Monday, June 30, 2008

Boyle Abbey

On the outskirts of Boyle, Gwen came upon the ruins of a medieval monastery. As if lost in a dream, she entered through the gatehouse and rambled around. The site was grand and airy with arches spanning rows of stone pillars and fluted columns. High lancet windows looked out on leafy trees. Overhead shone the blue canopy of sky.

(Chapter 14, The Hunter's Moon)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The House of the Little Branch

At the top of the town, past the clock tower, Gwen found what she was looking for. An antique placard creaked gently in the breeze, over the door of a pub. An Craoibhín. Though she couldn't translate the name, the picture was enough to convince her. It showed the branch of an oak tree dangling with mistletoe.
(Chapter 13, The Hunter's Moon)

The Town of Boyle (not 'Boil')

"It's Boyle you want, isn't it?" said the driver.
"Oh. Yes. Thank you."
Gwen climbed down from the high cab, and wandered aimlessly through the town. Houses, shops, and pubs creeped up and down the road. When she came to a stone bridge, she stopped to gaze at the river below. Long stems of green starwort streamed under the water.
(The Hunter's Moon)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

New Technology - Wahoo

Okay, on the urgings of Swedish Paddy and my daughter, I have finally invested in a couple of memory keys - Kingston 1 GB USB 2.0 Data Traveller. I just transferred ALL the files of the new book - 2nd Draft, Working File, Old Working File, and Pics (jpegs of the Outer Hebrides and the people I have physically based my characters on) - and migod, it took ALL of 5 seconds. I will not even mention how long it takes to do that using my various disks and their copies. But at the same time I feel I should have the disks as back-up to be sure to be sure. (Hey, writers lose entire ms all the time!) So I'll do that too. I'm still waiting for my laptop to arrive. I went Dell Microsoft again despite threatening to go Apple (another day). Will post a pic of the beauty when she arrives. For just over 500 euro I get a Notebook, Vista, Security, carrying case, and apple-green. It will be like Christmas when it comes. I'm a serious techno-baby, but I do love the stuff once I get used to it. I mean, I was the last person in Ireland holding out against a mobile phone (caved last year) and though I have yet to advance to predictive, I text a lot. My ringtone is cool. Old-fashioned yet reminiscent of the Matrix.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Me and My Shadow

Just back from Dunderry Park and the IATP (Irish Association of Transpersonal Psychology) Symposium. Another bit of bliss as it was both research and enjoyment. We started the weekend with a drumming journey, followed by a talk on the Transpersonal Vision, then a viewing of the film Zeitgeist. I recommend the latter - it's free on google - and though there is a lot wrong with it (inaccuracies, paranoia) it's thought-provoking and eye-opening, also rather terrifying. Second day was yoga, talks on Eco-Psychology, Addiction and the Transpersonal Vision, and Sacred Geometry (the latter by Michael Rice, mad genius visionary). Then trance dancing till all hours of the night. Sunday was down to business, the AGM of the IATP. I signed up as an associate member. Have a look at them: Then it was lunch, a quick trip to Tara, and home. Today Finn and I head off to Sligo to her Dad's fort for a few days. And when I get back: IT'S TIME TO WRITE. Oh, and this pic is me and Shadow, the big wolf-dog at Dunderry.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


I wish I could remember that the days I spend foostering around - reading or trawling the Internet or watching videos or doing housework or chatting with friends on the telephone - are times when my brain is lying fallow and my Muse is having a think about what She wants to write next. Too often I am wracked with guilt and panic about not writing, about the book withering away, about me dossing. Always, when I come back from these times, there is fresh life and material to bring to the story. If only I could remember that when I am giving myself a hard time (Irish Catholic guilt no doubt). The last few days I have spent most of my time considering the Lisbon Treaty, reading articles, and leaving comments on sites. I am now a solid NO on behalf of the voiceless people of Europe whose leaders have decided not to give them a vote on what is, in disguise, a reformed EU constitution. Truthfully, I would vote YES if the rest of Europe had a vote; but I do not believe that leaders have the right to drag their people kicking and screaming into what's good for them. They must convince their electorate or wait until they are ready. Anything else is misrule and tyranny. Right after I get back from voting, I will return to the Book.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Texas, Here I Come

Great news. I have just heard that my second panel at the annual conference of the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) in America has been confirmed: "Literature and the Environment." I'll be on that panel with other Green Earth Book Award winners, including the wonderful Jean Davies Okimoto whom I'm really looking forward to seeing again. My first panel on "Elves, Fairies, and Everafters" involves other fantasy writers including the amazing Tamora Pierce. (Can't wait to meet her!) The conference is in November, in San Antonio, Texas. I've never been there so that's really exciting too. I remember the Alamo! Will post all about the conference nearer to the time. I'll be appearing daily at the Abrams booth in the publishers' hall and there may even be free chap books with chapters from The Book of Dreams (out next spring). So if you are in the area, plan to come by and say hello!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


It is always bliss for me when my writing and my life go hand in hand. On Sunday I went to a Sweat Lodge in the Wicklow Mountains held by Carl Big Heart who comes from America. This was my fourth Sweat and the most enjoyable. Though there were about 50 people in the Lodge and it was a hot summery day, I did not feel claustrophic nor overcome by the heat and even went deeper inside, instead of staying near the door as is my wont. Carl Big Heart holds a very sacred and gentle space, using the Native way of humour and story to ease the experience. This was research for one of my characters, Loretta Whitedeer, in People of the Great Journey (Carl spoke of the Great Journey, the Great Story). It was truly wonderful. I even puffed on the Pipe in the last round, without feeling the desire to return to the dreadful habit of smoking. After the Sweat there was a big feast to which everyone contributed - homemade vegetable soup, dahl, salads of every kind, then desserts including pies, cakes, fruit, and even chocolate covered grapes! (Photo from Dutch site,