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A May Tree in Novemeber

Treachery of Beautiful Things
The May Tree, or Hawthorn, or the Fairy Tree features in my novel THE TREACHERY OF BEAUTIFUL THINGS. The tradition is to tie a rag or ribbon to the tree and make a wish. It's a gnarled, thorny little tree, with the most beautiful white flowers in springtime and bright red berries in autumn. It is the Thorn in the saying Oak, Ash and Thorn, and grows in the most exposed areas, clinging to the sides of hills and the rocky earth.

We've been away for a couple of days, back to Ashford Castle in Mayo. I'll have more photos and a post about it soon.

On the way back, we stopped off at Loughcrew, or Slieve na Cailleach (your spelling may vary). Slieve na Cailleach means Mountain of the Witch and is topped by a stone cairn called The Hag's Cairn, which is about 6000 years old. It's a fantastic place, really atmospheric and not a little creepy. I'll have more on that too, including some compass related weirdness. But for this morning, here's a photo I took on the way up there.

It's a May Tree in November, with it's rags and ribbons clearly displayed to the world as offerings to the fairies and the wishes of mankind. We added our own. I sort of felt I had to.May Tree in November :)

 Crossposted from
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!

Read more...Collapse )

[A Writerly plan] Week 4

An early post, I know but more about that later on. This is where I am

21/06/2010   702  
22/06/2010   280  
23/06/2010   720  
24/06/2010   1028  
27/10/2010   1276  

Which gives me 4006 this week.

The total now stands at 33871 which is about 67% of my estimate. Think this will run longer than that. Here's an excerpt from recent events:

He smiled his cruel smile, leaned in closer. This time he whispered. “I think we both know what I’m talking about. Come out of there, and I’ll show you.”

Dylan’s hands closed on her upper arms, holding her back in case she’d momentarily lost her mind or something. Izzy couldn’t shake the feeling of relief. “I don’t think so. Who are you, anyway?”

“Azazel,” he said with a laugh lurking behind the name. “You can call me Azazel. Or Uncle.”

“Uncle?” She repeated, staring at him, cold dread clawing at her.

He stretched out his hand. His fingers were too long, the nails sharp and yellowed like old bone. “Sometimes it means ‘my father’s brother’, sometimes it’s a term of affection for an elderly male relative. Sometimes it means ‘I give up’. Which one is up to you.”

“Leave us alone,” said Dylan, before Izzy could think of a reply.

Azazel’s finger jerked towards him instead. “You’re walking a fine line, young man. You’re going to end up burned. Talent and luck won’t save you, not from her. And they won’t help you with her either. She’s dangerous.”

“You leave Silver out of this.”

“She isn’t here. Why should I include her? Come out of the circle, Isobel. Come out and play.”


The reason for the early post is that the blog will be going silent for a couple of days as we explore the delights of the Aran Islands (or Inismore at least). Will be back later in the weeks hopefully with (a) everyone intact and no one lost over the edge of Dun Aongus (b) some gorgeous photos to share and (c) lot of new words (which I will then have to type up. I am taking Nancy Werlin's Impossible and Cassandra Clare's City of Glass to read.  It should be fun.

If only I didn't feel like we're about to take a family holiday in the 1970s! :D (yes, e_w_h  I am kidding. Kind of)

A lovely Friday morning


I was very tempted to take the long route to work this morning - down to Kilmacanogue, turning below the Sugarloaf, up to Enniskerry and across the foothills through Kilternan and Stepaside. Mainly because of the sun. It is a gorgeous sunny morning, bright and clear, where everything seems to have a thin veneer of gold. (It's still freezing cold of course but we'll let that pass). And I am lucky enough to be within striking distance of some of the most beautiful scenery I've ever seen. It's inspiring.

P-Con starts tonight and I'm really looking forward to it. Who else is going along? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Also May Queen has been making its way out into the world but is exciting. I'm generally a bit of a nervous wreck so anything that might calm me down is good. Looking at pretty places (even briefly from the window of a car) does that.

I came across some super posts this week so thought I'd share.

Juliet E. McKenna on Women in Fantasy, guestblogging on jpsorrow 's LJ
Juliette Wade on Description in fantasy
Larry Brooks on The Pantser's Guide to Story Planning (It's a two parter, the link to part 2 is at the bottom)

Some great reading there.


Research... honest...

I needed some really hot diddly-eye music. Think I found it.

I love that tune. Especially part 2 which is what I was referencing in the story. But Sharon's solo at the beginning is so beautiful.


So, for Saint Patrick's day I put some photos of our Knocksink Woods walk together with some good ol' diddly-eye. It's a beautiful place, and strongly caputres the landscapes that inspired my forthcoming novel "Soul Fire".

Happy Saint Patrick's Day, everyone.

A load of Blarney

Meeting on the Turret Square
We had a lovely weekend in Cork. A trip to Inchidonny Strand and Clonakilty on Friday, a beautiful meal in the Liberty Grill on Friday Night, shopping on Saturday and Blarney Castle on Sunday.

Yes, I kissed the Blarney Stone.

Or more accurately I kissed somewhere in the vicinity of the Blarney Stone as I don't see too well without glasses and my eyes clampled shut as I hang upside down off the top of a 14th Century ruin with a lad holding my legs while his mate takes a photo.

Who does?

No, I didn't buy the photo either.

But it was a wonderful day out. The Rock Close gardens were incredible. So here are a couple of pictures (when I can add them). Hang on a sec... 
 Inchedonney Strand
 Window at Blarney Castle
 Blarney Castle. On the front (left hand side of picture, at the top, you can just about make out the iron railings. This is where the Blarney Stone is. On the top of the battlements, you lie on your back and lower yourself out to grap the inner rails while an "official" (read lad) holds your legs. It all looks a bit odd, but imagine sticking your upper body, backwards down a medieval castle toilet. No, not scary at all. Honest!
 Just past the tunnel entrance to the Rock Close, this tree appears to have grown out of the rocks. The same think happened over the cave called The Witch's Kitchen, but my photos are too dark. Gorgeous, atmospheric place though.
 The Dolmen
 The Rock Close. See what I mean? :D


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August 2012



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