Alex Epstein's new novel
about Morgan le Fay...
... magic, legends,
Eclectic wicca at its most inventive.
Q. How many Gardnerian witches does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A. That's a secret.
Author of the influential survey of contemporary Wicca Drawing Down the Moon.
Peter Reynolds runs a recreated Celtic farm, with ancient styles of sheep. The Irish in The Circle Cast would have lived more or less like this..
About the time of The Circle Cast.
A Dark Ages hillfort believed to be the original Camelot.
The final battle. A short story.
I perpetrated a one-night
role-playing game set in King Arthur's tent on the eve of the battle of Camlann. It was fun. It was a bit geeky. Who will win the battle?
Other Arthurian Books I Love:
Arthurian Movies I Love:
This work is licensed under a
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Hmmmm... my Kindle price is $6.99, which is a big discount from the paperback. But would I sell more if it were $4.99? Would I sell five times more if it were $1.99? When there's no actual cost to put the book in someone's hands, you can really set the price anywhere you think demand will meet supply.
There's a lower limit where reducing the price doesn't really help, of course. If I'm interested enough to start reading a book, I'm probably not more likely to buy it for $.99 than I would be for $1.99, and I'm not really much less likely to but it at $4.99.
What's the price at which you would just jump in and press "buy" without really worrying about it?
On the other hand, the first chapter is free anyway. At the point where you've read the first chapter and you want to keep reading, at what price above which you start thinking hard about whether you need this book, and below which you go, what the hell, gimme the words?
NY Mag says Don Draper makes a better vampire than Edward Cullen
or all those guys on TRUE BLOOD:
He is an engine of want, creating the illusion of fulfillment while sucking you dry. No is not in his vocabulary. Neither is yes — yes is implicit. He knows this, he is past needing to hear you say it. He knows the private and unmentionable place that cries "yes" when the bottom drops out of an amusement park ride and suddenly you are in free fall, and, like the ideal man, he is listening.
Fun stuff. I'm waiting to see how his marriage to Jessica Paré's character goes horribly, horribly wrong.
Friday, July 29, 2011
The incredibly industrious and devoted Corrine of Lost for Words reviews TCC
A thoroughly and imaginatively described world in which magic comes to life as it is channeled through Morgan, as she calls on her connection to the earth to help her in her time of need. History, and the early church history being spread across Ireland makes this a rich and informative read as well. We get to see a side of Morgan that isn't necessarily seen as she comes to terms with her identity and future. As an avid history fan, I absolutely loved this rendition of Morgan's lost years and am curious to see how Epstein would continue her story.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
One of the nice things people say about THE CIRCLE CAST, when they say nice things, is they like Morgan. One of the things they criticize, when they criticize, is that I sometimes tell instead of showing.
It's funny, because I'm a professional screenwriter. Showing instead of telling is my default.
But I find it an odd criticism of a novel. One of the nice things about novels is that you can tell instead of showing. A movie can only give you what characters say and do, mostly in real time. You can't show, in a movie, how the besieging troops are getting restless, and sick, and hungry. You can only show four or five restless, sick troops complaining about being hungry, and eventually getting into a fight. More than four or five people on screen and all you have is a mob. Movies have to develop all sorts of odd cinematic techniques to show Spring turning into Summer turning into Fall.
So in THE CIRCLE CAST, I tried to do more than show a series of scenes. I tried to talk about some things that happen over stretches of time. I also dissect some moments in detail, to show everything that goes into them.
Maybe that is not done in YA novels, I don't know. It's a style. Some of the people who like the book very much like the descriptions -- the "telling" -- very much. But some of the people who don't love the book jump on the "show don't tell."
Well, if you are one of those people who felt the book has too much telling and not enough showing -- let me know, eh? And let me know an example of what's bugging you...!
Labels: writing craft
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
I got my CueCat in the mail yesterday. It's a little barcode scanner in the shape of a cat, natch. (I guess to go with the mouse.) Run it along a barcode and it types the barcode into your computer. You can use it to scan your books into LibraryThing
Why would you scan your books into LibraryThing? I guess so you can show your friends what books you have. Then you can see what books they have. And you can learn more about the authors. But most importantly, LibraryThing can find someone who has your taste in books, more or less, and then show you what books they have that you don't have. Chances are you'll find something good to read.
You can check out my books here.
Not all of them, 'cause that would be a lot of scanning. And I keep donating them to the library when I'm done so they don't take over my house. But most of my favorite ones.
(I also have an author page
there, with links. But I think the, uh, library thing is the most interesting part of the site.)
Labels: reading books
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Rie Conley at Mission to Read interviews me about my cover
(which I love!). If you want to know how a book gets its cover -- or how this one did -- check it out.
Labels: blog tour
Monday, July 25, 2011
There's a long interview at Lost For Words
in which I talk about mythology, history, religion, the Dark Ages, and some of the most interesting holes in the Arthur legend.
Thanks for interviewing me, Corrine!
Labels: blog tour
Saturday, July 23, 2011
There's a lovely review of TCC in School Librarian, alas about half of it behind a paywall
A sophisticated, stylishly written novel ... In this haunting tale of fantasy there is also romance as Morgan falls in love with a young Irish chieftain and is then torn between her thirst for revenge and her desire for love and happiness.
This is a most impressive book.... The book's descriptive passages are a joy to read, often more akin to poetry than prose and teachers might well wish to focus on the writer's techniques from the title itself to the use of repetition and of the simple, very short, very effective sentences.
Thank you, Elizabeth Finlayson!
Friday, July 22, 2011
The Midwest Book Review
The Sorceress Morgan Le Fay is often painted as a villain in Arthurian legend, but what painted her in this role? "The Circle Cast: The Lost Years of Morgan LeFay" follows the young woman after she swears vengeance on Uther Pendragon who killed her father. With vengeance in mind, she masters sorcery and makes her own way, only to have her plans for revenge derailed by what may be love. "The Circle Cast" is an excellent work of Arthurian fantasy, highly recommended.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Roof Beam Reader
One of the most interesting aspects of the book is not just that it is about Morgan Le Fay, which is a fascinating subject; in fact, one of the most interesting elements was the conflict between the budding Christian culture and the well-established but threatened pagan religions. Added with the various nationalities – the British, the Irish, the Saxons, and (in some relative respect) the Romans- the book becomes a fascinating culture study. It also tackles aspects of family, revenge, and forgiveness. This is certainly an appealing and creative re-imagining of the young life of Morgana, and one can only hope that it will be the first book in a series that will expand further on her life and times. The book’s website also contains some great background and historical information on Morgan and this era, which is a great benefit to readers who have a deeper interest.
Thanks, Roof Beam Reader!
Saw IRONCLAD last night at Fantasia. It's essentially a samurai movie, but set in England under the reign of King John. After signing Magna Carta, John treacherously hires Danish mercenaries to retake control of his kingdom and murder all the barons who forced him to sign it. A small group of knights seize Rochester Castle and must hold it against the Danish mercs and King John's siege weapons to give time for the French (!) to come to the rescue.
It's a very good, grade-A samurai movie. Lots of hack and slash. James Purefoy (ROME's Mark Antony) is the broody Knight Templar at the center of the story; he's terrific to watch. Kate Mara is the doe-eyed young wife of the castle's cowardly lord (Derek Jacobi) who falls in love with him. (Emma Watson better watch out. She's rocking the same basic look, but rocking it harder.) Paul Giamatti is in actor heaven playing the unbelievably cruel, smart, treacherous, arrogant king.
I really enjoyed it. If you like samurai movies, you will too.
(I reviewed TROLL HUNTER
on my screenwriting blog.)
Labels: watching movies
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
My Reading Room has me answering This or That
Labels: blog tour, interviews
I saw THE WICKER TREE at the Montreal Fantasia Festival last night. I was disappointed.
/* SPOILERS */
Years ago, I saw THE WICKER MAN (1973). It's a cult classic because it does a very clever thing: it makes you root against the hero. A police detective goes to Summer Isle to investigate a missing girl. What he finds there upsets his priggish Anglican prudery. Summerisle seems to be a place of loose morals. Couples rut in the bushes. Everyone drinks and sings. No one goes to church. It's as if hippies ran the town like one big summer camp.
What Summerisle is, of course, is pagan. And as the cop runs around interfering and meddling, Summerisle is working its way towards one of the great pagan holidays. The cop realizes too late that the locals are into human sacrifice, and he's it. But by the time he's in the giant wicker man and they're lighting up the torches, we pretty much hate him, and love the locals.
It's one of the peculiarities of the big and small screens that we can love murderers if they are adorable enough, and dislike professional heroes if they are annoying enough.
(Your mileage may vary. Lisa was horrified by the ending. Either way the movie works.)
Along comes THE WICKER TREE, 38 years later. This one, director Robin Hardy also wrote. (Anthony Schaffer wrote the original.) Unfortunately, while it's beautifully directed, structurally it's a mess. Some directors should not write.
Essentially, it's a reworking of the same idea. But this time, instead of an obnoxious police detective, the protagonists are two American evangelicals from Texas, a pixiesh Christian Country Music singer with the voice of an angel, and her cowboy boyfriend. They are out of their depth from the moment they come to Scotland to proselytize. But even when confronted with out-of-the-broom-closet pagans, they roll with the punches. She agrees to be the May Queen, even though she's been told May Day is a pagan holiday. He agrees to be the "Laddie."
In other words, they're likable and fairly non-judgmental, for all their loudly, repeatedly professed love for Jesus. So the villagers and their bald-shaven goatee'd landowner wind up having to be cartoonishly evil.
Ah, damn. I'll have to look elsewhere for my pagan kicks.
Labels: watching movies
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
The Fiction Enthusiast asked me what books I would recommend
to 5 year old me, 11 year old me, 16 year old me, and 20 year old me. What do you think of my answers?
Labels: book tour, reading books
Monday, July 18, 2011
As part of my blog tour, Anime Girl interviews me. The catch -- I have to answer in tweets
. Check it out.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Strangely, there is no Kindle Store on Amazon.ca. So if you want to buy The Circle Cast on Kindle from Canada, you have to go to Amazon.com
. (See link at right.)