Tag Archives: Linus Saga

Still plugging away

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Now that the Rogue’s Guide is completed and launched, I’m turning my attention more to the Must Love Dragons relaunch and it’s been sloooooooooow going. A lot needs fixing which leads to more fixing and further flaws… you guys ever seen the money pit?

(Property of Universal Pictures)

At least the foundation is good. (I’m laughing as I type this because we just found out we have to replace the house’s trimming and get the roof inspected here at Wineberry House. Plus we have ants.)

In the meantime, here’s a draft of the new cover art we’re going to be using for MLD (some alterations in text, and art etc. pending). Overall I’m pleased with it. I love how Linus looks kind of cool, but also like you want to punch him in the face. We’re going to do similar half-face images for the other 2 books in the works. I like the half-face because it leaves a lot of room for the reader to fill in the rest with their imagination. I hate seeing an image of a character I like and not have it match the image in my head.

(Btw, my brother modeled for this. I think he did a great job)

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copyright(c)monica marier, 2016

 

The only other thing of note text-wise is that Wendria’s name will be changed back to Kiyana to match the CRIT! comic, since Both CRIT! and MLD will be launched by the same publisher, Tangent Artists. The Linus Saga, in essence, will be presented as a “novelization” of CRIT! despite the deviating story-lines. Nothing will change storywise other than the names and a few minor details, but the company feels we should unify the whole setting to better match our existing publications featuring Linus Weedwhacker.

Comments? Concerns? Think I’m out of my gourd? Leave a comment.

 

 

Inktober Day 28

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Inktober today is another from the agenda. This is a clipping from an upcoming page of CRIT! It features Linus at age 17, 27, 37, and 52. I won’t spoil the joke, I’ll just say that yes, he’s getting more frustrated as we go. I also seem to have inadvertently done a 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s hairstyle in order.That McGuyver mullet is to die for.

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CRIT! panels by Monica Marier, tangentartists.com

Inktober Day 9

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Here’s my Inktober for Day 9. I put a shoutout for ideas, and my friend Barrie requested to see Linus in a school uniform. I’m sure she meant something along the lines of cramming 52-year-old Linus into a Japanese boys school uniform, but I did her one better. Here is a young Linus (about 19) in the official Uniform of the Rangers Union Pre-One student.

He looks like he’s on the way to archery practice, and doesnt’ care if his hair is combed or his jacket is hooked up. He has three leaves on his shoulder indicating that this is his third year as a student (students take 4 years to complete courses). His jacket also Features the triple-leaf emblem of the Rangers Union on his chest. The drawing needs some tweaking, but I like details that I came up with on the fly that add a little more to Linus’s story.

Hope you like it, Barrie.

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Linus Pre-One, by Monica Marier, pen and ink

Inktober Day 3

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Here’s Day 3 of Inktober. I drew Linus from CRIT! He’s actually tossing a D8 over his shoulder, that part’s not put in yet, since my mathematical perspective is strictly non-euclidean. Media is Pen and Ink. This is going to be on a big CRIT! banner at some point. I like how I managed to get more scar tissue on his skin.

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Linus Weedwhacker, by Monica Marier

The Ranger’s Book (An Excerpt)

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I thought it would be a fun April Fool’s Day thing to post an excerpt from the upcoming Tangent Artists Class Handbook, which will be part of our series that includes “The Handbook for Saucy Bards,” and “The Cleric’s Guide to Smiting.” I now present this excerpt from “A Ranger’s Instructional or: How Not to Die Alone in the Woods.” The funny part is that this information is actually useful and we’re not kidding around.

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CHAPER XX

WHAT DO I WIPE WITH?

Let’s not get shy here; it’s a fact of life—even the Majestic Elves and Powerful Wizards have to crap in the woods sometimes. ‘How’ is an age-old question uttered by new Rangers and adventurers alike since time immemorial. You will at some point be confronted with the urge, a bush and little to no guidance. Ignoring the urge is not an option.

The first part is easy, once you overcome your shyness and accept that this is part of the job you took. The key is to be at least 200 feet from where you’re eating or sleeping, and away from your water source. Take your spade, and dig a hole about 6-inches deep and “go” in there (or as close as you can get it). The ground might be rocky or tough or whatever—just do your best. The bottom line is to keep your business away from any scavenging animals to a) hide your presence so your meat won’t be scared away, and b) keep your meat from eating it. You never know if you’re going to have to eat something that may or may not have just eaten your own feces. Best to avoid that option if at all possible. “Never shit where you eat” as my gran used to say.

The second part of this (getting clean) is not always as easy and has led to some hilarious stories through the years that the publishers have forbidden me from elaborating on. NOT wiping is not an option as it can lead to yeast infections, jock itch, and a lot of bad illnesses and rashes (not to mention embarrassing staining you’ll have to explain later). Fortunately, you have a plethora of options open to you if you plan ahead. Don’t assume everything you need will be right by you, because it never will be. TRUST ME.

RAGS: Many first timers will try to prepare for this moment by rooting through mummy’s rag bag for fabric scraps to use. This may seem like a good idea but it’s ultimately doomed to failure. Your supply will never be limitless and little things like illness or too much fiber will usually deplete a well-calculated stock. The flipside being that if you DO plan ahead you will have a lot of extra weight with you and when it’s gone unexpectedly (as always happens) you’ll have to make do with other rags. Everyone will know too. You’ll be the daft bugger walking into a town with no shirt sleeves or socks.

PAPER: Similar to rags but much more practical and comfortable, and one small book, with thin soft pages, can last several days. I highly recommend the unabridged “Miles Reyner’s Handbook for Saucy Bards.” It’s been said that thin paper was our most treasured contribution to peace talks with the Elves and I believe it. Those poor bastards had to do with leaves.

LEAVES: Corn lily, dock, wooly lambs ear, mullein, and other leaves that are large and flat make good wiping leaves. Use them in a stack of three or four, with the vein sides out for added scrubbing power. If you’re passing by a bush take some leaves with you to keep on hand (or to thaw them out if it’s cold out). Plants like mullein and lambs ear are additionally popular because of their velvety fuzz. It’s like being cleaned by an angel’s wing, but it’s not for everyone. Some people’s skin can be irritated by the little white hairs and break out in a bad rash. If you’re not sure, test it out on skin that’s slightly less…er… vital.

MOSS and GRASS: several varieties of moss are good if you use the green spongy side and use a cloth to pat it dry. Drier moss like Old Man’s Beard (which hangs from trees) is a tried and true standby in the wild, and it’s often used by lady-travelers during their “monthly visit” (sorry if that’s indelicate, but I have daughters and a wife and they told me to address this). Cattails are also useful for both purposes.

Grass, if you’re so inclined can be gathered in folded in half to make a “scrub brush” to use accordingly. Just make sure the grass is soft and not the hard knife-edged variety with serrated edges.

HAND: This was Man’s first loo roll if you think about it. It’s also a testament to mankind that we evolved— rather quickly at that—other methods of cleaning ourselves that don’t involve getting poo in our fingernails. This might be considered a last resort, maybe if you’re in a desert or something. Just remember which hand you wipe with and be consistent. And don’t let me shake hands with you. I heard Orcs prefer this method which explains a lot and why I don’t shake hands with Orcs.

ROCKS: A smooth water stone, flat but round with a conical end is good, but it’s not going to be very absorbent, still it’s better than plants if you’re not an expert herbologist.. This is a method preferred by Dwarves, but I’m not positive—I’ve never had the courage to ask one.

SNOW: Want to really wake up on a winter’s morning? Try a handful of snow up your arse. In all seriousness, this is actually the most hygienic and least annoying methods if you’re traveling in winter. This works best with snow that packs nicely, like the kind for snowball or snowmen. Too powdery and your hands get dirty; too wet and it’s suddenly no fun.

IN GENERAL: Make sure to bury your waste and your wipers as best as you can. If the ground isn’t cooperating, build a little cairn over it, anything to keep it out of sight and free to turn back into the earth.

Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after every time you go. It helps to have a friend place the soap in your hands so you don’t have to root through your pack with dirty fingers. Also, help eachother out. If you spot some good leaves or stones or whatever, tell your friend too so they won’t be out of luck when it’s their turn.

For added fun, tell the company’s Bard to use pinecones. Tell him that all the great woodsmen use them. It’s hilarious, trust me.

Hell is in the Details

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It’s NaNoWriMo time!

It’s been almost 2 weeks now since I started on this year’s NaNoWriMo. I’m busy working on a prequel to the Linus Saga, in which we get to meet young(er) Linus as he meets Deirdre for the first time. I’ve been doing NaNoWriMo’s since ’08 and it’s consistently how I get most of my writing work done.

But I get distracted, hell everyone does, but my worst foible is research. I LOVE research. I’m an absolute Hermione when it comes to getting all the facts and trying to magick up my own rules for my world. It’s led me down a few rabbit holes like the article hole, the Wikipedia hole, and the ever dreaded Elven Dictionary hole (although that one’s probably just me.)

Case in point, today I have spent an hour trying to research poop. That’s right. POOP.

I need to know how Dragons poop. Do they have pellets like raptors? Do they grind things up with gastroliths or maybe their bodies make their own calculi? Do their bodies do something incredible with the parts they can’t digest like fossilize them or do they incinerate the their waste in their own furnaces? How does that work?

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This doesn’t exist apparently.

Will all of this make my book all that better? Who can say? Who all out there is interested in how Dragons poop? If only one person is nodding right now, then congratulations. You’re the reason I’m looking up bezoars and mineralization. I’m doing this for you.

Okay, I got to get back to it now. I’m about 200 words away from hitting 20,000. Good luck to everyone else out there doing this! And good luck staying out of the rabbit holes!

~Monica

Character Spotlight: Tyrrus Gruthsfield

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It’s high time I covered a baddy, so this week’s post is about Tyrrus Gruthsfield. Now, I don’t like to think of him as a baddy, although he’s definitely a villain in books 1 & 2. I just dislike characters who are evil through and through. I grew up watching cartoonishly evil bad guys in movies and on TV that were evil simply for the sake of being evil, and those always bothered me a bit (I should probably write a post on this later.) The point is, Tyrrus isn’t a villain because he wants to be evil. Like all proper villains, Tyrrus thinks he’s the hero of his own story—in this case a story of loss, love and abandonment.

We first meet Tyrrus when he appears in the last act of Must Love Dragons as the ruthless head of the corrupt Rangers Union. But we also know he and Linus have a history together. Let’s look into that, shall we?

 

 

Image copyright ©2014 Monica Marier

Image copyright ©2014 Monica Marier

 HISTORY

Linus met Tyrrus when upon passing his entrance exams at the Rangers Union to become a Pre-One Ranger, or a Ranger-in-training. This is an apprenticeship period where a Ranger is usually assigned to an E-10 Ranger in good standing to have as mentor. The trainers assigned Linus to Tyrrus Gruthsfield, who was in his late 30’s at the time. Tyrrus was a rugged, jovial dandy bachelor, with a love of adventure and a lust for high living. He and Linus bonded straight away. Linus was in awe of this rugged expert of the wilderness and his bombastic personality. Tyrrus fed off of Linus’ admiration, and his youthful outlook made Tyrrus feel like he himself was a young teen again.

When Linus had finished his year under Gruthsfield as a student and graduated to E-1, he continued to travel and work with Tyrrus as a friend and compatriot. Linus became a family to Tyrrus, who had grown up as an orphan in the Rangers Union’s boys home for foundlings and had never known a family.  And Linus, who had always had to fight with his dozen siblings for attention, enjoyed the singular attention Gruthsfield was giving him and eventually left his father’s house to live at the Union boarding house with Gruthsfield and other young bachelors.

Tyrrus tried to advise Linus as best he could on how best to navigate the rocky path of his late teens into adulthood, but it was myopic and sometimes self-serving. Tyrrus had avoided growing up, and didn’t really want Linus to either. It’s possible that a lot of Linus’ early missteps (bad relationships, hijinks, faux pas, his drinking habits) were either from Tyrrus’ lack of direction or from simply bad advice.

It was about five years after their pairing, when Linus began to make friends and peers in his own age-group, that his relationship with the then 40-something Tyrrus became strained. Tyrrus became more controlling of Linus and his free-time and assignments. He subtly tried to orchestrate fallings out between Linus and his friends, and when that didn’t work, he would bombard Linus with accusations of betrayal and callousness.  

Linus didn’t take well to Gruthsfield’s constant intrusion on his life—feeling like he was tied to the apron strings of a clucking, nagging mother hen. By the time when Linus was beginning to slip into depression, alcohol, and a dangerous affair—a time when Gruthsfield genuinely wanted to help Linus—it was too late. Linus had already stopped listening to Grusthfield.

 The incident with Tchineline (as outlined in Runs in Goods Condition) was the final breaking point and, soon after, Linus severed ties with his ex-mentor. Tyrrus and Linus most likely had no contact with eachother until the events of Must Love Dragons. Linus was more than aware of Gruthfield’s rise to power in the Union, but was only a disinterested bystander at the time. He had no idea that during that twenty-some years in-between Gruthfield had spent it brooding on the loss of his only friend and family, and becoming harder and more twisted as the realization of his own mortality grew more apparent and tortured him with the passage of time.

 

Fun Facts:

*The name Tyrrus is (rather obviously) taken from the Greek tyrannos meaning monarch or King.

*Gruthsfield’s actions have always been chiefly fueled by his fear of aging and death. It’s what draws him closer to true villainy as he begins to enter old age.

*He probably assaulted Linus a few times in their younger days, but played it off later as nothing. That unrequited attraction, as well as his emotional manipulation was a key factor in their falling out and later turned into the hatred we see in the books.

*Tyrrus was the one who blackballed Linus from renewing his Ranger’s E-10 license prior to the events of Must Love Dragons. After failing to ban him entirely, he brought up the motion to make Linus restart as an E-1.

* In my head, his voice sounds like the late Tony Jay.

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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