Cassandra Clare Quote of the Day: Clockwork Princess, pp. 315 – 316

Will beset by a pack of werewolves at a Welsh country inn:

Will was bleeding from his shoulder where one of them had dug deep furrows with his claws; the pain was glorious . . . “Again,” he said, and barely recognized his own voice, strained and cracked and deadly. “Again.”

OMG, self can’t. She can’t even.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Fairy Tale Cottage in Chapter 14 of CLOCKWORK PRINCESS: PARABATAI

Self loves fairy tales. Regular readers of this blog know that very well. She has hardcover copies of both The Annotated Brothers Grimm and The Annotated Alice, both published by W. W. Norton. Her favorite Hunger Games fan fiction writer is Mejhiren, whose bleakly beautiful fairy tales blend Hunger Games and fairy tale elements like the Wild Swans or the Snow Queen so seamlessly. Which brings us to Clockwork Princess.

SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER

In Chapter 14 of Clockwork Princess (Self hates the thought of finishing this book. She tried to keep from reading more than a chapter today, but that was an epic fail), Tessa Gray has been kidnapped by the evil Mortmain, and is being taken to Wales in a carriage driven by hideous Mrs. Black. She manages to throw herself out of the carriage, and tumbles down a ravine, and then follows a stream to a little cottage:

She had seen no sign of human habitation for miles, and was beginning to despair of her plan, when a clearing came into view . . .  It had begun to rain lightly, but even through the drizzle she could see the outline of a low stone building. As she drew closer, she saw that it seemed to be a small house, with a thatched roof and overgrown path leading to the front door . . .  The house was deserted.

The door was already part open, the wood swelled with rain.

DUN DUN DUN!

There are many more descriptive details in the passage, but this chapter is so packed that self will have to turn dear blog readers’ attention to another subject.

Chapter 14 is also the chapter when the terrible thing happens. The cord linking Will Herondale to his parabatai snaps, and the rune just above his heart which represents the bond he shares with Jem starts to disappear. Of course, it couldn’t have occurred at a worse time (unrequited love for Tessa etc etc have taken its toll) and Will himself begins to wish his life could end, too. That is, until he’s attacked by a pack of werewolves. And then, Will being Will, instinct kicks in and he fights:

The lycanthrope screamed, and a dark bolt of glee shot through Will.

That Cassandra Clare. When she writes about Will, her writing is as sure and finely honed as a rapier. He’s her best character, the one she seems to know intuitively. And her writing is at its best when she writes about him.

Self read somewhere that Clare is starting a new series, and it’s going to be about the children of Will and Tessa. Wait — WHAT??? Tessa and Will have children ???

Indeed they do! James and Lucie Herondale. And that’s who Clare’s new series will be about.

But self doesn’t want to read about any of Will’s descendants, no matter how many of his fine qualities they inherit. She wants to read about Will. And she doesn’t want him showing up as some kind of oracular ghost, either. Can you do that, Cassandra Clare?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

CLOCKWORK PRINCESS, p. 299

BIG SPOILER BIG. Mother of all SPOILERS.

Did you really think you could escape one day without seeing a Clockwork Princess post, dear blog readers?

Think again!

Because we are nearing the end. That is, the end of The Infernal Devices Trilogy.

Yesterday, while reading, self started crying and crying and crying. Because Will left to rescue Tessa, all by himself, without the approval of the Council. No one went with him, because everyone in the Institute was so worried about Jem, who had taken a turn for the worse.

AAARGH!!!

Will you just stop, people?  Jem is not going to die!  He’s going to be immortal, and outlive Will, while Will is all too mortal. HE, WILL HERONDALE, is going to die! Die die die!

THANK GOD FOR CECILY HERONDALE, Will’s younger sister.

While everyone is all boo-hoo about the angelic wasting-away of Jem, while even Warlock Magnus Bane has been roped in to the task of HELPING JEM TO LIVE SO THAT HE CAN MARRY TESSA AND WILL’S HEART WILL BE BROKEN FOREVERMORE, Cecily thinks of her brother, who’s headed to Wales. Mortmain has taken Tessa there, as if to taunt the Herondales in their own backyard (There was mention of Holyhead, Wales, which self visited last year: she’d taken the train from Dublin and switched to a ferry in Holyhead and completed the rest of her trip by train to London).

Here is Cecily:

She could not help but think of her brother. Part of her mind was there in the Institute, but the rest was with Will: on the back of a horse, leaning into the wind, riding hell-for-leather over the roads that separated London from Dolgellau. She wondered if he was frightened. She wondered if she would see him again.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Broken 2: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

Yesterday, some of us writers went to downtown Banff to take a book-making class.

It was a bee-yoo-ti-ful day! Here’s a sample of the finished product. Self thinks the post goes with the BROKEN theme because we decorated our books with twigs. The twigs were from a pile discarded in front of an organic grocery.

The Finished Product! Took Us 1 1/2 hours approx.

The Finished Product! Took Us 1 1/2 hours approx.

Mine. It was surprisingly easy to make. But I was still the last to finish.

Self’s. It was surprisingly easy to make. But she was still the last to finish.

Another view of self's: She is not a

Another view of self’s: She is not a “crafts” person, but these were surprisingly easy to make.

Thank you to Gingko and Ink, 111 Banff Avenue, the store that hosted the class. The owner couldn’t have been more gracious:

Gingko & Ink, a paper and crafts store on 111 Banff Avenue: The owner of the store taught the bookmaking class yesterday afternoon.

Gingko & Ink, a paper and crafts store on 111 Banff Avenue: The owner of the store taught the bookmaking class yesterday afternoon.

Anyhoo, was happy with the result.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

From Robert Falcon Scott’s Diary of His Journey to the South Pole, 1912

Self loves nonfiction.

She loves memoir, and of all the different types of memoir she loves reading, travel books are her favorite.

A short list of travel writers self has read and admired (by no means definitive):

Sybille Bedford (A Visit to Don Otavio: A Traveler’s Tale From Mexico); Mary Morris (Nothing to Declare); Wilfred Thesiger (Arabian Sands); Redmond O’Hanlon (Into the Heart of Borneo); Eric Newby (A Short Walk In the Hindu Kush); Piers Paul Read (Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors); Edward Abbey (Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness); Rebecca West (Black Lamb and Grey Falcon)

The diary of Robert Falcon Scott is extremely excruciating because it is simply a mundane list of daily chores (including, of course, a record of the freezing temperatures) but one has to remember that the man and everyone mentioned in his diary dies, in a matter of weeks.

So here we are, reading things like:

“Bowers photographing and Wilson sketching.”

“Evans looked a little better after a good sleep . . . ”

“. . . with plenty of horsemeat we have had a fine supper . . . ” (at a place with the dreadful name Shambles Camp)

“. . . lucky to have a fine day for this and our camp work . . . ”

But one can’t help reading the diary for possible clues as to how this expedition could have been saved: if they had not wasted valuable time going back for a teammate who was clearly on the point of death. If they had not been in general so slow. But they were all exhausted and so of course they were slow.

On February 4, they had food for 10 more days and 70 miles to go. It had taken all that they had to go 8 1/2 miles one day, so 70 more miles seems just on the border of possibility.

Ugh.

Closing out this post with another picture of Lake Louise from last Saturday.

May 16, 2015

May 16, 2015

Stay tuned.

Beginning CLOCKWORK PRINCE: More Reasons to Love Cassandra Clare

Because she made Will Herondale, a character in The Infernal Devices trilogy.

Quotes fall so trippingly from Will’s tongue. She particularly loves when Jessamine is present, for the two Shadowhunters are constantly squabbling:

They go at it again on pp. 30 -31 of Clockwork Prince (She finished Clockwork Angel in the wee hours this morning)

. . . Jessamine shot Will a poisonous look. “If you think I don’t have the experience to help, then why is she here?” She indicated Tessa. “I don’t mean to be rude, but do you think she can tell a binding spell from a summoning one?” She looked at Tessa. “Well, can you? And for that matter, Will, you pay so little attention at lessons, can you tell a binding spell from a soufflé recipe?”

Will leaned back in his chair and said dreamily, “I am but mad north-northwest; when the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw.”

“Jessamine, Tessa has kindly offered to help, and we need all the eyes we can get right now,” said Jem severely. “Will, don’t quote Hamlet. Henry . . . ” he cleared his throat. “HENRY.”

SPOILER ALERT

For all her faults, Jessamine is pretty fierce. She never abandoned Tessa during the climactic fight to defend the Institute from the clockwork automatons who invaded it at the end of Clockwork Angel. And this in spite of the fact that her parasol was demolished, ruined beyond repair, lol.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Mark Twain: Disquisition on Railroad Coffee

At 62, Mark Twain undertook a journey to follow the equator. He called his book — what else?– Following the Equator.

At this point in his narrative, he’s been to Fiji, Molokai, Australia, etc (Wonder why he skipped the Asian countries?) got very very sick, then resumed his journey by train through Australia. He got a tall tale from a fellow traveler (Of course — what is travel if not a series of encounters with tall tales told by strangers one meets in the course of a trip?)

Last weekend, self was in Lake Louise, and it was almost completely iced over. As soon as she got back to Banff, she started reading Robert Falcon Scott’s diary of his disastrous South Pole expedition. The poor man led a team to the Pole, but days away they already saw signs that they had been beaten to it by another team: there were sledge marks in the snow, small cairns, and far off, the Norwegian flag. 1 and 1/2 miles from the Pole they came across a compact tent with a note inside listing the names of five Norwegians and the date: 16 December 1911.

On the way back, all of Scott’s party perished in a blizzard.

Having now gotten completely off-tangent, self has to pull herself back by the nose to Mark Twain’s disquisition on coffee:

Twain experiences his own frustrations during his Australian train journey:  “We saw birds, but not a kangaroo, not an emu, not an ornithorhyncus, not a lecturer, not a native.”

He did, however, encounter something called “sheep-dip,” which he describes as follows:

It is a stuff like tar, and is dabbed onto places where a shearer clips a piece out of the sheep. It bars out the flies, and has healing properties, and a nip to it which makes the sheep skip like the cattle on a thousand hills. It is not good to eat. That is, it is not good to eat except when mixed with railroad coffee. It improves railroad coffee. Without it railroad coffee is too vague. But with it, it is quite assertive and enthusiastic. By itself, railroad coffee is too passive; but sheep-dip makes it wake up and get down to business. I wonder where they get railroad coffee?

Just for fun, self looked up “sheep dip” on Urban Dictionary and got this.

The next chapter, Chapter XV, begins with this quote from Twain’s novel Pudd’nhead Wilson:

Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn’t.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

CLOCKWORK ANGEL, Book 1 of The Infernal Devices Trilogy by Cassandra Clare

One good thing about getting into Banff Writing Studio is that self got to visit her cousin Mike V, who lives in Calgary.

Self discovered that Mike’s daughter Karina (Communications Major at the University of Calgary) is a fan of Cassandra Clare, so self decided to give Clare’s Clockwork Angel a whirl.

MAMA MIA!

Self loves Will Herondale! He is this very delicate-appearing, almost fey, British guy who has an arsenal of out-of-this-world knives.

The setting is Victorian London. Lots of dead bodies appear randomly in London’s grey streets. Is Jack the Ripper a Nephilim? Who cares! Let’s see more of those moves, Will!

Cassandra Clare writes really really really really well.

Her dialogue is top-notch. In this scene, Will Herondale and Tessa Gray, the heroine, scope out a Den of Iniquity called . . . well, self forgets what it is called. All you need to know is that it is a Den of Iniquity. Where there will assuredly be Vampires present.

With his right hand he was tightening one of the metal knife-bearing cuffs on his left wrist. He was staring off toward the window, as if seeing something that wasn’t visible to her. “You might be thinking of vampires as feral monsters, but these vampires are not like that. They are as cultured as they are cruel. Sharpened knives to humanity’s dull blade.”

Do you see what self means when she says that Clare’s writing is really good?

Tessa and Will are admitted into a private residence where “among the candelabras moved vampires, their faces as white as clouds, their movements graceful and liquid and strange.”

And here self thought she was so over Vampires and Shadowhunters and their ilk!

Ixnay!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Mark Twain, FOLLOWING THE EQUATOR, Chapter V

Each chapter of Following the Equator begins with a quote from Pudd’nhead Wilson (Distraction/Digression: One of the poets tells self the Golden State Warriors are playing tonight. Apparently, since the Calgary Flames have been eliminated, it is now OK to ask at the MacLab for the giant screens to show basketball)

Anyhoo, where was self?

Oh yes, Following the Equator, Chapter V.

The quote that begins the chapter is this:

Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she had laid an asteroid.

Mark Twain! Self laughed so hard when she got to the very last word of that sentence. An asteroid! A hen laying an asteroid!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

WIP: The Wilderness

Sometimes you just have to quit trying, and DO.

And then DO SOME MORE.

Self is writing like crazes here in Banff.

Below, an excerpt from a novel-in-progress, Wilderness. It’s about Spain in the 18th century:

Winters were bitter cold, summers an agony of heat. Matias learned to use this to his advantage, remaining closeted in his room. A headache, he told his parents. Dizzy spells.

He read books. His father made sneering remarks about Matias’s laziness. As soon as the shadows lengthened, Matias would gather up his books and leave the house. At night the town’s labyrinth of streets could be dangerous, swarms of beggar children turning aggressive under cover of darkness, finding innocent marks and beating them with heavy wooden staves.

Matias was born into a landscape of suffering. The countryside surrounding the town was reeling from a severe drought that had dragged on many years, and from a pestilence that killed off half the population.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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