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A World Without Daddy Issues

Can you imagine a world without daddy issues? No dictators. No orange trash presidents. No family separations as terrorism against asylum seekers. No police brutality. No intimate partner violence. No child abuse.

Can you imagine a world full of excellent father figures who care nothing for gender conformity or forced obedience? Who love their children and actually show it? Who protect their children from the same kinds of traumas they have experienced, rather than replicating those traumas?

Can you imagine a world in which all fatherless children are surrounded by healthy male role models and mentors in their lives? A world in which men hold each other accountable and women love themselves?

I can, because I live in that world. Not on TV. Not in the news. Not when I travel. Not when I visit the church I grew up in or the schools I went to. I mean in the everyday life I inhabit now, as an adult with the freedom to choose what to pass on to the next generation. My husband is a suburban …
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Geeking Out for Greek

Ermagerd it's a Gerk teshberk!!!

My latest preciousssssss research text, The Letters of Psellos: Cultural Networks and Historical Realities, has arrived! The editors and contributors seem to be passionately confused, emphatically giddy, and desperately impatient for the world to more deeply understand the personal correspondence of Michael Psellos. God bless the geeks for Greek. I think it's going to be worth the $140 that everyone thinks I was crazy to pay for a textbook when I am not in school for credit. But I have an 11th century thriller to write, and that's more fun than a degree, so there.

Although editor Marc Lauxtermann has worked hard to create this resource for English readers, he implores us in his preface to, "for heaven's sake, learn Greek."

But I will not. At least, not yet. First of all, that would take a long time, and my novel is already taking long enough. Second, it is my God-given right as an American to remain ignorant of non-English la…

Hey June, Don't Make It Bad

Last June, I set a goal to finish Matka Danu Miklagarth by fall. Then a brutal summer happened. I held it together well enough, but obviously I did not finish the book. I'm entering this June with the same writing goal and a better plan: to accept the things I cannot change and to stay cool about honoring my three priorities: family, work, and writing.

Last summer was an absolute cluster migraine of hellacious weather, a ladyproblem recurrence, people starting fights and threatening children near me at both work and home, and the epic destruction and reconstruction of my street in a months-long project that shook the foundation of my house all day every day. It's no wonder I didn't make a lot of progress on my novel.

I'm a bit shell-shocked from last summer, to be honest, and I've been wincing at the approach of this June. As it turns out, I've already had reasons to brace myself. This year's short spring ended with another health issue that, like last ye…

Remember the '60s? Neither Do I, But I Can "Imagine..."

Ironically, the easiest way for me to experience a taste of life before the internet is to go on the internet. I can stream music, watch videos, read poems, look at fashion designs, and research news events about time periods like the late 1960s, when everything seemed terrible and hopeful kind of like it is now, minus social media. Also ironically, I find that the best way to appreciate the age of the internet is to spend more time offline.


The other day, I was streaming a family-friendly radio station (children were playing at the house, OK), and John Lennon's "Imagine" came on. My husband and I immediately started singing along but with different words that went something like this:

Imagine there's no Facebook.
It's easy if you try.
No Twitter for our POTUS
Or views for PewDiePie.

Imagine all the people living in real life, ah-ah-ahhh!
Imagine there's no Snapchat.
It isn't hard to do.
Nothing to 'shop or filter
And no hashtags too.

Imagine all the …

Merfolk Have No Swimsuit Season

For those of us whose ancestors hail from the territories of swan maidens and rusalki, going swimming outdoors involves plastering on a thick coat of titanium dioxide, lurking in the shadows, and frightening children who believe in ghosts.

Cultures in every part of the world have folkloric beliefs in aquatic humanoid beings, usually seductive women with deadly powers who inhabit the waters of springs, lakes, rivers, and oceans. Not all of my ancestors gave offerings of food, flowers, and coin to the pallid denizens of European caves; I may have a way-back grandfather who sailed from Japan, where the little ningyo tempt fishermen and inspired the koi/toddler girl character Ponyo, and I may have a way-back grandmother from the Congo, where Mamba Muntu rules the East with her serpents and her songs and Mami Wata calls her spirit husbands from the West Coast.

But my own human form possesses neither the hydrodynamic sleekness of the ningyo nor the poppin' melanin of Mamba Muntu, and my…

Seeking the Write Life Balance

The "writer's lifestyle" as imagined through Anthropologie catalogs and biographies of downwardly mobile trustafarians of the early 20th century has been thoroughly debunked by real-life author Rosalie Knecht for any aspiring writers out there who don't know what professional writers' lives are actually like. So what does it look like for a regular person of this century to live the life of a writer? I'm still working it out for myself.

As far as I can tell, writers' lifestyles are crazy quilts of figuring out how to live life while writing about life while supporting life with a reliable income, usually in the form of an unglamorous day job.

My own life is an act of balancing five core needs, in no particular order:
to write novelsto do meaningful work in exchange for a living wageto experience life, especially with my family and friendsto take care of the home where I live with boring chores and upkeepto maintain good health, because I can't do any …

Four-Way with the Vampire

Word on the Tweets is that there are literary agents seeking vampire stories... again. In case this actually becomes a new publishing trend, so soon after its most recent demise, the ladies of the Pigasus Pen have collaborated on developing a concept that Christina (seen here as a vampire, next to my husband in drag) has been keeping in her cleavage for a decade or two.

I can't give any spoilers, but I will say that the idea may get tied into the fictional television show "My Boyfriend the Vampire" from Meika's Breakaway romance novel series.

Meanwhile, I am still writing Matka Danu Miklagarth, and there are no vampires in it, because nobody had thought of vampires yet in the 11th century. However, they had thought of Slavic cannibal mermaids and guardian spirits of the forest and other great paranormal boyfriend/girlfriend material, so there's that.


And here's a picture of me on the same Halloween when Christina was a vampire and my boyfriend (husband, actu…