Hound things – Greyhound walk & #Grá4Greyhounds

As some of you know, AmeliaLeaveswe adopted our lurcher, Amelia, from Dog’s Trust three years ago now. For me, a confirmed cat-lover, this was a big step. But there was this gangly, stripy baby with huge brown eyes and floppy little ears and I was smitten. I didn’t stand a chance. (And if I’d argued with the rest of the family, I might have been left behind instead of the dog).

Smitten or not I had also done some research (because I’m a writer and a librarian so it’s all about the research). Sighthounds – and lurchers and greyhounds in particular – do not have a high adoption rate, which is very strange because they are truly a perfect family dog. They are sweet-tempered, gentle creatures, elegant and beautiful, almost deerlike. They need only a little exercise compared to other breeds,  as they are sprinters by nature and prefer to sleep on the sofa in the sunshine.

MeAmeliaOurs grew up with a fearsome tom-cat to show her the ropes, and when he passed away we got a new kitten. Amelia adopted her as surrogate baby. They sleep together, play together and miss each other when apart. And with the kids, our Diva Doggy is a dream. At school pick up I’ve seen her stand stock still, patient and calm, while the junior infants come over to pet her and fuss over her. She loves the attention.

If anyone is sad or upset, she cuddles up beside them, offering comfort and companionship. She even attempts to help me when I’m writing. They may look big, but they curl up to the size of a cushion. Ours is sometimes known as the donut dog.

SunWorshippers

I keep wondering if perhaps we got the fluke perfect dog from the litter. But no, every sighthound owner I’ve known says the same thing. By turns, elegant and goofy, affectionate and soulful, they are empathy personified.

Adopt a lurcher, greyhound, or some other gorgeous pointy dog today. They need your help and love and they will return that love a hundredfold. The only danger is that you will lose at least one sofa, probably the one that gets the most sunlight.

I fully support the work of the Greyhound Rescue Association Ireland. Amelia and I hope to meet many pointy dogs and their owners at the 2016 Walk for Greyhounds taking place in Farmleigh, Phoenix Park, Dublin, on Sunday, June 19th.

#Grá4Greyhounds

Amelia3

Wexworlds 2016

Wexworlds is on next month, the weekend of the 7th-8th May, and I’m very excited to announce that I will be there on the 7th, giving a talk, reading and signing at 3pm in the Battlestar Galactica suite.

Come and nerd out with me in the sunny southeast.

 

True Love and Trophies at Mancunicon

So tomorrow I will be off to Manchester for Mancunicon, which is also Eastercon and tomorrow evening I will be moderating a panel called True Love and Trophies. I’m very excited about this one.

True Love and Trophies
Friday March 25   07:00 PM to 08:00 PM (1 hour) Hilton Deansgate – Room 6
Romance may be the ultimate crossover genre, found in everything from horror to hard SF, urban fantasy to space opera. But it can be a two-edged sword – nothing makes the audience happier than True Love Winning Against All Odds, but few things can make a reader wince as much as the Shoehorned-In Love Story, The Girl As Reward, or the Completely Inappropriate Time To Declare One’s Feelings. Join our panel for a discussion about what SF and fantasy can learn from the romance genre, how speculative narratives are changed by the female gaze, and how to craft a believable love story in the most extraordinary settings.

My fellow panelists are
Jacey Bedford, D.A. Lascelles, Kate Soley Barton & Justina Robson

So come along and join us if you’re at the convention. I’m there for the long weekend and I will be spending my time, as per usual, looking slightly lost and harried but do say hello. And help me.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day Excerpt

So, things are ticking along here and for this St. Patrick’s day I am mainly vegging on the sofa doing edits following a lovely walk in Glen of the Downs. As a treat for you, here’s an excerpt from A Hollow in the Hills and a belligerent leprechaun called Art.

~oOo~

‘Don’t say anything, okay?’ he told her as they approached a stall staffed by a small red-haired fae dressed in a green hoodie, with the shiniest shoes Izzy had ever seen. ‘He’s a lep, and if they lose it there’s hell to pay.’

‘A lep? Do you mean a leprechaun?’ She smiled. ‘But aren’t they… I don’t know… lucky? Jolly?’

Jinx looked at her as if she’d never said anything so stupid in all the time he’d known her.

‘You saw them at the museum didn’t you? Cudgel and his mob? Did they seem jolly? Look, ever seen a poltergeist?’ She shook her head. ‘Well, anyway, doesn’t matter. He’s way worse.’

The leprechaun scowled at them and proceeded to shove more things into a backpack.

‘Where are you going?’ asked Jinx.

‘Puck’s Castle,’ he said. ‘It’s the only safe place. Something terrible is happening in this city and I don’t want any part of it.’

‘Oh, come on, Art,’ Jinx began, but the leprechaun glared at him, then stared at Izzy, as if noticing her for the first time. He shook his head, blinking and took a step back. Afraid. It was unmistakable.

‘You need to stay away. I don’t know what it is but it feels wrong and it all centres on you. On the two of you but mainly on you, Cú Sídhe. You’re all about Hollows, kith and kin, but we’re not. My kind, I mean. We’re solitaries, only tolerated because we’re useful and do the jobs the mighty Aes Sídhe don’t want to sully their hands with. When the shit hits the fan we’re first against the wall. That goes for all the wanderers, the outsiders, the ones who don’t belong. But listen, mate, the Cú Sídhe are usually next to get it.’

‘But why Puck’s Castle?’

‘Don’t you know anything? Puck’s Castle? Puck? The Púca, Jinx, king of the wanderers, lord of wild magic. First among us? Hell’s bells, Holly did a job and a half on you. Did she beat our stories from you? The Sídhe had their gods and we had ours. They’re all gone but they linger on. They can be called back. Sometimes. Some say they’re just sleeping under the earth or in a Hollow in the hills.’

‘The Púca’s a story.’

‘Yeah,’ said Art, zipping up the rucksack and swinging it over his shoulders. It was almost as big as he was but didn’t impede him in the slightest. ‘And I’m off a bleedin’ cereal packet. There’s a lot of it about. Try to keep up, doggy.’

~oOo~

Just remember, they’re all dangerous. Even if they’re cute and grumpy.

Fightthosefairies

Book 3, A Darkness at the End, is coming along and due out in September. I’m deep in edits. At the end of the month I’m off to Eastercon where I’ll be moderating the “True Love and Trophies” panel at 7pm on Friday. Should be great fun.

Silence…

Sorry for the silence (or maybe sorry for breaking your peace and quiet).

Book 3 has now been handed in to my wonderful editor. It’s called A Darkness at the End and it’s the third Dubh Linn book. I will now stop tormenting those poor characters. Sort of. Eventually.

Maybe.

I’m puttering away on some other projects and generally working hard, so I’m going to be quiet for a bit longer. But I am still here.

Oh except for when I go to Eastercon next month.

 

David Bowie

Like everyone else I woke up this morning to the news that David Bowie passed away. The shock makes it feel not quite real. I was pretty certain that if anyone was immortal, or had some sort of extended fae life, it was him.

Everyone has their favourites, their face of David Bowie.

I grew up with Bowie as a soundtrack. With older sisters, his music was very much part of our household. Hunky Dory, still my favorite album, is the same age as me. Life on Mars resonates across years, more meaningful each time I listen.

Bowie made magical music, about life, death and everything in between. Love songs, and tragedies, comical, meaningful… words that make you think, that continue to inspire. The imagery he could create in just a few words, the emotions he could convey, the breadth of his work and the art he made in sound and vision… these are the things that continue. He showed us that the weird, the different, the magical is all part of life and that we can embrace it, within ourselves and without.

Somewhere still Major Tom, the Starman, Ziggy Stardust or the Goblin King is waiting.

In case anyone ever doubted it, the ball scene in The Treachery of Beautiful Things is based on this scene from the wonderful Labyrinth and the song As The World Falls Down.

Editing dilemmas

So I started my read through of the first draft of book 3 and was delighted to discover that it doesn’t actually appear to be as terrible as I had thought it would be. This is usually the case, but its always a relief to see that.

Phew!

The other thing that occurred to me were some common editing a first draft dilemmas so I thought I would post them here (I tweeted them this morning). So here we go:

  • no. 1 – do I fix it now or wait until I’ve read through the whole thing?
  • no. 2 – this doesn’t make sense now but it might in a couple of chapters *crossesfingers*
  • no. 3 – did I forget about this bit or deliberately change it later?
  • no.4 – Am I missing a scene in this section?
  • no.5 – I wrote this character out. Why are they here?
  • no. 6 – This whole thing does not need THIS MANY CHARACTERS! (I added this one this evening)

There are many many more, no doubt. I may try to documents some more, but if you can think of any, let me know.

And yes, I am procrastinating.

Back to work.