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.
‘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.’
Just remember, they’re all dangerous. Even if they’re cute and grumpy.
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.
As A Hollow in the Hills is set at Hallowe’en, and here we are at Hallowe’en, I thought I’d share an excerpt –
“Mist curled around the grass, freezing it where it touched. Dylan pressed against the shadows of the hunting lodge, trying to hide himself and Clodagh. That was how he found the bonfire, a stack of old pallets and bits of furniture, odds and ends gathered together to make an as yet unlit Halloween bonfire.
But it should have been lit by now, shouldn’t it? Like the thousands blazing in the city below them. Bonfires were as ancient as the land, an old tradition of harvest and spring. A celebration. A sacrifice.
With a screech like a demon a firework went up, bursting in a shower of scarlet and yellow. Others followed, the city of Dublin throwing fire into the sky. A terrible feeling of dread swept over him and he knew he shouldn’t be here, that he shouldn’t be on this hillside, that they should never have split up. Holly was here. It was a trap.”
The photo was taken at the Hellfire Club on Montpelier Hill in Dublin, where Dylan and Clodagh are about to find themselves in a lot of trouble. It’s dark and creepy and has the most terrifying stories associated with it. A Hollow in the Hills is the sequel to the award winning A Crack in Everything and is available now from all good bookshops, real and virtual (maybe even imaginary).
Shielmartin hill is part of Howth Head, overlooking Dublin and features in A Hollow in the Hills. Local tradition says that the cairn on the summit was the burial place of Crimthann. Most of the summit appears to be made up of the cairn, with other cairns built on top of it.
One of my many magical places around Dublin featuring in A Crack in Everything and A Hollow in the Hills.
I’m going to post some more of them over the next while. Stay tuned.
In the meantime check out the Goodreads giveaway running for another 8 days.
I think we can all
blame thank the fabulous Celine Kiernan for #InTheWild. I asked for pitures of A Hollow in the Hills if anyone saw it in the wild. So she put it in a bush and sent me a photo.
As you do in Cavan….
(thank you Celine! You are fab!)
Poor Jinx, however does not appreciate nature in any form. He’s a city fae.
And then others got in on the act. 😀
Eventually, even I gave in.
Luckily the booksellers of Dublin and Drogheda came to
our Jinx’s rescue
Here it is on the shelves. Not quite in its natural habitat though. That would be the hands of readers.
If you see A Hollow in the Hills out in the wild, send me a photo – @rflong #IntheWild #Galavanting (because that’s clearly what it’s doing) #HollowInTheHills.
In other news, check out Dublin2019 Irish Fiction Friday today – featuring me!
“Lost in a maze of narrow lanes, she turned this way and that, heedless of direction. Lanes widened to streets, to squares and open spaces. The rational part of her mind veered close to panic. There was no area like this in any part of the city. It looked more like a fever dream of Dickensian London than modern day Dublin. There was no litter, no chip wrappers, no cans or ripped flyers, but everything felt tattered, dusty as if it was mostly unused. There were cobbles underfoot, everywhere, and high curbstones lined the edges. The deep gutters glistened with some kind of pungent oily sludge she didn’t want to investigate too closely. The doors they passed were closed, faceless things that gave away nothing. Elaborate fanlights with coloured glass stood over them, unfurled like a peacock’s tail. There were no shops, no neon or chrome, and no sign of anything twenty-first century. It was like stepping back in time. What light there was flickered, orange and And yet it was also like the Dublin she knew, the narrow, forgotten bits of Dublin, the ratty and forgotten corners that wound in and out of the modern city. It was like the type of places Dad showed her, hidden beneath the new world, an older one of magic and wonder, where you could find sculpture, gardens, or murals, or crenellated rooftops, gothic spires and bronze domes. Where stone mice ran around the base of a pillar and stone monkeys played the clarinet, like that there by the door. Hidden places. Right in the middle of places she thought she knew.
Admittedly Dad never brought her down alleys that were quite so grim and miserable as this. He would never drag her down here. She ran past buildings which carried echoes of the elaborate red façade of Georges Street Market, or the grey front of St Anne’s, hints of the hodge-podge of building squashed into the grounds of the Castle painted with the wrong colours, glimpses of jewel-bright stained glass that would have made Harry Clarke’s students weep.
It was beautiful, and terrible, because in that beauty was the constant reminder that none of this should be here. And neither should she.
And then there was a light.”
by Ruth Frances Long
(O’Brien Press, 2014. ISBN: 9781847176356)