The Haunting Artwork

Following on from the gorgeous Frozen Charlotte art I received a while back, here is some equally wonderful artwork inspired by The Haunting, by Edie Morris.

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Seeing your characters brought to life is the coollest thing ever, and I love this image of Shell being haunted by all her birds. Thank you so much for sending this my way, Edie!

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Frozen Charlotte Art

Frozen Charlotte picture by Lucy Treleaven

I was absolutely delighted to receive this beautiful Frozen Charlotte art from 14-year-old Lucy Treleaven earlier in the week. I’ve always wanted to be able to draw but, sadly, it is not one of my talents. Sometimes even my smiley faces end up looking a bit deranged. But I really admire artists and, for a writer, there’s no greater thrill than seeing your characters brought to life. I recognised Lilias, Cameron, Sophie, Piper and Rebecca straight away – they all look spookily similar to the way I see them in my head, and it was like saying hello to old friends again. So a big thank you to Lucy for producing such a great little piece of art, and for letting me see it. It really did make my day.

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Frozen Charlotte in a Teacup

As previously mentioned in earlier posts, my wonderful Mum buys me a specially commissioned teacup to celebrate each new book. Here is the one for Frozen Charlotte. It’s my first one from Amy Jayne Hughes and I’m soooo pleased with it. Even more than the previous book teacups, this one gives a real taster of what the novel is about – like a little teacup blurb.

Frozen Charlotte teacup

 

This is the converted old school house located on the clifftops of the Isle of Skye where the story is set:

Frozen Charlotte teacup

 

These are the Frozen Charlotte dolls: 

Frozen Chalotte teacup

 

The school gates, which must always remain locked because of what happened there in the past:

Frozen Charlotte teacup

 

On the saucer you can also see the black sand the Ouija board warns about, as well as Cameron’s piano (which becomes important later on . . .):   

Frozen Chalotte teacup

 

Finally, inside the teacup you will notice a bike. This belongs to Jay. Something horrible happens when he tries to cycle home on it in Chapter One.

Frozen Charlotte teacup

Many thanks to Amy for creating such a gorgeous teacup for my collection!

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Source – Jewellery’s Fairtrade Journey

This is Source – Jewellery’s Fairtrade Journey, a beautiful coffee table book compiled by Deborah Miarkowska of EcoChic and Jo Swannell-Owen. I was very pleased to be asked to contribute an article to this amazing book, and I’d like to encourage everyone to go out and buy it straight away. Informative, inspirational and beautifully put together – this book really taught me a lot about the jewellery industry, the terrible human rights and environmental problems that plague it, and the steps that are being taken by some remarkable people to improve the situation and make the jewellery-making process as beautiful as the end result.

 

I have to admit that before I got involved with Source, I was almost completely ignorant about the ethical issues surrounding jewellery. It wouldn’t have occurred to me that a small-scale miner would routinely risk dangerous working conditions, disease and death during the course of his day; that he would be improperly compensated for his efforts or robbed of a fair sale price by unscrupulous middle-men. I didn’t realise that there is a real problem with children being involved in the mines or that some of the chemicals used in the mining process are toxic and can cause brain damage. What a perverse injustice that miners who spend their days surrounded by gold should be desperately impoverished themselves as a result of industry corruption, and bad business practices, and unfair market conditions. Until recently, even if a consumer wanted to know where exactly their gold had come from, a jeweller would not have been able to tell them.

Thankfully, this is starting to change as a result of the Fairtrade Fairmined Gold Mark that was launched last year – the world’s first independent ethical certification for gold. The mark guarantees that the gold has been mined in an environmentally responsible manner and that the workers have been fairly paid. It guarantees an absence of child labour in the mines, protects the rights of women miners and ensures that the gold has not funded any violent conflict.

Source tells the story of the fairtrade mark and looks in greater depth at some of the main issues (the interview with the Columbian miner is particularly fascinating) – but it also celebrates the pioneers of ethical jewellery – the designers, makers and retailers who are taking a different approach to the industry – one that empowers artisanal miners and local communities to improve their own circumstances in a way that simply would not have been possible before.

 

What I really admire is that, for many of these ethical jewellers, they do not merely refrain from doing wrong; they actively involve themselves in nurturing positive change as well. Oria donates ten percent of the profit from their endangered species collection to the IUCN Red List, which works to protect these animals; Arabel Lebrusan supports The Water Project, an NGO that strives to address the water problem in Sierra Leone; SilverChilli reinvests a whopping 95% of their profits back into social projects that benefit the entire local communities in Mexico, such as buying computers for schools and planting a 220 tree forest.

 

 

So much work went into this book, so huge congratulations to Deborah and everyone else who was involved with it. It was truly a labour of love to celebrate truly beautiful jewellery and I think that shows in the end product.

 

You can buy the book here. You can also find out more about fairtrade gold here. The first picture is a piece from April Doubleday’s collection and the other three are by Arabel Lebrusan – two of the ethical jewellers who feature in the book.

Teacup Candles, TV Interviews & Book Signings

I went to the Winchester Christmas markets last week and found these teacup candles:

Are they not perfection? This pic is of a mulled wine candle but the one I bought was eggnog and it smells amazing and looks soooo pretty when it’s lit. I adore vintage teacups anyway but sticking scented candles in them just makes them even better. I am now officially in love with Creme Nouveau (http://www.cremenouveau.com/)

In other news, my little interview on the Kevin Moore show was on over the weekend. I have vetted it and, since it isn’t too embarrassing and I managed not to say anything grievously inappropriate, I’m putting a YouTube link up here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VaFtc7p5H3w Everyone at the studio was so nice and really made my first TV experience a really positive one so a big thank you to Kevin, Joanna and everyone else who chatted with me, slapped make-up all over my face (because of the lights and stuff – not because of some sudden dreadful skin-problem) and generally made me feel at ease before we began.

And, lastly, one further reminder that I’ll be in Southampton signing at the wonderful Waterstones in West Quay this Thursday (8th December) from 5.30-7.30pm, along with several other fine authors. Apparently there’s going to be some sort of giant gingerbread house in West Quay that day, and I’ve been told that Waterstones will be putting on mince pies again this year, so do come along and say hello to us all and help us eat the pies!

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