Tuesday, 31 December 2013

My Year in Writing, 2013

In terms of organizing my life and setting new goals for 2014, I like to review the past year to see what happened in my writing journey month by month. You can check out last year's post for 2012 here.

So, let's get started on 2013, or as I like to call it, the year in which ALL THE THINGS happened.


I worked like a mad woman on BUSGIRL BLUES to meet the deadline for February. Hair reached Mad Max proportions due to lack of time for personal grooming.

The massively revised version of NIGHT SHIFT was returned to an editor who had requested R&R back in July 2012.

Then something exciting happened. An editor who had read JUST JESSE in November 2012 loved it and was planning on taking it to acquisitions. I was super secret with this nugget of fabulous news, fearing I would hex any chance I might have, and only told my family. At this point all the other editors who read JUST JESSE last year had passed.

Although one of the editors who passed on JUST JESSE requested the newly revised NIGHT SHIFT!

So it was high kicks and jazz hands all around. Near the end of the month I found time to have a shower. My family was grateful.


BUSGIRL BLUES was featured on Wattpad! I checked my reads and votes four times a day. Oddly enough this did not increase my reads or votes, much like the watched pot of never boiling water. I was able to muster enough self control to push away from the computer. Valentine chocolate on sale helped.

In two weeks my reads reached 10, 000. It was encouraging, but the best part were the amazing comments from readers all over the world. A sixteen year old girl from India sent me a message thanking me for sharing the story because she felt I wrote the story just for her.

Me and my cheap chocolate melted into a puddle of love and gooey joy in front of the computer.

I made Pinterest boards for all my stories *cough* time suck *cough*


BUSGIRL BLUES continued to do well. This was a much needed boost as I had been on submission for a combined time of two years and the constant rejection was making me doubt why I was writing at all. The encouragement from the Wattpad community was essential.

Another story took root in the ole' noggin and I started writing a YA mystery.

My family and I went on vacation for March Break. I did a quick check of my e-mail and saw one hundred messages from Wattpad readers. O-o. By the end of the week, the story had received over 200, 000 reads.

During our vacation in Miami, I saw Lionel Richie in our hotel lobby. When he walked by I reached out and shook his hand. "It's so nice to meet you!" I gushed.

I should tell you, my confidence was running high. I was wearing a wicked awesome black dress and had just finished a meal with lots of wine. Therefore, I felt perfectly within my rights to approach the above mentioned super star.

Lionel (because friends call each other by their first names) smiled at me and said, "Well, hello sweetheart. How are you?"

True story.

My agent told me JUST JESSE was given an R&R by the acquisitions team. After reading their short note, I had the feeling this certain publishing house wasn't interested and making the minute changes would be moot. However, I worked on JUST JESSE and hoped I did enough to address their concerns. My agent sent back the revised version and the waiting started again.

The editor who requested the R&R for NIGHT SHIFT passed. My agent and I discussed taking it off submission since she had been shopping it around for over a year. I hated to do this since NIGHT SHIFT was the story I'd worked on the longest and was closest to my heart. Still, we felt it was better to concentrate on the novel we thought had the best chance at selling.


No news from editor re-reading JUST JESSE.

BUSGIRL BLUES passed one million reads and was continuing to grow like a Chia Pet on Red Bull! People were actually asking where they could buy the book. But with all the great exposure, nothing else was happening.

Near the end of April, hope was fading. I was anxious to take JUST JESSE to smaller publishing houses. Everyone on twitter was announcing major deals only days after going on submission.

What was I doing wrong?

I continued to do all the things published authors say you should do while waiting on submission.

I concentrated on finishing my YA mystery.

I wrote upbeat blog posts.

I managed my platform.

I read everyday.

I baked cookies.

I helped my kids with their homework.

I started running again.

I went to work and talked about things other than writing.

...And then I went into the local bookstore and started to cry in the YA section.

My husband told me I had to make a decision about my writing or I'd go insane. I lamented about the long process. He said, "Make up your mind, it's either a hobby or a career." Then he asked, "Isn't there anyone local?"

There was.

In fact, I had two small publishing houses on my radar, one local and one in the States. I had nothing to lose so I sent them BUSGIRL BLUES, describing the success it was enjoying on Wattpad.


The month in which all the stuff happened.

Three weeks went by with no news. I watched tumbleweeds breeze through my e-mails. I asked my agent to withdraw my submissions for JUST JESSE and NIGHT SHIFT. She promised to schedule a time to talk about it further.

On the Victoria Day holiday weekend my family and I went camping. Drinking coffee while watching sea birds dive for hot dog buns cleared my mind.

I realized writing had become a miserable habit. Trying to get published had turned a quaint love affair with creating stories into a nightmare of being trapped inside a brothel full of zombies.

I didn't want that anymore. I just wanted to write.

On my birthday (yay 42!), when I returned home from the camping trip, there was an e-mail from the publisher in the States. They really liked BUSGIRL BLUES! They'd checked my website and wondered if they could take a look at JUST JESSE as well. I sent a quick e-mail to my agent, awaiting her instruction on how to proceed.

My impatience was finally wearing down my agent. It was clear by this time we had differing views of which publishing houses we wanted for JUST JESSE. We had reached a stalemate, and she felt it was time to end my contract. 

To be honest, it was for the best. And even though she never read BUSGIRL BLUES, I admit I should have told her I was planning on submitting to smaller publishers.

I will always be grateful for the work she put into helping me these last two years, especially with NIGHT SHIFT. Any success that story enjoys will be due in part to her efforts. We wished each other well and ended things amicably.

Then I received word the editor considering NIGHT SHIFT passed, but with nice compliments.

Four days later, (on my niece's fifteen birthday) I received a phone call from the local publisher. Penelope J, an editor from Nimbus Publishing, made an offer on BUSGIRL BLUES. The finer details are here. When I told her about JUST JESSE, she requested that as well. A week later she called with a two book deal!

I contacted the other small publisher. They were excited about both books, but requested an R&R for BUSGIRL BLUES before they would consider making a counter offer.

Penelope and I had already discussed the extent of the revisions that would be needed. She was enthusiastic and totally won me over with her passion for my characters.

It was an easy decision. R&R's have never really worked out for me. I accepted the offer from Nimbus.


The editor considering JUST JESSE passed. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to speak with her. She was lovely and took the time to explain my revisions weren't up to what they were hoping to see, and that a second revision wouldn't have made a difference in their decision.

I appreciated the time she took to champion JUST JESSE. As writers, we don't realize the huge amounts of time editors put into manuscripts that may never be published.

Speaking of being published...

I signed my contract with Nimbus and the party began.

Funny thing about positive feedback, you tend to write more. That story I was tinkering with back in March had taken flight and had reached over 85, 000 words. I began posting the first few chapters of THE ASP, a YA mystery, on Wattpad.


I have three awesome friends who have been reading all my stuff from the very beginning—that's six years worth of bad spelling to slog through, folks. They threw me a party and made this frickin' awesome book cake with the last line of JUST JESSE's query.


I posted the Epilogue for THE ASP! It had reached over 250, 000 reads by this point.


I started outlining a new YA sci-fi idea that had been kicking around in my head. And yes, even that one has its own Pinterest story board.

I was lucky enough to be the beta reader for two fantastic writer friends.

Jennifer Swann Downey wrote an epic middle grade adventure with magical realism and a spirited girl who loves sword fighting and books. And you'll be able to read it soon too because it's going to be published by Sourcebooks in Spring 2014.

And the other novel was a contemporary romance with lots of um...other kinds of action. That book will soon be snagged by a publisher when it falls head over heels in love with its steamy, schmexy scenes. Ann Marie Walker is the lady behind the trilogy that's soon to set the world on fire.


NIGHT SHIFT was featured on Wattpad. This was a hard decision to make because I've been revising and working on this story for the last six years. However, I realized the characters will wither away and die if no one reads about them. So, yes, after all those sleep deprived nights, I'm offering my blood, sweat, and tears for free.

For Halloween, my thirteen-year-old daughter dressed up like DumbleDora the Explorer and my ten year old son went as a bloody surgeon with a chain saw. It was epic.


NIGHT SHIFT was getting blush-inducing, amazingballs comments! I was thrilled! I also noticed a lot more published authors were making profiles on Wattpad, posting the first few chapters of their published works for more exposure. Fantastic!


I got my editorial letter for BUSGIRL BLUES! I'd never been so happy to stay up late writing again. I finished my work by the end of the month, and when I read through it (for the millionth time) I knew I made the right decision in accepting the offer from Nimbus. The story wouldn't have evolved the way it had without Penelope's guidance.

I guess I should listen to my husband more often ;)

So that's 2013 in review. Phew! I'm exhausted.

And in a few days I'll finally be able to say, "I'm getting published THIS year."

What are your writing goals for 2014?

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Treasure in the Trash

Personally speaking, I hate writing the first draft of any story because I know it's going to be garbage. I fight each sentence, wishing I could toss it in the rubbish and start fresh. I have to keep reminding myself to turn off the inner editor and just get the damn words on the paper.

After all, I can't edit a blank page. Garbage can always be thrown out.

However, I've recently learned to be careful not to lose the treasure hidden among the trash.

Let me explain...
Before all the snow came, making Halifax look like a living Christmas card, I prepared my garden for the winter. An old wooden bird house my father had made for me many years ago, finally succumbed to the elements and was basically rotting off its spot on my backyard fence.

My dad is a retired Mountie, but he's also a jack of all trades. I've never known him not to be tinkering with some broken appliance or out in his workshop. The only thing he can't do is cut his own hair, this is a task he hands over to me.

FYI, I don't know how to cut hair, but I have electric clippers and that's good enough for my dad.

I suspect he's so proficient at fixing/making things because he's too cheap to buy something new. A quality that's endearing, actually...unless you mind waiting weeks for the toaster to work again.

In all its time on the fence, I've only ever seen one chickadee perched on top of the bird house. To my knowledge, no birds ever found refuge in the little box with its circular opening, promising shelter from the rain and neighbourhood cats.

Even though its purpose was unfulfilled, I kept it up on the fence for its aesthetic appeal—nothing like a weathered bird house to invoke the imagination.

Once, two years ago, a family of bees set up shop, buzzing in and out of the opening like a well organized flight deck. I imagined splitting open the old bird house to find honeycombs dripping with sweet honey. But the house remained intact, I didn't have the heart to disrupt what they might have created.

And so the little house stayed in place, facing the elements of each season. Until finally, this fall, the small crack in the front spilt wide open and the whole thing sagged away from the fence.

Did I look inside?

Of course I did.

The wood was so pliable, I pulled it apart with my bare hands. When the sunlight shone on the contents, I was amazed at what I found.

Sitting in a cloud of brown leaves was a soft, perfectly round bird's nest. I could see where the twine we used to secure some of the larger plants in the garden had been painstakingly pulled apart, creating thin stripes of silky thread to line the nest.

There was a red strand of yarn from a school project that must have been discarded with the leftover craft supplies.

And when I looked closer, I found tufts of grey fluffy hair—my dad's hair to be exact. The cuttings from his regular visits that gathered on the towel around his neck and then shook free in the backyard, had also found a purpose.

Archaeological layers of my family's life had been braided into this little nest; tiny bits of garbage that the birds had turned into treasure.

So don't turn your nose up at the stink of your first draft, instead relish the icky, sloppiness of it and know that you're getting closer to the treasure hidden within.

Happy writing! And Happy New Year!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Once Upon A Time, Season 3, Episode 11, "Going Home"

Or better title, “No Happy Ending For You!”


Fake Henry and Felix go to the well in the forest and cast the curse, ready to wipe everyone's memory and make them his slaves in his new Neverland. Felix thinks this is a super fabulous plan.

Mr. Gold tells Emma and the gang the curse can be stopped only by the person who used it the first time—Regina. She must destroy the scroll, but there will be a major price. But in order to get the scroll they have to get Henry's spirit back in his old body. Only the most powerful magic can pull off that spell.

Fake Henry drops all the stuff down the well, but he needs one more ingredient, the heart of the thing he loves the most. Felix doesn't like the way Fake Henry is talking about how loyalty is as strong as love. Before you can say, “We can fly,” Fake Henry rips out Felix's heart and completes the spell.

Tinkerbell shares some information about a certain wand that is rumoured to be the most powerful of its kind. It used to be owned by an evil fairy full of black magic. But the Blue Fairy managed to take her wand, and has had it hidden in the convent all these years.

At Mr. Gold's shop, Mary Margaret shows Emma the glass unicorn mobile that was over her crib before she was born. They talk about what life would be like if they hadn't given up their kids.



Tinkerbell, Neal, Hook, and David break up the Blue Fairy's open casket wake. Before they can start looking for the super powerful wand, Peter Pan's freaky shadow thing arrives and makes them scatter like mice.

Hook decides to be the hero and tries to fight the shadow. Neal has his trusty 'coconut shell shadow catcher', but he can't get high enough to capture it. Tinkerbell takes out her pixie dust and with all the belief she can muster, she flies up and captures the shadow. Then she tosses the whole thing in a flaming cauldron.

Why are there dishes with fire in the church?

With the death of the shadow, the Blue Fairy is revived. She congratulates Tinkerbell for finally believing in herself. She gives her back her wings and hands over the dark fairy's wand.

Mr. Gold still has the bracelet that Greg and Nadine used to render any magical being helpless. He places in on Peter Pan's wrist so he'll be powerless when Henry's spirit is swapped. Once Henry is back in his own body and in possession of the scroll for the curse, he'll find them lickity split so Regina can stop the curse.

Iron clad plan. No problem should arise.

Mr. Gold uses the black fairy's wand and performs the spell to release Henry's spirit. Mr. Gold stays while everyone else runs into the street.

Of course, why would anyone want to stay behind with Mr. Gold to make sure Peter Pan doesn't outwit him?

We travel back to a gentler time in Storybrooke when fourteen year old Henry is trying to act eleven. Mary Margaret has a heart to heart with a confused Henry. He's feeling lost because his birth mother gave him up and his adoptive mother is the meany pants Mayor.

Mary Margaret is all smiles. She hands over a book of fairy tales that she just happened to find in her closet that morning. Henry is unconvinced this will help him feel better, but she tells him the book is more than fairy tales, it's hope.

“Your happy ending may not be what you expect,” she tells him, “but that's what makes it so special.”

Henry starts turning pages...and well, you know the rest.

Granny leads Emma and the gang down main street. Since she's part wolf, she can track him down easily.

Where's Ruby these days?

The real Henry runs out of the library to be with them. He has the scroll and gives it the Regina. When she touches the curse, she falls to the ground.

Mr. Gold is there to greet Peter Pan when he wakes up in his own body.


Peter Pan talks about how Mr. Gold was a baby who needed a lot of attention. He regrets nothing. Mr. Gold grabs a sword, ready to end his father's life. Peter Pan whips off the cuff—it doesn't work on him because he's the one who made it and gave it to Greg and Nadine.


He magics it to Mr. Gold's wrist and starts throwing him around the room.

Watch out for the glass unicorn mobile!

Peter Pan says it's too late to stop the curse, and that without magic Mr. Gold is right back to where he started, the village coward.

Regina finally wakes and realizes the price she has to pay for breaking the curse. Peter Pan shows up and starts a monologue about his awesome curse. He's about to kill Neal when Mr. Gold shows up.

Mr. Gold says he's finally willing to pay the price, then he tells Neal and Belle how much he loves them.

Peter Pan laughs because he has no magic to fight with. Mr. Gold says he doesn't need magic because he also has a shadow to do his bidding. The shadow appears with his long lost hidden dagger.

Remember when he asked the shadow to hide it the first night they were on Neverland?

The only way Peter Pan will die is if he dies. He stabs Peter Pan with the dagger. When he returns to his form as Rumpelstiltskin's father, he begs for Mr. Gold to spare his life, promising they can start over.

Mr. Gold says villains like them never get happy endings. Then he thrusts the dagger deeper and they both disappear in a plume of black smoke.

Belle crumples to the ground, inconsolable. Regina is in shock. Green smoke pours out of the well. Grumpy comes screaming down the street saying the curse is coming from all sides. There's no escape.

Regina says she can stop the curse, but only if she says good bye to the thing she loves the most—Henry. When she breaks the curse, it will destroy the town and everyone will return to where they came from, everyone that is except Henry and Emma.


Henry was born outside the enchanted forest and Emma is the saviour that was meant to break the curse, and therefore is immune...or something like that.

Mary Margaret tells Emma and Henry they have to take this chance, even though it means breaking up the family again. A happy ending, but not exactly.

Emma and Henry go to the town line where her yellow bug is waiting.

*Cue the tearful good byes and reconciliations*

Regina only wants Henry to be happy. Emma tells Neal she's sorry. He says this isn't over and he'll see her again someday. Hook lets her know he'll be burning the torch as well, and she's cool with that.


Regina tells Emma that her memories of Storybrooke will also disappear. She doesn't know what will happen to her and Henry, but she gives Henry and Emma the gift of happy memories, where she never gave him up, and they had always been together.

Their past will be fake, but their future will be real.

I liked that line. Nice job, ABC.

*Cue the tears and kisses*

Emma and Henry get into the yellow bug and drive away. Regina starts to break the curse. Everyone is enveloped in a cloud of purple smoke as Storybrook3 disappears.

One Year Later

We're in New York City, Emma is making scrambled eggs for herself and Henry in a swanky apartment. There's a knock at the door. Hook is standing there is all his leather clad loveliness. He says her family is in danger and desperately need her help. She slams the door and gets the willies that some crazy guy had gotten into her swanky apartment building.


Man, that was good.

Okay, since another episode won't be airing until March, I guess I'll be blogging The Bachelor when it starts in January. Oh, Juan. What were you thinking?

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Stop Thinking

Do you keep editing stuff you've just written before going on to the next scene?

Are you stuck on dialogue that seems to be going nowhere?

Not sure how to connect the B storyline to the main plot in the A storyline?

Here's my advice...


 And just write.

It won't be great. It won't even be good. In fact, it will probably be garbage. But it will be done and you'll edit it brilliantly later.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Once Upon A Time, Season 3, Episode 10, "The New Neverland"

 Or better title, "Pass the Tylenol"


We're in sunny Storybrooke. Belle takes Ariel to the wharf to meet Prince Eric. He's a fisherman gutting the day's catch.

What will happen?

He recognizes her immediately and they start to make out.

Well, that was easy.

A shadow passes over. Belle looks up and sees the Jolly Roger emerge from the clouds.

*Cue the touching piano music and sweet reunions*

Except for Regina, none of the fairy tale characters are happy to see her.

Belle and Mr. Gold embrace and thank God, ABC has spared us a kissing scene with these two. Wendy Darling comes off the boat, and hugs her much older brothers, John and Michael. They plan to fly back to England.

Good idea. Storybrooke is crazy pants.

Mary Margaret lets all the happy peasants know that Regina is the main reason they're all together again.

We flashback to Snow White and Prince Charming's wedding. The Evil Queen makes her famous speech, “I will ruin your happiness if it's the last thing I do.”

Upset with the Evil Queen's latest threat, Snow White is determined to fight back, but Charming convinces her that the best way to defeat the Queen is to have a good old fashioned honeymoon with plenty of lovin'. Snow White chooses a her summer palace where her own parents had their honeymoon.


Grumpy shows up and tells her the castle is secure but he worries about their quick trip. Snow White gives him a wink and says there's something at the summer palace that will defeat the Evil Queen once and for all.


Peter Pan is walking around in Henry's body and meets with the older Lost Boy (Felix). They make a plan to take over Storybrooke...or something like that. To Felix's surprise the first step is having Emma put him in jail.

Belle and Mr. Gold plan a future now that he doesn't have to worry about the prophecy of Henry being his undoing. Stupid seeer.

Oh, wait. Henry is Peter Pan now. Hmm...

Emma meets Fake Henry at Granny's pub/diner/laundromat. She hands him the big book of fairy tales.

Meanwhile at the bar/lunch counter Hook and his chest hair are facing off against grubby Neal, vying for Emma's heart.

Seriously, there's no contest, right, ladies?


Hook lets Neal know that he's in this quest for the long run. He thinks he has a good chance since he's never left her pregnant and alone and let her go to jail for him. Also, he's much, much hotter.

Team Hook ;)

Regina and Tinkerbell arrive and march right up the Blue Fairy who still dresses like she's Mother Superior. Regina demands Tinkerbell's wings be given back since she helped them escape Neverland, plus let's not forget she made some left over pixie dust glow.

The Blue Fairy demands a demonstration, but Tinkerbell is too nervous. She denies Tinkerbell her wings siting, “If you don't believe in yourself, how can I believe in you?”

Oh shut it, you Ninny!

Tinkerbell rolls her eyes says, “I need a drink.”

Spoken like a true fairy.

Speaking of fairies...remember Nova? The fairy that was in love with Grumpy? What the heck happened to her? And where are Cinderella and her Prince? Wasn't there some kind of deal about her baby and Mr. Gold?

Reaches for Tylenol.

Fake Henry reads through the book and sees a picture of the Evil Queen in front of a vault. Neal asks Emma if they can have special talk time, ie: a date. She says she doesn't want to start a relationship since Henry just had his heart ripped out and everything.

Prince Charming carries Snow White across the threshold of her parent's summer palace. She reminisces about her time their as a young girl. The Prince is ready to start practising making heirs, but Snow White pushes him away, saying she has something special planned for tonight.

He leaves to go stable the horses. By stable the horses he means some special alone time...sorry, never mind.

Snow White quickly grabs the families supply of archery weapons and tears off into the woods. But Prince Charming must stables horses er... pretty quickly and he's blocking her path.

Snow White confesses she came up to the summer palace to hunt a creature who has the ability to destroy the Evil Queen. Apparently one look from this beast and you turn to stone.

Oh, Medusa. I was wondering when the Greeks would show up.

Here's the plan: Snow White and Prince Charming will team up and find this beast so they can behead it. He says he can't wait until they slay this thing and start their real honeymoon.

Yeah, slaying mythical beasts is a total turn on.

Fake Henry asks to have a sleepover at Regina's. She's all for it, and Emma reluctantly agrees. He asks Regina if she still has all her magic in her secret vault. He uses the excuse that he's worried Peter Pan will come after him again and he'll need protection.

She tells him not to worry, and that magic is not the answer.

What? Hasn't she been watching the show? Magic is always the answer. Right, ABC. *Wink, wink*

Fake Henry is right because hidden on the Jolly Roger is Peter Pan's shadow.

Didn't Regina kill it? Isn't that how they could leave Neverland?

*Reaches for Tylenol*

Snow White and Prince Charming comb the woods and reminisce about their wacky romance. Snow White lets him know (and us) the only way to reverse Medusa's curse is to kill her, thereby bringing all the previous stone victims to back life.

Mr. Gold shows up at Granny's where David and Mary Margaret are having breakfast. He hands David his cure so he can stay in Storybrooke. He lets them know they owe him BIG TIME.

David takes the potion and ta-da! His creepy mark thing is gone and he's ready to make that second baby with Mary Margaret.

But, boo-hoo. Neal is sitting by himself the next booth over, waiting for Emma who has purposely stood him up.

David takes off to talk his daughter into giving the guy who let her go to jail for his crime another chance. Emma wonders if he's trying to make sure she doesn't start dating Hook.

Back on the Jolly Roger, Hook is already propositioning Tinkerbell, but she's no dumb fairy, she knows he's just killing time before Emma changes her mind.

They hear screams and follow the commotion. The Blue Fairy is being chased by Peter Pan's shadow. It knocks her down and takes away her shadow, thereby killing.

What will Storybrooke do? She was the only fairy who knew how to work with pixie dust!

*cough* foreshadowing of Tinkerbell's moment of triumph *cough*

Hook says the shadow only takes orders from one person...Peter Pan.

Snow White and Prince Charming enter Medusa's castle.

How on earth are these two dimwits going to defeat Medusa.

They don't. Snow White fails to chop off her head. Charming throws a shield like a Frisbee, but that only makes her madder. They try to escape, but Snow White trips and Charming ends up being turned to stone.

Twenty points for Slytherin.

Regina is shocked to discover that Peter Pan's shadow is out killing fairies when she already destroyed it. Fake Henry pretends to be worried. He asks Regina to protect him. Emma takes Regina aside and voices her worries that Henry doesn't exactly seem all right.

Regina rebuffs her suggestion saying she's jealous Henry keeps choosing her. She takes Henry to the safest place in Storybrooke—her secret vault of magic!

Snow White calls out encouragement to the stone faced Charming. The Evil Queen's face shows up in the reflection of the shield, laughing because she ended up destroying her own happiness.

Medusa charges at Snow White, she holds up the shiny shield. Medusa sees her own reflection and changes to stone. And ta-da! Charming returns back to life.

Well, that was easy.

Emma, Mary Margaret and David rush to Mr. Gold's shop. They want him to open up Pandora's Box and release Peter Pan because they want answers, damn it! Emma has a plan and they drive to the town line.


Mr. Gold enchants the box and give it to Emma. She takes it across the line, waiting with her gun. Peter Pan emerges, looking confused. He frantically tells Emma that Peter Pan switched their bodies and he's the real Henry.

He proves himself by recounting the moment when they connected, when she told him the reason she gave him up as a baby was to give him a better shot.

They hug and everyone rejoices...sort of.

Then David says, “Hey, if this is the real Henry, then where is Pan?”

Fake Henry sits inside Regina's magical emporium of wonders practically salivating at all the awesome vials of stuff that can help him take over Storybrooke. He gives Regina a fake hug, then uses one of her potions to render her unconscious.

Snow White tells Prince Charming that they have to start a family speedy quick because the world needs more good than bad. He's like, sure that's what I've been saying all along.

Emma and the gang meet up with Neal, Tinkerbell and Mr. Gold at the vault. While Mr. Gold uses magic to break open the door, Emma monologues that she can never have a happy life because the price of being 'the savior' is that she doesn't get a day off, therefore no time to date and stuff.

Mr. Gold finally breaks through. They find Regina unconscious. Mr. Gold wakes her up. She feels stupid because she fell for Fake Henry's talk about family and love and blah, blah, blah. Peter Pan (aka the real Henry) gives her a hug and sets everything right.

David asks the main question we're all wondering, “What was Pan looking for down here?”

Mr. Gold notices the one empty box, he shots Regina a look. “Please don't tell me you kept it down here?”

She looks sheepishly at everyone, “Where else would I keep the curse.”

Yup. The curse.

Fake Henry breaks Felix out of jail and they run to the woods with the curse. Once he casts the curse again, everyone in Storybrooke will forget who they were and time will stand still. And Fake Henry and Felix will run the show.

Whoo-hoo! That means Emma and Hook have a chance to make out again!

Monday, 2 December 2013

Once Upon A Time, Season 3, Episode 9, “Save Henry”

Or better title, "Babies Are Hard Work"


The Evil Queen rejoices in the black spell's success. But Rumpelstiltskin reminds her Snow White's baby will break the curse one day. She rebuffs his comment saying she has everything she's ever wanted. Rumpelstiltskin warns there's a hole in her heart that will need to be filled.

Emma and the others try to revive Henry while Peter Pan goads over the fact he has Henry's heart—and it's awesome power. He also tells them Mr. Gold is now inside Pandora's box.

Regina confesses to Dr. Hopper that being the Mayor isn't as fun as it used to be. She feels empty and lonely. He tells her she needs someone special in her life to love.

Yes, that's the answer. A baby. What is this? 1950?

She goes to Mr. Gold hoping to get through the red tape of the adoption process. He's not surprised at all, but he questions her ability to put the child first.


Back on Skull Island, Regina performs a preservation spell on Henry to keep him alive. Emma is upset because she doesn't know any spells and therefore feels useless. Regina cries because unlike Emma, she doesn't have parents, or two guys vying for her. All she has is Henry.

Regina vows to kill Peter Pan. That's the only way they can save Henry.

The logic of this conversation is mind blowing.

Everyone storms the Lost Boys' camp, but they're all tight lipped about Peter Pan's special hiding place. Regina is ready to force them to talk through torture. Emma presents a cooler plan and offers the boys something they really need and want...a mother.

Regina is tickled when Mr. Gold tells her there is a baby ready to be adopted. She travels to Boston to have an interview.

Um...how can she leave Storybrooke?

She sits in an office across the desk from the lawyer. After a friendly chat about the weather, a nurse brings a baby. She names him after her father, Henry.

Remember him? She ripped out his heart so she could create her grand curse of revenge. A revenge against Snow White for telling Cora about Daniel the stable boy—the same stable boy Cora murdered so Regina could be Queen. Sorry, don't go back too far, you'll get a headache.

Emma tries to convince the Lost Boys that Peter Pan doesn't care about them and offers them a home back in Storybrooke. Only the oldest Lost Boy remains faithful, the other quickly tell Emma about the Thinking Tree, Peter Pan's special hiding place.


Regina struggles with a fussy baby Henry. She's so concerned, she takes him to Doctor Whale where they both discuss the reason Henry is crying so much. He thinks they'll need the biological parents medical records. The baby cries unattended on a stretcher while they walk away arguing.

Regina gets Sydney Glass on the phone and demands he find out Henry's birth mother because obviously that's the only thing to keep him from crying.


David and Neal take Henry's body to the Jolly Roger where Hook “Captain Sexy Eyes” is offering all Neverland creatures big and small a trip off the island.

Emma, Mary Margaret, and Regina head toward the Thinking Tree.

Regina finally figures out how to hold a baby and Henry stops crying. Sydney faxes over the information about Emma. Regina marches over to Mr. Gold's upset she managed to adopt the curse-breaker's son.

She realizes Mr. Gold has manipulated the situation from the very start. She vows to send Henry back to Boston the next day. She can't risk having Emma show up in Storybrooke.

Mary Margaret trips or something stupid and manages to trap all three of them to the Thinking Tree. As vines tighten around their chests, Peter Pan struts out of the jungle and says the only way they'll be reunited with Henry is in death.

Regina returns Henry to the adoption agency. The lawyer tells her there's already another family lined up to take him. But when it comes time to say good-bye, Henry flashes Regina a smile and she promises to never let go of him again.

The other family leave upset. It's John and Michael Darling. They've been on orders from Peter Pan to get Henry too!

Back at the Thinking Tree, Peter Pan tells them his true identity as Rumpelstiltskin's father. Regina calls him a fake. He lets them know the tree attacks anyone who has regret.

Emma she's full of regret because of all the the times she's let Henry down, and Mary Margaret is the same. But Regina has the most regret of all.

Regina lifts an eyebrow and tells Peter Pan she's killed and tortured thousands, so she should be full of regret, but she's not because she'd do anything for her son. She breaks the vines and punches her fist through Peter Pan's chest. He collapses to the ground.

Emma and Mary Margaret stare with open mouths—helpful as always. With Henry's enchanted heart in her hand, Regina leans over and picks up Pandora's Box. “Now,” she says to the two dimwits, “let's go save Henry.”

On the Jolly Roger, Henry quickly revives after Regina does the heart transplant.

Regina talks with Dr. Hopper about her fear that Henry's birth mother will come looking for him one day. He tells her not to worry about the future and enjoy the present and the love she now feels as a mother.


Regina visits her father's crypt and starts story time with little Henry. She mixes a spell that will help her forget all her troubles, worries, and fears. She needs to put Henry first. She takes the potion, knowing it will erase her memory of being the Evil Queen.

Won't she find it weird to be in a basement surrounded by flasks?

Regina tucks Henry in and does a healing spell—just to make sure no one can ever take his heart again.

He says, “Thanks, Mom.”

Yeah, thanks.

She leaves and Peter Pan pops up from behind the bed with a dagger!

Top side, Neal opens Pandora's Box, releasing Mr. Gold. There's a nice father and son hugging moment. Neal lets him know he's nothing like Peter Pan because he came looking for him. Neal finally forgives Mr. Gold for abandoning him.

Emma and Mary Margaret get misty eyed because now that Mr. Gold is out of the box, he can work on David's potion and they can stay together as a family. Mr. Gold suddenly gets a chill.

Peter Pan receives a shock when he tries to rip out Henry's heart. Mr. Gold arrives and opens Pandora's Box. It starts to pull at Peter Pan and his shadow. He and Henry do a weird eye switcher-roo moment. Peter Pan screams out as he's finally sucked into the box.

Regina destroys Peter Pan's shadow, releasing the Jolly Roger. The pirate ship takes off into the sky, headed for Storybrooke.

Wendy and Tinker Bell have a heart to heart. Wendy gives her a vial of fairy dust but Tink is sad because she has no wings, and therefore has no magic.

Henry arrives on deck and Neal lets him know he'll be a super fantastic dad for as long as he wants. Tinker Bell and Regina make up. The fairy dust in the vial begins to glow.

The oldest Lost Boy, whose name I can never remember, is still upset he's being taken away from Neverland. Henry brings him food and begins to chat. It's not long before the boy figures out Peter Pan is in Henry's body.

Henry's last words are, “Let's play.”

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Be The Caterpillar

"Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way." - E.L. Doctorow

The key is to keep moving forward. A lot of times in writing we hit a wall; some call it writer's block, I call it fear.

"Will anyone like this?"

"Is it too much like that other book everyone is talking about?"

"I know nothing about this genre, why am I thinking of starting this story?" 

And my personal favorite, "I have no idea what will happen after this scene!" 

Fortunately, there is a cure. Be the caterpillar.

Let me explain...

A caterpillar begins life having no idea that it's going to be a beautiful butterfly one day. It just eats, and eats, and eats until it starts to make a cocoon.

What the heck is going through it's head during this nonstop feast?

Oh my, God! I'm so hungry. Like ALL the the time. What is wrong with me?

Does it worry that it doesn't have time to talk with other caterpillars. And if it did, what would they say to each other?

"I know, me too!" Munch. Munch. "And now I have this intense desire to wrap myself in thread spun from my butt. It's starting to become more important than eating."

It goes through this cycle completely loyal to its needs spurned on by natural instincts.

Until one day...

"I can't believe I slept so long.  What day is it? And now I'm hungry for flower nectar. What is flower nectar? Holy shit! The ground is so far below! How can I move around. Whoa, I have wings. Check me out! I'm beautiful!"


When writers block gets in your way, be like the caterpillar and let instinct take over.

Now go write something without caring why you're doing it, but trust that one day, it will be beautiful.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

The One Thing You Didn't Know About Dr. Who


November 23, 2013 marks the 50th Anniversary of the sci-fi television show, Dr. Who. Today, Whovians will celebrate in a special, three-D broadcast in theatres around the world.

It's the longest-running science-fiction program on television, and pretty much the longest running dramatic show.

It's based on a very simple premise. Every week a spaceship shaped like telephone box lands somewhere, and out pops the doctor. He meets scary monsters and aliens, and defeats them with his cleverness.
Most Whovians consider themselves experts on all things "The Doctor". But here's one tidbit I bet most of you didn't know.

It was created by a Canadian, former CBC producer Sydney Newman.

Mr. Newman crossed to pond to work with the BBC. After creating The Avengers, they asked him to write a weekend show that would fill in the slot between the afternoon soccer matches and the prime time specials. They were looking for a family show that could teach science and history in a dramatic way.

Dr. Who fit the bill nicely.


And that blue police telephone booth that's the spaceship? Mr. Newman chose it because they needed something easy and cheap that they could re-use every week. It was his idea to have the inside much larger than would be physically possible. Brilliant!

Fifty years of shows is a long time. If you want a quick fix of Dr. Who, Graeme Burke and Robert Smith give you a guide to the top 50 episodes of Dr. Who to watch before you die.

Happy Birthday, Dr. Who! 

Which is your favorite episode?

And when will the doctor be a woman?

Monday, 18 November 2013

Once Upon A Time, Season 3, Episode 8 "Think Lovely Thoughts"

Or better title, "Peter Pan's and Mr. Gold's Super Big Secret"

A street busker in rags does a card trick and swindles a privateer out of a few shillings. Things get violent and the privateer beats him up, taking the poor man's earnings. A little vagabond boy is quickly by his side, pleading with the officers to leave his father alone. The officer says he'd be better off an orphan than with a cheat for a father. The man gets up, brushes off his coat, and calls the boy by name—Rumpelstiltskin.

Henry now fully accepts that only his belief in magic can save Wendy and the island. Peter Pan takes Henry to the camp and lets all the Lost Boys know that the magic of the island will awaken and release their destiny.

A lively game of Twister follows as the celebrate the ambiguous announcement.

Regina and Mr. Gold walk through the DARK (why is it always so frickin' dark?!) jungle making a plan to save Henry with Pandora's Box.

Papa drops little Rumpelstiltskin off to stay with two peasant women who happen to be fond of spinning. He begs his father to stay with him, but Papa insists he needs to go and look for a suitable job—apparently his swindling days are over. Before he leaves though, he gives a teary eyed Rumpelstiltskin a corn husk doll. "Make sure to give it a name," he tells him. "Names are powerful. They make things real."

Hmm....Sheriff Graham. Sheriff Graham. Sheriff Graham. *Looks over shoulder* Nope. Nothing.


Emma and the gang travel towards Peter Pan's camp with Tinkerbell in the lead. Emma and Mary Margaret try and come up with an idea so that David can leave the island with them. They stumble upon Regina and Mr. Gold. Neal is upset and lets everyone know about the prophecy which foretells Henry will be Mr. Gold's undoing. They all draw their swords convinced Mr. Gold is going to kill Henry.

It turns out little Rumpelstiltskin has a natural talent for spinning. The peasant women are overjoyed. He's good enough to work for royalty! But Rumpelstiltskin says he will never leave without his father. They share an uncomfortable glance and tell Rumpelstiltskin his father is a liar and a thief and will always be his burden. Then they give him a magic bean saying it's his ticket to any world he wants to escape to.

But more importantly, he will flourish because of his wicked spinning skills. 


Mr. Gold hands over Pandora's Box hoping to convince them he's trying to save Henry as well. Neal takes the box, but in a begrudging manner.

Neal is all about begrudging.

With magic bean in hand, Rumpelstiltskin finds his father doing card tricks in the pub.

Big deal!

This is pretty tame compared to most parents in this show. Remember David's father? The King was ready to kill him if he didn't marry Midas' daughter. Then he poisoned Snow White so she could never have children.

Dr. Hopper's parents turned Pinocchio's parents into wooden dolls! *shivers*

And let's not forget about Cora. She killed Daniel, and poisoned Snow White's mother, and the King...all so that Regina could be Queen.

Papa explains that no one in town will hire him because he has a reputation as a cheat. Rumpelstiltskin smiles and shows him the bean. Good news! They can start over in a new world. Papa talks about how his own father sold him to an unscrupulous blacksmith. It was a hard life, but he survived by 'thinking lovely thoughts.' When he slept at night, he visited a marvelous place called Neverland.

Rumpelstiltskin thinks that sounds super terrific. They hold hands, throw the bean into the cobblestones and jump into green vortex of fun.

Emma drills Captain Sexy Eyes about ways to keep David alive. Mr. Gold overhears them and offers the chance to make David an elixir back in his shop. But only if they let him help with Henry's rescue.

Neal is unimpressed. He says Mr. Gold should help David, not as part of a deal, but because it's the right thing to do.

Neal's all about the right thing to do.

They gather outside the camp. Here's there plan; run in and get Henry.

Iron clad.


Regina magics the Lost Boys to sleep. They tiptoe around the camp fire, but only find Wendy trapped in her bamboo cage. Neal shows up and they have a Baelfire/Neal reunion. Wendy confesses that she came back to Neverland to save him.

Little Rumpelstiltskin and his Papa land on the shores of British Columbia aka Neverland. They soon discover you can wish for anything and it will appear. Papa says, "Neverland is where the impossible is possible, if you believe it."

He tries to show his son how he used to be able to fly, but he ends up face first in the sand. Rumpelstiltskin guesses maybe it's because he's not a boy anymore. But still, Papa wants to fly, and so they go looking for pixie dust.

Wendy denies knowing or hearing about Henry. Mr. Gold knows she's lying. She cracks faster than an egg toss contest and confesses she's doing Peter Pan's will to save her brothers. She tells them Peter Pan is dying—not the island. He needs Henry's heart to stay alive, in return Henry will die.

Peter Pan and Henry row to Skull Rock. Peter Pan puts up a protection spell and takes Henry further into the cave.

Here's the plan! Mary Margaret and David head to Dead Man's Peak for extra magical water that will keep David alive for when Mr. Gold concocts an antidote back in Storybrooke. Tinkerbell and Captain Sexy Eyes stay at the camp ready to question the Lost Boys when they wake up. Emma, Neal, Mr. Gold, and Regina make their way to Skull Rock.

Little Rumpelstiltskin listens as his papa talks about how powerful pixie dust is and how awesome it is to fly. He invites him to climb a huge redwood. The uppermost top branches contain flowers from which pixie dust is gathered.

How does he know all this? Is it something he just created from his dreams?

But Rumpelstiltskin doesn't want to go up the tree, he doesn't want to fly, plus he's scared of falling from the hundred foot tree to his death.


Undaunted, Papa starts to climb, promising he'll show him how wonderful Neverland can be. He reaches the pixie dust flower. He sprinkles it over his head and proclaims "I want to fly." But the freaky shadow thing shows up and plays party pooper. It doesn't matter how much he believes or how much pixie dust he uses, he doesn't belong on Neverland—he's too old.

This also pertains to celebrities who sign up for reality shows.

The protection spell prevents everyone but Mr. Gold from entering the cave. Only he can pass because he has no shadow. He's not surprised. He tells the others Peter Pan rigged it this way, to keep him in and the others out.

Realizing Mr. Gold is their only hope to save Henry, Regina tosses him Pandora's Box. Then, like two seconds later, Emma comes up with the idea that if they block the moon with magic, their shadows disappear.

*rolls eyes*

She and Regina do their jazz hand magic thing and make the air go swirly. Neal stands in the background begrudgingly.


Peter Pan leads Henry to a huge hour glass, marking the passage of how much magic is left—not a lot, folks. Peter Pan seems to grow  paler by the minute.

Fearing something terrible has happened to his father, little Rumpelstiltskin cries while clutching his corn husk doll. Papa shows up and disappointingly tells him that Neverland is just for children and that he doesn't belong. But Rumpelstiltskin isn't upset. As long as they can be together, that's all that matters. Papa hangs his head and says he'll always be a useless father and that Rumpelstiltskin is better off without him.

In order to stay, Papa has to believe he's a child again. He can't very well have a son running around on the island reminding him he's a dad with grown up responsibilities. The creepy shadow arrives and pulls little Rumpelstiltskin away. In doing so, it takes his shadow. The magic created casts a spell.

Papa grown younger and becomes...Peter Pan.

*Jaw drops*

Dear ABC,

You got me. Well done.



PS Please bring Schmexy back.



Peter Pan leaves Henry to face Mr. Gold. He offers a way for both of them to live on the island, but Mr. Gold isn't buying. Peter Pan laughs and comments on how much they're alike; he traded his son for youth and Mr. Gold traded his son for magic.

Mr. Gold says he regretted leaving Neal the second he disappeared, and has spent every day since then looking for him. Finished with the family reunion, he takes out Pandora's Box. But it won't open!

Peter Pan grins maliciously, and holds out the real Pandora's Box. Apparently he only has to think of something and it will appear.

Okay, whatever.

When Peter Pan opens the box Rumpelstiltskin is sucked in speedy quick.

Little Rumpelstiltskin is soothed by the peasant spinners. They try to comfort him and ask about his corn husk doll he loved so much. He says his doll, Peter Pan, is gone forever.

Oh, *light bulb moment* he named the doll Peter Pan.

The freshly created Peter Pan flies all over Neverland enjoying his new place. He goes to Skull Rock, curious that he's never seen it in his dreams. The creepy shadow greats him with the news that Neverland is a place for children to visit in their dreams, but now he's broken the rules and the hour glass will measure how much time he has on the island before he dies.

Henry stands in front of the hour glass. He now realizes that having the heart of the truest believer means doing a transplant. Henry accepts that he will never leave Neverland. He's ready. Peter Pan magics his hand enabling Henry to perform his own heart transplant.

Okay, whatever.

Emma, Neal, and Regina show up in time to tell Henry that he will die if he gives his heart to Peter Pan. Henry is torn, he wants to be the hero, but all the grown ups are saying weird stuff like, "trust us", "we love you", "Hello! This dude kidnapped you."

Henry smiles and says he loves them, but he has to save magic. He thrusts his heart into Peter Pan's chest. A green wave pulsates over Neverland. Henry collapses as Peter Pan glows in a creepy kind of way.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Top Five Things I Hate About The Divergent Movie Poster

So the latest poster for the Divergent movie just came out.

*Deep breaths*

I haven't been this steamed since Amazon dragged the cover of Anne of Green Gables through the post beer garden mud wrestling competition. Readers enamored with the red-headed orphan, cried 'shame' when the saw the buxom blond in the plaid shirt with the 'come hither stare'.


Thankfully, Amazon pulled the 'updated' covers.

But this is the movies, kid. And it's a whole other ballgame.

Dear Hollywood,

This is so, so wrong.


A devoted reader

Here are the top five things I hate strongly dislike about this poster.

1. Tris is the main character, yet Four is center stage. It's HER story. Why is she in the background taking the place of a sidekick?

2. They're on top of a high rise. The dude hates heights.

3. Tris is all curves and clad in tight leather. Her long hair is flowing in the breeze. She's gazing wantonly into the distance. What is this, Beyonce's halftime show at the Super Bowl? Everyone knows Tris is tiny. Yet, despite her size, she proved herself worthy of the toughest crowd in town. I don't get that vibe from this poster.

4. Four is armed with an assault rifle or something equally deadly. Where are Tris's weapons? Oh wait, is she supposed to use her 'wanton stare' to disarm enemies?

5. Her butt is literally the middle of the poster. I've seen more panache from a Calvin Klein billboard.

If this was the original cover for the novel I would have NEVER picked it up.

There, rant over.

Please click on a share button below and spread the outrage.

Tris deserves a better poster.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Once Upon A Time, Season 3, Episode 7, "Dark Hollow"

Or better title "Where's the Headless Horseman?"


We finally get the answer to the question that's been burning in our hearts since last season's dismal finale...

What's Belle been up to in Storybrooke?

After Mr. Gold handed her a vial filled with a protective spell, he sealed his tearful goodbye with a cringe-worthy kiss. Then he boarded the Jolly Roger knowing he'd never see Belle again. With the scratch of his grey stubble still fresh on her rosy cheeks, she explains to Grumpy, the Blue Fairy, and Dr. Hopper about how she now has a cloaking spell to keep Storybrooke safe from other magic haters—like Greg and what's her name.

It's a confusing moment; they're excited because the town didn't blow up, but now they're worried because other magic haters are coming to destroy them...again.

Just like last season.

The dwarfs lead Belle to their mine. They feverishly chip away at a huge diamond with their special axes. Once a crack has been made, Belle tips the vial, pouring the spell into the center of the diamond. A flame shoots up, high into the sky, creating a dome over the town—but not before a red convertible sneaks over the town border with two guys who look like they stepped out of Downton Abbey.

*Googles fairy tale characters from the 1920's*

Back on the beach of Neverland, Mr. Gold gives Ariel directions to Storybrooke. He tosses her an enchanted sand dollar that only Belle will know what to do with. Regina reminds Ariel that the magical bracelet will only give her legs for twenty four hours.

Why the time frame? I mean she is going on an errand to retrieve the only weapon that can defeat Peter Pan. Why make it harder for her?

Peter Pan knows Ariel has left the island, but he's not worried because he has spies in Storybrooke.

Spies with nerdy haircuts and tie clips.

Neal comes up with the plan to capture Peter Pan's shadow. If they have his shadow they can get off the island.


The dwarfs picnic on the beach and are the first to see Ariel walk out of the water, bursting out of her bikini top and brand new legs. Looking through binoculars, our loafer loving dudes watch the scene unimpressed. They knew a mermaid was coming and they're going to make sure she never leaves.

Really? How? By boring her to death at the flower show? Oh, scary!

Belle sulks at Granny's diner/pub/laundromat, convinced Mr. Gold doesn't think she has the guts or brains to help save Henry. That must be the reason he left her behind!

Um...or maybe he knows he's going to die and he wants her to stay safe? Just a thought. *Rolls eyes* This is what happens when chicks date old guys who used to be super evil.

Before Belle can update her facebook status with a sad face emoticon, Grumpy arrives with Ariel and news that Mr. Gold is alive and needs her help to defeat Peter Pan.

Hooray! Belle has a purpose!


She takes Ariel to Mr. Gold's shop and lends her a mini shirt and pair of heels. They talk about the mysterious sand dollar and how Belle is the only one who can unlock the message.

But how? She has no idea how to use magic.

Hold on! Belle picks up a magnifying glass and suddenly a hologram of Mr. Gold pops up from the shell. He tells Belle that if she's smart enough and loves him enough, she can find the 'magic thing' he needs to defeat Peter Pan. Belle is excited because now she's cool enough to be loved by an old guy who used to be super evil.

Peter Pan and Henry have a heart to heart, but Henry is unwilling to yield to his request to save the island with his belief in all things magical.

Captain Sexy Eyes (CSE), Neal and Emma create an awkward love triangle while they hang out in his cave. Neal lets them know his coconut shell isn't a star map. It's a Shadow Catcher. And everyone knows all the shadows hang out in the spookiest part of the island called Dark Hollow.

Better than Sleepy Hollow, I guess. Actually that would be awesome. A headless horseman would shake things up.

Belle and Ariel search Mr. Gold's shop. Ariel finds a brass button from the jacket Prince Eric was wearing the night she saved him from drowning. She gets all misty eyed and lets Belle know he's her true love and all that.

Belle nods, but stays quiet because this scavenger hunt is NOT about Ariel. It's about Belle being a hero and saving not only everyone in Storybrooke, but everyone trapped in Neverland. All she needs to find is the thing that holds the strength of her love for Rumpelstiltskin.

I'm stumped. I usually have to hold my hand over my mouth when they kiss, but I don't think that's it.

Never mind. It's the chipped teacup.

Now what? How will she figure out what to do with it? I mean, she has no idea how to use magic?

Belle places the cup back on the saucer in the cupboard. A glowing trail leads from the cup to a trap door in the floor. Belle retrieves a small box and shivers when she recognizes what it is. Before you can say 'Pandora's Box', the two mysterious nerds show up with guns.


They tie up the girls and take Pandora's Box. Belle manages to get the guys monologuing, which is the best way to distract a villain. I turns out they're not magic hating party poopers, but spies for Peter Pan, and it's his order to destroy the box.

Plus, they have English accents. Although Belle has an Australian accent, so...yeah.

After Henry's fight with Peter Pan, he overhears mention of a prisoner that needs checking up on. He manages to escape from camp and follows one of the Lost Boys.

Why didn't he do this earlier? Also, wouldn't that be great if it was Schmexy?

David and Mary Margaret argue about him keeping his imminent death a secret, thereby creating tension in their idyllic relationship. However, since no one cares about these two, it's totally moot.


Emma makes sure that CSE knows their kiss STILL doesn't mean anything. He tells her he will win her heart and it won't be because he's a tricky pirate but because he's way hotter than Neal.

Sorry, that part came out of my head. But we're all thinking it, right?

Emma stammers and says she's only concerned about saving her son, and maybe kissing CSE again so she can make sure she REALLY doesn't like him.

At least that would be my plan.


Ariel and Belle manage to untie themselves. Belle reasons the only thing strong enough to destroy Pandora's Box is a dwarf's axe. She and Ariel run down Main Street toward the mine in their heels and mini skirts like an episode of Charlie's Angels.

Mary Margaret and David finally have a big fight. There are a couple quotes about love and then blah, blah, blah. She ends up in his arms saying, “You needed to believe in us.”

Gentle Joe Jeezer! Hasn't he done enough?

Neal explains all they need to do is light the candle in the coconut trap and the flame will absorb the shadow. The dudes argue about who is manly enough to use the lighter. The dementors—oh sorry, I mean the shadows arrive and quickly trap Neal and CSE. Emma cradles the shell in one hand and brandishes her sword with the other. The guys scream for her to leave, instead she uses her magic and lights the candle.


Oh, yeah. She's magic! But only at the most awkward and desperate times or when the script calls for an easy out.

The shadows get sucked into the shell and all is well.

Henry continues to follow the Lost Boy like a ninja.

Who is in the cage? Please be the Sheriff! *closes eyes and prays*

Belle and Ariel arrive just as the skinny dude with the glasses raises the axe over Pandora's Box. Belle ignores their English accents and activates a mine cart. It knocks the villains off their penny loafers. The spies whimper on the dirt floor, they've reached their limit. They confess their sister has been Peter Pan's prisoner for a thousand years. They wanted to use the box to save her.

*Waves to John and Michael*

Peter Pan approaches the bamboo cage. He leans in and lets Wendy Darling out of her prison.

Weird. I hate this.

Ariel puts Pandora's Box in her waterproof bag and swims back to Neverland.

Henry continues to follow the Lost Boy and instead of a prisoner he finds Wendy Darling convalescing in a tree house. She explains her illness is connected to the island. The magic is dying and so is she. Henry promises to help her. But it's a set up, of course.

Ariel finds Mr. Gold and Regina waiting for her on Neverland's beach. She hands over Pandora's Box. Impressed with her speedy assistance, Regina enchants the bracelet so that she can have legs whenever she wants.

Emma can't take the guys bickering over her. She tells them the only one she loves is Henry.

Mary Margaret and David arrive at Tinkerbell's house with the good news about their plan to capture Peter Pan's shadow. She thinks they're bluffing until Emma shows up with her lover boys and a coconut shell full of shadows.


Henry confronts Peter Pan about Wendy. Peter Pan presses again that Henry is the only one who can save the island because he is the truest believer. Henry says he is ready to help. Peter Pan smiles and shows him where he has to restore the magic, Skull Island—the darkest place in Neverland.

Which is like the Dark Hollows, but worse...I guess.

How many more ways can this show rip off Harry Potter?

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