Today I am back to work, which is lovely. In my absence almost all the work has been done on the new case for the rare books - all the dusty, woodshavingy, banging part of the process - which leaves me to over see the final stages - gap filling, shelf spacing. For this I am happy. Soon all our rare books will have a new, safe, visible home. This is a good thing because contrary to popular opinion rare books like to be seen. They like to show off. "Look at me, I'm from the 15th century", "Yeah? Well I've got copperplates depicting the garb of the priesthood in the time of the first temple", *another book arrives* "What do you think of my original maroon morrocan cover?" *First books shuffle off grumbling and casting glares over their shoulders*

Sorry, own little world there for a moment.

My point, if indeed I had one, is that if books are locked away, never handled or examined, nasty things happen to them. They turn bad and plot to take over the earth. Things like mould, and damp and bookworm. Ever seen what bookworm does?

Or you could try

Bookworm is bad. There are many other bad things that can happen to a book, many of which can be resolved, but a basic rule of thumb is when something is eaten, you aint getting it back.

So the rules for today is: new bookcase good, bookworm bad.


[ profile] peadarog had a very interesting post here about the relation of genre and literature which on the whole I agree with. I'd go so far as to sum it up as Genre excites, Literature resonates, hense the two are not incompatible. Does this mean literature is more about language than story? In some cases definitely. I still find it amusing that people like Shakespeare and Dickens, held as an inviolate part of the canon of the literary school, would have been the genre writers of their day. That they happened to write beautifully was an aside. What they wrote was largely disposable fiction. Makes you think, huh?


I also noticed in Dunnes Stores yesterday a large number of mummies with their seasonal shopping club vouchures running amok because they did not have children (for they are back at school), buying all the things they couldn't get near for the whole summer holidays. Like lampshades, vases, female clothes, shoes... I was among them. Two new lampshades, which then unfortunately translated into a trip for e_w_h to Woodies later that evening to buy new lightfittings as those in place were falling apart. Oh little details. Don't bother me with details. Can't you see I'm shopping? Without children?!


So that's about it for random meanderings today. I should have edits on The Penitent shortly, and some more blurb work. I wrote some more of The Wolf's Mate last night and I subbed again To Regain Heaven yesterday. (I hate it when novels just sit there on your hard drive, doing nothing but distracting me.) I have a pite of crits. I will get to them. I promise. *sigh*

rflong: (River Bridge)
( Jul. 7th, 2008 09:21 pm)
In a way, it is very strange to combine a post about a work trip with pictures. Some of this will seem very esoteric, perhaps, as Carmelite Librarians only get out together once a year.
but here, hopefully is a slideshow of pictures I took while in Malta. Lots of Carmelite Churches, baroque cathedrals, sunsets and lemon groves. Generally speaking, things I like to look at. Reflections in water, shots through windows, frames within frames. And several statues of the Madonna of Mount Carmel.

I'm playing with photobucket, so if the slideshow doesn't work I'll have to revisit this post and just put in some of the photos.

Highlight of the trip was probably holding a 1st edition of the Prophecies of Nostradamus in the National Library, or Mdina itself, which is a magical place. And it is a beautiful island.

Any questions? :D

btw - I've probably misspelled the placenames. Sorry!
So, I have been working on the requested rewrite of The Penitent pretty much entirely since I got it. I am, according to my wordcounter 67% through it at page 180 of 268 (this is not in double spaced courier 12 point so don't fret the page count). The novel is inadvertantly getting longer, but as I am meant to be clarifying some thins and getting deeper into POV that's probably good.

Speaking of "getting deeper into POV" anyone got a magic wand for that? It's coming. I think. But then I tend to worry that I thought that the last time so around maybe I'm not getting there this time either?

We've a full week at work. There's a kind of conference on here. I put together an exhibition this morning of one book from each century from the library collection, of which I am very proud. The books date from 1499-2007 and it looks wonderful. I also focused on the bindings when writing them up as they are very interesting - morroccan, alum tawed (pigskin), vellum, wood etc. Its amazing how plain and unadorned they are up to the 1600s. Then all hell breaks loose. The one from 1617 looks ike someone went mad with an embossing tool!

So while my head is stuck in the world of The Penitent, my body is dealing with rare books and the many visitors who arrive in the breaks between meetings.

To quote my favourite Dylan (the rabbit) "It's, like, exhausting man."g

Oh and I queried another agent. So far its very quiet.
Some more Moy Tura hit the laptop and went splat all over the place. 2,379 words to be exact. The rest of the chapter I didn't want to finish -- the unpleasant part. And the start of the next chapter.

today's word count: 2379
total word count: 50812

This has brought me up to about 269 pages (I think) and I appear to be on the downhill roll now (spot the words liable to completely knacker any further progress).

I know where we're going. I just have to get us there. *sigh*

No other news. Children have not assaulted anyone. Bought a barbeque which we now have to construct. I expect we'll have it done just as the fine weather goes away. :D

Speaking of the weather, I'm looking out the window here and trying to devise ways of escaping without being noticed. It is just glorious -- birds singing, sun shining, the breeze moving gently through the leaves of the enormous horse chestnut on the far side of the field. And an enormous pile of books to catalogue on my desk. I seriously need to investigate ways of remote cataloguing. It has to be possible!!!

Ticking along.
rflong: (Sive)
( Nov. 27th, 2007 09:52 am)
Ok, I've been in rejection mourning since Sunday, which isn't good. I don't take rejection well. (NSS!)

On the other hand, I sent out two pieces, one immediately after the rejection (Elements to Interzone (!!!!)) and The Wolf's Sister to an eBook place as a novella. I did a run through and added back half the stuff I had cut out when trying to force it to be a short story. Basically, it isn't. It's a romance/fantasy novella and is determined I think to be nothing else (except maybe a full blown three volume novel one day if I am not careful).
So yes, slightly ratty, but getting over it all now. Trying to concentrate on some work.

On the other hand I went to a library seminar last friday and got a demo of software for the British Library and the National Library here that takes digital scans of rare books and manuscripts and creates 3d virtual books. It was AMAZING!!!

But really, still in a bad mood.
rflong: (Ook)
( Nov. 16th, 2007 08:05 pm)

Which Discworld Character are you like (with pics)
created with
You scored as The Librarian

You're the Librarian! Once a wizard, now an Orang-utan (due to an unfortunate magical accident), you refuse to be turned back for a few reasons: In this form, it's easier to reach the shelves and hold more books; having the strength of five men makes people return their books on time; life's great philosophical questions boil down to "When do I get my next banana?" You say "ook" but are usually understood well enough.

The Librarian


Carrot Ironfounderson


Gytha (Nanny) Ogg




Lord Havelock Vetinari


Commander Samuel Vimes




Cohen The Barbarian


Esmerelda (Granny) Weatherwax




But of course!


Cataloguing old books can be fun, but rarely as much fun as today when trying to catalogue a book from 1617, written in latin on monastic statues and rules of life. I decided, in the spirit of the technologically over-confident to use an online translator on the title and see what it came up with:

"Commentaria upon cap. Not dicatis XII.Q.1.c. Monastic and c.Cum to monastery About statue monachorum : upon by which about nature voti beggardry drives him.: adiuncta expsitione upon omnes fere rule. particularly upon rule carmelitarum"

You know, I'm not sure which is my favorite bit:

"upon by which about nature"


"beggardry drives him"

I'm so glad my job still brings a smile to my face, that language is fun, that computers do what we say not what we want, and that I will giggle to myself about this all day and no one else will have a clue what I am laughing at.

Including you, I suspect.

But the book is VERY pretty!


ps. I tried doing a spell check on this and LJ nearly blew up! (Not really!)

Ooks all round. Today I go to the Library Ireland 2007 exhibition in the RDS. 

So its all likely to be a bit of this!

And a whole lot of this:

God. I hope there's that much free stuff.

But more likely, given it is the Irish version it will pretty much be this: 

Wow, do we know how to publicize our events here!

So, all gearing up, leaving in two hours. Hyper excited of course. Hopefully I will get at least a canvas tote bag or a free pen from someone!  Oo, and brochures. Lots of brochures (they make great draft excluders)

Seriously though, isn't it sad that the librarian in me does get excited at things like this.

On the writing front, I'm up to Chapter 5 of the first draft of To Regain Heaven. Yay! It actually seems to be going somewhere.

So, on to libraryland! Ook!
I've just figured something out, after a morning of cataloguing Italian books on mysticism or is that books on italian mysticism? They're in Italian anyway. There's mysticism involved on some level.

This might not be a healthy occupation if taken to extremes.

I am starting to think that I can see patterns in the ISBN numbers! 

And these aren't the new ISBN-13 numbers. These are the old 10 digit ones. So 88=Italy, 7229 etc = the publisher, the next three are the number of the book and the final one is a verification number. Or something like that. You see why they had to extend.

But the worrying part is that I start going "how many 8s and 7s were in that one? That's the same sequence backwards isn't it? Oh, no, but it is on this one. What if I put the two together?" and it all starts to get a bit bewildering.

Yes, I think I have been doing this for too long today. Thank God I am going to my fencing class tonight.

Just what the world needs - something pointy in the hands of someone like me!!! :D

ps I wrote NEW bits for Moy Tura!!!! I posted a chapter on NB. There is this thing called progress happening again. Only a little bit perhaps, but it is definitely something!!!! 
Once again, Internet explorer foils my lovely post and crashes when I try to do something. Arrgghh. Most annoying Microsoft thingy ever.

So here is the mark 2 post, which won't be as funny or witty or clever. But here goes.

Not yet properly awake, even after two mugs of tea and a drive on the M50 carpark motorway in pouring rain. I also set up a cooler in our special collection room, trying to take down the temperature to a level that will not slowly dry out the books in the manner of smoked kippers. Hmm, better check the cooler shortly, just to make sure I did actually set it up alright.

I wrote a bit of May Queen last night, new words which are always wonderful at first glance, and rather disappointing at the second. Still. they are new words and that is what matters. A twist came to me, as twists will, which I think has firmly lodged its way into the narrative. Hopefully it is as clever as I thought it was last night anyway.

I also typed up a little more Moy Tura Echoes. This may be the best way to work myself out of the block I have found myself stuck in with this novel . There is some more still to type - two more scenes I think and then I hit the end of what I have written so far. But hopefully something magical will occur. Either that or I will have to put in some serious grind. Well, I'll let you guess which is more likely at the moment.

Sunday is Book Day at Farmleigh house, with a special exhibition on special bindings in my dream library . There are a load of children's book events going on so we should be able to entertain the small ones long enough for me to Ooo and Ahhh a reasonable amount. There is a gang of us going, most of the Leceister Codex brigade I think, so it should be fun. Thing is, I hope the weather isn't like today.

My son starts football tomorrow morning. (That's soccer for the rest of you). He is so excited I doubt he will sleep tonight. Again, I hope the weather isn't like today!!! And he made a new friend last night. A family with a boy his age moved in up the street and they have bonded big time in the space of about twenty minutes. Guess I'd better get used to having a second little boy running around. My daughter looked a bit shocked though. She isn't used to having to SHARE her brother with someone else. And someone who wasn't impressed by her Little Mermaid Barbie, either. The indignity!

I got a rejection for The Bonny Lass O'Fyvie the other day  (no comments or anything) so it is off out again elsewhere. 

Will probably be wallpapering the infamous kitchen tonight, and trying to avoid listening to the screams from the living room as Ireland plays France in the Rugby World Cup. Determined to have take away at least. Something will have to make up for it. No, I think the wall papering is a really good idea. 

I am not a rugby fan, except by osmosis.

Also must find out what the French press wrote about a particular member of the Irish team that has them so riled up!
Having a bit of a wibbly day today, as a pre-lunch search through some boxes in the general library produced some rather valuable old books which were a surprise to all concerned. Even more of a surprise when I did some searching on viaLibri and discovered how valuable! Yay for old books - talk about survivors!

How they might have survived is another matter. I think they may have been feeding on younger volumes.

Boy they need a clean though. 

I've also been doing some research for May Queen which is fun. Using the setting I am, some rather strange things pop up in research and I often find myself following lines of inquiry that I never intended to follow. Fairies are interesting things as they turn up just about everywhere in western european stories and their tales intersect, or turn out to be ever so slightly different versions of each other. So I end up reading and re-reading, trying to figure out some sort of core or basis that I can use in May Queen. I think I may have read more for this book than for anything else I have written.  Hopefully it will be worth it in the end. :D

I've been back at work this week, hence the silence. Playing catch up. It has been going pretty well apart from

(a) a bizare computer ghost on one of the library PCs which causes multiple windows to open sometimes (40-50 instances of Internet explorer) , creates folders for no reason and wipes out favorites. Problem is, it seems to be only persecuting one of our users.

(b) the case of the missing Codex - a historian working here found reference to a provincial chapter of 1909 and wanted to see the documents. My boss and I found more about this Chapter in one of the historical works written by someone who lived here, including a reference to the Actorum Codex 1871 which was noted as being housed in the archives here. Imagine our surprise as neither of us had ever heard of it! We had a search yesterday and lo! it appeared in a cupboard right where it should have been. Still can't remember seeing it at any point before but that's old books for you. Great name, isn't it? I feel it will be lifted for an Ayredale library story someday soon.

(c) A LARGE number of donations snuck in under the radar while I was away so I have to sort them out, decide what we need and catalogue them. Luckily we have some room left.

In honour of the return to libraryland I found one of my Orang-utang pictures (taken at Dublin zoo earlier this year) It's one of my favorite pictures - It's also the picture on my phone - and I am very proud of it. I got some wonderful shots in France as well. I will have to post up a few soon. But my Orang-utangs above are still my best I think.

Not news on rejections or acceptences. I subbed Come and Play and The Bonny Lass O' Fyvie last week - not sure if I mentioned that. I was planning to take [personal profile] nephele up on her very fine offer (look at her blog, especially if you are a YA writer - go on, you have 2 more days)  but as May Queen is not yet finished I can't really and I don't think I'll be able to pull another 25-40k words out of somewhere in two days! Shame, as I would love to give it a go, but she does specifically ask for completed novels. And I don't think, by any stretch of the imagination that The Penitent could be described as YA!!! :D

Nothing from McMillan yet. It's starting to look like it has been rejected. *sigh* So, I'll give until the end of the month and then start thinking about what else I want to do with it. Still trying to keep the fingers crossed for an 11 hour miracle.

That's it for now. The library calls.

Just back from lunch with a meeting later this afternoon so this should be a fairly quick post.

Lunch was lovely btw as my husband and son called in and took me out to Yo Sushi, which has newly opened in Dundrum Town Center (A HUMUNGOUS shopping center near work). The food was lovely and the whole thing entertaining, the conveyor belt mildly so and the exchange between my son and the waitresses enormously so as he kept using his one surviving chopstick as a magic wand and shouting things from Harry Potter. When he yelled Wingardium Leviosa at our waitress she pretended to levitate for him. It's the simple things that keep a mother happy when eating out!

I've been buried in the 1940s all morning as I am doing some work on the archives here. What strikes me as interesting, from both point of view as a writer and an (sort of) archivist, is the amount of personality that comes across in these letters. As an example, when surveying potential sites for a school, one of the Order members wrote "Went to see the Castle. Not suitable, I am afraid. Too much Castle." I am paraphrasing, but not by much. There are two brothers in particular and their letters to and about each other are incredible. I guess, in that we don't write letters as much as people used to, nor rely on them for informational purposes given we have so many others means of more immediate communication, we do not put the same amount of ourselves into our functional writing. Letters are much more formal now. Personal letters appear to be very rare things indeed.

I am busily storing away characterization notes in the back of my mind to plunder at a later date.

3 days to our holiday... There's a song in Cliff Richard's Summer Holiday that gives a holiday countdown, isn't there. It blends into Summer Holiday itself pretty quickly.

Ha. The things you remember.

Right, back to 1946!
rflong: (Default)
( Jul. 12th, 2007 11:05 am)
Amazingly enough I collapsed into bed last night and slept like a proverbial log. the only thing that disturbed me was my son coming in this morning and leaving the door open so all the light from the window on the landing flooded into the dark cocoon of our bedroom. We still have not managed to get a curtain up there. We will. I have both curtains and material to make a blind, but have not yet managed to organise the actual making/putting up of curtain rail.

Looking forward to the wedding on Saturday, but I have accidentally managed to schedule a truly hectic day for myself tomorrow! Ah well. 

The main problem with having sent the book off is that I seem to have totally exhausted my ability to concentrate on anything for more than 30 seconds. I have turned into a goldfish. I'm meant to be cataloguing a pile of donations and just cannot focus on it for more than a second - not even enough time to open the library system and do some searches!

I am setting a very bad work practice example. Luckily there is no one else here to see me! :D

My son is at an art camp run by my sister this (and last) week. They are having their exhibition today so my husband and I plan to meet up there during our lunch hours to see it all. Looking forward to it, but it could be rather mad if I remember these things rightly (I used to work there too when I was a teenager).

Woke up this morning
With no electricity
Couldn't even
Make a cup of tea
Drove to the office
through storm debris
And now there's a leak
In my Li-Brar-y!

Yep, the power went at 1am, still wasn't back when I left and isn't according to the ESB. When I got in here I discovered a leak by the door, water dripping down from the ceiling. The disaster plan *cough cough* swung into action. After a frantic few minutes I got some help, a bin and some towels to at least it is contained. We have now got to make contact with the facilities people to get it fixed!

So here I am, sitting here alone, listening to the dripping!

And I typed all this up once (far funnier and wittier, of course) and promptly hit the wrong button and wiped it!

It is definitely one of those days.

The nation had one yesterday too. Day of disasters

But this is my library! Focus people! Priorities! :D

I am absolutely wrecked and it isn't even midday yet! 

It is however, time for elevenses, which I plan to take full advantage of. Yay.

The laptop is settling in well, making friends, particularly with the cat. :D

rflong: (Default)
( Jul. 3rd, 2007 10:30 am)

"The Librarian was, of course, very much in favour of reading in general, but readers in particular got on his nerves. There was something, well, sacrilegious about the way they kept taking books off the shelves and wearing out the words by reading them. He liked people who loved and respected books, and the best way to do that, in the Librarian's opinion, was to leave them on the shelves where Nature intended them to be."

from Men At Arms  by Terry Pratchett.

I'm thinking of making this my personal motto

rflong: (Default)
( Jun. 13th, 2007 09:43 am)

Super busy, probably. A researcher will be coming into the library shortly so I will be "assisting" him for the most part I suppose. I have to get the relevant archives down from the archives room for him (which I will probably do now). We don't have a huge amount on the area in which he is interested so I can pretty much say what he will want. But I'm not sure I want to pre-empt him. Hmmm... professional stuff. Have to think about that. 

He is researching a local college associated with the Order. It was founded in 1860 and is pretty prestigious. Most of the papers etc are at the college itself, but we do have roll books, photos, and a few pieces of ephemera which might be of interest.

I do love my job. It can be so bizarre.

Speaking of bizarre, I will have to try to find someone willing to go to the post office for me with a large packet of books to send to Canada. I was going to do it myself, but the researcher clashes and so I have to be here. There are times when I wish I had an assistant. Not many. I like working alone. I'm strange that way.

The roses are now all out in the rose garden and the place looks magnificent. The library looks out over the rose garden and the old house. It is so much better to be in the ugly building looking at the pretty one than vice versa.

I did NO writing last night. I have NO news (apart from the cat coming back again and eating a huge bowl of food overnight). We're getting geared up for the holidays in the children department. My son finishes school Friday week. We are going to England to visit my sister in law for a few days the following week and I will also go to the Friars, in Aylesford, to visit the library there and meet the librarians. Really looking forward to that. Hopefully there will be lots of inspiration to pick up.

Oh, I think I decided to use the crit group to work on May Queen. That's the thought of the moment anyway.

So that's it. I'd better get going.


Well, the first new sub for "Come and Play" went a bit disastrously wrong. I got a mail back saying the magazine had closed. Shame they didn't mention that on their website when I read up on them!!! 

Ah well. NEXT!

I've got so much to do at work today - have to tidy the whole library and sort out a pile of boxes which have been loitering behind the sofa in the reading area for too long. Piles of duplicates to box up too. And we're launching a lending section. Who says life is dull.

Other than that little news. Two dinners to cook over the weekend - Friends on Saturday, Mother in Law on Sunday. On Sunday night we have a babysitter lined up (my best friend, if we can prize her away from her lunchdate - tee hee!) and we are going to see Pirates 3. Despite the reviews, I am looking forward to it (if nothing else for Johnnie Depp and popcorn).

Wrote another couple of pages of "Moy Tura Echoes" last night and I got a couple of crits in on Chapter 11 on Notebored. It has been pretty well received so far. As we are about to start up the JumpStart Writers group again, I have to decide what I will go with - I could do some rewrites on the initial chapters of Echoes and try to keep the momentum going. I could turn to May Queen or the Freya story and get them going again (they slid off the radar, despite having quite a bit done). Or I could attack Dream of the West again and try to do that total rewrite I've been going on about - but that might not be fair on the people in the group who I have worked with before. 

(but that might not be fair on the people in the group who I have worked with before. Wow, that's a bad sentence!)

Decisions, decisions...

At least I'm busy!




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