Chateau de Pierrefonds and light.

At the end of our annual skiing trip we break the long drive up from the Alps by stopping off in Pierrefonds for a couple of nights.

BBC’s Merlin was filmed in and around the Chateau from 2008 to 2012. I have hundred’s of photos taken during the filming of Merlin and of the Chateau taken at other times of the year. This time around I took some pictures in varying light conditions and have posted them below.

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The Chateau looked amazing in the evening light.

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The entrance gate as the sun went down.

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The lake at sunset.

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The Chateau from our hotel room just after the street lights were switched on.

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Shadows inside the Chateau.

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The Chateau in an early morning mist.

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The misty woods surrounding the Chateau.

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Some of the beautiful wallpaper within the Chateau.

 

All photographs are the copyright of Michelle Peart 2017

Gaslight with Rupert Young

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Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending the day in the company of Julie Bozza and we combined our love of theatre with Julie’s love of Rupert! The last time I saw Rupert on stage was when he appeared as CK Dexter Haven in High Society way back in August 2015.

Gaslight is, as stated in the programme, a Victorian melodrama set at the end of the 19th century. In a melodrama an innocent is menaced by an evil. Lovely Rupert was that evil. Julie and I were sat on the front row so I felt as if I were in the drawing room with the characters. This led to a disconcerting feeling as Rupert’s character, Jack Manningham, tormented his wife. His actions made me shuffle and look at the floor when Jack’s black heart was there for all to see.

The set was built at angles, like a cartoon, so you could fully see the ceiling as well as the walls and corridor leading away from the drawing room.

The play passed extremely quickly (maybe to do with the fact that we arrived with thirty seconds to spare!) but maybe to do with the fact that I was totally absorbed in the story.

I learnt yesterday that ‘Gaslighting’ is the term for a form of manipulation, the definition reads – to manipulate (someone) by psychological means into doubting their own sanity. If you’re interested (!) this is the Wikipedia page.

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For more (detailed!) information Julie has also blogged about the evening performance prior to our visit here.

We waited at the stagedoor after the play and Rupert very kindly came out and had a chat with us about the play and his character. We had our photos taken with him and Rupert gave us both a hug. The grown-up woman in me smiled and politely said, thank you, the fangirl in me squealed!

I’m going to York in February to see the play again, this time with friends who do not understand the ‘waiting at the stagedoor in the cold’ thing. Maybe I’ll blog again and this time post the stagedoor picture!

Today in the Comfy Chair – Michelle Peart — Elin Gregory

In November, at Manifold Press’s Queer Company event, I was delighted to meet new-to-me author Michelle Peart who was attending with her family. Michelle’s debut New Adult novel had just been released and it looks absolutely terrific. I’m very glad to host her today so I can get to know here a bit better. Welcome […]

via Today in the Comfy Chair – Michelle Peart — Elin Gregory

North Star reviews

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Latest reviews for To the Left of Your North Star 

This is a great read! Michelle’s writing eloquently conjures the vision of her world. The story is captivating & compulsive, set on a distant planet where all is not as it seems. A world where a young man embarks on a journey of self discovery which takes him & the reader on an adventure to unexpected places. I thoroughly enjoyed this book & am eagerly looking forward to the tale unfolding further with another episode.

BrenDog

This is a book aimed at young adults and is a sci-fi fantasy story that introduces us to the colourful and beautiful world of Abaytor, a planet distant from earth, in some ways very different from it yet in other ways similar. It is peopled by different tribes who don’t always understand one another and whose cultures and beliefs sometimes clash but who, until recently, managed to live alongside one another without serious problems. To this planet come groups of scientists, among whom are Edward and his explorer father, who care about one another but are very different and have no idea how to communicate. Edward meets Burn, a young adult from Abaytor, and when undertaking a perilous journey down the Copper River on a raft come to form a close friendship that helps Edward turn from a disaffected and selfish boy to a young adult who has learned what is important in life, and what is not. The story is fast-paced and full of adventure, yet still manages to remain sensitive, and it surprises the reader with a surprising twist at the end. I’m not a young adult, but I enjoyed this story very much.

P. Riley.

What a delightful read! I really did love the dynamic between the main characters a lot. Totally fell in love with the flirty Burn and the grumpy Edward right from the beginning. Their road trip has been full of so many adventures and most of all surprises. I didn’t expect things to turn out the way they did in the end. And talking about the end: Please let there be a sequel! There’s still so much things I want to know about them.

S. Brandmair

This was my first foray into reading fantasy literature and will not be my last! The story is so imaginative and different and so interestingly written that I did not know what to expect next as I turned each page. And the ending was completely unexpected, both sad and inspiring – I loved it!

O. Carey-Jones

Thank you all.

Filming Merlin 2012. Photos.

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The other day a friend said to me, your blog’s a bit random. So to prove that she is indeed correct, here are a collection of photos taken by my husband during the filming of BBC’s Merlin in September 2012.

I am presuming there are thousands of similar photos floating around the internet. Certainly on that particular day there were countless fans straining against the barriers with their cameras and squealing with delight.

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I love this shot (above). It was taken at the end of a long day.

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I don’t know who the shouting fella is. Or I have forgotten… four years is a long time! Julie Bozza would know for definite! Or maybe you do…?

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Big J (far right) was lovely with the kids and brought out Excalibur for them to hold. Needless to say I wanted to hold it but didn’t get the chance. Hang on… I have a picture of him doing just that…

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This is a great shot!

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Spot Mr Morgan…

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Bradley James and Tom Hopper with Director Justin Molotnikov.

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Alex Vlahos. I particularly like this one.

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Queer Company 2

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I had the pleasure of attending a Manifold Press event called Queer Company 2 last weekend. I have to say I was nervous, I only knew one person and the whole thing was completely new to me. I needn’t have worried, everyone was really nice and inclusive.

I started the day stuffing the fab giveaway bags which was a great opportunity to speak to fellow writers and readers alike.

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This is mine with it’s contents scattered or consumed!

How much reality do we want in our historical fiction? was the first panel with panelists, Charlie Cochrane and Chris Quinton. In it, the chair, Alex Beecroft, told a story about a historical reenactor who took his performance a step too far and harassed her and her daughter about their ‘flighty’ summer attire, shouting things like harlot, leading into temptation, and going to Hell. He then followed and cornered them. The reenactor deemed he was putting on the performance of his life, Alex and her daughter were scared.

The panel discussed whether you want your reader to be dropped into the ugliness of the past? Do you want to read about the harassment of women, queer people, people of colour, or the disabled? That would be the reality, but that’s not fun. You are a modern author telling a story to modern readers, you choose what goes into your story. Would you want your reader to leave your book feeling crushed?

Session two was by keynote speaker, KJ Charles who talked about starting points for historical romances and that people must be of their time and place, not just modern minds in Regency clothes. She said a lot more interesting and attention holding stuff but… she talks really fast! I’m sat here trying to remember what she said but all I can conjure is a woman with excellent body language, great projecting voice, kind face, and patterns on her jumper that lined up with the sleeves. KJ, if you ever read this blog… which i doubt, please accept my humble apologies.

KJ also launched Manifold’s anthology, A Certain Persuasion of which I have a copy and it’s a cracking read with a diverse set of stories. Give a gaggle of authors a prompt and you’ll get a hundred different ways of interpreting it. I love humans.

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The next panel is a Q&A about A Certain Persuasion, fiction inspired by the works of Jane Austen, with the chair, Julie Bozza and two of the authors, JL Merrow and Eleanor Musgrove. The stories feature all five of the major Jane Austen stories (but Northanger Abbey) and there’s a fair few Darcy’s but they’re all completely different. Including one who drives a Morris Minor! An audience member raised the question, were there LGBTQ characters in Austen’s novels? The conclusion was a resounding yes!

Session three, Georgians aren’t Victorians, was by the very captivating Farah Mendlesohn. Now, I consider myself fairly intelligent but Farah made me feel like a twig. I was blown away by her knowledge, her passion for the subject, and her powerful delivery of the speech. Farah said far too much for my brain to remember it all (no notebook – bad writer) but I do recall an interesting graph based on population growth – people living longer, children surviving into adulthood to reproduce, mothers surviving the birth of a second child all contributed to a more ‘marriageable men’ choice for women. Georgians married someone they knew but Victorians had a wider field available to them, however, this had to be controlled. Oh God, I hope I’ve got that right! Farah spoke for an hour and held my attention the whole time (no mean feat).

Last but not least and possibly my favourite subject was a panel on, A sense of place, with chair Elin Gregory and panel Anna Butler and Sandra Lindsey. As a fantasy writer, world building is my bag, I love to create places from my imagination. We played a word association game, each of us had to write down three words to describe urban, desert, and Scandinavia (?). The different answers demonstrated how each writer approaches world building, and the same story, in other hands, would feel completely diverse. If I may, I’ll link to Anna’s very interesting blog post here about World Building.

I’ll sum up by quoting Charlie Cochrane, ‘Weren’t it a corking day?’

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A copper river

During a recent ramble across the North Yorkshire Moors we rounded a corner to be greeted by a copper river with an old wooden raft! My husband and I stared at it for a long moment before he said, ‘Well, would you believe that?’

In my book To the Left of Your North Star Edward and Burn travel on a copper river aboard a homemade raft that Burn calls The Copper Queen. She has an unfortunate ending and the few logs adrift near the rocks reminded me of that.

The book is due to be published in November by Manifold Press and around the same time as finding out that delightful news we came across the river.

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So a thing happened…

I’m rather delayed in writing this post when it’s the one I always wanted to write. The strap line across the top of this blog reads, The pursuit of my Holy Grail in which I occasionally veer off into geekdom’. Well… two things have happened, one, I haven’t occasionally veered off into geekdom, I have frequently veered off! Two, I have pursued and I have found!

After a toppling pile of rejections and fourteen months of trying, my book, To the Left of Your North Star has found a home! I’m delighted to say the Manifold Press have taken it and it will be published in November! Woo hoo!

I have learnt a lot in the last year but mainly I have learnt to never give up and make new friends. Friends with the same interests as you, friends whose passions are also yours, and friends who will support you as you support them in return.

It always seems impossible until it is done.

Nelson Mandela.