CL Hellisen

And that was April and Where the Ideas Come From

It’s a cliché that as you get older, time zips by faster, but it really feels like this year is hurtling past. One of the things that has made this year feel like a weird chug to the top of a hill before the downhill hurtle has been this spring. THIS SCOTTISH SPRING. An endless dreary grey made of wet and cold and febrauries and marches that lasted three months

GODSKIN at Strange Horizons

My short story GODSKIN is now live at Strange Horizons. It’s set in the DRIFT universe, which is a book I have started years ago and might one day finish. 😛 Until then, you have GODSKIN, and later this year, SEAGIFTS. Go read Godskin online at Strange Horizons! “Dead gods,” says Aunte Gull as she heaves the shimmering nets, “are almost as useless as live ones.” We work together, numb

Luna Novellas are Win

I am a huge fan of Luna Press and the work they are doing as a small Scottish publisher to uplift amazing new and under-represented voices. I’m a little biased, naturally, as they did publish my novel Cast Long Shadows – but there’s a reason Luna Press consistently win awards, such as their last British Fantasy Award for Best Independent Press. The work they put out also consistently gets long-listed,

Writing Without Judgement

One of the hardest things for me to do is write shorts without second-guessing myself. As I begin (and I do, just, begin – there is no plan) the first thoughts I have are, ‘oh good I’m having fun – this is fucking weird‘, followed by, ‘shit this is too weird, I can’t sell this‘, to, ‘oh my god, people are gonna judge me hard, just be normal, Cat. Please.‘

Hello It’s Me

I’m the problem. Well, no, unmedicated ADHD is the problem. But I shall attempt to use this website more, and to make the effort to fix up my neglected newsletter. You’ve been warned.

The Inspiration for Thief Mage Beggar Mage

I grew up on Hans Christian Andersen stories, and one of my favourites is The Tinderbox, with its three magical dogs, one with its eyes ‘big as wagon wheels.’ I remember the image from the Storyteller series in particular, and I would go back to that story again and again. So naturally one day I sat down to write a story about a penniless soldier who finds a treasure, falls

Golden Wing, Silver Eye

This story was first published in the anthology Ghost in the Cogs, a collection of steampunk ghost stories from Broken Eye Books, and was later included in my collection Learning How To Drown, from NewCon Press. I am putting it up online for Pride 2022. It is winter in Pal-em-Rasha and all the roosters have been strangled. We are in mourning. The prince was born white and strange, his dead

Five Times Dozha and Kani

These are two post Thief Mage, Beggar Mage ficlets that show the different sides of the same coin. WARNING FOR MAJOR SPOILERS, so definitely only read these if you’ve finished the book. 5 Times Dozha Did Not Fall in Love, and One Time He Did. 1 It was not easy being the adopted child of a dragon, chosen for one thing and one thing only. Dozha knew that Sinastrillia did

Writers: put your mental health first

I’m going to put it out there: I’m a writer who has struggled with depression, anxiety, and possible ADHD. I’ve grown up always expecting the worst to happen. When things go wrong I am drowned under an ocean of deep and utter despair. I’ve given up writing more times than I’ve killed house plants. (It’s a skill, okay.) And while I’m joking about it at the moment, there is nothing