Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The World I Used To Know

I have been in the UK for a week now.  So much has changed in the last 14 years...I barely recognize London, with all its new modern glass-enshrouded buildings.  Even the Tower of London has changed.  There are parts of the various towers which are now open, closed on my prior visits, and the White Tower is filled with exhibits, and not just a place to wander about and seek history on one's own, but a carefully laid out tour, as well as a place in which garbed historical recreationists wander, trying to bring a sense of history to the various tourists.

It was in one of the rooms of the White Tower that I happened to run into one of my readers, a very nice, very tall young man called Simon, who was as surprised to run into his favorite author as I was surprised and delighted to find such a dedicated fan.

As a dedicated reader and fan myself of many authors, I had made various pilgrimages myself in the prior few days, first to the grave of J. R. R. Tolkien in Oxford, then to Shakespeare's birthplace in Stratford and various other sites associated with his life.  I also had the rare privilege of seeing David Tennant perform in Richard II, a fantastic production with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Today is a day of rest, and tomorrow I head to Brighton for the World Fantasy Convention.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Ten Days and Counting

Ten days from now I will be boarding the airplane.  Ten days from now I will be all packed, all sorted out and ready for the trip to the UK for three weeks of research, fun and most important, the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton, England, where I will be doing readings from my novels on Thursday, 31 October from 3:30 - 4:00 PM at the wonderful Hotel Metropole at which the convention is being held.

It has been nearly twenty years since last I saw Brighton, and the friends I visited there have long since passed on, but I remember the place as clearly as if it were yesterday.  I can still feel the sharp cut of the wind off the ocean and smell the salt air.  Lovely place, Brighton.  I do hope I get to see some of it besides the hotel, but then there is a lot more to this trip than the 5 days in the Hotel.

And there is a lot to do before I leave.  I still have things to write, lists to make, clothes to sort, and cats to cajole into being good while we're gone, and I think the toughest part of the trip is going to be not having them around.  We have someone staying at the house to feed them and watch them and everything else while we're away, and I even plan to do the morning ritual on tape so she can play it to them before they are let outside to play.

It is called "The Good Sweet", from the opening line in which they are admonished:
Be good, be sweet.  Stay out of the street.  Don't go near anything with a mouth bigger than yours.  Don't go near anything with claws bigger than yours.  Don't get into anyone's house or garage or patio or storage area or trash cans or boxes.  Don't get into anyone's car or van or motorhome or mobile home or truck or trailer or boat.  Don't go near anything with a motor or an engine or anything than makes a loud noise. Don't let anyone you don't know pick you up.  Don't take food from anyone you don't know.  Don't eat bees; don't eat spiders; don't eat lizards; don't eat birdies.  Don't bring bee or spiders or lizards or birdies into the house.  Leave the creeping, crawling, flying things alone.  No fighting, keep your fur clean, and most of all know I love each and every one of you very, very , very much....and come home when you are called.

Pretty good advice for anyone.  I hope they listen to it, even if it's a disembodied voice on a tape recorder.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Across The Pond



Less than 4 weeks to go until I board the Virgin Atlantic flight for Heathrow Airport.  Less than 4 weeks to go before I have to figure out what and how to pack for a nearly 3 week stay in the United Kingdom.  Truth be told, I am highly excited by the prospect of this trip, as it has been more than 14 years since my last visit, and I am much in need of the sights and sounds of the place and of walking old streets and pathways as I research the next novels.

Besides research, which will take me from Stratford Upon Avon to London and probably Glastonbury once again, I will be attending the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton and doing readings from my books on Thursday, 31 October from 4:00 to 4:30 PM.  Looking forward to meeting other authors in my genre and readers thereof, going to the awards banquet, and all such a wonderful convention entails.

And then there is Stratford!  I have long wanted to see the home of William Shakespeare, and this will be the perfect time, for friends of mine managed to get seats for us to see David Tennant in Richard II, a play rich on texture and in plot, filled with history (albeit weighted politically by the Bard) and the splendour of the times.  What an inspiration to see it in that setting.  My Muse will be working overtime collecting notes from which to prod me later.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

WonderCon

I am so excited about this coming weekend  I will be signing my novels, all 9 of them, at WonderCon on Saturday  March 30 from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the Greater Los Angeles Writers' Society booth, 1022 at the Anaheim Convention Center.  Such a great opportunity to meet and greet people and to make new friend.  Last year's WonderCon was a fabulous experience and I know this year's will be even better.

Right now I am working on the guided meditations for the Tarot of the Sword and the Rose, which I hope to have not only as a part of the book that will go with the Tarot deck, but also as an audio CD set.  The cards are in the very capable and talented hands of Holly DeFount, a marvelous artist, who is illustrating them from my written descriptions.  It takes time and a lot of work to illustrate 78 cards and the back of them, but we hope to have the deck finished by late 2014 or early 2015.

Meanwhile I am preparing for my journey to Brighton, England for the World Fantasy Convention this coming October.  I will have the chance to do a lot of research while I am over there, and I foresee Dubhghall having several more adventure throughout history, at least one in the Elizabethan Age and one in the Victorian Age, and probably a whole lot more.  Remember, he has said that he has lived so long he may not remember all his adventures in the order of them happening, just as you or I do not necessarily recall our lives in linear sequence.

As for The Lads, as I am wont to call the King and his Knight and the other members of the Companions, will they be back?  Perhaps.  They have been chattering in the background recently, though not loudly enough for me to hear more than murmurs.  There are stories yet to tell of lives lived between the books in the Glastonbury Chronicles, stories only partially recounted in flashback or recounted in part by Dubhghall.  And  then there are the Glastonbury Archives, peripheral accounts and such.  The Tarot of the Sword and the Rose is one such work, as the Tarot was mentioned in some of the books and will be recreated in full.  There is at least one journal, a page of which was included in an earlier work, and more, stories by others, including Dames of the Order, all of which round out the true history of he Order of the Sword and the Rose and those who have created it and kept it alive for all these millennia.  

What else?  Well, that is for them to know and me to find out!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

78 Card Pick-Up

OK, I have been absent from the blogosphere.

Sorry.

I have been beset by 2 things since the end of November: the flu, which despite  vaccinations for both it and pneumonia (the latter which I seem to barely have avoided by the sweet intervention of Kaiser Permanente, which in its good graces did not let me put off coming in to see a doctor) has laid me low off and on since the first day of Loscon, and the blessed persistence of my Muse.

After more than two decades, my part in producing a new Tarot deck has gone to the next step: the artist.

I was fortunate enough to meet my counterpart, the wonderful Holly DeFount, at Pantheacon over Presidents' Day Weekend in San Jose, California.  My publisher, Peter Paddon of Pendraig Publishing had decided we were a match and within days of my sending the written versions of the cards to him, he had transmitted the same to her.  She is presently soaking up all nine of the so-far published novels of The Glastonbury Chronicles and  Tales of the Dearg-Sidhe in preparation for the harrowing task of actually illustrating them.  The Tarot of the Sword and Rose will take a couple of years to illustrate, but I am so very excited at the prospect of actually sitting down with them in my hands to do a reading, I am willing to wait as long as it takes.

A little background:

I started the deck before I started the books, but not long before, based upon the experiences I have had as a Tarot  reader since 1967 and the tradition my spiritual path has followed.  When the books began to manifest in the early 1990s, it became plain that the two dovetailed and that as the unconscious backgrounds of the tradition fed the novels, so did the novels bring forth the symbolism necessary for the cards.  They are based upon a pan-Celtic mythology, folklore of the British Isles, history, and characters and situations in the novels.  I had put even the notion of doing the deck for years until in Volume IV of The Glastonbury Chronicles, "The Rose Above The Sword", the tarot cards manifested and became an important plot device, a manner in which forbidden history, lore and religion could be kept alive in symbols which only a few could read and pass down through the generations until it was possible for them to resurface to the public.

For several weeks between my appearance at Loscon and Pantheacon I was awakened in the middle of the night with symbols, pictures and instructions from that same Dark Muse who regularly rouses me from sleep to write the novels, only this time it was in a frenzy with some deadline I did not understand...the deadline which turned out to be getting them to Peter in tome for him to get them to Holly so we could meet at Panntheacon.

Now that the actual descriptive writing is done, I have a bit of leisure during which I plan to do a series of pathworkings or guided meditations to go with the major arcana, hopefully to  be released as a set of CDs to go with the cards and their book.  I have a lot of time, so the rush is not going to be nearly as intense.  The first one is already finished...only 77 to go.

Meanwhile, Mercury is retrograde, I am still recovering from the flu that the flu shot did not seem to cover, and I need to get some sleep.

Be well, all.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

LOSCON 39

It's that time of year once again...not just the Holidays, but LOSCON, one of my favourite ways to spend a weekend recovering from the publication of a new novel.  Nine novels in three years.  Probably not a world record, but as good excuse as any for not keeping up this blog.

LOSCON 39 will find me this Thanksgiving weekend once more happily avoiding Turkey leftovers and rubbing shoulders with fellow Science Fiction, Science Fact and Fantasy authors and enthusiasts.  This time I have been scheduled for three panels, the first at 2:30 PM on Friday on Alternate History, a subject dear to my plot lines.  Saturday at 10 AM will find me with author Maggie Secara and story teller Robert Seutter and others on the panel being run by Krypton Radio to launch their new show, "The Event Horizon".  Sunday's panel is at 11:30 AM and is on the intriguing subject of Shakespeare's influence on Fantasy and Science Fiction.

There will be an autograph session at 4 PM on Saturday, and hopefully I will be throwing a Champagne book-launch party Friday evening for my latest, Volume VI of The Glastonbury Chronicles: "The Barley and the Rose".  The Champagne is already on ice.

All in all I hope to see many of you there.  It will be a lot of fun, and for that and so many other things, I am truly thankful.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Transit of Bradbury

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to be among the throng of enthusiasts who had braved traffic and lack of sufficient parking to view the Transit of Venus across the Sun at the Griffith Park Observatory.  My husband and I spent the afternoon watching through a telescope fellow author Karen Anderson had brought with her, and helped her entertain the lines of folks who were eager to catch a glimpse of this rare phenomenon from the far reaches of the parking lot, even before they made it to the lawn and the viewing areas at the Observatory proper. 

Venus, on its way from being the Evening Star to the Morning Star, usually the brightest object in the sky after the Sun and the Moon, was a tiny black dot against the white disc of the Sun, larger than the freckle-like sunspots which also showed up through the  filter, but very tiny, indeed...a marvelous light eclipsing the sun, yet its own light, merely a reflection of the Sun, being eclipsed by it...only a tiny shadow, yet a piece of rock not much smaller than the size of Earth.  It was enough to put many things into perspective. 

It was an event we would not see again, as it occurs so rarely.

This morning I was awakened to the blare of the clock-radio blasting the news that author Ray Bradbury had died, and that too, put things into perspective.

Ray Bradbury was one of my heroes.  My high school and college years were made more precious by the reading of his tales, from the cautionary "Fahrenheit 451" (through which I learned the combustion point of paper and must have saved myself from countless kitchen fires by remembering to set the oven at a point well below that if I were baking cupcakes) to the dark and well-loved "Something Wicked This Way Comes", to the much-touted "Martian Chronicles".  I grew up with Bradbury, reaffirmed my own imagination by reading the products of his.  It was he, as much as Robert Heinlein, who made me believe I had a story to tell and that writing was what I really wanted to do, writing in that field of speculative fiction which often transverses science fiction and fantasy and yet which leaves the reader with a feeling that there is more to the story than has been told and challenges him or her to seek out that truth.

I was not fortunate enough to have met Robert Heinlein, but Ray Bradbury spoke a few years back at a local library and I would not have missed that for the world.  Speaking for a few moments with him at the end of the lecture were magical...the tangible, physical evidence for all the words on all the pages which I had consumed so avidly in my teen years and beyond.

And somehow it feels fitting he should leave us during the transit of Venus, the same way Mark Twain left this world during the return of Halley's Comet...both bright fixtures of the literary world, lights whose like  we will not see again in the near future.