Ca’ canny an’ flee laigh

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Henry Meynell Rheam: The Sorceress (1898)

The Scots Language Centre posted a photo this week that gave me a new motto:

This windae is in a leebrary in Aigle (‘Edzell’) in Angus. Caw cannie an flee laich is an auld saw that micht be set in Inglis as “Go carefully and don’t take on too much.” Tak tent that the ‘apologetic apostrophe’ kythes in the spellings here. The spelling laigh shuid be soondit as ‘lay-ch’ (wi the ‘ch’ as in loch).

Photie taen bi Steve Murdoch.

The Proverbs of Scotland give a slightly different version:

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And I was struck by a similar note in Jessica Abel’s email today (if you’re not following her posts on making a success of your creative life, you’re missing out) lamenting how easy it is to forget these resolutions:

 I keep telling you that taking on too much is a recipe for things not happening, so why do I think I’m immune? I’m coughing my lungs up; I’m clearly not immune to anything. Life has taught me this lesson over and over again. When will I learn?

I am doing better on the whole at not taking on ever-more stuff. I know that seems ironic given yesterday’s announcement, but the way I’m handling that project is the model for how to do things now: clear timelines (giving myself space to finish what I’m working on  now), careful collaboration with trusted people (knowing you can count on people is half the battle), not doing everything myself (this is opening the doors for others).

But there are always temptations: the more I delve into Medieval Scots literature and culture, the more intrigues I find, like Nicnevin and the Weird Sisters…

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#FolkloreThursday & Freebie

HBW 3 Charms O'erthrownHey, I’m a guest host over at the #FolkloreThursday twitter account today from 5pm-6:30pm UK/noon-1:30pm US eastern time. I’ll be seeking out stories to share with everyone and asking questions about the lore out there. Join us!

Also, today only you can get the third Hecate Sidlaw adventure for FREE! Hard-Boiled Witch: Charms O’erthrown spins a little yarn about alchemy, an ancient artifact and the wonders of your local library (well, the Dundee Library is kind of special).

Check it out what the reviews say & get a copy here.

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And happy birthday to my muse, Peter Cook.

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Story for a Sunday: Fluorescence

Here’s my bit of urban spookiness called “Fluorescence.” This short story appeared in The Harrow back in July 2008 (appearing now thanks to the Way Back Machine). If you like it, you might want to check out the others in Unquiet Dreams.

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#FolkloreThursday Freebie: Hard-Boiled Witch 2


Click the picture: today only, get Hard-Boiled Witch 2: Toil and Trouble for free — then pick up the others for just 99¢/99p each. Celebrate #FolkloreThursday by following the hashtag on Twitter or dropping by their Facebook page.

Hecate Sidlaw finds herself caught between a wannabe witch and one of the oldest hereditary powers in the land. When she and her familiar Henry end up as seconds in a magical duel, will anyone be left standing at the end of the shootout? Enter the dark streets and weird magic of HARD-BOILED WITCH and your life will never be quite the same. This is the second episode in the short story series.

Revisiting Anglo-Saxon Magic: #FolkloreThursday

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The days are just packed! So forgive me if I offer a little repeat: my first two posts for Witches & Pagans as ‘History Witch’ dealt with Anglo-Saxon traditions of magic and healing. Just the thing for the #FolkloreThursday madness.

Introduction to Anglo-Saxon Magic, Part 1

Introduction to Anglo-Saxon Magic, Part 2

Check out all my posts at W&P to find out about magical history. Or you could just buy Rook Chant (click image):

TOA/V: The Living and The Dead

Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 13.32.25This programme aired last month but in the midst of the Brexit madness, it seemed to miss its audience. Folks in the Folk Horror Revival group mentioned it enthusiastically so having caught up with series three of Black Sails we were casting about for a new show and decided to give The Living and The Dead a try. Five of the six episodes in, I’m intrigued and crossing my fingers that they’ll be able to bring it to some kind of satisfying conclusion. Not necessarily that I expect all the answers, but — well, there’s a lot going on.

Great cast of folks familiar and new. It does have a terrific folk horror vibe. The Hallow’s Eve costumes were dead creepy! There are great eerie moments in every episode. I can’t remember when I last had so many moments of genuine hair-raising spookiness! There’s an unexpected element in the late 19th century setting that really intrigues and I’m not sure how it will payoff, but I can’t wait to watch the last episode tonight.

Also? Fantastic soundtrack by The Insects which you can get now. As always, check out all the overlooked gems at Todd’s blog.

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Leeds: #IMC2016

I am off to Leeds today for the International Medieval Congress (not to be confused with its American cousin, the International Medieval Congress at Kalamazoo). I’ll be giving a paper ‘Chaucer & the Art of the Grift’ as well as taking part in a roundtable on using Twitter as an academic. Doubtless much to share when I return and more London posts if I get a little time.

A number of people passed away over the weekend. Sad to say farewell to Wicker Man director Robin Hardy, but I was particularly gutted to hear about the brilliant Caroline Aherne, who was only 52. A true genius of comedy: she is much missed.

If you need some entertainment while I’m gone, you could do worse than order yourself a copy of Folk Horror Revival: Corpse Road which like its sister publication Folk Horror Revival: Field Studies, features works inspired by grim folk tales and legends. I have some photographs of Orkney in Corpse Road. It’s a huge tome and 100% of the proceeds go to the Wildlife Trusts.

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