Tag Archives: amwriting

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.

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

Character Spotlight: Miles Reyner the Entertainer

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So this week’s spotlight is on Miles Reyner, the sweet pop star who’s first introduced in Runs In Good Condition.

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Miles is a charming clean-cut teen idol in RiGC in which I kind of combine modern stars like Zach Efron and Justin Beiber with more old-timey super stars like Vivaldi or Mozart. He defies the stereotype of the jerkwad teen with too much fame money and power, but is that simply because he’s trying to make a good impression on Linus’s oldest daughter or not? He’s the reason several songs appear in RiGC, although I’m learning that I will never be able to STOP putting songs in my books, no matter how I try.

The biggest question I get about Miles is why he’s so different in CRIT! than he is in Runs In Good Condition? Well that ultimately comes down to writing teams. I wrote RiGC long before we’d conceived of doing a comic about it and shortly after we started writing CRIT! my brother, Dave Joria, was wondering if he could be “in charge” of a character for writing sessions (aka: D&D games).

I told him I had a Bard in my next book and gave him a loving description of Miles Reyner…and Dave chucked it out the window. That’s why in the comic, Miles is a obtuse, egocentric, bombastic, glory hound in tight leather pants. It was so hilarious I didn’t have the heart to make him stop. He was even the inspiration behind the Handbook for Saucy Bards, which has been our breakout hit!

So does that mean the two Miles have no connection? Wellllll. Let’s just say that Justin Beiber was once a “sweet kid” too.

FUN FACTS:

*Miles is actually Half-elven. It just never comes up in the book (there are LOTS of Half-elves in Gwynnharrafadd). Also, his hair tends to cover his ears.

*One of Mile’s trademark decorations is a quizzing glass on a chain (a sort of monocle with a handle), a fashionable piece of jewelry in the Regency Period.

*Almost all of Miles’ songs are written down in the book with the exception of the opening number for his concert. In my head, he’s always singing this song: the song that inspired him.

The Entertainer by Billy Joel. I do not own the rights to this clip.

That’s it for Miles this week. I look forward to your comments and suggestions for next week’s victim!

 

MMORPGs and Character Exploration

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If I haven’t let my geek flag fly enough lately *snort* let me amend that by confessing that I love my MMORPGs. I’m not a gamer by any stretch of the imagination. I only play a few games, namely Lord of the Rings Online, DC Universe Online, Dungeons & Dragons Neverwinter, and Star Wars Old Republic. My first real video game was LOTRO back in ’10. There was something about it that caught and hooked me and it wasn’t just visiting all the people and places in Middle Earth that I’d always dreamed of seeing. I made a few of my characters, Linus and Deirdre chiefly, because they lent themselves well to the fantasy genre and I already liked them.

I wanted to make an Elf character, and someone else was using “Morfindel,” so I made Vilori Reagan. He was only a little tertiary character in my book, nothing special, but then something astonishing happened. As I played with Vilori and made more decisions, I began to learn things about him! I learned his likes, his dislikes, his point of view, his motivations and pursuits and dreams!

That’s what gave rise to the Vilori Reagan as he exists in Runs in Good Condition and not just a crotchety one-liner guy.

It didn’t stop there, either. I got to know Linus and Deirdre better too, as well as some of my upcoming characters. Now if I don’t know what a character’s about, I create a character for them and pay very close attention to how they work. What tasks do they like, what don’t they like. Do they like fights or avoid them? Are they abrupt or surreptitious? Do they help people for money or because they feel altruistic? What hobbies do they have? These are all things most writers like to explore to make a fleshed out character.

And maybe, if you’re lucky, some really hilarious incidents will make it into a book, (Like the fact that in Halfling Towns, all of the lamp posts hang their lights at just the right height to conk Linus on the head.)

So just thought I’d toss that out there. MMORPGs are a great way to unwind and kill things when the world looks stupid, but it’s also an enjoyable way to get inside your characters’ heads and get your hands dirty.

 

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Picture courtesy of Lord of the Rings Online and belongs to Turbine Entertainment and Warnr Brothers Home Entertainment

So if you see a Character on the Landroval server that has a name like one of my characters, say hi! it might be me. 🙂

Getting to Know Morfindel

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(Note: This is a repost after the first page got deleted. Apologies)
Character Wednesday!

I had a request for one on Morfindel Cunlias this week and I’m happy to oblige.

Here’s Morf!

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Morf comes from both the Linus Saga books and its parallel dimension CRIT! He’s a young Elf, only 20 when we meet him, who still has a lot of growing to do. He tries to do his very best at all times, but usually ends up stymieing himself with his own naivete and impulsive nature.

He started off as a nuisance newbie hanging on Linus but over the series he’s starting to become Linus’ best friend… a bond that’s put to the test a lot when he falls for Linus’ oldest daughter.

SO! Some fun facts.

* To answer most people’s question, his surname, Cunlias, is pronounced “Koon-lees.”

*His mannerisms and personality are based on one of my best friends.

*Morfindel thinks of Linus as a father figure, even if Linus would rather think of him as a younger brother. He tends to gravitate to fatherly figures after being raised in a male mission since he was three. It also explains his avid attraction to women yet his complete inability to comprehend them.

*He has yellow eyes (those exist, I’ve seen them!) which hint at his true roots. More on that in future books.

*I cut Morfindel’s hair off out of spite because I hated drawing it in the comic. Much sooner in the book, and those tresses’ days are numbered in the comic too. I HATE long hair.

*Morf hates raisins. The monastery used raisins to sweeten a lot of dishes for the children and Morf  got thoroughly sick of them early on.

 

That’s all for this week! Let me know who you want for next week.

The Idea Well

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It’s up there on most authors’ “worst questions to be asked,” right up there with, “so do you have a real job?”

“Where do you get your ideas?”

When it comes to simply, “where does our mind fly off to to fetch ideas about worlds that don’t exist and people who aren’t real?”  A person might as well ask, “what magical leprechaun visited you in your sleep and poured whimsical brain dust into your head holes to give you your ideas?”

How do I answer that? There’s no magic rite, no ceremonial dance, no burnt offerings. It’s just there, unbidden, and NEVER on call when I need it. No one really knows where it comes from. I sure don’t. Frankly, I’m not sure I want to because imagination is a terrifying and amazing place.

Usually, though, people are expecting a concrete idea. Like “when I work out,” or “when I was in Mexico for a year,” or “while the doctor was shaving me for my hernia operation,” and that leads to more embarrassing situations for me.

That’s the other thing authors won’t tell you about writing.

Most of us get about 70% our ideas while we’re in the room with the sink.

That’s my Victorian version of “we’re on the can.”

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The porcelain throne, usually around 3 am,  devoid of phones and shampoo bottles to read, barely awake and still half dreaming, I seem to get most of my ideas. Sometimes I luck out and I get ideas in the shower, but it would appear that my muse is a stoned college student who hangs out in bathrooms in weird hours and says, “hey…. hey… hey…hey… I got an idea…. hey… this is great…. dude… dude… You should TOTALLY do a bit in your book… where Linus has no pants.” It then dissolves into giggles and goes to the kitchen for grape soda and cold macaroni salad.

Yup. That’s how the magic happens folks. Oh what glamorous lives we lead.

Liebster Award

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This week I was awarded the Liebster Award by the wonderful talented writer, Sabrina “Stabby” Zbasnik for my writing career.  With it is the condition that I have to nominate 3 other writers and ask them a series of 10 questions. Those three are:

Emma Newman, author of the awesome Split Worlds series.

Angela Capozello author of the awesome Nox and Grimm series.

Fellow Hunt Press author, Barrie J. Rosen . You should buy her books. And mine. Buy mine too.

Your 10 questions, ladies,  are as follows, and I’m going to pretend really hard that I’m not secretly asking for tips:

  1. Are you a planner or a pantser (as in seat-of-the-pants)?
  2. What’s your favorite stage of writing?
  3. What kind of tunes do you listen to while writing; do you have a favorite song?
  4. Do your characters ever “get away” from you and if so, how do you cope?
  5. How do you deal with writer’s block?
  6. Who’s your favorite character to write for and who’s your least?
  7. Who was your favorite character growing up?
  8. What’s the craziest real-life experience that wound up making it into your fiction?
  9. Why do you write?
  10. If you could spend a day at a theme park with your any of your characters, who would it be, what ride would you go on, what would you eat for lunch, and how would it end?

And now for my questions as asked by Stabby.  I’m thrilled to answer these.

  1. What’s your favorite character?
    My favorite character is definitely Linus Weedwhacker, who first appears in Must Love Dragons. There was some magic symbiosis between him and me. It was giving a name and a face to the cynical, sarcastic voice whispering into my ear, telling me to look at the monsters in life and laugh when I saw the strings. At the same time, there’s a lot of heart to Linus and a lot of strength to him. I find myself drawing from that strength and becoming inspired by it when I feel small and helpless.
    Or to phrase it in my brother’s words: deep down inside me is a chainsmoking, hardened, 52-year-old man.
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  1. Is there a character that you were going to kill/write off but something changed your mind?
    Vilori Reagan was never meant to be more than a cardboard background antagonist to Linus. He was just a rich snob and a financial facilitator to Linus in Runs in Good Condition and then somehow he started to have this unexpected depth, weaseling himself into more of the book than I had intended. He even upstaged Avery who was supposed to have a bigger role. Now he’s another favorite character to write for and I find myself wanting to learn more about this cold weird bastard. He’ll probably be showing up in more books of The Linus Saga.
  2. Are you more of a plot/character/idea/throw words against the wall like spaghetti author?
    Yes. I remember sending a query to a good friend that said, “Guys show up, stuff happens, good guys save the day.”
    I’m a conversationist writer. My usual method is to put several people in a room together and just have them talk and see what happenes. Some of my best scenes have come about by simply letting the personalities clash, but then sometimes it’s like herding cats to get these guys to stop talking and actually, ya know, DO something.  I call it “couch syndrome,” because it’s like trying to get your kids off the couch to go play outside. Lynald Winguard and Ev Kelly are the worst for that.
  3. What’s the stupidest idea you’ve ever had?
    I don’t think anything tops having a Regency-esque protagonist with the last name Weedwhacker. But that was just his name. There was nothing I could do about it. I’ve gotten used to it and it will occasionally take me by surprise when I suddenly re-realize, “That’s a really STUPID surname. I can’t believe I did that.”
  4. What’s the best idea you’ve ever had writingwise?
    I think my best idea was to ditch the epic adventure ideas of grandeur that I had earlier in my life. I wanted to be the next Tolkien and that’s just not who I am.  I’d rather write about life. Life isn’t always about going out and slaying a beastie or saving the world. Sometimes life is simply about living through it. It’s about the people you share a home with, work with, fight with and love.
  5. Out of all your settings, which would you most like to live in?
    I think it would be pretty cool to live in Burrowsborough, the Halfling village featured in the upcoming 3rd book of the Linus Saga, No Shoes, No Service (working title). Intimate, comfortable, and by the sea-shore, even if it does seem to rain every other day. And with lots of good food and beer. I wouldn’t go barefoot, though. I need to have my boot collection.
  6. What’s your biggest writing win? 
    The Linus Saga has been my bread and butter. I’m glad that people genuinely connect with it and keep asking me to do more. I couldn’t be more thrilled. I really have to credit my friends at Tangent Artists for getting me thinking about writing again. I never would have done it if it hadn’t been for them.
  7. Do you have a specific genre or do you like to bounce around freely?
    I tend to bounce between Fantasy genre and Urban Fantasy in my various works. I like anything with a lot of myth and legend to it no matter when or where it’s supposed to be set. I suppose that’s why I’ve never managed SciFi yet. My lens is firmly trained on the past; I’m a really history nut. I like looking back at what we believed, the drama and pathos of past struggles, and comparing how far we’ve come. And I like vampires. They’re like evil sexy Elves.
  1. Favorite spot to write?
    My favorite spot is in my living room around 8 am, when the kids have just got on the bus to school. I look at the sun shining on the kitchen and my wide picture window looking over pine trees. I usually think about going back to bed, but the laptop calls me and I forgo that extra hour of sleep, still holding that first cup of hot coffee. I get an adreneline rush and a warm fuzzy feeling as I switch on some Alan Parsons Project or Penguin Cafe Orchestra and just write.
  2. Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?
    Yes. It looked a bit like this:
    (copyright, Jim Henson Productions. I do not own this video clip.)~Ciao! :3

Annnnnd Go!

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Alright! New Year! New stuff! New things I plan to do!

After 10 days straight of grandparents, car rides, and binge eating, I feel a bit like I’ve been hit on the head and shoved in a car trunk. I’ve been away from the computer so long that I’m having trouble getting my groove back. This morning, I just stared at the computer screen  for 2 hours trying to make words.

Ah, writer's block!

Ah, writer’s block!

I managed about 300 words. It kinda went downhill from there. Strictly speaking, if I don’t keep at it day after day, I lose my groove a bit.

Well, I got a much-needed carrot this afternoon. First edits from Hunt Press of Linus Book 3 came back today. I’m both excited and squeamish at the prospect of working on this two-years-and-counting project—squeamish because there’s always that little doubt in my stomach of, “what if I read it and it’s not as good as I thought it was?” It’s a bit like getting your kids’ report card back from school.

Well, enough of my nonsense. Time to put on my editing pants and get ‘er done.
As Linus would say, “F— me.”

 

 

Building Tereand

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Building Tereand

This is the first map I ever drew of Nor Vredon back in 2008, The Northwest province of Tereand, which I refer to in my novels (even Madame Bluestocking!) As you can see it’s pretty rudimentary looking and I suck and things like forests and mountains. I made it to keep things straight in me head. That’s something they don’t tell you about world-building when you jump in. You have to take lots of notes.
I later modified this to look more “mappish” and less “school geography project.” I’ll post that later.
In fact I eventually put in notes by 10-year-old Carson and his Form 6 teacher.