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About the ‘Blue Men, Green Women’ series

Hi.

In 2005, I began to develop an interest in various different monsters in Gaelic mythology. I noticed that there were Blue Men (Fear Gorm), Red Men (Fear Dearg) and Grey Men (Fear Liath) mentioned in accounts of the fairy races, as well as the ubiquitous Green Man of English lore, and I wanted to write a series of short stories focusing on each one of these. Thus, the Blue Men, Green Women series was born. My initial idea was to have the stories be quite simple, but the project has now grown into a large collection of medium-length (5000 word) stories on Gaelic folklore for older child / teenage readers.

I think it is important to give these fairies and monsters – and Gaelic folklore in general – some literary treatment, because they are in danger of being creatures that only inhabit the pages of lists and encyclopedias and never properly live in the imagination.

Their treatment as ‘static’ creatures is a trend that has been going on throughout the last cerntury century, gaining momentum through works such as Katharine Briggs’ An Encyclopedia of Fairies and the work of comparative mythologists such as Joseph Campbell. The advent of the internet has increased the speed with which such information can be replicated but it hasn’t added much in the way of new or original treatment. What we are left with is a body of material that is infinitely useful in categorizing the creatures of Celtic myth but quite unhelpful in giving them any character or narrative place.

A particularly good example of this is the Fachan, a one-legged one eyed dwarf that was thought to inhabit the area around Glen Etive (and the subject of my story, Fresh Blood and Feathers). If you search for information on this creature on the internet or in a library, you will find a great number of references to the creature in dictionaries and encyclopedias, all ultimately leading back to Briggs’ initial article. What you will not find is any mention of the creature in literature. The actual folklore around the creature is vanishing, its place in narrative forgotten.

I am not a folklorist, so I cannot claim an ability to be able to resurrect the original place of the Fachan and the other bizarre and wonderful imaginings of the Gaelic mind. Nor am I a cryptozoologist, and do not think that such beasts were ever real (although interesting information can be found on paranormal databases across the web, and cryptozoologists are often interesting folks!).

What I am is a writer, interested in Celtic folklore, who has decided to breathe some new life back into old things. That’s what the series of stories is all about….

Volume 1: The Blue Men of the Minch (and other Monstrous Tales from The Watery Deep)

The Blue Men of the Minch * (SAMPLE STORY)

Nuckelavee*

The Smith and the Waterhorse (shortlisted in Aurealis Magazine for 2009)*

The Ikey-Man of Windemere @

The Monster of Swordland*

Inside the Worm@

Volume 2: The Green Woman of Kittleruimpit (and other hags and witches from Gaelic Scotland).

The Green Woman of Kittlerumpit * (SAMPLE STORY) (published in Bewildering Stories, 2009)

The Cat-Witch of Laggan*

The Gruagach and the Milk-Stone *

The Girl No-one Could See

Washing Day

The Cripple and the Brollachan*

Volume 3

The Black Dog of Troller’s Gill (animals and demon spirits in the North of England)

Fresh Blood and Feathers*

Great-Hand * (shortlisted in ASIM, 2009)

The Black Dog of Troller’s Gill @

The Wolf-Clan of Langavat@

Black Eric and the Sea Monkey

The Riding of the Slaugh

Red Cap of Nine-Stone Rigg (leprechauns and tricksters of the Celtic imagination – in preparation)

The White Tower of Eriskay (dreams and the second sight in Gaelic Scotland – in preparation)

  • * = completed
  • @ = near completion

I am seeking publication for the entire series with a variety of publishers. If you are interested in any aspect of this work please drop me a line at sjmckenzie101 AT gmail dot com or leave me a message on one of the blog posts, and I will get back to you within a week.

I hope you enjoy this website, and please keep stopping by.

Cheers,

Steve McKenzie, 2010.

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