Happy book day to F is for Fairy, which contains my short story "B is for Burned/Every Broken Creature." Here's a bit of that story to entice you across the veil:
Among the humans, it was said that Óðinn once guided the mighty, eight-legged steed called Sleipnir too close to the Earth, and where his great hoof grazed the ground, Ásbyrgi Canyon came to be. The álfar were not the ancient gods of the North, nor did they worship these holy ones as some of their hálf álfur children did. Neither had they created the canyon with the ship that had brought them to it and transformed into the capitol their descendants inhabited now. Rather, it was as if the álfar had begged permission of the stones, the trees, and the water to abide there. Rugged cliffs held a council chamber, concert hall, and other compartments filled with...more
Welcome to Folklore & Fiction, the Internet home of scholar and author Ceallaigh S. MacCath-Moran | C.S. MacCath. I'm a PhD student of Folklore at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the author of two collections of short fiction and poetry. Folklore & Fiction replaces the old C.S. MacCath website but contains all of the original content thanks to the phenomenal web development skills of my beloved husband and business partner, Sean, who built and themed what you see here.
Some things to know:
First and foremost, the Folklore & Fiction newsletter will launch tomorrow with "An Introduction to Folklore Genres." The focus of this newsletter is folkloric scholarship for writers, and it will be published on the first Folklore Thursday (#FolkloreThursday) of the month except in June and December, when I'll send subscribers an update on my publishing activities. These updates will go out on the summer and winter solstices. ...more
E IS FOR EVIL had a book birthday today! This instalment of the ALPHABET ANTHOLOGIES series contains my story "H is for Hindsight/He Who Steals the Sun Shall Bear its Gravity." Here's the first paragraph:
If Katus watched the sun set, a red stain slipping over the rocky lunar plain of the dome, if he stood transfixed like a tourist by its white companion shining in the distance, he might ignore the way people were staring. An artificial breeze lifted the perfume of the flower garden below. He leaned over the parapet and breathed it in. A small, pure memory for a mind unworthy of it. Somewhere in the outskirts of the Capèmont binary system, the Sun Thief was besieging the most formidable military in known space with all the patience of an...more
2017 was incubative for me. Nearly all of my energy was spent on the two semesters of graduate school I completed, which required a level of engagement I'm not certain I could adequately describe if pressed. I've told friends if Sean hadn't cooked my meals and washed my clothes while I was studying, I'd have eaten tinned soup and worn dirty jeans, and that's the Gods' own truth. But I produced a great deal of writing during those semesters, which taught me what I was capable of, and that's a valuable lesson. I also came close to cementing my dissertation topic, and while I have a bit of tweaking to do on that score, I can tell you with some certainty that I'll be researching Canadian animal rights activists and activism. Finally, I began to see the nascent future...more
Went for a drive on this blue and gold autumn day with a bag of Sugar Mama's cookies in the car. Passed a flock of about a hundred crows and stopped beneath them on my way back. I got out of the truck and tossed cookie bits on the ground under the electrical line some of them were sitting on. They watched...and watched...and watched. I ran out of patience, turned around, walked to the truck, and looked over my shoulder to find about fifteen flapping their black wings and fighting over my offering.
So I moved the truck a few feet away, rolled down the window, and tossed out another broken cookie. Oh, they wanted that one, and I was clearly in the truck, so a handful figured it might be safe. They swept down, one or two at a time, and gave me the side-eye while they bobbed forward. One...more
I've settled into my PhD program and thought I'd post about it. I haven't had much time to do more than keep up with my class work and release my collection, but today I'm taking a minor breather to get a haircut and go see Dr. Strange before the big push to write term papers begins. So I thought I'd post a quick update about my life so far in St. John's.
The Folklore Department and Discipline
I like these people, every one. They remind me so much of the U of T Celtic Studies Department in the late 90's; personable, invested in scholarship, interested in my education. I think I might really succeed here, and that makes me so happy. I also enjoy the discipline quite a bit. I learned in field school to conduct interviews, write field notes, and archive materials. Now I'm peering beneath the surface of ballads, legends, personal narratives, jokes, parables, and other kinds of folklore to see how they work, and I'm gathering the theoretical tools necessary to...more
Aaron Pound of Dreaming About Other Worlds has offered the most comprehensive review to date of The Ruin of Beltany Ring: A Collection of Pagan Poems and Tales. Among other things, he writes:
"At a mere eighty-two pages, this collection ends much too soon. C.S. MacCath's short stories have a raw and almost visceral feel that hones directly into the travails and triumphs of everyday life, casting light onto the ways in which those living such lives might turn to Pagan spirituality to help guide them through their days. The poems, on the other hand, display a...more
I've just received my official acceptance letter for a PhD in Folklore from the Memorial University of Newfoundland. I've been waiting to blog about this news until it was official, though I've known for about a month that the Folklore department was offering me a place in the program. And while it isn't done to publicly disclose the financial details of one's award package, I'm pleased to write that I've been offered a fellowship, for which I'm most grateful.
I'll be researching intersections and divergences between Western European 'Celtic' Paganism and traditional Celtic and Gaelic cultures. As a longtime Pagan and Gaelic learner, I've long felt tension between these two branches of the same cultural tree, and I want to look at them more closely. My supervisor has already...more
I've been shoveling my way through a couple of snowstorms and working on the ML1 novel, so I haven't had the time to post a proper writing update. I have two bits of news:
|First, the kind folks at the Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia asked the lovely Clare O'Connor to interview me for the Winter 2016 edition of Eastword. You can read the full interview here.||...|
It's New Years' Eve, and the most exciting thing I have planned for the day is a little work on the AF1 novel and an evening date with Scott Lynch's Republic of Thieves followed by John Twelve Hawk's essay Against Authority. It's been a good year on balance; we lost our beloved cat Winter in January, and we went through a dry spell late this year while Triskele Media navigated out of one tech contract into another, but we also went to England in June (a perfect time to see the country), and I had my best writing year yet.
Both "N is for Nanomachine" and...more
I'm pleased to announce that I'm offering from my archives a reprint of "Casting Sin," which initially appeared in Murky Depths Issue #4. Here's a bit more about the story:
Hedea looked down the ribbon of road that led from the center of town to the edge. It was brown and dusty; she longed to sweep it like a kitchen floor. But where would she pile the dirt when she was done? Would she sweep it to the left, up over the bending tulips and into the bread-white foyer of the baker’s shop? Would she sweep it to the right, under the bellies of horses and into the forge? Her hands twitched with the memory of simple tasks; wringing, smoothing, sweeping, and her hair blew like dandelion seeds away from... more
- From my new story "Sing the Crumbling City", available in Issue 1.4 of Mythic Delirium, coming in April 2015.
Lo! The cover and contents for the next issue of Mythic Delirium are up, and here is artist Elena de’ Grimani's gorgeous cover. You can read the official announcement here, and you can subscribe to the magazine here.
As is our custom here, Boxing Day is a work day, so I'll be polishing up edits for "C is for Change". Next week, I'll be writing the final three posts in "The Vegan Pagan" series and editing web site content for a gorgeous project Sean has been working on for some months. In January-February, I'll finally be re-releasing The Ruin of Beltany Ring in paperback, ebook and audio, and I'll be releasing "Grandmother Mælkevejen's Belly" ebook and audio as well. I have some tentative plans to write a one-act play or two in 2015, and I'd also like to finish the script for my short-run comic series if I can find a new artist for the project, but the big work for the year will be writing the first novel in what I'm tentatively calling The Motherland Duology. I'm also planning...more
I'm delighted to announce that my short story "Sing the Crumbling City" will appear in a forthcoming issue of Mythic Delirium. If you like spacetime ruptures and wormhole-traveling rock bands who sing about Northern European cosmology in strict, Sievers-type alliterative verse, this tale is probably for you. =P
Working hard on the words lately. I'm in that place where I don't know whether I have 12,000 words of awesome or 12,000 words of what-the-hell-were-you-thinking (and yes, the B Beast is going to top out at 12,000 words, twice my original word count limit and thank you, Rhonda). I've been running my language through the sifter, again and again, turning words into art, or trying, anyway, because that's what I was hired to do. Come to think of it, this gig is teaching me about art, about story, about making a beautiful thing because beauty. Each time Rhonda has asked me to write for her, I've taken the work as a challenge to myself, a way to practice some new piece of craft. "N is for Nanomachine" (the Tale-o-Woe) was about epistolary writing in different voices, sometimes computer...more
I'm in the middle of a long Linux HPLIP installation, so I thought I'd write a quick catch-up post. Last weekend, I attended the gala event and Saturday workshops of the Cabot Trail Writers Festival and had the privilege of learning from Canadian writer Anne Simpson. She facilitated two excellent workshops; 'The Image at the Heart of the Poem' and 'The Story in a Box', which I used to practice my realism skills, having not participated in a literary writing workshop for some time. Here's the little poem I wrote for the first workshop:
clipped from a cooling body
black raven feather
fanned on a wing
I'm about 6100 words into "C is for Cloister" right now, and I think it will top out at about 9000 words. My deadline for the story is October 1st, and 3000 words isn't onerous for a month by any stretch, but I've also got a novelette to finish preparing (Grandmother Mælkevejen's Belly) and a revised collection to prepare (The Ruin of Beltany Ring). There's also the monthly blog for PaganSquare, and I've just begun a research-intensive series for that.more
One of the problems I've faced as an irregularly published writer is an irregular output of words. It's been that way for ten years; sometimes because I allow my life to get in the way of my work and sometimes because I'm just a slow writer. I'm envious of people who can crank out 2000 words a day and edit only a little thereafter; that sort of output from me would end up looking like, 'All work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy. All work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy. All work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy....' You get the idea.
And the truth is, I was a better writer when I permitted myself a healthy dose of suspicion for social networking. When I didn't...more
I'm super stoked to announce that I'll be participating in writer and editor Rhonda Parrish's next letter-themed anthology entitled, B Is for Broken.
I've been assigned the letter 'C'.
Hmm...C Is for Clock...Cerebrum...Cànan...Ceangal...*grin* Did I slip into Gàidhlig there?
Aaand as soon as she releases the (admittedly awesome) cover for A Is for Apocalypse, you can bet I'll be showing it to you!
My poem 'Coming of Age' is the featured piece at Polu Texni this week. You can read it here.
I just finished my second run on the treadmill in three days. Every day this week, I've made time for meditation. I'm rediscovering an old friend in the positive, health-affirming work of Louise Hay. My journal is filling up with daily goals and the ways I've met them. I'm drinking tart lemon water by the quart and have indefinitely given up alcohol, caffeine, processed sugar and the few bad fats we vegans do eat.
As a result, my perspective is beginning to shift. My tolerance for negativity is decreasing, and so is my willingness to place myself in situations where I am forced to deal with the hurtful behavior of others. My fear for my health is transmuting into action, and I'm ready to change in order to be well.
My medical test results are back, and they aren't as good as I had hoped but not as bad as I had feared. I've previously indicated a cagey sensibility with regard to public...more
Our house bid has been accepted by the seller and signed, so now I am comfortable writing about our soon-to-be new home. As I mentioned before, the house is in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, chosen by National Geographic as a Traveler's Best Trip for 2013 and a regular Lonely Planet top destination. I know I sound like a tourist brochure, but Cape Breton really is that special; so beautiful even in foul, autumn weather that it makes you want to weep and so sacred that softens even the most cynical of hearts. Around here, my Gaelic and 'Caper' friends all say they feel suddenly better when they cross the Canso Causeway onto the island, and it's absolutely true of us as well.
We toured the house we're buying last fall while we were at...more
I had planned to write a Year in Review post last week, but we've had family here, and sudden, expensive car repairs, and a computer death and replacement, and, and, and...
It was an odd year for my writing. I finished edits on Twilight of the World Sea People, which is still making the rounds to prospective agents and editors. Scheherazade's Facade - which includes my story The Daemons of Tairdean Town - found its way into print via Circlet Press and a successful Kickstarter project. I was nominated for a Rhysling Award again, this time for my poem "When I arrived, this is what...more
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...more
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...more
I am delighted to report that as of the writing of this entry, 175 people have donated $5013 to the Scheherazade's Facade Kickstarter project, taking it over its $5000 goal and funding it fully in ten days. Mòran, mòran taing to everyone who had enough faith in our stories to pay us in advance for them, who believed that our orphaned project deserved publication. I am humbled and gratified by your generosity, and while I haven't yet read the very fine stories my fellow authors have written, I can tell you that I'm proud of mine. I hope you like it.
And now a word from Kermit the Frog:
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.
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.
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.
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:
"When I arrived, this is what She said." Goblin Fruit. October 2011.
"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...more
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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...
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...
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...more
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...more
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....
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.
You can sign up for my new, quarterly newsletter directly from my web site without having to sign up for an account...more