Thursday, March 8, 2018

Creating Cover Art

For me, one of the greatest joys of being a self-published author is the ability to design my own covers. God has blessed me with the beautiful talent of drawing, traditionally and digitally, and I continue to feel blessed as I’m able to draw up fantastic characters and scenes that can grace the hard copies of my books.

How do I go about creating and designing a book cover? Well, it’s taken some years for me to get a basic understanding of design for covers, as it’s not something I’ve seriously studied. (I guess there’s always something new to learn!) However, through trial and error and looking at professionally published books, I’ve gotten some ideas on how to design a cover and hopefully make it eye-catching.

As a disclaimer, this post simply talks about how I create my covers, and is by no means professional advice or a step-by-step how-to. However, I hope it’s helpful for others designing book covers.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

World Building: Races

In many a fantasy you have a mix of sapient races who fill a fantastical niche in your fantasy world. But just how do you create a race? And how do you flesh out you races?

When you're looking to create a race that people aren't already familiar with (such as Tolkien-esque elves or dwarves), one way to go about it is to take inspiration from our world. Before I wrote The Legend of Draconite, I found inspiration for the Molouk race from a book I had about dinosaurs. I tweaked the Molouks a bit (they're more humanoid and have smooth skin, have hair as well as feathers, etc.) and made them my own race. If you're going with a more familiar race like humans, there's still elements you can add to make it your own.

Another way is to look up legends from our world and base a race off of that. You will want to add unique elements to that race to make it your own, unless you want to stay true to traditional legends and write something based in our world.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Describing Characters

One of the hard lessons I've learned about writing is the proper way to describe characters. I grew frustrated with books that didn't describe at least their main character in some detail (it still bugs me at times), and I didn't want to be one of those authors that left literally nothing to the reader's imagination.

First I'll talk about the mugshot description versus the narrated description, and then I'll talk about describing character personality and reactions.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

What I do Outside Writing

My main writing station.
As I grew from my tween years, I focused a lot of my time and effort on writing. I was pumping out novels –– albeit raw, low quality novels –– almost as fast as my son can run away down the street from me. I had my other interests as well: drawing, reading, archery, and piano, among other things. But one of my highest priorities was writing, and I loved doing it.

I still love writing. There's an emotional satisfaction from crafting likeable stories and characters. I think it's that innate, divine part of everyone that has the desire to create, and storytelling is probably the closest we mortals will ever come to creating worlds.

As I grew, my priorities shifted and grew too. I gained more responsibilities in my church, I worked through college, and I got married and started having kids. It has become more and more difficult to find a balance between what I love to do and need to do, but I still find time for both. My writing sessions have grown irregular, but with God's grace I still find the inspiration to continue a story where I left off weeks or maybe months previous.

Outside of writing I have developed some new interests thanks to a new friend. I have been participat
ing in the SCA in a Viking persona, and most of my outfit is done. It's made me appreciate my ancestors more, and it feels neat to wear something similar to what they wore so many centuries ago.
I've also started doing some Dungeons & Dragons, and I've really enjoyed developing a character for the game. I'm not terribly familiar with the D&D worlds (I've read 3-4 books out of the dozens of Wizards of the Coast books out there), so she definitely comes across as atypical for a Forgotten Realms wood elf. Anywho, I look forward to exploring the game more. Me and my husband like involved strategy games, and we're hoping D&D for the two of us does not disappoint.

My D&D character Althaea
I've mentioned a few times that I do archery. I started archery when I was fairly young, between 9-11 years old. As I continued to practice it, I upgraded to different bows, and am currently with a beautiful recurve hunting bow that belonged to my grandpa. Unfortunately, archery too is an irregular pass-time, especially since given our small back patio space, practicing serious distance shooting is impossible. However, at the SCA Harvest Hunt last year I had the opportunity to shoot long-range, and I did a lot better than I thought I could.

Most of my time is spent with my two boys, and motherhood is my #1 job. It's a stressful but rewarding role, as seeing your children learn new things makes all the frustrating communication problems and late nights worth it. Me and my oldest will run laps around the house, and I enjoy cuddling with our littlest one. We enjoy walks and hikes and tickle fights.
I've lagged behind on updating Xenithar's Musings, but I will be putting up at least a post a week for the next few months. I've been thinking about what things I could write about that will engage the readers, and have a variety of topics planned for the coming weeks.

So what do you like to do in your free time? Or do you have free time? And are there things you would like me to write about on Xenithar's Musings? Comment below!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


Wanted to share a side project I've been working on.  I've been doing embroidery for my Viking costume for the SCA, and it's been fun to do!

The top picture is my device, an eight-pointed Melchizedek's seal with a circle and a triskelion within. The bottom one is more of a Celtic design rather than Viking. I've been doing some research into different styles of Viking art and will attempt to incorporate more traditional stuff into my costume.

I went to a SCA event this past weekend, wherein I participated in a "hunt" and got to shoot targets with my bow. I've never competed with archery, and it was super fun! I also didn't realize how accurate I was with my bow either, so that was cool to see.


There's so much I've wanted to do with my writing, but one of my big focuses has been revising Book 4 of The Legacy Incarnate: Incarnate Key. I had intended on finishing In Chaos Forged before doing other major stuff, but my heart has been set on Legacy Incarnate, especially now that I intend to add 2 more books to the series to round it out better. I've gone back and forth between Incarnate Key and ICF, and I have so many fun and great ideas for both stories.

Have a nice one.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Hthelath, the Guardian

A little update and art to share with everyone. I've been focusing on a couple of editing and revision projects at once, but I won't announce what they are at the moment. I've been all over the place with my projects, since I've wanted to work on multiple ones with very little extra time. However, they're slowly coming along.

Below is a rarity of art from me, as I don't do inked pictures a lot anymore. This is a character that appears in Book IV of the Legacy Incarnate. He doesn't really have a definite form, and instead takes on a few different forms. He's made out of millions of magic bubbles filled with light. Of course, it was difficult for me to get that image across with just ink and paper, but I'm still happy with how this piece turned out, especially considering this is the first time I've drawn Hthelath.

As far as life goes, I've enjoyed being a full-time mom. It's an interesting experience learning to teach children on the go, although I've had some help along the way. My sons bring me such joy, and having our family together for all eternity is wonderful to think about.

There's been times where I've been afraid of monotony, and I've felt it, but I'm branching out and trying new things so that I'll have a life for myself alongside the life I dedicate to my family. Lately something I've been gearing up for is the Society of Creative Anachronism, or SCA. It's an educational live role-play society that's found all over the world. The focus is on medieval cultures and dress, and I've chosen to do a Viking persona as a way to connect with my Scandinavian ancestry. I've been gathering materials for an apron dress, and with some help, I hope to get the costume together for Halloween. In this process I've learned a little bit about the Vikings themselves.

Hope you enjoyed the art!

Friday, June 30, 2017

I WILL survive

Hello readers! I have survived my second pregnancy and we've been blessed with a beautiful little boy. It's been stressful and a little crazy these last few weeks, but I'm grateful to be recovering quickly. The labor and delivery was low-stress, and that made it easier on my body than my first pregnancy.

Anywho, you didn't come here to read about how my body's doing. I've jumped back into writing, and lately have been putting a lot of effort into finishing a short story I started some time ago. I've been thinking more about doing an anthology of Libera stories, partly as a way to put myself out there more with potential readers and publishing venues. I've been jumping between stories a lot lately, as I found it hard to concentrate on just one story with my low energy levels. Weird.

I also have some art I'd like to share. I shared it on my personal Facebook page weeks ago, but it's time I publish it here.

Our favorite wingless lupogryph, Tarcua. I had filled in the color for this piece and was at a loss as to how to shade it in, so I let it sit for a while. After getting some inspiration from oil pointing and doing some practice with digital painting using some similar techniques, I was able to finish this piece. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out, and I plan on using this picture for Tarcua's CCG card. This was done completely in Krita on my Wacom Bamboo drawing tablet.