Tag Archives: Linus Weedwhacker

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

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Inktober Day 16

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Today I’m busy with a sick kid, so I gave myself a timed challenge to see how quickly I could draw Linus. I did this complete with pencils underneath in about 7 minutes.

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Linus Weedwhacker by Monica Marier available for $20

Linus is an OLD friend of mine, so I’m starting to really memorize his features to the point where drawing him is almost automatic. It’s very rare that I have a handle on a character like that, since consistency is one of my biggest hurdles. That’s all for today, bye!

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.

Satus update– Writing Demons

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Having trouble with the Blog right now. My hands can’t art and even the simplest circle is causing problems. Between severe thunderstorms, checking on my basement to see if it’s flooding, and migraines, my writing demons have been tormenting me and I have to exorcise. It’s not as bad as that one time back in ’07 when I stopped eating and sleeping for two weeks. It’s not even a constant thing, it’s just 20 ideas seizing me and pulling me in a million different direction. I feel like a wine-glass player trying to play Owl City’s Fireflies.

So among the many brain diseases in my head, are the following:

1) Creation story and mythos for the Paracelos Books (Linus Saga and Madame Bluestocking’s Pennyhorrid)

2) Madame Bluestocking Pennyhorrid Book 2 (working title, the Lost Mines of Nadoras)

3 Linus Saga Book 3 Edits 

4) Linus Saga Book 4 finishing

5) Weird elseworld involving the cast of CRIT! in Arkham MA with Lovecraftian Monsters (trust me. this will come in handy)

6) Skeleton Crew scripts, current one featuring another Dunstan and Avi flashback.

And various other ideas and projects of indiscernible value. 

If you would like these projects to keep existing, please consider helping me to afford a new computer while my old one continues to die tragically.

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So please donate and share my Gofundme.

Next week will proceed as usual with various posts and Character Wednesday of Orin Weedwhacker.

Character Spotlight: Thisbe Weedchacker

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We’re on to Linus’ brood-child number three with the irascible middle-child Thisbe.

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Thisbe Weedwhacker by Monica Marier

We get to know Thisbe in Runs in Good Condition. She’s in every way a typical middle child of a large family. She chafes at the authority her older sister, Irene, has over her and in retaliation likes to exploit any weaknesses in her sister’s armor. Thisbe is clever and has a sharp tongue and even sharper ears. A born tattle-tale with a thirst for gossip, she’s always the first to tease a sibling over a supposed crush or troubles with classmates in school, or any trials like new glasses, stunted growth, pimples, unruly hair, or (in Irene’s case) being skinny and flat-chested. She also terrorizes her younger syblings in an attempt to wrest control from Irene and bosses the life out of them.

Linus and Deirdre take a lot of her antics in stride. Linus in particular is familiar with sisters fighting like cats in a sack and turning into little generals. He’s at a loss as to how to deal with Irene, however, and lets a lot of her antics go unchallenged and ignored, which is precisely what Thisbe doesn’t want. She constantly feels at odds with her siblings for attention and feels like the lowest rung on the ladder. Her hard work goes unnoticed because Carson and Irene have done it first and done it better, yet she isn’t coddled and comforted like Orin,Fia, and the babies because she’s too old. 

Her only chance to shine is in her innate gift of keeping house. Thisbe is better than her parents and her sister at cooking, cleaning, sewing, and in addition is a champion knitter and crocheter. And yet she feels ashamed that being a good housewife and mother is her highest ambition, as other siblings go on about university careers, and travel. She’s not a bad kid by any means; she’s industrious, generous, open, and honest. Her desire for attention, however, is going to lead to her lashing out, especially in my next book.

FUN FACTS:

*Irene adores and idolizes her brother Carson, even though she’s closer to Orin in age and tastes.

*Irene has a huge crush on Morfindel, and most of her acting out in The Linus Saga, is done to get Morfindel to notice her.

*She learned to sew without her parents knowing, simply because she wanted her hand-me-down dresses from her sister to look like it was a different dress. Without asking, she managed to sun bleach the dress, add a lace collar, and embroider it with pink thread. Her father actually scolded her because he thought she had stolen a dress, until Thisbe proved it was her own work. After that, Linus made sure she was well-supplied with any wool, thread and lawn he could get at a good price.

*While Thisbe loves to knit and make pretty dresses for herself, most of her work is selflessly made for her family members. She makes the most things for Carson (and later on, Morfindel), and makes the fewest things for Irene. The pieces she makes for Irene are usually intricate and advanced pieces. These are mostly to rub in Irene’s face the fact that she can’t knit or sew.

* It’s been mentioned that the Weedwhackers have been hosts to several cats over the years. These were all strays that were brought home by Thisbe. 

*Thisbe has already decided that her husband is going to be a shopkeeper with brown hair and a cleft chin. Their children will be named Garth and Louisa and they’ll have a white cat named Marzipan.

 

That’s it for Thisbe. Next week we’ll look at Old Soul, Orin Weedwhacker.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider donating to my fund for a new computer so I can keep making more.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Where it Starts and Where it Ends

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This one was HARD to write, so apologies in advance.

So, I’ve been posting some character sheets every Wed. and while I’ve answered a lot of questions (some of them mine!) about each character there’s still a lot of questions I don’t know the answer to, especially regarding some characters like Linus.

When people ask me how I map out a plot, I always joke that I start with an A and a Z and everything in between is improvised. That’s not exactly true, while I do start at the beginning of the book, I never start at the beginning. There’s just too much. Some of it is because I myself haven’t thought up everything, and some of it is because after a few hundred pages my books get too heavy to cart around.

The other day, my cover artist (who also reads my books) saw my post on Linus’ wife Deirdre and asked me, “So what happens when Linus dies? Does she turn back into a dragon? Does she go first?”

I had to stare at the wall for a while after that one. It was a bit like that beginning of the Pixar movie “Up.” I saw that with my husband and we both started crying. And it wasn’t just us; every other couple in the theatre started crying because they knew there was that inevitable certainty ahead: “someday we’ll have to say good bye, and one of us will be left behind.”

Yes, I know Linus is fictional, yes I know I get to choose the manner of his demise, but then it’s still hard and it will happen in his timeline. I might never put it on paper, and if I do you lot may never get to read it, but it does happen. It’s a fact that Linus is dead by the time of Madame Bluestocking’s Pennyhorrid. 250+ years is too long for even a Half-elf to live. All of this made me really moody and upset, because these are thoughts I don’t usually deal with—that I don’t WANT to deal with.

And I didn’t deal with it, until one night when I got out of bed, grabbed a stack of card stock and the nearest pencil (sorry, it’s red) and started sketching Linus. Half a dozen drawings of him at all different ages. I wanted to find out more what this person was like all through his life, not just the little window I’ve shown him in:

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Here’s Linus when he was about 6 or 7. He was a happy kid, with fewer siblings, and who still thought his parents were perfect, he would always be safe and loved, and who didn’t realize yet just how poor his family was. While his brothers picked on him a lot, they weren’t blood enemies, and Linus was still able to have times where he was the sole attention of his mum and dad. 

 

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Linus at twelve was a different story. We know know little about him except that he and his brothers used to burn their spots off with pokers. The picture looks surly, disappointed and maybe even hurt. This is a kid that lost his illusions fast, as most low-income kids do. He’s had a lot of growing up to do, maybe before he’s ready. He’s almost done with school and then he’ll be parsed out to the workforce like his brothers. Maybe he’s feeling his parents aren’t so infallible after all, and why is he stuck in a house with too many kids and not enough to go around?

 

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This is Linus at 17, and he looks like he’s a good deal happier. He’s completed his training and is a fully fledged E1. There’s a lust for freedom in his expression. He’s handsome and he knows it will let him get away with a lot. His mentor is a cool, savvy, 30-something who keeps a long leash on him and sometimes joins in his shenanigans. And under it all is a streak of that wounded young man from the last picture. There’s the tiniest spark of cruelty as well—a desire to mete out justice, or his version of justice, anyway. He’s been hurt, he’s still confused, he’s still not a grownup, despite being given free reign. He’s oarless, rudderless, and without a destination. But who needs direction when you have endless potential?

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Well, apparently direction counts for a lot. This is Linus in his late 20’s before meeting Deirdre. His eyes are tired and jaundiced, he’s emaciated due to forgetting to eat, and prone to tremors when he doesn’t drink enough. In short, he looks like a miserable addict who’s burning his candle at both ends. His friends all hate him or have died horribly. He keeps getting in trouble so he gets drunk so he can ignore it, which gets him in more trouble. His mentor is becoming even more friendly in a manner that’s worrisome, uncomfortable and unwanted.  He has the look of a caged animal that can’t decide if it’s more afraid of the cage, or what’s outside of it. 

 

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Miraculously, he does get out of the cage to become the Linus we’re familiar with in the novels. His hardships have made him tough, surviving them has given him the gift of hindsight and laughing at his mistakes. A wife has made him passionate; fatherhood has made him tender; being loved has made him lovable. And despite all the defeats and setbacks and disappointments, he’s already won the game of life for simply making it this far and getting the chance to try again. This second try is the focus of our journey with Linus, in that casting off the past, one can take a look at the now and make the right choice.

 

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And then I made myself draw this one and had to stop myself from crying. Given his projected lifespan, Linus is probably about one-hundred-and-ten in this drawing.The chiseled jaw is gone, the hard forehead is gone. The eyes are milky and rheumy. The cheeks are hollow and jowly. His hair is snowy white and downy. His clothes have changed to reflect a newer style and someone, a daughter or son perhaps, has draped a blanket over his shoulders. Yet he’s still got a roguish grin on his face as his faded eyes blink mistily at you. You can hear him wheeze with a deep growly voice, “I could still kick your arse, kid,” and you would just nod and smile at him, because it wasn’t true anymore.

*SIIIIIIIIGHHHHHHH* Anyway…

So yeah. This experiment made me realize that there’s a lot of things I haven’t considered when it comes to character creation. I have no idea if this last picture is canon. Maybe Linus doesn’t make it that far, maybe something else happens. I don’t know, but it’s a fact that we all get older and we all die, unless you’re an Elf.

Lousy stinking Elves. 

Again, I have to point out that these blog posts might disappear suddenly because my computer is on the blink and going fast. Help me to keep writing and updating by donating to my GoFundMe to help get a new computer. Find out more about Linus in my Linus Saga series, Must Love Dragons.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting about Linus’ perpetual middle child, Thisbe.

Thanks for reading!

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