Scarlett and a World of Magic by Phoebe Walsh

I feel so bad at how long it’s taken me to post this wonderful short story. It was sent to me by a marvelous young writer in Australia. I was lucky enough to meet Phoebe at the Scribblers Festival in Perth earlier this year. She attended one of my workshops, and later sent me her writing. I hope you enjoy this atmospheric, magical story as much as I have:

Scarlett and a world of magic. By Phoebe Walsh.

Walking through the silent forest, I breathed in the scent of pine trees and sighed. I had walked through this route at least a thousand times, but I still loved it. The warm, Autumn wind lifted up my long hair and swept up the copper-coloured leaves resting on the natural path. The leaves soared and dipped in the air, turning and dancing on the dirt. The fresh, minty perfume of pine and the sweet fragrance of forest flowers wafted through the air. Rainbow lorikeets darted in the sky, and I watched their interesting and beautiful aerobics. Then I cringed, because the noise they made was not beautiful. I’m not sure what made me decide to go further into the forest that day, but anyway, as I reached the grassy clearing, where I normally read or sketched the lorikeets, I sat down. I was about to grab my book when I thought I saw something shine in the distance. I stood up for a better look. Yes, there it was again. Walking forward, I decided to travel a bit further into the forest. It could just be a chocolate wrapper or something, but I decided to investigate. As I got nearer, I thought I could see it moving. I squinted, and realised it was bigger than I had anticipated. As I drew up right next to it realised it was actually a pond! The surface rippled and glimmered while glistening goldfish darted below. I was about to turn back when I saw another object shine, except this one was different. It was in the pond, and looked like it was made of gold! I was intrigued. (You may have noticed by now I am quite curious.) I took off my faded, cobalt-blue sneakers and white socks and waded into the pond. It wasn’t very cold, and in the middle of the pond it was only knee-deep. Picking it up, I examined it, and noticed it was covered in mud and little pieces of rock. I splashed back to the shore and sat down. I began to wipe away the mud. It wasn’t that big, only the size of a fingernail. I realised it had a hole in the middle. I thought, what was it, some kind of metal donut? I uncovered more and more sections of gold. Perhaps it’s made of gold! I wiped away the last piece of rock, and then rinsed it in the pond. I gasped, shocked. It was a gold ring! It had rubies, emeralds, sapphires and amethysts studded all way round. It looked like something a queen would wear! An idea popped into my head. I tried it on, just for fun. It slipped on easily, like it had been made for my finger. ‘Get out of my way, I’m an important person. Off with your head!’ I giggled. Suddenly, the weirdest sensation began to creep over me. I was dizzy, and felt sweaty and cold, even though the sun was shining down on my back. My teeth began to chatter. I looked down, and screamed. I was at least 100 metres of the ground! No wonder I was cold! It was freezing! I started to hyperventilate. “What am I going to do!?”I wailed desperately, to no-one in particular. “ I’m going to keep floating off the ground until there’s no oxygen and I can’t breath!” Suddenly, I realised something. I had started floating off the ground when I put the ring on. Was it a coincidence? “Don’t be silly.”I told myself. “That sounds like a fairy tale! There’s no way the ring is enchanted!” But as I rose higher and higher, I began to doubt myself. “Well, it could be possible, couldn’t it? You know what, this may be crazy, but I’ll try taking the ring off. It can’t hurt trying, can it?” I slowly slid the ring off my finger. Suddenly, I started to sink through the air. Fast, but not scarily fast. I landed on the ground, and dropped the ring like it was fire. I stared at it from a distance away. I pondered what had just happened. The ring was obviously enchanted. It must belong to a magician! Not those trick magicians who use illusions, a real magician with real magic. As I contemplated this, I heard a man’s voice. “Do not be afraid.” I spun around, and the ring suddenly appeared in my palm. I was so shocked I didn’t move. “ The ring has chosen you. Each time you put it on, it will give you the powers you need for your problem. With years of practice, you will be able to change it into items you need, such as weapons or shelter. Tell only people you trust about your eternal powers. Be careful.” The voice disappeared as quickly as it had appeared. I decided to test this knowledge. I slipped the ring onto my finger again. It glowed. Suddenly, I felt energy rush up behind my eyes. I stared at the ground in front of me, and suddenly two lasers shot out of my eyes and hit the grass. Afterwards, there was a scorch mark. I gaped at it. I had eye- lasers! I kind of half-expected this, but it was incredible, amazing, fantastic!

From that day on, I used my new power for good. I told my parents and my best friend, Ashley. She said, “Omigosh that is awesome!!” My parents didn’t believe me at first, but once I showed them they understood. I stopped bank robberies, solved theft, foiled an evil plan and today I
even stopped a meteor that was about to hit Earth! It was cool. I just slipped on the ring, it gave me the powers of flight and super-strength, I flew up to it, and threw it back into space. I’m kind of like Batman or someone now. I wear my purple hoodie so no-one sees my face. People call me, or rather, the superhero me, the ‘SuperSpark’. Probably because when I slip on the ring, I sort of glow in a white light. Well, it’s not the most amazing superhero name in the world, but hey. It’s pretty cool.

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Free Audiobook: The Last Visible Cat

A little ghost story for your Halloween commute

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Last Visible Cat (audiobook excerpt)

Hope you enjoy this small excerpt from my #audiobook of ‘The Last Visible Cat’*
I hope to put the whole piece online at Halloween

( *First published as The Last Cat in the short story collection Beyond the Stars.

All profits go to Roddy Doyle’s FightingWordsIE)

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Raggedy Witches Wins ESFS Award for Children’s Literature

I’m thrilled to announce that Begone the Raggedy Witches has won the European Science Fiction Society Award for Children’s literature.

Isn’t it lovely? Every year the award is designed by an artist local to that year’s Eurocon. This year’s was designed and made by the talented Tim Law of Component Crafts (it incorporates a small representation of Northern Ireland where my husband is from (Belfast), so I’m particularly thrilled by it)

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Drawn to Life: Documentary Short about 2D Animation in Ireland

Last year I was interviewed about my career in 2D #animation The resulting short documentary was meant to premiere at Dublin2019 However, technical difficulties got in the way. Thanks to the film makers (100%Pulp ) for allowing me to share here…

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My WORLDCON 2019 Schedule & a Wee Video Trailer


Hi Guys! So I’m thrilled to be a guest at DUBLIN WORLDCON 2019. Unfortunately, due to work commitments, I can only attended on Sunday 18th and Monday 19th which probably means I’ll miss out on meeting some of you. If you are still around I’d love you to stop by at my panels and say hi. I’d be happy to chat or sign books.

The above video is a trailer for the film, Drawn to Life*, which will be screened before the 3D or not 3D panel.

(*A short documentary by Karl Cahill and Kenneth Gerathy covering the downfall of 2d animation and the rise of 3d. As told from the personal perspective of Author Celine Kiernan a former 2d animator whose credits include films such as Land Before Time, All Dogs Go To Heaven and many more. )

See below for my scheduled panels. (I’ll be flitting about for the entire two days so even if you can’t catch the talks tweet me and hopefully we’ll catch up)

3D or not 3D? That is the question

Format: Panel

18 Aug 2019, Sunday 11:30 – 12:20, Odeon 5 (Point Square Dublin)

As 3D becomes increasingly easy to create and render for animation and illustration, we look at how much has changed, the reasons to use it, and the reasons not to.

Lee Moyer (Lee Moyer Design and Illustration) (M), Grace P. Fong (Fictograph), Celine Kiernan

Transferable skills

Format: Panel
18 Aug 2019, Sunday 16:30 – 17:20, Odeon 5 (Point Square Dublin)

We talk to artists who have worked across different industries. How have they had to adapt, and what skills have they developed in one area of their career that benefitted them in another?

Andy Dudak (Clarkesworld, Analog Science Fiction and Fact, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction), Teddy Harvia (M), Celine Kiernan, Leeann Hamilton (Oddlight Comics, Nerve Centre, Sonic the Comic Online, self publishing), Fred Gambino

Judging a cover by its book

Format: Panel
19 Aug 2019, Monday 12:30 – 13:20, Alhambra (Point Square Dublin)

An artist doesn’t always read the novel they’re illustrating a cover for, and even when they do they can make mistakes. Sometimes it’s just funny; other times it’s outrageous. What are the worst mistakes you’ve seen on covers, or when has a cover completely misrepresented the story it’s supposed to be selling?

Peter V. Brett, Celine Kiernan, Cat Marsters (Romantic Novelists Association), Rob Carlos (M)


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Kirkus Starred Review for Little Grey Girl

So proud of this. So proud.

Posted in Awards, Begone the Raggedy Witches, Brilliance Audio, Candlewick, Kate Rudd, Kirkus, Little Grey Girl, Mup and Crow, Walker Books | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment