My wife and I have resumed our Christmas tradition (after a year off due to the economy) of spending a few days up in the White Mountains at a bed and breakfast. Nearby is one of New Hampshire's historical covered bridges. They're historical because these things are over two hundred years old. And I drive my car over them. Yup, that's right, Henry Clay and I have traveled over the same covered bridge (and shame on you if you're an American and don't know who Henry Clay is; history->repeating and all that ;)).
There are covered bridges in other states, but they don't interest me as much. There's something about the aged Appalachians, not so high as the Rockies but higher still than your normal hills and over a minor gorge is a covered bridge, wood cut and laid down centuries before, still viable today. And why is that? Because it's covered. I swear to god, that's the actual reason. It's not some marvel of engineering (well it is, but it's not like the guy was a time traveler or something). They covered the bridge and the planks were protected from the environment and thus have endured. That is awesome.
That is so awesome that I want to write a portal story where a covered bridge is a gateway to the past. I know portal stories are cliche, but I don't care. I love covered bridges.
While on this vacation, my wife read a book that's being turned into what looks like a cheesy movie. She insists I'll like it, but what she describes to me, it sounds kind of cliche. High schoolers acting like high schoolers, evil casters acting like evil casters, Southerners acting like Southerners. Nothing really challenges role expectations. Still, she insists I'll like it. I'll put it at the bottom of my to read pile so I can forget about it.
She did say something that piqued my imagination. She mentions how the Southern bitties don't like the Daughters of the Revolution.
You always get stories about popular groups with global Machiavellian schemes. Masons, templars, illuminati, etc. What if all those organizations warred and defeated each other and now least organizations battle each other. Daughters of the Revolution versus the Sons of the Confederacy. Knights of Columbus versus the Elks versus the Rotary. What kind of plots would these organizations advance and who would be the unlucky bastard to get stuck between them?