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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Like any pair of geeks, Sean and I have been looking forward to this film for years, have played and shared the trailers, have swooned over the snippets of song we've heard. We've even planned to go to the midnight showing on the day of its premiere, and we've talked about whether or not Peter Jackson will once again render Tolkien's work with the loving detail he gave to "The Lord of the Rings".

So we were devastated to learn that animal wranglers for the film have recently alleged that at least twenty-seven horses, goats, sheep and chickens died off-set during production because of poor living conditions and neglect. Entertainment Weekly writes:

Wrangler Chris Langridge said he was hired as a horse trainer in November 2010, overseeing 50 or so horses, but immediately became concerned that the farm was full of "death traps." He said he tried to fill in some of the sinkholes, made by underground streams, and even brought in his own fences to keep the...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

We've had a few irons in the fire here at Taigh MacCath-Moran and haven't been quite ready to talk about them until recently. But now that things are sorted, I wanted to announce a couple of cool changes in our lives.

First, we're finally permanent residents of Canada, which means we're not tied to our working visas any longer and can move about as we please, not that we'd ever live anywhere but Nova Scotia. There's a celebratory pub night in the works, so if you're local, consider yourself invited (and if you're not and want to come anyway, consider yourself invited to stay at our house overnight). I'll post the date on that once it's finalized.

The other cool thing is that it looks like we'll be bidding on a house in Cape Breton in January, and not just any house. We're hoping to buy a bed and breakfast near Baddeck, almost within walking distance of the Gaelic College. Of course, it's possible that someone might buy the place out from underneath us in the next six...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

On Saturday afternoon of the convention, four holes-in-the-shoes, dust-in-the-petticoats wandering minstrels offered up an hour of entertainments designed to lift the spirit and put the mind at ease. Never you mind that our minstrels were forced to move at the last minute from their assigned space to a suite on the tenth floor because NO YOU CAN'T BRING YOUR HOME-MADE COOKIES INTO THE KING ROOM (Did you know that forbidden cookies taste like unicorn giggles?) and NO YOU CAN'T HAVE SINGING EITHER (what kind of Lurch/Miss Umbrage wannabe was running that room, anyway?). Never you mind that halfway through the hour, the hand-painted backdrop slipped from its duct tape mooring and had to be violently ripped from the wall by one C.S.E. (Claire) Cooney mid-sentence. These women were professionals, and no cookie, singing or backdrop calamity was going to stand between them and the show.

Caitlyn Paxson kicked it off with a banjo, which she played with a most amazing alacrity while...

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I'm delighted to report that Scheherazade’s Façade, the first anthology of Circlet Press' new Gressive Press imprint, is now available!

The e-book editions of the anthology can be purchased through Circlet Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other book retailers. The print edition will be available through the same in a few days, once the title navigates its...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I'm home from World Fantasy Con and slept in my own bed last night. Woohoo! It was tremendous to put faces to names, to make friends of colleagues, to share the experience of writing with other professionals. It was also great to geek out a bit over the books I love; I now have signed, hard cover editions of The Name of the Wind and Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss, and I also have signed hard cover editions of Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen by Garth Nix. Both authors were great people, and it was great to be able to tell them in person how much I enjoyed their work. Finally, I had the singular pleasure of listening to Guy Gavriel Kay read from his forthcoming novel, which I shall purchase immediately when it's released.

There will be a blog entry later about a delightful, Saturday afternoon group reading I attended once I've collected my thoughts, unpacked my bags and friended all my new peeps on social networking. For now...

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

In the Samhain 2012 newsletter just mailed, I made an error in the name of the lovely woman who interviewed me for Geek Inked Magazine. Her name is Ally Leja. In my haste to get the newsletter out, the part of my brain that was looking at her handle on the Geek Inked blog (princessleja) didn't communicate with the part of my brain that spoke with her Sunday, and I rolled a '1' on my INT modifier.

My apologies, Ally!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Greetings Everyone,

Welcome to Issue #5 of my quarterly newsletter, posted to csmaccath.com and e-mailed to subscribers on Samhain 2012.

Before I write anything else, I want to thank all of the Hal-Con volunteers for their gracious welcome and hard work. Hal-Con is a massive undertaking, and these volunteers put it on without any compensation whatever. Not only that, they do it brilliantly. It was a genuine pleasure to attend this year both as a guest and as a fan.

My panels went well at the con, and the feedback I received afterward was positive. My only regret was the lack of time for more discussion of the material with panel attendees. I'm already thinking about future topics and how I might pare them down to leave room for conversation; I enjoy teaching, but I like it best when everybody gets to chime in! If you missed the panels or simply need links to...

Monday, October 29, 2012

I was doing some database maintenance this morning and noticed that a few folks had signed up for my quarterly newsletter but hadn't confirmed their subscriptions. At least two of these folks are people I'm acquainted with, so I added them to the list manually, but I thought it might be a good time to remind everybody that newsletter signup is a two-step process. You need to put your name and e-mail address in the box on the right sidebar of my web site, and then you need to click on the link the system sends you in a follow-up e-mail.

When I was troubleshooting this, I realized the follow-up e-mail is a little unclear (That's what I get for trusting the default settings, eh?). So I cleaned it up to make it easier for people to understand.

As always, it's super easy to unsubscribe if you don't want to receive the newsletter anymore. You can either put your name and e-mail in the box on my web site again, or you can click the unsubscribe link at the bottom of any...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Here are the promised links to resources for improving your workflow with technology. Best of luck in your writing projects!

Gathering and Organizing Your Ideas


Personal Wiki Solutions

Story-Creation Software

Mind-Mapping Software

  • ...
Friday, October 19, 2012


Here are the promised links to resources for help in structuring your novel along with the three charts presented in the panel. Best of luck in your writing projects!


The Hero's Journey Outline
How to Structure a Story: The Eight-Point Arc
The 4 Story Structures That Dominate Novels
Top 10 Tips to Increase Tension in Your Fiction Story
Rising to the Occasion...

Monday, October 15, 2012

Our first Celtic Colours was a resounding, smashing, amazing success. We were only in Cape Breton for four days, and I've only been back a few hours, but I already feel so far away from home. Thursday, we drove Gaelic friend L up to the home of Gaelic friend J in Whycocomagh, where we were invited in for tea and conversation. Afterward, we made our way up the winding, oceanside mountain to Ingonish, where we found our cottage at the Ingonish Chalets cozy and welcoming in a rough-hewn, log cabin sort of way. By then, it was raining cold and hard, so we dropped our things, set Winter up with a litter pan and food and went out to pick up liquor and dinner.

Chocolate Oranges

3 Parts Cream de Cacao
1 Part Triple Sec...

Saturday, October 6, 2012

My next Activism Updates post isn't due until next weekend, but with Thanksgiving on Monday, a trip to Bangor on Tuesday and Wednesday and Celtic Colours after that, there's little chance I'll be posting much of anything at all next week. The following week I'll be finishing up the panels I'm writing for Hal-Con, completing a course of spiritual training I've been undertaking for many years and attending a two-day Shambhala meditation workshop, followed by my nephew's birthday. The week after that is Hal-Con, shortly followed by World Fantasy Con, likely followed by my collapse into a pile of coffee-saturated goo for a couple of days before I leave the researching/marketing/submitting/conventioning part of my writing career behind for a long spate of actual, honest-to-goodness story-writing.

So, the next Activism Updates post will be up on the weekend of November 10th-11th, when I'm planning to review Striking at the Roots: A Practical Guide to Animal Activism. I'll...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I just took down a G+ post about a funny Craigslist advertisement in Virginia for a topless, female dungeon master who might be willing to run an AD&D 3.5 campaign for a bachelor party. Nerdy, strange and somewhat misogynistic all at the same time, I thought it was worth sharing. But when it passed through G+ to Twitter and Facebook, somehow the link to the actual advertisement forwarded to the Craigslist category it was posted in and not to the advertisement itself. And since I try to keep my posts fairly uniform cross-platform, I deleted all three. Then I wondered if people might think I was removing them because I believed they were inappropriate, which led me to wonder if I'd be faced with the 'she took it down' value judgement I've seen other people make when folks do this sort of thing, which led me to think about the way I view online interaction, which led me to this post.

I'm troubled by the notion that everything everyone posts on the Internet should occupy the...

Saturday, September 29, 2012

You heard me. Vegan french toast.

Why is it activism? Well, the vegan part is mostly self-explanatory. Being vegan is better for us, better for the animals and better for the planet. The french toast part is mostly because it's a rainy, autumn Saturday, and I'm thinking about the good we all try to do every day, online and offline.

For instance, some of my online friends post regular alerts about GMO foods. Others care about the bee blight. Still others are vegan grandmas who post delicious recipes. I have LGBT activist friends, too, and friends who are dedicating their lives to sustainability. I have friends who step in to care for companion animals while their humans are away, veterinarian friends whose good work cannot ever be over-stated, friends who are studying for the ministry and friends who are teaching their children Gaelic. I have a husband whose vegan activism is the brilliant crystalization of an engineer's mind with a compassionate heart.

I am so...

Friday, September 28, 2012

My panel schedule for Hal-Con has been finalized. Here 'tis:

Friday 5:15 - 6:00
Structure of the Novel
Writing a novel? This panel will help you plan it. We'll be breaking a basic story arc into acts, chapters and scenes with emphasis on outlining as a plotting tool.

Saturday 9:30 - 10:15
Technology for Writers
From text editors to mind-mapping software to wikis to social networking, this panel will endeavor to improve your tool-kit with low-cost or free technology solutions.

Sunday 12:00 - 12:45
ConLangs 101
Have you ever wanted to construct a language from scratch for gaming or fiction? This panel will introduce you to a few of the biological, linguistic and cultural basics.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


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...

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...

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...

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....

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.


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...

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,...

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...

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...

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...

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

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...

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...

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...

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....

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...

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 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...

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....

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...

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...

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...

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.


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.



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...

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'...

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...

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...