It’s all set to be another busy month, in fact, a busy autumn. Next week, it’s WorldCon in Dublin – I’ll probably be wandering about looking a bit lost, so if you see me, do say hello. Then I’m off to Principe to see chocolate plantations, open a boutique chocolate factory and to work with a handful of lucky eco-visitors to this amazing, unspoilt island. Then I’m going to Antwerp to publicize THE STRAWBERRY THIEF there, and afterwards to Italy, to celebrate the Italian launch.

The band and I will be performing one gig this autumn: we’ll be at Cheltenham Pump Rooms on September 13th, and with a bit of luck, the CD of A POCKETFUL OF CROWS should be ready by then.

Meanwhile, THE STUNNERS’ OPERA is taking shape; there will be a performance at Mountview Academy in autumn, and you can bet I’ll be looking in on researsals like a crazy helicopter parent throughout.

Plus, in the Shed, I’m working on several writing projects at once; a follow-up both to RUNELIGHT and THE TESTAMENT OF LOKI, and on rainy days, a weird little story of urban fairies in London (which I’m posting chapter-by-chapter online for anyone who has ever bought me and the band a cup of tea on ko-fi). 

I’m also still touring, both for THE STRAWBERRY THIEF and for THE TESTAMENT OF LOKI, which makes for an interesting schedule, but I’m really enjoying it. And for those who asked me last month (with a certain amount of concern) how I’m managing to get time to relax, I’ve discovered a dangerous new addiction, which may well turn into a story one day. My friend Anthony Scala, who makes beautiful things in glass, very kindly offered me and my daughter a day in Peter Layton’s London glassblowing studio, where, under supervision, we learnt how to shape and blow glass. (You can find out more about these workshops here. But beware – you may get hooked!) I’ve always found the process of working with glass fascinating, and I’d watched glassblowers at work (you can do that at the studio, too. Just drop in anytime), but had never thought I might be able to do it myself – as it happened, both of us were able (with Anthony’s help) to make lovely glass objects on our very first try.

Glass is a marvellous substance. It’s perhaps the first time I’ve worked with a medium as fascinating as chocolate, and they do have rather a lot in common: they are uniquely malleable, almost magical substances: they both have a rich folklore and an amazing, ancient history: they are both increadibly beautiful, sensuous and relaxing to work with.

And the process of working with glass is nothing short of magical. The furnaces; the instruments; the colours; the lights; the scents; the sensations – all are part of the multisensory charm of glass. It’s another kind of everyday magic, one that comes from sand, rather than the cacao bean, but equally transformational and (the end product, at least) marvellously tactile.

These pictures were taken during the day –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And these are the things we made!

 

So yes: I think I can say with some degree of certainty that one; I’ll be going back, and two, that there may well be a glassblowing story of some kind in the indeterminate future. Just let me finish the current raft of projects first…

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Manuscript services

For the writers among you, my daughter Anouchka, has begun to offer editorial, manuscript evaluation, copy-editing and other writing and submission-related services online. She's an excellent writer, has a very good eye for what works and what doesn't, and is completely thorough and reliable. I've used her help many times myself, and can I recommend her most heartily. Go to: www.anouchkaharris.com if you need a new pair of eyes on your manuscript, help drafting a synopsis or submission letter, one-to-one tutorials, or just an informed reader who knows the publishing industry and can help you make your manuscript as good as it can possibly be.