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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...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Could it be? Do I dare to hope? IMDb: Wonder Woman (2015)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

So, if you signed up for the newsletter in the last couple of hours, could you go back and do it again? I've over-written my database without checking for new subscribers.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I don't have a ton of time this evening to detail my holiday, but I will say that it was one of the most pleasant weekends I've spent in a long time. Both The Full Monty and Anne of Green Gables were brilliant shows, and the actors and crew I met were fine people. Of course, my friend Katherine was the most brilliant stage manager of all; I mean, that goes without saying. =) You could practically see her backstage, gleaming and all that.

Here then, is a link to my photos: Prince Edward Island, 2011.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I've uploaded my rebooted web site to our server, and it's accessible now at csmaccath.com. Please note that it's not quite finished yet, but I wanted to close my Flickr account today and point folks to my own image galleries, so I jumped the gun a bit and finished all but one or two things this afternoon. Here's what's changed:


For the most part, this reboot takes the long-running, somewhat personal site I had and turns it into a professional web site for my writing career. There's more information about the Petals of the Twenty Thousand Blossom series, the theme has changed, the menus have changed, my social networking links are more prominent and I've provided a site map so folks can find the old content I don't link to anymore.

Quarterly Newsletter

You can sign up for my new, quarterly newsletter directly from my web site without having to sign up for an account...

Friday, July 22, 2011

At one time, this bibliography represented the body of my research for Petals of the Twenty Thousand Blossom. However, I realized many years ago that for the better part of my species and planet-building (alien physiology, land ecology, etc.) I neglected to add my scientific sources to this list. Since most of those were Internet science resources, and since I didn't bookmark them, there are gaps in my bibliography where these subjects are concerned.

Therefore, this is a best-effort bibliography of my pre-draft researches, reasonably accurate with the aforesaid caveats to 2007, when the primary world-building for this series was completed. I have excluded resources I reviewed and subsequently discarded along with resources specific to world-building and the writing craft in general.

Of course, none of the individuals whose work is represented here have endorsed my novels, and any factual errors present in the final series are surely mine.

... more
Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I've finally taken the time to set up an Amazon.com Author Page. You can find it here:

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My milling of Alasdair Mhic Cholla at the 2011 An Cliath Clis Milling Frolic.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tonight is the first board meeting for Dìleab: The Association for Intergenerational Language Transmission in Nova Scotia. This organization is spear-headed by Dr. Emily McEwan-Fujita, who has asked me to sit on the board primarily as a technical advisor and web site developer. This is an exciting opportunity for me and for Triskele Media, because it means that I have the opportunity to integrate more fully into the Gaelic community here, and my business has the opportunity to work with Gaelic organizations.

Later this month, Dìleab will be co-sponsoring a lecture by Dr. Leanne Hinton entitled, 'Bringing the Language Home: Language Revitalization in the Family', which will coincide with Dr. Hinton's visit to Nova Scotia. If you're local, I hope you'll come.

I'll post more on this as time passes, and I have more to tell.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

It looks like I won't be able to make it to the Celtic Gathering Canada 2011 after all. Our first several months in Nova Scotia have taken their toll, and we need to focus our energy and our income on our new life here for awhile. Maybe next time...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I'm delighted to report that my poem entitled, "When I arrived, this is what She said" will appear in the Fall 2011 issue of the very fine poetry journal Goblin Fruit.

I've been asked to provide a reading of the piece, so I think I'm going to head to Peggy's Cove and see if my iPad can successfully record my voice against the sound of the ocean hitting the rocks there.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I've just learned that attendees of the Celtic Gathering Canada 2009 have asked if I'll be teaching bodhrán again this year, so my bodhrán workshop has been added to the 2011 schedule.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The traditional Scottish Gaelic milling group I sing with, An Cliath Clis, will be recording its second live CD at the annual An Cliath Clis milling frolic in late April. I'll be singing two songs for the CD, Alasdair Mhic Cholla and Coisich a Rùin. The CDs will be $20 each, and they'll be as close as you can get to authentic Gaelic song without passing the cloth yourself.

It also looks like I'll be offering a presentation about the preservation/revival of Gaelic in Nova Scotia at the Celtic Gathering Canada 2011 in Mansfield, Ontario. I delivered two presentations at the first Celtic gathering two years ago; a survey of Celtic languages and a bodhrán workshop.

Saturday, February 26, 2011
Coisich a Rùin1

Coisich a rùin, hù il oro,
Cum do ghealdadh rium, o hi ibh o;
Beir soraidh bhuam, hù il oro,
Dha na Hearadh, boch orainn o.

Beir soraidh bhuam, hù il oro,
Dha na Hearadh, o hi ibh o;
Gu Seon Caimbeul, hù il oro,
Donn mo leannan, boch orainn o.

Gu Seon Caimbeul, hù il oro,
Donn mo leannan, o hi ibh o;
Caraid2 geòidh, hù il oro,
Ròin is eala, boch orainn o.

Caraid geòidh, hù il oro,
Ròin is eala, o hi...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

UPDATE: Pentacle Magazine hasn't updated its web site since Autumn 2010, and its editor hasn't responded to my query about this piece, so I have withdrawn it and submitted elsewhere.

I'm pleased to announce that my article, "Blood Rites: The Case Against Animal Sacrifice" will appear in a forthcoming issue of Pentacle Magazine. The article is a polemic against the practice of food-based, ritual animal slaughter in Paganism.

For those of you who aren't Pagan, perhaps a bit of explanation is in order. The practice of animal sacrifice in modern Paganism is relatively new and primarily confined to farmers and homesteaders who are members of reconstructionist denominations and their close circles of fellow practitioners. The animal is slaughtered for meat, part of the meat is offered to...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I am delighted to announce that my poem "A Path Without Bones", which was published in the Spring Equinox 2010 edition of Eternal Haunted Summer, has been nominated for the 2011 Rhysling Award.

This is my first Rhysling Award nomination, and I couldn't possibly be happier about it. My thanks to Rebecca Buchanan, editor of Eternal Haunted Summer, for giving this poem a voice.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I've been interviewed by Deborah Blake! Check it out here.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I am a Druid member of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids who prepared the attached gwers as a gift to the Order upon completion of the Ovate grade. If you are a member of the Order in the Ovate Grade or higher, you can request the password to this document by sending me an e-mail that contains the first sentence of the first paragraph on the first white page of your first Ovate gwers.

Yours in the Grove,

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I've been interviewed by Rebecca Buchanan for Eternal Haunted Summer! Check it out here.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Rebecca Buchanan of Eternal Haunted Summer was kind enough to interview me for the Winter Solstice 2010 edition of the journal. That interview is available online now.

This marks the end of my publication year, which was again somewhat sparse, not because I'm not selling anything, but because I'm not writing anything short. The novel is close to completion, however, and my hope is that next year, I'll be able to list that sale at year's end. In the meantime, here's what I published in 2010:

"The Motif of Sovereignty in Irish Poetry." Aontacht 3.2. September 2010.

Eternal Haunted Summer. 21 December 2010...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

As a result of an internal error in moving my e-mail account from one web host to another on November 13th, I temporarily lost the ability to receive mail on the csm (at) csmaccath (dot) com account. If you tried to send e-mail to me on that account between November 13th and November 17th, I did not receive it and ask that you please re-send it. Thank you.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I'll be singing with An Cliath Clis on Thursday, November 25th at Citadel High's 4th Annual Céilidh in Halifax.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Alastair Mhic Cholla1

Alasdair Mhic o ho
Cholla Ghasda o ho
As do laimh s' gun o ho
Earbainn tapaidh trom eile

Chall eile bho chall a ho ro
Chall eile bho chall a ho ro
Chall eile huraibh i chall a ho ro
'S haoi o ho trom eile

As do laimh s' gun o ho
Earbainn tapaidh o ho
Mharbhadh Tighearna o ho
Ach-nam-Brac leat trom eile

Mharbhadh Tighearna o ho
Ach-nam-Brac leat o ho
'S ged 's beag mi fein o ho
Bhuail mi ploc air trom eile

'S ged 's beag mi fein o ho
Bhuail mi ploc air o ho
Chuala mi'n de...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Ged a Sheòl

Ged a sheòl mi air m' aineol
Cha laigh smalan air mi' inntinn
Ged a sheòl mi air m' aineol

'S ann à Boston a sheòl sinn
Dol air bhoidse chun na h-Innsean

Rinn sinn cordadh ri caiptean
Air a' bhàrc a bha rìomhach

Trì là roimh n' Nollaig
Thàinig oirnn an droch-shìde

Shèid e cruaidh oirnn le frasan
'S clach-mheallain a bha millteach

Trì là is trì oidhche
'S mi ri cuibhl' ri droch-shìde

Chaill sinn craiceann ar làmhan
'S bha ar gàirdeanan sgìth dheth

Cha robh ròpa 's cha robh òirleach
Nuair reòth' e nach robh trì ann

Bha còignear 'na seasamh
'S bha seachdnar 'na sìneadh

Sin nuair labhair an caiptean
"Illean tapaidh, na dìobraibh

Nuair a ruigeas...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I have resigned as poetry editor of Aontacht, effective today. Please direct any poetry submissions for that magazine to aontacht (at) druidicdawn.org.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Aontacht Volume 3 Issue 2 is now available for download at the Aontacht web site.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ma Phòsas Mi12

Ma phòsas mi cha ghabh mi’n té mhòr
Ma phòsas mi cha ghabh mi’n té mhòr
Ma phòsas mi cha ghabh mi’n té mhòr
Gur beag an té dh’fhòghnadh dhomhsa.

1) Cha ghabh mi’n té fhada, cha tig I rium fhín,
‘Nuair a thig I dha’n leabaidh bidh croit air a druim,
‘Nuair shíneas i ‘casan bidh ‘phlaide ‘gam dhíth
‘s bidh mise leam fhín ‘s mi reòidhte.


2) Cha ghabh mi’n té fhriodanta, radanta, ruadh,
A chumadh an conas ‘s am mallachadh suas,
Cha bhiodh i fad...

Monday, September 20, 2010

My poem "Leviathans" is up at Strange Horizons.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I have just learned that the critically-acclaimed speculative fiction magazine Murky Depths has won the 2010 British Fantasy Award for Best Magazine/Periodical. Congratulations to Terry Martin, the whole editorial crew and all the artists and writers who contributed to this success.

Which would include...

Me! My epistolary short story "The Longest Road in the Universe" was published in the magazine last year, so of course I am especially excited to hear about this award (Incidentally, that publication marked the first time my name ever appeared on the cover of anything too, so...like...SHAZAAM!)

Monday, August 16, 2010

I am delighted to report that my poem 'Leviathans' has been accepted for publication in Strange Horizons.

Monday, August 2, 2010

I have taken on the roll of volunteer poetry editor for Aontacht, an online publication of Druidic Dawn. What follows is a call for submissions.

Volume 3, Issue 2,
Deadline Aug 15, 2010

The Celts understood the Wild Earth as sovereign, as a goddess; what is sovereignty and how can we apply this to our everyday life?

For this issue, I'll be looking for poetry that addresses the relationship between the sovereign and the land as expressed in Celtic cosmology and literature. Your interpretation of this theme might be Pagan, Christian, historical, modern, fantastic or other. You might write free verse, structured verse or prose poetry. Submissions should be sent in the body of your e-mail as plain text to aontacht (at) druidicdawn (dot) org.

Volume 3...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

This is a bodhrán duet I played with Tristan at the Chelsea Sounds & Sights festival in June, 2010, which was recorded and cut by banjo player Dave Foster. I thought we sounded pretty good!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

"The Interstitial Fairy Demolition Crew Casts a Circle" is now available at Eternal Haunted Summer.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The new C.S. MacCath web site went live today at 7:15 p.m. EST.

Friday, June 11, 2010

When I first learned this song as a child, I thought it was about flowers.

Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the flowers gone?
Girls have picked them every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the young girls gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the young girls gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the young girls gone?
Taken husbands every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the young men gone?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

My very first favorite folk song. I've known the words as long as I can remember. They're here, along with the tin whistle tune.


The gypsy rover came over the hill
Down through the valley so shady,
He whistled and he sang 'til the greenwoods rang,
And he won the heart of a lady.

Ah-de-do, ah-de-do-da-day,
Ah-de-do, ah-de-da-ay
He whistled and he sang 'til the greenwoods rang,
And he won the heart of a lady.

She left her father's castle gates
She left her own fine lover
She left her servants and her state
To follow the gypsy rover.

Her father saddled up his fastest steed
And roamed the valleys all over
Sought his...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

An easy tune, and the first one I've felt I could play reasonably well. The lyrics can be found below the sheet music. Enjoy!

Her Lyrics

Can you make me a cambric shirt,
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme,
Without any seam or needlework?
And you shall be a true lover of mine.

Can you wash it in yonder well,
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme,
Which never sprung water, nor rain ever fell?
And you shall be a true lover of mine.

Can you dry it on yonder thorn,
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme,
Which never bore blossom since Adam was born?
And you shall be a true lover of mine.

Now you have asked me questions three,
Parsley, sage, rosemary and...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

My entire bibliography is now online in MLA format. You can view it by clicking here or by clicking on the 'Bibliography' link above.

Sunday, June 6, 2010
Caveat: This essay was written in 2004, a year and a half after I graduated from the M.A. program in English at the University of Maine. As I recall, it took me a year and a half to contextualize my experience in such a way that I didn't simply rant in broken half-sentences when I tried to write about it.
The essay was up on my web site until late 2006, when I took it down because I believed my perspective on the subject matter was too emotional and too personal. Since then, I've logged about three requests a month for the page, which is significant. So, I'm offering it here again, against my better judgment, in the hope it's of help to you. I still mean just about every word of it.

Roughly a year into my master's program at the University of Maine, a professor I knew very little invited me to write a conservative critique of J.R.R. Tolkien's work. I nearly laughed in her face, but I managed to gather my composure enough to inform her that I wouldn't have...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

I've always tried hard to walk the line between speaking my truth and remaining professional in my public journal space. I value truth-tellers and bold speakers who do not cower behind political correctness and herd mentality, even when I disagree with what they have to say. However, I am uncomfortable with finger-pointing and ad hominem attacks as well, so I try hard to refrain from those things. All this by way of saying that I hope you'll forgive the abstractions in the following entry; I'd like to discuss a couple of hard lessons I've learned this week, but I'd rather not mention names.

Lesson One:
Writers, value and defend your work. Know your rights, know how to address violations of those rights and pursue appropriate remedies when necessary. Most editors and publishers are well-meaning people who do competent work, but clashes are sometimes unavoidable. Often those clashes will happen with people from whom you would never expect inappropriate behavior...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010
This essay does not represent the entirety of my spiritual perspective, nor am I entirely comfortable with the 'Heathen' label. To be sure, I am not always comfortable with any label. However, I do believe the piece speaks to the problem of racism in the Pagan community, and so while I am not always comfortable with labels, I am always comfortable with multiculturalism, and so the essay remains.

I am a Heathen, which means that I am a practitioner of reconstructed Northern European (NE) spirituality. Heathenry is a Pagan religion, which is to say that it draws wisdom from the animistic, nature-based spirituality of pre-Christian, Northern Europe. I'm providing this resource on my web site for two reasons; first, I hope to answer a couple of basic questions about my faith for interested readers, and second, I hope to address the problem of Heathenry vs. white supremacy.

If you have a question about Heathenry you'd like me to answer here, please...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I wrote this course in compliance with Eastern Maine Community College's requirements as a Liberal Arts elective for second-year students who had already completed a composition course and a general literature course. I am providing this information for those educators who want to add Science Fiction and Fantasy literature to their curricula or to expand existing curricula to include such literature. All downloadable files on this page are compiled in Adobe Acrobat .pdf format, and you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer to view them.

Course Proposal & Syllabus

(Right click and choose "Save Link As" to download these files and stay on this page at the same time.)


Some Exellent Internet...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I've just finished a paper read (as opposed to a screen read) of TWSP Part 1 and learned some valuable lessons. It has taken me a year to write the 160-odd pages I've just read, and that's far too long for anyone hoping to earn a living as a writer. That time wasn't entirely spent in drafting though. I draft at a respectable pace; I can put down 1000 words a day easily, and that's a sustainable level of work for a novelist. The problem has been the amount of time I've spent editing the manuscript along the way.

First, there was the initial edit of the previous day's work. Then there was the edit I did at the end of each chapter scene. After that came the chapter edit and the final edit I did of Part 1 over the last two weeks. Each of these entailed a plotting component to ferret out story problems and a mechanics component to look for sentence-level issues. Honestly, for every hour I spent putting words on the page, I spent another six to ten looking back at them.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Over time, I've developed a suite of tools I use to craft fiction and keep a web presence. At the same time, I've been developing my technical skills, so I've been able to leverage more powerful technologies, which has in turn increased my productivity. This article is an effort to bring some of these tools, both low-tech and intermediate/high-tech, to your attention in the hope they help you become a better, more productive writer as well.

By and large, I prefer free, Open Source solutions for writing. I compose in gedit and format submissions in Open Office, outline in Freemind and store my world-buiding in MediaWiki. So very few of the tools in this article will cost you anything but time and effort...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I've participated in a number of group critiquing experiences and find them all to be somewhat lacking in efficacy, for different reasons. Primary among these is that each of them has suffered from competitive subtext, so that one could never be certain whether or not the critiques one received were motivated by a genuine desire to be helpful. Therefore, I don't usually recommend them to others, since a good degree in any subject from a reputable college or university, an earnest level of investment in the study and practice of the writing craft and a tenacious commitment to selling ones work suffice for most people interested in writing professionally.

However, I did recently investigate two writing groups because I'd heard good things about them from reputable sources. The first was the Online Writing Workshop, and the second was the Codex Writers' Group. I didn't intend to actually participate in OWW; I just wanted to see what they were all about. I had an interest in...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Yesterday, I sat down at my laptop at roughly nine in the morning, and with the exception of periodic washroom breaks, hummus and toast at lunchtime and take-out Thai for dinner, I stayed behind my laptop until nearly midnight. In the interim, I came within spitting distance of the Chapter 1 rewrite, which I finished this morning. More importantly though, I redefined the two POV characters and the primary non-POV character in my novel. In doing so, I realized what does and does not work for me with regard to character construction in a novel, and I thought I'd share that information with you.

What Doesn't Work

Doing Nothing

While I've been able to successfully create short-story characters on the fly, I can't do the same for longer works of fiction. Novel characters, by necessity, have wider character arcs, more room to be and grow. Therefore, they need more substance to begin with. In the last incarnation of Twilight of the World Sea People, I...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It is a commonly-held belief among speculative fiction writers that somewhere, out there in the great, dark heaven of the multiverse, there is a god who hands out apostrophes on big, pink memos and that when the writer in question has received said memo, her or his constructed language is, at last, complete.

Allow me to illustrate:

Sp’thra: Beggars in Spain (all props to Nancy Kress)
F’lar: Dragonriders of Pern (all props to Anne McCaffrey)
Dra'Azon: Consider Phlebas (all props to Iain M. Banks)

For the most part, said apostrophes decorate said constructed words nicely; after all, most readers want a story and not a linguistic treatise. In fact, I never noticed the difference between constructed languages that used this or other common conventions and those that did not until I approached the construction of languages for PTTB. And frankly, I still don’t care what convention an author uses to transport me into another...