The Ogham and Welsh alphabets

Just a quick post to link to the Wikipedia site about Ogham, in case you’re wondering what this ancient alphabet looks like. To get the puzzle in the university library to work, I had to find a letter in the Welsh alphabet made up of two characters, that was also in the Ogham alphabet, and that letter was ‘ng’. Thanks to Eiry at the School of Welsh in Cardiff University for helping me out with that one. For those interested in the Welsh alphabet, here’s Wikipedia again – where would we be without it?

A visit to the Making of Harry Potter tour

Working in the leisure industry, I was lucky enough to attend a preview of the new Making of Harry Potter attraction a few days ago. I absolutely love the Potter books – in my humble view, JK Rowling has created the best-realised imagined world in children’s fiction, meticulously crafted and vividly written. With Rowling announcing recently that she’s moving on to writing specifically for adults, the visit was a bit of an ‘end of an era’ for me.

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Higher resolution map

The North Wales locations of Illumination, by Martin Williams

The Illumination map, by Martin Williams. Click to enlarge.

I decided quite late in Illumination‘s gestation period that these kinds of books should really have a map, showing the locations featured in the story, and their relative positions. Children love maps, and I love drawing, so why not? It does make you realise that it’s quite a long cycle ride from Anglesey to Caernarfon, and undoubtedly there’s a bit of artistic licence to move the plot along. But the map, especially the detail, isn’t that easy to see on reading devices, so I thought I’d put a larger, higher resolution version here. If you’re wondering why the scroll on the right (with the title) is a funny shape, I guess you haven’t got to that part of the book yet! For the graphic artists out there, the map was drawn on A4 Bristol board, using Winsor & Newton ink and Series 7 brush (size 00), and lettered in Photoshop using Blackadder ITC Std font. Click on the image for the large version.

The Locations of Illumination 1: Newborough and Llanddwyn

Newborough Beach

Newborough Beach with the mountains of Snowdonia beyond

Newborough is probably the most beautiful beach in Britain; in fact, I’m almost reluctant to tell you about it because it should really remain my secret! But, I guess, having featured it as a major location in Illumination, that ship has kinda sailed! Reaching it involves driving down a track through beautiful, dense pine forests and the odd whitewashed cottage, managed by the Forestry Commission, and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. At the car park at the bottom, there are no commercial outlets, just more forest and the sound of the surf. Clamber over the dunes, and before you is the wild beach of fine sand. Look to your left, and you’ll see the mountains of Snowdonia; if you’re lucky enough to be there in winter, they may even be snow-capped. Stretching out into the Irish Sea is the Lleyn Peninsula – mountainous too. To your right, the wide sweep of the bay, contained and sheltered by Llanddwyn Island, extending from the mainland.

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Thanks for stopping by. This is my new website, primarily to support the launch of my new ebook. I’ll be adding content regularly, with background material on the story and other things of interest. But right now I’m still building the site, so please stop by in a day or two when there’ll be more to read. See you soon!