The "Unexpected Inspiration" Characters

Apr 1, 2017

Welcome to Musings of a Messenger!

Here you'll find the writing and ramblings of Meri Greenleaf. For easy access, here are the stories I've so far shared to this blog.

Short stories from "Unexpected Inspiration"
These are a collection of short stories about artists, inventors, and carnival performers. They're set in my lighthearted/comedic lgbt+ fantasy series Unexpected Inspiration. (You can learn more about the series here.) I'm currently writing the first trilogy of books in this series, so these short stories go along with those characters, and I'm always adding new stories to this list.
  • "Three Keys"
    Friendship, trust, and keys. Sweetness abounds.
  • "Who Picked Whom"
    The trio reflects on fate being
    weird. This never should have happened.
  • "A New Beginning"
    A would-be thief gets offered a job after a strange blue woman catches him.
  • "Rising to a Challenge"
    A young arcane chef regrets her decisions and wonders if her restaurant is cursed.
  • "Mile Long Cow"
    Some myths and legends go back centuries. This one goes back five minutes and you'll probably want that five minutes back.
  • "Soul-Marks"
    It would help if anyone ever went by their real name. (Every writer writes a cheesy soulmate AU at some point. This is mine.)
  • "Lost and Found"
    Sure, blame the newcomer when your stuff goes missing. That won't come back to bite you.
  • "Roommates"
    What do you do when your new roommate is an offbeat inventor who can control fire? First step: make him wear pants.
  • "Of Parties and Potions"
    A mischievous scheme causes chaos at a costume party. The healer enlists the help of a cat and a mouse to right a lizard's wrong.
  • "Sheltered"
    Adair wakes up and finds that he has been left alone. He's not happy about this.

These are longer stories set in the world I was writing previous to Unexpected Inspiration; they're older stories written in '10 and '11. These are more traditional fantasy and are set in the "Dungeons and Dragons" world my husband and I created. I've since moved on from elves and traditional fantasy, but these stories hold a special place in my heart as the ones that gave me my love of writing.
  • The Acolyte's Map
  • A powerful magical artifact has been unleashed! Unfortunately it has fallen into the unlikely hands of a hapless young priest who is now bound by its bizarre curse. This is the tongue-in-cheek tale of a half-elven cleric who is trying to locate and free the unwitting victim from said item's grasp with the help of his mischievous (and not always competent) brethren. Along the way there will be magic, intrigue, mischief, and a talking dog.
  • Hidden Magic
  • Meren, an unusual elf girl (and her more unusual centaur brother) take up the task of hunting down a band of orc trespassers. When she stumbles into a pitfall, Meren finds an object: an amulet that gives strange new powers. Little does she know that an increasingly desperate young wizard is looking for the very same amulet and that their paths are destined to crisscross in a weave of chaotic magic...

Set of character aesthetics for the “Unexpected Inspiration” series and Camp NaNo ramblings

I realized that since I finally remembered to share the last one, I should put them all into one post. I’m really proud of these! For details (and larger pictures) of each aesthetic, they can be found here: Adair, Blythe, Etri, Firedrake, Sol. (I also have a post where I cast each character and gave short info about them here.)

Plus, Camp NaNo! These five are my dorks, the characters who have been traveling with me since NaNo ‘13. I’m slowly but continuously recording their adventures in an lgbt+ comedic fantasy trilogy. For Camp this year I’m planning on continuing my rewrite of book 1 (Colorweaver). I’m calling this my second draft because I’ve only reached “the end” once, but several chapters have been rewritten several times. It’s always hit or miss if I stick with a project for a whole month- or even if I have the energy/time to stick with NaNo a whole month!- but if I decide to work on something else like short stories or book 2, it’ll be about these characters. Here’s to hoping life doesn’t get in the way so I get a lot accomplished this month! I’ve fallen out of the habit of writing regularly, so I could use the kick in the pants of a NaNo to get me moving again.

Here’s the summary for Colorweaver:

Adair Cerulean is a novice cartographer with the ability to make his drawings have the semblance of life. Like the other creators who possess magic and channel this through art, Adair is a Weaver. Adair is in the process of working on the project that, once complete, would advance him in rank when disaster strikes! His map is stolen and as its new owner seeks out more Weavers, Adair feels a tug from his creation to follow. This pull leads him to a carnival where he meets a healer standing guard over a stricken performer. It turns out that his thief is more than a mere robber and there’s more at stake then just a stolen map. Wacky antics ensue as Adair attempts to get his art back and stop the thief before he hurts anyone else.

Character Aesthetic for Firedrake

I'm a good month behind with sharing the last of the five aesthetics for the main characters in my fantasy series. Whoops. Not surprisingly, it's Firedrake's. Poor Firedrake always has the worst luck. Or, rather, Dray always makes poor choices that result in bad things happening to them. This isn't to say that life hasn't kicked them around because it absolutely has. Firedrake just doesn't make things easier for themself. Seriously Dray, why is sarcasm, inconveniencing pranks, and your weak mind control magic your solution to everything?

Anyway, Firedrake is Blythe's sibling-by-choice; at one point the two of them shared a sword dancing act before Dray left the carnival troupe to perform on their own. Dray still does blade dancing, but tends to prefer fire. By "prefer" I really mean "is absolutely obsessed with." When Dray learns that they can summon/control fire, they're ecstatic! It's probably the only good thing that happens to Dray for a book and a half. There are those terrible decisions again! Firedrake's costume/stage persona is a dragon because Dray's more than a little obsessed with this particular mythological species.

The people I picked here aren't how I imagine Dray's physical appearance, but the makeup, costumes, and hair are very similar. Dray is agender and uses they pronouns.

My other four character aesthetics can be found here: Adair, Blythe, Etri, Sol. For image sources for this aesthetic, I found these: 13, 5, 6, 8, 9.


Mar 26, 2017

ABC Writing Game

I was tagged over on tumblr to do this really fun writing tag game for one of my characters and figured I'd share it here, too. I’m picking Adair because he’s the most-main character of my current trilogy, but I might fill this out for Blythe later since she’s pretty much as much an MC as he is.

A is for Age: 18 (Adair’s the youngest of my five characters- the rest are in their 20s)

B is for Biggest Fear: Until book 2 when his fear becomes more emotional (losing the empathetic bond to his pair), it’s heights. He’s terrified of being off the ground in any way.

C is for Current Time: It’s late winter at the start of book 1.

D is for Drink Last Had: Tea. Definitely tea. This culture drinks a lot of freaking tea.

E is for Everyday Starts With: Grumbling about it being way too early to be awake (usually directed at Blythe who’s a Cheerful Morning Person ugh), but then getting super excited because he gets to make breakfast! Then losing some excitement because his family of carnies can’t agree on anything ever including breakfast.

F is for Favorite Song: There are bound to be popular songs in a culture that revolves around the arts, but darned if I know what any of them are. Blythe was probably humming it this morning while being Annoyingly Awake.

G is for Ghosts, Are They Real?: At the start of book 1, Addy would say probably not. By the end it’s a definite, personal yes. (I mean, he gets to kiss one. That’s pretty definite.)

H is for Hometown: Sagewood, one of Concordia’s small towns in the middle of nowhere. It’s boring.

I is for In Love With: Like that’s a secret. Blythe and Etri. My gosh, the boy has it bad for both of them. Fortunately for him it works out to be mutual. It starts as a bit of a crush on these two attractive, slightly older performers, then they become his best friends and eventual significant others.

J is for Jealous Of: Addy’s not a particularly jealous person. I guess he’s sort of jealous of the other artists his age who get more respect than he does, but he knows that he could too if he acted more traditional and he’s dang well not going to do that. He’s kind of an outsider in his own community.

K is for Killed Someone: Unless a shadow or light creature (I haven’t decided which) counts, no. That’s assuming he can even hurt them. Not sure yet.

L is for Last Time They Cried: Probably within the past few days. He cries pretty easily over pretty much any kind of emotion. (I really need to make this come up more often. He’s the most emotional character of the bunch.)

M is for Middle Name: None at the moment, but when he gets his promotion to a higher ranking artist in book 2 (basically a symbol of adulthood), his parents’ surname (Cerulean) becomes his middle name and he gets to choose a new surname based on his profession.

N is for Number of Siblings: One younger sister. He gets along with her, but they’re pretty far apart in age and he hasn’t been home in a while so he hasn’t seen her lately.

O is for One Wish: To have a sentinel who will protect him and respect him better than his ex boyfriend did. (Sentinels are an artist’s bodyguard/significant other.)

P is for Person Last Called/Texted: He avoids writing home whenever possible, but he keeps in better contact with his former master who was like another mom. That said, the last letter he wrote was probably to his ex girlfriend. They’re still good friends and keep in contact with each other.

Q is for Questions They’re Always Asked: I couldn’t think of one so my husband suggested “You? Seriously??” because no one ever takes Adair seriously. He’s young, adorable, harmless looking, and kind, and I think this tends to make people disregard him.

R is for Reasons to Smile: So many things make Adair happy! A new thing to sketch/paint, a change in scenery so he can see/experience new things, friends telling jokes and enjoying his company, yummy pies, beautiful spring days, his cat snuggling him, affection from Blythe or Etri.

S is for Song Last Sang: I still don’t know songs for this world yet. Probably whatever Blythe was humming while she tended to her plants this morning has gotten stuck in his head, though.

T is for Time They Wake Up: Well into morning, probably around 10 given the choice. (Still not as bad as Etri who hates waking up before noon lol.)

U is for Underwear Color: Adair’s the kind of person who wears whatever looks cleanest. That said, most of his clothes are blue or purple, so it’s probably one of those colors.

V is for Vacation Destination: As a cartographer, he spent much of his apprenticeship traveling. He doesn’t have a favorite place so much as places that served the best foods.

W is for Worst Habit: Messy handwriting is probably the most harmless but most frequent. He’s a cartographer. His writing has to be legible. He’s really bad at making it this way but he’s trying to be neater. The most harmful one is a tendency to be too passive and not speak up or letting other people make the decisions. He’s gradually getting better at this.

X is for X-Rays; Ever Broken a Bone?: Probably several. The other four members of his found family are all strong, athletic carnival performers. Adair is… well, he’s a kindhearted artist who got picked on a lot as a kid and probably struggled to keep up with the other kids.

Y is for Youth: *cough* I guess this is where I was going with the previous letter. He had a pretty boring, fairly traditional childhood and a slightly less traditional apprenticeship (his master is kind of an oddball like him who didn’t quite fit into what Artisans are supposed to be like). He’s a friendly person, but he’s also kind of quiet and would rather draw something than play with the other more outgoing and social kids. It didn’t help that his magic manifested a little later than average (an Artisan’s worth is in their ability to possess magic and be an artist with it) and he was always kind of an outsider. He wasn’t disliked, but he wasn’t exactly included, either. And his biggest childhood bully grew up to be his closest friend because they were both kind of social outcasts with the other kids- this person was also later his aforementioned inept sentinel/boyfriend. He never really got on with his family, either, although hit fit in much better with his master and her family. Yeah, Adair is much happier with where his life is right now even though it’s nothing like how an Artisan is supposed to live. He was a crappy Artisan but he’s a dang good carny lol.

Z is for Zealous: What Are They Passionate About?: Drawing and painting, putting his magic and effort into a really cool map that’ll be his final project as an apprentice artist (this is basically like a graduation project and rite of passage rolled into one), cooking, finding yummy foods.


Mar 7, 2017

Character Aesthetic for Sol

Here's my fourth character aesthetic thing! (So far I've shared them for Adair, Blythe, and Etri.) This one is for Sol and it didn't end up nearly as blindingly yellow and glittery as I imagined it would lol. Sol is my resident comic relief in a series where pretty much everyone is comic relief. I think that probably says a lot about how goofy and weird he is. He's so kind and loyal, but it's hit or miss if the words coming out of his mouth make any kind of sense in the context of the current situation. (”What do you mean you had a monkey but it got promoted?”)

Sol is one of my carnival performers and does a fire act alongside his twin brother. He has light/fire magic which he uses both in this career and in his hobby as an inventor. It comes in handy to be able to soften and shape metal with his bare hands! He’s something of a genius ditz: brilliant at inventing things, a completely inept goofball the rest of the time. While his inventions and ideas always seem strange, they're surprisingly useful- when they don't explode or catch on fire or cut a gaping hole through the side of his home.

Getting to the pictures, to show his inventions I picked gears and goggles. When he's not wearing these to protect his eyes, he always has them resting on his forehead. (He thinks this makes him look charming and cool. In actuality when they're combined with his tall fauxhawk, it looks kind of silly.) Glitter because he's all about shiny things, but I also wanted the rainbow glitter to represent that he's gay- I'm trying to include something for each of my characters that represents their lgbt+ness. I loved the glitter on bare feet because Sol rarely wears shoes. His fire magic keeps his body temperature abnormally warm. And, well, he's Sol. Barefoot fits quirky Sol. Fire breathing and the quote are self-explanatory and that outfit absolutely looks like something he'd wear. The hand is how I picture his magic to look. He can summon and control fire, but usually he prefers light.

I should probably mention that his birth name isn’t Sol or Celeste. Like all of my characters- a group of mostly carnival performers- he picked his name. I do write cheesy sometimes for the humor factor, but even I’m not cheesy enough to name the light magic dude after the sun. He’s cheesy enough to do that, though!

 (For image sources, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 were the ones I could track down.)