One of my favorite holiday activities is going to the movies. I love movies in any case, and it’s particularly fun to go with friends and family in the midst of holiday celebrations, especially with all the movies that open at the end of the year as part of the lead up to the various awards. In and around shopping, wrapping, card writing, and entertaining, I managed to go to quite a few movies in the past few weeks. My favorites were Atonement and Sweeney Todd, which were both quite haunting and wonderful. I blogged about them last week on History Hoydens.

As I mentioned in that blog, watching the opening scene of Sweeney Todd, I was struck by the similarity to the opening scene of Beneath a Silent Moon. For a fleeting moment, I could almost have been watching a movie of my own book (well, we can all dream :-). Sweeney Todd opens with Sweeney returning to London by ship. His views on London are in sharp contrast to those of the man who has rescued him, the idealistic young sailor Anthony. In Sweeney’s words:

There’s a whole in the world like a great black pit
and the vermin of the world inhabit it
and its morals aren’t worth what a pin can spit
and it goes by the name of London.


Happy Twelfth Night! I’m very fond of 6 January. It lends it’s name to a favorite Shakespeare play (I got to work on Viola when I was studying acting; she’s one of the Shakespeare characters I’d have loved to play in a full production–I still go over the “willow cabin” speech sometimes when I’m doing vocal warm-ups for a talk). And a number of Sherlockians consider it the birthday of Sherlock Holmes (a tradition Laurie King follows in her Mary Russell series).

6 January is also the day on which The Mask of Night begins. For the last of the excerpts from the book I’ve been posting over the holiday season, here is the prologue, which offers a glimpse of a young Mélanie and her first meeting with the Empress Josephine, whose ghost hangs over the novel in many ways, and of her daughter Hortense, who is an important character in the novel. I’ll be back to regular blogging next week, but I’ll continue to post excerpts from The Mask of Night every now and then. Suggestions of scenes you’d like to see (and thoughts on the ones you have seen) are very welcome.