New Character Art: Sir Norwood Linsay

Monday, January 9, 2012

Basil and Dustin's favorite person to make fun of in the entire world. Seriously, ask them.

I really have no explanation as to why he became a running joke for the two of them, but he's a generally antagonistic person and they're not so that might have something to do with it. They also write a song about him in the second book, which I'll share with you all when the time is right. (You know, when I publish the book and you can go out and buy it and read it.)

New Character Art: Henrietta Mansfield

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Do you know how damn hard it is to draw someone whose face you describe as 'having no personality' and 'plain-looking?' It's harder than drawing someone who is really good-looking or really ugly, seriously.

Every historical story needs at least one society person with no real personality behind them, after all.

New Character Art: Sebastian Montcourt

Saturday, January 7, 2012

This should more accurately be titled 'Sebastian Montcourt as a popsicle stick.' He ended up coming out on a really weird angle and it just doesn't look right to me. I scanned it in anyway.

He's one of two nemesis bankers in Londinium. We'll get to the other one later. You know, the one that's been around a little longer as a character.

New Character Art: John Horner

Friday, January 6, 2012

An old friend of Basil's father, John Horner allows Basil to earn his family's money back by working at his bank. Aristocrats typically didn't work in finance, so Horner promises to keep Basil's job hush-hush. (Basil takes the job because it's the fastest way for him to reestablish the family fortune - military service and posts in the House of Lords were more typical aristocrat jobs, but they weren't really designed for people actively trying to make money, if you know what I mean.)

New Character Art: Sybil Bannister

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sybil is one of the newest editions to the Londinium family, so I haven't fully developed her yet. I'll be working on that as I rewrite the earlier chapters of the novel, however.

Also, Blogger has a new interface for writing blog posts and I can finally do cut text here. That's good news because it means I'll be able to share Londinium short stories with you all that don't make it into the books!

New Character Art: Everett Lawson

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

This one is involved in a pretty major plot point in the second book, so we're not going to go into too many details on him, but what I can tell you is that he was a prefect at Eton at the same time Basil was, so there's a semi-rivalry there already. He's not a villain - not by any means - but he does play a pretty big role, so keep an eye on him once the second book is ready!

New Character Art: Annabell Simmons (and Clara)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Here's one of those things where I went and explored Victorian sexuality. I'm just fascinated by it. These two are one of my forays into the subject.

Annabell and Clara are lesbians in a time period that doesn't really even have a word to describe them. There's a lot of scholarly work out there regarding Victorians and homosexuality due to the existence of Oscar Wilde - the fact is that gays and lesbians existed and had a presence, and that presence threatened the Victorian ideal of hearth and home. I'll cite Jan Marsh, since she explains this better than I do:

Although heterosexuality was held to be both normal and natural throughout the period, the later years also witnessed a visible increase in homosexuality, mainly in men and especially but not exclusively in the intelligentsia. While largely clandestine owing to laws prohibiting 'indecency' in public (the artist Simeon Solomon was one of those so prosecuted), private male homosexual acts were not explicitly and severely legislated against until 1885, when gay sex behind closed doors was made a criminal offence. This led, most notoriously, to the imprisonment in 1896 of Oscar Wilde, playwright and poseur.
Reasons for the emergence of a distinctly gay subculture within 1890s' Decadence movement include the promotion of 'Greek' or Platonic relationships by some university dons; the extended bachelorhood that resulted from prescriptions of financial prudence and sexual continence; and a counter-cultural defiance of orthodox moral teaching, which gave added allure to the forbidden and deviant. The supremely Decadent drawings of Aubrey Beardsley (1872-98) vividly evoke the atmosphere of this moment.
At the very end of the century, questions of sexual identity were also subject to speculative and would-be scientific investigation, dubbed sexology (1902). Writers such as Havelock Ellis (1859-1939) attempted a detailed classification of 'normal' and 'perverse' sexual practices. This led to the identification of a 'third' or 'intermediate' sex, for which Ellis used the term 'sexual inversion'. Writer and social reformer Edward Carpenter (1844-1929), who lived with a younger male partner, adapted the word 'Uranian' (1899) to denote male and female homosexuality, and around the same time, Lesbian and Sapphic came into use as terms for female relationships. Apocryphally, these were also due to be criminalised in the 1885 legislation, until Queen Victoria declared them impossible, whereupon the clause was omitted - a joke that serves to underline a common, and commonly welcomed, ignorance, at a time when lurid, fictionalised lesbianism was often figured as an especially repulsive/seductive French vice.
Today, the best-known lesbian relationship in Victorian Britain has become that of Anne Lister of Shibden in west Yorkshire and her partner, with its distinctly erotic as well as romantic elements. Other couples include poets Katherine Bradley and her niece Edith Cooper, who wrote collaboratively from the 1880s under the name Michael Field, and the Irish writers Edith Somerville and Violet Martin. In the Victorian period itself, American actress Charlotte Cushman and French painter Rosa Bonheur were well known for their openly 'masculine' independence and demeanour.
This was basically the best attempt I could make to tackle this subject. I know it's also a sort of parody of Fingersmith, too, which is an extremely popular book series/television program regarding Victorian lesbians, but I was a lot more interested in exploring Victorians with regards to homosexuality...well, that and keeping Basil single for longer. (Go ahead, fujoshi types, slash him with Dustin. I know you're going to do it.)

New Character Art: Emma Holloway

Monday, January 2, 2012

Emma's the barkeep at the Holloway Inn. She's one of the very first characters I created for Londinium, actually. Her brother, Hal, runs the books at the inn, so there's a little doodle of him off to the side there.

I've always liked Em, namely because she's the girl next door. That and that she's not afraid to beat the crap out of customers who get too rowdy. She's an expert at broken bottle combat, can throw an empty bottle all the way across the bar to knock out patrons by hitting them in the head, and, according to Gib, throws a mean hook. (I like to think that this is what Gib admires most in her.)

Now the only question that remains is how to get her and Gib together on the side since they're both "not interested" right now. Hmm...

New Character Art: Nigel and Arabella Remington

Nigel and Arabella are Basil's younger brother and sister, respectively. Nigel's 23 and as the younger son has been taking on various academic posts and traveling the world and all that jazz. By Book Three, we find him working for the British Museum, which is a dream job for him. He's always trying to experiment and invent, as well, and he's kind of sort of obsessed with flight.

Arabella, on the other hand, is only 19. She's a very talented painter, so her sketchbook travels with her often. She's of marrying age, so she's officially on the market. (Imagine the irony if she married 26-year-old William Conrad, also an artist, but...well, a very different kind of artist.)

Oh, and the reason Will's now listed as being 26...I've retconned Basil and Co. to be a little younger. I'm not sure why, but I just felt like it worked a little better for some reason.

Classical Music For The Muse Enthusiast

Sunday, January 1, 2012

So you like Muse or some other musical group that has some piano backing. I mean, Muse is the obvious example that comes to mind, but there's plenty of musical groups that use piano in their music, so. Anyway, here's the point of this: today we're going to talk about the music that influences people like Muse (and myself, but that's beside the point here).

First off, I'd like to start this off by saying that classical music is not boring. If you think it is, you should be punched in the face. Well, maybe not punched, but you should at least learn to appreciate it. If it didn't exist, your music today wouldn't exist, so it's really important that we have it. As I mentioned earlier, it's inspired a ton of today's musical artists. So without further ado, here is The Official Romantic Piano Playlist For The Muse Enthusiast, compiled by yours truly.
  1. La campanella in G-sharp minor (from Paganini) - Franz Liszt. The fact of the matter is that Liszt makes pretty much every playlist ever because he's my favorite. Anyway, this song here is usually played a little bit slower than it is in the example I found, but you can play Liszt at any speed you want because he's brilliant.
  2. Fantaisie Impromptu in C minor - Frederic Chopin. There's a very strong influence from Chopin on Muse, definitely. I mean, you can hear it really strongly in this piece, which is probably my favorite of Chopin's to play. It takes a lot of technical skill, though.
  3. Minute Waltz - Frederic Chopin. This isn't actually one minute long, but it's fun to try to play it within a minute. It's really closer to two minutes. Of course, Victor Borge had to try.
  4. Liebestraum - Franz Liszt. Yeah, more Liszt. But that's 'cause Liszt is so damn good.
  5. Fur Elise - Ludwig Van Beethoven. It's an older piece, but it wasn't found and published until 1865, so to me it was a new thing when it first came out. It's also a classic of early romantic piano...and pretty much everyone recognizes it, too.
  6. Piano Concerto No. 3 in A Minor - Sergei Rachmaninov. The version I've linked to is actually Rachmaninov playing - it's a really old recording, but you get to hear the composer playing his own work, something you don't normally get with older musicians. It's a nice treat. You might also want to hear his more famous Concerto No. 2.
  7. Clair de Lune - Claude Debussy. This is one of the most relaxing songs you'll ever hear in your life, seriously.
  8. Consolation No. 3 in D-flat Major - Franz Liszt. Again, Liszt is better than you.
  9. Mazurka in A Minor - Frederic Chopin. This is another quieter one, but then again, Chopin was a quieter person. Liszt was far more dramatic.
  10. Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 - Franz Liszt. I had to finish with this because it's my all-time favorite piece of music. It's fun, complex and beautiful, and playing it is proof that you're a true master of the piano (or you're like me and are just really, really good at playing back what you hear).

So there you are, some pieces that you ought to listen to if you're interested in where Muse's ideas get their basis/inspiration from. Maybe next time I'll do a discussion of arpeggio or something else piano-related, since I actually feel pretty comfortable talking about piano stuff.

New Character Art: The Mertons

There are three of them, and I adore all of them. We've got a different backstory here now, though...

Basically, the Mertons' parents were like many costermongers: constantly arguing. As soon as he could, Gib set up shop on his own and took his sisters with him, thereby raising them himself. As a result, he's fiercely protective of the two of them (Kate's the older one, Sally's the younger one).

Kate's more fashion-forward, whilst Sally, who's about Charlie's age, idolizes her big brother and tries to dress like him (she even wears corduroy pants under her dress). Part of me almost thinks that when she and Charlie grow up, they'd be cute together...hmmm...