Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Summer Queen

Sent off my Summer Queen speech to the mystical magical Greenman site. Will let you know when it goes up. (If you've forgotten the url, here it is: I do believe there will be music too. I am in noble company being so honoured. The great Jane Yolens was the Winter Queen a while back. Meanwhile, even as I draw near to the end of the Herculean task of revising The Chronicles of Faerie, I am already being inundated with ideas for characters, books, films, television series, and graphic novels, all clamouring to be given life. Recently I feared that my failure to embark on truly new work these past few years might have killed my Muse or at least driven her away. But, no, seems she was just waiting for me. Soon, dear heart, soon.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Back to Work

In more ways than one (see regular Blog). But yes today I began inputting all my ideas for changes to The Book of Dreams, chapter by chapter. That should take about two weeks or more. Then another month or two to actually do the rewrite. Definitely want to make my September deadline so I can collect the rest of my advance and start on my new book! (Have already begun, actually, sneaking away to another file to write notes for it when I should be doing t'other.) Nice bit of excitement: tomorrow RTE is sending a taxi to bring me to the Radio Centre in Montrose where I'll be interviewed by Brian Tubridy (brill presenter on both radio and TV). He's doing a programme on the 1950s and I'll be talking about emigrating wayyyy back then, in 1957, by ship, when I was very very little (of course). Then next week I am off to London, England. More about that anon.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Dana's Dad at a Gig

Look closely and you'll see Gabriel playing away in the shadows. Actually this is Michael McGoldrick, the brilliant Irish flautist. It often happens to writers - you discover your characters alive in the 'real' world! FUSED is the name of the album this particular tune is recorded on and the tune itself is James Brown's March.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


Yes, it's June 16, Bloomsday, celebrated the world over by readers and fans of James Joyce. This is the date on which all the events in Ulysses occurred as Leopold Bloom wandered around Dublin City, circumnavigating his thoughts. Indeed I did read the book from cover to cover. Took me three months. And even then, I doubt I could have done it if I hadn't listened first to that amazing word-for-word radio production by RTE back in 1982. It was broadcast live over three days and Canada was one of the few countries which took the full production. Brought my radio into work and lost a lot of sleep. It was utterly brilliant. You could really "hear" what Joyce was doing. PS this is the pic of Joyce dancing which hangs over my desk. The greatest gift he gave to writers is this: you don't have to be strangled by classical narrative form. If your story or your words want to go elsewhere - let them.

Pullman Put to Bed

Finished my Pullman paper yesterday for the American anthology on His Dark Materials, right on the deadline, just in time to party with the Green Party (see Blog). Despite agonizing over it in the early stages, convinced that I had lost all ability to either think or write, I am really pleased with the end result. There are even some funny bits. I'll post title and publication of that book nearer to the time it's coming out. Meanwhile, back to the drawing board, clean up the desk, and finish the revisions to The Book of Dreams, due September. But guess what. I am writing notes for my next book. Can't breathe a word about it, but I am terribly excited. It's bubbling away there in my psyche.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Wicklow Mountains

For those of you who are reading The Light-Bearer's Daughter, here are a few pics of the hills through which Dana trekked. These are of the area around Ballybraid and Mullaghcor which I was hillwalking yesterday. There are more photos of the mountains in the archives, if you want to trawl through them. And I'll be posting shots of Lugnaquillia and Glendalough and such in the near future. Now back to the grant applications which I am complaining about below.
Another view, as we head back down from Mullaghcor. (Forgot to take pics on the peak, as it was too windy.)
Here's my sister, Pat, chatting with Maggie on the side of Ballybraid before we headed up Mullaghcor. The rest of the gang are behind me, so we are the slow moe's here. Later on, we trooped for a good hour along the road that's hanging there in the forest like a brown garter snake.

Grant Gripe

A regular part of the average artist's life is filling out forms for arts grants and bursaries. I am working on two at the moment. That's it. Time to hit the bestseller list and forget about this grubby grant grabbing gig!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Getting there

Almost finished my Pullman paper. At first it was too academic and boring. Then Herbie Brennan let me read his, which is utterly brilliant and hilarious, and that made me lighten up mine. Yes, I think it is quite good now. Meanwhile, here is my desktop picture. I want to step inside it and visit. The house is in the old town of Ghadames, Libya, and has been decorated for a wedding. The town itself, a World Heritage Site, has been continuously inhabited for 4,000 years. Photo by Naftali Hilger/arabian eye, Saudi Aramco World calendar 2007 (hanging up in my kitchen).

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Fantastic Toronto

Here's a fantastic new site my google alerted me to: A Toronto writer herself, Ms Bennett has compiled a list of science fiction, fantasy, and horror set in or involving that fine city. I'm delighted to see that I am included in the survey with some extensive quoting in particular from The Book of Dreams. I note that she didn't mention the Toronto Troll Transit (TTT). I had already decided to exclude the troll transport system from the new edition of the book (OTT) but I will leave the troll patrol itself chasing Dana through the subway.

Monday, June 04, 2007

The Golden Compass - Official Teaser

Though Iorek is all wrong (he should be bigger, wilder, more dangerous!) and so, too, is Lord Asriel (ditto!), everything else looks fabulous. Love Serafina and also Nicole Kidman as Mrs Coulter. I agree with the film-makers - as opposed to the author - that Mrs Coulter should be blond, instead of dark-haired. (Only her daemon is golden, in the book.)Though I stand against Philip Pullman's attacks on CS Lewis and Tolkien, I do love his trilogy and can't wait to see the film.