Publisher: Mirror World Publishing
Taking up the Art of Letter Writing
In the Kingdom of Ismera, the setting of our novel, Unintended, letters play an important role both in politics and in romance. Letter writing is considered an artform in Ismera, where games are played with words and letters are often used as a means to veil or clarify one’s meaning. Our protagonist, Kenzie en Shareed learns the Ismeran art of letter writing the hard way, but thankfully you don’t have to!
For the complete experience you will need a quill, ink, some quality parchment or stationary, an envelope, wax, and a wax seal. We picked up our quills from our local Chapters bookstore, but you can order them online if you need to, or just use a nice fountain pen. For paper and ink, I suggest looking in a craft supply store. Wax and wax seal may be more difficult, but again you can find most things online. Optionally, you can also include scrap paper for your rough draft and stamps to send your letters to their recipients in the real world!
You’ll need a desk or at the very least a table to work on. The kitchen table will do in a pinch, but try to find somewhere quiet where you can concentrate and where your work surface is large enough that you don’t risk tipping your inkwell over and making a mess of things. If you do happen to spill ink or get it on your hands, I’ve found that hand sanitizer does a great job of getting rid of the evidence.
- The rough draft
Unlike typing on a computer, you can’t easily fix mistakes with ink and with a quill pen blots are easy to make. Take your time and try writing out a rough draft first so you can work out what you want to say and how you want to say it. In the end, if you have little mistakes or things you’ve crossed out that’s okay. It adds character to your letter! But be aware that an Ismeran reading your letter can attribute meaning to even the smallest of things, so make sure your finished product doesn’t contain any unintentional messages!
- Perfecting your handwriting
Practice makes perfect, so don’t worry if your first few letters don’t look as elegant as you imagined they would. The best way to fix this problem is to write more letters! When working on Unintended, Murandy and I wrote dozens of letters to each other which not only helped us improve our penmanship, but also helped us get into character and into the setting.
- The finishing touches
You’re almost ready to send your letter! This is where the envelope and wax seal come in. Since you’ve spent so much effort on making the contents of your letter look good, you’ll want to do the same with the packaging. Address your envelope first, then turn it over and seal it with melted wax. You really don’t need very much of it and you also don’t need to press really hard with the seal either. If you don’t have a wax seal, you can always close the letter with a sticker or decorate with stamp. Failing that, skip the envelope entirely, roll it like a scroll and tie with a ribbon… only in that case, I wouldn’t try sending it through the postal system.
beginning. Now, after nearly a month of riding through them, they had begun to
seem commonplace. What the High Clan Chief’s daughter was not prepared for,
however, were the high turrets of the palace she was headed towards and the
sprawling city of Ismer that surrounded it. Even more surprising than all that
was the fanfare that greeted her when at last she reached the city’s
so much as a weapon drawn or a friend to watch his back.
home, she noted. Unless, it’s only that they don’t consider me a stranger.
preparing herself to make a good impression. She felt her breath catch in her
throat as he came closer and she realized that the man before her, with his
sunny hair, tanned skin and bright blue eyes could be none other than the man
she’d ridden all the way here to marry. She felt her usually flawlessly tanned
skin flush an uncomfortable shade of red as she watched him dismount and walk
the rest of the way to her side, a wide grin spreading across his face at the sight
much as she might want to, she couldn’t deny the pounding of her heart or the
fluttering in her stomach. I’m very fortunate to be attracted to him so
hand and kissing it lightly. “Princess Mackenzie, let me be the first to
welcome you to the City of Ismer.”
bracelet she’d woven herself for this very occasion. Unhooking it carefully
from her belt, she caught his hand before he could take it away and swiftly
wrapped the small, white-flowered wreath about his wrist, tying it with a
didn’t have time to explain it to him now. That would come later, after they
were entwined together in their marriage bed. Right now, only the ritual
theirs and am completely surrounded by Ismeran culture and politics it will be
too late to marry him in my own way, in front of my people and by our customs.
It’s the only way I will feel comfortable with his arrangement. I can marry him
in the Ismeran way afterwards.
mentor and friend had accompanied her this far and now she played her part of
the wedding ceremony by bringing forth the wreath that Prince Kadrean would
place upon her head, sealing their arrangement and making them man and wife.
she always complained of, holding out the wreath before her in offering.
Kenzie knew her own to be. “You must place it upon her head and say the words.”
did as instructed.
making sure to properly enunciate each syllable so he could follow along.
that were foreign to him, “a Gus who de Gamsa.”
I thought that being the heir to these lands, he would have some knowledge of
with a smile, before leaning in to kiss him, as was customary.
began to cheer, but their cheers were cut short when her new husband pulled
back from her in surprise. “Whoa! I don’t know what’s expected between two
strangers in the North, but here in the South it’s customary to save that kind
of greeting for your husband.”
language she understood, “so I have a fiancée and you have a Prince who’s
waiting very anxiously to meet you up at the Palace.”
Prince Kadrean…?” The golden-haired stranger she’d just married wore a look of
concern mixed with confusion. “Then who are you?”
of the clanspeople. “Lord Garron D’Arbonne…at your service, Your Highness.”
couldn’t find it in her to break it or fill it with anything meaningful. Her
entire focus was on keeping herself from hyperventilating.
panic at the gravity of the error she had just committed. How can I fix
this?! The marriage bond is forever, never able to be undone… A man can
remarry, under certain circumstances, but can a woman? Would they even allow
such a thing?
our lands to work. I’ve only just arrived and I’ve already ruined it. What am I
going to do?!
Prince Kadrean is eager to meet you.”
husband, but he’s right, I’m supposed to marry Prince Kadrean. There is a
treaty; our marriage is law. It must happen…
Meet the Authors:
Murandy Damodred (left) & Justine Alley Dowsett (right):
With a background in Drama and Communications from the University of Windsor, Murandy Damodred (left) enjoys fantasy fiction with strong romantic subplots. She is an avid roleplayer and is happiest when living vicariously through her characters. Though she’d rather think of herself as the heroine of her next novel, in the real world she is an expert in sales and management living in Windsor, Ontario.
From obtaining a BA in Drama at the University of Windsor to becoming an entrepreneur in video game production and later, publishing, Justine Alley Dowsett’s unswerving ambition has always led her to pursue her dreams. Today she lives in Windsor, Ontario and is still writing and publishing fiction novels. When not focusing on growing her business, she enjoys role-playing with friends and developing new ideas to write about.