Merlin’s Shakespeare Series by Carol Anne Douglas Blog Tour with Excerpts & Giveaway @lolasblogtours

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This is our 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. We have excerpts from both books and a giveaway for you today!

Merlin’s ShakespeareMerlin’s Shakespeare (Merlin’s Shakespeare #1)
By Carol Anne Douglas
Genre: Fantasy/ Time Travel
Age category: Young Adult

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

You can buy Merlin’s Shakespeare here:
- Amazon
- Barnes & Noble
- Kobo

“If you are Merlin, why would you come to our school?” she asked.
“I have my reasons. Can you imagine that Merlin would explain himself to you? Or to anyone?” He frowned. “Can you prove that you are Beth Owens?” he asked scornfully.
“I have lots of papers that say so, and my teacher will agree that I am,” Beth said, though it was clear that he already knew the answer.
“But may I ask why you honor us with a visit?” Ms. Capulet’s voice was reverent. She gazed at him as if he were the combination of a movie star and a religious leader.
Apparently the teacher’s manner was humble enough to mollify Merlin. “I came to teach Beth how to channel her magic,” the wizard said. He turned to Beth. “You have magical powers, and you love Shakespeare. Th at is a combination I need. I could use you as a researcher on Shakespeare’s plays.”
If he needed something from her, Beth wasn’t going to be speechless. “Was Shakespeare really Shakespeare?” she asked. She had heard that some people believed he wasn’t the one who had written the plays. 
“Did William Shakespeare really write all those plays?”
“Of course Shakespeare was Shakespeare.” Merlin looked at her as if she had said a pig was a chimpanzee.
“Some people say an actor couldn’t have known enough about kings or court life to have written the plays.”
“Of course he didn’t know enough. That was why I helped him,” Merlin said. “I saw that he had great ability as a poet, and I helped him travel to worlds where he would get the experience he needed. His plays are magic. He provided the art; I provided the magic.”
“Oh.” Beth paused to take in this information. A genius and a wizard working together. Th at made sense to her. “But how can you still be on this earth?” Merlin didn’t look like a ghost. “Are you dead or alive?”
“I am immortal,” Merlin said, looking down at her though he wasn’t much taller than Beth. “But I allow only a few people to see me.”
“Why do you think I could help you?” Beth asked.
Merlin rubbed his beard. Th ere was a gleam in his eye. “Not just because you have a talent for wizardry,” he said. “It is better to call you a wizard than a witch, I think. Safer for you.”
“Even today it is,” Ms. Capulet agreed. “Men who can do magic are seen as potentially great, but people too often think that women who can do the same thing are evil.”
“I have a task for you, Beth,” Merlin told her. He sat down on one of the auditorium seats near hers. “There is one great lack in Shakespeare’s writings. I helped him for a reason. I wanted him to write a play about King Arthur.” He paused.
“But there isn’t any Shakespeare play about King Arthur,” Beth said.
“There is not. Or there does not seem to be.” Merlin frowned. “I gave Will all he needed. Knowledge of kings, knowledge of battles. But he used bits and pieces in other plays, and never wrote the one I most desired. Or he did not appear to. There may be such a play, but it may be hidden.”
“A lost Shakespeare play!” Ms. Capulet gasped. “That would be incredibly valuable.”
“Beyond measure,” Merlin said, “especially to me. Not just any play, but the one that was to be his crowning glory.”
Beth wanted to giggle, because “crowning glory” in this instance sounded like a pun, but she refrained because Merlin intimidated her.
“If you, who are so powerful, can’t find it, why do you think I could? I’m just a teenager.”
“People might tell you things that they would not tell me,” Merlin said. “You have some magical powers—untried and unschooled, it is true—and you love Shakespeare and learn the lines quickly. You also have some talent for acting.”
“Thank you.” Beth felt proud. If she had impressed Merlin, she must be good. “But what people would know anything about this play, if it exists?”

The Mercutio ProblemThe Mercutio Problem (Merlin’s Shakespeare #2)
By Carol Anne Douglas
Genre: Fantasy/ Time Travel
Age category: Young Adult

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

You can buy The Mercutio Problem here:
- Amazon
- Barnes & Noble
- Kobo

She spun through frigid air. The wind forced her to close her eyes. She landed with a thunk, but upright. 
Beth stood on a heath. Fog swirled around her. She could see thorny plants at her feet, but most of the heath was covered in a veil of gray. She smelled the foul aroma of a familiar cauldron. She gagged and remembered that she had never wanted to ask the witches whether the contents of the cauldron were really those that Shakespeare had enumerated, like a Turk’s nose and the fi nger of a birth-strangled babe. She saw the cauldron’s muddy liquid bubble and thought she would rather die than taste it.
“All hail Beth!” three voices cried. And three beings she had come to know appeared to her. Their bodies were green, they were blue, they were gray. Th ey were neither female nor male, but neither were they intersex. They were their own strange lumps of almost flesh, with almost hair and eyes that were not eyes but could see far too much.
Beth had learned not to fear the witches—too much. They seemed to mean well by her. But they knew too much about everyone and everything.
“Hail,” she said in reply, hoping that was the right thing to say.
“All hail Mercutio!” they chanted.
Beth flinched. “You’re right, of course. Merlin wants me to pretend to be Mercutio.”
“Not pretend,” the first witch said.
“To be Mercutio,” chanted the second.
“You will be Mercutio,” the third told her.
“Th at will be hard for a girl,” Beth said.
“Not a girl,” the first said.
“Mercutio,” the second said.
“Truly Mercutio,” said the third.
Beth felt as if she had fallen into a pit. She touched her chin. There was stubble. Her body was a couple of inches taller than it had been and she had shoulder-length hair instead of her usual short light brown locks. She examined the ends of her hair and could see that it was dark. She wore a green doublet and hose that she had last seen on Mercutio, which was extra creepy. She even wore the boots she remembered seeing on him. And his rings were on her fingers, which looked like a man’s fi ngers on a man’s hands. One ring was emerald, another was topaz, and one was gold with the design of a falcon on it. She could hardly bear to look at the hands, which would have been fi ne if they weren’t hers. She had calluses, probably from sword practice, on her right hand. She could feel Mercutio’s sword hanging on her back. Her chest felt fl at and hairy.
She thought that maybe—did she feel diff erent down there? No, not that. She felt the same, but she intended to put her hand down there as soon as she was alone, just to make sure. But otherwise she was too much like a guy.
Beth gagged, and not just because of the cauldron’s vapors. 
“Merlin turned me into Mercutio. Or almost.” Her voice sounded like Mercutio’s. Like a man’s voice. “Merlin made me a guy. I have stubble. Too gross. I’ll kill Merlin.”

Carol Anne DouglasAbout 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.

You can find and contact Carol Anne Douglas here:
- Website
- Goodreads
- Amazon
- Twitter

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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