Tag Archives: research

Backups and researchiness

First of all I want to give thanks to Dropbox.

I work out of my dropbox folder these days and thank goodness I do. At the end of my last round of edits I decided to read through the completed file on my tablet, which in its infinite Androidy wisdom (NOT) decided it should strip out every quotation mark, apostrophe, dash and ellipsis from the entire file.

I’ll just give that a moment to sink in…

Every. Single. One.

I discovered it on Sunday morning. The edits were due on Monday.

Yes. There was screaming. There was crying. There was a bit of throwing myself about on the stairs and on the sofa. My children frantically made tea and brought me crisps and hot wings sauce to dip them in. The dog hid. I suspect my husband my have contemplated just staying upstairs and locking some doors. He didn’t. He’s good that way.

No, he was the one who kept the level head and pointed out that you can get the previous versions of files on the Dropbox website. Which I did. And all was good. All I lost were a couple of bookmarks I’d made on the errant tablet version of the document. It took about an hour to fix it. Once I’d calmed down.

So great was the relief, and what did we learn?

Always always always keep multiple backups, preferably with iterations of files. Whether you use something like Dropbox or not. Do not save anything on my tablet. Ever. (Yours might be perfectly well behaved). Keep a level head and remember what safeguards you have put in place. Dropbox.

And when I freak out bring me tea and crisps and hide. Blue cheese is also good.

Phew. It was a nightmare. But the edits went in on time. It’s only taken me about three weeks to recover and write this down. The next round are due next week.

Backups, kids. We love them!

I learned something else today. I say learned but I already knew it. It is this: I am not be trusted in the library with my library card and research books. Exhibit A

DSC_0587 (1024x768)




But um… yes… one of these things is not like the others…

A little break in our usual programming

Just to let people know I’ll be mostly offline for the next couple of weeks.

But when I come back… oh when I come back…


*awkward silence*

In the meantime, I found this clip of Eddie Lenihan, a seanchaí, and his story of the black dog. Seanchaí are traditional Irish storytellers and folk historians. I love Black Dog legends. There’s one near where I grew up, and my mother’s family come from Dartmoor so… enough said.

I’m currently reading Eddie Lenihan’s book Meeting the Other Crowd.

For reasons.


Off with the Mummers

So… on Sunday, the last day of our Christmas Holidays, which was also Nollaig na mBan, as a treat primarily for me I think, we went to Collin’s Barracks, part of the National Museum of Ireland to see The Armagh Rhymers perform a Mummer’s Play.

Mumming is a traditional part of the winter holidays which, it is believed, dates back thousands of years in Ireland. There’s music and story telling, and people in masks. Amazing basketwork masks in this case.

Photobucket Continue reading Off with the Mummers

The (Not) May Day post

So right, well, due to matters beyond my control… well actually due to responsibilities which I can’t ignore and the massive headache that followed it… I didn’t manage to blog yesterday, which is annoying because I totally meant to.

Because *drumroll* *taa-dah*

yesterday was May Day.


That would have been so much more effective yesterday when it was “today is May Day”, you see? But never mind.


The reason May Day is important (not just because it’s what I frequently shout. Ok, when I’m in trouble in France anyway) is that The Treachery of Beautiful Things is in part based on the legends and folklore surrounding May Day. It is the first day of summer here in Ireland (notable this year for the pheNOMinal ammount of rain we got). It’s Bealtine, one of the quarter days when the veils between worlds become thin enough to let things slip through. It’s a time of magic.

Alright I never actually got around to writing the blog post, but luckily for me The History Girls had a fantastic one written by Mary Hoffman, so I am totally linking to that. 😀 It even has a lovely picture of the May Tree, aka the hawthorn.

The hawthorn we planted in the garden is doing well by the way. It has little buds. So pretty! Next year we’ll have pictures of it, I promise. At the moment… it’s a stick with some little green buds on it, so not that interesting.

Today (NOT May Day) I’m over at the Australian blog Treasured Tales for Young Adults celebrating its Blogoversary, and talking about Jenny from The Treachery of Beautiful Things. I love Jenny. She’s a complicated girl, who learns and grows over the course of the book, growing into herself as a confident and self-assured young woman by the end of the story. I like characters who develop over the course of a book, rather than being the same the whole way through and I think Jenny shows this. Anyway, see for yourself what I had to say.

And finally, here is my May Day song (late) which is one of the most important songs from my Treachery Playlist – Rabbit Heart (Raise it up) by Florence + the Machine. (I can’t embed it, so follow the link to YouTube).


Researchy* researchy goodness

Wow, this month ran away with me. Why? Well a number of reasons. Life, of course, and a bit of a whirl on ideas, research, rewrites etc.

The research bit is what I’m thinking most of today. As a writer I’m continually researching. I want to know how everything happened (luckily I married an  engineer who wants to know how everything works). I want to know about the people involved and the events which shaped history. I got a fantastic interactive DVD on Dublin from Viking to Tudor times yesterday from the fab Dublin City Radio. Once I can wrestle it back from my children I’ll spend hours playing with it.

Once I can wrestle it back from my children.

Research means always asking questions, about squirrelling away bits of information to be used later, about following up on things. Anything can be useful information. Especially when writing fantasy. Books of course, but also documentaries, exhibitions, lectures, holidays and day trips.

And they don’t have to be boring. Continue reading Researchy* researchy goodness