Monthly Archives: June 2014

New Map!

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Sorry for the long pause. Looks like summer is eating more of my life than I anticipated. That means posts here will be brief and not on a set schedule for now. I’ll most likely go back to hosting Character Wednesdays when my life slows down again. So anyways… as some of you already know, I’m a big “Micro-to-Macro” girl when I write. I like to look at the small stuff first—the immediate meat—and I get to the whole big Tolkien-y world building stuff later. Readers of the Linus Saga and Madame Bluestocking’s Pennyhorrid know that the world takes place in Nor Vredon: a providence of the large Tereand Empire. But apart from the mention of a few cities or vague clues, we don’t know what it looks like. 

So I finally got out the pens and pencils and drew a map that was 5 years coming. Here is:

THE GLORIOUS TEREAND EMPIRE.

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It’s a bit “technicolor,” I know. Sorry, but you can make out some important bits. It’s made up of four provinces: Nor Vredon, Porfenia, Culnyrreth, and Ilsland (pronounced ills-land Not island!). The capital city is in Fionwynn There’s a series of 4 mountain ranges (One big mountain range divided by 3 rivers and one active volcano to the south. It borders the Elven countries up north and a lush desert down north. Distance-wise It’s nearly as expansive as Alexander the Great’s realm, and really Tereand is very much like an ancient power that marched over the world devouring and assimilating the small tribes, fiefdoms, kingdoms, and oligarchies in its path.

It’s a very relaxed empire. No one minds the soliders or the regulation or the taxes so much, because they’d already had those anyway, only now there’s only one Emperor or Empress in faraway places making demands and he/she’s too far away to remember they exist. Plus now there’s better roads and a stable economy so what’s the harm?

No one seems to miss the Elves, Dwarves, and Halflings that were driven out of their lands, especially since all the border skirmishes are finished now and everyone seems to be happy with them, right? Right?

Anyway. That’s all for now. Feel free to leave any questions for me and I’ll see you next time I get the chance to post.

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Happy International Donut Day!

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Donut Day Selfie!

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Okay, so there’s a funny story with this:

 I went to my Dunkin Donuts and said, “I’d like to do the drink and donut deal today, can I get a coffee with cream no sugar and a sour cream donut?”
The woman gave me the donut, but the coffee was ICED not hot. I wasn’t sure so I asked, “Is this my coffee?”
She looked at me and said, “It’s what you wanted.”

Not “that’s your order?” or, “it’s what you asked for,” but what I “wanted.” She looked me dead in the eye and said it like it was a fact—like she had gotten her orders from some all-seeing oracle or a fortune cookie that said:

“Give the girl with a bad hair day an iced coffee, no matter what she asks for.

Chinese word of the day is Telephone:  电话  Diàn huà,

lottery numers: 2… just 2.

I’m not the type to argue over something trivial like a misheard coffee order, so I just shrugged and meekly took the coffee.
And then… as I sat in the parking lot biting into a warm, freshly made sour cream donut, with the windows down, the sun shining warmly on my shoulder as a cool breeze ruffled my hair, I took a sip of the cool creamy refreshing iced coffee and felt a stirring of the soul.

Thank you, mysterious psychic donut lady. You were right.
This IS what i wanted.

Thank you, intrepid donut servers of the second great war, for your contribution and bravery, and for making this story possible.

Character Spotlight: Orin

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In incredibly late character spotlight goes to Linus’ second son, Orin.

 

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We first hear about Orin in Must Love Dragons, in the following exchange:

“Why does the little boy look so worried?” asked Morf.

            “Oh that’s Orin, my five-year-old. He was just a little scared. The artist had a mustache. Orin is terrified of people with mustaches,” Linus clarified.

            “Smart kid,” laughed Morfindel. “Is it only mustaches?”

            “No,” sighed Linus. “He’s also afraid of dolls with glass eyes, crows, the kitchen stove, coat stands, that spiders will crawl into his shoes at night, and the hole in the privy…to name a few,” 

It’s plain to see that Orin has a lot of anxiety over seemingly ordinary things. He’s very sensitive, high strung, and imaginative. He snaps out of it often enough to pal around with his sisters (who he gets on well with) but will then lapse into a thoughtful daze or suddenly panic and run for his room. This is because while Orin has a brilliant imagination, he doesn’t know how to control it or separate it from reality. He spins beautiful stories that enchant him, but he also has a flair for the macabre that broods and festers in his mind until it haunts his dreams and torments him daily.

Linus is at his wits ends over what to do with such a boy. Carson was bad enough with his fondness for staying indoors reading, but he was tough enough that Linus didn’t worry too much about him.

Orin is the one he worries about. Linus is most worried because Orin is acting now very much like his brother, Palmer, had as a child. Linus is frantically trying to find a way to “snap Orin out of it,” for fear that he’ll turn into a cold snobbish sociopath like Palmer did. Sadly this involves a lot of hamfisted attempts at therapy,usually resulting in Orin developing new and original fears at an even faster clip.

Orin is somewhat based off of my son who is also very highstrung and imaginative, but he’s also in part based off of myself and all my myriads of irrational fears. My nickname at school was “crybaby,” and I was constantly scaring myself with my own morose imaginings.

Over time Orin is going to find ways to deal with them, but he’s going to reach out to another family member who understands a bit more about what he’s going through—Palmer. We’ll just see how that goes.

Fun Facts:

*I got the name Orin while remembering Little Shop of Horrors, although there is NO similarity between my sweet boy and the homicidal dentist.

*Orin is classic case of a child with Asperger’s with ADHD (which I have), but of course in Linus’s world he’s simply labeled as “flighty,” “particular,” and “having an old soul.”

*Orin is a philosopher by nature. He’s always one to argue about why things must be done, why that is the case, and whether there’s any sense in it. 

*Orin doesn’t get on with Carson, the latter of which sees Orin as a pest and an annoying tail.

*Orin is very clever but gets poor marks at school for not paying attention and for going on tangents about his flights of fancy to his classmates.

I’m not going to go into the three youngest children, Fia, Lenny, and Elsie, since they are really too young to talk about. I may do after a few more books with them come out.

That’s it for the brood of Linus. Feel free to make any suggestions for next week’s character spotlight!

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More Audio Goodies!

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Just a quick one here!

I’m still playing the wine glasses (see last post) with all the things I have to finish before (DUN DUN DUN) summer vacation.

SO,  last week my brother and co-writer for the Tangent Artists comics, Dave, posted a link to THIS site on my Facebook wall. (click the image to see the link)

ImageThis lovely site, http://tabletopaudio.com/,  is similar to the soundscape sites I’d posted earlier, but this is less “whales and nature” and more “dungeons and Old Ones.” There are dozens of 10-minute tracks of world-building sound tapestries to help you enhance your brain juices and bring your imagination to full HD clarity with rainbows and unicorns and leprechauns on rollerblades with Roman candles. It’s original use is for tabletop gaming (I love using soundscapes for those too) but I think this would make a great tool for writers too! I’ve already been using “Dessert Bazaar.”

There’s a huge selection of scifi/fantasy/horror/specfic landscapes like the humming warp thrusters of  “Starship bridge,” the eerie echos of “catacombs.” Tread the salt-crusted boards to “the age of sail,” and challenge that yellow-bellied lowlife Slim Jim to a showdown with “True West”—just to name a few.

Worthy of note: this is a FREE site but it’s funded entirely by donations. If you find this site as engaging as I do, please consider donating to their site.

See you all tomorrow for Character Spotlight Wednesday!