A Letter to My Teenage Daughters

susanishmaelblog

February 8, 2017

My dear girls,

img_1629 January 21, 2017, Women’s March, Lexington, Kentucky. I’m so proud these two young women are my daughters.

Last night in Congress, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned Senator Elizabeth Warren to stop speaking as she was reading a letter written by Coretta Scott King. The letter, written in 1986, denounced Jeff Sessions, the senator currently nominated to be the Attorney General of the United States, as unfit for a federal judgeship. When Warren didn’t stop speaking, McConnell pulled a move called “extraordinary” by the New York Times: he evoked a little-known rule to silence her. He said:

“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”

Shut up and sit down. How many times have I heard that in my life? Unfortunately, more times than I can count.

In my anger and frustration, I spent a good amount of time this morning…

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Villains, Heros and Heroines

In 2005, the cold reality of violent domestic abuse portrayed in a film propelled me into writing fiction. Since then, I figured out that every villain has a wound and showing that wound incites some level of sympathy or, at least, understanding.  No one illustrates this better than Phillip Roth, whose characters are despicable but I still can’t put his books down (if I can summon the courage to pick them up). I’ve been making my way through Philippa Gregory’s historical novels about the the Kings and Queens of England and their courts. Her treatment of Katherine of Aragon, in particular, paints a very complex portrait of a villainess who, despite her devout religious beliefs, descended into a personal hell and brought as many along with her as she could.

Two of my urban fantasy short stories feature villains as protagonists, and they were very difficult to write. I make my…

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