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C. S. E. Cooney and Carlos Hernandez WorldCon Schedule


Inclusive Game Design: Panel

17 Aug 2019, Saturday 13:00 – 13:50, Wicklow Room-1 (CCD)

Narrative, mechanics, and visuals are the core of every game. How can we use these building blocks to create a more inclusive gaming experience for everyone?

The Role of Fantastical Creatures: Panel

17 Aug 2019, Saturday 15:30 – 16:20, Odeon 3 (Point Square Dublin)

Whether they are protectors or dangerous beasts to be feared, children’s literature is filled with creatures of all kinds: big creatures, small creatures, thin creatures, tall creatures. From Pantalaimon to the Grinch, the Dementors, Winnie-the-Pooh, and more, we will take a special look at the fantastical literary creatures of children’s fiction.

Narrative and Storytelling for Games: Panel

17 Aug 2019, Saturday 19:00 – 19:50, Liffey Hall-2 (CCD)

The manner in which games create narratives has led to, arguably, some of the most compelling storytelling presented in any form. How does this form of narrative differ from more established forms in literature? What unique opportunities and constraints does this medium present to writers and narrative designers, as well as players?


Concert: Brimstone Rhime ( C. S. E. Cooney)

16 Aug 2019, Friday 13:00 – 13:20, WH2 – Performance space (Point Square Dublin)

Brimstone Rhine is the musical alter-ego of fantasy writer C. S. E. Cooney. She writes songs of myths and monsters, star-journeys, weird birds, and women who eat people.

Group Reading: Speculative Performance Poetry

17 Aug 2019, Saturday 16:00 – 16:50, Liffey Room-3 (Readings) (CCD)

Speculative poetry encompasses themes from science fiction, fantasy, and horror as well as all of the subgenres in between. Dublin 2019 presents a special showcase of poets who have come together to perform a selection of speculative poetry and to share the magic of this exciting medium. This reading will feature new and classic works from speculative poetry’s mainstays, rising starts, and trend-setters.


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Desdemona and the Deep: A Stand-Alone Novella

I find myself making this announcement a lot, but it’s worth it, and the internet is a vasty place, so here we go again:

Desdemona & the Deep is actually a standalone novella. is marketing it as such.

The first two stories set in the Dark Breakers world I self-published. Now, they did go on to have a life beyond my little Amazon ebook experiment in reprints–to my great joy and surprise! But the ebooks are out of print now, by my choice, though you can still find the reprints in one of Rich Horton’s Year’s Best anthos, and in one of Lightspeed Magazine‘s ebooks.

This is obviously confusing to people. I apologize for the confusionit’s a goblin market, after all!

Before Desdemona was written, I had originally conceived it as third in a series, but that was when I was still planning on one day self-publishing it. After I wrote it, it was obvious that Desdemona was a different beast entirely (not a romance, for one) (twice as long as either, for another), and had a chance at something bigger.

When that became evident, I spent a lot of time and effort (and had both my agent and my editor, who hadn’t read the other stories, look at it closely) editing it to be a stand-alone novella.

Chronologically, the events in Desdemona do occur after other events in other stories. But those events weren’t her events. Her character’s arc is contained to this novella. She’s a very minor character in the other stories.

So again, Desdemona was indeed written to be read as a standalone book. Eventually, I’ll put the other two stories back in print, after I’ve fixed some of my earlier errors. But I don’t think they’re necessary for you to enjoy Desdemona as is.

And I really don’t want Desdemona, as a new book, to languish because readers think they must read the first two stories before they take a chance on her.


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Enter the Umber Farklewhit

You’ll be meeting the Umber Farklewhit (AKA “Ambassador Farklewhit”) (AKA “Nanny”) (AKA I’M NOT TELLING YOU WHAT ELSE) roundabout Chapter 7 of Desdemona and the Deep.

He’s one of my favorites.

My husband, Carlos Hernandez, part writer, part professor, part game-designer, and pretty much 78% Farklewhit, took a liking to the character.


Anyway, for our Goblin Masquerade launch party this coming Saturday at The Savoy in Westerly (details here. Yes, you’re invited), Carlos decided to COS-PLAY as Farklewhit! I couldn’t be happier!

You get a sneak-peek at his costume here. And remember: if you can’t make the masquerade but still wish to dress up and join us, we’re having a VIRTUAL masquerade! (EXPLICIT INSTRUCTIONS HERE!)

So anyone who wants to can dress up, take pictures of themselves, and hashtag away on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Or wherever!

I’m so interested to see what sort of costume you come up with.

In the meantime, may I present you, goblin ambassador to Erl-Lord Kalos Kantzaros, King of the Koboldkin, the UMBER FARKLEWHIT!

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Desdemona’s Tithe

Today is the day my novella Desdemona and the Deep comes into the world at large. And I’ve been doing a lot of posting, tweeting, singing, dancing, thanking, and it’s all very joyful.

But now I want to talk about the dark start of Desdemona, in 2016.

I began the novella in November of that year. Everything felt just a little pointless in November of 2016. And, I have to admit, most of 2017 too. All of it, really. Art, especially.

Or, no, not everyone’s art. Mine particularly. It seemed so singularly frivolous, useless. Why finish anything? The point of 2017, surely, was to march in protests, donate to the ACLU, to RAICES, sign petitions, call representatives.

And I did some of that. Some, but not enough. Mostly–though it was a slog–I did what I always did. I wrote.

But I told myself, “The only way you can make this count, Cooney, the only way you won’t be wasting your time, is if you do something concrete with the art when you’re done. Something that supports the real work going on out there while you sit on your butt and write fantasy.”

Now, that was despair talking. I truly believe (on my better days) (and my husband Carlos reminds me) that art is work, and that work is part of the long conversation, part of changing minds, hearts, changing culture. The work we do as artists isn’t useless, even if it sometimes feels that way.

But knowing that wasn’t enough to finish Desdemona. I needed something that translated thought more directly into action. I needed a vow.

So I said to myself, “If and when you ever publish this honking beastie of a novella, Cooney, you will donate the proceeds to the ACLU! It will be your tithe.”

As Desdemona learns in the eponymous novella, a tithe is a tenth. In the spirit of any good goblin bargain, I will tithe a portion of my income every month at full moon (in the Desdemona mythos, I call it the “Gentry Moon”) to charity. And I will be reminded, every month at full moon, what I owe the world for this novella. The price others paid so that I could write it.

These are the charities I’ve chosen. I’ve gone through and found the full moons of each month, and I’ll put them into my calendar with multiple alerts, so that I won’t fail in my vow.

And I am writing this all here today, to hold myself accountable.

Full Moon Tithe: August 15th

Amnesty International
Full Moon Tithe: September 14th

Full Moon Tithe: October 13th

Doctors Without Borders
Full Moon Tithe: November 12th

Heifer International
Full Moon Tithe: December 12th

Planned Parenthood
Full Moon Tithe: January 10th

City Harvest
Full Moon Tithe: February 9th

It Gets Better
Full Moon Tithe: March 9th

Black Youth Project 100
Full Moon Tithe: April 7th

KIND–Kids in Need of Defense
Full Moon Tithe: May 7th!/donation/checkout

Color of Change
Full Moon Tithe: June 5th

Full Moon Tithe: July 5th

And after this? We’ll start again.


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Desdemona Teaser

I was teaching myself how to use iMovie the other night, and put this Desdemona teaser together.

That’s my brother Jeremy Cooney, singing “Goblin Girls,” a poem of mine (from my collection “How to Flirt in Faerieland and Other Wild Rhymes) that he set to music.

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How to Throw Your Own Goblin Masquerade



To celebrate this FRABJOUS and FANCY-PRANCIEST of OCCASIONS, we are throwing two, count them TWO, BOOK LAUNCH PARTIES!


The first shall be on this coming Saturday July 27th in Westerly, Rhode Island at The Savoy Bookshop and Cafe.

And then the second on Tuesday August 6th in Astoria, New York at Astoria Bookshop.

I want you to join us.


Stay with me now. I know, I know, you live in places like Virginia and Melbourne and Montreal and Northern California and Manila, and you’re all like:

“So, if you want us to come to your Goblin Masquerade so badly, Cooney, why haven’t you invented a teleporter yet?”


And all I have to say to that is that my spellcheck doesn’t even recognize ‘teleporter’ as a real word, though it’s oddly all right with ‘teleport’ for some reason.

BUT! I have been thinking of a SOLUTION!

And what I want to do is offer you, on a virtual platter (like the fruit of the Ympsie tree, like hangman’s dew in a diamond hip-flask, like a basket of darkest dwayberries on a bed of blue grave moss) is this:

A Do It Yourself 10-Stepper For Throwing


*patent pending


1. Gather a few friends to Ye Olde Stately Manor/apartment/back porch.

ALTERNATELY: just light a candle and boogie down with your shadow!

2. Encourage your fabooshiest self, friends, and/or shadow to WEAR COSTUMES!

Masks! Face paint! Extra ears! Tails! Horns! Wings! Feathers! Scales! (Faux) Fur! CHITON!

Anything that says “Goblin” or “Erl-King/Queen” or “Elfkin” or “Faerie” or “Gentry” or “Seelie/Unseelie,” or heck, even “Demonspawn.”

(There are three worlds to choose from in Desdemona’s particular mythos, and seven hells beneath ’em! ALL FILLED WITH FASHIONS BEST LEFT TO YOUR IMAGINATION!)

A Hat Full of Sky, anyone?

3. Have a dedicated Selfie Backdrop (like a really big blue sheet!) (or maybe a lilac bush with the skeletal remnants of springtime blossoms) for displaying your terrifically attired person and all your friends to full advantage!

Ahem. If you wanna, you can hitch to the Desdewagon online and join the virtual masquerade with HASHTAGS! On Twitter! Insta! Facebook! Anywhere you choose!

#DesdemonaAndTheDeep #DesdemonaGoblinMasquerade #TorNovellaDesdemonaLaunch #CleverHashtagOfChoice

Antler Crown made lovingly by
Mac McAnally with an X-Acto knife

4. Have a copy–or MANY copies, HUNDREDS of copies!!!–of the book Desdemona and the Deep–which naturally you have pre-ordered, and which you may even have already read by Saturday July 27th or Tuesday August 6th–available and on hand for SPONTANEOUS READINGS!

Read to yourselves! Read to each other! Act it out! Adapt it into a musical concept album and perform it ALL NIGHT LONG!

(Sing “Desdemona Tattercoats” to the tune of “Alexander Hamilton!” I DARE YA!)

Why stop at buying JUST ONE???

5. Have a playlist full of goblin songs to enjoy while you’re not taking selfies and reading uncanny literature of the “rococo romp” variety.


I, and a whole HORDE of clever cronies on the Facebooks and Twitters have compiled it for you! Of course you can add your own! It’s COLLABORATIVE!

Might I recommend putting it on “shuffle” since we’re rather fond of the song “Tam Lin” in all its versions?


(Now, I don’t exactly know what I meant by typing that. Maybe Google will have ideas. Oh, wait! It did.)

So, there’s this “Goblin Grins and Monster Mouths” thing from Snixy Kitchen. And this Goblin Bites recipe from Taste of Home. And “Goblin Gorp” whatever that is from Genius Kitchen. And here’s a bunch of spooky snacks from the Los Angeles Times (I know, I know “Halloween” doesn’t really belong in a secondary world fantasy setting, but come on, it’s close enough for SpecFic party food, right?).

Oh, and here are some fruit options, but you know what the poet Christina Rossetti would say about eating goblin fruit . . .

“Really, just don’t. Don’t eat that.” — Christina Rossetti

7. If you don’t like any of the snacks provided, eat a pixie.

What? It’s what goblins DO. At least, some goblins do. In Desdemona’s world. One of her worlds. Sometimes.

“Pixies.” AKA “Snacks.”

8. Make an infernal bargain with the Goblin King. Go on. Barter for your heart’s desire. That’s what you’re really here for, right? Set the stakes high. As high as you like. Give yourself a deadline. Say, midnight. Feel your skull turn into an hourglass the minute the transaction is accepted. Feel the sand drip into your mouth. Time’s a-wastin’. You can taste it. Go now. Go on a quest. Let it inform you. Let it transform you. Be sure to succeed, for if you fail, a pack of hobgoblin hounds will tear you into thirty six separate dinners and devour you. It’s the least they can do.

Infernal Bargains

9. Now, swap masks and take more selfies! Congratulations! NEW MASK = NEW GOBLIN FORM!

When Desdemona Mannering becomes a “Tattercoats” goblin (a species of the Nine-Tails genus, from the Thousandfurs family) after her journey through the Mirradarra Doorway, she changes utterly from the human she had been. What kind of goblin would you be?

What are your powers? How many pairs of horns can one person wear at the same time anyway??? What is that strange language coming out of your mouth? Why are all the moths and fireflies swarming up to form a mantle over your shoulders? And why are you suddenly wearing a crown of green flame?

10. If the night is still young, go out for tacos. In costume. Why not? The world could use a little more glittery weird. And definitely more of you and your friends merry-making for the love of life, literature, and goblin tacos. There’s always room for goblin tacos.

Terrify Your Neighbors! Eat Tacos!


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Desdemona and the Deep: A Playlist

I recently crowd-sourced a Desdemona and the Deep launch-party Spotify playlist from friends, family, and neighbors on several social media platforms.

I ended up compiling–basically–a six and a half hour playlist for anybody interested. And I didn’t even use all the suggestions! Just the stuff that, I thought, would keep up the energy at a party!

Now, all that’s coming in a different blog. Hold onto yer pale bone hosses.

In this process, I discovered a LOT of new music and was reminded of a great deal I already loved. This, then inspired me to make a shorter (albeit not VERY short) playlist that was more like a soundtrack for my novella.

I separated the playlist out by chapters–the 17 chapters of Desdemona and the Deep–and put a few songs beneath each heading.

The link to this playlist is here, and the list of chapters follows:

Dance While the Sky Crashes Down, Jason Webley
Factory Girl, Rolling Stones
Dope Queen Blues, Adia Victoria
Difficult For Weirdos, Robbie Williams

Bad Bones, Steeleye Span
Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me, U2

The Auchengeich Disaster, Battlefield Band
The New York Mining Disaster 1941, the BeeGees

Yes, I’m a Witch, Yoko Ono
The Last Steampunk Waltz, Ghostfire

Champagne, Lindsey Ell
Icarus, Jason Webley

Bluebells, Patrick Wolf
The Elfin Knight, Jean Luc Lenoir
The Moss, Cosmo Sheldrake
Hymn to Herne, SJ Tucker

7. Orchards of Silver and of Gold
The Ragtime Goblin Man, Grant Raymond Barrett
Creature of the Wood, Heather Alexander

Mushroom Men, Les Claypool
Pale White Horse, Oh Hellos
What the Water Gave Me, Florence and the Machine

Peer Gynt, Opus 23: IV.In the Hall of the Mountain King, Grieg
Sell My Soul, Jill Tracy
Erl-King, Deb Sandland

Anthem for the Already Defeated, Rock Plaza Central
All Night, Sam Phillips

Beautiful, Dangerous, Slash, Fergie
Demon Woman, Flight of the Concords

Evil in the Night, Adam Lambert
Boogieman, Sarah McCoy
Devil’s Dance Floor, Flogging Molly

You Should See Me in a Crown, Billie Eilish
Into the Night, Santana

Cat People (Putting Out the Fire), David Bowie
Flood Water, Nitzer Ebb

Blind, Hercules and Love Affair
Hell, The Tiger Lillies
Hobgoblin’s Hat, Allysen Callery

The Hell of It, Paul Williams
The Messenger, Patrick Wolf

The Song, Lisa Hannigan
Midnight Feast, James York
Daughter of the Glade, SJ Tucker
Walk Away, Eliza Carthy


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Rhode Island Launch!

With news of the New York Launch to come! But for now . . .

Come dressed in a costume and mask of your choice! Think the goblins of Labyrinth or Lord of the Rings . . . or the elves of Hellboy 2 (or Lord of the Rings). Think Jim Henson’s muppets in The Dark Crystal. Or the “bloomin’ fairies” of Legend. Use your imagination. Paint your face! Go fancy! Or dress in what’s comfortable, and just show up! All that’s cool.

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Chattel, Uncastled

Yesterday, in the Disney car to Carlos’s gig at the “Bronx is Reading” book festival, I was struck with the most FASCINATING idea for a short story.

Like, I haven’t been so weirded out by an idea since the Big Bah-Ha.
And I have to say, after two LONG years of revising a VERY LONG NOVEL and a MAXIMUM WORD COUNT NOVELLA, a new idea was like MANNA FROM ABOVE.

(I mean, I’ve written two or three short stories in that time, but all of them have been to spec, for anthologies. And one has never even seen the light of day.)

But something NEW? Just for the sake of ITSELF?

It has been, mi enjambre, so LONG.

Thought I’d try handwriting the first draft of my new story. IT’S WORKING! Part 1 of 4 is done!!!

And it’s been building up constantly in my head ever since. When I described the idea and its unfolding scenes to Carlos, not only did he start crying at one point, he was also TOTALLY IN. Already helpful, and not a word written yet. Just standing in the kitchen, drinking our coffee and tea, as new worlds build and bubble around us. Paradise enow, right?

So. Instead of revising and expanding the DARK BREAKERS 2-in-1 edition this morning (it can wait) (even though Brett Massé’s new cover art is TOTALLY BOSS!), guess what I am going to do???

That’s right. STORY, DARLING, WE ARE ON!

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Readercon 2019 Schedule: C. S. E. Cooney and Carlos Hernandez


2:00 PM Salon 4
Latinx Authors Tear Down the Wall

Panelists: Lisa Bradley (mod), Carlos Hernandez, José Pablo Iriarte, Julia Rios, Sabrina Vourvoulias

Isolationist governments portray immigrants (and citizens perceived as foreigners) as vectors for disease, crime, and terrorism. Currently, the U.S. administration is demonizing Latinx immigrants in this fashion, and oppressing asylum-seekers from Central America. How can authors dismantle anti-immigrant myths while portraying immigrants in all their human complexity? Led by Lisa M. Bradley, Latinx writers will discuss their work regarding borders and immigration, providing historical context and exploring possibilities for future stories.

(See Clarence Young read: 2:30!)

3:00 PM Salon A
In Memoriam: Gene Wolfe

Panelists: John Clute, C.S.E. Cooney, Chris Gerwel, Elizabeth Hand (mod), Howard Waldrop

Gene Wolfe (1931-2019) was Readercon’s first guest of honor, and for good reason. His Book of the New Sun series was not so much groundbreaking as earth-shattering; his short fiction equally displayed his virtuoso talent for unsettling and disorienting the reader. He dipped into numerous genres and refused to be bound by the conventions of any. Join us to remember our friend and colleague and to explore his extraordinary body of work.

6:00 PM Sylvanus Thayer

Readers: Carlos Hernandez, C.S.E. Cooney


10:00 AM Salon 4
Compassionate AI

Panelists: Amal El-Mohtar (mod), Carlos Hernandez, Matthew Kressel, Natalie Luhrs, Kestrell Verlager

In a 2018 tweet, Amal El-Mohtar described the artificial intelligences in Martha Wells’s Murderbot series and in Jeph Jacques’s Questionable Content webcomic as “gorgeously compassionate.” This is a reversal of the long-running trope in SF of characterizing AI as cold, scheming, and murderous. Where else can readers find compassionate AI, and what makes these depictions so vital and appealing?

12:00 PM–2:00 PM Sylvanus Thayer
Workshop: From Page to Stage: Techniques, Tricks, and Improv Games to Help Writers with Public Speaking

Teachers: Martin Cahill, C.S.E. Cooney

Performers C.S.E. Cooney and Martin Cahill will help writers improve their public speaking through improv comedy exercises and theater games, showing how public speaking is rooted in confidence, trust, and drama. The workshop will include some warm-ups and techniques, as well as an opportunity to practice in front of others. Bring a sample of your work to read aloud.

3:00 PM Sylvanus Thayer
Dramatic Readings from the Ig Nobel Prizes

Panelists: Marc Abrahams (mod), C.S.E. Cooney, Rose Fox, Heath Miller, Sonya Taaffe

Highlights from Ig Nobel prize-winning studies and patents are presented in dramatic mini-readings by luminaries and experts (in some field). The audience will have an opportunity to ask questions about the research presented. Answers will be based on the expertise of the presenters, who may have a different expertise than the researchers.


11:00 AM Salon 3
Lloyd Alexander, Existentialist

Panelists: C.S.E. Cooney, Andrea Martinez Corbin, Chris Gerwel, Marissa Lingen (mod), Sonya Taaffe

Lloyd Alexander, translator of Jean-Paul Sartre, wrote an existentialist epic fantasy series. As Jesse Schotter writes on Full Stop, “The end of The High King, and Taran’s choice to remain in Prydain… salvage[s] the idea of free will within the deterministic framework of the genre.” How did existentialism influence Alexander’s other work (Time Cat, the Westmark trilogy)? What are other examples of existentialist speculative fiction epics? With the present deconstruction of prophecy-driven epics, how can writers learn from Alexander’s work?

(12: See Julia Rios read)

2:00 PM Abigail Adams
Brimstone Rhine in Concert

Performers: C.S.E. Cooney, Carlos Hernandez, Faye Ringel

Mythic music by singer-songwriter C.S.E. Cooney, with Faye Ringel on piano and Carlos Hernandez on ukulele and cajon.


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