The Ready Room – Aesthetics Don’t Distract Writers, They Refine

Welcome to The Ready Room, where I explore random topics to help you kick off your week.

A few months ago, I wrote a Ready Room post on resources to create a book aesthetic. At the bottom of the page I dropped a note for readers to send me their aesthetics so I could share them on this blog.

I received some fantastic responses to my shout out and made a few new writer friends. Today I want to share their magic.

Kickass Aesthetics


ELEMENTS by C. M. Fick

When Ember wakes after a millennium, she’s missing the elemental power that not only created her, but defines her whole identity. With her nemesis plotting genocide, Ember must mend her broken connection & sense of self, or watch 2 worlds fall to ruin.


IT’S PROBABLY FINE by Jessica Lewis

Artwork by C. M. Fick

“Boy with anxiety meets magical girl from another world. Hijinks (including attempted murder) ensue.”


WITCHES PROTECTION PROGRAM by Melody Haaf

Harmony’s a witch whose memories were stolen to protect her. With a coven of evil mages hot on her trail, she must trust her fake boyfriend and a ninja princess to elude the coven and find her memories before they destroy them all.


ASHARA, DEATHBRINGER by Megan Van Dyke

Ashara’s healing magic is considered a curse by her people. Zuriel is a half-blooded accidental bastard known for granting death. Falling in love would be simpler if his brother didn’t want her dead and a rebellion wasn’t threatening to pit them on opposite sides of a looming civil war.


A BARGAIN OF FEAR AND DESIRE by Megan Van Dyke

Lia will do anything to save her missing sister, even travel to Faery and strike a bargain with the powerful Fae Lord who haunts her dreams. He’ll find her sister in exchange for what he wants: Lia as his consort. But when she’s given cause to question her faith in the Fae she’s falling for, deciding who to trust could cost her heart, but the wrong choice may demand her life—and her sister’s.


TWO TIDES by Jen Davenport

12 yo Kit planned on spending her summer drawing, but when a self-portrait as a mermaid becomes reality she’s caught in a war btwn the 1-tails & 2-tails. Trapped, Kit must choose life on land or in the sea, bc having the best of both worlds isn’t an option.

Aesthetics Don’t Distract

When I first got involved with the writing community, I saw a lot of Twitter posts about writer distractions, namely when it came to aesthetics. They were making pretty collages, but they weren’t writing.

Oh yes, they are.

Words may not flow during those Google searches, but something else happens. Writers find character faces similar to what they imagine in their heads. They find landscapes and animals and wild things they can see in tangible form. Then they pull those elements together side-by-side in aesthetics, on pinterest boards, or if they’re graphic nerds like me they’ll combine them all into a blended single image defining their fantastical world.

With those elements together in a single view, writers can look deeper to the refined edges of a face, the way the single tresses of hair lift on a breeze, or how blue fire burns within a dragon’s bones. It helps writers refine those tiny world-building details to flesh out the feel and tone of their novels. So for fun, here’s a few extra aesthetic images from the wonderful authors above and you can see how each one sets a unique tone for their world. Enjoy!


TWO TIDES by Jen Davenport

A BARGAIN OF FEAR AND DESIRE by Megan Van Dyke

TWO TIDES by Jen Davenport

ASHARA, DEATHBRINGER by Megan Van Dyke

A BARGAIN OF FEAR AND DESIRE by Megan Van Dyke

* * *Want to see more aesthetics? Be sure to check out the #ThursdayAesthetic hashtag on Twitter every Thursday. 🙂


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Writer Thursdays – Hunting Dragons

Welcome to Writer Thursdays, where I unpack my novel writing process from start to finish.

This week we’re going to talk about dragons. As a child, I liked dragons well enough, but I didn’t have that great love (yet) for them. In fact, I’ve been attached to horses and wolves nearly all my life, so my love of dragons didn’t fully blossom until I met this guy:

This is Ohmva. He’s terrifying to look at when his fires are lit, and a little creepy when they’re dimmed, and his eye sockets seem hollow. Ohmva is a character in my completed novel BLOOD & FIRE, ASH & BONE, and someday I’ll get to share a lot more about him with the world.


For PETALS & DUST, I’ve been on the hunt for just the right dragons to pull into the narrative. Just like people, my dragons are highly intelligent, fierce warriors, and each has the ability to create light magic or shadow magic. This all depends on their personality, what type of dragon they are, and whose blood they bond their fires with. And since characters will be traveling to portal worlds, I want my dragons to be diverse in their appearances.

^Here’s the first one that caught my attention. I mean, how could it not? In fact, this dragon already has inspired my opening scene where the hero/heroine first meet face-to-face. I don’t know a lot about this character, but here’s what I do know. She’s been trapped inside a medallion, her bonded is ruler of another kingdom, and she is one pissed off dragon.

^I know nothing about this dragon yet, but I love the way he looks. The wings remind me of a bat-like quality, but with the vivid coloring of a butterfly. I do know he’ll appear before the midway point in one of the forest worlds. Beyond that, I think just getting to that point in the rewrite will help me understand how he fits into the whole.

And finally:

I discovered ^this stunning image yesterday. I instantly fell in love with his wings because of the amazing color. But he looks like an old man to me. A dragon wise beyond his years that is so very tired of creaking bones and watching his world fall into ruin. I can’t wait to explore his personality, though I do feel an emotional connection because I already know this guy’s fate. Beyond that I won’t say more, but I’m excited to get to know him.

That’s it for today’s dragon hunting. I’ll have to come up with names for all these guys eventually, but that will be the fun part. Especially once I get a sense of who they are and where they fit inside the thirty worlds.


If you like this article, be sure to check out Writer Thursday for more on my adventure from dumpster fire to digestible story. You can also subscribe to my main blog and be the first to know when new content is delivered.