Saturday, December 30, 2006

Back to Work!

Yes, that awful time has come after holidays and merriment and mad travelling around Spain. Another deadline! I have exactly three days to review the final galleys and the map for The Light-Bearer's Daughter. But first, a good night's sleep.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

DONE!

Hurrah! The galleys are done and are winging their way to America. Deep breath and plunge into Christmas. The second pass doesn't arrive till the last week of December. (That's the final proofing.) Meanwhile, here's the gorgeous poster Martin Springett made for our gig at the Celtic Society, University of Toronto last month. Martin has printed his name smaller than mine though I told him not to! I love his work and hope that he will do a Chronicles of Faerie calendar one of these days.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Galleys Galore

No time for posting. No time for nothin'! Working day and night on the proofs of the new version of The Light-Bearer's Daughter. I think it's good. The best of the three so far. Now must get back to it. Fedex pick-up on Monday. And then I get to notice that Christmas is coming!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Drowning in Paper

As I wade through mountains of same on my desk. The galley proofs of The Light-Bearer's Daughter (revised edition) are heading this way. Must clear the deck! But first I am off to a big fort in County Sligo for a weekend of fun and dancing till dawn. Check out this amazing place at www.gyreum.com.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Cybils Awards

Here's something every teacher, librarian, writer, reader, blogger, and blurker should know about: www.cybils.com. These are awards set up by the growing world of Kidslit websites and blogspots. I'm delighted to see that The Summer King got a nomination in the Sci Fi and Fantasy section and from none other than Sheila Ruth of www.wandsandworlds.com, one of the biggest and most amazing of the aforementioned sites. Sheila and her son, David, interviewed me when I visited Baltimore on my US tour in the summer. You can check out the interview in her blog's July 2006 archives. But do peruse the full site. It's 'fair teeming' with great stuff (as Tolkien would say).

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Meeting Place

Have completed three great gigs in Toronto.
First, a Toronto Children's Roundtable event which took place at the Canadian Children's Book Centre on Monday evening. Good crowd, very receptive, lots of questions. There was a Children's Literature class from the University of Toronto who were ready to chat. We came up with a hilarious term for people who like to lurk around blogs but not make comments -- blurkers. And did some true bloggers show up who were too shy to say hi?!
Then I did a bookstore visit to Coles in the Royal Bank Plaza. They had a table of books and a tray of cookies. Thanks to Lori and Greg for looking after me.
My final event took place last night, for the Celtic Society at St Mike's, U of T. Wonderful crowd again. Two readers came all the way from Brampton by bus! Author/illustrator Martin Springett played the suite of music he has composed inspired by The Chronicles of Faerie, accompanied by his two beautiful daughters, Miriam and Rebecca, on silver flutes. That was really something, and what an honour. Martin and I chatted about our work, books were sold and signed, and we ended with questions. Thanks to Professor Anne Dooley of the Celtic Studies Department and Deb Scorsone who organised everything and Erin who looked after the bookstore. Bhí sé go h-íontach!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Ah, Canada!

So far, so amazing. It took forever to arrive given that I was over-cautious on my booking of the airplane between New York and Toronto. I was an insane amount of time hanging around in La Guardia (but I flew in to JFK on Aer Lingus, my favourite airline, though the food is suddenly dreadful). Anyhoo, finally got to TO and stayed with a dear friend on Brunswick Avenue before heading off to Cobourg Library via VIA Rail for my first gig. Great chatting to over 100 kids in a beautiful spacious library (pic to follow). Met local authors Shane Peacock and Richard Scrimger. Then headed off to Montreal where I am now luxuriating in the belle hotel Delta near Magill University. Speaking there tonight to student teachers in the Faculty of Education and any members of the public who wish to attend. What a city. Wandered the streets last night with a dear friend and was dazzled by the fairy lights, the friendliness of folk, and the general atmosphere of joie de vivre. Je retournerai.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Une Librairie de Plus

Magnifique! On Saturday, November 18, there will be a flying visit to Babar en Ville (where the legendary Double Hook Book Shop used to be) from 10:00 a.m.-10:45 a.m. just before I head back to Toronto. The address is 1235A Greene Avenue and the telephone number is 514-931-5811. See you there ... if not over here ... or in that other spot.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Montreal Bookstore Visit

Tout va bien! We've got a Montreal bookstore visit.
Friday, November 17, 4:00-5:00 p.m.
Librairie Paragraphe Bookstore
2220 McGill College Avenue
Telephone: 514-845-5811.
http://www.paragraphbooks.com.

Canada 2006

See schedule below for time changes on the McGill talks and contact information. Guests are definitely welcome. Alas, the bookstore visits may or may not happen. Apologies for the last-minute business but my publishers were supposed to arrange this months ago and didn't. (Sigh of annoyance.) I'm hoping for a Saturday flying visit to Babars and will announce that immediately if and when confirmed. No word from Paragraphe yet. If all else fails, ring both bookstores next week and ask if it is happening! What can I say. This trip is unfolding on a wing and a prayer ...

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Charles de Lint

Hey all you fellow Charles de Lint fans, Green Man has done a special edition on our favourite Canadian. Have a look at: www.greenmanreview.com/oneoffs/charlesdelint.html. Needless to say, I've put my own two cents worth in along with many others!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Canada 2006

Here's the schedule to date. Will add details of contacts as they come in, but this is a start. Don't be shy. Come say hi!
Nov 12, Sun: arrive Toronto
Nov 14, Tues: talk at Cobourg Library, 1:00 pm. All welcome.
Nov 15, Wed: possible visit to Alonquin Tea Co, http://www.algonquintea.com/
Nov 16, Thurs: talk at McGill, Montreal, 5:30-7:15 pm, Room 627, Faculty of Education
Nov 17, Fri: talk at McGill, Montreal, 12:30-1:45 pm, Room 613, Faculty of Education
Note: McGill Faculty of Education is at 3700 McTavish Street.**Visitors welcome, but please confirm with Dr Ann Beer at 514-398-5135.**
Bookstore visit to be announced.
Nov 20, Mon: talk at Toronto Public Library Roundtable. All welcome. For information see www3.sympatico.ca/rsborek
Nov 23, Thurs: 12:30-1:30 pm, bookstore visit, Coles Royal Bank Plaza, Toronto. Contact: 416-865-0090.
Nov 23, Thurs: 7:30 pm There Be Faerie and Dragons: An evening of readings, chat, and music with OR Melling and Martin Springett, U of T Celtic Society, Senior Common Room, Brennan Hall, StMichael's College, University of Toronto. All welcome.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Oíche Shamhna

But the night is Hallowe'en, lady,
The morn is Hallowday,
Then win me, win me, an ye will
For weel I wat ye may. (Tam Lin)
Yes, this is one of those nights when the two worlds cross, and if someone you know has been lost to Faerie, you can go and rescue them. Faerie was also the Land of the Dead for the pre-Christian Irish. Didn't you know it was the Celts who invented Hallowe'en? It is also the Celtic New Year's Eve. We begin our year in the dark and things can only get better. The climactic scene in The Book of Dreams occurs, of course, on Hallowe'en and ends up, appropriately enough, in a graveyard.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Irish Flautist

I'm listening to Michael McGoldrick's CDs Wired and Fused and quietly dreaming about a film version of The Light-Bearer's Daughter. Dana's father, Gabriel, is of course a flautist as well as an Irish-language speaker, and he composes music in a folk/trad/modern style. McGoldrick's genius would be ideal. What a soundtrack that would make! There's another CD of his which I have to get, At First Light. Check him out at www.verticalrecords.co.uk.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Who is OR Melling?

Asks Locus Magazine in the Blinks section on the left-hand side of the front page of their online magazine www.locusmag.com which offers "News, Reviews, Resources, and Perspectives of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror". Their answer to that question is a link to the Green Man Review mentioned below which now contains a link to the webcast interview with the Tiger Eye Reading Room also mentioned below. So that's the power of three!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tiger Eye Reading Room

Here's a link to an interview I did at the American Library Association Convention in New Orleans in June of this year. The interviewer was Prof Charley Seavey of the University of Missouri-Columbia, and we obviously had a great laugh doing it. It's always good to meet someone of like mind as you can just gab away together without trying to sort out the differences. Well, we do disagree on a Harry Potter item, but we didn't come to blows. It's a half-hour long, so be warned. www.lisradio.missouri.edu/series.php?id=18.
If you can't access it, let them know. There's a place to click for that.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Green Man

Keep meaning to blog this amazing mythical and magical site: www.greenmanreview.com. Wait till you see the two leafy heads with the moving eyes. It is quite obviously "a labour of love to comfort noble hearts" (Gottfried von Strassburg, 13th c. author of Tristan), run and staffed by all sorts of eccentric odd sods and bods. i.e. my kind of people. Do have a look. They have recently reviewed The Hunter's Moon and The Summer King (see 'What's New') and there's a great piece on Ray Bradbury's latest chapbooks (I wish ...). I'm reading that dear man's Zen in the Art of Writing at the moment, along with Charles de Lint's Widdershins. I adore both these writers. Oh and I am NEARLY finished the final edit. A quick read-over tomorrow and it will be done. And guess what. It is 47 chapters!!!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Work Space

Yep, here's where I toil blood, sweat, and tears all day and night. Looks like a bush pilot's station, eh? Right now I am taking a little break to schmooze with fellow bloggers. It's going on 4:30 p.m. It's a dull day with a grey sky, but no rain. I am about to get myself a mug of coffee and a blueberry biscuit (back to the gym next week, buíochas le Dia) and head into the breach to get the last four chapters done. YES! I'm going in.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Mythic Passages

Meant to blog the September issue of the online magazine of the Mythic Imagination Institute which hosted that brilliant conference I went to in Atlanta earlier this year. Go to www.mythicimagination.org and click on Magazine and then click on Archived Editions. You'll see September first. Click on that and then click on The Life of Merlin. You'll see fabulous pics of the stage, John and Caitlin Matthews whose work it is (based on Geoffrey of Monmouth), Faerie art by Brian Froud up on the screen, and then the rest of us who participated in the performance. As Gwendolena, I also wrote a 'poem' (and I use the term loosely) for that issue but it seems to have disappeared. Will blog it separately after this. While you are there, do go back and look at the October issue - great stuff! - and sign up for the newsletter.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Irish Children's Book Festival

Forgot to mention I am doing a few gigs for Children's Book Festival (while madly trying to finish the final edit of The Light-Bearer's Daughter). I really enjoy getting out to libraries and bookstores and meeting readers of all ages. Today I was at Hughes & Hughes Junior in the Stephens Green Shopping Centre in Dublin. Had two classes -- 5th and 6th years -- most of them taller than me! Great listeners and lots of questions. Ciara and Katrina were the organisers and they had chocolate for everyone, hurrah. Wednesday I am visiting libraries in Dunshaughlin (small town near Tara, mentioned in The Hunter's Moon) at 11:00 a.m. and Dunboyne at 1:00 p.m. Then Friday, I am giving a talk at Hughes & Hughes new flagship store in Dun Laoghaire at 11:00 a.m. So if you are in the area, drop by and say hello!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Fantasy Folk

Or pod people? Look closely and you may spot some of your favourite fantasy writers and illustrators -Ari Berk, Terri Windling, Charles Vess, Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman, Charles de Lint, Brian Froud, and Wendy Froud. And yeah, that's me in the front, in the silky brown with my hands in my pockets (always got into trouble in the Navy for that). This was taken at the Mythic Journeys Conference. I still miss it.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Narnian Dreams

When you've been, ahem, around for a while, you simply assume that all your favourite childhood writers and artists have already left this world. Not so, one of my most cherished of all time: Pauline Baynes, the creator of the original - and best- illustrations for The Chronicles of Narnia! Of course she has done oodles of other things, including artwork for JRR Tolkien, but it was those pictures which I loved and still love the most: Susan with her pigtails, Lucy's dresses, Puddleglum, the beautiful but deadly Green Witch, the giants of Harfang, the Dawn Treader, handsome Prince Caspian, the moles making mudcakes, the dwarfs frying mushrooms, glorious Cair Paraval, even more glorious Aslan ... Well, you know them all; the big ones that take up a full page and the tiny ones that go at the front of each chapter. And here she is, dear dear lady, working at her desk in her English cottage. That's Martin Springett visiting her. And soon I shall too!!! Ah, Narnian dreams come true.

Old Magic

Here's the cover of the latest book by Pauline Baynes. It is available in the UK from Frances Lincoln. You may have to go online to get it elsewhere. As you can see, the Old Magic still exists!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Duchess Again

Couldn't resist showing her off again. Here is my darling Triumph Herald parked in front of Lissadell House in County Sligo. Lady Gore-Booth used to wave to me when I visited and let me park the car in the front because it suited the house. I loved going there, to see the paintings by AE and the room where Yeats stayed. I know people were upset that the Irish government didn't buy the house when it came on the market; but I'm glad that a family lives there and that children are running up and down the big staircase once again.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Irish Influences

I swear to God, only in Ireland do you have moss growing around the window trim of your car and spiders camping out on your side view mirrors, with bits of leaves and everything. My niece, Tara, has a little flower thriving at the edge of her passenger window. Needless to say, that’s where I got the idea for the foxgloves (a fairy plant) growing from the ashtray of the leprechaun’s Triumph Herald in The Hunter’s Moon.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Scarr Mountain

Set out once more with my hillwalking group to check out another setting in The Light-Bearer's Daughter. Thankfully my sister Pat came along again, hence the gorgeous pics! Most of the hike found us lost in the mist. We could only see a few feet around us in any direction. It was eerie and magical and quite wonderful. We ate lunch just below the summit of Scarr but still could see nothing. Only on the way back did the mist lift and the sun come out. But I didn't mind. Dana goes wandering through the mist at one point and this gave me the experience I needed.

On the trail

The bushes are draped with cobwebs like Faerie palaces. Beautiful to see. We were just heading into the mist at this point.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Irish Dance Magazine

Here's the first piece about me and my work in Irish Dancing & Culture, a wonderful glossy magazine read by every Irish dancer in the world! See www.irishdancing.com. This comes out in October. In November's edition there will be a picture profile and interview about my life, my books, and my Irish dancing career. There will also be an announcement about a creative writing contest. I've given them a magical idea to inspire their readers to write a short story (sorry, can't give it away!) and I will judge and comment on the finalists. Stay tuned for further news about that in November.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Jousting With Jesters

Must mention the publication of Martin Springett’s Jousting With Jesters (An ABC for the Younger Dragon). Martin is famous for his iconic jacket covers of Guy Gavriel Kay’s Fionavar series, but this is his first illustrated book which he has also written himself. With endpapers that look like Rupert the Bear’s England, it moves through a quirky and charming alphabet, e.g. D Dance with dwarves as darkness deepens. Each illustration is exquisitely rendered with a multitude of things to look at. Finn and I went through it with ohhh’s and ahhh’s and look at this and look at that! My favourite is the double-page spread for Q, Queue quietly for queenly quests. For some sumptuous samples see below. And also www.orcabooks.com and http://www.martinspringett.com/.

Quintessential Queenliness

Queue quietly for queenly quests.

All the illustrations are fabulous, but this is my favourite page. ExQuisite!

More of Martin's Magic

I'm running out of rhymes. Actually, I met Martin at a MASC conference in Ottawa two years ago and we've stayed in touch and meet up whenever I am in Canada. I'm hoping that we can work together one day. I'd love him to do a Faerie alphabet based on the Chronicles and/or a calendar. Such are the dreams of a fantasy writer, along with the hopes of a boxed set!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Artwork for the Third Chronicle

Here it is, folks, the cover for the third book in The Chronicles of Faerie called The Light-Bearer's Daughter. The picture displays a scene from the book. That's a hazy morning sun and those are the Wicklow Mountains. Of the three exquisite covers, this is my favourite. He is truly an amazing artist, Cliff Nielsen. My praise and thanks to him. Tusind tak fer dat! And not only is this the best cover, I believe, but the rewrite of the book itself went beyond my wildest hopes and dreams. Expect to see it out in May 2007. (Sorry, I said 2006 in original post!) I'll blog an alert when it begins to move into our world.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Duchess

Here's a pic of my beloved vintage Triumph Herald (1969) whom I called "the Duchess." She was my very first car and I was heart-broken when I could no longer keep her; but she went to a very good home. (A very leprechaunish man, in fact.) She appears in various guises and colours in every one of the books in The Chronicles of Faerie series which is how I kept her in my life. That's me sitting on the boot, by the shore of Lough Swiligh on the western shore of Inch Island, a setting in The Hunter's Moon. If you peer through the back window you will see a baby seat and Findabhair is fast asleep inside.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Irish Tatler

Nice article on me in the September issue of the Irish Tatler, written by Sarah Binchy. She is a lovely young woman working on her first novel. The pic shows me at the Powerscourt Waterfall, where a scene is set in The Light-Bearer's Daughter. I am taking a little break from the book to organise my life (see Blog) but must soon get going on the glossary of Irish words and the list of place-names for the mountainscape map of the Wicklow Hills. Also need to write a letter to the Irish-language singer/songwriter Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin to ask her permission to use verses from two of her songs on her exquisite album Ailleacht/Beauty. She has surely been to Faerie as both her voice and her lyrics are truly beguiling. Her record label is Gael-Linn at www.gael-linn.ie.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Done!

Turned out to be five last chapters, as two scenes could not possibly go together, so I split up a chapter and made a sandwich. All in all that's forty-five (45) chapters and the entire book is now with my editor. Great news. She started on the first batch I sent her and said, "gorgeous" and "I feel I am in the presence of an ancient storyteller". Well, it doesn't get better than that. So I am happy happy and celebrating (see Blog for details).

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Nearly There

Yes, my editor now has forty (40) chapters and I am working on the last four (4). So the book has gone from an original 26 chapters plus epilogue to a full 44 chapters. That's some rewrite. Meanwhile, I tried to post the link that will bring you to this blog in Japanese on Yahoo, but no luck. It threw out all the graphics. Will ask my webmaster about it. But it is quite amazing to see. Who does the translation? It looks wonderful. And now there will be a post in Japanese about me writing about the blog in Japanese. A blog is a blog is a blog. Actually, my books sell better in Japan than they do in Ireland. (Typical, eh?) Hello to my Japanese readers! I hope to visit in 2007 when The Book of Dreams comes out in two volumes! More about that anon!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Nearly Dead Author

Today was the deadline for sending the ms of The Light-Bearer's Daughter. Did I make it? Well ... I sent 23 beautiful, tightly-finished chapters. There are 21 more to go. I have completed another 13 which just need a quick once-over and off they go too. And Chapter 36 is just about done. And then there are 8 left to be re-written. Fingernails worn to the bone, brain like gloop, crawling and gasping toward the finish line; books are completed in their own time. I'd be upset if I wasn't so happy with how it's turning out. And that is the bottom line. If it's turning out well - and it is! - a little bit of lateness is not a big prob. Must collapse into bed. More work tomorrow. There is nothing else but the work right now. The personal life is dead in Russia. (Favourite line from Dr Zhivago.)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Magical Landscapes

Even though I write fantastical fiction, the beautiful places I describe are real and not imaginary. As the new edition of The Summer King makes its way into America, the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, I thought I would post some photos of Achill Island, the main setting for the book. I have travelled to Achill often, as I love that magical island, but I made two specific research trips when re-writing the book. See below for the pics. And thank you to my fellow hiker and eldest sister, Pat, who took the photos. By great good fortune she is a gifted visual artist (like many of my sisters) as well as great company.

On the Ridge of Croaghaun

This is a view of Slievemore from the ridge of Croaghaun. In the book, Laurel and Ian climb the ridge together to search for the golden eagle, Laheen. Given that Slievemore - Sliabh Mór, the Great Mountain - is 2,204 feet, you can see how high up this is, as the peak appears so small! And it looks utterly different when viewed from below. Everywhere you go on Achill, the Great Mountain dominates the landscape from the northern side of the island.

Cliffs of Croaghaun


This is facing north from Achill Island, overlooking Blacksod Bay. I imagined Laheen's nest inside this rockface, but further up the precipice, facing the Atlantic Ocean (inaccessible and unseeable unless you get out in a boat). You can see how high up we are if you look in the distance. That flat pancake out there is a large island!

Laheen's Domain

These are the cliffs of Croaghaun, along the two mile precipice from Saddle Head to Achill Head, Europe's highest sea cliffs. It was not easy getting up this high, I can tell you. It took us about 3 hours with little stops for tea and sandwiches. At one point I was counting my steps, just to get one foot in front of the other. I would stop for breath at every 25. One time I looked back and my sister, Pat, was flaked out on the mountainside. I'll have to scan that pic since I took it!

Keel Dunes

These are the sand dunes leading to Trawmore or Keel Strand. They are behind Amethyst Cottage, Dana's grandparents' summer house on Achill Island. This is where Dana stormed off after her fight with Ian and then down onto the beach (see below). It was these dunes she was standing on when she dreamed of Midir and the fairy cavalcade.

Trawmore

This is Trawmore - Trá Mór, the Great Strand - also called Keel Strand, below the village of Keel. Those are the Cliffs of Minaun in the distance. In Laurel's dream, Midir and the fairy cavalcade come over the cliffs and down onto the beach. This is also where Ian carried Laurel, from the caves in the cliffs all the way along the shore. On a sunny day, everything shines - the sea, the sand, the sky. You cannot see where one begins and the other ends.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Best Yet!

Little time for blogging as I am in sight of the finishing line for this penultimate draft of The Light-Bearer's Daughter. There will inevitably be one more full re-write once my fearless editor gets her hands on it. She is truly brilliant, Susan van Metre at Abrams. And then of course I will be tweaking it right up until they wrest it from my fingers and take it to the printer. But if I do say so myself, I think, yes, this third book is even better than the first two. Very complex plot and some really fabulous stuff. I keep thinking, "Who is writing this?!" Now back to work ...

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Moon Music

As I work away here, I am listening to Máire Breatnach’s exquisite album Coinnle na nAingeal (Angels’ Candles.) She is not only a fairy fiddler – you have to hear her violin, honeyed sounds from heaven – she also writes her own music and songs. Her website is www.mairebreatnach.com. She gave me permission to use lyrics from the song "Eist" in The Hunter’s Moon. I first heard the song on a compilation album, also called Eist [songs in their native language], mentioned below, and only later did I discover that it was inspired by the tale of a fairy king mourning his lost love. (Got prickles on the back of my neck from that.) I use it, of course, when Findabhair mourns the loss of her fairy king. One of the other songs featured in the book is a trad number covered by the Dropkick Murphys (great name, eh?) from their album Sing Loud, Sing Proud. Here’s a pic of the CD cover and here’s their website: www.dropkickmurphys.com. They’re real Irish-American working-class union-family boyos. You have to hear their version of "Rocky Road to Dublin." Talk about frenetic. No wonder the leppin’ leprechauns love it!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Eist

That means 'listen' (or 'listen up' as we used to say in the Navy) and there should be an accent on the e like this - éist - but my PC won't do it on capitals. ANYHOO, I want to talk about music. I love the way Charles de Lint always names the music he listens to when he is writing (though I have never heard of any of the groups he mentions). All through the writing of The Summer King, I wore out Howard Shore's Lord of the Rings Suite. I love Howard Shore. (He's Canadian. It is the duty of Canadians to know when someone is Canadian and to let everyone else know.) For The Light-Bearer's Daughter, I appear to have gone completely Gaeilge, playing non-stop Eist [songs in their native language] with a variety of artists including the likes of Kate Bush (singing Mná na hEireann and doing a great job) growly-voiced Van Morrison, and Altan; Eist Arís (listen up again) including Capercaille, Clannad, The Chieftains - and Paul Brady breaking my heart with Bruach Loch Pontchartrain (ah, New Orleans); Ailleacht (beauty) by Pádraigín ní Uallacháin. I am hoping to get permission to use a song from the latter in the book.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Working Away!

I'm very excited and thrilled with how the new version of The Light-Bearer's Daughter is coming along. After all that gasp and struggle at the initial stage, when I picked it apart and wasn't sure I could put it back together again. Oh, like The Summer King, it will be a hundred times better! And I've realised what book is the bright shadow behind it, the book that is its soul: Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles, which originally inspired the boggles' golden eyes. Now I've re-read it for the first time since I sat down in the great library in San Francisco (in my bare feet) so many years ago and spent the day reading it. What a beautiful lyrical poetic writer! What a classic! First published in 1951. Well, in re-reading it I have been further inspired by it. Most of all, the meeting between the mortal and the fairy queen will reflect that incredible meeting between the Martian and the Earthling.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Author in the Wild

Yes, it's get-out-into-the-mountains-and-do-research time again! Here I am with a new hiking group. That's Gerry the leader behind me. That's me with the hair matching my shorts and jumper (I like to co-ordinate, even in the wilds). Behind us both is a hawthorn tree, also known as a fairy tree. We hiked seven hours around Lough Dan in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains, having danced till 2:00 a.m. the previous night. (Okay, I'm bragging.) Belated thanks to Eddie McGovern, fellow hiker and Cavan man, for this pic! The week before I was hiking in the Glen of the Downs with my friend, Victoria, and just yesterday I climbed the Powerscourt Waterfall with my sister, Pat. All these settings are in The Light-Bearer's Daughter which I am now re-writing like mad. Deadline date: August 15. Will she make it? Hmm.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

An Réilt


They were halfway up the mountain and in sight of the gray crag, the King's Cave, when they came upon a massive quartz boulder she remembered from the guidebooks. An Réilt, the islanders called it, the Star. (The Summer King, revised edition, 2006.)
Yep, that's me on Slievemore, "the Great Mountain" on Achill Island. Readers ask me are the places in my books real. Yes! My sister, Pat, fellow hiker took the photo. Higher up, fierce winds nearly blew us off the mountain. My woolly hat with red and green Mayo colours got blown into the Atlantic Ocean. It's well my head wasn't in it!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A Book's Soul

Here's something I've been saying when I give talks on my tour and it is true. There's usually a book behind the books I write, like a bright shadow or a soul. The book, well really the play, behind The Hunter's Moon is Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Like his work, my book is a mostly-happy fairy romp where all the lovers wind up together at the end. The book behind The Summer King is actually mentioned in my book -- Ian carries it in his knapsack -- Wuthering Heights, one of the few books I like to re-read. Darker, dealing with death and love, Emily Bronte's book has a hero who is also its villain (sound familiar?) And if you look at the accent of Sandy, the English hippie, you will see it is the same accent as the servant in Wuthering Heights. Ah, these little things that keep a writer inspired and happy while she is working.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Stay tuned

Sorry, I've been neglecting this blog while on tour. Everything is going in the tour journal on my website (click on the butterfly) and then a few bits and bobs on the personal blog. Good news: all the bookstores say I am selling well, my readers are wonderful, and the tour is going great. When I get back to Ireland I will be posting pics of my research for The Summer King on this blog e.g. gorgeous pics on top of the mountains of Croaghaun and Slievemore on Achill Island.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Tour Schedule


So here's the cover of the new and utterly revised edition of The Summer King. It is done in shiny metallic inks and that blue has to be seen to be believed. Exquisite. Weird spooky thing: the girl in the picture looks like me when I was young and I even had a dress like that. But the cover artist couldn't have known. Meanwhile, my webmaster has set up a special page showing my tour schedule with a map (thanks, Piers!). You can access it by clicking here: www.ormelling.com/tour_2006.htm. I'm almost ready. Who knows, I might get the chance to blog when on tour.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

TOP TEN FANTASY FOR YOUTH



My publicist at Abrams sent me this great news. I can't show the list as it would be unreadable, but here are the books in alphabetical order: Hilari Bell's Rise of a Hero, Joseph Delaney's Revenge of the Witch, Kate Di Camillo's The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, Cornelia Funke's Inkspell, Elizabeth Knox's Dreamhunter, OR Melling's The Hunter's Moon (yippee), Stephenie Meyer's Twilight, Philip Pullman's The Scarecrow and His Servant, JK Rowling's Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and Jonathan Stroud's Ptolemy's Gate. What a thrill to be in such company. The list was compiled by the American Library Association.

Friday, May 19, 2006

It's Raining Books!



It was a great week. Two new editions of my books arrived at the door. Here’s a pic of the Slovenian edition of The Hunter’s Moon published by Mis (there should be a squiggle on that s.) Today, the new and revised edition of The Summer King – published by Henry Abrams Inc in the USA and UK/Eire/Australia/New Zealand – landed on the step. Utterly exquisite! Will blog the pic shortly. The shimmering blue of the cover is the colour of a Faerie King’s eyes! Meanwhile, I am preparing notes for my panel with Herbie Brennan of Faerie Wars, which takes place tomorrow at Belvedere College, Dublin at 12:00 p.m. (Booksigning at 5:00 p.m.) Our moderator is the wonderful Irish-language poet and writer, Gabriel Rosenstock. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Book Display



Here's an image of the bookstore display for the two books of The Chronicles of Faerie available at present in the US, UK, and Eire/Australia/New Zealand. Just this month, The Hunter's Moon is out in paperback (after hardcover last year) and The Summer King is newly out in hardback. Abrams NY is a real arty, classy kind of publisher which explains the lovely design of display and covers.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Teen Sites

Hurrah, my dear friend and fantastic (in every way) writer Kate Thompson has finally set up her own site at www.katethompson.info. She is the amazing award-winning author of the Switchers series, the Origins series (my favourite), and many other books including The New Policeman which has won gazillions of UK prizes. And what a sweetie, she has linked to my website. I really must get my links page together and do the same. And here's another site to check out, dedicated to teen readers www.teensreadtoo.com.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

American Tour

Here are details of the first half of my US reading tour. Events are still being scheduled and the second half of the tour is not yet confirmed, so I will post more information as it comes in. If I am in your area, do come around and say hi. I am really looking forward to meeting readers.

June 4 ------ Flight from Ireland to New York City.
June 5 ------ two bookstores to be confirmed.
June 6 ------ 10:00 a.m. Brooklyn Public Library:
and 5:00 a.m. Books of Wonder
June 7-11 ----Mythic Journeys Conference in Atlanta
June 12 ----- Baltimore - 4:00 p.m. Children’s Book Store
June 13 ----- Booksigning at Politics and Prose, Washington DC and
Jabberwocky (in Virginia)
June 14 ----- flight to Chicago and booksigning at Bookstall and
booksigning at Magic Tree
June 15 ----- still in Chicago, event at Anderson’s Books
June 16 ----- Seattle, event at Secret Garden and
Event at All for Kids
June 17 ------flight to San Francisco

Wow, exciting, eh? And there's more to come!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Pema and the Yak


Here's a pic of my friend Siofra O'Donovan's new book coming out soon with Pilgrim Books based in Varanasi, India. I read an early version of the manuscript and loved it, so can't wait to read the final edition. It's everything the armchair traveller with spiritual leanings could hope to read about Tibet in exile. The cover was painted by the author herself. She's in India at the moment, lucky thing. Here's the publisher's site (they do gorgeous books): www.pilgrimsbooks.com.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Spring Podcast

The second podcast I did for Mythic Journeys is now up on the web. See http://www.mythicjourneys.org/podcast_11apr06.html. I am blathering away about leprechauns, St Patrick, saving Tara, and other green stuff. The interview ends with a toe-tapping song from the Three Weird Sisters about fairies dancing in Tennessee.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

A Door Opens

After months of note-taking, research, fiddling, and foostering, I was climbing into bed the other night and the first sentence of the new version of The Light-Bearer's Daughter wound through my mind. Now it is coming thick and fast. Today, walking down the town to get large sheets of paper to chart the storylines, I had entire conversations, important tweaks, and lyrical phrases jostling for memory space. No pen or notebook on hand to record! Had to simply remember that I had four things to fix when I got home. So now it is looking like I will make my May end deadline. Truth is ... these revisions are killing me. I have never worked at this pace before. My poor brain. And, really, give me another ten years and they might be as good as the vision I hold of them. But it's just not possible. Perfection doesn't exist in this realm (though it surely does in others) and one simply has to accept that a book ... and a series ... will be as good as it can be and then let it go.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Me Oul Flower

This is my dear friend, Bernie Morris, 1949-1998, former President of the Armagh Association of New York, to whom I dedicated the US version of The Hunter’s Moon. I first met him when I was 16, at a céili in NYC, above the Old Shieling. That was the beginning of a friendship which lasted until he died. We shared a birthday, a passion for Irish dancing and music, a visit to Cardinal O Fiaich in his palace in Armagh, a love of parties, and a propensity for the drink (before I quit). In his younger days, he hired out his own "Rent-a-Crowd" for Irish-American social functions, both private and business. The crowd included musicians, dancers, singers, and party-people led by Bernie, a modern-day madcap Bacchus. He was a cultural entrepreneur, a wheeler-dealer, a Yank with a big cigar in his mouth, a rapscallion, even a hellion at times, full of mischief and fun. I am heartsore that he will not be there when I tour America this year. Such a hooley we would have had!

Friday, April 14, 2006

First Reviews

Hurrah - two favourable early reviews for the new edition of The Summer King due out next month in the USA and UK. One appears in the fine literary journal, Kirkus. The other is my favourite. ALA's Booklist says "magnificently detailed magic" and "moves breathlessly between ever enfolding worlds—mortal and immortal, primordial and modern."Also, "readers will be easily caught by the continuous, heart-pounding suspense; the twists and romances; and the heroine, who is both a grieving, contemporary teen and an invincible rescuer of worlds." Thank you very much, Gillian Engberg. I am somewhat relieved as these reviews are based on the uncorrected galley proofs which were, in fact, a dog's breakfast. They were missing necessary italics throughout, and I was still tweaking the manuscript itself right up to the final printer's copy!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Herbie Brennan Blog

As I mention in my personal blog, I had a wonderful lunch with Herbie Brennan (Faerie Wars, The Purple Emperor) on Friday in County Carlow. We had decided we should meet before our panel discussion at the Children's Books Ireland Summer School next month (see below). One of the results of that meeting was that I convinced Herbie to blog! You can check him out in Bloggerland by reaching his site at www.herbiebrennan.com and clicking on the tab at the bottom of the page, or go directly to the blog at www.herbiebrennansbookshelfblog.blogspot.com. It's always a pleasure to welcome a new blogger!

Friday, April 07, 2006

CANSCAIP

At last I got my act together to organise my page for the CANSCAIP (Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators, and Performers) website -- see www.canscaip.org. Thank you Peter Cook, venerable Canscaip webmaster, for making it happen. Instead of a bio, there's a little story from my childhood and it is true, no matter what Richard Scrimger says. His bio is funnier, though, so do have a look. In fact, check out the various members pages - click Members and you get the list - and have a look at what Canada has to offer.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Green Blogs

Just got my notice that this book blog has been approved for listing in the www.irishblogs.ie directory. The name is self-explanatory, so if you want to peruse blogs from Ireland and/or of Irish content do check them out. I'm under the categories of Art, Education, and Literature. For some reason my personal blog didn't make the grade, but there you are: many are called, but only some are chosen.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

From Charlotte Bronte

The writer who possesses the creative gift owns something of which he [she] is not always master -- something that at times strangely wills and works for itself.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Faerie War or Discussion?

For anyone in the vicinity, I will be speaking at the CBI Summer School, Saturday, May 20, 2006 at 12:00 p.m. Venue: Belvedere College. For more information see www.childrensbooksireland.com. Here's the fun part. I am sharing a panel with Herbie Brennan. Now I've just started to read his Faerie Wars and I am enjoying it, but there's no question about it -- we definitely see fairies differently! The discussion should be lively. For more information about Herbie see www.herbiebrennan.com. Oh, and there will be a booksigning at 5:00 p.m. that same day.

Friday, March 17, 2006

From Don De Delillo

This was the infalling trap, the source of art's private involvement with obsession and despair, neither more nor less than the artist's self-containment, a mental state that led to storms of overwork and extended stretches of depression, that brought on indifference to life and at times the need to regurgitate it, to seek the level of expelled matter.

All fiction takes place at the end of this process of crawl, scratch and gasp, this secret memory of death.

(From Don DeLillo's Ratner's Star)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Working

working working but not really getting anywhere ...

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Annaghmakerrig



Here's a pic of the house and garden of the Tyrone Guthrie Centre (www.tyroneguthrie.ie). This has been my heart's home since 1985. A very special place.

Annaghmakerrig Magic

Just back from the Tyrone Guthrie Centre where I got seriously going on the revision of The Light-Bearer’s Daughter. I picked apart the seams of the old version and inputted ideas for new scenes and deeper character development. Then I went in search of the flip chart which I used last year to outline the chapters for the previous book. (The outline helps me thread new story- and character-lines through the book.) I finally located the flip chart in the big music room and look what was on top of the page just waiting for me! Definitely a boggle. So I’ve taken him home to help me work, as no one in the house could say who had drawn it and indeed the chart had not been used since last year! Coincidence, you say? Not at all. It’s magic.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Booklist Editors' Choice 2005

It's official. My editor sent me the magazine with the announcement. The American edition of The Hunter's Moon has made it to the ALA's Booklist Editors' Choice list for 2005. Yahoo.

Nope, I didn't get to the top of the list, but there are three more books to go in this series, so who knows.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Summer King Proofs

They finally arrived, hurrah! And Fedex didn't send them to Iceland this time. That's my weekend gone as they must be checked by Monday. Will be up all night again tonight. (Don't let anyone tell you that writing is a cushy job. Well, maybe for JK.) The good news is that I am off to the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig for a glorious week where I can work away on The Light-Bearer's Daughter while being cooked for and looked after in a beautiful old mansion overlooking a lake. Yes, it is an artist's heaven on earth: www.tyroneguthrie.ie. Can't wait. Now back to the galleys. Nose meet grindstone. Ouch!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

God Save Ireland

I’m reading Chaos at the Crossroads, a heartbreaking book by Frank McDonald, Environment Editor of The Irish Times, and James Nix. (http://www.chaosatthecrossroads.com/) Basically it is a catalogue of the murder of Ireland by uncontrolled development, insane motorway building, unchecked pollution, and the destruction of heritage sites, all linked to political corruption and incompetence. I’m reading the book as research for the new version of The Light-Bearer’s Daughter. The original version covered the eco-warriors’ battle to protect the Glen of the Downs; a battle lost, and which soon proved to be only part of a bigger war. For even as they fought for the glen, the picturesque village of Kilmacanogue was destroyed. And now the royal demesne of Tara itself is threatened, as the gombeen government plans to run a motorway through it. (See http://www.taraskryne.org/.) Whenever readers abroad write to tell me that they hope to visit Ireland one day because of my descriptions of it, I die a little. For I wonder just how much of its beauty will be left when they get here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Podcast Posted

Yes, my first ever podcast is up and running. (Janey, blogspots and podcasts. What are we like?) Here's the link if you want to hear me chatting away about love and romance in my fairy tales and in the great mythic stories of humanity: http://www.mythicjourneys.org/newsletter_current.html. It's not easy trying to sound intelligent spontaneously (as opposed to combusting) but there is one line I am happy with: "love is one of the magical things that can happen to you on the road of life." They've also published my talk "Ancient Dreams: Myth and History in Fantasy Literature" in the same newsletter and there's a wonderful article by Brenda Sutton on the Tam Lin tale for all you fairy lovers, plus many other treats. Do have a gander.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Bray Head


Here's a pic of the intrepid author taking notes on Bray Head to describe Laurel's search for the "roly-poly man," later understood to be a cluricaun, in The Summer King. My sister Pat took the shot.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Hicklebee's

Here's one of those little bits of magic that can happen. (There's no such thing as coincidence.) When I was at the All-Ireland Oireachtas Irish Dancing Championships last weekend, I was watching the young men's competition - incredible dancers! - and somehow ended up chatting to the mother of an American dancer. They had come all the way from California. Then I discovered that her daughter, who was also there, works at Hicklebee's (www.hicklebees.com) in San Jose, one of the finest children's bookstores in the United States. If things work out, I may end up there on my tour. So far the cities scheduled are: Washington DC, New York, Chicago, Baltimore, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Atlanta. I'll post the specific dates as soon as they are confirmed, but it's happening June 4 to June 25, 2006.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Toil and Trouble

I am so far behind in the rewriting of my next book, that I am practically back at the last one. In fact, I guess that is kind of true as I am still anxiously waiting to check the galley proofs of the "new and improved" American edition of The Summer King. It is due out in May and still hasn't gone to the printer yet! Meanwhile, I am foostering around with research for the new version of The Light-Bearer's Daughter. I'm reading and re-reading old fairy tales for inspiration because I want to create two of my own within the larger story. One will be The Mountain King and His Sky Bride. The other will be The Fairy Queen and Her Mortal Lover. And somehow I have to twist all three tales together like a plait. Sigh. (But I've done that before for my experimental novel, Falling Out of Time, so I should be able to do it.) The books I am reading are: Irish Fairy Tales by James Stephens (with gorgeous illustrations by Arthur Rackham), Fairy and Folk Tales of Ireland, edited by WB Yeats, Myths and Folk Tales of Ireland by Jeremiah Curtin, Síscealta ó Thír Chonaill by Seán óhEochaidh, Máire ní Néill, agus Séamas ó Catháin (as gaeilge agus bearla), A History of Irish Fairies by Carolyn White, and K.M. Briggs's The Faeries in Tradition and Literature. Got them all in the Bray library, mostly from that musty little room under the stairs and the stacks on the top floor where the old books are kept.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Mythic Podcast

Did a podcast interview on Sunday for the Mythic Journeys Conference which I will be speaking at in Atlanta, Georgia, June 7-11 during my three week tour of the USA (more about that anon as the schedule appears). As well as reading from The Hunter's Moon and The Summer King, I talked about the high romance of love stories in fantasy fiction; the hero's journey and my girl-heroes; myth as sacred truth and soul-story; how the month of May in Ireland belongs to both the Faerie Queen and the Roman Catholic Mary "Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May"; also the early legends of St Patrick which showed him as a Chief Druid; and lots more. Blathered away at some length, in fact. It was great fun. The podcast will be posted in instalments over February, March, April, and May running up to the conference itself. Check out the fabulous website where it will appear www.mythicjourneys.org. The guest list for the conference is truly amazing, with so many of my favourite writers and artists - Charles de Lint, Terri Windling, Brian and Wendy Froud, Holly Black, Robert Bly (just to name a few) - and so many others I don't know but can't wait to meet and hear such as The Weird Sisters and Tom Blue Wolf. It is going to be one incredible magic-fest!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

The Hunter's Moon



Finvarra and Findabhair fighting Crom Cruac, also known as the Worm or the Hunter.


(Credit: Ales Kalensky, Signus Studio, Czech edition of The Hunter's Moon published by Lenka Velínská - ELA, 2006.)
These illustrations are from the Czech edition of The Hunter's Moon coming out this year (see Bibliography on my website for cover) with Lenka Velínská - ELA, publisher. The illustrations are done by Ales Kalensky who lived in Seattle for 15 years and loves Celtic fantasy and folklore. I think he's brilliant! You can see other work he has done on www.studiosignus.cz. The illustrations were kindly sent to me "from snowy Hradec Králové, Czech Republic" by Marcel Hrdy of Signus Studio. Thanks Marcel!

And, yes, this is our Katie letting loose her arrows in the battle against Crom Cruac.