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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…
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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…

"Let the River Run" in the High School Musical of My Novel

Matka Danu Miklagarth is a twisted story of murderers and degenerates, but if it were a high school musical, the uplifting song "Let the River Run" would be in it. Please note that this is not that hideous Eminem track you may have heard on the Top 40 station; it's a pop song written by Carly Simon in the late '80s for the movie Working Girl.

Matka is set on the Danube River long before the European colonization of the Americas, and its main characters impersonate regional mythological wilderness-dwelling creatures such as the Leshy, rusalki, and various kinds of sirens or mermaids. Thematically, it deals with values and ideas that interest contemporary Americans like myself (and, presumably, my future readers) in a way that is mindful. After all, America today is a nation of immigrants with ancestry from many deep-rooted cultures, including those portrayed in Matka.

The Danube (and my characters sailing down it) end up in the Black Sea, which connects them to the mos…

Ye Olds: Do You Know What Millennials Are?

Hear ye, hear ye, Olds! Before you write, mumble, or log onto the Book Face to share that next rant about Millennials, stop to consider whether you understand who you are shaking your fist at. Let's briefly go over what Millennials are not and what they are.

Millennials are not:the kids on your lawnkids these daysany kids whatsoevereveryone who annoys you everyone who fills you with envyeveryone who is not elderly (though we're getting warmer)
Millennials are:all people born from 1981 to 1996 (as settled by the Pew Research Center)the largest book buying and reading demographicthe most educated generationold enough to drink legallyold enough to have earned a Bachelor's degreesometimes old enough to be actual Olds
Hello, this is me without a Snapchat filter on. According to this super scientific quiz by the Washington Post, I am one of the Olds because I do not have any social media apps on my phone. (Also because I'm 35 years old.) If I'm arguing with you on Facebo…

Cover Crops

An author friend of mine hired a graphic designer and has been working with her on where to actually crop the actual cover art for her actual debut novel to be published very, very soon, which is super exciting, but that isn't what this post is about. This post is about compost! Metaphorically speaking. And now that I've got the dad jokes out of the way...

Eight years ago, I literally composted printouts of my work while dreaming that I might finish my debut and begin my novel writing career within months. Ha!


Instead, a few months later, I got pregnant. As it turned out, pregnancy and motherhood were extremely distracting from my writing goals, and I accepted that, because I wanted to make a baby even more than I wanted to make a book. Eight years later, I'm still glad I slowed down my writing to become a family woman. I was an overly optimistic young person with few important responsibilities, which is excellent for starting a family and garbage for writing a good novel.…

You Can't Get Paris Syndrome on Staycation

I just finished reading Z by Therese Anne Fowler, a novel based on the life of Zelda Fitzgerald. While Zelda's malaise was not exactly Paris Syndrome, she nevertheless had an unfavorable experience with the city and its effects on herself and her incorrigible husband.

Zelda was born into a life of luxury. She married a brilliant young novelist who got fairly rich fairly early in his life. She never needed to get a job to support herself or her family. She had only one child, who was mostly raised by a nanny. She traveled frequently, spoke several languages, danced ballet, exhibited her own talent for writing, and lived in many decadent homes and resorts in several nations. And yet, she and her husband were not as prolific at writing as one might expect, because gin is a helluva drug.

I am a strong believer in travel and adventure as creative inspirations. And yet, sometimes, travel is more trouble than it's worth.

Like when you and your husband can't get all your vacation…