Intrigued by White Feathers? Fancy a taster? This 8-minute clip includes a scene from the novel and a brief intro to the historical context. Some adult references, if mention of the wrong time of the month counts as an adult reference?
Our heroine Eva comes across the redoubtable historical figure Mrs Humphry Ward, and her Order of the White Feather. Be warned: “Ma Hump” tends to possess me when I’m reading her!
I know I’ve been fairly quiet of late. This is largely work-related, as I’ve been very busy since I just started my new job at the end of May. Also, I have started cycling to work. I have a very beautiful, largely peaceful commute by the sea, and it is a time when I am disconnected from the “always on” mode of the world. It has done wonders for my physical and mental wellbeing but does mean I’m quite tired, as my body adjusts to the extra demand.
I am looking forward to having some uninterrupted writing time the week after next, when I will stay on writing retreat in a lovely guesthouse near Westport. I am really looking forward to concentrating on my second novel.
Also, after experimentation with the snazzy new microphone (and help from the better half) I have plans to issue my long-promised podcast this week, after a lot of positive feedback at open mics at festivals. Working on the format at the moment but should be out this week. I will keep the podcast up on soundcloud for a defined amount of time, then I’ll remove it. I’m open to feedback from others who have done this before if they have any advice. Also, if anyone has any events or ventures they would like me to mention, please get in touch, as I plan on having a brief “literary round-up” at the start of the clip.
Maureen from North West Writers sent me on a circular of their writing weekend from 24th-26th July. Special Writing Weekend workshops will be held in the beautiful and tranquil settings of Carn Lodge, where I had the pleasure of giving a workshop earlier in the year. Facilitators include John McKenna, Niamh Boyce (fellow Novel Fair winner!) and a launch in Cafe Blend in Letterkenny. More information available here or below.
I really recommend this as part of an extended weekend. It’s a lovely part of the country to get away from it all and enjoy what the Wild Atlantic Way has to offer as well as enjoying the workshops (and I had some lovely cakes when I was there :)
In a nutshell, due to loads of positive feedback (not the microphone kind) after my performance reading from White Feathers at the Listowel Writers Week open mike, where I had to wait my turn for a brief slot and then allow myself to be possessed by the unlovely Mrs Humphrey Ward in the middle of her rant, I have decided to podcast readings from the book.
(This is due to the dearth of Irish literary festivals to which I have been invited to read or speak. I can either sit and wait my turn like a good girl, or I can make a ****ing podcast instead and get on with it!)
God Only Knows (How All This Stuff Works)
So, not knowing much about podcasts and realising I needed some equipment, I received an early birthday present from my beloved in the shape of a Blue Yeti USB Microphone. This is a very large microphone shaped in a very not-safe-for-work fashion. It also came with some software, and I had some fun with it. But God Almighty, you’d need to have a degree in engineering to know what’s going on. I did a brief vocal test with the tag end of God Only Knows which didn’t sound too bad.
Less successful were my attempts to record myself playing the piano. Of course I am not trying to record piano, I am trying to record my voice :) but this piece, Chopin’s Waltz 69 no. 1, was always one I kept in mind for a character in White Feathers, Eva’s ailing sister Imelda. I had a whole big chunk of Imelda’s time in Switzerland written down, which never saw the light of day, but that piece was being played and it’s always the piece I have in mind for that character, and I feel a certain yearning to it. But unfortunately even with plugins to make it recital setting, the piano quality isn’t what I’d like. Still, here is the first page of it, played somewhat inexpertly by yours truly on a Yamaha Clavinova :)
Just a few announcements about up-and-coming events and put out a question for those who might answer it.
First, my story “Ward 7″ is appearing in a new anthology To Shape the Dark, edited by Athena Andreadis, the successor to her earlier very successful anthology, The Other Half of the Sky. The theme of the anthology is, to quote from the link, “Protagonists: women scientists, mathematicians or engineers who live in universes where they don’t have to choose between work and family”. The genre is Science Fiction and Fantasy, which might seem like a departure from the usual for me, but I’m fortunate in having had great mentors such as Athena and Henry Gee of Nature, who have encouraged my writing in that area. The story concerns a woman who finds an enhancement that can save lives – but one society is not quite ready for.
Secondly – and this is quite a way off, I know – I have been invited to give a reading for Culture Night on the evening of September 18th in the Stone House bookshop in Kilkenny. I’m really looking forward to it. I know three and a half months is kinda short notice, right? ;-) but might be one to mark in the oul’ diary all the same.
Thirdly, during the Listowel festival I made the acqaintance of a lovely and talented playwright called Sadhbh Moriarty, who has written a play “In Light of Salt Wings They Drew” which has already won an award and been successfully staged. She would now like to have that play published and was asking me for recommendations as she is relatively new to the business. I’m unfortunately unable to help her, but if anyone else might know, please drop a comment here, contact me via the form, or let me know via Twitter, and I can pass all suggestions on to her!
It was lovely to meet many people at Listowel Writers’ Week, which I attended with my friend Helena Mulkerns, and even read at the open event at Scribes cafe. For me, this tweet from a conversation I had with Paul O’Mahony was my favourite little moment – Augenblick, even :)