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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Introduction

Language construction is a complex task, requiring a basic understanding of biology, linguistics and culture. Because of that, the ConLangs 101 panel was necessarily abbreviated to cover as much material as possible in the hope that it might point you in some good directions. This resource sheet complements the panel by providing additional charts and links to help you get started.


A Departure from English

In this section of the panel, we talked about the Dothraki language constructed for HBO's Game of Thrones and discussed our own experience with languages other than English.

ConLangs 101 Blog Series Entries

ConLangs 101: A Departure from English

Articles and Learning Materials

'Game of Thrones' linguist: How to create a language from...

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

As I've mentioned on social networking recently, I've been researching and outlining a set of short stories to write before I return to novel-length fiction. In some cases, the research has been fun (i.e. watching episodes of Dexter to learn how other writers have crafted sociopathic characters), some of it has been gruesome (i.e. reading on Aztec sacrificial practices) and now some of it has crossed a boundary for me, forcing me to reconsider the cultural backdrop of one of my stories.

The story is Songlines, which takes place in my Petals of the Twenty Thousand Blossom universe and to date has been a coming-of-age story about a boy of Australian Aboriginal extraction living on a far-future generational ship. I outlined the bones of it many years ago after reading a monograph by David H. Turner, one of my University of Toronto professors, about Australian Aboriginal music. But after polishing the outline yesterday, I realized I needed to read the...

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Monday, September 17, 2012

In this edition of Activism Updates, I'm delighted to host my friend and fellow blogger, Lance Frizzell-Reynolds, who writes on Humanist Pagan, sustainability and LGBT issues, among other things. I have always found his work erudite and inspiring, and I'm honored he agreed to write for my blog.


Veganism, It 'Ain't' Nothing New But It Has a Big Impact!

Before I jump into my guest blog post, thank you C.S. for this awesome opportunity. I thought I would introduce myself and of course thank my incredible host for coming up with this cross-blogging idea.

My name is Lance Frizzell-Reynolds, I am 34, gay and married, and live in Massachusetts, USA. I am currently a graduate student at Marylhurst University in the Green MBA program in Sustainable Business, specializing in Government Policy and Administration. Essentially I am working towards becoming a sustainability expert that focuses on ensuring businesses, communities, and...

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

My short story Yundah, which was originally printed in PanGaia, is also available now in The Shining Cities: An Anthology of Pagan Science Fiction, edited by Rebecca Buchanan.

This anthology is one of the few that marries short fiction with Paganism, and all proceeds go to benefit charity. Do check it out!

Monday, September 3, 2012

This edition of Activism Updates will introduce you to the issue of fracking in Nova Scotia and empower you to protest against it.

What Fracking Is

Fracking is the extraction of shale gas and other hydrocarbons held in dense rock formations using modern hydraulic fracturing techniques, including the combination of toxic chemical slickwater, high pressure fracturing and horizontal drilling. These extraction techniques come with serious risks, including:

∗ Risks to drinking water, including the use and contamination of huge volumes of water with toxic chemicals, and risk of well contamination from methane and other substances.

∗ Risks of contamination of streams and rivers and soil from fracking fluids and fracking waste through accidents, extreme weather, or poor practices.

∗ Risks to human health from exposure to airborne toxins at multiple stages of production, exposure to toxic waste, and exposure to toxins through drinking water or soil....

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My LiveJournal is now closed. The archive of entries and their comments will remain available for viewing, but nothing further will be posted to the service, and I have added my LiveJournal friends to my RSS feed so that I can continue to follow their blogs.

My blog is now located at: http://csmaccath.com/blog
You can subscribe to it via Feedburner at: http://feeds.feedburner.com/csmaccath

Tapadh leibh, agus chi mi sibh ansin, tha mi 'n dòchas!
(Thank you, and I'll see you there, I hope!)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

After experimenting with several social networks over the last few years, I've come to the conclusion that I'm spread too thin and that my social networks aren't serving me anymore. Rather, I'm serving them. So in an effort to streamline my networks, I'll be implementing the following changes in the next few months.

LiveJournal

My LiveJournal is the weakest link right now, since my web site blog is robust, comment-ready and available for RSS through Feedburner. I also don't check my LiveJournal very much anymore for friends' posts, since these are usually cross-posted to other social media sites, where I'm notified of them. So in the next month or so, I'll stop posting teasers of my blog posts to LiveJournal and leave a static forwarding message there that directs readers to my web site. I'll likely still check my LJ f-list from time to time, but I expect this activity to be infrequent.

Addendum: I've just added all my LJ friends to my RSS...

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

I've fleshed out two poem fragments this week and like them both. One I'll be submitting to a favorite speculative poetry market this morning, but the other isn't really speculative, and it isn't really Pagan either. It's been years since I submitted anything to a muggle poetry journal, but more importantly, I just don't know whether or not I want to submit this one anywhere, and not because I don't think it's good enough.

I just want to give it away.

I've been building a writing career for years on the practice of crafting, submitting and publishing my work. That's the way it's done, but the old school bard in me longs for public recitation followed by gifts of wine and the singular pleasure of hearing my work recited by someone else later on,...

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Friday, August 24, 2012

The last time I practiced my faith in the company of like-minded people was in 2003, when Sean and I were attending and occasionally leading an open circle of diverse Pagans in Bangor, Maine. Since then, I've been largely solitary, except for my correspondence with OBOD tutors in the Ovate and Druid grades. Part of the reason for this was Sean's education, our subsequent moves to Michigan and Nova Scotia and my immersion in both my writing career and the Gàidhlig community. I'm just busy. However, my primary reasons for solitary practice have had to do with the community itself; the lack of welcome I received when reaching out to local Pagans, the pervasive negative behavior I found on message boards, the open groups and rituals riddled with co-dependency and problematic practices. Because I'm so busy, and because I've been Pagan for so long, I just don't have the time or the energy for anything that doesn't meet my spiritual needs in a healthful way. Unfortunately, that meant...

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Monday, August 20, 2012

I'm getting a pile of spam on the web site blog right now, and while I'm notified immediately of all new comments and have an IP Ban module in place, I can't be arsed to chase these comments down two and three times a day.

The best deterrent for spamming behavior is moderated commenting, so that's what I'm going to do for a bit until things calm down. I'll have any comments you send me posted within an hour or two (unless you post them at 3:00 am), and I apologize for any lack of instant gratification my decision might cause. =)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

This edition of Activism Updates is of the link spam variety, containing opportunities for activism in Canada and the United States.

Canadian Residents and Interested Friends

Senator Mac Harb reports via the Huffington Post that he has received a humanitarian award from PETA for introducing Bill S-210 to end Canada's commercial seal slaughter. He writes:

As a result of overwhelming support, my bill was seconded, and the Senate recently unanimously consented to continuing this debate in the coming months. This is historic, and every single person who has taken action has made a difference.

I encourage you to contact members of Canada's Senate and call on them to support my bill to...

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

I was digging through my story and poetry notes folders this morning and came across a set of eight sabbat cards I created so long ago I was still using my old inkforthedead.com domain name (that domain is still active and resolves to csmaccath.com now). I'm not sure why I never created a CafePress store for them, but I did today, and you can buy them if you like!

I took each of the photos while on holiday in Ireland or Alaska, and of course, I wrote all of the greeting card verse. I'll likely add more cards and perhaps other items as the mood strikes me, but these are enough to be getting on with at present.

You can find the store at: http://www.cafepress.com/csmaccath

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Today is for planning the next six weeks of my writing life. I've been fortunate enough to sell nearly all the stories and poems in my inventory, so while I'm waiting to hear back from agents about my novel, I thought I'd take a break and create some new things to share. One of the stories came to me whole cloth in a dream, and while the dream logic of it will likely need tweaking before it works as narrative, I'm still excited to finally be giving it some attention. The title came to me in the dream as well; Sing the Crumbling City. Another story is rooted in my distaste for the pseudo-philosophical concept of metanorms and my desire to write the evolution of a female anti-hero. It might be called Chachalmeca, but I'm not sold on the title yet. I also need to unearth a few unfinished poems from the journal I jotted them down in and polish them up.

Today is also the second day of the regular Kundalini yoga practice I've been trying hard to establish for...

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Monday, August 13, 2012

I've written the final post in the ConLangs 101 series, ConLangs 101: The Primordial World Sea People, which covers the biological, syntactical, historical and cultural components of the languages I created for the Primordial World Sea People (PWSP) and their descendants. However, I've realized in doing so that I've tipped my hand more than I'd like in advance of the sale and publication of Twilight of the World Sea People. Also, strategically speaking, the post will have more impact and generate more interest in the book once it's published. So I'm holding it in reserve for now, with apologies.

In the meantime, I hope you've enjoyed the series so far! Here's what I've covered:

ConLangs 101: Introduction
ConLangs 101: A Departure from English
...

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Monday, August 13, 2012

After a six-week hiatus of the domestic goddess variety, I am officially back at the keyboard tomorrow, with business, blog entries and story outlines a-plenty to sort, and not necessarily in that order.

I've been looking for a Neverwinter Nights clip that expresses my feelings about this return to creative productivity, but I can't seem to find it online, and I don't have the game installed, so I can't pull it from the dialogue. At first I thought it was a Deekinism, but now I think it belongs to that goblin I rescued at the entrance to Undermountain, the one that gets hired to work at the inn and complains about it all the time. All I remember is this gravelly voice grumbling "Baaack to wooork!" every time I climbed up out of the dungeon and back into the inn's basement.

You know, if you have to explain a quip that thoroughly, it just isn't funny anymore.

Anyway, I did find a montage of Valen and Deekin's best moments that made me wax nostalgic for the game...

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

I'm preparing to reinstall my operating systems today (Dhia! What an undertaking!), and while I'm waiting for various backups to complete, I'd like to share with you something I'm learning about writing your first book.

The hardest part isn't beginning the work, or straining against the limits of your creativity to craft the most beautiful words you can, or finding the time and the wherewithal to finish what you've started.

It's trying to sell your book when you're done.

The waiting and rejection are easier beasts to battle when you only have a poem or a short story on the line. They took a day, or a week, or perhaps a month to write. Not so with the novel where your mind, heart and soul have lived for likely a number of years, the novel that made you say 'no' to so many other things for its sake, the novel whose characters are not quite people but live in you nonetheless. When you send that work out into the world, a significant piece of your being bears it...

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Greetings Everyone,

Welcome to Issue #4 of my quarterly newsletter, posted to csmaccath.com and e-mailed to subscribers on Lughnasadh 2012.

Forthcoming Reprint
I am delighted to report that my short story entitled, Yundah, which originally appeared in the December 2005 issue of PanGaia, will be reprinted in The Shining Cities: An Anthology of Pagan Science Fiction.

Forthcoming Anthology
The first review for Scheherazade's Facade is in, and Publisher's Weekly...

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

In the third and fourth installments of this series, I discussed the biological and linguistic components of language construction. In this post, I'll be discussing the intersection between language and culture. The study of this relationship is called ethnolinguistics or cultural linguistics, which might be of interest to you if you want to delve more deeply into language theory. But my focus here is on conlang development for world-building, so I'll be offering you a more practical approach to the topic.

Building Language and Culture Together

Once you've built your species biology (if necessary) and structured your language, you'll need to begin pairing that work with your cultural world-building. You'll certainly want to create language around landscape, weather and family relationships, and you'll want to create idioms, colloquialisms, slang and tabboo words. You might also give voice to historical events which have become fixed parts of the language (e.g....

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

I've been puttering at my Ancestry.com family tree this afternoon to put off the housecleaning and finding little new information in the way of support for my Gaelic heritage. Of course, my father's people were Suhres of North Germany and Sweden (MacCath isn't my maiden name), but I've never felt connected to my father's fathers, and my Ancestry.com researches haven't yielded much beyond my great-grandfather's generation. My mother's people are Patricks, and I have quite a lineage for her father's fathers, but I've had to delete several generations of Patricks and their antecedent Kilpatricks from my family tree because the public tree I took them from many years ago was sloppy the farther back it reached. What I've been left with is the relative certainty that a Robert Patrick emigrated from Edinburgh to New England in the early 1700s and thereafter died in Maryland. Before him there might have been a Hugh and another Robert in Edinburgh and before them a John and a Thomas...

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Friday, July 20, 2012

In this fourth post of the ConLangs 101 series, we'll be looking at the way language is communicated. I'll be using the terms 'immediate communication' and 'permanent communication' alongside 'speech' and 'writing' by way of description, since this series is designed to aid in the construction of both human and non-human languages, and I don't want for your imaginations to get stuck in the easy or familiar. I'll also be discussing the importance of building relationships between your language systems and providing you with a few more resources for your own conlang development.

Immediate Communication (Speech)

Morphology

Morphology is the study of word structure and inflection1. In brief, inflection is the means by which the singular word cat becomes the plural word cats; the suffix -s is added to the...

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

My heart is moved by all I cannot save:
so much has been destroyed

I have to cast my lot with those
who age after age, perversely,

with no extraordinary power
reconstitute the world.1

This weekend, I attended the Spiritual Activism: Soil and Soul retreat held at the Tatamagouche Centre and facilitated by Isle of Lewis native Alastair McIntosh, who is perhaps best known for his work that advanced land reform on the Isle of Eigg and helped stop the proposed Harris superquarry in a National Scenic Area....

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

I've been less than consistent with my Activism Updates and ConLangs 101 series posts, so I thought I'd write a quick note and let you know where they stand.

The Activism Updates will resume in August, when I return to work. I expect my first entry will be of the linkspam variety, followed thereafter by another book review two weeks after that and then back on a once-every-two-weeks schedule.

I'm working on the next ConLangs 101 entry right now, to be entitled ConLangs 101: Units of Speech and Writing. I should have it up within the week. I'm also planning one last entry in the series after that entitled ConLangs 101: The Primordial World Sea People. I expect I'll have it up before the end of the month1.

I'm also in discussion with...

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

T. Thorn Coyle's Crafting A Daily Practice: a simple course on self-commitment is a survey of techniques designed to introduce spiritual practice to the beginner. Supplemental readings are suggested from Coyle's book Kissing the Limitless, but these aren't required, and I didn't undertake them. I should also mention that I'm not a beginner to spiritual practice but rather a lapsed practitioner seeking tools for reshaping my daily routine, and while I read the book in its entirety, I switched from the suggested practice plan to my own once I had reshaped it.

Coyle begins with a discussion of daily practice in her own life along with observations about the fear that sometimes motivates people not to practice. She lays...

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Our wine appreciation experience at the Muir Murray Estate Winery was really great last night. We began with sangria on the deck, where the Annapolis Valley and the Bay of Fundy provided us with a beautiful view. Then we were taught to pair wines with food based on complimenting and contrasting flavors, something I've always wanted to learn about but have never taken the time. The chef prepared thoughtful vegan counterparts to the tasting hors d'oeuvres, and the wines themselves were lovely (I'm especially fond of the Gilgamesh Port, in part because it's delicious and in part because it's a Port called Gilgamesh).

Anyway, I can't recommend their wines too highly, and if you ever have the opportunity to attend an event there, you should!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Twilight of the World Sea People is now a polished manuscript. I'll be reading the whole novel again from the beginning over the next couple of days to tweak a few systemic errors I can't tackle with Find/Replace, but they really are just word changes here and there. By Sunday night, I'll have done all I know how to do with this novel. It will be the best book I could have written with the skills I had when I wrote it. I will finally (since books are never really finished) abandon it, and any imperfections therein I will happily live with unless and until I am asked by an agent or editor to address them.

I learned a lot about writing from this book, and I learned even more about the writing life, if such a thing can be said to exist. Primary among these lessons is that writing kicks your ass when you're doing it correctly and takes the very best part of your mind to do with any skill. Because of this, it's important to carve out space for the act of...

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I received a notice from my web host yesterday that there have been some technical problems with our e-mail service in recent days. So if you've sent me an e-mail since Sunday, and you don't hear back from me by tonight (I'll be answering emails later today), please send it to my Gmail address. You should find it in the signature line of any correspondence I've sent you.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

This third post in the ConLangs 101 series is intended to introduce you to the biology of sending and receiving communication as it relates to constructed languages. I'll be covering speech production and reception along with other biological mechanisms capable of participating in the communication process. I'll also be introducing you to the Primordial World Sea People, the ancient species from which my World Sea People, Twilight Sea Old People and Day Sea New People descend.

Sending Communication

Speech Production

Let's start with speech, the most common method of sending communication signals among human beings. We're putting the cart before the horse a bit here, since the very first organ involved in speech production is the brain. But I write about the brain below, so we'll table that discussion for now. Instead, let's take a look at the apparatuses involved in human speech production and how they work.

...

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

I bought two beautiful new books at An Là Mòr yesterday and won a third in a door-prize drawing. Very exciting! Am Mabinogi is a mid-level hardcover book in Gaelic with full-page illustrations, Gaelic Folk and Hero Tales from Argyllshire is primarily comprised of Fenian tales in Gaelic with English translations, and the book I won, Brìgh An Òrain is a history of the great Nova Scotian singer and storyteller Lauchie MacLellan, with songs and stories both in Gaelic and English.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Note: My Gaelic class last night was really great. Shay taught us how to make two herbal medicines that we foraged, cut and prepared ourselves. I thought I'd share one of her recipes with you, but I just can't write it in English after her careful, Gaelic instruction. So for better or worse (and it's probably worse!), here it is anns a' Ghàidhlig. You can read my English translations by hovering the text.


Rinne mi ìocshlaint sa mhadainn seo. Sè Bearnan Brìde a th' ann. Tha i math airson cnàmh, 's sè mòran mèinnireach a th' innte.

Reasabaidh

...

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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Please Note: My work on the next ConLangs 101 entry is ongoing, but it will probably be another week before I post it, and I'll be moving to a monthly posting cycle for that series going forward. The research and writing for those entries is somewhat time-intensive, and there has been some minor movement in my efforts to place my novel series (though certainly nothing reportable as yet), so I'm eager to stay on that task. Thanks for understanding, and I hope you enjoy this Activism Update. ~ C.S.M.


In this edition of Activism Updates, I'm reviewing Will Potter's book Green Is the New Red: An Insider's Account of a Social Movement Under Siege. Potter is a journalist who begins investigating the "Green Scare" after being...

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

I've written before that my husband engages in vegan advocacy online by way of direct interaction with people and the issues they discuss around the topic. Often this approach works well, but as with all conversations on the Internet, sometimes it brings the bridge wardens out from underneath their charges, if you know what I mean.

Today's example of trollish ass-hattery comes from a Science-Based Medicine article about the use of fetal tissue and placenta in the production of pills for human consumption. All by itself, the article is a parade of the bizarre written by a man who, if he is an M.D., obviously skipped every English class he was ever forced to take. Halfway through the text, the author references an AlterNet article on the consumption of placenta and writes that 'it is the one meat OK with vegans'. (Yes, we all eat placenta. It's our primary source of protein. Didn'...

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Responsible Ceallaigh: Well, I've ordered copies of Batman #1 and Batgirl #6 to complete my collection. Now it's time to get to work!

Organizational Ceallaigh: You know, if you finished that unread stack of comic books on your desk, you could put them in the read stack and bag and board them all together this morning.

Geek Ceallaigh: (whispering) That's right! You tell her!

Responsible Ceallaigh: (eyes the stack) Well, I *am* collector as well as a reader, and I *do* want to keep them nice...

Geek Ceallaigh: (with pom poms) Read the comics! Read the comics!

Responsible Ceallaigh: No, I can read them after I finish my edits, and they're not going to suffer any damage where they are.

Geek Ceallaigh: (pouts)

Organizational Ceallaigh: I tried.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

I received a call from Hope for Wildlife this morning about a newborn seal pup in Shelburne whose mother had been killed. The pup was so young it still had its umbilical cord attached, and the folks who rescued it had to cut it free from a stand of tall grass. Once they freed the pup, they began to feed it cow's milk and sardine juice and called Hope, who told them to stop. (For the record, unflavored Pedialyte provides electrolytes to thirsty wildlife babies and is usually safe to use in hydration. Beyond that, it's important not to feed them except under the supervision of a veterinarian or wildlife rescue person). Shelburne is a solid two and a half hours away from here, so Sean and I hopped in the car and headed down. Three quarters of the way there, I received a call from the folks who had the pup. Apparently, its mother wasn't dead after all and had returned. They put the pup back on the beach, and the mother took over, nudging it into the ocean. By the time we arrived to...

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Last night's Na Sgeulaichean "The Storytellers" was a great success and tremendous fun. We had fiddle tunes, songs and stories aplenty along with homemade, vegan oatcakes (Thank you, Norma!), tea, coffee and other treats. We gave away an awesome basket of Gaelic goodies that alas, I didn't win, a 50/50 pot and a music CD. Doug and I weren't completely awful as emcees, and both Cathy and her daughters worked tirelessly before, during and after the event to make certain everyone else had a good time. Today, therefore, I am content.

I'm happy for another reason, as well. I didn't need the English story translations to understand them, and I spoke Gaelic at least a third of the night. I had a breakthrough moment about a month ago in my studies while listening to a band called Mànran. The song was "Latha Math", and it was all about a good day on the island and how great it was to be alive. I was halfway through listening to it for the first time when I realized I...

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

My husband and I take very different approaches to activism. While I'm more rescue and writing focused, he's an advocate and excellent vegan cook. Together, we make a fairly well-rounded team, but until now you've only heard from one of us. That changes with this guest entry, which will hopefully be one of many going forward.

I asked him to write something about our love for human animals, since vegans are often accused of sacrificing them in favor of the non-human variety. What he gave me was the following excellent discussion of the physical and psychological benefits of the vegan diet. So without further preamble, I give you my husband and fellow activist, Sean P.O. MacCath-Moran.


Vegans are often viewed as being people who are over-concerned about the plight of helpless creatures, driving themselves to deny the sweetest pleasures of life in vain efforts to help the fuzzy-wuzzies. To some small extent, there is some truth in this view, since...

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I'm past-due for two blog entries; the Activism Updates series post, which will be up tomorrow with a guest article by activist, engineer, scone chef and husband Sean MacCath-Moran. The other is the ConLangs 101 series post, which has been delayed by the slow death of my laptop and the setup of my new computer. I plan to have that one up by Monday next.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Greetings Everyone,

Welcome to Issue #3 of my quarterly newsletter, posted to www.csmaccath.com and e-mailed to subscribers on around Beltane 2012.

Award Nomination:
I am delighted to report that my poem entitled, "When I Arrived, This Is What She Said", which appeared in the autumn issue of Goblin Fruit, has been nominated for the 2012 Rhysling Award in the Short Poem category. A full list of the nominees can be found here. The winners of the Rhysling Awards will be announced at Readercon 23, where I will be in attendance and...

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Monday, April 23, 2012

It's becoming increasingly difficult for me to format posts that look good on my web site and on LiveJournal at the same time, since LiveJournal imposes certain restrictions on formatting that I find somewhat limiting and difficult to work around. With this last conlangs post, these restrictions crossed the boundary from limiting to flat-out time sink, so with rare exception, I'm only posting teasers to LJ from now on. You'll be able to follow a link on each teaser to the full entry on my web site, where you'll also be able to comment, if you like. I know it's an extra step, but my web site is comment-friendly now, so I hope you'll feel comfortable there.

Monday, April 23, 2012

This second post in the ConLangs 101 series is intended to help English monoglots begin to think outside the structure of English-language communication. It isn't comprehensive by any means, but I hope that by the end if it you'll feel a little less dependent upon your mother tongue as you begin to experiment with language construction. You polyglots will have already internalized many of these concepts, but I hope you might be encouraged to range even farther afield with the languages you construct.

The Cultural Foundations of Language

In Gàidhlig, there is no verb 'to have'. Rather, personal belongings are 'at you', diseases are 'on you' and while you're permitted to use possessive pronouns to discuss your body and your blood relations, there is some ambiguity about whether or not it's all right to do the same when referring to your spouse. A few examples:

Tha leabhar agam.
(Literal Gàidhlig)...

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Two weeks ago, I rescued my first baby squirrel of the season. His mother had apparently built a nest in the frame of a parked car, which had driven off with the baby inside. It's entirely possible that his brothers and sisters fell out while it was in transit, but this fortunate fellow landed in a parking lot near a municipal enforcement officer, who called Hope for Wildlife, which called me.

I'll doubtless be seeing this sort of thing more often in the weeks to come, and I know that by late May, the mammal and bird nurseries at the Hope for Wildlife farm will be filled with young animals. So I thought this might be a good time to discuss the rescue of injured and orphaned wildlife babies and offer a few pointers.

Your Initial Investigation

When you encounter wildlife babies on their own, it's important to answer the following questions first before intervening on their behalf.

1...

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Monday, April 9, 2012

I'm an intermediate Gàidhlig (Scottish Gaelic) speaker with a background in Gaeilge (Irish Gaelic) and Cymraeg (Welsh), both medieval and modern. I've interviewed professors of linguistics and researchers in bioacoustics for the sake of the constructed languages in the Petals of the Twenty Thousand Blossom series, and I've done a fair bit of reading in linguistics on my own. I love language, I love creating languages for fiction and I love it when authors bring linguistic diversity to their work. So I've decided to participate in that process by consolidating some of what I've learned, some of what I've enjoyed and some of what I've created into a series of blog entries about constructed languages with writers in mind.

Over the next few months, I'll be adding new entries and linking them to the expanding Table of Contents below. This series can also be identified by the unique 'conlangs101' tag at the...

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Sunday, April 8, 2012

I own a copy of Antiquitas Lost: The Last of the Shamalans, which I bought at Hal-Con 2011, where it was signed by comic artist Geof Isherwood and author Robert Louis Smith. I'm ready to pass this book along to a new reader, and I thought about giving it away outright, but then I remembered something an acquaintance in Britain did when I ordered a custom sacred rattle from her a few years ago. She asked that I make a donation to a charity that protected endangered, African wolves as payment for her work. I thought it was a brilliant idea; I got to help protect wolves, and I got a sacred rattle in the bargain.

So that's what I'd like to try and do with this book. If you're interested in it, respond to this post wherever you happen to see it (my web site, G+, FB,...

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

I wrote in 2011 about the Atlantic Canadian seal slaughter here and here, so I won't repeat myself in this entry. However, I do want to point you to the new Humane Society International infographic on the topic, which encapsulates a tremendous amount of information in just a few words and pictures. I've linked that infographic to the left. I also want to provide you with some information I've just received from Nick Wright, the Humane Society International Canada's seals campaigner, which I found very helpful in understanding the...

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Monday, March 26, 2012

I am delighted to report that as of the writing of this entry, 175 people have donated $5013 to the Scheherazade's Facade Kickstarter project, taking it over its $5000 goal and funding it fully in ten days. Mòran, mòran taing to everyone who had enough faith in our stories to pay us in advance for them, who believed that our orphaned project deserved publication. I am humbled and gratified by your generosity, and while I haven't yet read the very fine stories my fellow authors have written, I can tell you that I'm proud of mine. I hope you like it.

And now a word from Kermit the Frog:

Friday, March 23, 2012

It's far too warm as I write this update, but the forecast for the weekend promises cooler temperatures and snow on Monday! Very strange, but I can't say I haven't enjoyed the sun.

I've already posted most of what follows in social networking feeds, but I thought I'd consolidate it here for the sake of a proper update. On the writing front, the big news is the Scheherazade's Facade Kickstarter campaign, which is three-quarters of the way funded after its first week. Mòran taing to all who have promoted and donated to bring this anthology to print. Your support has meant a lot to me.

In other news, I've filled the great, grizzly plot hole in the center of my novel in a flash of inspiration that left me thinking, "Oh yeah! Of course that's what happens!" I'm a little later finishing up than I had hoped, but at least it's all downhill from here. No word on the agent front yet, but I'll post...

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

This edition of Activism Updates focuses primarily on permaculture and sustainable gardening, especially with organic/heirloom seed. It's also more locally-focused, because I believe local action is the very best kind. Also on offer is an abbreviated list of the organizations that send me alerts by way of e-mail and social networking, so that you can use them in the formulation of your own action strategies, if you like. Most of them advocate animal rights and environmental issues, but I'm also a big fan of the transition movement, and I've included a local link or two, as well.

Permaculture for Transition Workshop - April 14-15

What It Is

From the Web Site: We're going to spend lots of time introducing some of the most accessible and effective solutions out there in permaculture, applied as design. Here's a few we will highlight:

-...

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Friday, March 16, 2012

A long time ago, there was a fine, upstanding editor who wanted to publish a non-heteronormative anthology about people who weren't what they appeared. So he put out a call for submissions, pored over tales by candlelight in the wee hours of the night and after painstaking examination of all the stories he was offered, selected twelve for publication. Then, as fate would have it, the publisher of the anthology fell upon hard times and was forced to push back the publication date not once, but twice before finally letting it go altogether. Such is the way of things in the publishing world, as we all surely know.

But the fine, upstanding editor loved the stories he had selected, and his writers loved the project, and they persevered together until at last a new publisher was found. And now...

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I'm moving into the 'STFU and finish it' phase of my edits, which likely means less activity on social networking, however that might manifest this time. But this morning I've found myself staring out the window at the storm-gray bay and thinking not so much on the beauty of this place I live but on its transformative power.

I've stood on the rocks at Peggy's Cove the day before a hurricane while the sun baked the water into salt on my face. I've gone raspberry picking in the Annapolis Valley and stuffed my face with huge, sweet berries on a hot, summer day. I've driven infant squirrels from Bridgewater to Seaforth because every life matters. I've taken suffering raccoons to a gentle death. I've released rehabilitated owls to the wild. I've encountered cougars on the road.

I've also put the mother tongue of my ancestors in my mouth and put their songs in my throat. I've played the bodhrán at a ceilidh at 1:00 in the morning while two kinds of Gaelic were spoken...

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Monday, March 5, 2012
The release of Quill, a Great Horned Owl I transported to Hope for Wildlife in the winter of 2011.

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