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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Novel edits are progressing slowly but surely. I'm working on the guts of the thing now, where the most important edits are happening, those having to do with plot changes and the like. Once I get past this hump, I expect the rest will be quite a bit easier.

I'm also settling into a blogging rhythm I like, now that I'm paying a little more attention to the thing. I've been trying to steer away from posts having solely to do with my writing by exploring issues I care about, which has the added benefit of giving me something new to write while I'm slogging through edits. I'm aiming for a weekly or bi-weekly activism update, a weekly or bi-weekly writing update, an occasional Gàidhlig update and the odd, interspersed note about whatever seems interesting to me.

Book II is beginning to take shape in my mind; I solved a major issue in the series yesterday, and I'm excited to find out how it will play out on the page.

And yes, I'm submitting Book I to agents right...

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Friday, March 2, 2012

Iowa and Utah Ag Gag Bills

What They Are

This week's activism updates come a few days early for the sake of the Iowa and Utah Ag Gag bills. In Iowa, the bill has passed the Iowa Senate and is due to be signed into law by Gov. Terry Branstand. If signed, the law would criminalize undercover investigations of animal abuse at factory farms in the state by making it illegal to shoot undercover photos and videos and to lie about animal rights affiliations in an application for employment. In Utah, similar legislation has been overwhelmingly approved by the House and...

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

I read recently that it's impossible to be an activist without living in a constant state of grief, and I agree. People of conscience willingly expose themselves to the suffering in the world so they can act upon it, and in acting upon it they realize how very small they are. There are days when I sit at my keyboard heartbroken, knowing there isn't anything more that I can do than I already have, knowing it isn't enough in the face of the great machines of industry and apathy. But I post another social networking update, fill out another petition or send another letter anyway, believing that action is better than inaction.

Which brings me to the subject of slacktivism. I've also read a great deal recently about the fruitlessness of those social networking updates and the pointlessness of petitions, and I agree with that to some extent as well. When social networking updates and petitions are the entirety of an activist's work, the effort amounts to a kind of emotional...

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Over the last few days, I've had a few social networking issues arise that gave me reason to question my own methodologies for maintaining online social networks. The first was a reference to Dunbar's number, which is a 'theoretical cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships', usually set at 150. Another was an instance wherein I circled (a G+ term) a vegan woman in Holland who sometimes has interesting things to say, only to uncircle her again when she began to rave about how popular she was and how awesome it was to have so many followers. A third was a public request from one of my Facebook subscribers to accept his friend request.

With regard to Dunbar's number, I need for my social networks to be productive places of interaction. That's why I don't auto-follow, especially on Twitter. If I know you, know of you or know you have something...

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I was planning to post this as a social networking status update, but it's getting too long, so I thought I'd post it as a blog entry instead.

Today, in addition to my novel edits, I'm reading about the headscarf controversy in Turkey. Some estimates indicate that as many as 65% of women either wear a headscarf or support the wearing of a headscarf, and yet women have been barred from public buildings, from working in the public sector and from attending university while wearing them. The ban on headscarves has been lifted and reinstated at least once in the last five years, and now it seems that university students are permitted to wear headscarves, primarily because they wouldn't have access to education in Turkey otherwise.

It's an interesting debate. From what I've read, Turkey works hard to present its government as secular and views the headscarf as a religious symbol. At the same time, many Turkish people want the right to wear headscarves freely. I would...

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

I am delighted to report that my poem entitled "When I Arrived, This Is What She Said", first published in the Fall 2011 issue of Goblin Fruit, has been nominated for a Rhysling Award in the short poem category. My sincere thanks to Goblin Fruit for publishing this poem written about my beloved Nova Scotia.

You can read and listen to it here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

As I begin this post, I find that I have so much to say in frustration with PETA that I hardly know where to begin. So I'll start with the organization's most recent advertisement:

Trigger Warning: Depictions of Violence Against Women:

Now let's look at another PETA campaign from 2009.

Here's what the Huffington Post had to say about it. Here's what the Feministe blog had...

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Stephanie Meyer has ruined me for long moments (Yes, I've read the Twilight series, and so has Sean. We did it for our niece, okay?!?). She writes about so many of them you would think all her moments were long; like the time that passes in a bank queue, or the last five minutes of a work day, or the half hour between taking two ibuprofen and the end of the headache. Patrick Rothfuss likes his long moments too, but not as much as Stephanie Meyer does, and his are far more interesting. Still, it's a crutch phrase for him.

I've been working on my own crutch words and phrases this evening; 'then', 'expression', 'a little', 'as well'. I'm also weeding out my looks, gazes, stares and other facial expressions (See? I love that word.) in favor of more interesting prose.

All in all, a good work day. Just a little farther to go, and then I'm done.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

I've been working on refining my editing process for some time now, and as I put another chapter to bed, I thought I'd lay it out for myself and for interested readers. This is a long-form process, but I've used an abbreviated version of it for short fiction. I think it strikes a balance between drafting huge chunks of prose before editing, which I simply cannot do, and micromanaging my fiction, which I have done.

On a good day, I draft between 1000 and 1250 words. It's a modest, but achievable word count that ostensibly produces a book-length manuscript in under a year. The following day, I edit the previous day's work and draft another 1000 to 1250 words. At the completion of a chapter, I pass through the whole thing three times; once to take notes, once to make corrections and once with a text-to-speech program that reads the work aloud. They key to this part of the process is to draft only what I can edit the next day and still make my word-count goal. Any more, and I...

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Friday, February 10, 2012

I'm sick of this book. I already know what happens in it, and I have all sorts of cool notes for the next one, and I want to 'splore new places in my universe and make things up and stuff. Editing is boring when you're in the nitpick-finishing-up stage and all the characters are lined up and stamping their little character footies at you to get on with the next adventure. I'm just sayin'.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I am delighted to report that Sean, my oft-mentioned genius engineer husband, will be interviewed today about his transition from a childhood on a small farm where he raised and butchered animals for meat to an adulthood as a vegan and an advocate for animals. You can listen to his interview live at 5:00 AST on the Fire it Up with C.J. show or download the podcast afterward.

You can also follow him on Google+ if you're interested in approaches to vegan advocacy. He has a wealth of knowledge about the issue and a quick wit, as well. I'm incredibly proud of his efforts.

Monday, February 6, 2012

It's been awhile since I posted anything of the Gàidhlig variety, but I do have some interesting things to report.

On the Sgoil Ghàidhlig front, winter TIP classes are ongoing, and the Board is gearing up for a couple of interesting and fun late-winter and spring projects. On March 29th, we'll be performing a demonstration of milling songs at the Best Western in Burnside during a teachers' professional development workshop for the new Social Studies 3 curriculum and resources - Provincial Identity. On May 10th, we'll be hosting a Gàidhlig taigh-cèilidh at the Military Family Resource Centre Windsor Park. We're booking storytellers, singers and musicians for this event, and it promises to be a great evening of entertainment. I'll be acting as an emcee along with fellow Board member Doug MacDonald - and get this - we'll be doing it bilingually...

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Friday, February 3, 2012

Important Note

The episode of This American Life that inspired this blog entry has since been retracted. It appears Mr. Daisy fabricated many of the personal experiences he had while in China and lied to Ira Glass and his staff when they asked him for his interpreter's contact information. So in the interest of full disclosure, I think it important that you listen to This American Life's Retraction episode before proceeding with the rest of this blog entry. I still think much of the information here is worthwhile, but I'd want you to hear the truth of things before you read it.

All the best,
 Ceallaigh

Original Entry

I am a geek married to a geek who works in technology. So we like our electronics; desktop, laptop and tablet computers, MP3 players, cameras and GPS devices. We're not upgrade-at-the-slightest-provocation types;...

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

I hereby acknowledge that there are Big Things happening in my life that I cannot write about publicly. Some of them have worried me, some have frustrated me with the mind-numbing slowness of their progression and some have excited me with their possibilities. I will probably never write about the first, I will only write about the second when it is completely resolved and I will write about the third when there is something definitive to share.

Strangely, these three queens of my life have demanded so much of my mental energy that I haven't had any to spare for blogging and little to spare for social interaction. But while the tide of that demand has ebbed somewhat in the last couple of weeks, I find that the public silence I need to keep about these larger issues has blocked the flow of my words altogether in some respect. I can still write fiction, but interactive personal writing has been difficult. I just can't get past what I can't say.

Of course, this is a...

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Monday, January 30, 2012

I've muddled though the Drupal Comments feature, added some custom CSS and PHP and successfully enabled comments for blog entries on my web site. This means you'll be able to comment on blog entries there (which I prefer), on LiveJournal (which is okay, too) or anywhere else the entries are syndicated (Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, at present).

Web site comments are not screened, and you don't need an account to make them. LiveJournal comments continue to be screened for anonymous users, which is great for catching spammers who want to sell watches and handbags to my readers.

In other news, my quarterly newsletter for Imbolc goes out to subscribers on February 1st. If you'd like to receive it, you can sign up using the Newsletter box on the right sidebar of my web site.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Greetings Everyone,

Welcome to Issue #2 of my quarterly newsletter, posted to www.csmaccath.com and e-mailed to subscribers on Imbolc 2012.

Novel News

Twilight of the World Sea People is making the rounds to prospective agents as I complete final edits on the draft. By March 1st, I expect to be working on the outlines for Books II and III of the trilogy; Rise of the World Sea Stewards and the novel that shares the trilogy's name, World Sea Legacy. Afterward, I'll spend a little time putting together a ten-thousand foot view of the Sacred Assassin and Motherland trilogies that follow it in the Petals of the Twenty Thousand Blossom series. I hope to be drafting Book II by mid-March, at the latest.

Story News

I'm delighted to report that the critically-acclaimed anthology...

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Yesterday, among the many Saturday errands I was running, I picked up a wounded Great Horned Owl in West Northfield for transport to the Hope for Wildlife farm in Seaforth. On my way there, Allison at HfW called to ask if I would be interested in exchanging the owl with her for two rehabilitated Barred Owls in need of release on the South Shore.

Of course, this is the ultimate purpose of our work, that moment when those animals we can help are returned to the wild, still wild. We want them to flee from us, forget us and go back to the lives they were meant to have. So releases are special (and somewhat coveted among volunteers). I've never done one before, so to be offered two in a single day was really something, especially since one of them was 'mine', an owl I'd received from a DNR officer a couple of months ago and transported.

Allison and I met in Bedford to exchange the owls, and then I was off to Tantallon, where one of them had been found initially...

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

This year my focus was entirely on my novel, and it paid off. Twilight of the World Sea People is finished, and the marketing packet will go out in the very near future. I still have edits to finish on Chapters 4-17, but I expect to finish them in good time.

However, I did manage to publish a poem this year and garner a Rhysling nomination:

Poetry
"When I arrived, this is what She said." Goblin Fruit. October 2011.

Rhysling Nomination
"A Path Without Bones." Eternal Haunted Summer. March 2010.

That said, a Merry Yuletide to you all! Sean and I are wrapping up gift shopping and business over the next few days, and we'll be cooking and celebrating during the weekend. Then on Boxing Day we're off to Cape...

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

This morning, our beloved cat Samantha went to be with Bast. She was seventeen and frail with end-stage kidney disease. For the veterinarians among my friends, her blood count was 10, and her eyes and gums were white. For the non-veterinarians, this means her kidneys had stopped producing erythropoetin, a hormone that tells the bone marrow to produce red blood cells. She had also begun to smell slightly toxic in spite of her sub-q fluids, and she was weak and sick. The only thing I could get her to eat was tuna. If we had waited any longer to end her life, she almost certainly would have gone into respiratory distress and begun developing ulcers in her mouth and esophagus. There is no recovery when kidneys fail in cats, and it's a hard, ugly death.

But I'm being clinical. Let me tell you about Sam.

She was born in my apartment during a 1994 eclipse and would have died of her mother China's neglect if my ex-husband hadn't fed her warm milk and massaged her little body...

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Yesterday Sean and I met with our attorney and signed incorporation paperwork. Triskele Media Inc. is now registered with the Nova Scotia Registry of Joint Stock Companies as a business in the province.

We're very happy to be operating in Atlantic Canada; a place of extraordinary beauty where we feel more at home than we ever have in our lives, and we look forward to being part of the region's prosperity.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

In the last couple of months (since completion of the novel), a number of unavoidable issues have cropped up and limited my writing time, and this has frustrated my efforts at revision considerably. However, in the last week, I've managed to clear my plate of several outstanding projects and substantial chunk of life-detritus so that I can proceed with something more closely resembling a regular schedule. To that end, I fear I must make an Internet Pronouncement of the sort one reads from time to time in the blogs of other writers.

I'm presently putting together a marketing packet for my novel and working my way through revisions. On the heels of that, I have major plotting work to do for the rest of the series and a second novel to start. In the past, I've had the luxury of putting down my work for a day or a week if necessary in order to take care of other things. However, if I expect to be taken seriously as a professional, I can't afford to do that anymore.

...

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Sunday, December 4, 2011

I'm delighted to report that the first volume of the critically-acclaimed Clockwork Phoenix anthology series is now available for Kindle. This volume includes my story "Akhila, Divided", which received honorable mention in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Sixth Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois.

You can purchase the e-book by clicking here.

Friday, November 25, 2011

I read once that Islamic artists deliberately leave imperfections in their work, because only Allah has the right to be perfect. I also read once that stories are never truly finished; they are merely abandoned. In the spirit of these things, I progress through the final edits of my novel.

Bi-la kaifa.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

This morning I drove out to Seaforth to volunteer in the gift shop for Hope for Wildlife's Old-Fashioned Christmas By the Sea. Fortunately, as I am not the volunteering-in-a-gift-shop sort, I was soon tasked with pickups and spent the day rescuing two injured crows.

The first was near downtown Halifax in a neighborhood largely populated with Dalhousie students and professors. The young woman who called the crow in gave excellent directions, and I found it beneath a tree beside a church parking lot, hobbled with what appeared to be a broken wing. Its companion high in the trees alerted it to my arrival and screeched a warning while I chased it into a corner of the church's architecture and covered it with a blanket. The crow went still, as most birds do when covered that way, and I was able to package it into a carrier and put it in the car.

The second was in a park near the Bedford Highway in...

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Some of you might remember that I participated with a number of local Gaelic singers in a recording of traditional songs at the An Cliath Clis milling frolic last spring. The CD that was to be made of that recording is on indefinite hold for various reasons. Should anything change on that front, I'll post a note.

However, I do have word from Siol Cultural Enterprises that the short film Ruidhle An Fhìdhleir will be out soon. That's the film the usual suspects among us helped to finish as sound extras one afternoon last summer. When it's released, I'll post a note about that as well, along with a link for purchase.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

As part of our weekly instruction in Gaelic class last night, we were talking about recent events in our lives, and our teacher asked me about Hal-Con. This precipitated a discussion of my guest appearance there next year and a question about the kind of science fiction I write. Now, I don't have the Gaelic to describe it yet, so I slipped into English and called it sociological science fiction. When that definition didn't quite suffice I offered 'serious science fiction', which it is, to some degree.

One of my fellow students, a man some years older than me responded in a way I'm sure most of the spec. fic. writers and readers on my f-list have encountered before:

Said Student: (smirk) Serious science fiction? Serious? Serious? (and later) Serious science fiction? That's an oxymoron.

This smirking condescension played on infinite loop throughout the class until I finally explained that science fiction writers often...

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

I've just returned from closing ceremonies at Hal-Con 2011 and can finally announce that I'll be appearing there next year as a guest. It's a fun convention, and I'm delighted the committee has offered me this opportunity. I'll also be putting together a workshop or two for the con between now and then and will post more information about that when I have it.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Upon learning I was about to undertake a somewhat complex revision process, my GEH (short for Genius Engineer Husband) rises to his feet, points his slide rule in the air and proclaims, "I can make a spreadsheet for that!"

And so he did.

It's a fine creation consisting of a page for each chapter plus one for the template and one for calculating how close I am to completion. I spent the day today gathering my notes, his notes and my beta reader's notes into an outline and then breaking that into overall, section and chapter edits. Afterward, I plugged them into the spreadsheet, and now all I have to do is go from chapter to chapter ticking each item off as I address it.

When there are Casbahs which need rocking, the GEH arrives, and he rocks them.

Bi-la kaifa.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Last night, I finally completed section edits for Part III of TWSP. I still hope to get some planning done for whole-novel edits this evening using a very fine spreadsheet Sean created for that purpose. Tomorrow I'm occupied with a number of errands, but I'll begin the final pass through the book on Tuesday and start polishing a synopsis. I hope plan to have it polished and ready to send out by the end of the calendar year.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Friday, October 28th

I left late on Friday in a rush after dashing madly about town on last-minute errands, including a stop at Giant Robot Comics, where Darryl wrapped my nephew's birthday gift in the pages of a comic book. Singularly geekish and very, very cool. Happily, my rental car company interpreted 'I need a car with an iPod jack' to mean 'I need a car that Catwoman might use to flee from Batman'. So I left Halifax in a Dodge Charger slightly larger than some bedrooms I've inhabited with an Alpine stereo system that made Nick Podehl sound like he might be reading The Name of the Wind from the passenger seat. Fine car, fine novel, gorgeous day for a drive. I could do worse. I arrived in Milford, Maine around 10:30 and tumbled onto the Bernards' couch around 11:00 for a few hours of shut-eye.

Saturday, October 29th

We arose early, loaded the...

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I've made it home and plan to write a post about Quebec City soon, but for now (and until after I settle in) here's a pile of miscellaneous news I didn't feel like posting via iPad.

Professional News

My first quarterly newsletter went out to subscribers on October 31st. You can read it here, and you can subscribe by visiting my web site at csmaccath.com.

In other news, I've come away from my holiday with a powerful sense of having let my writing career and my home suffer in the last month for the sake of other things. It's my intention to remedy that going forward by placing my writing career and my home at the front of my life rather than making time for them at the back. With this shift in priorities will come a shift in my available time, with apologies in advance to any people who might be affected by it.

...

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Friday, October 21, 2011

I'm finding that the more worldbuilding I packed into my chapters, the better the prose tends to be upon revision. Chapters 14 & 16 were tough to write because they were so alien, so I assumed they'd be harder to revise. But it's the other way around. The harder the chapter was to draft, the easier it is to edit. Maybe I was paying better attention to the hard stuff, or something.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Greetings Everyone,

Welcome to Issue #1 of my quarterly newsletter, posted to www.csmaccath.com and e-mailed to subscribers on Samhain 2011.

Novel News:
Twilight of the World Sea People is now a completed draft, and I'm hard at work on revisions. I hope to send the novel out to prospective agents soon. More on this at Imbolc.

Poetry News:
My poem entitled, "When I Arrived, This Is What She Said" is now available in the autumn issue of Goblin Fruit. Of interest, the sound backdrop of the piece contains part of a traditional Gàidhlig milling song I sang with friends at the An Cliath Clis milling frolic last spring. If you're interested, you can watch a video of the...

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

My poem entitled, "When I Arrived, This Is What She Said" is now available in the autumn issue of Goblin Fruit. Of interest, the sound backdrop of the piece contains part of a traditional Gàidhlig milling song I sang with friends at the An Cliath Clis milling frolic last spring. If you're interested, you can watch a video of the milling and listen to the song on YouTube.

I'm very happy with this piece; it brings together so much of what I love about Nova Scotia, and it's tucked in amongst some really gorgeous poetry. Go read the whole issue and listen to the poets read their work. You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I know where sirens come from.
Born in the foam of a green-water wave
to fold their lissome bodies over the rocks.
"See?" they sing, "There is no pain in this."

Turn away, lover of women, while you still can.
Wipe the salt from your lips before you taste it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"Jeff V." of Lulu.com responded to my last correspondence with more of the same. Here's the relevant chunk of his correspondence and my reply:

Jeff V.: Please be reassured that Lulu holds no rights over the content you published and/or you retired. We will not distribute or use private, retired, or any content not made available for distribution within your account settings.

Me: You've already done this. That's why I wrote you to begin with. In fact, Google indexed the private work Lulu.com made available on its web site. Would you like to see my screen shots?

Jeff V.: If you use the Site after Lulu has posted a change to these terms on the Site, you are agreeing to be bound by that change.

Me: That's a nice way to rope users into changes that don't benefit them and then force them to accept the consequences. So I'm bound by the member agreement in force now. There...

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Revised for accuracy on October 20, 2011.

So, I read my last blog post to my genius engineer husband, who had something of an epiphany when I finished.

Genius Engineer Husband: Can you revise the projects you have on the Lulu.com site?

Me: I think so.

Genius Engineer Husband: Why don't you replace the contents of those projects with your blog entries?

Me: (o.O) That's a great idea! You heat up dinner, and I'll go see if I can do that!

I went upstairs to my desk and logged into Lulu.com. Turns out that even though I can't delete my projects, I can change the covers and contents of those projects as part of a revision process*. So I kept the covers of my projects intact, but the contents are very different now. They're the history of my quarrel with the company, comprised of the blog entries I made about...

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Monday, October 17, 2011

I'm prefacing this longish post with something of a longish apologia. You see, I'm somewhat embarrassed to be seen with Lulu.com in the same way one might be embarrassed to be seen with a high school bully at the prom. I feel an almost reflexive need to explain that we didn't arrive together, that I'm not Lulu.com's date or anything and the only reason I was talking to the company at all is because its mother sells Tupperware and one of my aunt's Wonderlier bowl lids melted in the dishwasher.

Yes, the company's services have their place, but as a writer building a career in traditional publishing with a bouncing baby novel on the way, it's somewhat important to me that readers of these posts understand my use of those services was for the creation of private keepsakes only. Vanity publishers like Lulu.com are stigmatized for good reasons; they're predatory, and they set unrealistic expectations about the potential for self-published books.

Perhaps that's why I'm so...

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Several years ago, I printed two books for myself via Lulu.com. They were mementos of my early writing, intended for me alone, and I made sure they were private. Today, as part of a personal data sweep and planning session, I checked in with Lulu.com and found they had both been made public and were both for sale on the web site. Not only that, an 'author' page had been created for me (I need a Lulu.com 'author' page like I need to be shot in the foot), and the books were listed on it.

Naturally, I made the documents private again and even tried to delete them. But Lulu.com won't let me delete the completed projects or the files they were created from. I can't find a customer support phone number anywhere on the site, and I've read through various web searches that the company doesn't answer e-mail inquiries (though I do intend to try e-mailing customer support this evening).

Now, there's nothing personally incriminating about any of my old stories and poems. They're...

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

In the last 24 hours, I've had to address two instances of social bullying from people who used the good manners and good will present in professional and personal situations to say wretched things. Both instances were perpetrated by repeat offenders, and both happened because they thought that nobody (and certainly not a middle-aged woman) would have the courage to call them on their bad behavior.

I did. Both times.

For me, it's important to remember that people who engage in social bullying of this sort are engaging in emotional violence, and they succeed when I remain silent about it. Further, the bullies are counting on my need to preserve the professional or personal situation over my need to preserve my dignity. Women can be especially vulnerable to this tactic, since we're often socialized to do just that. But when I cave to that impulse and say nothing, my strength is sapped and my self-worth is compromised. I am made small. There have been times in my life...

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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Ingredients

  • A crock pot full of apples, cored
  • 2-4 tsp. cinnamon, to taste
  • 2-4 tsp. nutmeg, to taste
  • 3-4 cups sugar, to taste

Instructions

  • Core the apples.
  • Add spices and sugar.
  • Put mix in crock pot.
  • Cook on high for 1 hour.
  • Cook on low for 9-11 hours.
  • Remove lid and cook for 1 more hour.
  • Blend mix with an immersion blender until desired smoothness is achieved.
  • Try not to eat it all at once!
Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I've taken the requisite week off after finishing the last chapter of Twilight of the World Sea People, and I begin a section pass tomorrow for Chapters 13-17. I'm really looking forward to it too; they were the hardest and most alien chapters to write, but I felt great about each one as I finished it. I honestly don't think they need much, but I owe them a look before I begin the final edits.

Sadly, I'm only working two days this week; Wednesday Sean and I are taking time for a very late Mabon celebration that will probably take the better part of the day, after which I have Gaelic class in the evening. Friday, I'm heading into town for a physician-prescribed massage, a pile of errands and a trip to my comic pimp err...rather, my local comic shop (there are 'New 52s' to buy, after all). This weekend is for apple picking, juicing and wine-making, which ought to make my sister Chelle happy, 'cause when I brews it, she mulls it! Next week, however, I'm back into...

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Last Wednesday, I began an intermediate session of TIP (Total Immersion Plus) Gàidhlig classes through Sgoil Gàidhlig. Tomorrow, I begin the Atlantic Gaelic Academy Intermediate I Gàidhlig session of classes via Skype. I confess I didn't study nearly as much through the summer as I had planned, but I still believe my Gaelic has improved tremendously in the last year.

I like the combination of formats I'm utilizing to learn the language; the informal Sgoil Gàidhlig classes that focus on speaking skills and the formal AGA classes that focus on grammar. However, I should stress that I've come to believe it's not possible to achieve fluency via grammar-based classes alone. Here in Nova Scotia, I meet with other Gàidhlig speakers and learners once a week, and I also have the opportunity to interact with fluent Gàidhlig speakers quite often in social settings. So I believe my most meaningful learning is happening...

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

I've completed the "Things to Read" side bar on the front page of my web site, which links to a selection of poems and stories you can either read online for free or buy in digital edition back issues of the magazines they appeared in. I had originally intended to re-publish some of my printed stories through Kindle and other venues, but I think I'd rather point you to the original publications where I can. The digital editions aren't very expensive, the work in them is beautifully-presented and if you buy one, you'll get the whole issue to read.

I've listed all the poetry I've published online but only a few of the stories available in PDF. Of the poetry I've listed, I like the Strange Horizons poems best, and of the stories, I like The Longest Road in the Universe best. So if you're interested in browsing just a few pieces, you might start there.

You can find the whole list at: csmaccath.com....

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ruidhle an Fhìdhleir (web site|Facebook) premiered last night as part of the Atlantic Film Festival. Sean and I went to see it along with the set of short films it appeared with. It was the best of them, inasmuch as I could be an objective critic, and it was lovely to see so many familiar faces on the screen. I was also pleased to find my name in the credits!

When the film is available for purchase, I'll post a note with information about it. In the meantime, here's a link to another of Marc Almon's Gaelic films, Faire Chaluim Mhic Leòid (The Wake of Calum MacLeod), which is also excellent.

To watch Faire Chaluim Mhic Leòid, click here.
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Sunday, September 11, 2011

I've read a number of blog entries in the last week about today's remembrance of the September 11th attacks. A few have rightly commented that in some respects, the media's spin of the ceremony would seek to supplant our own, natural grief.

However, I'm grateful for the news today, because 2001 was the beginning of a dark time for my husband and me. In particular, the events of September 11th that year occurred atop a pair of personal tragedies that made it hard for me to connect with the greater tragedy of the terror attacks. I went numb. I shut it out. I focused on what I could solve; the problems in my own life.

I've always felt badly about that, because I wanted to grieve then, and I still do. But it gets harder, the farther it passes from the present, to mourn that day and what came after. I've promised myself that someday I'll go to the new 9/11 memorial in a good suit and sit for awhile, and find out what my own, natural grief actually feels like....

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Friday, September 9, 2011

Twilight of the World Sea People is now a completed draft. The last chapter is nearly 11,000 words long, which means it needs a measure of pruning, and the last couple of paragraphs need the spice that makes all good endings savory, but these things belong to revision and not to drafting.

I've read that other writers have a catharsis of sorts at the end of their projects, but all I can think about now are the problems I'll be addressing in Monday's work; the two thousand words I wrote today (2,000! I was motivated!), the last couple of paragraphs, whether or not I want to spin one of the hooks for the next novel differently, etc. I think today I was just a word machine. I wanted to be done, done, done.

I have requested beer and apple pie from my husband, who called me after I IM'ed him a moment ago and made all his office-mates cheer into the phone. Tomorrow and Sunday, I'm scrubbing my house and car until they are gleamy and smelling of soap. Later next...

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

I used to think it was somewhat cliché for a writer to claim that characters 'arrived' in her head and needed to be written 'their way'. I know better now and would add that one of the great joys of writing is discovering where the story is going before anyone else does, as it unfolds on the page.

I have some interesting places to go in Book II.

Very close to the end of Book I. Writing the last 1000ish words today and tomorrow.

Friday, September 2, 2011

I had a breakthrough about the narrative structure of the last chapter yesterday evening, which propelled me forward pretty far this afternoon. So it was a good writing day, the best I've had in awhile and on a difficult part of the denouement, no less. If all goes as expected, I'll have the novel finished in the next couple of writing sessions. Now all I have to do is figure out how to celebrate...

My apologies to anyone I might have ignored in the last few weeks, or failed to respond to, or what-ev. I've been a little single-minded lately. =)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Today I spent much of the afternoon at the CBC Radio studio in downtown Halifax volunteering as a set-dancing, Gaelic-singing, Gaelic-speaking extra for the forthcoming Gaelic short film from Opolo Pictures entitled, "Ruidhle an Fhìdhleir/The Fiddler's Reel. This was a post-production sound fill for part of the film that needed new material, including the sounds of feet step-dancing (hence the title of this post), the sounds of people clapping and encouraging a fiddler and step-dancer, additional singers for the chorus of a Gaelic love song (which most of us already knew) and 'walla' conversation in Gaelic.

The film premieres on September 18th at the Park Lane Empire in a block of films called 'Atlantic Shorts' and tells the tale of a mysterious fiddler who falls for a farmgirl in depression-era Cape Breton. It has won the National Screen Institute Drama Prize and stars Shannon MacDonald, Patrick Bennett (a talented performer and an all-around great guy), Angus MacLeod and...

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