A Good Match 3: London Cabbie

Ben Huberman, The Daily Post:

In my book, coffee, sparkling water, and a donut (okay, I confess: a fancy donut) make one such perfect combination. Sweet and bitter, cold and hot, smooth and fizzy — all these sensations come together to create a coherent, “this morning is going to be just fine” experience.

So here is self’s idea of a a good match:

Arriving in London and taking a cab from the airport. It is not cheap. But it pays off in spades because the cabbies are very interesting conversationalists. They know more about London than the average person. Most of them grew up in London. They can tell you where the best street markets are, where the best fish and chip shops are, and where St. Bride’s Church is. (If you are in a rush, this is not the mode of transport for you. It takes almost an hour, esp if you arrive during rush hour. But why would you go to London to rush? Especially if traveling alone and not on a particular schedule?)

A few years ago, when self was on a Shadowhunters reading binge (Thank you, Cassandra Clare!) she followed the path of Will Herondale and it took her to: York; Blackfriars; and St. Bride’s.

St. Bride’s was not easy to find. She asked about three people, and no one had even heard of it. Until she saw a parked London cab, and asked the driver if he knew where it was. His prompt reply: “Course I do! I’m a London cabbie!”

Nick Townsend was the cabbie who drove her in from Heathrow. He owns his own cab, and is a certified city guide:

dscn0927

Licensed City Guide (and Cab Driver) Nick Townsend proudly showed self his badge.

He talked about a church named St. Bartholomew the Less (The other, St. Bartholomew the Great, is next to the hospital. “Not that one,” he told self), which is a beautiful example, he said, of fine Norman (13th century) architecture.

He told self she must visit Sir John Soane’s Museum, which has candlelight tours “every last Tuesday of the month.”

He also told self about the Wallace Collection, which self has seen, but wouldn’t mind seeing again.

Self took notes.

London: oh, what a city. It is not cold. The rooms are damp. But go outside. Just keep going outside.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Bane Chronicles: “Vampires, Scones and Edmund Herondale”

Self is so very into The Infernal Devices (as dear blog readers well know, from all her posts through the summer, leading up to her trip to London).

There are three books in The Infernal Devices trilogy, and self tore through all three while she was in Banff (Thanks much, Niece Karina!).

When she was in Banff, she saw stacks of the just publishedy The Bane Chronicles in the bookstores. The book is a collection of short stories about some of the characters in this universe, and there are three authors. Which means, not every story is by Cassandra Clare (Jury’s still out on this; Clare is a really good writer. But the stories she’s read are somewhat uneven)

Nevertheless, self read two of the stories in between trips, when she dropped by Kepler’s in Menlo Park. In Dublin, she hung out in a bookstore for a few hours and read more of the stories (She was trying hard not to add to her luggage, which is so ridiculously crammed with books, all the time)

But now, the friend she is staying with has a teen-ager who happens to own a copy of The Bane Chronicles. And now she can quote because she has the actual book in front of her!

Self must confess, she never bothered to read all the stories in the collection, just the ones that concern her favorite Shadowhunter family: the Herondales!

Which brings us to the first paragraph of the story “Vampires, Scones and Edmund Herondale,” which is co-authored by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan. And here’s the opening:

London, 1857

Ever since the unfortunate events of the French Revolution, Magnus had nursed a slight prejudice against vampires. The undead were always killing one’s servants and endangering one pet’s monkey. The vampire clan in Paris was still sending Magnus rude messages about their small misunderstanding. Vampires bore a grudge longer than any technically living creatures, and whenever they were in a bad temper, they expressed themselves through murder. Magnus generally washed his companions to be somewhat less — no pun intended — bloodthirsty.

SPOILERS SPOILERS SORRY SPOILERS!

Edmund is the father of her all-time favorite character in The Infernal Devices: of course, that’s Will Herondale. Do you even need to ask.

Self was in London in June when Cassandra Clare announced that it was the anniversary of Will Herondale’s passing and it was almost too much, the torrent of feelz she unleashed with that announcement. (Self wanted to ask Ms. Clare why it is necessary to remind readers that Will Herondale is dead, dead, deader than a doorpost. Aaaargh!)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Fan Fiction, 2015: Unleash Your Imagination

“Unleash your imagination” is the banner of the grand-daddy of all fanfiction sites, which went up 1998: fanfiction.net

In the fan fiction universe, so far 2015, self has made a few interesting discoveries:

  • The 100 (the book) has NO fan fiction. The TV show has plenty, but they’re mostly Bellarke (Bellamy + Clarke). To which pairing, self can only say: MEH!
  • The Infernal Devices has a few hundred fan fiction, but most are JESSA (Jem + Tessa) which self most decidedly does NOT ship. Self also thinks it is particularly hard to write fan fiction for The Infernal Devices universe because the characters just don’t travel well to modern AU. Can you imagine Will Herondale as a modern college student? No, thank you.

In the Everlark field (in which self has been happily gamboling, for about two years now), the list of stories is exploding. OMG, self has so many faves. Here are a few of her favorite authors (not sure where they’re from or if they’re even American. Self only knows for sure when they say things like, “There is a really good Cuban restaurant in Hoboken, New Jersey . . . ” or “I’m hosting a Hunger Games fan fiction writers meet-up at the March Rodeo in Austin, TX . . . ” Sometimes she’ll even read things like: “Can’t upload now, in the middle of a biology test!”)

The aliases (Of course, in this field, everyone is pretending to be someone else) of her favorite writers are:

arollercoasterthatonlygoesup * atetheredmind * dracoisalooker76 * ImBeautifullyHuman * just-a-dram * Mejhiren * passionately curious * Ronja * titania522

This is only the tip of the iceberg. And there are many fan fiction writers who literally disappear when they’re work goes into the 10,000 kudos range and they take everything down so they can turn it into a published book.

Strangely, self never got into the Harry Potter universe. But ‘s okay. With the number of new stories being posted every day for Everlark, she will never run out of stories to read.

Stay tuned.

Inspiration 2: Yorkshire Landscapes

More for this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge: INSPIRATION

From The Daily Post:

What is your inspiration? What moves you? What is it that never fails to motivate you, to get you going, or make you happy?

Self will focus on inspirational landscapes. Such as these from Yorkshire:

Yorkshire, July 2015

Yorkshire, July 2015

And more of the same:

DSCN0899

And still more of the same:

DSCN0891

Honestly, the landscape of Yorkshire is so amazing. Green and hilly and full of eccentric rock placements. Sort of like the towns of Yorkshire themselves, with abbeys and cathedrals and Haworth coffee shops and Shipley punks and Bronte parsonages and cemeteries and Salts Mills and David Hockneys and Yorkshire teas and Victorian Steampunk and 1940s Festivals.

Self hates that they won’t let you take any pictures in the Bronte Museum in Haworth. Inside as well as outside, according to the young woman who was the first tour guide she encountered, standing by the front entrance. The guide had watched self taking a picture of a yellow flower by the front steps.

But self felt she really had to get to Yorkshire, not just because of the Brontes, but because of Will Herondale and the events in Clockwork Prince, book 2 of The Infernal Devices.

There is a very crucial plot twist that takes place in Yorkshire but, in the meantime, we have:  Balcony scene, Demons Ball, Chiswick. Herondale, what else can self say. Tessa being all encouraging (p. 292): “Will, you need not be so careful. I will not break.” And then, you know, Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff, Tessa saying Will is like her Heathcliff, the moors, whatever.

So brooding and romantic, Yorkshire is!

So brooding and romantic, Yorkshire is! July 2015

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

CLOCKWORK PRINCE, p. 280: Demon’s Ball, Chiswick

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS DAMN YOU BLOG READERS WHO STILL HAVEN’T READ CLOCKWORK PRINCE!!!

Tessa Gray and Will Herondale do some detective work around the Lightwoods’ mansion during a Demons Ball.

Will is disguised with a half-face mask (Later, he has occasion to remove it, and Tessa Gray notes that the mask has left delicate red marks on the tops of Will’s cheekbones. And very well-sculpted those cheekbones are, do dear blog readers even need self to remind them! Those are Herondale cheekbones, but of course!)

Tessa Gray has changed into Jessamine Lovelace, a blonde flibbertigibbet who has been conducting a secret romantic relationship with Nate Gray, Tessa’s brother.

So, during the ball, there are many whispered, affectionate caresses between the unsuspecting Nate and his sister (disguised as Jessamine). Here’s one. The whole way through the scene, let’s just say: Self. Can’t. Even.

Nate’s hand slipped around the back of her neck. He was wearing gloves, but Tessa couldn’t rid herself of the feeling that something slimy was touching her skin. “My little Jessie,” he murmured. “You behave almost as if you’ve forgotten your own part in this. You did hide the Book of White in my sister’s room as we asked you to, did you not?”

“Of — of course I did.”

“That’s my good girl.” He was leaning closer. He was definitely going to kiss her. It was most improper . . .

At which point, self was all BLEAAAAAH!!!!  PHOOOEEEEY!!!!  BAAAARRRRRFFFFF!!!

If dear blog readers want to know if Cassie Clare (Esteemed Author) actually does go there, read the book for crying out loud!

(Incidentally, she was on Fleet Street again today. She didn’t get a chance to pop into St. Bride’s, but she’ll have to do that one of these days)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: Will Herondale

  • “Well, I suppose it’s hard to meddle in someone’s brains if they’ve got no brains to start with.”

—  spoken by Will Herondale to Tessa Gray, the two riding alone in a carriage, on their way to a Demons Ball in Chiswick (from p. 261 of Clockwork Prince, the most angst-y of all Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices books, which means it is one of self’s absolute faves. If your tear ducts ever feel in need of a major workout, dear blog reader, then this is the book for you!)

Why Self Loves Warlocks and Werewolves and What Not: CLOCKWORK PRINCE, Chapter 11 (“Wild Unrest”)

First of all, self didn’t get a wink of sleep last night.

Second, writing is hard work. VERY VERY hard work.

Third, just see how you’d like reading 600 pages of The Third Reich of War (The chapter self is on describes how rich Hermann Goring was: he owned 10 villas, all of which were crammed with expensive artwork, and all of which were subsidized at German taxpayers’ expense. Just a few pages before, self read how a Jewish nurse at Auschwitz accompanied her son voluntarily to the gas chamber, during one of the last waves of gassings at the camp: October 1944)

So self hardly needs to explain why she goes for a little fantasy now and then. (How very forward-thinking of her to bring along her copies of Clockwork Prince and Clockwork Princess to the UK! She usually isn’t that pro-active!)

Anyhoo, Clockwork Prince, which most readers seem to think is “Jem’s book.” NOT!

While our boy Will Herondale is dreadfully discomposed, or disoriented, or whatevers, by the events therein, he is most decidedly NOT out of the picture entirely!

From the Oxford Dictionary of English in Cottage # 2 at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre

From the Oxford Dictionary of English in Cottage # 2 at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre

In a side-story, a Downworlder named Ragnor Fell is sniffing around Yorkshire to dig up information for the Clave on what exactly the Herondale family is doing in Ravenscar Manor, which is owned by the Magister (aka Mortmain aka Evil Person Who Has Been Trying to Abduct Tessa Gray Since FOREVER). Ragnor reports his findings to Charlotte in a very circumlocutious (but charming) letter which reads, in part, thus:

Ravenscar itself is near a small village. I set myself up at the local inn, the Black Swan, and posed as a gentleman interested in buying property in the area. The locals have been most forthcoming with information, and when they were not, a persuasion spell or two helped them to see the matter from my point of view.

It seems the Herondales mix very little with local society.

It’s now raining! OMG, it was hot as all get-out all day. Thank you for the rain!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Jessamine, CLOCKWORK PRINCE

Self has been absolutely crushing the writing. Crushing it.

She added pirate raids, defensive maneuvers, gun battles, bonfires and other exceedingly dramatic mayhem to her WIP.

Finally, at 5 p.m., she settles in for a refreshing dip into The Infernal Devices. Which happens to be p. 261 of Clockwork Prince. Which happens to feature dialogue with Jessamine at the dinner table of the London Institute (Jessamine is one of self’s all-time favorite TID characters!)

Will regarded Henry from beneath half-lidded eyes. “Nothing ever disturbs your circles, does it, Henry?”

Henry blinked. “What do you mean?”

“Archimedes,” Jem said, as usual knowing what Will meant, though not looking at him. “He was drawing a mathematical diagram in the sand when his city was attacked by Romans. He was so intent on what he was doing that he didn’t see the soldier coming up behind him. His last words were, ‘Do not disturb my circles.’ Of course, he was an old man by then.”

“And he was probably never married,” said Will, and he grinned at Jem across the table.

Jem didn’t return his grin. Without looking at Will, or Tessa — without looking at any of them — he got to his feet and went out of the room after Charlotte.

“Oh, bother,” said Jessamine “Is this one of those days where we all stalk out in a fury? Because I simply haven’t got the energy for it.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

And Now, Another From CLOCKWORK PRINCE

If self had been able to get to blogging a little earlier, she would have written a fine analysis of the chapter in The Third Reich at War which focuses on Reich Protector Reinhard Heydrich, the man who the SS called the “Blonde Beast.” Less affectionately known by the Czechs as the “Butcher of Prague.”

Not a gullible believer in Nazi ideology, Heydrich nevertheless crushed the heart of the Czech resistance movement. Also, was passionate about music and played the violin.

Stop right there, self. You intimated this post was going to be about CLOCKWORK PRINCE. Luckily for dear blog readers, she’s going to make good on her introduction and turn to the CLOCKWORK PRINCE. Because just imagine how quickly your fine Sundays would be ruined if you read about Reich Protector Heydrich’s many successes in eliminating the Jewish population of Prague!

Okey-dokey, self will backtrack.

Cassandra Clare has a great sense of humor and Will Herondale is soooo entertaining a character.

FOR THE 5% OF THE POPULATION WHO HAVE NOT READ THE INFERNAL DEVICES: SPOILER ALERT!

His death anniversary passed a week or so ago (Stop! Can it really be? Forsooth, Cassie Clare called attention to it on her author website: Will Herondale died on June 19, 1937. Self was so addled that she actually heaved a sigh of relief that he was not around to witness World War II. Until she remembered that of course he wouldn’t be around to witness World War II:  because Will Herondale is a fictional character!!! DUH!!!)

Here’s the scene where Jem and Tessa find Will in an opium den. All these years of procuring the drug for beloved Jem (Sissy!) and Will never tried it once. Not once. Until, distraught over the discovery that his family in Wales has been moved by Mortmain to a house in of all places Yorkshire, and unable to tell Tessa Gray that he loves her while watching Jem’s flirtations intensify right before his very eyes (i.e. the train back to London. See also: the carriage ride to London’s East End, where Jem’s hot breath stays in Tessa’s ear. That is, until she lays sight of Will Herondale’s “six feet of bone and muscle” lying supine in a yin fen den run by warlocks — DUN DUN DUN!), he succumbs.

No one at the London Institute, not even Jem (What’s that parabatai rune over your heart doing, Jem? Hasn’t it been bothering you greatly during Will’s disappearance?), bother to go looking for him. Until Tessa Gray receives a confidential note from Warlock Magnus Bane (Methinks the warlock doth care for that whelp Herondale, despite his protestations!) that Will is in trouble, and she waits six hours to tell Jem, and then Jem finally decides that why, yes, as the parabatai he must go and search for Will, and they ride in a carriage and hot breath on Tessa’s ear and all that, and arrive at scummy London’s East End, which is absolutely crawling with Shivering Jemmies and infants whose skin is the color of curdled milk, and they find Will in a den of iniquity, and Tessa knows they have to get him out of there, but Jem is frozen, unable to move (As if thinking: Oh no! Why did we have to find him? I was looking forward to having Tessa Gray all to myself!). And then Tessa Gray says:

If you do not help me, I swear, I will Change into you, and I will lift him myself. And then everyone here will see what you look like in a dress. Do you understand?

God, JEM CARSTAIRS WILL YOU JUST GET A MOVE ON???

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

How DARE You, Mr. Ragnor Fell!

Self may be getting ahead of herself, but life is short.

There are two choices open to her when she leaves Ireland:  Yorkshire or Wales.

Yorkshire because a crucial scene in Clockwork Prince takes place there. P. 169:

Ragnor Fell, High Warlock of London: “What’s on the carpet, then, Charlotte? Did you really call me out here to discuss dark doings on the Yorkshire moors? I was under the impression that nothing of great interest happened in Yorkshire. In fact, I was under the impression that there was nothing in Yorkshire except sheep and mining.”

Oh la-di-dah, Mr. Fell. Yorkshire isn’t that boring. She was there when she was 11. She was sent to summer camp, somewhere in Yorkshire Dales. She saw the magnificent cathedral.

And Wales?

Something so alluring and romantic about Wales. Aside from the fact that Wales is where Will Herondale was born and lived until he was 12.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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