Tag Archives: the linus saga

Inktober Day 5

Standard

A slight deviation from my concept art, I’m combining business with pleasure today. Tangent Artists going to be publishing our first volume of collected comics, so I decided to work on the cover for said volume. The covers are going to be Tarot card themed, so here is Linus, the Hanged Man.

10_05

The Hanged Man, Monica Marier, copyright (c) Monica Marier, 2016

 

 

Advertisements

Character Spotlight: Tyrrus Gruthsfield

Standard

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.

New Map!

Standard

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.

Image

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.

More Audio Goodies!

Standard

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! 

 

 

Satus update– Writing Demons

Standard

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.

Image

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

Standard

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

Image

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

Standard

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:

Image

 

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. 

 

Image

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?

 

Image

 

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?

Image

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. 

 

Image

 

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.

 

Image

 

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!