Worldbuilding: Royals Who Actually Do Something

If you want your story to have a good, healthy kingdom in it, consider that beyond the usual training in politics, law, scheming, and military tactics, your royals and nobles would benefit from some enrichment in their castle and fief enclosures. Specifically, hobbies and a regular exercise plan. Continue reading


Colors of Another Sky: Glossary Start

Okay, Foxfier asked for the glossary for Colors of Another Sky. Here’s what I’ve got to date; I’m sure it’ll expand as I go!

Airag: the Mongol name; better known by the Turkish kumis; fermented mare’s milk. Made into brandy, one drinker has called it “a weapon for world domination”. During the Yuan Dynasty at least one ruler tried to get it accepted as a substitute for tea. In China. Oh my…. Continue reading

Worldbuilding: People Like Us

I was watching an episode of Unfettered Shogun, many of whose episodes can be found here on And it struck me how many tropes we think of as modern were here in 1700s guise. Traveling entertainers who are actually seeking information on the whereabouts of someone who “mysteriously disappeared”. Said lost at sea guys actually being the kidnapped experts who created the Secret Formula! (How to make expensive white sugar from local brown sugar.) A dogged investigator tracking down details that indicate Foul Play has occurred. There was even a case of “impersonate the chauffeur”; a ninja knocked out a boatman and took over poling so he could listen in on the Evil Plotting. Continue reading

Worldbuilding: Who Speaks?

Interesting detail I ran into about the Ming Dynasty, researching the place and time Chae comes from. Most people who think of Chinese as a language think of Mandarin; in the 1600s it was “court speech”, mostly based on the language of the area around Beijing, and not native to most of China. Especially not to most of the coast of China. The Fujianese dialect, in particular, was considered incomprehensible. Continue reading