"FUIMUS - We Have Been"

"FUIMUS - We Have Been!" motto of Clan Bruce

All material on SHIMMERCASTDREAMS copyright of Marie Bruce and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

IVORY TOWER; Lord of the Rings Goblet Collection

Last week I went to see The Hobbit at the cinema.  It was so lovely to be back in that world and to be in Rivendell once more as the Elves are my favorite characters from Middle Earth. I wish the film had lingered in Rivendell a lot longer - I would have been happy to stay for a while and put off the Adventure!

Ever since my picture appeared in Spirit&Destiny magazine I have received countless emails asking me about the chalice I am holding in the photo.  It wasn't prop; everything in that photo belongs to me, even the book style coffee table and candles. 

The chalice I am holding in the photo is Galadriel, one of the Lord of the Rings Goblet Collection.  Unfortunately these are no longer being produced so I feel really fortunate that I was able to begin my collection many years ago.  There are one or two I wish I had managed to purchase before they were discontinued, but I do have all the Elves that were produced so I am really pleased about that, as they are now quite expensive to buy and very difficult to find.
I have nine Goblets altogether, but I accidentally left one out (the Elvin Goblet) when I took these pictures. 
Here is my collection;

My Goblet Collection from left;  Celeborn, Galadriel, Gandalf and Treebeard.
Again from left;  City of Tirion, Glorfindel, Arwen and Legolas.

I love them all and I do feel very lucky to have them. My favorite ones from the collection are Galadriel, Arwen and Legolas...and yes, I do use them.  They add a touch of Elvin enchantment to my home and  remind me of the gentle harmony of Rivendell.
I wish I lived in Rivendell .

Friday, 18 January 2013

BOOK NOOK; Time's Echo by Pamela Hartshorne

I was first alerted to Time's Echo by Pamela Hartshorne when the author followed me on Twitter.  Time's Echo is a time loop novel, set in the City of York, Yorkshire, (the Yorkshire county being made up of the Three Ridings and the City of York). As I am a Yorkshire lass myself, from the West Riding, I thought it would be an interesting read.  I wasn't at all disappointed.

It is a hard book to review simply because I don't want to give anything away and spoil the reading experience.  Like most time loop novels, there are two main protagonists, one in the present and one from the past.  In Time's Echo the modern character is Grace Trewe, a commitment phobic young women with a love of travel.  She is also a survivor of the Boxing Day tsunami and she struggles with PTSD and survivor's remorse.

When Grace inherits a house in York from her god-mother it seems like an inconvenient hassle to do it up and sell it on prior to resuming her travels, but almost as soon as she walks in the front door she feels drawn to the past and to the ghostly voice of Hawise, a young woman who was drowned as a witch in York in the Elizabethan period.  As the story unfolds the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead becomes thinner, culminating in a dramatic race against time on Halloween.

Time's Echo is a tale of witches, past and present and as a Wiccan author myself I love to read witchy tales; that this one is based in York was an added bonus.  In the story there is a coven of modern witches who Grace turns to for help and as the leader Vivien casts a protective circle and calls the guardians, she begins in the west.  This seemed a little strange to me, as it is usually more traditional in witchcraft to begin in the east, or sometimes the north; but as both Hawise and Grace have been harmed by water in the past, it does make sense to protect Grace from the west, the direction of water, though the author doesn't actually say that this is the reason for beginning in the west - that is simply my own interpretation.  It could also be that different covens have different ways of doing things - there is no right and wrong way to cast a circle after all, but it was something which stood out for me as being different to my own way of working magically and for that reason I found it interesting and I wanted to know more.

One of my favorite scenes is the decorating scene, which really made me giggle and is one that most women can probably relate to - a male friend turning up with Polly-filler and masking tape, when all Grace wants to do it slap a coat of paint on the walls!  My favorite line from the  novel comes at the end of chapter six, when the Widow Dent sees off a predator with her stick and the words "She said no!". Enough said.
I also have a reader-crush on the modern love interest Drew, aka Mr Polly-Filler! He is so solid, steady and straight-laced in a charming, reliable way.

Time's Echo is a bewitching tale of love and treachery... a pretty girl who stands out from the crowd; a lecherous predator who carries a grudge; a jealous sister who seethes in resentment and a great injustice that ripples across time.  If you like witchy, supernatural novels of ghostly theme Time's Echo is one you will enjoy reading, especially on a cold night such as tonight as the snow falls.  
Follow Pamela Hartshorne on Twitter @pamhartshorne or read her blog at http://www.pamelahartshorne.com  


I wish I lived here! This castle looks so dark and brooding amid the crystal white snowscape; it has just enough Gothic mystery about it to intrigue me and draw me in. The current snowy weather has made me dream of how it would have been centuries ago, living in a big castle without all the modern comforts we tend to take for granted.  If this were my castle I would make sure there were roaring log fires in all the rooms, not just the great hall.  I would order that the logs be sprinkled with pine cones to fill the castle with the scent of winter.  Four poster beds would be hung with velvet drapes; tapestries would warm the thick stone walls and prettily carved wooden shutters would keep the drifting snow at bay.

In my castle dream, I would ride a magnificent chestnut steed through the snowy forest, a silver hunting horn hanging at my hip as my friends and I try to find an enchanted white hart that has been recently sighted in the area. Slipping and sliding through the woods we go, a hunting party looking for magic, seeking enchantment on a winters day. But such a magical beast is elusive and we return to the warmth of the castle as the snow begins to fall once more. We turn the horses into stables with deep beds of clean straw and buckets of oats and bran, before heading into the great hall for a feast of good food, spiced wine and music from my very own troubadour.  A huge log crackles in the hearth, candles flicker casting shadows around the hall and my feet are toasty in fur slippers.  My troubadour sings of love and adventure, of white harts and broken hearts.  The sound of his lute fills the hall with melody and  I dream by the fireside...

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

IVORY TOWER; My Study In Pictures

On cold snowy days like today I tend to hibernate in my cosy crimson study.  It is a very small room, but I have made the most of the space available to me and filled it with books, books, books...
This room is the very hub of my career as a writer.  It is where I spend most of my time. The four bookcases are filled to bursting; each shelf is carefully categorized and the books shelved accordingly - this is a remnant of my time working at Waterstones.  Although it may look a bit haphazard, I know instantly where to find a particular kind of book. My own are proudly shelved too.

I love the warm feeling of this room; the cosy leather chair and footstool; the wind chimes tinkling in the window; the candles burning, flickering light and shadow on the spines of my books.  My microphone and laptop are housed in this room; this is where I go to work each day.  

I am not a photographer and the pictures are not fantastic, but they give you a little glimpse into my world as a work from home writer.  They might even inspire you to create such a space for your own writing. 

This is what you see when you first walk in; my escritoire desk, complete with pigeon holes and secret compartments
Two of the four bookcases; they are all equally full. These are the magical books; the others two bookcases house all my classics, literary, history, poetry, writing and equestrian books.
A cosy chair and footstool to sit and read, warm and snug wrapped up in my Bruce tartan.

A closer look at my desk. Bronte memorabilia from the Bronte Parsonage Yorkshire, is on the lectern. 


Saturday, 12 January 2013


This is my world!

Image from Google.com

The photo above totally sums up where my head has been for the past few days.  On Thursday I went to see Moscow City Ballet dance Swan Lake.  It was fantastic.  It was the second time I have seen that ballet danced in live performance and it is always breath-taking.  I was sat on the front row, so I had a marvelous view - I found myself mesmerized by the dancer's feet, trying to figure out the intricate pointe work and recognize the steps.  I do this when I watch ice dancers too - I sit there trying to recognize each step, pin pointing the transitions from one step sequence into another - I have even been known to whisper excitedly "I can do that!"...it is the perk of many classes and lots of blisters.

The Lyceum Theater is a stunning Victorian theater.  Inside the auditorium there are velvet curtained boxes; gilded architecture and the stage is flanked with marble Muses, the guardians of the Arts.  As I sat in my rose velvet seat, I could peer down into the Orchestra Pit below and see the musicians bringing Tchaikovsky's masterpiece to life.  I watched enthralled as Odette meets Prince Siegfried (danced for Moscow City Ballet by Danseur Noble Daniil Orlov), then dances away, too scared to trust, not daring to believe that Rothbart's evil curse might be soon be broken...for how can she be anything other than a enchanted Swan Maid?  It is all she has known for so long and as cruel as her predicament is, it is her comfort zone, none the less.   Eventually the Prince wins Odette's trust and vows to break the curse that holds her captive.  Of course, his vow is broken when he is tricked into pledging himself to Odile, Rothbart's daughter and a dead ringer for Odette - the two roles are danced by the same ballerina, in this performance Darya Klimova.

There is no finer sight in the Arts than that of 32 Swans, all en pointe. In this production I also liked how Odile first makes her Act 2 appearance wearing a tutu that is half white and half black, illustrating her likeness to/imitation of  Odette. Only when the seduction is complete and the Prince has been taken in by her trickery does she come out in an all black costume; sealing the conquest in tulle.  The Prince and Odette are lost in their tragedy; and Rothbart dances in triumph, glaring right at me as he enjoys his victory - that was quite a scary moment - he must have seen my sympathy for the lovers written all over my face.  I was completely drawn in by the dancers and their art.  Even though I am well versed in the story of Swan Lake, some part of me still clings on to the hope of a happy ending for Odette and her Prince.  

The performance on Thursday left me moved to tears and I have been on a ballet buzz ever since. After the show I walked through the city center to find a particular ballet studio I am hoping to join and take up  classes with.  I love learning new things and more dance lessons are in order if I am to improve my ice-skating. Right now as the early winter evening falls, I plan to settle down with a glass of rose wine and the DVD of Black Swan.  Yorkshire is in for some quite heavy snow tonight, so I am looking forward to enjoying a weekend of winter dreams and my collection of Margot Fonteyn ballet videos, curled up warm by the fireside.  But in my dreams I am the pretty ballerina in the photo above, standing gracefully en pointe, amid a winter wonderland of snow...

Monday, 7 January 2013

ONCE UPON A DREAM; Castles in the Air

Where will your dreams take you tonight?
Image from publish.newsserv.com.au

Castles in the Air

Imagine for a moment
 Your castle in the air
Where heart-felt wishes come to pass
If make a wish, you dare

Imagine what it looks like
Your castle in the air
Picture how your life would be
If only you lived there

Now fill your dream with colour
Make the vision strong 
Envision who you could be
This is where your soul belongs

To bring it into this world
Take a little time each day
Escaping to your dream castle
For good foundations you must lay

In a future moment waiting
You might look around and stare
For one day you could be living
In your castle in the air

by Marie Bruce

Happy New Year everyone!  I have been decluttering like a demon since January 2nd and I feel so much better for it.  It's great to let go of the past and clear the path for exciting new opportunities to come my way.
It has been quite a cathartic experience too - I finally let go of a box of stuff from my broken engagement. We split up years ago, yet a box of photos, Valentine's cards and jewelry was still lurking in the shadows, no doubt filling my home with old vibes of Bad Romance.  So out it went - with a flourish! 
I also found the poem above, scribbled into a diary I kept as a teenage girl so it would seem that I have always been a dreamer and a poet.  I wanted share it with you.  Enjoy :)