zeldathemes
Confessions of a Suburban Beatnik

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joannerenaud:

I originally wrote this blog post back in 2010 on my ancient blogspot blog; and here it is revised, expanded and updated. It used to be that I could only think of eight romances that would get on my top ten list; that was why it was only originally eight. But since 2010, I’ve read a lot more…

Reblogged from my writing blog— a list of my favorite romance novels. Enjoy!

suburbanbeatnik:

Hey there guys! I am super excited about The Queen’s Cavaliers, a game I’m illustrating that’s currently up on Kickstarter. Inspired by The Three Musketeers, it’s a baroque clockpunk tabletop RPG sent in an alternate 17th century France. So there’s swashbuckling ahoy, with dangerous ladies and complicated men, along with all other sorts of Errol Flynn type shenanigans— and more fancy baroque fashion than you could shake a rapier at! 

We were recently featured on the No Pun show, and also on io9. If the game takes your fancy, I hope you’ll consider supporting us; I’d love for the book to look as gorgeous as possible. 

The Kickstarter runs until June 3rd— and thanks again!

Thanks for all the reblogs, guys! And I have good news— the Kickstarter actually ends on June 6th. I have a problem remembering things, I guess. Oops!

Nero/Poppaea photo collages! This is not my usual thing, but a friend of mine did the top left collage since she knows that N/P is my 1rst century Julio-Claudian OTP, and I took it and did a few variations on it with various iPad photo apps. I’m fairly pleased with how they turned out, especially the bottom two. I think of them as four aspects of a relationship, which I believe to have been a romantic one, but Fraught by all accounts.

So yeah. Poppaea was actually a pretty interesting character. She was from a not-particularly-distinguished family from Pompeii, and her mom died when she was 17, at the behest of the notorious Empress Messalina. Roman women took the names of their fathers; but at some point Poppaea (the daughter of Titus Ollius, so I imagine she was likely born Ollia) took her mother’s name. With that, she started her own Anne Boleyn type meteoric rise, where she ended up causing the death of Messalina’s daughter Octavia and marrying Octavia’s husband Nero.

Much ink has been spilled about her amber hair and “preternatural beauty,” and pulp writers have gone to town imagining Poppaea’s sexy, slutty wiles.  The lady was seven years older than her husband (quelle scandale!) but, as Nero married her when she was pregnant with their short-lived daughter Claudia, her fertility was most likely one of her biggest attractions. She did, after all, have a son from a previous marriage, while Octavia was most likely barren.

And although there are lots of stories about Poppaea bathing in milk and being extravagant, she continued to be a local girl. She owned a tile factory in Pompeii and made sure that Pompeii got lots of government assistance after a big earthquake in 62.

Even more interesting is that she was pretty involved in the Jewish community. Tacitus, of course, is pretty quick to dismiss her as an evil HOOOOOOOR but Josephus (who actually met her) spoke very highly of her as a god-fearing Judaist who was quick to help imprisoned priests and “pled on behalf of the Jewish people” on at least two separate occasions. Hebrew and Aramaic inscriptions have been discovered at her home in Pompeii too.

Tacitus and Suetonius both claim that Nero kicked her to death when she was pregnant with their second child, but I find that pretty unlikely. She was 35 years old, and neo-natal care in ancient Rome was not really up to modern standards. Most likely she died of a miscarriage. Nero was overwhelmed with grief; he made her a goddess and (according to Pliny) burned a year’s worth of Arabian incense at her funeral.

A poem was even recently discovered in Egypt; it was all about Poppaea’s ascension into heaven, and her grief at being torn apart from her beloved husband. In the poem, the grief-stricken empress is counseled by Aphrodite:

"My child, stop crying and hurry up: with all their heart Zeus’ stars welcome you and establish you on the moon…" 

Poor Poppaea! Don’t listen to those uber-patriarchal historians who’ll be slandering you fifty and sixty years after your death; I believe in you!

Regardless, I imagine she’d be pleased to hear that she hasn’t been completely forgotten, two thousand years later.

Hey there guys! I am super excited about The Queen’s Cavaliers, a game I’m illustrating that’s currently up on Kickstarter. Inspired by The Three Musketeers, it’s a baroque clockpunk tabletop RPG sent in an alternate 17th century France. So there’s swashbuckling ahoy, with dangerous ladies and complicated men, along with all other sorts of Errol Flynn type shenanigans— and more fancy baroque fashion than you could shake a rapier at! 

We were recently featured on the No Pun show, and also on io9. If the game takes your fancy, I hope you’ll consider supporting us; I’d love for the book to look as gorgeous as possible. 

The Kickstarter runs until June 3rd June 6th— and thanks again!

ladyjanerochford:

So a couple of you have been asking me if I drew the picture of Jane, George and Cromwell, so just to answer all of you, no that was not me. (I can’t draw to save my life) that was done by the lovely Tumblr user suburbanbeatnik who has a whole plethora of lovely artwork to enjoy! 

Why thank you! Originally me and fellow artist Sarah Vaughn were going to write a book about George and Jane’s tragic marriage, but it has been shelved for the time being because we have too many other projects going on right now. But someday… hopefully… we can return to it!

ladyjanerochford:

Sometimes I think I love Jane too much but then I see what other people write about her and I’m like no Jane I don’t love you enough. 

Jane needs a lot of love. Did you ever see the Falling from Grace pic I did, depicting Drama between George and Jane Boleyn and Thomas Cromwell?

Hi! I was wondering, is it okay to ask you for some resources, links or tips about a certain fashion era? I'd perfectly understand if it isn't ^^'

Sure! What fashion era would you like to know about?

Here’s Elsa again, from Disney blockbuster Frozen! A number of people requested my take on Elsa’s “Let it Go” ice costume, the one she creates during her big number, and even though it took me a while to do it, here it is.
This one was pretty tricky. So, my original pic locates Elsa in the late 1830s. So, what on earth could she wear that would suit her more liberated fantasy ice queen persona, one that would make sense with her personality, suit the time period, AND work with the general design established in the movie?
I thought and thought about it, and I decided a theatrical Victorian take on historical Nordic costume would work. In the 1830s-1840s, in Scandinavia, romanticism and nationalism converged to create an intense interest in ancient Norse myth and legend (the brothers Grimm emerged earlier from a similar milieu a few decades before); Swedish artist Nils Blommer was one of the more influential artists to emerge from the region. His paintings of Idunn and Freya are especially famous, and I based Elsa’s costume on them. What’s more empowering than a goddess?  Also, it distances her from the Christian culture of the city she grew up in, and allows her to embrace and express her ‘witch-like’ abilities. She’s not wearing a corset, but not all Victorian actresses wore corsets when wearing ancient costumes (like Julia Marlowe from this 1887 performance of Ingomar).  Historical fantasies of ancient times, whether they were Greek, Roman, Celtic or Nordic, were extremely common during the 19th century, and I think in large part because they provided such a welcome contrast to the mannered constraint of the period.
The Nordic knotwork on her cloak is based on the Urnes style of the 11th and 12th centuries. The peculiar transparent overgown of the movie has been replaced by a cloak of silk gauze, and her tunic is sleeveless, since the cold doesn’t bother her anyway. I am pretty sure she is not wearing heels, since that would not really go with the whole Norse goddess look. Sing it, Elsa!

Here’s Elsa again, from Disney blockbuster Frozen! A number of people requested my take on Elsa’s “Let it Go” ice costume, the one she creates during her big number, and even though it took me a while to do it, here it is.

This one was pretty tricky. So, my original pic locates Elsa in the late 1830s. So, what on earth could she wear that would suit her more liberated fantasy ice queen persona, one that would make sense with her personality, suit the time period, AND work with the general design established in the movie?

I thought and thought about it, and I decided a theatrical Victorian take on historical Nordic costume would work. In the 1830s-1840s, in Scandinavia, romanticism and nationalism converged to create an intense interest in ancient Norse myth and legend (the brothers Grimm emerged earlier from a similar milieu a few decades before); Swedish artist Nils Blommer was one of the more influential artists to emerge from the region. His paintings of Idunn and Freya are especially famous, and I based Elsa’s costume on them. What’s more empowering than a goddess?  Also, it distances her from the Christian culture of the city she grew up in, and allows her to embrace and express her ‘witch-like’ abilities. She’s not wearing a corset, but not all Victorian actresses wore corsets when wearing ancient costumes (like Julia Marlowe from this 1887 performance of Ingomar).  Historical fantasies of ancient times, whether they were Greek, Roman, Celtic or Nordic, were extremely common during the 19th century, and I think in large part because they provided such a welcome contrast to the mannered constraint of the period.

The Nordic knotwork on her cloak is based on the Urnes style of the 11th and 12th centuries. The peculiar transparent overgown of the movie has been replaced by a cloak of silk gauze, and her tunic is sleeveless, since the cold doesn’t bother her anyway. I am pretty sure she is not wearing heels, since that would not really go with the whole Norse goddess look. Sing it, Elsa!

preliminary concept sketches for Guenevere

newarcana:

image

Before I say anything else, I should say that Guenevere is still a looooong way away from commercial publication. I estimate that if all goes well, it will take me a year to write each book. (I’ll make the beta of each book available as I finish it.) That’s the drawback of having a demanding day job. The advantage is that, since I’m not writing with a deadline or a need to support myself financially, I can take the time I need to produce the best-quality game I’m capable of.

image

Even though publication is a long way away, it’s still fun to think about. I’d like to give people who played the beta a reason to buy the final product. I don’t plan on withholding the last chapter or anything mean like that — if you stick with me over the next few years, you should be able to play the whole thing for free before I publish it. But if possible I’d like to add some extra content for the commercial version, maybe a few more side-branches or another romance path — nothing essential to the main plot, just more things to play around with. Another way to add value to the commercial version would be to include some artwork, which is an option I’ll think about seriously when the time comes.

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Not long after I posted the beta, I got some really nice feedback and great ideas from professional illustrator and author Joanne Renaud.

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Here’s a few concept spot illos I did for jeantownsend, author of the amazing “Choice of Games” Guenevere game, currently in progress.

An illo by brilliant illustrator James Montgomery Flagg. This picture, for me, depicts why the 1930s were one of the most stylish decades ever. 
And I LOVE the expressions of the watching couple.

An illo by brilliant illustrator James Montgomery Flagg. This picture, for me, depicts why the 1930s were one of the most stylish decades ever. 

And I LOVE the expressions of the watching couple.