Five Facts About Mary Shelley

wV7j4W7q_400x400I’ll be at Baycon this weekend speaking about Mary Shelley. Here’s five facts you might not know about the author of Frankenstein and The Last Man:



1. Mary eloped with Percy Shelley when she was only seventeen. She was a widow by the age of twenty-four.

2. When her husband died, he was cremated. Because Percy Shelley had calcification of the heart, his heart did not burn, and Mary Shelley kept it in her desk.

3. Mary helped an abused woman escape from an abusive husband and flee England with the woman she loved. She concocted a scheme that involved one of the women dressing as a man, and them living in France for many years under false names.

4. Mary was close to many people who died young – her half-sister Fanny (suicide), Percy Shelley (sailing accident), Edward Williams (the same sailing accident), John Polidori (suicide), Harriet Shelley (suicide), Byron (illness), and Keats (illness). She had five pregnancies but only one child lived to adulthood.

5. The heroine of Mary’s novel Valperga is named Euthanasia. Other unusual names in her books include Idris (The Last Man),and  Perkin (The Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck),

Hope to see you at BayCon!


Between the Lines Book Club: Far From the Madding Crowd on Film

between the lines book club logoOur Between the Lines Book Club choice for May is Far From the Madding Crowd, by Thomas Hardy. We will be discussing this book on May 19, 2018 at 10:30AM, at Arden Dimick Library, as well as in the comments below.

Far From the Madding Crowd has been made into a movie four times: in 1915, 1967, 1998, and 2015. The most famous adaptation is probably the one from 1967, which starred Julie Christie. In his review, Roger Ebert gave the movie three stars and made the following comment:

Thomas Hardy’s novel told of a 19th Century rural England in which class distinctions and unyielding social codes surrounded his characters. They were far from the madding crowd whether they liked it or not, and got tangled in each other’s problems because there was nowhere else to turn. It’s not simply that Bathsheba (Julie Christie) was courted by the three men in her life, but that she was courted by ALL three men in her life.



In 2015 a new movie adaptation, starring Carey Mulligan,was released. Here’s my review. The movie makes some abrupt jumps to keep the run time down, but benefits from strong performances and amazing chemistry between Mulligan and Matthias Schoenaerts, who plays Gabriel.


The 2015 version, which I adore, is available on iTunes, Amazon, and at the library. It’s fairly faithful to the book so if you feel bogged down, I encourage you to try the movie out.

BayCon Schedule is Up!

wV7j4W7q_400x400I’m headed to BayCon again next week, or, as I like to call it, “My Family Reunion.”

Here’s my schedule:

Saturday, May 26

Super Awesome Advice Panel


Synergy 4

Sunday, May 27

On Beyond Rey




It Began With a Monster


Connect 3


Intro to Comics


Synergy 1


Hope to see you there!



Between the Lines Book Club: Far From the Madding Crowd

between the lines book club logoOur Between the Lines Book Club choice for May is Far From the Madding Crowd, by Thomas Hardy. We will be discussing this book on May 19, 2018 at 10:30AM, at Arden Dimick Library, as well as in the comments below.

Far From the Madding Crowd was Thomas Hardy’s first big seller. The word “madding” means “frenzied,” and the title comes from a poem by Thomas Grey called “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.”  The book takes place in Wessex, a fictional version of South West England, in the mid-1800s.

The heroine of the story, Bathsheba Everdeen, inherits a farm and runs it herself. Unlike many women of the era, she has no financial or social need to marry. However, Bathsheba is young and pretty and not as smart in matters of the heart as she is in business. The book explores her relationships with the charming but unreliable Troy, the steadfast sheep herder Gabriel Oak, and the possessive and obsessive William Boldwood. The book also explores the options available to women of different classes, and the challenges they face.

I reviewed this book for Smart Bitches, Trashy Books back in 2015. Here’s my review of the book. The review contains spoilers – beware! I loved Bathsheba’s character, and the recognition of love that is expressed through unglamorous means. Any idiot can bring a woman flowers, but a man who will get up in the middle of the night and come out to your farm to deal with your sick sheep is a man you want around for life. Here’s a defining quote from the book:

This good fellowship – camaraderie – usually occurring through the similarity of pursuits is unfortunately seldom super-added to love between the sexes, because men and women associate, not in their labors but in their pleasures merely. Where, however, happy circumstances permit its development, the compounded feeling proves itself to be the only love which is strong as death – that love which many waters cannot quench, nor the floods drown, besides which the passion usually called by the name is as evanescent as steam.

I hope you all enjoy this book! If you need a study guide, try

Happy Birthday Katniss Everdeen

Tomorrow, May 8, is the birthday of Katniss Everdeen, winner of the Hunger Games, Girl on fire, the Mockingjay, face of the rebellion. Whether we followed her on page or on screen, she inspired us:

When she volunteered to protect her sister.


When she was too busy to be obsessed with her love life.


When she had no more fucks to give.



When she showed compassion.


When she was ruthless.




And because she survived.


Happy Birthday, Katniss!

Blessed Beltane

William Lobb RoseTomorrow is Beltane, one of the four seasonal festivals celebrated by the Celts. It’s one of the biggest Pagan celebrations of the year. It’s an old celebration, mentioned in early Irish literature and mythology. Today, Pagans still celebrate with old customs, including bonfires, may poles, and a lot of food and dancing.

When the Catholics moved into Ireland, they took all the old festivals and instead of banning them they simply made them Catholic. So the month of May is dedicated to Mary. Needless to say, the English Puritans hated it. Your loss, Puritans.

It’s also May Day, a day when children deliver flower baskets to family and neighbors. I made these in school as a kid, but I haven’t seen a May Day basket in years. Do kids still make these? We always made them out of empty strawberry cartons and strips of paper. I remember them fondly. We left them on porches. If you still do this in your family, let me know – I hope some people are carrying on the tradition!

On a completely different note, May Day is also International Workers Day, a labor holiday celebrated all over the world. It’s especially big in communist countries, so the socialist-phobic United States has Labor Day in September instead. That being said, May Day is a popular day for honoring immigrants and all workers in the USA with rallies and protests.

Some, but not all, pagans see May Day as a day to celebrate sexuality. If you are celebrating sexuality in a hands-on manner, (ahem) make sure you have enthusiastic consent from everyone involved and use protection. No one wants a case of Beltane gonorrhea.

I hope that regardless of your religious background, you enjoy this time of year – and I hope that in parts of the US that are still getting snow, spring finally arrives. Mental Floss has a fun article about May Day – enjoy!

Between the Lines Book Club: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

between the lines book club logoTomorrow (April 27) we’ll be meeting at Arden Dimick Library at 10:30AM to discuss The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot.

The Immortal Life is about real people. Rebecca Skloot worked closely with the Lacks family in writing the book. Knowing about their mother’s cells has had a major impact on the family. Where are they now?

The family is currently engaged in an argument regarding the recent HBO movie starring Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne. Some members of the family are happy with their current situation. Many of them give public speeches, for which they are paid, and others have benefited from the Henrietta Lacks Foundation. Five family members were hired as consultants for HBO during the making of the movie.

However, other members of the family have never been happy with the way things turned out financially after the book because a hit. Among them are Lawrence Lacks, Henrietta Lack’s son, and Lawrence’s son, Ron. They feel that they have been treated unfairly and that the movie paints the family in a negative light. Lawrence and Ron plan to take legal action. As of this date, the issue is up in the air.

You can read more about the feud at The Washington Post or the Baltimore Sun.

Sadly, Deborah Lacks died of a heart attack in 2009.