Friday Face-Off: Merlin at Stonehenge


It’s time again for the Friday Face-Off meme, created by Books by Proxy, with weekly topics hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog.  The idea is to put up different covers for one book, and select a favorite.

This week’s theme is Summer Solstice – the longest day of the year – Pagan rituals/standing stones/blazing suns – a cover with your own interpretation

The first thing to come to mind on this topic was Stonehenge (probably not that surprising), and the first book to come to mind was Mary Stewart’s The Crystal Cave.  Merlin is instrumental in building Stonehenge (using some magic, of course), and buries Ambrose the king at its center.

I was able to go on an Inner Circle tour of Stonehenge a few years ago, the only tour that takes you within the stones, with the friend who introduced me to The Crystal Cave.  As soon as they pointed out the altar stone, we were like, Ambrose’s grave!  And there was a raven perched on Stonehenge for a long time, that we suspect was Merlin, still keeping an eye on things…

All right, on to the covers!

This was the only one I found that showed Stonehenge…too bad Merlin is looking kind of freaky there!

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Writing Wednesday: Novel Growth

I’m deep into revisions for the third book of my Phantom novel, and as expected–it’s getting longer.  Originally, when I thought the trilogy was only two books, this portion was only the second half of the second book.  This is my first serious revision pass treating it as an independent volume, and the major thing I’ve realized so far is that I need more at the beginning.  Plenty of plot threads or emotional moments were adequately set-up if this was part of something larger.  As a new book, they come out of nowhere in the first few chapters.

So I’ll be expanding the early chapters quite a lot.  So far I’ve mostly just marked places where I need to add a scene (or three), but from what little I’ve started writing, the book has already grown more than 2,000 words.  I’ll be surprised if I don’t end up adding at least 20,000 by the time this is done!

For today, here’s a bit I already added.


I glanced at the one locked drawer in my table, and my mood dropped.  I hadn’t opened the drawer since before the mob arrived.  I’d been avoiding it.  There was something I didn’t want to know.

But this was getting silly, and if I was going to see Erik today, I ought to just find out—before I could decide against it, I unlocked the drawer and pulled it open.  There should have been a folded sheet of directions hidden away in the very back.  The directions Erik had given me to his home before, the ones I hadn’t needed to use in months but had kept on hand, just in case.

They weren’t there.

Trying not to attract any attention with the movements, I sorted through the old playbills, cheap jewelry and handkerchiefs that filled the drawer.  I wanted the directions to be here, not because I needed them, but because I needed to know that they weren’t somewhere else.

That they hadn’t been used by someone else.

Movie Review: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

I missed this movie when it first came out (in 2012!) and just picked it up recently at my library.  Another semi-comedy about the end of the world, I found it thought-provoking…in ways good and bad!

The premise centers around the end of the world by asteroid–everyone knows the asteroid is coming in three weeks, all of life will be wiped out, and nothing can be done to prevent it.  Society is mostly holding together but starting to fragment (planes are no longer flying, phone service is down–which is plot convenient).  Dodge (Steve Carrell) has no particular plans for his final weeks, as he seems to be the movie trope of a hero who wasn’t really living his life to begin with.  But then he meets Penny (Kiera Knightley), his quirky, passionate neighbor.  She wants to get to England to reunite with her family; he decides to seek out his long-lost first love.  She has a car and he knows a guy with a plane, so they set out together.

The concept of the world ending, but with a few weeks notice, was really interesting.  Maybe it helped that it was an asteroid strike–whatever the actual odds, it feels out there and unreal enough that I could think of it abstractly.  Nuclear war and cancer diagnosis stories more likely make me anxious or depressed.  But this was pretty good as a thought experiment, about what becomes really important under that kind of time pressure.  How do you live your life when you have only a small amount of time left?  Some people rioted, some partied, others went on as though nothing was changed, one woman decided to wear all the beautiful things she bought but had been saving.

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Friday Face-Off: Sugary Delights


It’s time again for the Friday Face-Off meme, created by Books by Proxy, with weekly topics hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog.  The idea is to put up different covers for one book, and select a favorite.

This week’s theme is “Coraline opened the box of chocolates. The dog looked at them longingly.” – A cover featuring something sweet

Well, my choice feels so obvious it seems almost like cheating…but I thought I’d see what I could find for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.

This one is bright and fun, but you can’t actually tell that it’s about candy or chocolate (title aside, of course).  I was surprised, actually, by how many covers did not prominently display sweets!

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SCW Quarterly Retreat: June 2019

I had an excellent time at my writing group’s second quarterly retreat this past weekend!

Stonehenge Circle Writers

This past weekend, several of our writers gathered for a day-long retreat.  We had a great time discussing writing–and actually writing!

We did a morning exercise on theme, and in the afternoon discussed author business plans–getting to the practical side of things.  We also did two writing sprints, and spent some time on free writing.  Another great day of writer fellowship and learning.

Pictured: Ingrid Victoria, Magnus Victor, Mattias Bergman, Cheryl Mahoney, Kelly Haworth,  Karen Blakely and R.A. Gates

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TV Review: Good Omens

I’ve read Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens more than once (review here) and Pratchett is one of my very favorite authors–so I was excited to see what Amazon did with their Good Omens miniseries.  And not only because David Tennant had a starring role!  I finished the final episode yesterday and I liked it a lot–with reservations.  Which frequently makes for the most interesting (I think!) review.

Good Omens, book and TV series, is a comedy about Armageddon.  It centers on Aziraphale (Michael Sheen) and Crowley (David Tennant), an angel and a demon, respectively.  Both have been living on Earth for the past 6,000 years, forming an unlikely and unadmitted friendship, and when Armageddon approaches, they realize they don’t want the Earth to be destroyed.  But the Antichrist has been born–and, unbeknownst to anyone in Heaven or Hell, misplaced.  He’s now a perfectly charming eleven year old boy in rural England, with no idea he’s about to come into a lot of power.  The only one who knows where he is (more or less) is Anathema Device, descendant of Agnes Nutter who wrote the only completely accurate book of prophecy.  So Anathema, Aziraphale and Crowley are all searching for the Antichrist while Heaven and Hell prepare for war and the Four Horsemen begin to ride–on motorcycles, of course.

There is so much that is done so, so well in this series.  (In fact, right up to most of the way through Episode 5 I would have given this top marks.  More on that later.)  Neil Gaiman was heavily involved (as writer and executive producer) and it shows.  It’s been some time since I read the book, but it feels like an accurate representation, particularly in style.  I’ll usually forgive changed details if the feel is right, and this definitely was.

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Blog Hop: Ancient Writings

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is: What’s the oldest work (by publication date) you’ve read?

I took a Greco-Roman class in college where we read a number of ancient Greek and Roman works.  I can’t name most of them from memory, so let’s give it to Homer (8th to 7th century BC) with The Illiad and The Odyssey.

The Bible is an ancient text I read daily–I’m currently reading the Gospel of John, which dates to around 100 AD, one of the later books.

Setting religious texts into its own category, the oldest author on my shelf I read on a semi-regular basis is probably William Shakespeare (lived 1564 to 1616).  Hamlet (1602) and Much Ado About Nothing (1600) are my favorites.

After Shakespeare, I think it would be Jane Austen, who lived  slightly before Charlotte Bronte.  My favorite Austen is Northanger Abbey (1818), my favorite Bronte Jane Eyre (1847).  And once you’re into the second half of the 1800s, I’ve read lots of books from that time.

Hmm, there’s a big jump in time from Homer to Shakespeare–about 2,300 years!  Makes me feel that I’m actually ignoring most of human history.  Anyone got a recommendation for a good book from around 600? 🙂