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Getting Medieval with Rammstein and MATKA DANU MIKLAGARTH

The seventh Rammstein album comes out today! I'm an old-fashioned lady (and also I promised myself not to buy it until my first draft of Matka Danu Miklagarth was 100% completed), so I will drive on over to a bricks-and-mortar media store after work. It will be fun, just like when I used to go to Tower Records for punk rock album releases. But it will also be embarrassing, because I am a 36-year-old mom. It's that half-giddy, half-ashamed feeling of purchasing a 100-count box of condoms.

Hey-O, speaking of birth control! Have you heard the news? The legislatures of Ohio and a bunch of what our president might call... what-hole states? ...have gone on a bender of writing up bills that sound like the dystopian plot of a Margaret Atwood novel, brutally targeting the nation's most vulnerable children and women.

What a great time to buy a 100-count box of condoms and a really, really heavy metal album.

And to finish my historical novel set in 11th century Eurasia, where (spoil…
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Brush Clearing and Beta Reading

It's May! The apple trees are budding. The lilacs are opening. The morels are sneaking up on us. The woodpiles in my backyard are being reclaimed by a seething ecosystem of weeds, insects, birds, and furry critters. I kind of love it (hooray nature!), except I live in a residential neighborhood where many children play, and my state is having a tick problem this year. And the woodchucks are tearing up the land with their burrows, creating building foundation issues and dangerous holes in the lawns. I urgently need to clean up the aftermath of the power company's tree removals underneath the power lines at the back of my property last summer, but I cannot do it myself. I'll need help to cut, move, and re-stack all of that wood.

Photo by Perfecto Capucine from Pexels
At the same time, I have also requested help on getting some perspective on my first (lightly revised) draft of Matka Danu Miklagarth. Although this draft is surely full of creepy crawlies, splinters, extraneous…

Word Count Flood

What the meow?

Matka Danu Miklagarth is busting its banks. It's now almost 175,000 words long, and writing it feels like having a weird dream that I can only partly control. I'm not sure I want it to end, but I also know it needs to end soon.

I'm going to be late for work.

I need to have this thing beta read and revised before summer begins, because I don't want to get lost in the fall slush piles.

I also declared on this site that I was "Racing Rammstein" and vowed not to buy the new album until I finished the manuscript. I thought I had plllllenty of time. Ha! My books always run longer than I thought they would.

My husband agreed to be my alpha reader, but now that I mentioned I was writing a sex scene between a mentally unstable serial killer and a man who was recently castrated, he's not so sure. Hmmm, I might have to skip to a group of (all-female) beta readers.

Come on, it's just for historical accuracy.

Gretchen (my cat) doesn't mind me ta…

Pretty Dirty Things for Spring

What do April showers bring?

Mud puddles!


My daughter is as happy as, well, a girl in mud. And that makes me happy!

I am also happy because a shiny new Rammstein video has popped up today, for the single "Radio."



No, not that one. But that's a pretty song too.

This one! Everything old is new again! Behold Rammstein's ode to the sluicy, juicy waves of foreign radio transmissions that irrigated the creative life force back when the band members were growing up behind the Iron Curtain.



Lastly, but not leastly, the reclusive Christina Mitchell is also dropping something wonderful this spring, the very dirty and very pretty romance novel How to Stay. Visit her site for a slippery, squishy, gooey, muddy excerpt! Christina's Bad Girls of Cherry Lake series shares a fictional setting with the fertile lands of Meika Usher's Breakaway Series, which offers four titles ready to pluck now.


A postlude: the ever-fresh video for "Bloom" by Troye Sivan.

Happy Spring Awakening of the Rusalki!

The water spirits demand hard-boiled eggs.


According to MagPie's Corner on Facebook, the ancient Slavic holiday week known as "first Rusalii," when the rusalki first awaken in the rivers and streams, is happening now. Apparently, they wake up hangry for bread and hard-boiled eggs.


My family will be baking bread and boiling and decorating eggs, you know, just in case. We do live very close to a river. And traditions are important.

So happy First Rusalii to you! Happy Good Friday! Happy Easter weekend! Happy spring, no matter what or how you celebrate. Where I live, Easter is going to be the first warm, beautiful day we've had in a long time, with many warm days to follow--the perfect weather for a spring awakening.

P.S. Matka Danu Miklagarth, epic historical thriller featuring rusalki-impersonating pirates, is nearly 170,000 words long. If this book ever gets printed, it could be used as a weight to walk across the bottom of a river for real.

The Dumb Brilliance of Mom Brain

Having a baby means spring cleaning for your gray matter. But does it enhance creativity in the long run? Research suggests that giving birth causes one of the most dramatic developmental changes in the life of a human brain, that "mom brain" is real and often debilitating, and that birth moms who have their basic needs met during this time not only recover their faculties but emerge from the childbearing years with lifelong enhancements to brain function and bodily health. I hope this is true for me, and I believe it is. I think I'm more efficient, focused, and creative than I was in my 20s. Some of that must naturally come with age. But now, on the other side of caring for a small child, I can look back and see how mom brain--frustrating and frightening as it was--served me and my family and my larger community in mysterious ways.

My daughter is eight years old, and I feel like I am just now beginning to want to reclaim an identity as a person who is more than Somebody…

We Belong to the Moon

I'm feeling all of this poem right now: "Blossom" by Mary Oliver.



Into the fire.

I want to have Matka Danu Miklagarth draft 1 completed by the New Moon in May.