Tag Archives: Michael S. Pack

Corvidae Contributor Interview: Michael S. Pack

CORVIDAE blog tour banner

Over the coming weeks I’d like to share interviews that Magnus and I conducted with the contributors to Corvidae and Scarecrow. This week we’ll talk with Michael S. Pack. In addition to having a story in Corvidae, Michael also had a story in Metastasis — the anthology I edited to benefit cancer research.

Interview with Michael S. Pack

Please share a short excerpt from your story:

That morning, Chris hadn’t woken up. The nurses mumbled answers that dodged the only question that still mattered. Later, a doctor would stop by on rounds to explain what Lorraine already knew. A machine alarmed. She turned to look, but it was routine. Some drug run its course. A bag that needed flushing. A kink in the IV line. Nothing that could make a difference. A nurse came and went.

When she turned back to the window, she almost fell out of her chair in shock. A large black raven perched on the stone ledge. It cocked its head such that one black eye stared through the glass. Its beak, a hard, black finger length, opened as it quorked a sound that made Lorraine think of water drops. It could see her through the glass, but it showed no fear. It quorked again. As suddenly as it had appeared, it launched into flight. The great pinions of its wings beat the air.

The bird was gone, and she was alone again with her dying son. 

What is it about corvids that inspired you to write about them? Ravens have interesting ambiguity when they appear in myths and folklore. They can represent wisdom, but also destruction. They can be messengers of the gods or forerunners of war—or both. They create, but they also play the role of the trickster. The uncanny intelligence of ravens has led people around the world to imbue them with supernal, almost mystical, cunning. And, in many myths the raven literally exists in a state of ambiguity: a part of our “real” world as well as a part of the spirit world. 

Was there one corvid characteristic you wanted to highlight more than others? The sound of their wings in flight.

If you were a corvid, what would you build your nest out of? Twigs. I’m all for tradition.

What’s your favourite ‘shiny’ thing? Firefly. 😉

As you may know, one of Edmonton’s local Twitter personalities is Magnus E. Magpie who haunts Twitter as @YEGMagpie. I invited him to read an advance copy of Corvidae and Scarecrow and offer a short cawmentary on each story from a magpie’s point of view, which he did. When he was finished I asked if there was anything he’d like to ask the contributors. The italicized portions are mine because Magnus didn’t ask straight-forward questions on account of he’s a magpie 🙂

Mr. Yegpie: It would be cool to know where all these stories came from, I mean geographically – like I think I could tell who was from Edmonton and who was from Vancouver! (Where do you live, and did that affect your story/poem at all?I live on the north coast of British Columbia, and ravens are abundant here. There’s one that hangs out around our house who likes to talk to the cats. Not sure what he says. Location mattered in one other way as well. The hospital in the story is loosely inspired by St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver.

Mr. Yegpie: I also would sure love to know where they got their ideas from! I caught several familiar references from existing books and mythology and fairy tales; I like seeing people riff off stuff. (What inspired your story/poem?A few years back, I saw the aurora borealis for the first time. The image stayed with me, and I ended up reading some on myths around the northern lights. The thread of myth where ravens use the lights as a gateway to the spirit world resonated with me. That I first saw the aurora while my son was recovering from a lung transplant has some obvious implications for my story.

Mr. Yegpie: I think I would like to know what people’s favourite corvid is though; and if it isn’t a magpie, WHYEVER NOT?!? (If they come back with some guff about crows using tools, PLEASE LET ME KNOW AND I WILL SEND THEM A COPY OF MY ROGERS BILL. Pffft, crows.) (What is your favourite corvid?I’ve met ravens and crows, whiskey jacks and jays of all kinds, but never a magpie. I couldn’t do a magpie proper justice in a story. I would have to say I favour ravens.


Michael S. Pack was born in the Deep Southern US, but he fled to Canada after an encounter with a particularly fierce mosquito swarm. His short stories have appeared in several anthologies, most recently Missing Monarchs (Fox Spirit 2014) and Fractured: Tales of the Canadian Post-Apocalypse (Exile Editions 2014). He is currently working on an epic fantasy novel. He sometimes posts on twitter @Michael_Pack and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/M.Pack.Author

Cover for CORVIDAE. Design by Eileen Wiedbrauk

Available Direct from the Publisher:
World Weaver Press

Or Find it Online:

Corvidae Cover Reveal

Cover for CORVIDAE. Design by Eileen Wiedbrauk

I mean, I could have started this post with some text, maybe an explanation about what you were going to see but seriously? Were you going to notice? No. Because as soon as you looked at this page this cover would have captured your attention and once you’ve seen it, what additional explanation is needed? Still, there is protocol to follow… 😉

This is the cover for my latest anthology, coming out July 7th!


Associated with life and death, disease and luck, corvids have long captured mankind’s attention, showing up in mythology as the companions or manifestations of deities, and starring in stories from Aesop to Poe and beyond.

In Corvidae birds are born of blood and pain, trickster ravens live up to their names, magpies take human form, blue jays battle evil forces, and choughs become prisoners of war. These stories will take you to the Great War, research facilities, frozen mountaintops, steam-powered worlds, remote forest homes, and deep into fairy tales. One thing is for certain, after reading this anthology, you’ll never look the same way at the corvid outside your window.

Featuring works by Jane Yolen, Mike Allen, C.S.E. Cooney, M.L.D. Curelas, Tim Deal, Megan Engelhardt, Megan Fennell, Adria Laycraft, Kat Otis, Michael S. Pack, Sara Puls, Michael M. Rader, Mark Rapacz, Angela Slatter, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, and Leslie Van Zwol.


“A creepy, crazy kaleidoscope of corvids, Corvidae is what happens when you bring together ingenious writers and sagacious subjects. It’s nothing short of a thrill ride when this anthology takes flight.”

— Susan G. Friedman, Ph. D., Utah State University; behaviorworks.org.

Pre-orders available now (within the United States) from World Weaver Press or add it to your shelves at Goodreads!


Corvidae Table of Contents

Proposed Table of Contents for CORVIDAE

A Murder of Crows
by Jane Yolen
Whistles and Trills by Kat Otis
The Valravn by Megan Fennell
A Mischief of Seven by Leslie Van Zwol
Visiting Hours by Michael S. Pack
The Rookery of Sainte-Mere Eglise by Tim Deal
The Cruelest Team Will Win by Mike Allen
What Is Owed by C.S.E. Cooney
Raven No More by Adria Laycraft
The Tell-Tale Heart of Existence by Michael M. Rader
Sanctuary by Laura VanArendonk Baugh
Knife Collection, Blood Museum, Birds (Scarecrow Remix) by Sara Puls
Flying the Coop by M. L. D. Curelas
Postcards from the Abyss by Jane Yolen
Bazyli Conjures a Blackbird by Mark Rapacz
Seven for a Secret by Megan Engelhardt
Flight by Angela Slatter


You are going to love this book.

(Titles and such are subject to change right up until the day of publication of course)

Metastasis Contributor Interview: Michael S. Pack

Metastasis Cover - artwork by Jonathan Parrish, Cover design by Carol HightshoeMichael S. Pack’s short story, Unchanged, takes place in a future where there is a cure for cancer but as we all know, nothing is without consequences…

How has cancer touched your life?
In 2007, a routine x-ray for back pain found bone mets in my mother’s spine. The oncologists never identified a primary tumour, but the biopsy indicated breast cancer. With advanced metastasis, the doctors could offer little in the way of treatment. They gave her two years, but it spread faster than they had predicted. No radiation, no chemo, no surgery. She accepted nothing but palliative care. She passed away just after New Year’s of 2008.
When it comes to cancer, what gives you hope?
I don’t think we find meaning in our circumstances, but in our response to circumstance. It gives me hope to see the ways in which people choose to respond to cancer. You can’t stay neutral, even denial is a response. Every cancer survivor who finds the strength to persevere, every patient in treatment who perseveres even without strength, every family member that offers support, every community that holds a rally, runs a relay, spreads awareness — those offer me hope. When someone chooses to live their life in spite of the odds, whether from stubbornness or determination or force of will, that gives me hope. Every time someone finds the serenity to accept, that gives me hope. Cancer itself, it brings too much pain, too much suffering for me to find its value. The human reaction though, there’s value there. In the ways in which those responses are framed — by everyone who fights to live one more day, by everyone who comes to terms with mortality, by everyone who grieves for the time lost — those very human responses have meaning. They have value.
Not counting your own, which story or poem in Metastasis is your favourite?
That’s a tough question. I’ve read the anthology, and I’m impressed with all of the contributions. You’ve done a fantastic job putting together some really powerful pieces for Metastasis. If I had to choose just one though, I’d have to say Beth Cato’s poem, “Hunter”. It caught me a little off guard, and it spoke to me on an emotional level. It was beautiful, but also painful to read.
Michael S. Pack is a writer who grew up in the Deep South, but he now lives in northern British Columbia with his wife and three cats. He writes fantasy, science fiction, and other stories. Michael sometimes rambles on twitter @Michael_Pack and on https://www.facebook.com/M.Pack.Author where he posts updates about his stories. He is currently at work on a fantasy novel.

Metastasis is available at:

Paperback – $14.95
Kindle – $6.95

ePub – $6.95

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Paperback – $14.95

All coupons codes expire on October 31, 2013.