28 December 2003
Merry Christmas/Happy Litha/Yule or whatever you choose to celebrate. I’m quite happy to combine them all. I went to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, but ended up at a Portuguese language Mass (I don’t speak a word of Portuguese!) The best thing about it was the priest, who was incredibly animated. One of life’s little adventures.
I got some very nice presents. David bought me a huge deer antler and a lovely old bell for my altar. I also got some fantastic research books for my latest book, a great witch calendar, Decleor skincare, heaps of money (I feel quite loaded now). It was a great Christmas, but it was stinking hot in Sydney. I could hardly eat Christmas dinner. I sure have made up for that! This time of year I treat myself with the foods I normally ban all year which means bring on the cheese, butter and carbohydrates. I made heaps of magic chocolate crackles for my friends to bring out the inner child in us all.
We’ve watched some excellent movies over the break –
I Married a Witch with Veronica Lake is a great old classic and heaps of fun; Gothic with Julian Sands playing Shelley. We had both watched this film in the past, but it was better the second time around. Who can forget the scene when the tits sprout eyes? My very favourite, however, was a movie by Neil Jordan and written by Angela Carter called The Company of Wolves, based on the Red Riding Hood story, from two short stories of Angela Carter. If, like me, you love dark fairy tale films I implore you to do anything you can to get your hands on this film. It is brilliant. The imagery, the fairy tale setting. It’s so bloody creepy and sensual and oh, just about my favourite film ever! It’s filled with great lines like, “Never go off the path”, “The sweetest mouths have the sharpest teeth” and “the most dangerous wolves are hairy on the inside”. God, it’s so great. Along with Jean Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast it is my favourite film.
I’ve just found out that I’m going to be appearing at the next speculative fiction day at the NSW Writers’ Centre at Rozelle (Sydney). They’ve moved it forward this year. I’m going to be on two panels and help judge the flash fiction competition. Hope loads of you will come along and support it. I’ll give more details when it’s nearer the date.
There’s been a few updates to the site. Finally! My Book Club has some new books I’ve enjoyed and I’ve added my Research notes for Bride of the Stone to the Books section, for your pleasure.
Thanks for visiting me. May the moon and the night bring you creative passion and joy.
10 December 2003
I’m back from Melbourne and happy to report that my short story Hail Mary won two awards, The Kerry Greenwood Prize and third prize in the Scarlet Stiletto. This means I’ve entered the Scarlet Stiletto for four years and won 1st, 2nd, third, a highly commended and the Kerry Greenwood. The competition is intense with some very strong writers, so to even short list every year is amazing. I already have my ideas for three stories next year.
I had a great day and night in Melbourne, although I had to spend the day in my motel doing the edit for A Fire in the Shell. I stay at the Cabana Court Motel in St Kilda which I can recommend as a very cozy and clean apartment, in walking distance to the beach and reasonably priced. The woman in charge knows me by now and she is a crime reader and I always enjoy seeing her. She actually told me an incredible story which happened to her sister which she thought would make a good book. I get told stories like this a lot, but this story was truly amazing and I would really like to do something with it.
The awards themselves are held at Leo’s Spaghetti Bar in St Kilda. I had a great night with my Sisters in Crime. My edit is now complete. I finished it at 3am on Monday night and I felt very melancholy as I was doing the final checks. So much of my life went into the books, and I felt as if I really wanted to return to Eronth in the future. I am sure there are many more stories I could tell set in my invented worlds and I would really like to find out what happened next…however, I know now is not the time. The next book is definitely the French supernatural; it’s obsessing me!
Can you believe Yule is fourteen days away?
01 December 2003
It’s been a very busy time lately. Saturday was the annual Sassy Awards, which is an event all Selwa’s writers look forward to if they’re able to attend. Not only is it a good chance to meet up with fellow writers, there are many inspiring talks by a wide variety of interesting people. A few times during the day I had to pinch myself when I looked around the room at some of the faces.
The day is taken up with talks. Some of the stand-out ones: Gail Bell describing her experience when she was shot – I can’t wait to read that book. Sue Williams spoke about her her time with Father Chris Riley and her forthcoming book about Peter Falconio and Johanna Lees. Bunty Avieson talked about her time in Bhutan with a new baby. Frank Coates, who has written a novel set in Africa, showed us his cooking pot full of hyena tooth-holes. Kim Wilkins had me, Traci Harding and Mo in tears describing the effect motherhood had on her writing.
Later that night everybody gets glammed up and we have the dinner and awards. I was very excited to receive a Sassy award. I had no idea that I was a possibility and when I heard my name called out nearly fainted. My award was for having a Positive Attitude and uplifting people around me and enduring through hardship. It’s a beautiful trophy and I’m very thrilled to have won a Sassy. It means an awful lot to have that recognition from Selwa. The author/actress Judy Nunn presented it to me. I took loads of photos of the night and when I get them back, I’ll put them on the website.
In other news, David’s book he is working on with Brian is going to be released in September next year, in time for Father’s Day. So keep your eye out for it, if you’re looking for a present!
I found out today, I’ve been shortlisted for the annual Scarlet Stiletto Award for crime writing. This is the fourth consecutive year I’ve been shortlisted, an incredible honour. I’ll be flying to Melbourne on Friday to attend the award ceremony, so keep your fingers crossed for me! Unlike other Australian awards, the Scarlet Stiletto is judged anonymously, and so isn’t contaminated by prejudice or favouritism. It will be nice to see my sisters in crime again, they are a very cool bunch.
My father is planting a peony rose bush over Brownie, as that is her favourite flower. We still miss her dreadfully. I’ve set up my altar to her and I’m doing a 40 day mourning period as the Greeks do.
Busy, busy with a very tight deadline for my final edit for A Fire in the Shell. This is an exciting edit because you get to see it all typeset and you realise it’s going to be a book. I can honestly say that this is my very favourite out of all the books. Back to the edit now…
23 November 2003
I received some very sad news last night. David and I have just returned from three days in Tasmania. We had gone there to see my old dog Brownie, who had recently gone blind, also to see my much loved grandfather who had just had his leg amputated and to visit my sister Catherine, whose eyesight has been affected with the condition Retinitis Pigmentosa. Our trip was quite good. It was sad to see Brownie who was having difficulty walking, but she was as sweet and good natured as ever. My sister was in great shape and spirits and my grandfather also coping well. We managed to fit in a walk around the lake of Oatlands which has filled up with water, visited a couple of my favourite cemeteries, and the new automated mill which has a sinister/cheesy automated voicebox complete with the sound of children skipping. My parents are living on a peaceful farm whilst they are househunting, with views of sheep grazing as you shower and what seems to be hundreds of echnidas.
It’s always hard to return to Sydney after Tasmania. I’m a country girl at heart and could easily live in an isolated part of Tasmania writing. The countryside in the midlands reminds me in parts of Bronte territory with gum trees. David, however, is Sydney born and bred and a lot of his work is here. We came back to Sydney on Wednesday, and last night Saturday we had our usual curry and old film. After the movie, David told me he had some news and he didn’t know how to say it. Brownie was dead.
Although I knew when I saw her, she didn’t have a lot of time left, and I’ve been preparing myself for her death for years, it was an enormous shock. She was my most loyal, faithful friend. I don’t have a lot of friends; many acquaintances, but very few friends, and I always classed my lady as one. I do believe she waited for me to go and see her before she left us. After I left, she took to her basket and her legs gave out and my parents took her to the vet yesterday and they gave her the needle to put her to sleep. I haven’t stopped crying. I share so many memories with her. It was a privilege to have known her. I had a dream once that she was a very advanced soul, who incarnated to help me through my lonely times. All I know is she was a pure spirit who was always true. My father buried her on Burbery’s Hill where she had many splendid walks, and where we all shared a magic walk together one day when Alfie saw and chased his first flock of sheep. Some people might think she was just an old dog and it’s silly to work myself up so much. They’re not people I’m likely to have much in common with. I do have some other writing news, but I’ll probably put that up in the next couple of days.
Here’s a few lines from Edna St Vincent Millay: Dirge Without Music that sums up how I feel.
Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave,
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.
11 November 2003
I was awake to the wee hours finishing off my edit for A Fire in the Shell and the courier collected it today. The ms looked very pretty with all its coloured stick-ons with my comments attached. I feel like collapsing now. David had the excellent news that the book he worked on with Brian Wadpole sold to the ABC. This will be his first published book and it’s just great to think Brian’s story is going to be out next year. He didn’t have too long to celebrate because he’s been sick with the flu, which I’m fighting off as well.
A good day today. I could finally relax a bit after the last fortnight pressure of editing. I took myself off to the movies and saw Pirates of the Caribbean today, which was excellent. So much fun! I adored the little monkey and I thought Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush were fantastic in their parts. I really want to run off to sea and become a pirate now. Then two books I had ordered from Amazon arrived, one on Charlotte Bronte and the other was Mirror, Mirror: Women Writers’ Discuss their Favourite Fairytales.
Next week we are flying to Tasmania for a few days to see my family and catch up with my old dog Brownie before Christmas. Cough, cough, I cannot get sick. I will not get sick. If you’ve been waiting on an email from me, now is the time you will probably hear back.
03 November 2003
If you live in Sydney and you got the Sun Herald, David had an article published in the travel section about our trip to Venice, complete with photographs from our trip. Aaah Venezia…
31 October 2003
All Hallow’s Eve –
Happy Sahmain/Beltane (or whichever festival you choose to celebrate).
This is my favourite month and time of the year. This time last year I was in magical Cornwall with all the pumpkins glowing in the whitewashed cottages. What a lovely memory. Smuchie and I share a birthday this month. She is sporting a snazzy purple collar and I’m a bit heavier from gorging on all my favourite food. My presents included a t-shirt from one of my favourite shops, Faster Pussycat, an Anne Rice book, an echidna figurine and an old copy of Terror Australis. I spent the day researching for my new supernatural series, doing a birthday ritual, and then a courier arrived from Simon & Schuster with the edit for A Fire in the Shell. Brilliant news this week. I found out that Circle of Nine had been listed in The Year’s Best Horror and Fantasy edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling (the fifteenth edition, 2001). Circle was listed as one of the impressive debut novels. I cannot tell you how excited this news made me feel as Terri Windling is a goddess to me and has been a total inspiration over the years. To think she held my book in her hands filled with incredible awe and joy. It’s quite an achievement to make this list because it includes US and UK markets. So I was on cloud nine all week. They mentioned the high quality of books coming out of Australia which is great for all of us Aussie genre writers. Finding out I had made that list was a terrific birthday present.
The wonderful folk at the UK site The Eternal Night did a couple of lovely reviews of my books which I shall post in the reviews section if you’re interested.
In the next few weeks, I’m off to Tasmania for a few days to catch up with Brownie and my family before Christmas.
My bloody eyes are aching again. I’ve just been reading so many research books. I read about seven in three weeks. Scenes for the book are sliding into my mind at the oddest times. My agent has asked for three chapters as quickly as I can get them to her.
David’s landed a casual job subediting a car magazine. Yay! Just in time for the bills, and now we can afford to go to the annual Sassy Night.
Life is good.
Our animals remain as cheeky as ever. This week at 5am there was a cat fight outside my window. I woke up to Smuchie perched at the window, like the village gossip following the action and Alfie got himself a grandstand view by perching on top of my head.
I’m off to walk the dog. Read both mine and David’s tarot cards, do a ritual to honour my ancestors. Will probably end up watching The Wicker Man for the millionth time. Yes, I know that most Southern folk are celebrating Beltane, but for a number of reasons I celebrate Samhain tonight.
One of the dead I will honour tonight is the late Cassandra Carter. She wrote a quirky wise book called Everyday Magic. I always meant to write and tell her how much I loved her book, but never got around to it. Tonight when the veils are thinnest, I will have to communicate my message to her spirit. Regret and the dead are always intertwined.
May your ancestors sleep peacefully.
6 October 2003
Today is the day Alfred, Lord Tennyson died. To pay him homage here is one of his poems. May the great one sleep peacefully.
THE SLEEPING HOUSE
I heard no sound where I stood
But the rivulet on from the lawn
Running down to my own dark wood;
Or the voice of the long sea-wave as it swell’d
Now and then in the dim-grey dawn;
But I look’d and around, all round the house I beheld
The death-white curtains drawn;
Felt a horror over me creep,
Prickle my skin and catch my breath,
Knew that the death-white curtain meant but sleep,
Yet I shudder’d and thought like a fool of the sleep of death.
5 October 2003
The last few days I’ve been busy reading David’s book which will be sent off to our agent tomorrow. It is a luxury having a partner who is also a writer as we are handy editors for each other. Both of us are happy to drop our own work to read for the other. It’s actually a book he edited for a veteran and is the most thrilling story you could imagine. I can really see Russell Crowe and Mel Gibson slugging it out to play the lead. Can’t really say too much about it at the moment, except it is the true life experiences of an amazing man amongst the Headhunters of Borneo in WWII. I’ll keep you posted on updates. David spent this rainy Sunday afternoon cracking up in front of a movie on killer rabbits on the pay channel. Big fluffy bunnies with blood dripping from their mouth just aint menacing I’m afraid. I’ve also been flat out researching for my new book. I did run my ideas past my agent and she seemed to like them, so that’s the first step. I have become so caught up in the world I’m researching (17th century France) that when I’m walking down the street I sometimes panic because I think I might have forgotten to dress myself! Titles for all three books I have planned just slid into my mind the other day which is the first time that has happened to me with my novels. Normally I have to work for titles of my books. Short story titles seem to come to me a lot easier.
23 September 2003
How I love Spring! There really is something magical about the smell of spring – all those cliches come to life. Growth, fertility, promise of better things. We’ve really embraced the season this year. Had a massive spring clean, thrown out heaps of books, records, old magazines. We’ve been busy planting heaps of seedlings in our courtyard garden and turning that into a ritual for creativity.
Magic Casements was a lot of fun. Kate is always inspirational and Gillian was fascinating and a delight to meet. A Fire in the Shell is still with the editors at S&S and I’ve been busy writing a couple of short stories and working on some old poems and articles. I’ve also started some pretty heavy duty research for my new historical book. I’ve been reading lots of letters from the 17th century. It’s always a sobering experience to read the private correspondence of someone who lived centuries ago. To touch minds across time, and see how similar we are – and how different. Research is always one of my favourite parts of writing. All that potential and possibility. Just like spring.
Hope your reading or writing is taking you into enchanted worlds.
Thanks for visiting.
Talking about my writing at Leichhardt Library (with Kate Forsyth).
Tuesday 9th September 6.30pm.
Address – The Forum, Norton Street, Leichhardt (Sydney).
Magic Casements: A Festival Of Speculative Fiction
Panel topic Magic, Sorcery, Wizardry and the Spirit World. With writers Kate Forsyth & Gillian Polack.
Saturday 13 September (my panel 1.30-2.45pm)
NSW Writers’ Centre, Rozelle (Sydney) Full info, program at their website.
31 August 2003
Wow, for the hermit crab that I am, I seem to be making the media a bit lately. A feature on politician Amanda Vanstone in this Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald Good Weekend supplement has with a photo of a student holding a burning placard of Amanda, protesting rising university fees. I am that student! My friend Annie is to my right. We laughed when we saw it this weekend. That shot was taken about 7 years ago and I am so skinny! I can remember trying to light the effigy and the lighter wouldn’t work. As soon as I started burning her, photographers sprang from everywhere. I’m going to try to order copies for us as it’s a classic shot and good memory of when we were rebel art students. Those were the days…
Hasn’t Mars been incredible this week? We’ve had the telescope out in the backyard everynight watching her. It’s thrilling to see a planet so close that we can view it even in the inner city with our naked eye. My poor Smuchi got Mars madness however and kept us all awake by climbing a tree, refusing to come down and yowling to the moon half the night. Smuchi has worked out how to get me up of a morning to feed her. One claw hooked out and placed in my cheek is guaranteed to produce a reaction. She inflicts pain so daintily.
Thanks for visiting me,
26 August 2003
We survived the wild tempest on Sunday. 12 hours of gale force winds, 30 000 houses in Sydney left with no power and over 1000 trees uprooted. Now it’s all sunshine, lollipops and lazy blue skies.
Sunday was also the day David’s article on our monster hunting expedition to Loch Ness appeared in the Sun Herald travel section. They did a very nice job of the layout, and used David’s headline Weird Ness.
Drumroll – I’m nearly through this edit. Up to page 400 today and the end is in sight. By the end of this week A Fire in the Shell will be back with the publishers so their editors can go through it.
I met one of my heroes this week and made the news. The ex-Mayor of New York Rudolph Giuliani was in town promoting his book Leadership. I stood in a line with hundreds of people and a tv crew asked me why I liked him. If you saw the segment on the news I was the blonde who said she wouldn’t bother coming out for a sports person or a cricket star or a celebrity blah blah. I was amazed at the amount of people who saw that item. I had emails and phone calls from around Australia including people I haven’t worked with for years. The security as you can imagine was pretty tight. You couldn’t carry your handbag up to him. He really is an amazing human being. If I had to describe him in one word it would be “steely.” He shook my hand and I went around rubbing peoples’ hands all day to give them good Giuliani energy. Don’t mean to rave so much but I really like the man!
My friend and website designer Rhondda now has her own website up and running. Check it out if you’re interested or would like her to design a site for you. Rhondda is one of the most interesting, talented women I know. I met her through David when they both worked at SBS-TV. We share an unhealthy interest in ghoulies, Buffy and graveyards.
The new Witchcraft magazine is out, with a lovely review of Bride of the Stone, which I’ve added to my website review section. I love that magazine, they have so many interesting articles. This issue has an interview with Toshba Learner who wrote The Witch of Cologne.
When I have a spare minute I’ve been reading The Cutting by Lee Tulloch which I’m really enjoying. I think she suits this genre, she has developed some very eccentric characters.
We caught up with the Charles Conder exhibition on its final day which was great. Disappointed the Pre Raphaelite show is not coming to Sydney but very nice for WA people that they will see these great works. I have seen them all before in England but when it comes to the Raphs I’m insatiable!
We had a lovely day out a couple of weeks ago and treated ourselves to a day at Waverley Cemetery which is near Bronte beach. This cemetery has a spectacular coastal location with some interesting graves. Two enormous crows followed us around and posed for photographs. Somehow it lacks atmosphere to me; beaches and blue skies just don’t do it. Every minute a toned man or woman would jog past, or do push-ups or tai chai. We took heaps of photos. If you came from overseas you would love it. Have you seen my new Graveyard photos section? There are many more cemeteries I’ve been to, but I don’t have the space to put them up.
If you’re writing, I hope your muse is with you. As Kipling said about his muse – watch, wait and obey.
Thanks for dropping in.
Bright Blessings – Josephine
12 August 2003
Just to let you know I’m appearing with Kate Forsyth at Leichhardt Library Tuesday 9th September 6.30pm to talk about our work. It’s located at the Forum on Norton Street, Leichhardt (Sydney). I’m sure more details are available from the library.
I got my programme for the Magic Casements Festival today and there are some really interesting talks happening. If you’re a reader or writer of speculative fiction please come along and support it on 13 September. It will become an annual event if it’s a success.
How good was Buffy? Can’t help myself, I have to mention it. I felt as if I could do anything after watching the final show. Just fabulous television. I was on the edge of my seat cheering, clapping and crying. So happy that Andrew survived, but sad about those who didn’t. Thank you Joss, writers, actors, editors, extras, janitors. Thank you Buffy for saving the world a lot.
Bright Blessings, Josephine
8 August 2003
An interview I did for the UK website Eternal Night is now online. Just click on the link if you’d like to read it. My photo section is updated with a new picture of my Smuchi girl, and also two shots from the Buffy Convention I spoke at recently. I met Danny Strong and Tom Lenk who play Super Villains Jonathan and Andrew, and couldn’t resist putting their pictures up! I cannot believe Monday night is the final night of Buffy (in Australia anyway). We’re having a big night in to watch it. I’ve loved that show so much over the years. I’m going to be inconsolable!
Thanks for coming to visit.
3 August 2003
Hope you had a great Candlemas/Imbolc. I prefer to call it Candlemas as it’s a pretty name and I don’t have a problem with the church connotation. I performed a good little joyful ritual for creativity in which a lot of spontaneous things happened.
This week I was invited to give a talk at Magic Casements: A Festival Of Speculative Fiction on 13 September. I’m on a panel with Gillian Polack and Kate Forsyth. The topic is Magic, Sorcery, Wizardry and the Spirit World. More details closer to the date. Hope to see you there.
Date: Saturday 13 September 2003
Place: New South Wales Writers’ Centre, Sydney (in the grounds of Rozelle Hospital off Balmain Rd, Rozelle – for more detailed directions and info check their website).
22 June 2003
Happy Winter Solstice. I was thinking last night about the significance of the solstice after I completed my ritual and how even from the most bitter, darkest night the light and joy will return. So to any of you who may be suffering from the slings, arrows and disappointments of this world, then hang in there. The light at the end of the tunnel may not be a train, but the dawn of the sun.
I wish it was colder. I want snow, winds, a tempest! The Buffy talk is now behind me. It was a lot of fun and I’ve had some great feedback from the day. Very gradually I’m overcoming my horror of public speaking, helped along by vials of Bergamot essential oil and Rescue Remedy. The highlight of the day had to be meeting Danny and Tom who play Jonathon and Andrew on the show. It was brilliant to meet the two actors who have made me laugh so much every time they’re on screen They certainly didn’t match my stereotypical thoughts of how two American actors from a top rating show would be. They were both witty, sweet and intelligent. I loved the fact they both gave full credit to the show’s success to the amazing team of writers. They signed my poster of Circle of Nine, posed for photographs, took my business card and promised if they ever run into Joss Whedon they would mention me if he was looking for new writers. You never know… extraordinary things can happen when you least expect it. That’s what I love about my script of life, how quickly life can change.
David and I had a research trip to the Blue Mountains to ensure all the details for A Fire in the Shell were accurate. So strange to see the mountains again and walk the same trails I walked for a year. The bush was as sinister and beautiful as I remembered and we’ve always enjoyed browsing the bookshops and antique shops in Katoomba.
I’ve spent a small fortune on Amazon recently for research books for an upcoming book which is a historical dark fantasy. This is still very much in the early dreaming stages.
I’ve finally sent A Fire in the Shell to the publishers. Felt quite empty when I posted her and walked away. It’s difficult to let go of them sometimes. I spent an agonising four hours printing her out as the printer wasn’t working properly and page by page had to be fed through by hand. All 500 of them. I felt melancholy and sad for weeks afterwards after she went to the publishers. I had no energy for housework, small talk, or dreams.
Have begun getting ideas for some short stories and articles. I’m also working on a combined YA book with David. Characters are evolving very quickly and introducing themselves loudly. One told us she was Chinese, which was news to us both. I find that side of the writing process enormously exciting.
Hope your Winter Solstice was fun. Thanks again to the kind folk who have kept my spirits high with their feedback on the books. Your words mean everything. I was given a great spread by the Examiner newspaper. Full page and no misquotes. It can be very hard for a woman working in dark fantasy to get any recognition in this country. That’s why despite the nauseating hype from the suits around J.K Rowling I dip my head in gratitude to her. Hopefully it will mean change for all genre writers.
If you’re writing, don’t give up on your craft. I know how elements of it can be alienating, and wounding. Endure the disappointments and rejections and never lose your hope in the endless cold night. There is always light.
12 May 2003
Big news for me – I have been asked by the Friends of Science Fiction to present a talk on my books at the FSF Convention on Saturday 17th May. My talk is at 11am. Special guests for the day are Danny Strong and Tom Lenk from Buffy The Vampire Slayer – they play the ‘geeks’ Jonathan and Andrew. As a long-time fan of Buffy and Angel I am thrilled to be a part of the event. If you’re interested in attending you had best move quick as tickets are selling fast. More details can be found at the FSF website http://www.fsf.com.au.
I also did an interview with the Examiner newspaper (Tasmania) which should appear over the same weekend. So if you live down south please keep an eye out!
In response to the readers who have written to me asking if I send signed bookplates, I certainly do. Please don’t send the books to me; just email or post me your postal details and I’ll send one out to you. There will be some updates on the website soon. I’ll change the book review section and put some research notes up for Bride of the Stone. Thanks for dropping in to visit me. Bright Blessings, Josephine.
FSF Convention: 17 May 2003. Lidcombe Catholic Workmen’s Club, 24 John St Lidcombe (Sydney) NSW, just opposite Lidcombe railway station.
24 March 2003
I will be at Infinitas Science Fiction & Fantasy Bookshop in Parramatta, joining in a discussion on Fantasy and Witchcraft on Thursday April 3rd, starting between 7.00 – 7.30 pm. So if you have an interest in either of these topics, it would be great to meet you. I shall be signing copies of Bride of the Stone. Infinitas is at Shop 5 No 1 Horwood Place, Parramatta. It’s very near the train station. For more details phone (02) 9633 5682 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. See you there!
18 February 2003
The advance copy of Bride of the Stone arrived today! I was just as emotional on first seeing it as I was when Circle of Nine arrived. Very hard to concentrate on editing A Fire in the Shell today. I just kept picking up Bride, leafing through it (and smelling it – I just love the smell of new books!). Bride of the Stone should be in the shops by early March. I’ll send a note to you folks on my mailing list when it’s out. Saw One Hour Photo this morning, a remarkable study of loneliness and alienation. Robin Williams’ performance is outstanding. Oh well…back to the edit.
We’ve just returned from the best overseas trip of my life!I got heaps of research notes and I am filled with ideas, enough for at least 73 books! We went to Cornwall, which was magical. Heaps of stone circles, many of which could only be reached by trekking through miles of deserted countryside. You would walk for miles along deserted tiny lanes and then come across a perfect stone circle with the most incredible energy!
We stayed in Boscastle, which has the amazing Museum of Witchcraft. As I’m typing this, one of the chant CDs I got there is playing in the background. This museum is a must if you go to Boscastle; they have the biggest collection of witchcraft artefacts in Europe. I spent four hours there and my wrist was aching from taking notes. I loved all the kitchen witchery collection. I will definitely return to this museum!
Also in Cornwall we visited Jamaica Inn which was fun, because I love Daphne du Maurier. Then we travelled to the Lakes District (very scenic in Autumn). I was fortunate enough to spend an afternoon with one of my all time favourite writers, Storm Constantine, her husband and also her friend Lou (Eloise Coquio) who co-wrote Bast and Sekhmet: Eyes of Ra and is another dark fantasy writer. As you can imagine I was on a bit of a high from this!
Scotland was next, and I fell in love with both the Highlands and Edinburgh. We visited the cafe where J.K Rowling wrote Harry and spent a lot of time in Edinburgh’s Greyfriars Kirkyard. In fact, Edinburgh has quickly become one of my all time favourite cities. The city looks as if Tim Burton drew it. It is loaded with ghost stories and there is so much fascinating history. We were lucky enough to see several books made out of human skin from the notorious body snatcher Burke. They have his skeleton at the surgeons’ museum holding a book made out of his own bum! I admit to also loving little Greyfriars Bobby, and I now have every Greyfriars Bobby souvenir ever made. Another highlight was meeting Barbara Erskine at her Edinburgh booksigning.
After Scotland we spent a rushed week in London – you can never fit everything in there! We did take a trip out to Rosslyn Chapel. I swear hand on heart, this is a true story; we met a Knights Templar in the chapel who was using his pendulum to look for hot spots. I had a couple of strange experiences in this chapel. My camera battery went haywire, which apparently happens a lot. Plus I had a very strong psychic impression in the oldest part of the chapel, which, I found out later, was correct. Back in London I really enjoyed the Dickens House and saw the scariest play ever – The Woman in Black. I cannot recommend this play enough. It is the creepiest thing I have ever seen.
Paris was next. I love Paris and always will. It stinks of piss, we stayed in a very sleazy area filled with pimps and pros, but somehow Paris is always magic. I had some serious research to do in Paris. We revisted my favourite cemetery Pere Lachaise. A fascinating tour we did was the underground Catacombes where the skulls and bones of millions of Parisians are stacked along the winding underground tunnels. It is quite a sober meditation on life to walk along this dimly lit tunnels. We did a day trip to Chartres Cathedral, an incredibly holy place to witness. I fell in love with a black Mary in the church and must have bought every souvenir on her. Then we travelled on to the South of France and revisited my darling Villefranche-sur-Mer.
The climax of the trip was Venice. She is the original grand old Shabby Chic city. Magnificent! I wept when I first saw her and I wept when we left her. She is totally unique. I can’t even begin to describe her because she is so beautiful. Because it was off season, the hotel owner very kindly gave us the best room, a room with a stunning view over the Grand Canal. It was flooding and one morning water came into the dining room as we having breakfast! The locals just stick on a pair of gumboots and go about their business. It was very hard to leave Venice and she still haunts me. Photos coming soon of the trip.
As you can imagine it has been horrid trying to settle down after a trip like that. Writing has helped me. I’m flat out editing the third book A Fire in the Shell before handing it to the publishers. Bride of the Stone will be released in March.
I’ve just read Tanith Lee’s first book in the Secret Books of Venus series, Faces Under Water. It is excellent. I also read Barbara Erskine’s Hiding From The Light, also very enjoyable. I’m currently reading Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde by the great Robert Louis Stevenson. I shall shortly be re-doing my book section, and adding a few more bits and pieces, so please keep visiting me. I love hearing from you.
For those of you who are writing – never give up. Keep going no matter how painful it gets at times.