This is my stop during the blog tour for the Merlin’s Shakespeare series by Carol Anne Douglas. This blog tour is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 3 till 16 September. See the tour schedule here.
Beth loves Shakespeare’s plays, but does she want risk her life for them?
The immortal wizard Merlin transports high school actor Beth Owens to Shakespeare’s London and the worlds of Shakespeare’s characters in search of a missing play about King Arthur. Mercutio guides her and flirts with her, but Richard III threatens her sanity, her friends’ lives, and the integrity of Shakespeare’s plays.
You can find Merlin’s Shakespeare on Goodreads
Beth regretted that Adam had a girlfriend, even though she knew that at fifteen she was too young for him.
Ms. Capulet stood in the middle of the fi eld and called out, “Dream time!” She sounded just as excited as Beth felt.
“It’s time to start our first read-through of the play,” said the drama teacher. With long gray hair and a tie-dye shirt, she looked like an old hippie. “You’ve all taken my classes before, so I’m not going to give an introductory talk about acting in Shakespearean plays. You can sit on the ground when you aren’t in a scene, but I’d like you to stand when you are.”
Beth trembled with excitement as the first read-through began. Even though she had played Puck in grade school and middle school, playing the part again gave her goosebumps. It didn’t matter that this stage was a glorified lawn.
The time came for Bottom to lose his donkey’s ears. Beth said the words, but the donkey’s ears remained.
“Take off the donkey’s ears, Adam,” Beth whispered.
“I can’t!” he cried out so loudly that the whole cast heard him.
“They won’t come off! They really are donkey’s ears! Oh, no!” He shook his head as if he could shake off the ears.
Some of the other actors laughed and applauded him.
Tiffany grabbed the ears and tried to pull them off . “This is a rotten joke,” she complained.
“Ouch!” Adam exclaimed, pushing her hand away. “The darned things are real.” His voice sounded like he was almost in tears. “What’s happening to me?”
“It’s not a joke!” Tiffany gasped. “They won’t come off ! They’re real ears! I see wax in them!”
The girls playing Moth and Mustardseed screamed.
“Tiff any’s not that good at acting. It has to be true,” the actor who played Oberon said. “What’s going on here?”
Beth could smell that some animal was present. It must be a donkey, or part of one.
Most of the cast members backed away from Adam.
Beth fought back tears. Had she harmed this nice guy?
“Be calm,” Ms. Capulet ordered. “Everyone be calm.”
“Somebody help me,” Adam pleaded, rubbing his ears as if he could change them. “Please help me.” His voice shook. “This is too crazy.”
Tiff any pointed at Beth. “It’s your fault. You changed his ears. You’re a witch, not an actor.”
“Um, not as far as I know.” Beth trembled. She wanted to run away and hide. “Ears, be healed. Return to normal,” she commanded, just in case she did have magical powers, because she hadn’t intended to give Adam donkey’s ears. She liked him—which was more than she could say for Tiffany. Beth rubbed his ears in case that would help. They felt furry, and they didn’t change.
Adam groaned. “I’m supposed to play Romeo next month. How can I play Romeo with donkey’s ears! Hee haw. Oh no, I didn’t mean to say that! Hee haw! Help!” His voice broke.
Adam’s braying was so loud that it hurt Beth’s ears. She wanted to back off, but that seemed mean.
“You’ll have to play Bottom for the rest of your life,” Tiffany said, looking at him as if he smelled like a donkey’s turds. “And Beth will always have to play Puck—but only with you, because no one else will want to act with her.”
“You should have donkey’s ears, too!” Beth exclaimed, and Tiffany’s head sprouted donkey’s ears.
Tiffany shrieked. “You monster! Give me back my normal ears this minute, or I’ll sue you. Hee haw. I hate you.”
Beth couldn’t help laughing. She felt sorry for Adam, but not for Tiffany. Then she choked on her laughter. What had she done? How did she do that?
Everyone stared at Beth.
“You deliberately did that to Tiffany!” The girl who played Moth pointed at Beth. “Tiffany was right. You are a wicked witch.”
High school actor Beth Owens faces a new challenge: She needs to bring a Shakespearean character she loves back from the dead. But she has to become a man and risk her life to do it. Richard III still menaces her.
You can find The Mercutio Problem on Goodreads
About the Author:
Carol Anne Douglas has loved Shakespeare since she watched A Midsummer Night’s Dream when she was a child. She identifies with the character Nick Bottom because she wants to play every part, which only a writer can do. She is an avid reader of Arthurian and Shakespearean literature. Her previous fantasy novels, Lancelot: Her Story and Lancelot and Guinevere, feature Lancelot as a woman in disguise. When Douglas isn’t reading or writing, she spends as much time as she can in the national parks, hiking and watching wildlife. She lives in Washington, D.C.
There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Merlin’s Shakespeare. These are the prizes you can win:
– One set of paperback copies of both Merlin’s Shakespeare and The Mercutio Problem (US Only)
– Two winners will each win a set of e-copies of both Merlin’s Shakespeare and The Mercutio Problem (International)
For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
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