Thursday, January 27, 2011

Book Review: Sorcery and Cecelia

Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot

Patrica C. Wrede & Caroline Stevermer
Graphia (September 1, 2004)

    If, as I do, you enjoy both fantasy tales and Jane Austen, this is a lovely little epistolary novel that captures some of both genres.  It follows the adventures of two cousins, one, Kate, who is having her season in London and the other, Cecelia (Cecy) who has remained back in the country.  Somewhat accidentally they become involved in the contretemps of some not so up-and-up magicians and the pair of young men who are the targets of their schemes.  The young men – the Mysterious Marques or Thomas Schofield and James Tarleton – are somewhat dismayed at the cousins’ contributions, but in the end the villains are thwarted with much witty banter along side.

    Don’t look for a serious consideration of what effect magic might have had on the history of England, as there is little exploration of how it works and how it affects society.  It is apparently a subject appropriate for woman to study as well as men, but again there is little discussion of that aspect.  However for a charming romp with two spirited heroines who keep their heads in challenging circumstances, this amusing little tale is quite enjoyable.  More than the plot I appreciated the amusing comments the cousins made to each other:  “I sympathize with your position, but I am very much afraid you have let your justifiable annoyance run off with your sense” (93) says Cecelia to Kate over her “sham” betrothal to the Marques.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Lendhlay Launch

    My current writing project is to develop my fantasy world, while working on developing short fiction styles.  To this end I am going through the continent of Idhua, country by country and for each one I have been writing an “encyclopedia” entry and a short story or novella set in it. I have begun with the oldest country, Lendhlay, and wrote a story entitled The White Raven, which I am now in the process of final editing.  I wanted to mark each one more definitively than saying “that’s done, next!” So I am holding a little (or maybe someday big) party to launch each one.

   The event is themed after the country and will include a reading of the short story.  I am done with two countries, Lendhlay and Fijallind, and am working on the third, Eonia.  I had the Lendhlay launch party in December and I feel it was a good success.  It was a dinner party of five courses and costumes were encouraged.  Although I have a pretty good idea of what the Lendhu dress looks like, I wanted to make it easier on my guests, so the instructions were fantasy medieval garb with an elven flavor – how ever they chose to interpret that.  Here are some pictures of the night:

Table Setting
Centerpiece made of a decorative mirror

Me in Costume

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wizard and Warrior - Photo Shoot

Something I enjoy doing is dressing my friends (and sometimes myself) up in costumes, hauling them out to a picturesque location and taking pictures.  It was chilly (intermittent sleeting, to be precise), but they were quite gracious about it, and the winter woods were a wonderful backdrop.

Warrior charging gleefully down the path.

Wizard and mossy tree.

Yes, I am epic.

"I think it went that way."

Maybe some blue lightening striking the sword?

Glowing orb.

Movie Poster: Now we are both epic.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Every Journey Starts Somewhere. . .

I am a rambler not a hiker.  I love paths that wind though huge trees, cross little creeks and lead onto the ferny brae.  The sense of wonder and of longing I experience in my small woodland rambles is akin to that which I frequently find in reading and writing fantasy fiction.  It is not surprising to me that so many of our myths and tales should begin with a journey into the forest.  It is this place, the primeval Forest, that arose as central in the fantasy world I am creating.  Idhua is a continent where the Forest lies in the vast, magical interior, while the fringe lands, the tracts between mythic wood and uncharted seas, are where the people flourish.  I, too, flourish best where there are both trees and coastlines.  From the redwoods and the curve of Monterey bay of my childhood, to the cedars and wild driftwood adorned beaches of the Pacific Northwest where I live at present, I have always been happiest on some place between wood and sea.  I am inspired by the land and as I take those rambles, I am sometimes on the road to Elfland myself.