The duties of a (Pagan) Publisher

This post is two-fold, it mainly discusses the role of publishers in general and a pagan publisher secondarily.

I am pagan, most people who know me know that.  At one point I use to trumpet it aloud.  It is very important to me but very personal.  I don’t mean private but personal.  I follow a shamanic route worshipping the old Irish gods and myths.  I find myself less and less needing to discuss and catch up with pagan issues, my faith is quite nearly unique to myself.  Don’t get me wrong pagan studies still interest me but with the lack of free time I have, I spend my spiritual time looking inside.  My own ethos and moral code has been shaped by what I believe and I think its important for me to reflect this.

I feel the role of a publisher is to release and support both the craft (writing and literature as a whole) and to cause change on things they feel are crucial issues by promoting debate.  A publisher’s role is not to tell the reader what to think, it is to promote discussion and debate by printing works that inspire thought.

It is not my intention to publish primarly pagan works, nor to be seen as a publisher whose work is pagan.  What I do desire is to be true to my ethics and to help promote the overlooked and support paganism.  In this end I would like to publish one pagan work, at least.  As a writer (fiction, sci-fi, fantasy) I know and believe how powerful the tool of the novel is, I believe a story can tell more then an essay.  The tool of empathy, that the novel is based about, and putting somebody inside the moral question, forces people to debate the issue with themselves.

So pagan fiction or works that have similar outlooks – such as Little Druid – will be encouraged.  Secondly non-fiction pagan works, especially ones that promote aspects that have gone unrecognised.  Shaman’s Dictionary is an example of this.  It is crucial to me that any works that I release in this category are properly referenced and truthful.  I will not allow our publishing company to be used as a platform for propoganda.  I know many in the pagan sphere will be against this approach feeling that it is conservative and working within the machine of society.  But my first love was books and are as much part of my beliefs as paganism is.  Therefore my first concern will be to create good and truthful books.

What do you think of this?  What do you think is the role of a publisher?  If you are pagan what do you think we should publish in this sphere?

Caoimhin

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Our Publishing Lineup

I thought I would list a lineup of our planned books, many of which are nearly ready, a lot still in production including the titles.  This list covers a rough two year timespan.

 

Genre

  • Sea Hounds Trilogy (Romance)
  • Hellblades (Fantasy)
  • Pulp Porn: Pirates (Anthology)
  • Pulp Porn: Werewolves (Anthology)

Fiction

  • Site Diary (A week on an archaeology site)

Poetry

  • Verse & Variation
  • The Secret Words of Toys
  • My Little Black Book
  • Month of March
  • River Rhymes 2012 (Possible)
  • River Rhymes 2013

Children’s Works

  • Little Druid
  • Tales of the Dragon & the Hermit

Cookbooks

  • Oohm-Pie Loom-Pie
  • All the Pretty Little Things
  • Italian Cookbook (In Negotiation)
  • Mexican Meals (In Negotiation)
  • English Pastas
  • Canalside Cooking
  • Devil’s Dishes

Others

  • ARRGGHH (Roleplaying game to be announced)
  • Shaman’s Dictionary (Introductory guide to shamanism)

 

So what would you like to know about our future schedule?  Which of our books sounds interesting to you?  And just what would you like us to tell you about them before they launch?  Let us know in our comments below.

Personal Timeline

Its been quite a while since I have updated my various websites.  There have been many reasons for this and every time I think of writing a post to update the blog I keep drawing a blank on quite what to say.  So for this reentry to the blogosphere I will keep this as a personal view.

Over the last few years things have changed so much; we no longer live in Cambridge, we live on a boat, we have a kitten, the clan has changed massively, I run a poetry festival, I’m about to launch a publishing company, my archaeology career is massively different to what it was.  The clan was originally designed as a kind of family-social group between me and Zoe and what are to follow.  But in time this has changed bit by bit until now we have a busy schedule.  Book by book I have planned and readied, so now I have 8 of my own works ready; we have three outside writers working on some projects; Zoe should have her debut ready and I have spent a long time preparing the company.

The website, all of them are going to be totally redesigned – to reflect more truly the current state of the clan.  The main website will need to reflect the company and its goals, we have a backlog of material online through all the blogs that are going to be combined in a way that gives visitors plenty of good material to read.  As well as that I will be hoping to start off supporting my authors by blogging and noting articles of interest or commenting myself on the writing sphere.  From previous experience I know how difficult it can get to find the time to blog, at certain times, whereas others I can be downright prolific so I will be seeking a balance.  And a way to give all our visitors a taste of what is going on behind the scenes, our lives, insights into our works and authors, the business and access to our published works.

Below is a rough lineup of the next year:

  • Plan the company
  • Verse & Variation launch
  • Little Druid launch
  • River Rhymes 2012 archive
  • Full publishing schedule
  • Redesigning the websites
  • The Norton Summer Dig
  • Renovate the boat
  • Sort out our storage
  • Festival for next year

Caoimhin

My Writing History, Clan Essays (Articles, News)

This will be an ongoing article.  I plan to edit and add to it.

 

Most Recently

Something I have been planning to do for quite a while is an illustrated work.  Finally ironically that is nearing completion – its a good sign for the planned web-comic.  Little Druid is a children’s picturebook.  Zoe has been busy doing the illustration work. Little Druid is a beautiful book made for kids between the ages of 2 to 5.  It will be of particular interest to pagan households and parents to give a book to their kids that represents their view of the world.  Its something I am really proud of and is such a sweet tale.  Also this year I have been busy with some short stories, ready for publication and tying up various projects begun online.

 

Last Year

Lat year I wrote another novel.  Thanks greatly to NaNoWriMo for helping me push through not just an author’s general desire to procrastinate but also the older baggage I have held onto.  Pushing that aside I have finally finished a second revision of A Site Diary almost complete.  My NaNoWriMo account details the book and while there’s not much up on there at the moment there should be as the book finally starts to shape up.

I have been lucky enough to write a number of guest posts – for two blogs this year.  And my good friend Alaksir will be writing a few for this site.  Hopefully when the sites are tidied its something I can ask various people to do if they desire it.

I have already said just what’s been going on in Clan Raven Cub and our other websites but with my most recent episode of In The Brew the documentary style has really intrigued me.  My filmwork, audio and illustration work has moved my ideas from journalism and an interest for my online blogging to focusing more on an article / documentary style.  This is something I plan to keep an eye out on my blogging.

The past year following redundancies and job issues I decided to turn my efforts back to where my first passions and talents lie.  In that light I began a serial story – linked from here – A Redundant Life, which like a lot of my material is behind.  Its something I am really enjoying and had originally been in mind to compile into a story but I will see.  Instead I may just allow it to run and see where it goes.

 

The Blogging Years

The first year of Clan Raven Cub and the other sites was a real push for me and opened me up to more documentary and article style work.  At time of print I have four different blogs running as well as a podcast and a videocast.

Poetry Book

Verse and Variation was published in 2005.  My book of poems can be found online.  This was a self published work.  It was a fantastic effort on my part and such an incredible work and effort.  It really is a pride that I won’t forget.  I made the decision to put it up freely commonly to share and edit for people 2009.  I am a strong believer against copyright and wanted to back it up.

The book was compiled from lots of material from my childhood, youth years and the material I had been writing at the time as well as new material for the book.  Its compiled in four sections with the Biblical flood as the theme.  Ten poems in each section – with my favourite being the little pieces on the rear cover and the back page.

The book was typeset by myself and the sales and marketing was handled by myself.  It was such a wide learning experience.  One of my favourite memories in life is the launch I had organised in the Spiddal library.  Many thanks are deserved to certain people, my parents for helping at the launch and other times; the Spiddal library for stocking my book and for being so great and supportive throughout; Siopa an Phobail for stocking the book; Crumlin hospital who supported me and helped me raise funds for them with the book; Elaine for designing the cover; Paedar and Clódóirí Lurgan for publishing the book in the great quality that it was.

I hope that soon – if I publish another poetry book I will get a second run of Verse and Variation.

 

Early Awards

They may not be a big deal, so I’m not blowing my trumpet but it feels nice to be able to say.  I have won, when younger various competitions.  An essay competition for the Samaritans on bullying, in my school for a competition for the Gaeltacht, the Edmund Rice Memorial award and two Literature Awards within school also.

 

Novels Poems and Plays

From the age of 12 I finished my first novel.  Novella really as the word count is only around fifty five thousand.  Lonestar was first in a series and following this I finished another four with three more mainly written.  I have various stories, poems and plays written and many others begun from that period.  Many of the poems for Verse and Variation are taken from this time.  I do hope and plan to revisit this work but as it is all handwritten, in many different copies and many in storage it will have to wait.  Having said that I do have my hands on Hellblades and that is something that I will work on as soon as I do get the opportunity.

Riding the rapids of the Road (Poem)

Pulses of electric light,
Like clusters of fireflies,
Wrapping around the city,
As vines around the base of a tree,

While at first they live with and grow along,
Their hosted master oak,
In time the ivy overgrows and pulls down,
Even this most masterful of trees,

And so too in time do our roads,
Overtake even our cities,
These anthills and clusters of human abode,
When in time they are little more than wayposts,

When our living quarters of the great masses,
Are bypassed and circled,
When we judge communities by the time and distance between,
All there equating to loose change in your pocket.

I have swam and I have rafted down this white water rapids,
Where nights are black and streams thick with debris,
Pray may the waters of life take me upon their turtled back,

May the gods of the road meet me,
Pass me and doff their hats

 

Caoimhin

Little Showers (Poem)

Little trickles of tiny rivers,
All droplets falling like a gods thundering laughter,
Frozen diamonds glinting in the dull sun,
These are the first mornings of true Spring.

 

When little mirrors shine the brilliance,
Of the seasons subtlety all around,
Spring is not a warm time,
Spring is not a dry time,

 

She is that slight rosy cheeked maiden,
Embarrassed for wearing a too thin slip,
That keeps none of the cold in,
Promising all with her cheap modesty.

 

And yet her green nature is not meant to excite,
All she does is frolic and play,
The lambs learning and knowing,
That the small sunbeams reflected

 

In the rains eyes, show the first blossoms,
Of this years Rainbow crop.

 

Caoimhín

Caoimhín’s Pagan Life, Clan Essays (Articles, News)

I am in the process of cleaning up my bio and the bio of the Clan.  I hadn’t originally planned on including this as one of the segments, which really does show how necessary it is.  But then to be fair I hadn’t yet gotten as far as looking into my own bio.  The inspiration came from a possible interview I may be doing online for a supernatural blog, which may in itself lead to an interview with the interviewer, stay tuned.

Thinking back on things, I am a little surprised at myself.  I never consciously meant it, but I think that online I may have shied away from expressing my religious self.  This I don’t do in life, yes I no longer go out of my way to profess the faith to all and sundry.   But as it is a major interest in my life – religion, mythology, philosophy and psychology – I engage in conversation about it when it comes up and with my varied and vast (reasonably) experiences, that for so many people are incredibly unusual, why should it not be brought up?

To be honest though I tend not to, nor never have, prosetlyze.  But the older I get, the less I feel of judging others for their beliefs, no matter how strange they are, including cheese moons.  So long as people leave their beliefs out of their dealings with me, or can compromise about it, it does not bother me.  The way I see it is I believe in some crazy things, not less so than thinking I am eating bread transformed into flesh every week just to add, so why should ANY other beliefs be rubbished?  That’s what others do to my beliefs, so why should I partake in the same ignorance.

So my beliefs?  To specify:  I am pagan, a Celtic pagan, of the Irish pantheon, a shaman.  All of which are labels I could happily agree with and conform to in one way or another.  To deal with the last three first.  I am a shaman who worships the old Irish gods and the Celtic wheel and system found with them.

What follows is a broad summary rather than a concisely accurate description.  A Pagan is a very vague term.  It first originated in Italy at the time of the Roman empire when they were still multi-theistic.  I use that to signify the difference between polytheism and omni-theism, multi-theistic believes in multiple deities as opposed to a lot of modern pagan views that Gods are all simply aspects of higher powers / power.  “Pagan” has the same origins as the word paean.  The word signified the “silly” superstitious folk of the country and was used derogatively by the city folk of the time.  Afterwards in a mono-theistic culture the word got taken to mean the belief in multiple spirits, as the old ways were often stronger in the countryside where traditions continued.  More recently the word which had been used to derogatively mark, since its inception, people who carried out folk tradition has been reclaimed by a vast diaspora.  The New Age movement, the “Pagans”, even the Christian / Judaic Kabalists used this name to signify a belief and practise of things that had been grouped as the occult until recently.

This shift began in the second half of the twentieth century and was mainly due to the resurrection of the druidic movement in its new forms.  Occult belief and practise has been widespread throughout history and Christianity has never comfortably stamped it out.  The label of Paganism has had a tendency to be used therefore as a banner call for all alternate beliefs, beliefs in a spirit-centred world or occult natured worship – which numerically and time-wise have been more prevalent then the more recent trend towards non-spiritual religions practised more commonly within monotheism.  When I say spiritual in this sense I mean belief in energies and spirits, animistic (see my earlier posted speech.)  Some Christians also identify themselves as pagans simply because its a way of them expressing their belief in spirits etc.

Within that group is really another group of pagan peoples that generally tend to see themselves as pagan by belief as well as culture; pagans, wiccans and heathens (or some variation of the Norse faith).  These are three distinct religious groups that follow a similar theosophical view on the gods, all are poly- or multi- theistic and nature centred religions.  Which brings me back full circle to the origins of the word, today the word has been reclaimed to refer and show a centre to our religious beliefs.

General paganism, as with Wicca, is a blend of differing cultures and religious practise (much like Christianity was hundred of years after Christ lived when it began in Italy.)  Totem animals, the wheel of the year, Mabon and Yule – so many differing ideas from earth-centred religions that have been gathered together to form a modern faith.  I tend towards a more traditional gathering of Irish cultured beliefs.  This is more so about what sounds right to me, and feels right.  A lot of this may have been down to my reading of the mythologies from a very early age.  In this the Celtic Pantheon and particularly the Irish Gods have my highest of reverence and worship.  Finally shamanism…  I have two resources online to help explain what this is.  One is our show A Shaman’s Dictionary, the other is a speech previously mentioned I have on animism, a concept central to shamanism.

A person who practises shamanism and a shaman are two different concepts.  A shaman is a cleric.  A mouthpiece of the gods, an ambassador of the spirits.  The central belief is that there are two worlds / realms / planes, the material and the spiritual.  A shaman can not only see between the two but acts and crosses between them.  It is his purpose to deal between both and effect change on both realms.  The purpose is not like a lot of paganic religions, to illuminate yourself.  For a person practising shamanism this goal of improving / enlightening / attuning oneself and purifying their soul is noble but for the Shaman, his (her) goal / purpose is to serve the spirits.  Not necessarily as a servant but similar to the way a politician serves his country and the electorate (and that does not mean screwing them over for those cynics out there.)

I find myself acting in this role, within a Celtic and Irish framework.  My pantheon of Gods, and therefore some of the highest spirits with which I interact with, are the old Irish Gods.  My totem animal is the wolf, but more so than this I am wolf-spirited.  My patron goddess, is the Morrigan.  Neither of these are necessary to my religion, I need not have a single patron and indeed when I say patron I mean main patron.

And that wraps up both an introduction to paganism and a brief account of my beliefs.