Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Killruddery House

I am teaching writing workshops all this week at Killruddery House, a stately home that - believe it or not - is just around the corner from where I live. (See: www.killruddery.com.) When you are on the estate you would not believe that there is a town nearby. It is as if you are out in the countryside, surrounded by mountains and beautiful vistas. The house and gardens are open to the public at different times of the year, but it is the home of Lord and Lady Meath who live there most of the time. I found this pic on the web but I will take more of my own tomorrow. Killruddery is a magical place with a giant maze, fairy amphitheatre, secret groves and hidden ponds. The writing workshops are for students who are bussed in from various Dubin and Wicklow schools. I've blogged about the Pushkin Trust programme before. Last year I was doing workshops in a stately home in Northern Ireland. As well as the writing workshops, there is also a music workshop and an environmental walk. We've had two great days so far as the sun shone and everyone was inspired.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Working Away

No time to blog these days as I am working like the clappers on my new book. Up to Chapter 7 of the second draft. It's slow going and most of it is dreadful, but there are a few bits here and there that are almost acceptable. The early stages are always like this. Pure murder.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Faerie Cake

Stunning confections of marbled cake with layer upon layer upon layer of icing.
(The Hunter's Moon)

As all writers know, you can invent a scene or create a character and sooner or later - sometime, somplace - you may walk into that scene or meet that character in real life. So there I was, at a Green Earth Book Award authors' breakfast in the beautiful historical Poplar Hill Mansion, Maryland, when this vision on a plate was brought out. It is called a Smith Island Cake and it is specially baked in narrow pans. It is also the most scrumptious moist chocolately thing you could ever hope to have melt in your mouth. Gwen would definitely have lost her battle with this one. I sure did.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Rowling versus Robber

Most if not all fiction writers are watching the Rowling case with serious trepidation. If she loses, we lose. This is a simple case of copyright theft and someone attempting to make a fortune out of someone else's work. An 'encyclopedia' - and it's certainly debatable that that is what this is - is not a critical commentary. There's no doubt who the real culprit is here and that's the publisher. Lord knows, many of us are familiar with the 'poor little-me little publisher' line used to excuse all kinds of author abuse. This guy saw his chance to make millions and decided to play the odds for a win in court. As for what's-his-name, the one who ran the fan web site, he knows full well it's copyright theft, otherwise he would not have insisted in his contract that the publisher be responsible for all legal costs. It's not a case of big guy versus little guy, as the other side are working so hard to present. It's a case of a thief and a victim.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Green Earth Book Awards 2008

One of the many amazing things about the Green Earth Book Awards - given annually to a picture book, a young adult book, and a non-fiction book - is that they are the first of their kind, i.e. awards celebrating books which encourage environmental stewardship in the young. Here's me at the presentation ceremony held at Salisbury University, Maryland, the co-sponsors of the awards along with the Newton-Marasco foundation established by three fabulous sisters - Laura, Nancy, and Amy Marasco. And here's me with Nancy Marasco, Ernie Bond (Prof of Children's Literature at Salisbury U), Jean Davies Okimoto who won the picture book award with her wonderful Winston of Churchill, and Robert Buchanan of Polar Bears International. (Photos by Joe Okimoto) See more pics over on my Blog.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

American Podcast

Not long back from the States where I picked up my award and had a wonderful time. I'm still jet-lagged and not quite functioning but here is a link to a radio interview I did at Salisbury University which hosted the Green Earth Awards as well as their own children's book festival:
http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/delmarva/.jukebox?action=viewMedia&mediaId=692933. You need Quicktime, I think, to hear it.

Monday, April 07, 2008

The Summer King Movie Trailer (fan-made)

The student film-maker who created this trailer (which I have posted elsewhere on Bookmark) tells me she has changed its link on youtube, so I am posting it again here. Any of you who missed seeing it will be happy to have a look, methinks. It's fantastic!