Clare O'Beara's Blog

October 9, 2020

October Means Online Octocon

Dining Out Around the Solar System (Dining Out Around The Solar System, #1) by Clare O'Beara This virtual science fiction convention idea sounded interesting, and I’d staffed the last few Cons, so I agreed to help again… luckily people with more experience of virtual Con hosting are setting up everything, and I am staff for the weekend. Getting started at present, and this looks like fun.
Most years I sit and scribble notes on the panels, then share them here the following year. Next year’s post will be decidedly different, but to get in the mood, here’s the 2019 Octocon. We had a much reduced Con due to having hosted a Worldcon in the same year. Still great company. I have necessarily omitted contributions for space.

Dining Out with the Gas Giants (Dining Out Around The Solar System, #3) by Clare O'Beara Early chat room on Worldcon We each mentioned what we’d loved and generally agreed we’d do it again.

William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare Retellings, #2) by Bruce Coville Fae panel wings on fairies arrived in the time of Shakespeare, because during performances of Midsummer Night’s Dream the audience had trouble telling the fairies apart from the mortals. The costumer came up with the idea of putting light wings on fairies. The idea stuck.

The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson Environment Peadar O’Guilin said as a species we are short term vision beings. Stephen Baxter wrote in the Orion novella that humans used up all resources in human space and had to keep expanding. At war with many species.
Noelle - carbon tax, electric cars would not be clean in Poland, as they use coal for power. Her car runs on 30 – 40% green power.
Dry by Neal Shusterman Dr. Fox Purcell from Santa Barbara said he sees fires every ten years and people are required to have fire training. But what started fires every ten years in the past now starts them every few months. Power lines were cut off for a couple of months. He is running a new shop on solar. Believes society is so tied to fossil fuels it will be ten generations before we can get off it.
Xander – young people, protests, need to understand ecological collapse, climate change affecting the least advantaged first.
The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1) by Suzanne Collins Carol Connolly – stories like The Hunger Games, overthrow a regime and replace it with one suspiciously similar; the Irish overthrew British rule and reimposed the Catholic Church.
The Call (The Call, #1) by Peadar Ó Guilín Peadar – a cause of short termism is cynicism – comes with age – we need youth and energy.
Dr. Fox is writing a series about space travel to new world, strip-mining.
Carol – watch The Good Place. We have built complex systems, the world is better for people but causes problems.
Red Mars (Mars Trilogy, #1) by Kim Stanley Robinson Xander – KSR’s Red Mars series – responsible.
Peadar – cli-fi, 1979 Brunner, The Sheep Look Up. Short term – voting for someone who gives a tax break rather than generates clean power.
Noelle – Avatar.
Xander – we see narratives that we reach balance only after WW3. We could probably fix it now, but fiction likes to wait for it to get really bad. Judge Dredd – over the top fascism.
Climate Change Captives 2035 and Project SAVE Students Help Save the Earth (Climate Captives Book 1) by Carolyn Wilhelm Carol – Mad Max. Help 17 year olds vote as soon as 18.
Dr. Fox – write cli-fi, or give the idea to one of us and we’ll write it.

Panel on spoofing science
Super Human (The New Heroes/Quantum Prophecy, #4) by Michael Carroll Dr. Edmund Schlussel, Marim Siljak, Michael Carroll, Carol Connolly.
Infinite Metropolis by Edmund Schluessel Michael – school, told religion teacher about mass = gravitational attraction, not just what goes up must come down. Had to fetch the physics teacher to explain. The religion teacher refused to believe him.
Ed. Resonant frequency of space elevator cable – pluck it to the right note, you can make planet explode. Nobody will believe this when he puts it into a story.
The Martian by Andy Weir
Carol – The Martian – no mention of the light levels involved in potato growing.
Marim Siljak – if you can’t keep my attention with the plot I will focus on the science so it better be good.
Michael – likes more science in SF but the story is most important. The War of the Worlds. The more you have to explain the slower the story gets.
Dr Ed – Another Life has virus that is boron based – he wants to know where all the boron is coming from.
Carol – Dr Who falls in to myth and legend rather than SF.
Skyfall by Harry Harrison Q. Do we do bad science because it’s cooler?
Michael – yes. May nudge science to make story work or may nudge story to make science work. In 1970s Harry Harrison wrote Skyfall which was going to be picked as Book Club of the Month – but a publisher said they didn’t do SF. So instead they picked The Andromeda Strain. No peer review in movies. We like dinosaurs and cowboys, put them together.
The Andromeda Strain (Andromeda, #1) by Michael Crichton Dr Ed – Film script has beats to be hit.
Carol - Star Trek occasionally requires an info dump. Sometimes a character says ‘tell me how this works’. Women are apparently confused by science in those old films and books.
Dr Ed. – if we are not conveying meaning through writing it isn’t writing. It’s just putting characters on a page.

Adaptations panel Diane Duane, Peadar O’ Guilin, Ruth Frances Long.
Peadar Ó Guilín P – Brothers Grimm very dark. Adapted means telling in a different form or for a different audience.
DD - who are you adapting for? Children or their parents who will read it out?
P – Disney versions have become canon. People now adapt not just originals but Disneys.

Diane Duane DD - you do licensed work, take the king’s shilling. One project they wanted Victoriana spruced up, made cute.
P – new culture. At a conference in Birmingham convention centre he saw over 100 little girls dressed as princesses. Disney on ice. Also a group of teen gamers/ cosplayers and one girl came out in her skimpy tribal costume; she felt nervous among shoppers, but two princess girls ran up to her and she was their hero.
DD – part of being human is to want things to turn out all right. Mostly they won’t, we think in more adult process, but we are entitled to read / see a happy ending.
Ruth Frances Long RFL - her kids, the things she would expect them to be upset about, they barely react to but get upset about other things. As they grow up they get to see subtexts they never saw before.
P – Kids generally don’t think they are going to die. Tree climbing, risks etc. You should do whatever you like as long as it makes a great story. People prefer to read SF that is near to our world; if it is massively different you drop ¾ readership. People say a cyborg in a Cinderella tale is original, but they would never read something completely original.
DD – she has seen and dislikes taking a fairytale and making it into a kill the monster movie. A French woman used to hold salons and fairytales were told – female empowerment. Later, morals were added.
Rejected Princesses Tales of History's Boldest Heroines, Hellions, and Heretics by Jason Porath Q. Rejected Princesses. A book of short tales of strong girls.
DD - 1001 Nights – some adult, some child friendly, many deeply nested in each other.
P – 3 or 4 literary canons are being used and Irish, Decameron are not being told.
DD – How to re-introduce others?

Follow my published articles on my JournoPortfolio page – a site I highly recommend. Most recently my article about returning to college during Covid restrictions was published.
https://clareobeara.journoportfolio.com/

All my books are in Kindle and the Kindle Unlimited programme too. If you enjoy a book please leave a review, which helps other readers.

Watch my book trailers for my science fiction series:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GadPp...

Visit my website:
www.clareobeara.ie
for news, puzzles, books, reviews and events. I blog here about disability access including my Top Ten places to visit. You can find my podcasts about Octocon on the News and Events page. I provide a Writers’ Page giving tips about how to be an independent publisher.
I am also adding book covers to Pinterest boards after I review the books, so feel free to find me on Pinterest.
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Published on October 09, 2020 13:09 Tags: cli-fi, convention, dublin, environment, fae, fantasy, ireland, octocon, science-fiction, script, sf

September 15, 2020

September – College, but not as we know it, and my fourth book this year

A Dog For Lockdown by Clare O'Beara That was a summer break like no other as the coronavirus affected everyone’s lives. I wrote. I photographed, edited and published. I turned out four books. Some authors like blog tours, publicity launches and more, or the standard book launches we all love to attend. I just wrote another book. We wanted to travel either to Britain or a nice location in Ireland. Instead, we stayed at home, I wrote until 10.30pm most nights, and my talented husband made my book covers.
A Pony For Quarantine by Clare O'Beara Here is my fourth book this year, already selling in multiple countries. A Dog For Lockdown, second in the Irish Lockdown YA series which began with A Pony For Quarantine. Coronavirus, cyber-bullying and canine care feature in this tale about a 13 year old boy in Ireland.

Find it here:
https://amazon.com/Dog-Lockdown-Irish...

Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania by Frank Bruni College is starting next week. My classmates of last year have graduated, and I’m proud of them, all great young people with a bright future… provided the post-Covid environment leaves them work. Because I had a course change from part-time to full-time two years ago (a long time, looked at today) I was asked last year if I would take eleven modules – nine journalism, two state-required employability – to complete my
We the Media Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People by Dan Gillmor course, in one year. I said no. Therefore I am taking the last few modules this year. This was the only solution, because I could not possibly have fitted in all that work and got good results. I am trepidatious, because now my friends are absent, I’m the only journalism student, the buildings and library won’t be available most of the time, and I’ll take online classes. I’ll complete my journalism thesis modules without being able to travel, take in conferences like COP26, or interview people easily.

Front-Page Girls Women Journalists in American Culture and Fiction, 1880-1930 by Jean Marie Lutes Well, it will still be fun. The classes will still be good classes and I’ll be learning. My new classmates will be great young people with bright futures. The library will lend e-books and periodicals. I’ll presumably be in college some of the time, the schedule still being finalised, and on those occasions I’ll resume my wary acquaintance with the Apple Macintosh computers in the media lab to run Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, Audacity (or Pro Tools if I have no option), Indesign and the rest.

How to Be a Student 100 Great Ideas and Practical Habits for Students Everywhere by Sarah Moore My spare time includes being a Peer Mentor which means I can be a steadying influence for younger students, and pass on some of the knowledge of how to navigate college that I’ve gained, mainly over Zoom.


Behind the Scenes at Downton Abbey by Emma Rowley The outgoing President of the Journalism Society asked me to fill that position, and while trips to the RTE studios may not be possible, we will see how many activities we can pack into the year. How many stories and interviews we can find. How much fun we can have.
Because it will still be fun.

Ghost in the Wires My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker by Kevin D. Mitnick Follow my published articles on my JournoPortfolio page – a site I highly recommend. Most recently I had a journalism article, on a surprising result from a public train ticket machine, published on The Register.
https://clareobeara.journoportfolio.com/

My paperback of A Pony For Quarantine gained a delighted reaction from a young person and her family recently. All my books are in the Kindle Unlimited programme too. If you enjoy a book please leave a review, which helps other readers.

Watch my book trailers for my science fiction series:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GadPp...

Visit my website:
www.clareobeara.ie

for news, puzzles, books, reviews and events. I blog here about disability access including my Top Ten places to visit. You can find my podcasts about Octocon on the News and Events page. I provide a Writers’ Page giving tips about how to be an independent publisher. I am also adding book covers to Pinterest boards after I review the books, so feel free to find me on Pinterest.
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Published on September 15, 2020 11:39 Tags: college, coronavirus, covid-19, dogs, hacking, horses, independent-publishing, journalism, lockdown, pony, publishing, quarantine, train, ya

August 23, 2020

August - Australia, Journalism and Horses

A Pony For Quarantine by Clare O'Beara I’m thrilled that A Pony For Quarantine has been selected to feature in Multicultural Children’s Book Day. Many thanks to all concerned, especially Becky Flansburg, organiser, and Carolyn Wilhelm, the educator who read and recommended my book. I hope this story of a pony-loving girl in Ireland with a neurodiverse younger brother, during the Coronavirus Pandemic, will be enjoyed by many readers.

A Mom What is an Adoptive Mother? by Betsy Wilhelm Becky says:
“There are many ways to get involved in Multicultural Children's Book Day and you can read about our mission here.
MCBD is a non-profit that works with authors to get their books reviewed during our online event and also works to get free diverse children's books into the hands of young readers.
The online event/holiday takes the last Friday of every January so this year it will fall on 1/31/21 and this will be our 8th Multicultural Children’s Book Day celebration!”

Climate Change Captives 2035 and Project SAVE Students Help Save the Earth (Climate Captives Book 1) by Carolyn Wilhelm This month has flown. No sooner were we allowed to go about our business again, than I supervised some exams and when that ended, the summer storms arrived. So we have not been on holiday, haven’t been further than Dublin and Malahide. WorldCon happened on line in New Zealand as opposed to our wonderful, packed and fun event in Dublin last year.

Nature Beyond Solitude Notes from the Field by John Seibert Farnsworth
Due to the global cessation of normal activity, Earth Overshoot Day, the day on which we have used up all the world’s resources that can be replenished over the whole year, occurred three weeks later than last year’s. Let’s find ways to keep pushing this date back while returning to a more normal life.

Last Tang Standing by Lauren Ho I’ve been working, which is no surprise to anyone who knows me, writing a new book, getting through many wonderful review books for Fresh Fiction, and trying to declutter mailboxes and write promised articles before college starts again in September.

Across the Green Grass Fields (Wayward Children, #6) by Seanan McGuire
Allan, my talented husband, has my book cover ready and I am on the final few chapters as I type. This is another topical YA novel, because I’m enjoying writing them and taking photos for illustrating them. I have plenty of ideas for crime books and science fiction – Yes, more Donal and Myron! - but they’ll have to wait until next summer when I’ll have completed my degree. Having seen the work I have put in over the past three years, Allan is equally as determined as I am that I’ll be getting that degree.

Lines of Vision Irish Writers on Art by Janet McLean Here’s an article I contributed recently to Writing.ie, a website for and by Irish writers, describing how I wrote and published A Pony For Quarantine over summer. So that’s pretty meta. I hope to help anyone getting started in independent publishing.

https://www.writing.ie/tell-your-own-...

ICEAPELAGO by Peter Brennan I’d strongly recommend taking a look at two more articles there, one from Peter Brennan who has released Iceapelago: a climate change thriller.

https://www.writing.ie/tell-your-own-...

Anu The Raj Years by Shabnam Vasisht And a work of historical researches, Digging Up the Raj by Shabnam Vasisht, who traced connections between the Deansgrange, Co. Dublin, cemetery and India.

https://www.writing.ie/tell-your-own-...

You’ll find many different writers on that site, each with their own story to tell about their writing journey.

On the Front Line The Collected Journalism of Marie Colvin by Marie Colvin Next month I’ll be getting back to college with some new responsibilities. As well as being in my final year, I’ve accepted the role of President of the Journalism Society, our previous excellent President Lea Lair having finished her degree; and my offer to be a volunteer Peer Mentor has just been accepted. Fair bet that much of the work will be online.

Light Horse To Damascus by Elyne Mitchell For a new hobby (because I had some spare evening time that I would only fill with computer games otherwise) I have joined as a Digital Newspaper Volunteer with the National Library of Australia. We’re correcting the typing errors in the scanned digitised newspapers from the early 1800s to date. At present I am working on anything to do with horses. And anyone who knows me will not be at all surprised to hear of this occurrence.

Dining Out On Planet Mercury by Clare O'Beara Free Book this month contains some Australian content: two young Aussie ladies working their way in London for a college gap year, climate change desertification (this was written prior to last year’s devastating bushfires) and a geoengineering project which brings the dry continent a new inland sea, providing rain and helping to reduce ocean levels. Go for it!

Dining Out On Planet Mercury.

https://amazon.co.uk/Dining-Planet-Me...

https://amazon.com/Dining-Planet-Merc...


All my books are in the Kindle Unlimited programme too. If you enjoy a book please leave a review, which helps other readers.

Watch my book trailers for my science fiction series:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GadPp...

Visit my website:
www.clareobeara.ie

for news, puzzles, books, reviews and events.
I blog here about disability access including my Top Ten places to visit. You can find my podcasts about Octocon on the News and Events page. I am also adding book covers to Pinterest boards after I review the books, so feel free to find me on Pinterest.
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July 10, 2020

July – Two new books for dog lovers

Dogs Of Every Day New Edition by Clare O'Beara You know how you wait ages for a bus and three come at once? Having released A Pony For Quarantine last month, this month I have released two more books. I had been working on this project for a few months as I had time, researching and writing about dog breeds, and decided to combine it with my photography.

A Dozen Dogs Or So New Edition by Clare O'Beara Dogs Of Every Day has been in my possession since childhood. These are dog poems written by Irishman Patrick R Chalmers, who had many poems published in Punch early in the twentieth century. The book is beautifully illustrated by Cecil Aldin, an English artist. I more recently bought A Dozen Dogs Or So by the same duo. As the books are now out of copyright I decided to release them for a new generation to enjoy. I have added a substantial glossary, to make the book accessible to modern readers, because it depicts working and sporting breeds which are not always used for those purposes today. I’ve researched the history of the breeds and how they were used in the countryside. All the dogs come across as much loved and respected companions too. This is borne out by the dog portraits.

Explosive Situation (True Blue K-9 Unit Brooklyn #4) by Terri Reed I added photos of dogs which I had taken on my daily walks during the Coronavirus lockdown. Initially I was just collecting photos for my husband to enjoy, as he’s very much a dog lover but wasn’t getting out as often. Allan cooks most of our meals, and deserved any treat to lighten his day. These are gorgeous dogs, full of character and life. So you have Boxers, Miniature Schnauzers, King Charles Spaniels, Lurchers, Irish Setters, Terriers, Pointers and Poodles; and bigger breeds, like Newfoundlands, Labradors, German Shepherd Dogs, and Collies.

A Pony For Quarantine by Clare O'Beara As I have added substantial amounts of high-quality original content, these New Editions are my copyright.
Enjoy these lovely poems, art, background and photos, on Kindle. My other new release A Pony For Quarantine is now available in paperback as well as Kindle.

Future Presence How Virtual Reality Is Changing Human Connection, Intimacy, and the Limits of Ordinary Life by Peter Rubin I’m now working on two more books, which I would like to release before getting back to college in September for my final year. This time last year we were preparing to host Worldcon in Dublin. This year Cons are facing major challenges with social distancing and antiseptic measures, so there is no way we could have run that Worldcon. I’m just so glad we had the opportunity. Take opportunities to attend events when you can get them, because they won’t keep being available. Who knows, in the future many more events may have to be virtually hosted. Stay well, and keep reading. We can win this together.

Check out my new books here:

Dogs Of Every Day New Edition by Clare O'Beara A Pony For Quarantine by Clare O'Beara A Dozen Dogs Or So New Edition by Clare O'Beara

https://www.amazon.com/Dogs-Every-Day...

https://www.amazon.com/Dozen-Dogs-So-...

https://amazon.com/Pony-Quarantine-Cl...

All my books are in the Kindle Unlimited programme too. If you enjoy a book please leave a review, which helps other readers.

Watch my book trailers for my science fiction series:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GadPp...

Visit my website:
www.clareobeara.ie

for news, puzzles, books, reviews and events. I blog here about disability access including my Top Ten places to visit. You can find my podcasts about Octocon on the News and Events page. I am also adding book covers to Pinterest boards after I review the books, so feel free to find me on Pinterest.
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Published on July 10, 2020 12:01 Tags: 1900s, art, countryside, dogs, dozen-dogs, dublin, ireland, nature, photography, pony, quarantine

June 15, 2020

June – First new book in three years, quarantine lit

A Pony For Quarantine by Clare O'Beara This month I published my first book for three years. Since beginning college, I had not enough time to write a book. Famously, being in isolation due to a spreading illness has given writers the time and peace they needed to write, generating a body of ‘quarantine literature’. Regular readers will recall I am studying Journalism, and an element of news is present in A Pony For Quarantine.

Moya O’Leary is thirteen when the Coronavirus Pandemic reaches Ireland. Her class is sent home, to take lessons on line, and her family has to adapt to the quarantine situation.
Moya is blessed with a lively young Connemara pony which she was hoping to enter in jumping competitions. That seems less likely as the country enters strict lockdown. Her mum and dad are more concerned about her little brother Michael, who is on the autism spectrum. If Moya can find a way to keep training, she will be ready to ride when competitions start again. But the rising tensions produce challenges, and life may never go back to normal.

This informative, positive thinking story for young people mixes fact with fiction, horse and donkey lore and a recipe.
Illustrated with photos by the author.
Another atmospheric story of young adults, horses and challenges from the Amazon No1 Bestselling author of SHOW JUMPING TEAM and RODEO FINN.

The book was released with no publicity or social media campaign, but is already selling in two countries and being read in a third. Find it on your local Amazon store for download or reading in Kindle Unlimited.

Show Jumping Team by Clare O'Beara I take the cover and inside photos myself, and my talented husband Allan makes the covers. Allan also maintains our website. We are currently working on making the paperback version of the book available via Amazon’s print-on-demand service. I find that my most popular paperback is Show Jumping Team; perhaps this is chosen as a gift or younger people prefer to have real books on bookshelves. At present if I brought out a crime story I would not make a paperback version, as those just don’t sell many compared to the Kindle versions.

Having published one book I am now getting on with a few other half-completed book projects which promise to be great fun. I’m also catching up to the TBR (to be read) mountain – somehow that continued growing even though libraries and bookshops were shut. I blame the wonderful site Fresh Fiction. They, and the e-galley sites for compulsive readers serious reviewers, are just too good to me. And I can’t turn down a great offer. Recently I have read for review:

Black Heroes of the Wild West by James Otis Smith White Horse Point by Andrews & Austin The Beauty of Broken Things by Victoria Connelly Storybound by Emily McKay Goodnight Moo (A Buttermilk Creek Mystery #2) by Mollie Cox Bryan Penned In (Farm-to-Fork Mystery #5) by Lynn Cahoon Marshmallow Malice (Amish Candy Shop Mystery #5) by Amanda Flower Promises of the Heart by Nan Rossiter Butterfly Bayou (Butterfly Bayou, #1) by Lexi Blake Her Hidden Hope by Jill Lynn Danger in the Deep by Karen Kirst Penny for Your Secrets (Verity Kent, #3) by Anna Lee Huber Murder Cuts the Mustard (Beryl and Edwina Mystery, #3) by Jessica Ellicott Promise at Pebble Creek (Hope Chest of Dreams #6) by Lisa Jones Baker A Woman Makes a Plan Advice for a Lifetime of Adventure, Beauty, and Success by Maye Musk Pulp Friction (A Cider Shop Mystery #2) by Julie Anne Lindsey Writing Wild Women Poets, Ramblers, and Mavericks Who Shape How We See the Natural World by Kathryn Aalto Half Way Home by Hugh Howey The Last Scoop by R.G. Belsky Forbidden Promises (Jackson Falls #1) by Synithia Williams









You may notice there’s no horror or zombies among them. When life is tough, put on some lively music, eat nourishing food, and read something positive and inspiring. I’ve also been walking in the local parks each day, chatting at appropriately social distance to fellow walkers, enjoying the beautiful sunshine. We’re all in it together. Stay strong.

A Pony For Quarantine by Clare O'Beara Check out my new book on:

https://amazon.co.uk/Pony-Quarantine-...

https://amazon.com/Pony-Quarantine-Cl...

Any reader not in UK or US should use the Amazon.com link and the site will then offer to take them to their local store. All my books are in the Kindle Unlimited programme too. If you enjoy a book please leave a review, which helps other readers.

Watch my book trailers for my science fiction series:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GadPp...
Visit my website:
www.clareobeara.ie
for news, puzzles, books, reviews and events. I blog here about disability access including my Top Ten places to visit. You can find my podcasts about Octocon on the News and Events page. I am also adding book covers to Pinterest boards after I review the books, so feel free to find me on Pinterest.
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May 20, 2020

May - What You Learn About College When You Are Not In Class

Kidnapped (David Balfour, #1) by Robert Louis Stevenson The term plagiarism is used to warn students not to copy other writers’ work without crediting the source. During my recent researches, I found that plagiarism comes from the Latin plagiare, and it means to kidnap. The lecturers don’t tell you that in college.

How to Be a Student 100 Great Ideas and Practical Habits for Students Everywhere by Sarah Moore While we’ve been able to complete work including team assignments from home, given the Web, we miss the energy and fun of being in the college atmosphere. The Common Room in Dublin Business School was crowded at lunch and we often had stands for International Day or Mental Health Week –
How to Be a Successful Online Student by Sara D. Gilbert always something to see or do and someone to chat with, swap timetable information. We could also have meetups to plan Journalism Society activities; for instance we got a tour of the RTE news studios. Now we sit in our individual rooms and phone or Zoom call.

Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes Fitness – getting out early four mornings a week to walk to public transport and from there to college, with many flights of steps, really racks up the step count. Then while you’re in town you can wander off for lunch or raid a bookshop, or cover the Coroner’s Court or Climate March or any of the other assignments we were set. This spring I also headed off to
Beach Music by Pat Conroy the beach for a few hours of photography assignment once a week. I had no trouble hitting ten thousand steps. Not so easy during lockdown, unless with artificial means like a stepping game on the Wii Fit Plus. I also wore a backpack to college, containing a netbook, library books, notepad, pens, lunch and other essentials. Believe me when I say this builds bone and muscle.

Sports Journalism A Practical Introduction by Phil Andrews Get the work done early. This was my takeaway from previous college experiences and the motto, which I kept trotting out, probably to the annoyance of classmates, has proven its worth. How could I photograph a beach when it’s closed, and I am restricted to exercising briefly near my home once a day? How could the sports journalists cover matches and interview players, or the music journalists cover gigs, if all events are cancelled? How to cover a major conference Three Blind Dates (Dating by Numbers, #1) by Meghan Quinn
and is there a point to asking single mothers to chat about blind dating, if none of this can occur? While I didn’t need to learn this truth about getting the work done early, younger classmates who listened have told me I was so right.


Dewey The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron Now I have had time at home, I was able to look around Moodle (the generic college program for student – lecturer interaction) and find aspects I never saw before because they are new since my first year and they weren’t required for the course. For instance, I can see how many books I borrowed from the college library this year (31) and what percentage my use is of the total class use. I borrowed over 50% of all the books borrowed by my cohort. During our first-year induction, the Librarian told us that students who borrowed more books got better results.

Street Photography Now by Sophie Howarth Evenings just aren’t the same. As I am now a day student, I would attend an evening lecture once or twice a month in Trinity College; or a talk in the Royal Dublin Society; or a book launch or photography exhibition. Sometimes I would have students or my husband with me but often not, as these are events where you don’t need to go with anyone. I helped the
Expressive Photography The Shutter Sisters' Guide to Shooting from the Heart by Tracey Clark other journalists to cover a Christmas party for the part-time students. The other evenings I would sit at my desk and work through assignments until 9.30pm, so a friend might call me and chat about something we were tackling. Now I work on books at my desk every night. While I can still contact friends, the social and learning aspect isn’t present.

Yes Man by Danny Wallace Having learnt all this I heartily recommend taking a degree course. Ideally in a subject you love.




Since we are all still in lockdown, this month I am making The Prisoner in the Tower by Clare O'Beara The Prisoner In The Tower free.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Prisoner-Tow...

https://amazon.com/Prisoner-Tower-Sho...

Grab the book free 23 – 26 May.
Any reader not in UK or US should use the Amazon.com link and the site will then offer to take them to their local store. All my books are in the Kindle Unlimited programme too. If you enjoy a book please leave a review, which helps other readers.

Watch my book trailers for my science fiction series:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GadPp...

Visit my website:
www.clareobeara.ie
for news, puzzles, books, reviews and events. I blog here about disability access including my Top Ten places to visit. You can find my podcasts about Octocon on the News and Events page. I am also adding book covers to Pinterest boards after I review the books, so feel free to find me on Pinterest.
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April 15, 2020

April – Living the Dystopian Novel and Free Read

Dining Out with the Gas Giants (Dining Out Around The Solar System, #3) by Clare O'Beara Suddenly we are all living in the middle of a dystopian science fiction novel. Worldwide we are leaving nonessential jobs and sitting at home as ordered by governments with new authoritarian powers, telling one another via the Web not to socialise. If I wrote this into a novel last year, everyone would say ‘that could never happen’. I’ve actually been asked why nobody had written about the potential for a major disease outbreak and the societal outcomes. I said, I did write this into my novels, I have put shuttle-flu originating in China in Dining Out With The Ice Giants, and an increase in rats in London gives rise to concerns about plague in Dining Out With The Gas Giants. But this is all in my science fiction.

Essential Radio Skills How to present and produce a radio show by Peter Stewart College has finished for this academic year. My assignments are all completed. Some of them, like a radio news show, had been given an extension if we needed it, but the team wanted to get on and finish, as some students had planned to travel to their homes in other countries. I can take a break before resuming in September.

My photography project on Bull Island.
https://clareobeara.wixsite.com/photo...

My articles on Medium.
https://medium.com/@clareobeara

My Journo Portfolio page.
https://clareobeara.journoportfolio.com/

A World Without Work Technology, Automation, and How We Should Respond by Daniel Susskind Exams are still being held, but they have all moved on line. Suddenly, my work as exam invigilator isn’t needed. Automation and the Web are taking our jobs in swift incursions. Who knows if invigilation will be used again? Once educational institutions adapt, they may not return to former practices.

The Hidden Life of Trees What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben As I was part-time staff and my own business as a tree surgeon is seasonal, working around other people’s homes and not always urgent, that’s my livelihood gone for the summer. I’m lucky though, as I haven’t been personally touched by Coronavirus. My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones to Covid-19.

It's Not About the Bra Play Hard, Play Fair, and Put the Fun Back Into Competitive Sports by Brandi Chastain Life could be worse, as I reassured a younger student friend who is facing a summer without sports. We’re not at war. We have enough food. We have computers. We have good medical facilities in this country. We’ll come out of this period less fit and shaggier (unless we’ve shaved our heads like Sinead O’Connor), and we may be poorer but the air will be cleaner. Last month I studied the correlation of polluted air with the worst early outbreaks of Coronavirus in China, Italy and Iraq. My article is on Medium.
https://medium.com/@clareobeara/coron...

Best Traditional Irish Recipes for St. Patrick's Day Corned Beef and Cabbage, Irish Stew, Soda Bread and Much More! by Laura Sommers On the food aspect, Ireland produces excellent meat, but in general the best cuts of meat are exported, the second best go to hotels and restaurants and the third best go to the domestic market. As tourism and business travel have collapsed, meat packers are currently wondering where to store all their best meats.

Irish Farmhouse Cheese Recipes by Jane Russell Households have increased purchase of mincemeat but not fillet steak, as they are budgeting. Well, maybe the best meat will have to be sold more cheaply and we’ll survive without those export premiums. Maybe we’ll switch to raising fewer cattle, sheep and pigs, but raise them in more organic free range ways. Dairy is also losing export trade so there will be competition for those walk-in freezers.

The People's Republic of Chemicals by William J. Kelly I’m amused by the amount of firms which are switching over production from spirits or raincoats to hand sanitizer and nursing gowns. Really, this crisis shows that nations should make what they need where it is needed. Extensive supply chains and refuse chains are not doing the world any good in terms of pollution and waste, and we need jobs in this country, as do other countries. Import any raw materials required and set up clean factories using clean power. Process the waste right here and use plastic instead of asphalt in roads. See that process here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBG0y...

Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury Many authors are sending newsletters explaining how they are coping with the breakdown in the normal pattern of their lives. All are sending supportive messages, while some are worried about loved ones, or are surrounded by too many loved ones for too much of the time. Most authors say their writing time has been interrupted or they find concentration eluding them.

Year of No Clutter by Eve O. Schaub My suggestion is to write something that is simpler to write. If you normally write long, complex, emotionally charged novels, write some non-fiction. Some authors have blogged about a year of no waste or no clutter or no internet; this might be a time to remove plastic or junk food from your family's life.
How I Lived a Year on Just a Pound a Day by Kath Kelly And when you have enough posts you can consolidate them into a book. Non-fic is a great deal more straightforward to write, even if you're writing a history, and your editing skills will be kept sharp.

Best Homemade Shortbread Cookies (Delicious Shortbread Cookie Recipes For All Occasions!) by Samantha Parker Personally, I am catching up with the long list of book reviews I need to write. College required reading and work came first, but now I can immerse myself in some relaxing reading, in between walking in the park with my husband and baking orange and lemon shortbreads. (I got one of the last three bags of flour in the supermarket, but mine is organic flour, so I think I won.) Thanks to all the incredible, hardworking medical, grocery, emergency services, public transport and other essential workers, we’re supported. Life could be worse. And I’ll certainly get new material for my science fiction novels from the experience.

Dining Out with the Ice Giants (Dining Out Around The Solar System, #2) by Clare O'Beara This month I am making Dining Out With The Ice Giants free to give everyone something to read without paying. Catch my prescient tale of bitter winter, political corruption and a rampant flu virus in London. I am assured this adventure of my journalist heroes is not a depressing read.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MW8IQXG

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00MW8IQXG

https://www.amazon.de/dp/B00MW8IQXG

Grab the book free 18 - 21 April. While this is second in the series, it reads fine as a standalone. This is my best-selling book in Germany, which is why I am including the Amazon.de link.

Any reader not in UK, DE or US should use the Amazon.com link and the site will then offer to take them to their local store. All my books are in the Kindle Unlimited programme too. If you enjoy a book please leave a review, which helps other readers.
Newsflash: Amazon is now giving two months' free trial of Kindle Unlimited. Read as many pages as you wish on your Kindle or a Kindle app on your computer or phone. Get reading!

Watch my book trailers for my science fiction series:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GadPp...
Visit my website:
www.clareobeara.ie
for news, puzzles, books, reviews and events. I blog here about disability access including my Top Ten places to visit. You can find my podcasts about Octocon on the News and Events page. I am also adding book covers to Pinterest boards after I review the books, so feel free to find me on Pinterest.
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March 12, 2020

February - March - Coronavirus and my College Closed

Murder at Irish Mensa (Mensa Mystery Series, #1) by Clare O'Beara Today our Taoiseach Leo Varadkar declared that the Covid 19 virus having been declared a pandemic, he is taking unprecedented steps. My college is closed. All colleges and schools were warned two weeks ago to make preparations for online or remote teaching, and now all colleges and schools are closed until March 28th.
The college website says that remote and online classes will begin from Monday morning.
All social public and sporting occasions are closed to the public, as are all museums, art galleries, concerts, etc. The College Ball has been cancelled.
Murder At Scottish Mensa (Mensa Mystery series #2) by Clare O'Beara
All St Patrick's Day parades in Ireland had been cancelled two days previously.
RTE has closed its programmes to the audiences who usually attend.
Our leader Leo Varadkar is himself a doctor, and he is acting on the advice of the WHO and the European Centre for Disease Control. He was speaking from Washington where he was presenting the usual greetings ahead of St Patrick’s Day to the US President. All other ministerial trips abroad for the occasion are cancelled, apart from one person who was already heading to Brussels.

Shops and the supply chain are to be kept running. If people feel ill, they should contact the doctor, rather than go to the doctor.
We are advised to limit social contact and work from home. A week ago, firms like Google started telling their employees here to work from home.
All indoor gatherings of more than 100 people or outdoor of more than 500 people are banned.

Murder at Dublin Mensa (Mensa Mystery Series #3) by Clare O'Beara Hospitals and funeral homes are telling people not to attend sick beds or funerals. Elective operations have been postponed for several days now as health workers gear up for the severe form of flu.
Airlines have been limiting the amount of flights they make from badly hit countries like Italy, and Ryanair has stopped all Italian flights.
The US President has announced a ban on passenger arrivals from the Schengen area (free movement) countries of the EU, which does not include UK and Ireland.

Slovakia has announced a ban on any non-Slovak people crossing into their country, except that Polish people may cross their border with Poland.

I love shopping by Sophie Kinsella We went shopping on the basis that the major supermarkets might be closed as they would contain more than 100 people. And we have cats to feed. Tesco (a major chain) was packed; some stocks were gone; trollies were queuing all down the aisles; the store closed all but one of their giant metal doors while we were in the queue.
Stay well.

The Swinging Detective by Henry McDonald During February and early March I participated in many pleasant activities like travelling to Cornwall and Somerset with my husband; visiting family members; making my nominations for the Hugo Awards; meeting novelist and longtime Guardian journalist Henry McDonald, who kindly autographed one of his books, The Swinging Detective for me.

Murder At Kildare Mensa (Mensa Mystery Series #4) by Clare O'Beara Several days saw me tramping out on the beach and dunes at Bull Island, UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, to capture many, many images for a photography project in college. I saw that beach in blue sky and in grey sky, in dark massive clouds and in sudden light. I saw the snow on the ground, I saw the geese come and go, I snapped the egret and whimbrel in one frame, I patted the wet dogs and smiled at the walkers. I arranged shell art, sized up the rocks, and studied the marram grass.

Murder At Wicklow Mensa (Mensa Mystery Series #5) by Clare O'Beara The end result will use about 20 of the best images in a photobook, curated by me and my lecturer Kenny Leigh. Under Kenny’s tuition my photography has improved beyond recognition. He taught me portraits last year and this year, composition, lighting, exposures, depth of field, various technicalities, and some Photoshop. I am actually doing this the wrong way around due to the college issues I’ve related in earlier months. I can’t say when I’ve enjoyed myself more in learning a skill, unless it was learning film making last year. If you ever get a chance to take a real photography course with an expert, do it. Don’t hesitate. Your photographs will be stunning for all the rest of your life.
On Photography by Susan Sontag

This month I am trialling Amazon ads so I am not making a book free as I want to see what effect the ads have. If you feel like reading a mystery about Ireland, for St Patrick’s Day, please try Murder at Irish Mensa.

https://amazon.com/Murder-Irish-Mensa...

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Murder-Irish...

Any reader not in UK or US should use the Amazon.com link and the site will then offer to take them to their local store. All my books are in the Kindle Unlimited programme too. If you enjoy a book please leave a review, which helps other readers.

Watch my book trailers for my science fiction series:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GadPp...
Visit my website:
www.clareobeara.ie
for news, puzzles, books, reviews and events. I blog here about disability access and places to visit. You can find my podcasts about Octocon on the News and Events page. I am also adding book covers to Pinterest boards after I review the books, so feel free to find me on Pinterest.
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February 7, 2020

January – Chinese New Year and Chinese Children through History

My First Chinese New Year by Karen Katz January went by in a flash. I attended three events in Dublin for Chinese New Year, before the news about the new Coronavirus got so scary. Seriously, good wishes to all affected.

Giant Pandas (Zoobooks) by John Bonnett Wexo My college Journalism Society visited a weekend afternoon of music, dancing and other traditional entertainments from Chengdu, a city in Sichuan Province. Families were thoroughly enjoying the spectacle. We saw traditional dances, magic tricks, formal tea-pouring, puppetry, the Long Silk Dance, the face-changing art, making lollipops from liquid sugar, toy pandas and modern fashion photography in historic scenery.

Year of the Rat by Ridley McIntyre Trinity College Long Room Hub put on talks to celebrate the Year of the Rat. Dr. Isabella Jackson told us that at New Year, Children in China usually are given new clothes and help to hang red decorations. Red is a signifier of good luck. Live plants such as orchids are brought indoors but not cut flowers. A red hongbau envelope is gifted to children and guests, containing money. Even numbers are considered lucky, but not fours, because the word for four sounds like death. People receive the envelope in two hands and open it later in private. 100 billion digital hongbau were sent last year to continue this tradition.

The Great Race The Story of the Chinese Zodiac by Christopher Corr The Rat is the first zodiac sign, because a story tells that he won a race by getting the ox to carry him and jumping off its head to cross the finish line first. The Ox is the second zodiac animal. Most people will not be giving rats an easy time this year; this is a symbolic rat, an indicator of cleverness and agility, and the word for rat and mouse is the same.

Murder at the Peking Opera (Qing Dynasty Mysteries, #3) by Amanda Roberts While children were welcomed in families, they were not valued by society and the boys were considered more important. (Much as in historic Ireland.) The Qing Dynasty vase shown to us had a motif of 100 boys playing. This period lasted from 1644 – 1911. Girls were seldom shown in art. Boys were educated if possible, and in schools, but girls only by wealthy families with tutors. Wealthy girls had bound feet, signifying that they could afford servants, and poor girls were not so abused. A 1900 photo by a missionary showed ‘Bare footed slave, bound footed girl, Christian girl with unbound feet.’

Murder in the Forbidden City (Qing Dynasty Mysteries #1) by Amanda Roberts Some girls were sold by poor families as workers. The family signed a contract and expected that the girl would be found a marriage when she was older; however, she would probably have been sold to a brothel before that happened. This was a benign form of slavery, in which girls were sold to a middle-man who was generally a woman. The new family called the child adoptive, and had to provide for her; she would be trafficked from the rural areas to a city. The family did not get a lot of money, 200 yuen was a typical amount but it could be much higher or lower.


The Sword Dancer (Lovers and Rebels, #1; Tang Dynasty, #4) by Jeannie Lin The girls were illiterate and could not write the name of their village, so they generally could not contact their family again. A wealthy girl would often be given a slave girl on her seventh birthday, and this situation was a considerable advantage for that peasant girl. Child labour was expected in the first factories in Shanghai. From the 1920s it was made illegal to employ children under 14 but this was not always enforced.

My Fair Concubine (Tang Dynasty, #3) by Jeannie Lin Feng Zikai, a cartoonist, drew his own children and became more socially political. Literature for children was never produced until the 1930s, when moral tales of animals and heroes appeared, based on European fairytale styles.


The Dragon and the Pearl (Tang Dynasty, #2) by Jeannie Lin Children in adult literature did not fare well. In one tale, the father dies and the girl child is sent to the pawnshop by her mother; they both end as prostitutes for food. The 1930 civil code banned child marriages, slavery, foot-binding; this again was not enforced. The 1930s were the first time the civil law interfered with family status. Observers had been sent to look at European states, principally Germany, to note their laws and see what strengthened a country. This brought nationalism influences.

Gang of One Memoirs of a Red Guard by Fan Shen 1949 – 76 were the years of Mao. His Young Pioneers wore a red scarf and the Red Guard told high school kids not to respect teachers or parents. Then city youths were sent to rural areas, where they were dismayed to find there was not as much to eat as they had been told, and peasants were not interested in communist philosophy. Children were enlisted to kill sparrows in the act of ecological stupidity which caused a famine. (Sparrows ate grain, but they also ate insect and larval pests, so when the sparrows were killed there was an insect plague. Mao had to import sparrows from Russia.)

My Chinese Dream - From Red Guard to CEO by Ping Liu The 1980s saw the start of the One Child Policy and migration from the land to the cities. This was a huge cultural shift from having large families. Abandoned babies and ended pregnancies fell harder on girl children. This brought new concentration of resources on one child in a land growing wealthier and modernising, but children might be raised by grandparents as the parents were away working.

Tai-Pan (Asian Saga, #2) by James Clavell Mao also tried to abolish superstition with his Cultural Revolution. People like to follow the traditions of their parents, but don’t necessarily believe the superstitions anymore. Dr. Isabella Jackson told us that we have two controls in Hong Kong and Shanghai, which did not undergo the communist revolution; the people there are very superstitious and respect the zodiac.

Noble House (Asian Saga, #5) by James Clavell Today, ex-pat Chinese communities enjoy following New Year customs, but stress teaching children the new languages and hobbies they will need to fit in and be successful.

This was a fascinating and enjoyable talk and another time, I’ll tell you about a talk on data protection and the literary inquisition in China.

Dining Out Around The Solar System Part One by Clare O'Beara This month I am making Dining Out Around The Solar System Part One free on Amazon.
Grab it for your Kindle, 14 – 16 February.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dining-Aroun...

https://amazon.com/Dining-Around-Sola...

Any reader not in UK or US should use the Amazon.com link and the site will then offer to take them to their local store. All my books are in the Kindle Unlimited programme too. If you enjoy a book please leave a review, which helps other readers.

Watch my book trailers for my science fiction series:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GadPp...

Visit my website:
www.clareobeara.ie

for news, puzzles, books, reviews and events. I blog here about disability access and places to visit. You can find my podcasts about Octocon on the News and Events page. I am also adding book covers to Pinterest boards after I review the books, so feel free to find me on Pinterest.
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December 31, 2019

December – Review Of My Year

The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan Goodreads tells me I read 421 books this year. While this is not at all surprising, my fiction count has been a lot lower than normal due to my college required reads. I didn’t write and publish any new books, again due to college. I confirmed that I’ll be taking a couple of modules in a final fourth year – I was asked to take eleven modules in one year to wrap up the degree and I said no. When you have 100% attendance, good results and have always paid fees on time, you gain stature.

The Guerilla Film Makers Pocketbook The Ultimate Guide to Digital Film Making by Chris Jones What a year 2019 has been. I learnt film making and produced book trailers for my SF books with my own footage of London. I did pretty well in my college during second year of my Journalism degree and jumped delightedly into third year, learning many advanced skills.


The Hugo Award Showcase 2010 Volume by Mary Robinette Kowal Undoubtedly a highlight of summer was Worldcon held at the Convention Centre Dublin. I was a van driver for Logistics, acquired stage set items for Events, was the Media recorder filming with a camcorder and a mounted Sony cam, and I was the MacGuyver for the Hugo Awards. We had a brilliant The Time Machine by H.G. Wells time in a high-adrenalin environment, and I would love to time travel back and visit the Con again as a normal attendee. (We all would!)


The Book Of Conquests by Jim Fitzpatrick This year I met several authors and if I can pick just one from Worldcon that would be Irish art legend Jim Fitzpatrick, who designed the Hugo Awards. Outside that event I was thrilled to meet American authors Carolyn Wilhelm Climate Change Captives 2035 and Project SAVE Students Help Save the Earth (Climate Captives Book 1) by Carolyn Wilhelm and Gary Wilhelm Good Afternoon Vietnam A Civilian in the Vietnam War by Gary L. Wilhelm when they visited Ireland. We each write in completely different areas but can enjoy and appreciate one another’s books.


The Call (The Call, #1) by Peadar Ó Guilín At Octocon – the light version – I helped out all day and enjoyed scribbling notes at the backs of rooms during panel talks. Peadar ÓGuilín was on several panels and I made sure to have read his hit The Call beforehand, having heard about it while interviewing him for a podcast the previous year.

Discover Kilkenny by John Bradley Culture Night saw my husband and I visiting a makerspace and hackerspace in Dublin, where we tried lockpicking and watched 3-D printing. I certainly mean to return, but college and work haven’t allowed the time so far. We also took a week’s break in sunny Kilkenny, disconnecting and enjoying nature and culture. I attended several talks in the Royal Dublin Society and Trinity College, which were entertaining and enlightening.

Journalism by Julie A. Evans I wrote several small articles for the college Journalism Society, about highly enjoyable events we attended, like a play, photography exhibition and Christmas party. My husband and I kept up my website blog which features places to visit for people who need accessible venues; I also review books about horses and the natural environment. We now have more than 130 weekly posts, making it a useful resource.

The Ecocentrists A History of Radical Environmentalism by Keith Mako Woodhouse I am setting my sights on attending COP26 in Glasgow next year. Who knows what else 2020 will bring?



Rodeo Finn by Clare O'Beara This month I am making Rodeo Finn free by special request. This is a Young Adult book about 15 year old Finn from Ireland who visits her uncle’s ranch in Arizona for summer. Grab it for your Kindle, 1 – 4 January.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rodeo-Finn-C...
https://amazon.com/Rodeo-Finn-Clare-O...

Any reader not in UK or US should use the Amazon.com link and the site will then offer to take them to their local store. If you enjoy a book please leave a review, which helps other readers.

Watch my book trailers for my science fiction series:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GadPp...
Visit my website:
www.clareobeara.ie
for news, puzzles, books, reviews and events. I blog here about disability access and places to visit. You can find my podcasts about Octocon on the News and Events page. I am also adding book covers to Pinterest boards after I review the books, so feel free to find me on Pinterest.
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Published on December 31, 2019 10:08 Tags: college, cop26, culture, dublin, environment, film-making, hugo-awards, ireland, journalism, kilkenny, octocon, worldcon