Tag Archives: inspiration

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.

How I spent my summer holidays part 2 – Megalithic

Ok, so I’ve delayed posting this evening as I should have but I completely blame the brand new shiny shiny phone that arrived today. Did I mention it’s shiny???

Part 2 of the holiday theme was Megalithic. Brittany is of course awesome for all things megalithic. It has Carnac, to begin with. Actually Carnac pretty much trumps a lot of things, leaving aside the likes of Newgrange and Stonehenge. But anyway… it doesn’t just have Carnac.

I’m starting to form the opinion that the Bretons and their ancestors have something of an unspoken obsession with stones. With stones and the sea. The two seem to go hand in hand. All along the shore line at Point de la Torche, and on the rocky outcrops of Pointe de Raz in previous years, we found little towers of stones.  Everyone builds one. No one could offer us a reason why. Just because, I suppose. I wonder if there’s something in the air, something that makes one want to leave their own mark. I’m also starting to wonder if it’s something to do with Ankou, the Breton personification of Death, who leaves stones behind when he takes the dead away. (Ah yes, hello plotbunnies, there you are again).

I did mention there’s a Brittany book, didn’t I? 🙂

On the first day of our holiday we went to La Roche aux Fées (or the Fairy Rock) at Essé, a passage grave, uncovered for centuries, which looks like a giant table. Like Newgrange, the chamber is aligned with the rising sun of the winter solstice. I love the picture of the beech tree growing around the massive stones at the base. Nature always finds a way. And as we meandered through many tourists, took photos and gadded about in general, we found more piles of stones, balanced daintily on the gnarly trunk of the old beach tree by the entrance.

Carnac is a strangely peaceful place, especially considering the number of people it attracts. During the summer the alignments themselves are closed off, though you can see them clearly enough from behind the low, drystone walls (perfectly balanced and built by hand). The area becomes a wildflower and wildlife preserve. In winter one can book tours which allow you inside. There’s a reason to go back. The site is spread out over several areas, so we didn’t get to see it all. But there is an atmosphere to the place I really wasn’t expecting. It was lovely.

It also helped that near the MĂ©nec alignments we found the most wonderful crĂȘperie, Au Pressior, surrounded by a stone enclosure, where we had the best crĂȘpes ever. No really. Mine had goat’s cheese, honey and nuts. They were perfect. It made our day.

The other thing about Carnac that the photos can’t capture are the colours — the stones themselves, the plants and flowers (purple, white and yellow like gold in the sunlight). The difference in the textures, the constant movement of butterflies and long grasses. And all so peaceful (except for my children playing Harry Potter and giving me story ideas, loudly!) We also found a stone at Carnac that appears to have a face of it’s own. (More plotbunnies – the kids helped with that one!)

Out to the far west, La Torche itself, the huge rock outcrop on the point in the shape of (you guessed it) a torch, is dramatic enough to feature in any number of stories. Believe me, I have ideas.

So anyway, here’s my slideshow of our visits to Megalithic Brittany, old and new!

How I spent my summer holidays part 1

The reason for the parts? Ah yes, well, there are many photos. So many in fact they fall into different categories. As did our holiday, in a sense. Medieval, Megalithic, Geographic, Folklorish, with the overriding theme of research. Strangely enough I didn’t get a lot of reading done. We did watch the series Pillars of Heaven which tied in with the first section – Medieval. Continue reading How I spent my summer holidays part 1

Musical Musings on May Queen

Almost time for rewrites again and I’m getting myself back into the mindset for May Queen, my YA fantasy coming out next year from Dial Books for Young Readers.

As I’ve said before , music is really import to me. A song can encapsulate a feeling, a moment, and distill it so that even a few bars can bring memories and emotions flooding back. A song helps me key myself back into characters, their flaws and their dreams. Continue reading Musical Musings on May Queen

A fairytale trip, NaNo and a little bit of news

I’ve been a bad bad writer, not keeping you all up to date.  But I have also been very busy.

So I give you a brief report of our Halloween trip, something about NaNo and some news. The news is at the end. Yes, I’m making you wait. I’m mean like that! Continue reading A fairytale trip, NaNo and a little bit of news

Better late than never – RNA Conference 2010 post

Better late than never in so many ways. First of all it has taken me all week to get around to posting this. Secondly WHY have I not been going to this coference for years???

I am, as with most writers, not the most extroverted of individuals. Never really had been, although I can do a good impression when I need to. I was determined to make it to my first RNA conference this year and I am so glad that I did. Had a bit of a stressy trip out to the airport between a late bus and heavy traffic, and a bit of a stressy time at the drop-off-your-bags points when I found a large group of Japanese tourists had arrived just before me and proceeded to re-pack their luggage in the queue! But Air France/City Jet were wonderful and the flight itself was a dream. When the air hostess asked if I wanted a drink I had a budget airline flashback and just asked for water, only to realise too late they were giving out wine as well. And sandwiches. And boiled sweets for take off (a trip back to childhood). And chocolates just before landing.

I should warn you, food will probably be a theme of this post.

The DLR was also wonderful and in no time at all I arrived at our accomodation in Greenwich. Yes, it was like being a student again. There was a party going on as I arrived and my lovely flatmates were drinking wine out of plastic cups. That didn’t stop the hugs and warm greetings.

Another theme of this post will be the friendliness and fun-filled nature of everyone I met at the conference. I couldn’t have asked for a better gang to hang around with than the ladies of flat 20, but everywhere we went people chatted, exchanged ideas, joked and generally had a wonderful time.

Continue reading Better late than never – RNA Conference 2010 post

When Plotbunnies attack

Plotbunny: A tempting idea for a story that hares off into strange territory upon pursuit. Known for breeding rapidly and dividing a writer’s attention to the point of achieving nothing at all. (unword.com)

I think we all know the scene. We’re working away, dutifully writing our current WIP, enjoying the character development, the fight scenes and the build towards a showdown between the forces of good and evil (or the showdown between dog and cat for that matter – it’s your story). Maybe you take a break, listen to some music or read a book.


“What ifs?” explode all over your brain. The entire plot for a new book arrives in a blinding vision of glory. Characters start yabbering away inside your head, telling you everything their life story and all the intricacies of their conflicts with each other.

And it won’t. Go. AWAY!

The plotbunnies have got you. aka Teh Shiney! Continue reading When Plotbunnies attack

Musings on Peter Pan

A friend gave me a copy of “Peter Pan in Scarlet” by Geraldine McCaughrean yesterday. It’s one of those books I’ve toyed with the idea of reading, but something has always stopped me. I started it last night and so far I’m really enjoying it. Really. Such a pleasant surprise.

It got me thinking about a number of things, however. Why was I reluctant to read this book? A number of reasons I suppose, chief among them being the fact that I love Peter Pan. LOVE. Almost as much as I love Robin Hood (I’m also strangely reluctant to see the new Robin Hood film). And in my love of Peter Pan I’m reluctant to see that character mangled. Again.

If you haven’t read Barrie’s Peter Pan, (or Peter Pan and Wendy) you should. Not that I am a purist but Peter embodies something about childhood, youth and the wild that I think gets missed in most of the interpretations. You see, Peter, while a hero, a marvellous boy, a dazzling exciting friend, is not a very safe person to be around. And that makes adults very uncomfortable.

Peter is dangerous because Peter has no concept of death. Nor of injury or disaster. Peter can’t conceive of anything “bad” happening because it doesn’t happen to him. Ever. “To die would be an awfully big adventure” he says. And that is that. Prepared with these words, assured of his own continued existence even beyond death (because nothing, not even death, can destroy Peter), he puts fear aside. And of course survives.

Wendy and the boys can’t continue on like this, as we are reminded right from the outset “all children grow up, except one”. Peter will rescus them, no doubt about that, but only to drop them into greater peril  the next moment. Continue reading Musings on Peter Pan