Who do you think you are?

Do you know who you are? What's your genealogy? Who are your people? Where did your family originate? Do you know, or do you think you know? I write books and teach history, which is either a blessing or a curse depending on your perspective. In the case of writing, it's…

Fifty Shades of Suck.

I've got three *species* of vampires, ranging from sexy to, well, gross. In history, each culture has their own version, and it's here that I found my playground from which to draw ideas for how I'd approach the beasties. Vampires, like Christian Grey, might be considered predators, but to what…

Pushups are the Devil

I'm on this stupid health and exercise kick, and it means giving up things like pie and cake for a while. As a man of a certain age, I have certain fears, which include (but are not limited to): Pleated khakis. Losing my hair. Belly. A larger belly. Chewing food like…

Life Without Cookies

Or cake. Or pie. Or waffles, milk, flour, cheese, and joy, yes, there will be no joy, not in this house. Bride is doing a really interesting thing known as the Whole Life Challenge. It's kind of cool-- focusing on better food, plenty of sleep ( a must!), stretching, meditation,…

I have a cold. I will die soon.

There's no getting around it. My son, the World's Largest Eight Year Old, has infected me with a virulent form of the rhinovirus, which may or may not be a combination of the following diseases: The Bubonic Plague Cooties Ebola A Random Tropical Fever Boogers. These have combined for the…

Virginia. So Much More Than Ham.

I'll be in one of my favorite cities next week, Roanoke, Virginia. I'm speaking at the Roanoke Regional Writer's Conference. It's on the beautiful campus of Hollins University. I've said it before, but it's worth repeating: Virginia is incredible. It's just so American, and Roanoke is a shining example of a…

St. Olaf and the Golden Girls

I may have mentioned I married a Norwegian Lutheran, who comes from a family filled with other Norwegian Lutherans. Upon meeting my mother-in-law to be, she mentioned that she graduated from St. Olaf with a degree in home Economics. Until that moment, I thought St. Olaf was a creation within…

On Naming A French Canadian Villain

Conversation This Week With Friend From Canada:"Hey, can you translate something for me?""Sure, What?""I'm naming a villain, want to know if there is a local term for a word.""What word?""The bad guy is named Shiver.""That's kinda stupid, but the translation is frisson.""I already knew that.""Then why did you ask? And…