Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentines

Ah, Valentine's Day. A day to celebrate love in all its different forms. Though, come to think of it, Saint Valentine is also the patron saint of beekeeping, epilepsy, and the plague... and I'm sick in bed this Valentine's Day. Thank you ever so much, Saint Valentine. I'd better not have the actual plague.

Anyway, here are some... unique valentines my characters have sent and received this year.

To Willow Quince, from everyone's favorite bisexual scythe-and-swordswoman:


To a certain Creatrix, from Paris's most dangerous wannabe goddess:


To Sebastian Antonyve, from the Highest Adviser of Kevarya:


To Silias Longwood, from a notorious pyromaniacal rebel leader:


To Morian Redfern, from the resident drunken Scotsman:


And finally, to Geneviève Sondheim, from a brilliant neurologist who's a bit too morally gray for comfort:


Friday, February 3, 2017

Things I've Written, Entirely Out of Context: January 2017

Hello, dear readers!

Those who know me in real life may already know that I've been working on a massive update to this website. This is not that update. This is, instead, random excerpts from projects I've been working on (Kevarya, the Danse Macabre/Crossfire universe, and an interactive game called Villains), some of which have been previously posted on my Tumblr, to some praise from random strangers on the Internet:

Image description: Three screenshots of Tumblr post tags, reading: "#[three shocked emojis] #are you ever like #in suspense #because #[four shocked emojis]," "#I CAN'T STOP QUOTING THIS #AND IT'S YOUR FAULT," and "#a what now #grigory wht are you doing #GRIGORY IS ANNOYED I'M LIVEBLOGGING HIS INTERROGATION #*screams* #i'm really worried about grigory tbh," followed by an anonymous comment, "lol I love your dialogue. good job man," and the author's reply: "I keep trying to write these serious, emotional scenes and all my characters want to do is snark at each other. I love them so much."
Welcome to Things I've Written, Entirely Out of ContextI hope to make this a monthly series, so you have not seen the last of these amusing glimpses into the lives of my characters.

Disclaimer: These excerpts come from works of fiction. Names, characters, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events are probably just a coincidence.

Things I've Written, Entirely Out of Context:
January 2017 Edition


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Prophecy

Foreground digital painting of character i-Aten Elena drawn © Amanda Grace Shu 2016. Background image source credit to Frank Vincentz via Wikimedia Commons.
It's time to introduce you to a new character in the Kevarya Universe, one completely unrelated to the Royal Family with which A Winter's Ball was so concerned. Their name is i-Aten Elena, or just Elena, and they provide the first hint of magic at play.

Now a note about Elena. Elena is what's known as genderfluid, a term which may trip up some people. Genderfluidity, according to Genderfluid Support, can be defined as "the feeling of fluidity within your gender identity; feeling a different gender as time passes or as situations change; not restricted to any number of genders." Elena uses singular they pronouns (they/them/theirs). Is this grammatically correct? Yes, of course it isThe singular "they" was even named the American Dialect Society's Word of the Year in 2015. Pronouns have changed from plural to singular before, and since language itself is constantly changing, the idea of what is grammatically correct is rather, shall we say... fluid. Like gender. Or, for example, the nature of Time Itself.

Speaking of which...

Prophecy

Monday, November 21, 2016

Kevarya: A Map of the Known World

"Amanda! You're posting again! It's been over half a year since you last posted something, we were so worried! What have you been working on instead of indulging your (possibly imaginary) blog readers with new writing?"

Mostly: screaming in mild terror as life throws a varied and numerous assortment of challenges and responsibilities at me. But otherwise: worldbuilding.

You may vaguely remember the Kevarya Universe, in which A Winter's Ball and Copper and Stardust take place. Perhaps you've wondered, what even is "Kevarya," and what are those characters in A Winter's Ball talking about when they bring up "Galara" or "Yenoui" or "The Southern Lands"? What does this new fantasy world of Amanda's look like?

Well, today I give you the answers to those questions, in the form of a map!


If you want to zoom in to take a closer look, here's a full-sized version.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Curst Be He

On the left, John Donne, 17th-century poet and priest, painted by an unknown artist circa 1595. On the right, William Shakespeare,17th-century poet, playwright, and wearer of a stylish earring, attributed to John Taylor circa 1610.
Good friends, 'tis the four-hundredth anniversary of William Shakespeare's death (and possibly his birth as well). As avid members of the Shakespeare fandom celebrate the Bard's legacy across the Internet (and Anti-Stratfordians raise a clamor of unnecessary consternation on behalf of the real author of Shakespeare's plays, who is undoubtedly Francis Bacon/Edward de Vere/Christopher Marlowe/a time-travelling Lin-Manuel Miranda), I asked the characters of an ongoing project of mine what Shakespeare means to them.

"Why don't you ask him yourself?" said one necromancer, Miss Siona Donne. She promptly proceeded to throw open a curtain, revealing not only the zombie of her ancestor John Donne, but a Zombie William Shakespeare as well. (Zombies, in this universe, are well-possessed of their minds and do not require a diet of brains, barring the results of any fits of nostalgia they may have for Tudor-era chicken-brain blancmange.)

This brought many, many questions to my mind. Is this the reason Shakespeare's skull is missing from Holy Trinity Church? Didn't Shakespeare put a curse on his grave, and if so, what would it do to our gutsy necromancer? What's the relationship between Zombie Shakespeare and Zombie Donne? And why would someone want to raise Shakespeare from the dead in the first place?

Of course, the only acceptable answer comes in the form of a short story.

Good frend for Iesvs sake forebeare,
To digg the dvst encloased heare.
Bleste be the man that spares thes stones,
And cvrst be he that moves my bones.
epitaph of William Shakespeare, inscribed on his grave at Holy Trinity Church

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Spacedad


Fathers and daughters across time and space: an Adobe Photoshop edit combining photos by AmarinskySrichakra Pranav, and NASA. Photos licensed under Wikimedia Commons and remixed by Amanda Grace Shu.
Guess who's been published in her first professional market?

This story was written as a Christmas gift for my father and later revised at the Alpha Workshop. I wanted to write a story that conveyed both the joy of fantasy exploration and the emotional strain of adventure upon a father-daughter relationship. The story darts in and out of Clare's life as her father does, never fully resolving any of the conflicts hinted at, and yet giving us a full sense of their relationship, in all its ups and downs.

So, without further ado, I present to you...

Friday, February 26, 2016

Copper and Stardust

Photoshopped by me. Image source credit to NASA ([x] and [x]). The image of the stars is titled "Chaos at the Heart of Orion," which is an absolutely gorgeous title that I might use in a story someday.
Newer readers will remember A Winter's Ball, the first and currently only excerpt from a novel I am working on (read: doing everything but writing). This is a bit of world-building for that novel, exploring the Kevaryese culture's belief in how the universe came to be.

I have always loved world mythology, and particularly creation myths. It always surprises me how similar these ancient cultures' stories are in their imagery, even when many of the cultures had no way of interacting with each other. This myth doesn't have a Creator figure, but rather is centered around the idea that the world came from a union of sky and earth, as the Egyptians and the Ancient Greeks both believed, and the interaction between the darkness and the sun's light mirrors the Chinese concept of ying and yang. However, I like to think I added some unique elements to this story. I'll leave you to figure those out for yourselves.

So, without further ado...

Copper and Stardust:
A Kevaryese Creation Myth