Stonehenge Story Starts: The Elevator (Results)

Over on my writing group blog, we’ve been doing a weekly writing prompt. We got some very fun results (including one from me) to last week’s prompt.

Stonehenge Circle Writers

We hope you’ve had a good week of writing!  It’s time to see what our writers came up with for this week’s prompt.

The prompt this week was: Two strangers are trapped in a stuck elevator.  Try to write in a specific genre.

Three of our writers came up with stories this week, mostly slanting towards the urban fantasy/horror direction…


Kelly Haworth:

I checked my watch. Yeah, it had been thirty minutes now, and I was still stuck in a damn elevator. My involuntary companion, a man with long dark hair and a black coat, leaned against the wall across from me staring at his phone.  After pressing the elevator’s help button and calling the front desk of this New York skyscraper, he hadn’t said a word and just stood there.

It really annoyed me.

I tried, yet again, to engage in conversation with him. “You’d think they’d have…

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2019 Reading Challenges: First Quarter Update

It’s very nearly the end of March, putting us a quarter of the way through 2019 already!  And that means it’s time for a reading challenge update.  I went gentle on the numbers this year, and have made some good progress.

Nonfiction Reading Challenge
Host: Doing Dewey
Goal: 12 Nonfiction Books

I’ve been reading a lot of nonfiction in the last few years, and that trend is continuing…I’m already close to my goal number here!  I’ve started casually aiming for the Century challenge, doing at least one book from each 100 block of the Dewey Decimal system, but I’m not claiming to be committed to that ultimate goal just yet.

  1. We Bought a Zoo by Benjamin Mee (590.73)
  2. Level Up Your Life by Steve Kamb (158.1)
  3. Through Lover’s Lane by Elizabeth Rollins Epperly (813.52)
  4. Packing for Mars by Mary Roach (571.09)
  5. Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence (028.9)
  6. Love for Imperfect Things by Haemin Sunim (294.35)
  7. The Creative Life by Julia Cameron (818.54)
  8. Do Nothing by Siroj Sorajjakool (299.51)
  9. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron (153.35)

Continue reading “2019 Reading Challenges: First Quarter Update”

Friday Face-Off: Heavy rests the head that wears the crown


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 ‘A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse’ – A cover featuring a king

I decided to go to my much loved Enchanted Forest Chronicles, and look at covers of the second book in the quartet, Searching for Dragons, narrated by King Mendenbar of the Enchanted Forest.  He doesn’t have a horse, but he does have a flying carpet that made it on to almost every cover!

I like this one a lot–simple, focused on Mendenbar and Princess Cimorene, and the carpet actually looks fairly comfy!  Points for detail too, with the hole in the front corner. Continue reading “Friday Face-Off: Heavy rests the head that wears the crown”

Writing Wednesday: 7 Stories, 7 Days – #4

By my fourth story on this writing adventure, I decided it was time to break the sad trend of the previous two and write something funny again.  With the prompt, “an intermission, a chateau, mistaken identity,” I wound up with a P.G. Wodehouse-inspired story of a conwoman, with a lot of absurdity and a touch of romance, with a happier ending than Story #3!

Here’s the opening scene of the story.


It all began during a production of Gounod’s Faust.  A quite bad production, or so the gentleman with the pince nez told me.  I happen to be tone deaf.

“Egad, but this is shockingly bad, isn’t it?” he said to me on the interval, as we milled about in the grand entry hall, chandeliers glimmering overhead and the crowd glittering around us.

“Oh yes, shocking,” I agreed, sipping my champagne and studying this new conversation partner.  He was at least forty years my senior, hair gray, evening coat gray, eyes gray, skin with the grayish pallor of a man who has never worked outside in all his life.  He was the most elegant, most obviously rich person I had ever seen, and I was surprised that he was speaking to me.

“That Marguerite couldn’t carry a tune if her life depended on it, and Faust looked no more like a man capable of demonic involvement than a choir boy,” he derided in a stentorian voice.

“I don’t imagine you’ve met many choir boys,” I murmured.

He stared at me through his pince nez for a moment, then erupted in a roar of laughter heard around the room.  “I have always loved your sense of humor!” he informed me, then clapped one hand to his forehead.  “By jove, I nearly forgot!”  He reached into his jacket pocket and drew out a folded square of paper.  “Here is your invitation to my château, for my Friday to Monday shooting party.  You mustn’t disappoint me.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it,” I said smoothly, accepting the paper.

“Capital, simply capital!” he said, just as the bell sounded for five minutes to curtain.  “Ah, back to the wars.”  He turned towards the entrance to the theater.  “I look forward to seeing you again, Cousin Mabel,” he tossed over his shoulder, and disappeared into the crowd.

I wondered who Cousin Mabel was.

Friday Face-Off: Over the Rainbow


It’s the right day 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…did not actually speak to me.  So I’m taking advantage of the freebie option to use the Friday Face-Off format but choose my own theme.  In honor of St. Patrick’s Day on Sunday, I decided to do a cover featuring a rainbow.

The first book with an important rainbow to come to mind was The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum…though I admit the rainbow was more prominent in the movie than the book.  Which might be why it doesn’t show up on more covers!

This cover with that little smudgy rainbow in the background was the only rainbow I could find!  Which makes the whole idea not so appropriate for the holiday, but by now I’m invested in the Wizard of Oz idea, so…

I like the style of this one, both fun and artsy, though the lion turned out a bit cartoonish…

I like the framing effect here, and the image of the four friends journeying together.  I’ve always had a soft spot for images of people walking off down a road though–there’s such possibility!

I like the high drama of this one!  It’s also quite different from most others, which almost universally show Dorothy and her friends, and/or the yellow brick road.

My favorite cover is…actually the very first one up there!  There’s a funny bit of history to Oz illustrations.  I read all the illustrated editions of the entire series, and the strange thing is that they changed illustrators after the first book.  So all the later books have a particular, very charming art style, which just doesn’t exist for the first book.  So covers of The Wizard of Oz always look wrong to me!  And the first one, while not the same depiction of the characters, seems the closest to “right” in art style.

Along with the notable lack of a rainbow on Oz covers, I also noticed that not a single one I could find actually shows the Wizard of Oz!

SCW Quarterly Retreat: March 2019

I had an excellent time out at the Stonehenge Circle Writers retreat today. I didn’t finish the novella I’ve been working on, but made some progress, and wrote a flash fiction piece I like from a writing prompt we tried. Awesome day all around!

Stonehenge Circle Writers

Several of our writers got together today for a day-long retreat.  It was a great chance for some writing inspiration and planning for the future.

We spent the day doing exercises related to character voice and genre conventions, digging in on our current writing projects, and tossing ideas around for new features for the blog and future collaborations.  Stay tuned to see more here soon!

Pictured: R.A. Gates, Mattias Bergman, Karolina Bergman, Cheryl Mahoney, Kelly Haworth, Magnus Victor (back) and K. D. Blakely

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Blog Hop: To Buy or Not to Buy

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is: Do you buy all your books? If yes, do you keep them all? If no, where do you source them?

I buy almost none of my books.  Virtually everything I read comes from my local library.  I’ve said for years that I could never afford my book habit if I had to actually pay for my books.  Last year I read around a hundred books, and it was a serious drop-off from most years.

Shall we run some math?  I’d guess at least a third of what I read last year were audiobooks, which are typically more expensive than print ones.  So let’s say I got really good used book deals on the paper books and spent an average of $5 per book.  If I went the ebook route, I think that’s still realistic.  Audiobooks, I think we have to say $15 to be even faintly plausible.  So that’s…[calculator on my phone]…approximately $1,000.  I could buy a signed L. M. Montgomery book for that.  Let’s assume that a decent number of those paper books were new books I had to buy at higher prices, call it a $15 average for the paper books too, and we’re up to $1,500.  And remember, I’ve typically read twice that many books.  Some are coming off of my own shelves, especially when I’m reading at a higher quantity, but I think we can still conservatively say that a typical year of reading, if purchased, would cost me around $2,500.  That’s most of a trip to England, right there.

Continue reading “Blog Hop: To Buy or Not to Buy”