Monthly Archives: April 2014

Character Spotlight Lynald Winguard

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Sorry for the radio silence! Between Ravencon, a lung/sinus infection and a flooded basement I’ve been running behind on stuff. But I did have time to do a little extra special art for this week’s spotlight on Lynald Winguard, the co-star of Madame Bluestocking’s Pennyhorrid.

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Lynald Winguard was the brainchild of a college bout of procrastination. Back when the internet was shiny and new I was enamoured of an image generator called “hero machine.” One day I was playing around, avoiding my assignments (like ya do) when I randomly created a peculiar looking elf. He was dressed as a 1930’s pilot, with a whip and a torch. He looked very dashing and Indiana Jones-esque. I knew immediately knew that his name was Lynald Winguard (Bad spelling was my forte back then). It looked a lot like this recreation:
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I loved it so much I printed it off and hung it on my wall. It stayed on my walls through most of college, but sadly, he had no story. Lynald had no home, no personality, no goals. 

It was only later when I was thinking of writing a weekly serial that this dashing pilot came back into my head. He was a pilot but I wanted to make this a steampunk fantasy, so rather than a plane, I decided to give him a dragon in a world of steam dragon machines. I then paired him with a conniving, selfish, cowardly Orchid Hunter from another story idea, changed him slightly into a neurotic wizard and there was my team for Madame Bluestocking’s Pennyhorrid. 

I stuck him in Tereand, because it was already there, I just set the clock forward 200 years. A lot happened to Linus’ world in that time, chiefly almost all the magic and Elves have died out. I don’t want to go into much detail on that. It depresses me. But anyway here’s some Lynald facts, including (as requested by fans) stuff his own mother doesn’t know.

 

FACTS:

 

WHAT WERE HIS EARLY YEARS LIKE?

Lynald is the only son of Sylvestir and Gwynriell, two first cousins who isolated themselves from the rest of their clan, and pretty much the world too. The Winguards decided that the ultimate way to save the dying race of Elves was to revive the old traditions of the Elves of centuries ago. They lived like hermits, communicated only with other Elves of sufficient lineage, and tried to raise their poor son as a golden epitome of the Elven Ideal.

Lynald was forced to learn fencing, bowmanry, ancient traditions and customs, and the dead Elven tongue. He failed abysmally at all of these.Lynald had no head for academics, languages, and his parents’ constant hectoring. He resolved to run away at the first chance he got. It was only when he convinced his father to let him attend university to learn more about Elven history that he got his chance. He stayed at University for all of eight weeks before doing a runner and joining a touring opera company. He spent years becoming a classically trained tenor, countertenor and actor until his company toured an Imperial Air Force base and saw a fleet of dragons flying overhead. Enamoured with the creatures he parted ways with the opera company and enlisted as a pilot in training. After going AWOL, he traveled throughout Paracelos getting by on his charm, eclectic talents (including a mastery of machinery) and the occasional confidence trick. That’s when he ran into Evelyn Kelly. The time-frame of these adventures is muzzy at best. Lynald himself doesn’t know how old he is.

At this point he has had little to no contact with his parents. He has only written them to announce that he is no longer “Sylvester’s son.”

 

HOW DID HE MEET KELLY?

Lynald’s first meeting with Kelly was pretty much a comedy of errors. Lynald was escaping another hot pursuit from the Air Force when he spotted a show by his old opera company. He slipped in the back door and made his way to the prima dona, Anwe Druhelian’s dressing room. After an *ahem* agreement was struck, the lady agreed to hide in her room while Lynald took her place on stage as the title role in “Die Dame Regina der Dreiundzwanzig Schürzen.”

 

In the audience that evening was a Byronic figure, Mr. Evelyn Kelly, an avid opera-lover who was “celebrating” the termination of another one-sided relationship with a girl. He was looking forward to seeing his favorite opera singer, Madame Druhelian on stage for the first time. He was not disappointed. Madame was radiant, stunning, and showed amazing presence while attacking her songs with her angelic, regal voice. Kelly was entranced, falling under her spell as she sang. She’s singing to me, he thought foolishly.

After the show, shocked at his own boldness, Kelly decided that he had to—he must—meet this astounding woman and tell her how wonderful he thought she was. He saw her in the grand foyer afterwards (which was oddly crowded by many men in uniforms for some reason). She was hiding demurely behind a fan and after a lot of anxiety and false starts, he managed to finally approach her. She tried to politely shoo him away, but Kelly knew his course and without reservation, snatched her fan away and blurted out, “I love you!” he was surprised to hear the good lady growl, “PISS OFF,” in a very mannish voice. 

Of course by then, the uniformed men were starting to swarm on the two of them, (Kelly is now guilty by association) so they started running and they’ve pretty much never stopped. Kelly’s regard towards Lynald shifted to a DRASTICALLY different branch of friendship, but he never stopped being in total awe of Lynald.

 

OTHER THINGS:

*It’s pure coincidence that Lynald shared the same initials as Linus Weedwhacker. He’s actually not related to Linus at all, but he IS related (distantly) to both Bart Yenasfrin (On his mother’s side) of Must Love Dragons and Vilori Reagan (On his father’s side) of Runs in Good Condition. 

* His dragon Philomena, I named after Saint Philomena, a very minor Catholic saint who died a martyr and a virgin.

*Lynald has never married, but he’s been engaged a few times. The first was a childhood sweetheart (a cousin) that he ran away from (more on that someday), there were some whirlwind romances that were cut short by fathers, rival suitors, or the good lady coming to her senses, and most recently there was Renata, who was a loony about preserving the Elven Race as Lynald’s parents. He’s also been engaged as a “kept man” (again, more on that later).

*Despite his icy relationship with his parents, he’s on good terms with his more distant relations, who actually pity him his nut-job parents and often offer to bring him into more “liberal” Elven society.

*Lynald’s Dragon saddle is a unique design, patented by the Tereand Imperial Air Force of treated leather, wool, and canvas, all treated to be as flame retardant and insular as possible. Some good amount of stretching is needed before the pilot mounts his dragon, since their bodies are rather wide. The rider holds his seat with the help of straps and an emergency tether. The only problem is if the Dragon decides to shoot fire at anything. The seat can become very hot, sometimes resulting in dermal burns similar to a bad sunburn. There are jokes among Air Force towns about the dashing pilots and their “cooked sausages.” 

*Lynald can fly Philomena without crashing but chooses not to for the sake of comedic narrative.

Character Spotlight Deirdre the Indomitable

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I got some requests to cover Deirdre this week so here’s the lowdown on Linus Weedwhacker’s other half.

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We meet Deirdre at the end of the first book in the Linus Saga, Must Love Dragons, but she’s a constant presence throughout the book and her relationship with Linus is the linchpin in the series. It’s no secret that Deirdre is a 300-ish-year-old red dragon. Her father was a Human wizard with the gift of shape changing. Ulric the White was famous for changing into various creatures to see how they lived. He got a bit in over his head when he transformed into a red dragon and met Deirdre’s imposing mum. One clutch later, Betty took off leaving Ulric the Dragon with five baby boy dragons and one girl dragon. The boys left the nest as soon as they learned to fly,but the girl stayed with him.

Unlike her mother and brothers, Deirdre was very attached to her father and the two kept each other company. Ulric taught his daughter how to shape change and educated her as best he could. Despite their mutual camaraderie, in a few centuries Ulric began to feel old and tired. One day changed back into a human for the last time and quietly passed away, leaving Deirdre alone.

She was a little befuddled by her newfound freedom and after a few clumsy raids on neighbouring sheep, she found herself the target of several attacks by locals and treasure-hunters. She began to feel that life was nothing but a horrible struggle to defend yourself from everyone else. She was hurt and lonely and didn’t understand why everyone was determined to kill her.

That’s when a drunk Linus stumbled into her cave and did something different: he fell over and had a seizure. Most likely it was because he was the only person who hadn’t taken a punch at her, or  maybe it was her human half calling out to her, or that she felt a need to help a dying man, like she’d helped her father, she felt an instant attachment to Linus and the two were cemented together by fate.

It wasn’t exactly a love-at-first-sight, happily ever after Disney, tra-la-la, love story. There were a lot of teething troubles, as there generally is when you suddenly stop being a 12-ton fire-breathing sauroid and become a fragile, soft, pink, monkey-creature. Between complicated human mating ritual and the rather straight-forward but unfulfilling dragon rituals but after so many years and a lot of kids it seems to have worked out for them. Deidre is a stoic amazon warrior matriarch, even if she waffles between confidant and insecure frequently. The confidence comes out when she forgets that she’s not a dragon anymore. The insecurity comes out when she remembers.

 

Fun Facts:

*Her first name was Deirdre and eventually became Deirdremagorafangowenetherix (DEE-dree-ma-GO-rah-FAN-go-wen-ETH-er-ix). Dragons get bored with their names and after a long time or a great victory they like to celebrate by adding a syllable to their names. A long name is usually the sign of an old dragon or a vain one.

*She actually LIKES being a mother of lots of kids. Dragon clutches are usually around six or seven so large families are typical in dragon family if not always so intimate. If anything she’s probably just frustrated that she has to do it in so many goes to get the family -size she wants.

* Deirdre has to be very careful about changing back into a Dragon. She misses being a Dragon a lot but since her magic is dampened in her human form, she’s worried about how it will go. She had a few close calls early on, so she hasn’t changed form in nearly 15 years. She misses flying most of all.

* Her five brothers are named (in short form) Barney, Enoch, Wallace, Carl, and Orin. Orin was Deirdre’s closest thing to a childhood friend, and her favorite brother (which is whom Orin is named after). Barney, on the other hand, keeps trying to get Deirdre to get the kids to come to his cave so he can eat them.

*Carson has inherited some of his grandfather, Ulric’s, ability to use magic and is interested in  becoming a wizard.

*Deirdre’s mum HATES Linus and he is not allowed to visit her under any circumstances. She’s a very kind grandmother to the kids, however, despite a chilly but civil relationship with her daughter. Deirdre never really forgave her mother for abandoning them.

*Her voice in my head sounds like Isabella Rossilini

 

 

Sharpie Mug Tutorial THAT ACTUALLY WORKS

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Okay, for those of you who’ve followed me on Facebook, You’ve probably seen a lot of pictures of coffee mugs that I’ve been working on. Like these ones here:

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Left is a picture of my daughter’s fox friend, Orange Pekoe; the middle is a TARDIS mug that’s bigger on the inside (I wish!); and lastly a lovely Gondor mug for a cup of second breakfast blend.

 

I recently discovered on Pinterest how to make personalized mugs that will stand the test of washing up. Well so many of them said to use just regular sharpies and from “conditioning the mugs” with anything from oven baking, to hot water tempering, to a heavy shellac of krylon crystal seal bond was guaranteed to keep the sharpie from washing off. 

WRONG.

Tell that to poor Tom Servo!!

 

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RIP Sir Htom Sirveaux. Baked alcohol-based sharpie with baked on Krylon crystal seal. Came off with a soft sponge in cold water SURPRISINGLY easy.

As you can see regular sharpie has no way to bond to the shiny ceramic so it just slides off like warm butter sliding off a sheet of Lucite. (My chemist friends are going to tear me a new one for that analogy.)

So digging through the hearsay and the tried-and true, I stumbled on the winning combination: OIL-based paint markers and baking.

These guys:

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Pictured: Good markers.
Not Pictured: Suck markers.

These are ordinary oil-based paint sharpies that you can get at any craft store. They run about $4 each and come in a fairly limited range of colours. You don’t have to buy sharpie brand but they MUST be oil-based and state that they will bond to glass or porcelain or you’re wasting your time and money.

All you need now is a mug to decorate and an idea!

1. I bought this mug today at Dollar Tree for $1 before taxes. Again, I’m limited by the colours that are there (I had a choice of orange, green, blue and yellow today) so I have to think really hard about what I feel like drawing. Check the mug and get one without any cracks or pitting. We’re going to be baking this guy so teeny problems will turn into bad ovens when baked. Before you start, you should take off all stickers and wash the mug in soap and water, making sure to dry it completely before starting.

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Seriously $1. Too bad everything comes in avocado for $1.

 

2. Come up with your idea and DRAW IT FIRST ON PAPER.
The green and brown got me thinking about rangers so I decided to do a mug for the Rangers Union featuring the triple leaf design that I’ve described in my books.

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The Rangers Union Logo is a registered trademark of the Rangers Union LLC ®1480. Unauthorised use or reproduction of the Rangers Union Logo is in direct violation of Imperial Law and any and all violators may face harsh penalties including jail time and/or a fine of up to $12,000 dollars and/or death.

3. Now we’re ready to start on our mug. Oops! I made the right side of the image a little too cramped. Rubbing alcohol to the rescue!  (You can also see what sort of coupon flyers we get out in the country)

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Hey! Chicken wire is on sale at True Value.

A little swipe gets rid of wonky lines. Back to work.

4. There! Lines all done and ready for baking. I think I erased the second “R” about 14 times. 😛 

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It looks so official!! 😀

And because I’m being silly, I’ve added a demotivational quote on the back to remind me that as bad as I have it, it could be worse. I could work for Gruthsfield.

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Also great quotes by T. Grusthfield: “If the bleeding has stopped, it’s probably nothing,” and “Kneecaps being broken hurts; by comparison, paying dues is rather pleasant.”

 

5. Time for baking! Most sites vary on times and temperature, but they all agree on one thing: put your mug in while the oven is still preheating. This prevents temperature shock and further chance that your cheap-o mug might crack during baking. I put the mug upside-down because I think it will prevent browning on the rim, but what do I know? I used foil because I didn’t want any of the mug to get caked on creosote on it from my ancient cookie pan.

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Now for the fire gnomes to do their job.

I do my mugs at 425° for 30-35 minutes, checking to see if the mug is turning brown for any reason or catching fire or whatever. It does stink. It’s on par with doing Fimo jewelry or painting your nails for bad odors. Annoying but not lethal or life-altering and it doesn’t make my food taste gross afterwards, thank goodness.

 

6. After you’ve taken out your mug and allowed it to THOROUGHLY COOL. I recommend you let the design “cure” for 24 hours before washing, to prevent any design damage caused by the paint not cooling thoroughly. After that, light hand washing in warm water should take care of any washing needs from then on. Now, if you’re really brave I’ve been TOLD you can put them in the dishwasher, but I’m hesitant to put my art to the test. I WILL say that the designs are REALLY tough.

I scrubbed at the fox mug with a scrubby sponge in HOT water and the art didn’t budge! You might get some cloudiness with darker designs but any dark stains wipe away easily and I haven’t had any cloudiness after the first wash.

So there you go! Mug designs that you can do yourself at home!

I’m also starting to take commissions on mugs myself, so if you’re interested, please send me a note at beppo_the_monkey[at]yahoo.com ! I’m starting to price them at $20 + shipping, but we’ll see what my research on shipping shows. Hope this helped! Happy baking!

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Opa!

 ☆*:.。. o(≧▽≦)oc[_] .。.:*☆

Learn to Speak Elven Part 2

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Tereand Elven Part 2. 

Vocabulary:  

Ilf/ Ilfani: Elf/ Elfan

Uman/ Umani: Human/ Human (of human race)

Duerga/ Duergani: Dwarf/ Dwarfen

Trok/ Troki: Troll/ Trollish

Yrch/ Yrcha: Orc/ Orcish

Hobya/ Hobyani: Halfling/ Halfling (of Halfling race)

Additional Vocabulary:
e, en : a, an

note: The second form is also the plural form of the race ie: Ilfani=Elves, Umani=Humans.

Homework Excersise Two:

Translate the Following sentances:

Ex. I am a Troll.  Il as en Umani.

1.They are human.  ___________________

2. Are you (plural) haflings? ______________________

3.We are not dwarves.  _______________________

4. Yes, we are elven. _____________________

5. You are trollish.  ____________________

6. My name is (your name.) _______________________

 

Learn to Speak Elven Part 1

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I’m on Spring Break this weekend so I decided it might be fun if I did a little “Elven Lesson” in Tereand Elvish. These fake exercises are how I started building the Elven language that I put all novels in Tereand (like Must Love Dragons and Madame Bluestocking’s Pennyhorrid). I’ll actually be doing a panel on language building at Ravencon next week so I thought this would be a good exercise.

These are all words in the OFFICIAL Tereand Lexicon (ie, the excel file in my doc. folder) and I’ll attempt to be as “official as possible.” Ready? 🙂

Lesson One / Falthe Enn

My Name Is… / Mei Maineh Es…

Vocabulary:

 Il: I

mei: me/ my

ta: you (informal)

thee: you (formal)

wen: us/we

theeyn: they/ you (plural)

di: it

as: am

es: is

ere: are

yae: yes

nae: no/ not

name: maineh

 Mei maineh es__________: My name is__________

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HOMEWORK Exercise 1:

Translate the following phrases:

Example:  E. You are    Ta ere   

1. Yes (informal), I am _______________________

2. You (formal) are _______________________

3. We are not_____________________

4. They are __________________

5. It is ___________________

 

Pies and Art

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This morning I had another wake up call. Someone in an artists’ group I belong to had posted pictures of merchandise she was selling. She had used art which many people recognized as being stolen from a Deviant Art site, and did not belong to her. AND SHE WAS SELLING IT AS HERS. The perp refused to believe she was in the wrong, protesting, “But I can’t do it myself! I can’t draw! I only got it from the internet! That’s not stealing!” 

That’s when I lost it and saw red. This post was originally going to be a nasty long drawn out letter to that person, but instead I decided that my argument would work better as a comic illustrating in clear points why stealing other artists’ work to sell as your own is wrong. Sorry if it’s a bit preachy, but this needs to be said. If it speaks to you or you know some people who need enlightenment on this subject, please feel free to share. This one’s on me.

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Spoon Full of Sugar 2 (update)

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This is HabitRPG and it will change your freaking life.

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This image is from HabitRPG and does not belong to me.

Okay, so I’ve been doing Habit RPG for about 3 weeks now vis. my last post on it. And I’ve been doing so well that I thought it was worth an update. I LOVE THIS SITE. Can I say that enough I LOVE THIS FREAKING SITE.

Usually my daily routine involves me sitting down at 8am, fully intending to be productive…which fizzles out by about 9:30am. The following six hours will usually be me staring into space and going “what am I forgetting?” I’ll usually remember one or two things on my have-tos, but I’m pretty much in a fog all day because all the have-tos flutter around in my brain like moths, confusing me with their vast numbers, and I’m trying to drum up the motivation to even care.

Occasionally I’ll try a hand-written list, but those get lost, or quickly become obsolete and disorganized. And while I might get through the essentials I’ll forget to take care of myself and the house. That will get lost in the brain fog of trying to remember what I’m supposed to be doing. Dishes will sit in the sink and draw fruit flies, I’ll forget all the light bulbs that need to be changed, all the clothes I promised to fix sit in a pile collecting dust, etc. I’ll also forget to take asthma medicine, or use lotion on my face, or to exercise.

Besides, with all this weighty responsibility there lacks a certain thrill or flare or purpose. I can’t tell myself that I’m doing it for myself. I actually don’t like myself very much, so that’s crap motivation.

BUT now with HabitRPG, I’m a rogue named Trixie Von Klepto a party of four and we’re fighting an evil Santa Claus monster that’s threatening poor polar bears! If I don’t check off all my daily tasks than my party members will die and the polar bear will be doomed to be more white fluffy fringe on the Santa monster’s jacket! I have to save them! I have to help! My martyr complex shall come to the rescue!!

So what’s all this mean now? Nothing more than that I’m now able to do 20 pushups and 60 squats (whereas one used to make me pant and sweat 3 weeks ago). It means that i’m getting my assignments done in a timely fashion. It means I’m building up my internet presence and marketing more efficiently. It means my house is clean and inviting. It means that I’m always medicated and have glowing sun-protected skin; I’m remembering to pray more often and make smarter eating choices. I’m also happier and feeling less like a freelance sponge anchored to the couch and filter-feeding off of boredom.

Hell, my kids noticed that I was using this to keep myself organised and they begged for an account to help them remember their chores and to share games with each other! Now they’re trying to earn 100 gold so I’ll treat them to Sweet Frog FroYo.

My only complaint is that with all this rushing around working, cleaning and exercising, I’m starting to go to bed earlier… like I’m TIRED or some junk! HA!

In case you were wondering, I’m not trying to sell this to you or anything. I haven’t been contracted by the staff and I’m not doing this for money. THIS IS A FREE SITE that only runs off donations. It’s only that when you find something amazing like this you want to share it with everyone! And I do. I want this happy vibe I’m getting high off to go around to all my friends.

So, if you’ve been looking for a way to keep yourself on track (freelancers and crafters, I’m looking at you), or are looking for a new FUN way to add spice to your daily doldrums, I highly recommend this site. Go forth and do! Trixie Von Klepto and I hope to see you in the future!

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Trixie Von Klepto by Monica Marier