How would you like to win a visit from me to your school, library or reading group? That’s the prize lovely Templar Publishing are offering on The Blackhope Enigmawebsite. And you’ll also get other goodies like signed copies as well as other fiction published by Templar.
You’ll need to go here to enter, answer the art history question and make sure you do so by September 1!
Right, I’m getting convinced about Twitter. It’s been quite fun, really, but like all things that take me away from writing The Next Book, I have had to limit my time on it. I am learning that there are some people who tweet all day, from waking up till going to sleep. There are those who stop in with a pithy comment and then disappear for a couple of days (I quite like them). And there are people who regularly offer real gems of information and inspiration. I have learned a lot already and will continue to do so. And I’d be delighted if you follow me on Twitter here.
The downside is that my poor old blog has languished recently while I flirt with Twitter and Goodreads. Have I even mentioned Goodreads? Well, it’s a book-lovers’ social networking site, where I already had an author page that needed to be activated. Thanks to my one Fan on my page, who alerted me to it (thanks for that!), I have started building on my page. Have a look, write a review, be my friend or, even, be my fan!
On An Awfully Big Blog Adventure, author Michelle Lovric has posted a fascinating look at why so many medieval and Renaissance portraits of the Virgin Mary include a cat. Well worth a look, art lovers (and cat lovers), and make sure you read the comments, too.
Okay, I knew I talked with my hands a bit. But I didn’t realise how much until I saw this interview with Philippa Cochrane of the Scottish Book Trust. But hey, I get excited when I talk about Renaissance paintings, labyrinths, and other Blackhope Enigma stuff.
I was pretty excited to learn that Blackhope was selected for the Online Teachers in Residence Teachers’ Book Group for the new school year (for teachers in Scotland, by the way, where schools are linked together in an online community called Glow). We made the video to give readers a bit of background about the book. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, not least because I got to visit the Book Trust, a place abounding with friendly, book-passionate folks. I got to sit on the couch with the fancy silk cushions, with bookshelves behind me, and be right comfy.
If you know any teachers of 9-13 year olds in Scotland, please direct them to the site. There’s a chance to win one of ten copies they are giving away.
Last Saturday I wandered around the grounds of Traquair House, soaking up the magical atmosphere of Traquair Fair, sipping tea in a yurt and visiting a Cabinet of Wonders inside a Tardis-like van. This was the very odd and enigmatic Kabinett Fatalia, the creation of two German artists from Dresden, who tour their Kabinett-on-wheels around various festivals in the UK and Europe. You step into the back of the van/Kabinett and enter a world that has nothing to do with transport in the usual sense, unless your destination is a slightly off-kilter hall of mirrors/freak show. The video below, of Fatalia’s 2007 Kabinett, will give you a sense of its strange perceptions.
A Cabinet of Wonders, or Curiosities, has roots in the Renaissance. The kings and princes of the great houses of Europe made it their business to collect a wide and eccentric range of objects for their cabinets, special chambers that housed their collections. Certain kings are well known for their collections of what the Germans translated as Wunderkammers or Kunstkammers (Art Cabinets). My favourite is the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia, Rudolf II – here’s something about his collection.