The Holidays Begin!

As the holidays begin, I've got a podcast appearance, new articles, and more!

The Holidays Begin!
Katie and I went to cut down our own Yule tree! I always did this with my dad when I was a kid (for a while, we lived in a place where we could find natural trees just growing on our property), and it’s one of my favorite traditions.

Hello, and happy end of November!

The holidays are upon us. All our modern holidays have been thinned by corporatization, but something inside our hearts still recognizes the potency of what they are supposed to represent. And when we take part in these rituals, even against the backdrop of capitalism, we connect with a greater meaning that stretches back to our species’ infancy.

We all have a deep connection to the flow of the seasons. As the harvest ends and winter closes in, we need to come together with our family and community, and strengthen our bonds of mutual care. We need to pay respect to the seasons of the Earth that shift around us, and connect with the deep mythic traditions of our ancestors, for whom these cycles were everything.

We also get to eat awesome food, laugh, and be merry. In these crazy times, there’s nothing more worthwhile.


My novel has been going swimmingly, which is a great surprise considering that the holiday usually knocks me off my NaNoWriMo stride. I’m still a fair ways away from finishing this zero-draft, but I’m pleased to see things moving along with a steady pace.

Book review

Master of Mysteries was an incredibly fun read. It releases in January, and I highly recommend grabbing a copy for yourself and any mystery-loving friends. It’s like reading about Sherlock Holmes’ snarky younger brother pretending to be a “psychic mystic” while actually relying on his scientific wit to solve crimes. Read my full review over at The Strand to learn more!

Television: Castle

From Castle to Live, a rough week for ABC

I’ve been rewatching one of my favorite low-investment series. Castle, starring Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic. It’s a procedural cop show with a hearty dose of soapy romance, and that suits me just fine, but it also has some great Easter eggs for fans of the truly incomparable Firefly series created by Joss Whedon. Nathan played the lead role on Firefly, and loved the part. The actors (all save one, who went nuts) were great friends who bonded during the series’ limited run, and Nathan’s role as Richard Castle in Castle allowed him the leeway to show off his affection for his old show.

I’m not going to tell you that it’s the greatest series of all time: there’s all the usual propaganda you’d expect from a police-centric series built around an upper-middle-class perspective. But there is a heaping mountain of charisma between Katic and Fillion, and enough good writing (and good acting) to make it an enjoyable bingeworthy show.


I had fun this week, playing with storytelling in the micro form. Microfiction is ultra-short form storytelling (in my case 100 words or fewer), and I try to create these pieces with minimal editing and forethought. Grab an idea and ride with it: it’s great practice.


Fewer articles this week than usual, largely because of the holiday. But, I’ve also been busy with a book club, reviewing Hero With a Thousand Faces, and preparing for my first semester of my MLIS degree. The time is being seriously crunched with all of my projects!

  • Hard Work: The Greatest Con You’ve heard the conservative argument before: Poor people don’t work because they’d rather do drugs and fornicate with themselves. But is this really true? I wrote this piece years ago, and it was my first big hit on the Medium platform. For some reason, the heavens aligned, and it got thousands of likes in a matter of days. I’ve touched it up a little for clarity, and I hope you enjoy!
  • Respect: The Future of Our Lives The future of technology is about respect, diligence, and community. This piece continues my work of trying to educate the public about how technology actually works. Finding simpler and clearer ways of describing the complexities of things like “digital security” is not easy, but I feel like it’s important work.

I also continued my series on Mastodon, this time focusing on the App. Because it’s open source and federated, there isn’t a single “official” app to use with the platform. I highlight a few of the best options.

Podcast: Speculative Sandbox

My big piece of news for this week was my appearance on the Speculative Fiction podcast, hosted by the talented and brilliant Vickie Lan. Vickie has taken her podcast from 0-60 in a very real way, interviewing writers from around the world, and I’m honored to be part of her second season.

In this episode, I speak with Vickie about the roles of maps and geography in science fiction and fantasy, geography, and how writers can add depth to their constructed worlds! This is literally what I wrote my master’s thesis about, so diving back in was an absolute treat.

Or listen here on the app of your choice.

Social Media

I’ve got a couple of fun tidbits for you today. The first is an example of how practical effects are used to create some of the iconic scenery in your favorite classic films.

May be an image of nature
A terrific foreground miniature by Spanish effects maestro Emilio Ruiz del Río for Conan the Destroyer (1984)

For something a little darker, here’s a piece I found on Tumblr that highlights how far oil companies are willing to go to continue destroying our planet. This centers on their efforts to eradicate the native communities that have been their fiercest foes. In this case, an oil company lawyer is working pro bono to fight for legal changes that would allow native families to be torn apart. Let’s not forget: the corporate world is one of absolute ravenous evil.

On a brighter note, there’s also this lovely pen and ink piece of one of Lord Byron’s poems. It was pulled from Facebook without a good source, so I don’t know the artist, but I love the poem and the art, so it needed to be shared. And here’s the poem in full:

Text within this block will maintain its original spacing when publishedThere is a pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore, There is society, where none intrudes, By the deep sea, and music in its roar: I love not man the less, but Nature more, From these our interviews, in which I steal From all I may be, or have been before, To mingle with the Universe, and feel What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal.

I am also in love with this adorable mouse drawing that someone posted on Mastodon. LOOK AT HOW CUTE IT IS. You should check out more of the artist’s work.

Watercolour and ink illustration of a mouse, looking kind of cheeky with a little grin, on a yellow background.
Art by Sarah Clarke


My new BioLink is active! You can now find my social media profiles across the Internet with ease! If you currently use the LinkTree service, I highly recommend switching out for BioLink. BioLink is made by the same people who provide the “Buy Me a Coffee” service, and it’s a great ethical alternative.

LinkTree steals your data and uses it for profit. BioLink offers you all the same bells and whistles but doesn’t commodify you (only direct clicks on links are tracked, and only to provide you an overview of traffic through your BioLink page).

On flight day 11, NASA’S Orion spacecraft captured imagery looking back at the Earth from a camera mounted on one of its solar arrays. The spacecraft is currently in a distant retrograde orbit around the Moon.

This week’s big technology news centers on the Orion spacecraft, which will be 270,000 miles away from Earth by Monday, which beats the previous Apollo 13 record for farthest distance of a crewed mission from our little blue home.

While the Orion is not manned, this is a major test-bed for upcoming crewed missions, and a hugely exciting moment for those of us who have the bug for space exploration. It’s nice to see NASA back in the game, especially since the taint of Musk and Bezos haunt the otherwise intriguing work of Blue Origin and SpaceX.

Wrapping Up

We had a lovely week, and an especially lovely holiday, which we celebrated with friends. I did a dry-brine turkey this year, which turned out divine, especially alongside homemade stuffing, potatoes and green bean casserole made by our friends. Our friends were also responsible for the amazing pie and pudding, which will certainly require a few hundred extra workouts to fully metabolize! (Yum).

I dry-brined this 20lb turkey for two days and it came out so tender and juicy. Always brine your birds!

The end of the weekend is all about making our home look and feel cozy, tackling Master’s thesis work (for Katie), and fine-tuning my weird schedule for writing and Master’s prep. It’s good, after a busy holiday, to come back to your space and polish it up. The week ahead will be brighter for that work.

What are you doing for the end of November and the beginning of December? What holiday rituals does your family enjoy? Share your stories with me in the comments!

Until next week, my friends. Go easy, and if you can’t go easy, go as easy as you can.

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