Happy Birthday HMB!!

Today just so happens to be the birthday of the amazing H.M. Barone, my dear friend and author of “The Zoey Jane Files” and “Way of the Fist!!”

So, here’s her Blythe Evenstar, of the second series mentioned above.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY HEATHER!!! Everybody go send her some love – and of course, the best way to do that is to check out her books!

Fanart Friday and comic review – Suitor Armor

Fanart Friday time with comic recommendation – perfect for both Pride month and JuneFae, again!! One of my favorites on Webtoon – “Suitor Armor,” by purpah.

Short take:

A delightful, surprisingly intense, gorgeous Faerie tale about love, identity, and power.

Long take (or, a proper review):

I’ve been reading this amazing faerie story for a while now, but didn’t get *really* into it until recently. For some reason, of late, faerie stories that deal with what we humans have done to them are resonating with me REAL hard, and SA falls into that category strongly and gracefully.

(I will try to make this as spoiler-less as possible.)

(Also, trigger warning for discussion of trauma at the end.)

(Also also, the above fanart is NOT a spoiler, I just needed to draw some AU married fluff for self care.)

The story starts with Lucia – our heroine, a fairy hidden among humans after being “rescued” by one in particular as a child, who then chose to raise her as a human (specifically as lady in waiting to his daughter, Kirsi, who is to be queen one day via arranged marriage to the Prince of the realm) and protect her that way. Our view of things is her view of things. Very narrow, hyper-focused on keeping her secret and preparing her lady and friend for the royal role she will marry into. But everything changes, right away, as Lucia and Kirsi head out from their home into the human capital – to the palace – and Lucia starts learning more about what’s happening in the world and what’s happening to the people of her birth.

As you might expect, a certain war between the fay and the humans is not at all what it seems. And reality has humongous repercussions for Lucia.

All this changes her – as does meeting a certain enchanted suit of armor (see what they did there? Eh? Eeeehhhhh?) – Modeus – and forming a connection with him, despite both their circumstances, despite people dehumanizing both him and herself.

I am a sucker for “secretly powerful person falls in love with perceivedly-“non-human,” “built” being who is supposed to be an automaton but is not” stories (hey there fellow Scarlet Vision fans!) so obviously I was here for this from the start. However, I want to throw an extra shoutout to the author here, for the way they’re handling the situation.

Romances like this always, ALWAYS, read as queer to me. Hands down. (….not to mention the fact that I headcanon Lucia as ace, or at least demi, because of one thing she says that I won’t spoil.) The way people react to their attachment and individual personhood – not acknowledging her armored interest as a PERSON, not using his chosen pronouns, treating her as mentally ill, almost, for being so close to him? Yeah. Feels SUPER familiar. This queerness is further highlighted/complimented by their mural close friendship with another queer couple in the story (who I won’t spoil either, you should get to read that reveal as lovely as it was written, but I promise it’s coming and it’s *so good* even if it’s not glaringly obvious from the first episode. Look for subtlety. Look for details).

The romance of Kirsi and her prince, now King Reinard, is also handled with grace and thought. Arranged marriages can be handled very awkwardly, in my reading experience, but both characters in this situation come to it with openness, acceptance and a willingness to build from that space, genuinely, together, and it is so beautiful to see unfold.

As a Faerie fan (to put it lightly), I am also super impressed with the choices made about the fair folk in this world. One choice in particular feels very Froudian to me, and thus very True. – but again, no spoilers. Please just trust ME that it is GOOD work.

The only note of warning I would throw in – which is, again, a good thing in the end – is that there is something that can happen to certain characters, a violent trauma, that reads very clearly to me as rape allegory. I’m not sure if that was intentional, but if so, it is very well constructed. I’m glad it’s in there, since it opens up a dialogue about trauma and personhood and power. We *are* eased into it, but it signals a shift in the tale (and in Lucia’s perception of the world) from relatively safe and understandable, to something real and dangerous, and we do eventually see the act happening to one of the side characters.

That’s as spoilery as I’m gonna get. But yes. It shook me a lot harder than I thought it would – which is GOOD writing, and it’s handled tastefully, as much as the intensity of it bears mentioning. They do also start discussing actual sexual assault, or at least the history of it, in some of the chapters of season 2 so far – and again, the mindfulness is there in the tone of the story. But there isn’t any kind of a trigger warning ahead of the violence until much later than its originally mentioned, and no trigger warning before the rape discussions, either, and that’s really the only thing I wish was different.

Just read responsibly and take care of yourselves, survivors and allies πŸ’—

That said, I recommend this series from the bottom of my heart, and I hope you check it out!

~~~

Patreon ~ Etsy ~ Ko-fi

Pirates Can Go to Faerie, if They Want To…

An honest to goodness commish for the Good Folk πŸ§šβ€β™‚οΈπŸ’• Captain Shakespeare, faerie-pirate from “Stardust” (the film version).

There’s a bit of a longer story about this, but suffice it to say that communion with them can be tricky sometimes, and I’m grateful for the grace to know when to back off, be honest with them, and ask for clarity!

~~~

Patreon ~ Etsy ~ Ko-fi

Edwards

So as if I weren’t unhinged enough about “Our Flag Means Death” already, it appears that in *real , actual life,* one of the pseudonyms that Stede Bonnet used at some point in his career was Captain Edwards.

…..David Jenkins is right and he should say it.

(Also used this as practice, figuring out how to draw them in my style. I’m only ever good at portraiture by accident, so I’m trying to just get a consistent vibe for the characters themselves. Personally pleased so far.)

~~~

Patreon ~ Etsy ~ Ko-fi

Fanart Friday – “Dear, Gentle Readers…”

Happy new season of “Bridgerton” daaaaaaaay!!! *swoon*

I have recently become obsessed and had to draw this in-between commissions and “Tock the Gnome” work this week. With a nod to the amazing Undressing Bridgerton podcast by Felicia Day and Tom Lenk πŸ’ Thank you for an amazing recap of season 1 (cannot waaaaaait to hear what you have to say about season 2!).

Fun note! Penelope has cedar blossoms and borage flowers in her hair for strength and bluntness, and her teacup bears yellow carnations, for disdain.

(I cannot believe the reveal at the end of the last episode, and whatever happens with her, I am here πŸ‘ for πŸ‘ it πŸ‘ For the record, I do NOT stand by what a certain character did to another certain character in episode 6 of season 1, and I wish the creators and the writer of the books had made VERY different choices. But I am now very invested in several other characters, and thusly, plan to keep watching. Especially for our dear Penelope. And Colin. ….. *smooshes their faces together*)

And as we all watch the new, enjoy and take care, dear, gentle readers!

~~~

Patreon ~ Etsy ~ Ko-fi