Belated Merry Beltane to you, and welcome to issue #19 of my quarterly newsletter, e-mailed to subscribers in May 2016.
A Messenger Traveling Northward
In an early fifteenth-century address to a messenger given by Dubhthach Mac Eochadha entitled A theachtaire théid bhu thuaidh (O messenger who goes northwards) and recorded in the Leabhar Cloinne Aodha Buidhe, the messenger is instructed to pass on exactly what is told to him, not missing a word. This means that Dubhthach Mac Eochadha would have recited his message, and the messenger would have learned it by heart. (Literacy in Medieval Celtic Societies, 251) Such was the way of these things, that a messenger would have been required to learn the messages he carried, just as poetry was largely an oral tradition during this time, since few members of the Irish aristocracy could read.
I found this historical gem right about the time I learned that I too would be traveling northward, as a PhD candidate in the Department of Folklore at the Memorial University of Newfoundland. Most of you know me as a writer of science fiction, fantasy, and poetry, but before that, I was a Celtic scholar. It's time for me to take up that work again.
So this newsletter is changing with me. Yes, I'll still be writing the things that prompted you to subscribe, and thank you again! But I'll also be writing about my scholarship as the occasion warrants. In time, I hope to balance the needs of a fiction and non-fiction writing career so that I can practice my craft in both worlds, and I hope you'll stick it out with me while I do that.
In the meantime, you can still expect to receive my quarterly newsletter, but now that I'm working in a more robust e-mail environment, you can also expect to receive the occasional announcement about forthcoming and newly-released stories, articles, and the like. I promise not to spam you! I hate that too.
Enough said. Here's the writing news you came to read.
The Longest Road in the Universe Is on the Horizon
I am delighted to announce the forthcoming release of The Longest Road in the Universe: A Collection of Fantastical Tales. This collection of speculative fiction has been eight years in the making and includes "For Want of an Ash Fall," originally released as "N is for Nanomachine" and shortlisted for the Washington Science Fiction Association Small Press Award. Other stories include "Akhila, Divided," which earned honorable mention in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Sixth Annual Collection, and "Black the Wound, Bright the Scar," originally published as "C is for Change" and nominated for the Pushcart Prize. The collection is scheduled for release on Samhain 2016 (October 31st), so you can expect to see more news, coupons, and purchase links in your inbox over the next several months.
T is for Three (At the End of All Things) Is Now Available
C is for Chimera, the third installment of the Alphabet Anthologies series, is now in print, which means that "T is for Three (At the End of All Things)" is now available. Stephanie Cain calls my wee creation myth "...a symphony of words, a glorious creation story that draws on physics and light and life," and Jennifer Crow writes that it is "...an elegant elegy, blending scientific theories of the beginning and ending of universes with the more immediate concerns of living things." You can buy the anthology by clicking on the links provided here.
The Ruin of Beltany Ring Gets a Review
Aaron Pound of Dreaming About Other Worlds has offered the most comprehensive review to date of The Ruin of Beltany Ring: A Collection of Pagan Poems and Tales. Among other things, he writes:
"At a mere eighty-two pages, this collection ends much too soon. C.S. MacCath's short stories have a raw and almost visceral feel that hones directly into the travails and triumphs of everyday life, casting light onto the ways in which those living such lives might turn to Pagan spirituality to help guide them through their days. The poems, on the other hand, display a strange mixture of the seriousness of epic myth combined with a joyful willingness to play with those myths, and an angry undercurrent beneath it all, that sometimes rises to the fore in a bitter rage. As I noted before, this isn't really a collection of fantasy stories: The subtitle for the book is A Collection of Pagan Poems and Tales, and that is an entirely accurate description. One could almost think of this book as a Pagan prayer manual, offering a brief and engaging glimpse into the thinking of a member of the modern Pagan movement, and as that it is definitely a collection worth reading."
I'm glad Beltany is still doing its job out there in the world, and I'm grateful for Aaron's thoughtful treatment of the collection. You can read the entire review here, and you can buy the collection by clicking on the links provided here.
That's all for now. As always, many thanks and many blessings! I'll be back soon with more folklore and story news.