The When Words Collide festival has released its tentative final program, so I thought I'd share my itinerary:
Friday 3 PM - Canmore - Fairytales, Fables and Folklore Remade
C.S. MacCath, Carol Parchewsky, Jim Jackson, Ron Oswald [PM]
Fairytale remakes, historical reimaginings, using themes from the past to create a new story. What is being done in today's Young Adult fiction, and how can past inspiration be made new again?...more
I've written a short article for the #FolkloreThursday project covering a bit of folklore history, a bit of folklore theory, and a bit of contemporary folklore studies. It's live on the website now, and you can read it at: https://folklorethursday.com/folklore-folklorists/what-is-folklore
For the fairy enthusiasts among you, here's a story bundle curated by Sandra Kasturi containing the new F is for Fairy anthology, which includes my short story "B is for Burned/Every Broken Creature." Other contributors include Jane Yolen, Gemma Files, Marie Bilodeau, Nancy Springer, and more! You can buy the bundle here.
Behold the F is for Fairy cover! This is the sixth instalment of the Alphabet Anthologies series, and it contains my short story dually titled "B is for Burned / Every Broken Creature." Here's the press release:
“Anyone who believes that faeries are wee, golden-haired creatures with dragon-fly wings and sweet intentions has never met a real faerie.” –Suzanne Willis, “A Silver Thread Between Worlds”
Retellings of familiar favourites from new perspectives, and brand new stories share the pages of this fairy-themed collection. Within these offerings you’ll find fairy music and food, contracts (making and breaking them), changelings, circles and curses–these stories deliver all the things you already love about fairies and a few new tricks as well.... 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
Editor Rhonda Parrish has announced the title of the next instalment of the ALPHABET ANTHOLOGIES series, which will be F IS FOR FAIRY. I've known about this for some months and have already started work on my own contribution, which will be set in the north of Iceland in the year 1625. Here's the link to Rhonda's announcement.
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
After the US presidential election last fall, a conversation circulated among my writing colleagues about the kinds of stories we ought to be writing and reading in the face of that terrible moment in history. The conversation wore a number of faces. "Writing as activism" was an important one, where artists were encouraged to make art that reflected their perspectives on world events. Another pointed to the recent spate of post-apocalyptic novels, which were no longer so far-fetched. Still another presented a more practical question: What do readers want to read now, and what do writers want to write?
At the time, I was so busy with my first semester of university that all I could manage were a couple of poems posted to my blog. But now I'm working on a story for the next...more
I've extended the solstice book sale of The Longest Road in the Universe: A Collection of Fantastical Tales until July 1st. You'll find the purchase link below.
Between June 16th and 20th, you can download my first collection for free from Amazon, and you can buy my second collection at a reduced cost. You'll find the links below.
For all that 2016 was a problematic year on the world stage, it was a good one for me. I became a Canadian citizen, I was admitted to Memorial University of Newfoundland's Folklore PhD program, and I spent two weeks in Iceland, among other things.
On the writing front, things were less busy but still productive. My novelette "T is for Three (At the End of All Things)" appeared in the C is for Chimera anthology, and my second collection The Longest Road in the Universe: A Collection of Fantastical Tales was released with good advance reviews. If you're in a position to vote for literary...more
Click here for Kindle, Apple, Nook, Kobo, and other purchase options.
Over the years, I've withheld one story from my collections of previously published work. It was originally printed in The Stolen Island Review in 2003, but it wasn't Pagan enough for The Ruin of Beltany Ring, and it wasn't quite mature enough stylistically for The Longest Road in the Universe.
But I'm a completist, and it isn't a bad tale, though I think it reads a bit more like an outline for a longer story than a fully-fledged story itself. If you're interested, I've made it available again for a buck at the vendors listed above. You might give that link a few days to become active; I just...more
I'm in DC this week and missed participating in the cover reveal for the next Alphabet Anthologies installment, but here it is now. This installment contains my story "D is for Duel/One Who Dies as a God Dies" along with a pile of great fiction by fellow contributors. You can follow the book on Goodreads and LibraryThing, and you can read more about it below.
For the fourth installment of Rhonda Parrish’s Alphabet Anthologies, contributors were challenged to write about dinosaurs. The resulting twenty-six stories contain widely different interpretations of the dinosaur...more
The LibraryThing giveaway for THE LONGEST ROAD IN THE UNIVERSE is live, so if you're a LT user and want to win a copy, check out this link and scroll down the page until you find it.
I'm still writing poetry. It's been cathartic for me to make political art for its own sake and publish it to my blog. Here's another piece.
You cannot always be drowning.
You cannot sink forever in a bottomless sea.
Brine fills the lungs, but these are finite vessels,
and the body cannot endure that awful fullness.
It spasms, pinches the larynx shut, blackens the mind.
You do not want to die.
Even the small fish of the deep make plans,
zipping past your body toward a story you cannot fathom,
while the whales who pursue them sing in tongues -
too profound for any human understanding.
Fight the flailing of your limbs.
Fight the clenching of your throat.
Fight the darkness at the edges of your sight.
There is a vault above, and in it there are -
yellow leaves browning on the earth,
winds like herons' wings upon your...
I've been writing this poem since Remembrance Day. I'm still so conflicted about what has happened, what is happening now in the States. I think this piece reflects that. Make of it what you will.
By then, her knuckles were thick and gnarled,
but the needle piercing her quilt scraps -
was sure as an old woman's prayer.
"Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah," she would intone -
over the television, as if President Jimmy Carter -
spoke with the voice of Almighty God.
"Never voted Republican once in my life."
Neither have I. It wasn't enough.
I should be there now.
Her talk of Japs and negroes was an embarrassment.
She begged me not to marry "a German."
World War II and the Civil Rights Movement -
writ small on a woman I loved.
"Greatest country on Earth," she would say,
omitting subject and verb, as the...
Release day is tomorrow, and this is my last post about the kind things other writers and editors have said of The Longest Road in the Universe: A Collection of Fantastical Tales. This one is from Nebula Award and Shirley Jackson Award finalist Mike Allen:
Brace yourself, reader – before you in these pages lie delightful, terrifying, uncompromising monsters, ready to claw wounds into flesh and soul. Drawing deeply from mythology to weave tales of hard-earned spiritual enlightenment, C.S. MacCath demonstrates an uncanny talent that crosses all genre boundaries. Whether she’s spinning the story of a witch who can speak to everyone’s demon double, a space traveler who sells pieces of his body in exchange for history's revelations, or a shape-shifting, guilt-wracked human bomb, MacCath brings their struggles and triumphs to fierce and...more
Release Day is nigh, and I only have two more posts about the kind things other writers and editors have said of The Longest Road in the Universe. This one is from author and editor Rhonda Parrish:
The Longest Road in the Universe is packed full of lush worlds, lyrical prose, three-dimensional characters and honest emotions. It is an immersive experience best enjoyed with a cup of tea in hand and a storm outside, but even lacking those things every science fiction fan should make time to read this collection. It is, in short, amazing.--Rhonda Parrish, editor of the Alphabet Anthologies and Magical Menageries
Also, a reminder that the collection is now available for pre-order in most digital formats:
For Kindle: https://goo.gl/lY6Qld
I'm reading a science fiction trilogy right now which has begun to annoy me. It has a great plot and an interesting protagonist, but the story itself is told via a litany of social justice issues. It's as if the author had a list while she was writing and went down it, item by item, until she had thoroughly covered them all. I could play a drinking game to this series - "Drink a shot every time the author beats you over the head with her ideology," - but I'd end up in the hospital with alcohol poisoning.
Mind you, I'm good with fiction which has embedded messages, but I'm not good with message fiction. There's a difference. All fiction carries the imprint of its author's mind, just as all children carry the DNA of their parents. That imprint is sometimes ideological, which is...more
Why are pre-orders important to writers?
Because on release day, they're all processed at once as if they were placed on that day, which can offer a nice boost in sales ranking, especially on Amazon. This boost can increase the book's visibility to other new readers, which can further increase sales.
So if you're planning on buying the The Longest Road in the Universe anyway, would you consider pre-ordering it? Thanks!
Here's where you can do that:more
I've been posting these to social media, but I thought I ought to be sharing them on my blog as well. So here's the third of five posts about the kind things my fellow authors have said of The Longest Road in the Universe. This one comes from Alex Bledsoe, who writes:
This collection of short stories has a rich texture and a profound appreciation for human courage and decency, even when its characters aren't entirely human. From avenging sentient bombs to former slaves struggling to remember their ancestors' humanity, it's a vivid, epic and touching journey.--Alex Bledsoe, author of The Hum and the Shivermore
A is for Apocalypse, which contains my WSFA-shortlisted story "N is for Nanomachine" is going to be a part of the 'Buy Two Get One Free' Halloween sale at Kobo between October 13th and October 18th. So if you're up for a great set of scary reads that includes several varieties of apocalypse, I hope you'll check it out!
On the 14th of September in 1607, Neill of Tír Eóghain, Rory Ó Donnell of Tír Chonaill and about ninety followers left Ireland for mainland Europe after several years of crushing defeat at the hands of the English. In the wake of their departure, the old Gaelic world began to collapse, and with it, the system of patronage that kept a hereditary class of Gaelic poets housed and fed. In the generation after this Flight of the Earls, the complex meters of Gaelic poetry gave way to freer, more melancholy verse as poets no longer had stable homes from which to compose. In time, this unique contribution to the world's literary craft was abandoned by its caretakers, since they simply did not have the support they needed to continue writing in the...more
"Her name is Alejandra Maria Yaotl, and she is desperate to squat here, in this ribbon of grass between armies, to defecate. But her knees do not permit squatting, and she knows the desperation is only a great, killing mass in her bowels making demands of the failing body it consumes from the inside out, a little more every day. So she walks; strands of white hair blowing about her eyes, bent spine unable to straighten, papery hand gripping the rough wooden knob of a cane. The punishing sun shines down on a spill of engine oil, a pool of chlorophyl, a gob of intestine crushed into the soil. Behind, there is a shuttle with a weeping grandson at the helm who begged her to stay home and die in peace. Ahead, there are the towering gates of a city-state that teaches its people how to...more
I'm seeing quite a bit of soldiering on among my writing colleagues and friends right now, and I thought I'd share this little poem with you all in solidarity. It isn't terribly polished or suitable for submission anywhere, but I wrote it in one of my own soldiering on moments this week.
Hang in there, friends.
Hush, monster. I am working.
And sit over there, if you please.
There is little enough space in this room,
and you sprawl unconscionably.
If I can sit in this corner, with my small lamp, and write
until night falls, at last, across my attic window -
and if there is music enough to drown the drone of your breath,
that might be enough, might just be enough.
I know you're hungry, and I know that you exist on one food alone,
but I've already fed you so much, and you are too fat now.
Can you not sit over there in the long shadows and lurk awhile?
I'm getting to the good part.
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've just heard from Rhonda Parrish, editor of the Alphabet Anthologies series, that she has nominated my novelette "C is for Change" for the Pushcart Prize. This story appeared in B is for Broken and is dear to me for a number of reasons, so I'm delighted to receive this news.
Many thanks to Rhonda for inviting me to participate in the Alphabet Anthologies project and for publishing my sometimes weird,...more
Just a quick note here. I chatted with the folks at the Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia (WFNS) when I was a guest at Hal-Con, and they mentioned that Cape Breton needed a regional coordinator. Since then, another Cape Bretoner has volunteered, and I've thrown my name into the hat as well, so it looks like we'll probably be splitting the job.
All this by way of saying that if you have any ideas about the sorts of writing events you'd like to see or participate in here on the island, I hope you'll let me know. You can drop me a line via social networking or via the contact page on my web site.
Last weekend, I attended a much-needed meditation retreat, received excellent meditation instruction from a kind and patient teacher, spent time with good people...and outlined a brand-new trilogy in my head. It's the most straightforward thing I've ever considered writing, and it's relatable to a lot of what's already in the market. As it happens, I think these two factors detract from the work, but I like the core idea quite a bit, so I'm going ahead with it.
Because it's so straightforward, I don't plan to outline the first book (a departure from my normal MO since I outline everything, even short stories), and I do plan to write it straight through with minimal editing until I have a draft. It will also be a secondary project, a release from the structured work I'm doing...more
What writers do is hard. We weave stories out of our brains, our hearts and the bits of life we've gathered along our respective journeys. If we're doing it properly, we're also bleeding a little; showing you what we love, what we hate, who we are. And when we're done, we cast our creations out into the world, where they more often than not are rejected, over and over again, sometimes never finding a home outside our own self-publishing efforts.
It's enough to wreck you a bit.
There's a great Terry Pratchett quote about writer's block: “There's no such thing as writer's block. That was invented by people in California who couldn't write.” Well, begging your pardon, Sir Pratchett (may you rest in peace), but I don't know about that. I think a good half of...more
Before I begin this post, I want to offer my profound gratitude to Rhonda Parrish, editor of the A is for Apocalypse anthology in which my WSFA-shortlisted "N is for Nanomachine" appeared. Rhonda, you're one of the hardest working writers and editors I know, and I'm so grateful for your friendship and your confidence in my work.
It's actually quite difficult for me to write that I didn't win the 2015 Washington Science Fiction Association Small Press Award, but not for the reasons you might expect. You see, I...more
I'm delighted to announce that I'll be participating in several panels at Capclave this year, and I'm also slated for a half-hour reading. Here's my schedule for the weekend:
|Friday||7 PM-7:50 PM||Quantum Mechanics & Literature|
|Friday||8 PM-8:50 PM||50 Years Of Dune|
|Friday||11 PM-11:50 PM||Why Do Good People Do Bad Things?|
|Saturday||2 PM-2:25 PM||Reading - C.S. MacCath|
|Saturday||4 PM-4:50 PM||Linguistics In SF|
|Sunday||12 PM-12:50 PM||Writing Deep Religion|
Here's the entire schedule, and...
I'm delighted to announce that "N is for Nanomachine", which appeared in the A is for Apocalypse Alphabet Anthology, has been shortlisted for the Washington Science Fiction Association Small Press Award. Here's the whole list of nominees:
“All of Our Past Places” by Kat Howard, published in Unlikely Story #9: The Journal of Unlikely Cartography, June 2014.
“Careful Magic” by Karen Healey published in Kaleidoscope, Twelfth Planet Press, August 2014.
“Cookie Cutter Superhero” by Tansy Rayner Roberts, published in Kaleidoscope, Twelfth Planet Press, August 2014.
“Jackalope Wives” by Ursula Vernon, published in Apex Magazine, Issue 56, January...more
"Three nights, maybe less," I told the man; a grandchild clinging to his neck, another clutching a trouser leg, and watched his mouth fall slack with fear. "And we can only make ten trips up the mountain a day, for people and supplies both, so the Qandunar warmaster wants you to run, if you can."
Three broken people; a monk bearing a terrible scar, a warrior facing a terrible sorrow, a woman hiding a terrible past face a relentless army so hard to defeat it might as well be invincible. Find out whether or not they survive in "C is for Change." Forthcoming in the B is for Broken anthology.
From Editor Rhonda Parrish:
Broken people, broken promises, broken dreams and broken objects are just some of the...more
Friday evening's Puffin Awards Benefit went really well. Bill Conall, Mona Anderson and I read from our various work, Kate Oland and Bill Conall performed two of Kate's songs, and Gary Walsh was our emcee. The picture is from our improv story circle, which was hella fun (I love improv stuff). I wish the Puffin Awards every good thing and hope it continues to encourage young writers for a long time to come.
In other news, I've world-built and outlined my next long project, and I'm finally caught up on my backlog of shorter...more
I've been struggling with this blog entry for over a week now, but in the wake of Mary Robinette Kowal's excellent post, I decided it was finally time to collect my own thoughts and write about the controversy around this year's Hugo awards. I'm not terribly certain how all of those thoughts will come together here, so I hope you'll be patient with me as I muddle through.
First, I think I should clearly indicate that I've wanted to win a Hugo since I was fourteen, the year Isaac Asimov won the award for Foundation's Edge. I knew nothing about his private life back then; I simply loved his work...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.
I wrote the other day about the possibility that I might serialize Twilight of the World Sea People, and I've decided to hold off on that a while, for a few important reasons. First, it would be much harder to build a readership entirely from self-publishing now than it would be later as a traditionally-published writer with one or two novels under my belt. This is a well-known downside to self-publishing; that no matter how good a book is, finding readers for it is harder for people without the reach of a traditional publisher. Second, the book I have outlined and ready to write now (Motherland I) might genuinely be a better first book in the series, and it would represent a second opportunity to introduce a traditional publisher to this universe. Third, I would have the opportunity to revise TWSP in light of further storytelling in the series and present it as a possible Book III (Motherland is a duology).
Yes, I'm frustrated about TWSP. It's tough to sit on a...more
2014 was a good year for my writing. I had the opportunity to read my work at the Baddeck Public Library and the World Fantasy Convention, was accepted to the council of the Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia, was interviewed for Jolene Dawe's Celebrating Pagan Fiction series and received positive reviews for "The Daemons of Tairdean Town" and "N is for Nanomachine", which also garnered a Pushcart nomination. I also had several pieces appear in print:
As part of my final edits for "C is for Change" (yeah, I let the title slip the other day in social networking, ah well *grin*), I needed an easy-to-follow means of revisiting the story's magic system to make certain it was consistent throughout. So I flow charted it. I probably should have created something like this closer to the beginning of the drafting process, but I did find it helpful in edits, and I'll likely create a similar flow chart for future storytelling processes of this kind.
There aren't any spoilers in the chart, so I thought I'd share it with you in the hope you might find it helpful to your own writing. I used an online service called Gliffy and found it helpful, but I'll likely look for a Linux or MacOS solution going forward.
Here's the chart. You can visit the image page and view a larger version by clicking on it:
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
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
A second edition of my short story and poetry collection The Ruin of Beltany Ring: A Collection of Pagan Poems and Tales is scheduled for release later this year, so I'm giving away my last six copies of the first edition, released one year ago today on August 13, 2013.
But wait! There's more! I also have an abundance of Murky Depths Issue #4, featuring Vincent Chong's award-winning cover and containing my illustrated short story, "Casting Sin", so I'll be including a signed copy with each giveaway packet.
Wewt! Free books! I loves me a book giveaway.
I'm working on a number of short projects right now; the next story in the alphabet series of anthologies, an ebook and audio release of "Grandmother Mælkevejen's Belly", a second edition of The Ruin of Beltany Ring and a possible science fiction and fantasy collection in the spring. I'm still a small player in the writing community, but it occurs to me that some of these short projects and the bigger projects that follow might find themselves on free download sites in the months to come.
There are a ton of reasons why people download free fiction, and it doesn't matter to me which reason motivates someone to download my work. It matters to me that it found a home. That's why I write the stuff to begin with. So download it, fill up your hard...more
I'm in post-production for the audio recording of Grandmother Mælkevejen's Belly and thought I'd share some insights from my first stint as an audio actor and sound engineer. As I mentioned some weeks ago, I'm recording from my attic using the iRig MIC Cast and iRig Recorder on my iPod and Audacity on Kubuntu for final mixing of audio takes.
The hardware/software combination is a good one. The iRig MIC plugs right into the iPod audio jack and is sensitive enough for small projects of this kind, but it's also sensitive enough to pick up the low-...more