Stephanie Burgis
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Ivy and Thorn and mysteries
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Hooray! My Elizabethan fantasy story "Ivy and Thorn" has been reprinted at Quantum Kiss. You can read it here! I'm very happy to have an online version of it. This is the idea I first thought of in a 17th-century Bavarian setting...then, when the first version didn't click, I tried it out in a near-future, fantastical version of Pittsburgh, also with no success...and then it finally, finally clicked for me when I realized it really needed to be set in Elizabethan-era Yorkshire, which was still wild and strange and prone to magic (and, let's face it, still is in some places - walking through the woods near Bolton Abbey or Hardcastle Crags, or even Skipton Castle, it would be very easy to believe in magic even now).

Here in Yorkshire now, it's a Bank Holiday Monday, which means it's wonderful national holiday time, and Patrick is off work. We spent the first part of the morning writing, then moved on to the cafe at Borders, where Patrick was good and continued to write, but I read novels instead. I've just discovered the mysteries of Robert Barnard (a Yorkshire writer), and I've read two of his novels this weekend alone - first The Mistress of Alderley, which was hugely fun for me particularly because it was set partly in Opera North and the environs of the Grand Theatre (where I used to work), so I got to keep thinking, "Oh! I know where that is. I used to walk right around there..." and of course I got to enjoy the characters walking around backstage, where I've walked several times. Very fun.

Today I read Sheer Torture, written about 20 years earlier, but still really good and really sharply funny, about a police detective who's forced against his will to return to the famous family home. His family is a nightmarish mix of the Mitfords and the Wagners (as in Richard Wagner and all his famous - and infamous - descendants), including an aunt who's still devoted to her beloved Fuehrer, and his own father, who's just been discovered murdered while in the midst of applying a medieval torture device to himself while wearing spangled tights...the detective, Perry Trethowan, is so embarrassed by the whole thing. Very funny book, very good mystery - I'll definitely look out for more Robert Barnard novels!

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