Book review and book signing of Time’s Convert by Deborah Harkness

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From the No. 1 New York Times bestselling author of A Discovery of Witches, a novel about what it takes to become a vampire.

On the battlefields of the American Revolution, Matthew de Clermont meets Marcus MacNeil, a young surgeon from Massachusetts, during a moment of political awakening when it seems that the world is on the brink of a brighter future. When Matthew offers him a chance at immortality and a new life free from the restraints of his puritanical upbringing, Marcus seizes the opportunity to become a vampire. But his transformation is not an easy one and the ancient traditions and responsibilities of the de Clermont family clash with Marcus’s deeply held beliefs in liberty, equality, and brotherhood.

Fast-forward to contemporary Paris, where Phoebe Taylor—the young employee at Sotheby’s whom Marcus has fallen for—is about to embark on her own journey to immortality. Though the modernized version of the process at first seems uncomplicated, the couple discovers that the challenges facing a human who wishes to be a vampire are no less formidable than they were in the eighteenth century. The shadows that Marcus believed he’d escaped centuries ago may return to haunt them both—forever.

A passionate love story and a fascinating exploration of the power of tradition and the possibilities not just for change but for revolution, Time’s Convert channels the supernatural world-building and slow-burning romance that made the All Souls Trilogy instant bestsellers to illuminate a new and vital moment in history, and a love affair that will bridge centuries.

On September 24th I went to Barnes & Noble on the Upper West Side to hear Deborah talk about Time’s Convert.

The main theme of Time’s Convert centers around parenting. The book is split into three stories: Diana and Matthew with their 18 month old twins, Marcus reminiscing about his early life, and Phoebe’s first 100 days as a vampire.

Phoebe’s chapter titles are numbered to tell how many days old she is as a newborn vampire. New born vampires have a faster development and each day represents a year.

The Bishop-de Clermont family have been through the wringer and need a break. So they get a summer vacation with no dire life or death situations.

Being a historian, Deborah was somehow going to weave history into her book. Diana can’t time walk in this story because she has too many responsibilities being a wife, mom, witch, and a professor with tenure, so Marcus reminisces about his life as a human and as a young vampire.

The story is also about kids rebelling, and Marcus is certainly a rebel having served in the American Revolution and being a fan of Thomas Paine. In contrast, his vampire father, Matthew, is from the Middle Ages, so they sometimes clash. Deborah has fun writing those moments.

Writing a story that took place during the American Revolution allowed Deborah to become a student again because her focus is the 16th century Europe.

Deborah said she wants to write more stories in the All Souls world like this, where it moves forward in time and we get to see how the twins grow but also incorporate elements of history. So it will be an ongoing series, instead of another trilogy where there is a beginning, middle and end.

Deborah writes long hand for her first draft. She writes in loops where she’ll write a scene or maybe just two lines of dialogue, then do some research and go down that route before returning to a scene. She was writing The Serpent’s Mirror about Matthew’s life with the Tudors, but then Matthew “stopped talking” and Marcus wouldn’t stop. And that is how we got this book first. She also is writing a story about Gallowglass.

She read a scene from Chapter 9 where Marcus meets Sarah Bishop during the American Revolution. She chose that scene because it was not considered a spoiler since it is mentioned in ADoW. (I liked that scene very much.)

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New York Comic Con 2018 – Saturday, October 6

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First panel of the day was I’ll Take Dementors for $500, Obi-Wan: A Fan Game Show with Marc Thompson, Delilah S. Dawson, Sylvain Neuve, Ryan North, and Chuck Wendig.

Here is the gist: Do you know the whole DC universe by their legal names? ID a Star Wars villain from a single wicked line? Name every kind of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans? Test your knowledge, competing alongside bestselling authors in categories like The Dark Side, Bad@ss Chicks, Winter Is Coming and more, using clips from Star Wars, Game of Thrones and Harry Potter audiobooks. Narrator Marc Thompson hosts in character as Obi-Wan Kenobi and will select a few lucky audience members to compete onstage.

While Marc was dressed as Obi-Wan, he didn’t do his voice the whole time. The game was played like Jeopardy! and the categories were The Dark Side; Expecto Patronum; Winter Is Coming; Fierce Females; I Can Be Your Hero, Baby; and Nerd-Tastic.

It was really fun to watch. My favorite categories were The Dark Side and Expecto Patronum. For some reason they weren’t picking Winter Is Coming until nearly the end. If none of the players knew the answer the audience would shout it out and the first one to buzz in got to answer it. In the end Delilah’s team won.

There was a short Q&A afterwards. The part that interested me most was when Marc Thompson was talking about the process of recording an audiobook. He’ll get the book and make notes, and also record some new voices on his phone to refer to. As he gets more into the recording process he will be so used to doing the new voices he won’t need to refer to his voice memo.

Marc doesn’t talk to the authors because he has a director and doesn’t want to go over the director’s head by saying, “Well, the author said this.”

He was complemented on how great he sounds but Marc gave the credit to the editors who piece it together when he makes mistakes, as well as the music and sound effects they add when it’s a Star Wars novel.

As for the voice of Thrawn, I guess he did a different voice for the anniversary edition of the Thrawn Trilogy, because that was before Rebels. I still have to listen to it. But for the two most recent books he really captured the his voice from the animated series.

I can’t remember this other question or full answer now, but Chuck said that Palpatine’s first name “Sheev” is like “Steve” in AGFFA. That made me laugh.

After the panel there was a signing with the authors right outside the room, which was super convenient. We didn’t have to run and push our way to another part of the Javits.

This time I brought From a Certain Point of View with me. I told each author how I plan to slowly collect every author’s signature until I am old.

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New York Comic Con 2018 – Friday, October 5

I went to work for the earlier part of the day and got to Comic Con at 2PM so I could go to Ashley Eckstein’s meet and greet at the Reed Pop booth.

I was such an airhead and forgot to bring my From a Certain Point of View book for her to sign! What a scatterbrain I am sometimes.

Ok, next time. Moving on. I told her how emotional I was when I found out The Clone Wars was returning while watching the SDCC panel. Ashley said she was a hot mess because she was crying, but I told her I was crying with her and I loved when Matt got out of seat.

I was getting choked up again and so I asked her about her sweatshirt and if it’s available. She spoke about the concept for the original logo for Her Universe being Ahsoka’s markings and the shirt is available. It came out for the 10th Anniversary collection, but slipped under the radar with the other items based off the characters’ outfits.

I told her that I got the Skywalker hooded sweatshirt and she asked if it is too big. I told it her it is but I knew it would be. I can just wear it around the house when it’s winter. It is so comfy.

She is so sweet, she asked about my sister and I told her she would be coming to NYCC after work, and that we will be seeing her in April for Celebration.

At the Penguin Booth there was a mystery giveaway. You chose from several descriptions. I saw someone walk away with this book and the cover caught my eye, so I did my best guessing. I guessed right!
The Waking Land by Callie Bates

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Top Ten Tuesday: October 9: Longest Books I’ve Ever Read

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Updates are now at That Artsy Reader Girl.

What constitutes a long book? I think that depends on the reader. A person who doesn’t read much may say anything over 200 pages is long. But to someone who reads 50 books or more a year, they may say it’s anything over 600.

To keep this list reasonable and in the realm of 10 books I am sticking with anything over 500 pages.I’ll do this in order of page numbers, which means I am not grouping trilogies or series together.


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Top Ten Tuesday December 26: Top Three Books I’m Looking Forward to In 2018

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

December 26: Top Ten Books I’m Looking Forward to In 2018 (These could be new releases, or books you resolve to read, ten debuts we are looking forward to, etc.)

  1. Iron Gold (Red Rising Saga Book 4) by Pierce Brown.I am so anticipating this book. I’m a huge fan of the saga. I already have the hardcover and ebook pre-ordered. And after I read it I am getting the audiobook to read it again. All before the NYC signing at the end of January.292170272.
    THE WORLD OF ALL SOULS: A COMPLETE GUIDE TO A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, SHADOW OF NIGHT, AND THE BOOK OF LIFE by Deborah Harkness 9780735220744_p0_v4_s600x595

In The World of All Souls, Harkness shares the rich sources of inspiration behind her bewitching novels. She draws together synopses, character bios, maps, recipes, and even the science behind creatures, magic, and alchemy–all with her signature historian’s touch.

Bursting with fascinating facts and original artwork, this is an essential handbook is a must-have for longtime fans and eager newcomers alike. The book will be released on 8 May 2018.

3) There is another book set in the All Souls world coming out in 2018 that is still untitled. It’s about Marcus and takes place a year or so after the event in The Book of Life. Here’s more about it in an announcement on Deborah’s Facebook.

This is a more recent post about what she has in store for 2018.

She also spoke about The Serpent’s Mirror being on hold, and only having written one sentence for a book about Gallowglass. But that was in another post I cannot find.

So yea, the Marcus book and the book tour. Yay!

I’m sure I’ll get more books in 2018 but these are two fandoms that I am already involved in and so they’re my top 3 most anticipated. If I hear other authors I like are coming out with new books I’ll get those too.

December 5: Ten Bookish Settings I’d Love to Visit

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

 

Places I want to visit again:
1) Oxford (All Souls Trilogy) and London, England (Shades of London, All Souls, Tunnel Vision). I loved these places. I can never tire of London and I am rereading the All Souls Trilogy so I want to go on a tour of Oxford with Deborah Harkness. I wish I was there when they were filming the TV show.

All Souls College in Oxford, Radcliffe Camera and the Bodleian Library.

2&3) Paris and Grasse, France (The Secret Ways of Perfume by Cristina Caboni)
Shopping spree!!!!!!!!!

4) Volterra, Italy (Twilight: New Moon)
I wore a green shirt and jeans like Bella did in the movie. It was such a quaint and beautiful town. I’d love to go back and spend more time there than just a few hours. They also had a beautiful alabaster shop. More shopping!

They had a Twilight section in the alabaster shop. I have always regretted not getting these alabaster white queen chess pieces.

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New places:
5) Naboo, which was really Lake Como, Italy.
I hear they have tours of the villa where they shot Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. I want to stand on the terrace where Anakin and Padmé were married.

6) NOLA (A Density of Souls, Out of the Easy)
Not during Marti Gras and not during hurricane season. But I would like to see the famous sites.

7) Hawaii (Everything, Everything)
Warm weather, heavenly beaches (and I am not a beach person), and volcanos. I want to go!

8) Salem, Mass. (The Crucible)
It’s my favorite play and the witch trials are a sad part of American history.

9) Scotland (Harry Potter, The Winter Sea)
I want to take a train there from London.

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10) Siracusa, Italy.
I have yet to read Siracusa by Delia Ephron but I won’t say no to Italy.

London Day 4 – Monday, August 18, 2014

Itinerary: Windsor Castle, Oxford, and Stonehenge.

This tour was pre-booked a couple a months before our trip. Our coach was leaving Victoria Coach Station and after rushing, getting lost, and running around the confusing, under construction area, we finally found our bus tour!

Our tour guide was Russell and our driver was Ian. Russell was a short man with brown hair and a mustache. He was a stylish dresser with a brown jacket and suspenders.
He noticed my TARDIS necklace and mentioned that the new season would premiere that Saturday. I’d see it when I got home the next week.

Our first stop was Windsor Castle. While we were on the queue to get into the castle Russell took aside those in our group who had the London Pass to bring them to their entrance. With the London Pass you pay a fee, and then you get your own skip-the-line entrance at certain attractions because you already paid.

As he was taking them aside a Windsor Castle employee asked if the group was with Russell. He responded that they were and that they had London Passes. She then proceeded to explain that they could go on ahead. Russell said that they were with him and he was taking them to their separate entrance and he would be back for the rest of the group. There was a back and forth exchange about this and then Russell said, “I’m taking them in.” The Windsor Castle employee was taken back and widened her eyes at his tone.

He was a bit snippy, but that will always be an inside joke between Victoria, Stefan, Daniela and I. Throughout the trip we would periodically say to one another, “I’m taking them in.” LOL

Here are a few small things Russell told us about Windsor Castle. George IV was very vain and built ornate castles. He rebuilt Windsor. It had many styles over the years and the one we see today is from the 1820’s.

George IV was the fattest King of England. Henry VIII was the second fattest. George IV was 350 pounds and had a 54″ waist. This has been disputed by people, but Russell said George IV is the inspiration for the nursery rhyme:

Georgie Porgie, Puddin’ and Pie,
Kissed the girls and made them cry,

George IV was a terrible drinker, gambler, lover, and king.

Windsor Castle is the home of the Queen today, when she is not spending the summer in Scotland. The Round Tower is not open to the public because she keeps her archives and private art collection there. She has many drawing from Leonardo da Vinci. I am jealous.

After going through security we went straight to St. George’s Chapel. We needed to be back at the bus by 12:15 so this would be the express tour. On our way to St. George’s Chapel we encountered the changing of the guard. It’s a long ceremony so we just took a few photos, and I took some video.

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