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Introducing... HOLLOW CHARM

The manuscript formerly known as Matka Danu Miklagarth is now working-titled Hollow Charm, because that is something people can pronounce and remember. After beta reads, I've determined that the first few chapters need a complete, structural rewrite, and that the rest of the manuscript could use a light revision. I hope to give Hollow Charm to a fresh set of readers by the end of July and, if there are no more big issues to resolve, start querying agents in September.

***Let me know in the comments or on social media if you would like to read the next draft in exchange for your thoughts on it! Byzantine/medieval scholars most welcome. Just throwing that out there, LULZ!***

Summer is the worst season for me to find the time (and sanity) to sit down and write, but I have been finding some opportunities to dive in and find that flow state at least once a week.

Letting my daughter play hours-long blocks of Minecraft helps! (Pro tip.)

This weekend, we're supposed to have some kind …
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ReVisions

I had a recurring dream as a teenager, about getting ready for the day. I have worn rigid contact lenses since the age of 13, and when I would sit down in this dream to put them in, I'd open my drawer to find a big, messy collection of contact lens cases. When I'd open the cases, inside I'd find a variety of lenses: different sizes, different colors, and even different numbers of lenses in each matching set. I'd start to panic in my confusion over figuring out which set of lenses was "mine" or "the correct one," and until I figured it out, I'd be effectively blind--and then I'd wake up.


When I was about 16, I created this monster collage, above, with hundreds of magazines and a glue stick. It was one of those artworks I felt compelled to create even though, like my recurring dream about contact lenses, I had no idea what it meant.

In hindsight, it seems pretty obvious. I was trying to figure out my own perspective while growing up in a comm…

Catouflage

I will be hiding in the downstairs playroom for several more days. I will see you next Tuesday. If you need immediate assistance during my two weeks hosting my mother-in-law, please contact my assistant Gretchen the cat at miao miao miao miao. Otherwise I will respond to your emails, texts, calls, and cries for help as soon as possible upon my return to sanity. Thank you for your message.

Waiting for My Hair to Dry

...is a thing I can and must do right now, out on the porch with Nonna, because I am on vacation! Which means I'm catching up on appointments, hosting family, and going to all the 4th of July things, of course. My beta readers are sending in their feedback, and I am letting it percolate while I host my mother-in-law over the next two weeks. I am already tired AF (Nonna is a party animal, and I'm only writing this post while she takes a disco nap ahead of her Friday night dive bar crawl), but at least I have good hair due to a salon visit and trying out a new air-dry product. It's probably healthy for me to be on this carnival train of complete distraction for a couple of weeks so I can let myself passively mull over beta feedback before I get started on revisions.

"Muchas gracias," as they say in the presidential debates, to readers Patricia, Mickey, Matt, Lisa, and Victoria!

Land of the Rainwashed Forgotten

The summer rains this year are spectacular. No one can remember a summer beginning with this much rain ever before, and we probably won't remember this moment the next time it happens either. Not here in America, Land of the Rainwashed Forgotten.


We remember the past the way we need to, not the way it was. That is only natural. Our bodies survive by breathing, drinking, eating, and clinging to whatever materials we need to go on living. Our souls survive in our shelters of mythology. Our memories are creative reconstructions of the past, always. They protect and serve our coping mechanisms. At best, they lay the foundations of our imaginations to help us adapt.


During my break from creative writing, while I wait for beta readers to finish, I've done some really productive things like watch Season 4 of that old show Thirtysomething, the one that was on when I was a kid and my parents were just becoming thirtysomethings. None of us were interested in the show when it aired, and…

Happy Father's Pride!

Here's to my life partner, DNA smasher, and co-parent Justin, who does more than his fair share in creating and caring for our family and supporting us in all of our educational, vocational, and creative pursuits. Justin is a real man, and by that I mean that he is more than a paycheck robot or a list of defensively guarded gender stereotypes. He is a lover, a friend, a nurturer, a mentor, a role model, and an advocate. He is a strong presence and a vulnerable companion for many people in his life, and especially for the little one he and I brought into the world together. He's magical, he's mythical, and ironically, that is because he fully embraces all of the realities of being a human.


Justin embodies the most "traditional" and heteronormative definitions of fatherhood in our dominant culture--he is in a heterosexual marriage, raising his biological child--and, maybe because of that, and because of his strength of character and confident personality, he feels …

Introducing... MATKA DANU MIKLAGARTH

My novel is in the hands of beta readers. A couple of them have already given me some feedback, which I am gathering up like flowers into a bouquet--Thank you, thank you, readers, for your sharp eyes, honest opinions, and valued suggestions! I am already thinking about how to make some changes as I wait for a few more trusted perspectives.

Meanwhile, I am swallowing all of my awkward feelings at approaching strangers to ask for free expert advice, and I am seeking historians to check my work for historical authenticity and accuracy. I've sought information in maybe hundreds of sources including websites (some poorly translated into English), library books, documentary films, and even a couple of textbooks I purchased. I've tried to double- or triple-check facts across primary sources. I've drawn a little upon my classical studies and travels in the Mediterranean. But I still dread that I've gotten some things (what things, I don't even know) horribly wrong, and tha…