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Arthur’s stone

 

DSCN1330

There are many Arthur stones in Wales and England. This one in southern Wales is the one Hal and I visited a couple of weeks ago (July 2018) on one of the tours we took. Our guide John – a very nice and knowledgable Welsh gentleman – explained that it was the one with Excalibur and he showed us where the sword had been stuck. I didn’t inform him that there was no Excalibur so therefore it hadn’t been stuck in this stone but I did mention that perhaps not all of the legends and stories are quite true. He took it good-naturedly and said he was looking forward to reading The Nature of Things, which I had given him as thanks for a tour we had been on earlier in the week. I can’t claim that any power emanated from the stone as Hal and I held The Merlin Chronicles card against it, no sparks flew and there was no thunder and lightning, probably because in my version Arthur was never in southern Wales. But it fun to take a photo of it anyway.DSCN1334

 

 

A-Pocket Isle cover 3Yesterday (June 2018) I just finished chapter 15! Only 10 or so to go? Will my ambition to have a launch party in November or December be fulfilled?
With a little touch of magic perhaps!
By the way, this is not necessarily the cover. But something like it, I think. All the best, Rhuddem

 

Fantastika 2018 Day 3

FANTASTIKA 2018

SWECON, STOCKHOLM 15-17 JUNE

DAY 3

Sunday. Friends of mine were on the panel for ‘Varför behövs svensk fantastik?’ (Why do we need Swedish fantasy?) so I went to that. I thought the answer was obvious – because Swedish is a lovely language, but there are evidently many reasons why – the Swedish melancholy, nature, relative peace and equality… an interesting discussion. Hal went to Edmund Schluessel’s ‘Non-Euclidan geometry.’ Definitely a case where I would have wanted to be in two places at once, but in a later chat with Edmund he didn’t recommend cloning as a solution because ‘clones need as much food as you do and they always hog the shower.’ Good to know!

Missed the interview with Mike Carey – I hope he didn’t say too much else than what he’d said at coffee yesterday – because I didn’t want to miss ‘Feministisk fantastik’ with my friend Cecilia Åhman and the rest of the panel, Pernilla Perny Lindgren, Gabriella Gomez, Maria Nilsson and Anna Bark Persson.  I wish I could give a word by word report but one thing that was brought up I thought was especially important: to be a feminist book it’s not enough to have a tough woman as the main character. Men who recognise the gender power structure and work for equality are also necessary. As you know, my main character is a man – Merlin – and he joins forces with Guinevere, Morgana, Morgause, Vivian (from the legend), my invented characters Sorcha, Wilda, Akilah, Branwen (most of my characters are women, come to think of it!) who fight back, go their own way, in their patriarchal societies, and Merlin does his bit in the Good Fight. Well, anyway, the panel was very interesting! Why didn’t I take photos?

Immediately this panel discussion was over I had to run up to the bookshop for my half hour of book signing. I wouldn’t have needed to rush. Exactly one person came to have a Shakespeare calling – the book signed (thank you – you know who you are 😊 ) –

and then nothing. A few books were sold from the shop and I signed a couple of them elsewhere (see report – Day 2) but several of us who had books in the shop agreed: it was lovely to be able to attend the various program events instead of sitting at our book tables the entire time, but the number of books sales plunged compared to earlier

years. Here is a photo of the valiant Tomas Cronholm, who has always spoken warmly about my books –

many thanks for that!

 

 

 

 Shortly thereafter it was time for Sten Rosendahl and me to interview each other, also in the bookshop. Very few people were there to listen but Sten and I had fun.  Thank you, Nina Grensjö, for the photo!

Then there was a short interim when Hal and I could run to the used book store and surprise, surprise, we bought some books. The plan was to buy ones that weren’t necessarily keepers so that we can bring them to England when we go in July and leave them on the train when we’re done. We’ll see how that works out.

 

OK, see now I was getting nervous because it was soon time for the big event – the panel discussion of ‘Stories based on a classical story’, in which I would have to try to say something intelligent amongst a panel of me and the three guests of honour. I tell myself, ‘Come on, they’re only people and Mike is nice. The other two and the moderator probably are too!’ Well, I’ve done scary things on stage before so I took a deep breath and pretended I knew what I was doing and off we went.  Sari introduced us, and we presented our work based on a classical story. I managed to get the most important stuff said – that I was irritated with the Christians for hijacking the legend and turning it into Christian propaganda and turning Guinevere into a weepy lovelorn adulteress (I don’t think I managed to use such strong words though) and Morgana into an evil vampy witch – so I had to write the true story and that’s why I’m writing The Merlin Chronicles. Then the discussion veered off into subjects that I know nothing about (games and comics and things) but I did manage to point out that Shakespeare himself wrote stories based on classics and got agreement from the panel. Also managed to mention Harry Potter which is based on loads of old myths. So I survived, and it was fun! (Again, thank you, Nina Grensjö, for the photo! From left to right: Sari Polvinen, Mike Carey, me, Ian Watson and Kij Johnson.)

And that was that! In the chaos that followed I managed to say thanks and good-bye to Mike who gave me a hug and made a point of saying good-bye to Hal in the front row.

Closing ceremony! Already? How is it possible? The guests of honour were thanked with gifts, the Forodrim choir sang. And it was over.

We went up to the bookstore to pack up the books that were unsold. We wandered about saying good-bye to people. We called for a taxi. And then we were home.

A huge thanks to everybody who worked so hard to make this a brilliant Fantastika! I’m looking forward to Replicon in Västerås June 2019.  Bye for this time!

 

FANTASTIKA 2018

SWECON, STOCKHOLM 15-17 JUNE

 

DAY 2

Saturday started with more books. FB friends Jenny Bristle and Oskar Källner were on the panel ‘I Want to Read Good Books!’ So many good suggestions! Especially interesting: Zen Chu’s Sorcerer to the Crown, Karin Tidbeck’s Amatka, Anna Jakobsson Lund’s Article Three, oh, too many! Jenny Bristle had several that dealt with the subject of religion which is relevant for me since in my books Merlin is in constant battle with the church and its violence, enmity to science and misuse of magic.

A quick sandwich then ‘How to write collaboratively’ with Mike Carey, Linda Carey, Michael Petersen, Gunilla Jonsson, moderated by Sari Polvinen. Oh, I would love to write a novel with these people!

Then my big event for the day. I was asked at the last minute to moderate the panel on ‘Harry Potter 20 år’ (HP 20 years). What a great panel it was with Florence Vilén, Cecilia Larsson Kostenius, Robin Aronsson and Julia Wallstén, all of who had different reasons for loving HP. We even got into a discussion about whether or not HP will last as long as Shakespeare (I always manage to sneak Shakespeare into the discussion). Sorry, no photos but I’ve asked friends to send one if possible.

A real highlight that we almost missed because we signed up late was ‘Coffee with Mike Carey.’ What a lovely man he is! He talked about the filming of ‘The Girl with All the Gifts’, the unexpectedness of the book’s success, of his other projects. Fellside is about to be filmed – hoorah, great book. When I introduced myself as one of the panel members of ‘Stories based on a classical story,’ he apologised for missing my (Ruby’s) Shakespeare talk because he and Linda had arrived when it was already done. He asked about my books and was very gracious.

‘Will we drown, or will we bake?’ was a very interesting panel discussion. I most appreciated Jenny Bristle’s tone of scientific optimism and Edmund Schluessel’s insistence that no real change can happen unless we get rid of the capitalist economic system. Since that’s what my book Protecting Cheesyfee is essentially about, I was glad that these two aspects were discussed. And since Ian Watson was the moderator, we all left this gloom-and-doom discussion singing ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’!

 

    A fun mingle with some of the nerds on the FB group on which I am most active – ‘Nördar som diggar Fantasy och sci fi’ (translation probably not necessary). Some I know in real life, some I met live for the first time. Very enjoyable!

 

 

After that, another highlight. My pile of newly bought Mike Carey books and The Girl with All the Gifts brought from home clutched firmly in my arms, I made my way to the signing table. And before I had the chance to lay them all down in front of Mike, he

whipped out The Nature of Things and asked me to sign it. Wow! M.R. Carey bought my book! Can it get much cooler? And then he signed each one of his books with a quote and a very friendly greeting. Ian Watson signed our old used copy of The Garden of Delights but Kij Johnson didn’t sign anything because I’ve only read her stories on line. The other book in the photo is by Cecilia Åhman, and she signed hers for me too!

 

 

After the book signing we had no energy left so home again for the evening. Now looking at the program again I see we missed the panel discussion about whether or not Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad is sci-fi/f or not. I would say not, but I wish I had been there to hear the discussion. Ah well.

One day left.

 

Fantastika 2018 Report day 1

 

FANTASTIKA 2018

SWECON, STOCKHOLM 15-17 JUNE

REPORT DAY 1, FRIDAY 15 JUNE 2018

 

Two years ago Hal and I attended our first Fantastika. Then I did my talk ‘Merlin – the man, the myth, the magic.’ This time, well, read on.

We arrive early, to get the books to the bookshop. A bit chaotic but it gets done and then we wait.    

 

 

Five o’clock p.m. After all the preps and waiting, it starts out with a bang for my alter ego. ‘Shakespeare and magic’, Ruby fastens her mike round her ear, looks up at the small, but suddenly growing crowd, and says ‘Bubble bubble toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble.’ And off she goes, the audience with her. It’s a gang of Shakespeare lovers, that’s clear. It goes quickly. Suddenly it’s over, there are some good questions, and Ruby reverts to Rhuddem, which is what it says on the name tag round my neck. There is no question about it, both Ruby and I love to talk to audiences about Shakespeare and Merlin! (Thanks to Gwen Frazer-Dennison for the photo).

 

From there right on to ‘The lady doctor’, an interesting discussion with a terrible title. Just by giving it that title the gender labels are cemented. While some interesting points were brought up about the thorny gender path the writers of the show have ahead of them, I made the point that I hope in future Jodie Whittaker will be referred to as the 13th doctor, just as her previous regenerations are referred to by their number.

Because my friends Nina Grensjö and Marika Lövström were on the panel ‘boktips för ungdomar’ (Book tips for young people), because I only have a couple of hundred unread books on my shelves and absolutely need more books and because I’m young(er than I will be) I listened with interest to this panel discussion.  Several I have read – The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, Children of Blood and Bone, Among Others, Equilibrium. One I have read and given away and don’t even really remember, Uprooted, obviously didn’t live up to Marika’s view, ‘What a treat!’ Sorry, Marika. Several I want to read: Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan, Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray, Wonder Woman by Leigh Bardugo, Into the Forest by Jean Hegland.

Our evening ended with the grand opening which I scarcely remember. Sadly we missed several interesting programs (The Works of Ursula Le Guin, Popular TV series other than GofT, and How Frankenstein formed Karl Marx, supposedly a serious talk but being it was Ian Watson, I wonder how serious it was!) because Hal and I took the taxi home and fell into bed.

 

Fantastika 2018 QUICK REPORT

Fantastika 2018 is a thing of the past. And what a weekend it was! I will write a more proper report as soon as I have caught my breath but for now I will just share this photo (thanks, Nina Gresjö!) of the panel discussing ‘Stories based on a classical story’. From left to right: Sari Polvinen, moderator, Mike Carey (author of  e.g.The Girl with All the Gifts), yours truly (author of, well, you know), Ian Watson (author of e.g. The Gardens of Delight) and Kij Johnson (author of e.g. short stories ‘Ponies’ and ‘Myths’).
What an experience! More later.

panel laughing

Shakespeare and magic at Fantastika 2018

Dear Merlin and Shakespeare friends,

Ruby’s talk on ‘Shakespeare and magic’ is taking shape nicely. It is scheduled to open Fantastika 2018 at 5 p.m. on Friday, 15 June.  Here’s a secret: she’s going to read an excerpt from An Isle Full of Noises – the Merlin Chronicles Volume 3′. Don’t miss it!

 

 

The annual spring

4 books cropped

booksigning Klackenbergs 2017

market of Sundbyberg is soon upon us. Thursday 31 May is the day. I will be signing my books (and Ruby, hers) at Klackenbergs book and stationary shop on Sturegatan 27 from 5-8 p.m, either in the shop or outside, depending on the weather. Welcome!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 ‘Merlin and the gods’ yesterday 15 April – I had a brilliant time. Lots of people, lots of interest and encouraging words, lots of books sold and signed. Thank you, Stina! Thank you, E&E for driving us to Uppsala! Thank you, English Bookshop, Uppsala, the Bookshop iof the Year 2018. Thank you, all!

Bookstore of the Year 2018

poster ShC EBS UppsalaCongratulations, English bookshop in Uppsala –  Bookstore of the Year 2018 at the London Book Fair! Well done! But we always knew you are the best!

The photo shows the poster in the window for Ruby’s talk on Shakespeare last year at the English bookshop in Uppsala.

And don’t miss my talk ‘Merlin and the gods’ this week – Sunday 15 April at 4.30 in the afternoon –  at the BOOKSTORE OF THE YEAR 2018!

 

Merlin and the gods talk

Welcome to my talk, Merlin and the gods, in the English bookshop in Uppsala, Sunday 15 April at 16.30. See more info below.
What is the conflict between Merlin and religion? How did the Christians distort the legend of Merlin and Camelot to suit their own purposes? Why does Merlin cry the words of Lucretius, ‘Tantum religio potuit suadere malrum – Only religion can lead to such evil’?
Find out in this new talk by Rhuddem Gwelin, the author of The Merlin Chronicles.
Get your ticket at the bookshop today – limited seating.
Sunday 15th April at 16.30
Tickets 60:- incl yummy afternoon tea.

Hope to see you all there!
Rhuddem

http://www.bookshop.se/afternoon-tea-talk-merlin-and-gods

 

Sunday, 15 April 2018, at 4.30 pm, at the English bookshop in Uppsala I will be giving my talk ‘

Rhuddem reading at launch (Tom)

Merlin and the gods.’ Welcome!

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