field, the signets of the castlefolk became a social stigma, working against them and making it easy for the people of Trabalis to be discriminatory.

Someone of the working-class might favor clothing in this design as it is very practical. Wadjette and Penrik would probably wear clothing of this style:

This would be common attire worn by an average middle-class woman in Trabalis. Long scarves are common, as well as sheer fabric sleeves. Women are free to wear pants.

Lace-up elements are also popular. Jessi might wear a shirt like this when working in the castle.  The pants have a scaled texture, likely making them a gift from the circusfolk.

Misa would have worn a shirt as the one pictured left, as she loved intricate patterns and bright colors.  She would have added a belt or sash to give it a more appealing element of asymmetry.  If she was doing work or lounging around, she may have worn a shirt as depicted on the right.

Lady Elina would have worn formal clothing such as this, as well as large amounts of jewelry:

Even when clothing is symmetrical, there are often angled elements in play, such as the petal-like design on the hem of this dress and the laces that fall off-center.  Someone like Alba would favor this style:

This shirt is very balanced, but the organic petal-shaped pattern offsets the rigid cut.   This high collar is very popular, especially among the mages.  Kaity would most likely enjoy wearing a shirt like this:

Headscarves went through a period of popularity, as they obscured the size of one's ears.  Ears are very important in Centernian culture as it becomes a distinct indicator of one's ethnicity.  The smaller your ears, the more likely you were to be a mage.  As time has gone on, human qualities and mage-tendencies are not viewed as being so interlinked. Traditionally-minded people who wish to look more formal wear headscarves, such as among the Auroriates

As mentioned earlier, modesty is not really much of a concern.  Dress of this style would be popular among the seafolk of Galbrian.  Savina keeps her cultural ties strong and is most often comfortable in styles such as these. When working in the stables, however, she would definitely not wear long skirts and switch to more practical pants.

Men's Clothing

Nehru-style collars are very common, especially in the more affluent classes.  Men's clothing is a little more symmetrical, but men will often wear scarves and sashes.

Nico might wear something like this:

Not-surprisingly, pattern work is definitely valued in male clothing as well, following organic lines.

Asymmetry governs the lines of these vest-like garments.  Depending on the individual preference and weather, they would be worn with or without a shirt underneath.
A shirt like this would be common in the winter time, though the buttons would be positioned at more of an angle.  Belts are often worn decorative, low and at the hip, and will fall at a slanted angle:

Even outwear would have decorative elements of asymmetry. Jackets such as these would be worn by either gender.  Hoods and cloaks are common.

It's easy to see the connection between the affluent of Trabalis and the mages. Again, the high collar is very popular.  The mages' most distinct item of dress is the double-breasted jacket. No doubt the origins of this clothing came from earth military style.

You'll notice this clothing is more symmetrical.  Though many mages practice the ways of the goddess, their clothing style is more balanced.  This might be tied to the fact the mages are influenced by earth culture, particularily western culture.

Zippers are very uncommon as they take a great deal of precision to make.  However, they will sneak through whenever the mages are involved.  Castle Nova and Polaris Academy are where you're most likely to see tiny influences of Earth in surprising ways.  Young mages will also wear jeans in rebelliousness.  Jared, for example, may wear a jacket like this:

Upcoming Articles: 

Part 2 Jewelry & Footwear
Part 3 Armor & Military 
Part 4 The Holy Circus
Part 5 High Formal Attire
Part 6 Symbols and Signets

Centernia on Tumblr

I was poking around Tumblr and discovered my friend Cat Razim drew Centernia art, (and she was nice enough to throw my book in the photo).  All her sketches are nice, but I LOVE her Kaity design, especially the hair.  It captures Kaity so well.  I find it hilarious that artists who draw my characters often create depictions closer to what exists in my mind.  It's like my brain can't seem to communicate with my hand.