Sunday, October 21, 2007


I've always had this thing that I'd agree to nearly anything so long as it was far enough in the future. Then you wake up one morning and find it's looming ominously on the horizon. I'm in that situation now.

Months ago, I managed to convince myself it would be good promotion for my book 'The Wizard's Apprentice' if I did a one-day first-steps workshop on the essentals of magical practice, something I haven't done for years. Having set the wheels in motion, I promptly forgot about it. Now it's suddenly all happening next month -- Sunday November 11 to be exact.

The venue is the Fairgreen Holistic Clinic, in Naas, County Kildare, Ireland. The cost (I think) is €80 and you can join in the mayhem by calling Pauline at 00353-(0)45-898243. And no, I won't be teaching you spells or how to fly a broomstick. Magic is a psycho-spiritual discipline, whatever Harry Potter told you.


Just back from the Cheltenham Literary Festival, which was a bit of a personal disaster to tell the truth. For some reason, two of the promised school classes failed to turn up at my talk, so I was left with a tiny audience of kids who were mostly too young to follow the scheduled lecture. The week before I had a massive turn-out at Ballymun and Finglas in Ireland for the Dublin Children's Book Festival, so I expect the UK trip was God's way of telling me not to get big-headed.

Having said that, I did like Cheltenham itself. Lovely hotel and there was a Writers' Room in the Town Hall where they laid on yummy food and decent wine (both gratis) all day. That's what I call proper treatment.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Shadow Project

New working title for 'Sohanti' -- it's now 'The Shadow Project', suggested by my agent Sophie Hicks who read all 530 pages of it at a single sitting and tells me it would make a brilliant movie. Whether it makes a brilliant book remains to be seen: it's with my publisher at the moment -- always a nervewracking time.

My trip to Edinburgh was great fun. Before I got there, we stayed in a posh hotel where Churchill entertained Eisenhower during the war and I had a bath in Churchill's bath, a brute of a thing with enormous copper taps. When I was a kid, Churchill was the world's hero and mine. Lying in his bath, wishing I had a cigar and some gin, I kept thinking 'How on earth did I get here?'

The audience at Edinburgh was a lively lot; a bit younger than I expected. I devoted most of my appearance to questions and they came thick and fast. How do you define magic? Do we really have souls? Can wizards fly on broomsticks? I loved it and plan to do it all again at Cheltenham Literary Festival next month.

We took a bit of a holiday after Edinburgh, during which I discovered to my amazement that Exeter University is running a course on Western Esotericism -- the first time subjects like magic, alchemy and astrology have found their way back into a serious university in centuries. I've applied for a place, but may have left it too late. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

New David Lee Stone Web Site

Until now, the David Lee Stone link on this page took you to a Web site devoted exclusively to his Illmoor Chronicles. Now it takes you to his own official Web site and very nice it looks. (Check out his own readings from his books on video.)

I love Davey's work, so I was particularly pleased to hear there's a new three-book contract in the offing. No details as yet, but I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Sohanti, Faerie Lord, Cheltenham and Summer Queen

I'm pie-eyed. Just this minute finished my new teen novel, Sohanti. (Working title.) Just over 95,000 words in this draft and I've been buried in it so deeply I hardly know what it's about. Next step a read-through, then off to my lovely agent Sophie in the hope she'll sell it for a fortune.

Meanwhile, Faerie Lord, which was supposed to be out in the U. S. in September, now seems to have been postponed until December 26. Needless to say, nobody told me, but I got that date from, who are usually very reliable. U.K. publication remains unchanged at early February, 2008.

Following on my little talk at the Edinburgh Book Festival next month, I've been asked to speak at Cheltenham Literary Festival in October. Subject matter for both talks is my new non-fiction, The Wizard's Apprentice, and it's about time I got down a few notes.

Finally, my darling Orla Melling, author of the best-selling Chronicles of Faerie, has been elected Summer Queen -- a hugely well-deserved honour. See her Book Blog for details. There's a link on thispage.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Shameless plug for latest book

Well, as you can see from Herbie Brennan's Bookshelf, I've started to push my latest book 'The Wizard's Apprentice' which Faber are bringing out in the first week of July. And since my opportunism knows no bounds, I've made a promotional video that centres on a fascinating experience mentioned in the book. Feel free to view at:

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Recommended reading

Just finished a book by Timothy Findley, the Canadian novelist, called 'Not Wanted On The Voyage.' It was recommended to me by the marvellous Orla Melling when the two of us found ourselves contributing to an anthology of essays which will be published to promote the launch of Philip Pullman's 'Dark Materials' movie.

Orla plans an analysis of Pullman's literary influences. My essay, a History of Hell, was triggered by the extraordinary image of a senile God in the final volume of his trilogy. Orla (who is frighteningly well read) pointed out that essentially the same image was used by Findley in his novel, so I hunted down a copy for research...

...And found myself reading one of the remarkable books I've ever come across. It's the story of Noah's Ark as you've never heard it before, harrowing, funny, emotional, memorable and, above all, thought provoking. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Done and Dusted

Just finished the proofs for Faerie Lord and a bit of a marathon it was. The word count is higher than any of the other books in the series (by quite a bit actually) but they've managed to squeeze it into slightly fewer pages -- 425 in total -- without changing the layout or type face as far as I can see. I've always wondered how they do that. Publication date in the States is now September 18 this year, in Germany probably a little later in the autumn and in Britain early February, 2008.

Another one almost done and dusted is The Wizard's Apprentice, a stand-alone non-fiction title that Faber are bringing out on my birthday (July 5, if you want to send a card) this year. It's a lovely production, beautifully illustrated and I'm sort of excited about it. It tells the real story of wizardry in the world today and gives some of the basic magical training and techniques. Not at all what you'd imagine from reading fiction, but hopefully timely with all the interest generated by Joanne Rowling.

Meanwhile, what started as The Shadow Realm has suffered a bit of a train crash and is being rewritten as a wholly different book. It's all go!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Miracle report

So far only half a miracle. I'm still sore, but not as bad.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Back in Trouble

Well, I've done in my back, haven't I? (And am feeling in the mood for a whinge.) Sat on the floor to screw together a little nest of tables and when I went to get up I turned into a victim of the Spanish Inquisition. Since then, I've been hobbling round like a centenarian and complaining bitterly. Off to the osteopath this morning in the hope of a miracle. I'll let you know if I get one.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Although I'm probably the least hearty individual on the planet, I do try to take a walk with Jacks each morning (when it isn't raining) in a rather nice public garden a couple of miles from our home. This morning while we were en route, the road was blocked by a massive JCB scraping at something over a low hedge. As we waited for it to finish, the driver turned the arm on a hedgerow tree and pushed it over, then manoeuvred to take out a second tree.

Jacks, who gets very emotional about these things, burst into tears. Both trees looked perfectly healthy and since they were growing in the hedgerow itself they were clearly in nobody's way.

It did occur to me that since we're now apparently living in a world where existing forest cover is unable to cope with the amount of carbon we're pumping into the atmosphere, it might make sense for Governments to enact legislation forbidding the uprooting of trees without a special (costly, difficult to get) permit. As the Tesco ads keep telling us, every little helps.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Expanding Universe

About a year ago, my agent and I had the bright idea of expanding the Faerie Wars universe into graphic novels. This wasn't a question of converting Faerie Wars into a graphic novel (although that could happen yet) but rather examining the lives of certain characters from the mainstream novels in graphic form.

Well, it now looks as if it's going to happen. Bloomsbury, who publish the mainstream books, are putting a toe in the water with a picaresque story about Brimstone when he was a boy. No further details beyond that at the moment, but the full story will appear on the main Web site as soon as I have information on publication date, artist and final format.

Friday, January 05, 2007


Feeling a bit smug today: I've just been invited back to speak at the Edinburgh International Book Festival this year. I've been a couple of times before and loved it. Edinburgh's an attractive and manageable city and the book festival is just one part of the much wider Edinburgh Festival which ensures there's something of interest going on day and night.

As an invited author you get to pontificate on just about anything you like to an enthusiastic audience (mostly kids, in my case) then sign copies of your books for readers and collectors. My agent advised me years ago to sign books on every possible occasion, since once you do, nobody can send them back.

I'll let you know more details when the programme solidifies.