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Gonna Treat Myself, Not Trash Myself, This Holiday Season

'Tis the season for treats! Shopping! Cookies! Christmas music! Hallmark movies! Gay apparel! Tinsel! Mulled wine! Eggnog drinks! The gleeful mockery of Starbucks cups!!!

'Tis also the season for health crises, family feuds, financial disasters, glittery litter, and whole parties of people falling off wagons.

So how to enjoy the flames of Yuletide without burning your whole life down?

America, I wish you knew how to CTFD. This great nation is a young culture, the adolescent child of Puritan parents, who isn't quite sure yet how to rebel against fundamentalist martyrdom without getting smashed and falling out of a third-floor window. (Aren't you ironically just as dead if you kill yourself with excess rather than deprivation?)

But I think I have mastered the art of enjoying the holidays--actually enjoying them, not using them as an excuse to drown my sorrows--by thinking of myself as pregnant.

I'm not. Let's get that out of the way. Nor do you have to be--or wa…
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She Went Along, and Went Along, and Went Along

My characters have reached Miklagarth, and I have outlined the final portion of the novel.

Next, I go through my pile of research notes and add and double-check some historical details.

Next, I go through my whole 150K-ish-word first draft and dump all the ballast and rewrite it into a form suitable for sharing with other humans.

I understand from reading lots of author bios and blogs that writing a work of historical fiction is generally a multi-year process, so I feel that this manuscript is moving along at a fairly speedy clip.

Speedy enough for a journey completed on rafts and rough trails and by creeping barefoot through the woods, in rags.

Speedy--and concise--for a book written by someone who grew up on enormous journey sagas like Anna Lee Waldo's Sacajawea and Jean M. Auel's glacial Earth's Children series.

The caption of this illustration by Arthur Rackham refers to a line in the story called "Catskin," a variant of the Cinderella/Princess Mouseskin/Do…

Happy Wolfenoot from the Wolf Mother!

(The blogger, not the band.) Happy Wolfenoot to all you Wolf Mothers, Wolf Fathers, and furbaby parents out there.


For those of you who are new to the party, Wolfenoot is a new tradition invented by a seven-year-old boy whose dad put his idea on the interwebs, where it has (I wish) eclipsed the Capitaclysmic, Walmartian Earthdoom of Black Friday.

A few years ago, I wrote "The Love Howl of the Wolf Mother" to help explain to the friends I'd collected in my 20s that due to the hormones and body functions and responsibilities of mothering a very young child, I had transformed temporarily into a highly critical, hermetic beast who needed to spend a few years in my den and would soon emerge, ready to go out and frolic like a playful puppy once again.

But this never actually happened. Apparently my were-mother transformation was a permanent sort of becoming. I've gone full She-Wolf, and I don't wanna come back.

Fortunately, since then most of the people who used to dri…

Writers Love Drama--When It's Not Ours

Buck buck moose! It's rutting and hunting season, and I, like any serious fiction writer during the month of November, am hiding inside my warm, snug house with my nose pressed to the window, feasting my eyes upon the beautiful, delicious, horny drama outside. And when that's not happening in the backyard, I'm at my writing desk doing "research" that kinda looks like reading smutty trash talk about rockstars--See the end of this post to get your fix, you gossip fiend. How else do we learn how mammalian beings interact but by observing them from a safe distance?


This photo shows three bucks--a big guy in the background, who is standing guard in front of a fair lady doe in the bushes (not visible here), and two young bucks with baby horns. The pubescent yearlings worked in tandem to circle closer and closer until the big buck put his rack down and charged at them, and then they ran away--over and over again. What was the young bucks' strategy, I wondered? Tryin…

American Dreams of Miklagarth, or: I'll be in the basement until Thanksgiving.

Thank you for voting, America! I don't know if it was the legalize weed stuff that united us across party lines or what, but I am pleased with the high (heh heh) voter turnout for a midterm election. America has not given up on democracy, and for that I am relieved. Freedom!

Now I can descend into the basement lair by the fireplace and focus my attentions on my imaginary friends from a time period and geographic area that is mostly unfamiliar to Americans--but where many of our ancestors lived, loved, and stabbed each other. In my work-in-progress, Matka Danu Miklagarth, the last survivors of the original party of misfits has reached the end of the Danube River and stands before the Black Sea, the threshold of Miklagarth.

Along the way, I've learned many rando facts about 11th century places and peoples, including Germanic "Holy Romans" vs. the Byzantines, assorted Slavic tribes, Magyars, Bulgars, Turks, Egyptians, Nubians, mysterious nomads who apparently traveled fr…

Cat Fright

We thought our cat Gretchen was dead a few days ago, but she hasn't given up her nine ghosts quite yet.


As we were getting ready for bed last Sunday night, Gretchen captured a common house centipede on the kitchen floor (good kitty!) and spent a long while gently patting it to death with her tiny paw, watching it slow down with each leg that fell off. (Ugh!) We thanked her for her service and started to back away, and then the centipede mustered up enough outrage to bite her. I've never seen a centipede bite anything or anyone, but I quickly discovered by Googling that it is possible. Gretchen flailed her paw and finally shook the centipede off, and then she went into a huff and didn't want to finish the job. So I bravely, yes very bravely, squished it with a long broom and swept it into the trash.

Gretchen usually curls up with me and my daughter when we start reading a bedtime story, but on that night, she took off into the basement to nurse her battle wound. Understanda…

NanowrimO-My-God-Please-Vote

You know what's scarier than Halloween? Baby jails. Genocide. Domestic terrorism. Targeted political persecution of everyone who is not wealthy, male, white, Christian-identified, English-speaking, cisgender, heterosexual, right-wing, and subservient to the Great Pumpkin. The threat of goddamn nuclear war. Mass voter suppression in the world's most powerful democracy.

I'm writing this post for you, reader of this blog, because you are likely to be someone who cares about artistic expression and human life. (Just a guess here.) Unless you're one of the few trolls who have stumbled upon this blog. But I don't know why you'd be here. I'm not famous. But whatever, I'm not talking to you.

I'm only talking to human people with intact, living souls here, because I am fully convinced that it is pointless to attempt to reason with someone who is so afraid of brown skin, foreign languages, and gender diversity that they would like to torture babies over it. O…