The Twelve Things of Christmas (belated)

Hello friends. It has been a rough year, hasn’t it? My first response to minor and imagined threats is a total retreat into the shadows, so in this year of very real terror, it’s been difficult to even post the bit of art I’ve made. However, we just passed Christmas, which is a time I like to use to reflect on the simple pleasures I’ve found throughout the year, and pass on some recommendations to you. I’m a little late on my 12 days, so I’m going to give you them in groups of four.

Hovergirls is a great comic about two girls who gain superpowers, and neither of them are the best candidates for superpowers. The art is beautiful, and the story spends a lot of time making the characters very real people, plus it starts with giant jellyfish attacking a city and who doesn’t love that? The artist and writer is also very worth following on Instagram @GDBee because her portraits are so soothing. I want to have a GDBee painted pocket dimension to chill out in, but I can’t have that because I haven’t mastered dimension hopping, and her Insta is the next best thing.

There’s always some fiasco in the writing world involving some person trying to copywrite a thing that doesn’t belong to them, but none are funnier and better dramatized than Lindsey Ellis’s video on the author who tried to copywrite Omegaverse. Watch it here! BIG CONTENT WARNING: it starts with two and a half minutes of explicit content taken from the books in question, including rape and sexual violence. You can skip past that and there’s still an hour of video explaining the background of fanfiction tropes, and the difficulty of proving that a trope could be owned.

True Facts combines jokes and animals (two of my favorite things) into a surprisingly informative educational program (a third favorite thing!) Most focus on a single animal, usually weird ones like cuttlefish or mantis shrimp, and deliver about 8 minutes of things you’ve never heard about these animals. With jokes. However, the video I’m linking here is 12 minutes about cat’s senses. Because I do love cats very much, and there’s a really cool reason your house cat has snakey little slit eyes but their larger and deadlier cousins have big round people-y eyes.

Lastly, I just want to tell you something about my life. Erik and I adopted a cat almost two years ago, and I took him to the vet for the very first time last month. We knew of one vet trip previous to this: before he was taken to the humane society, a previous family found him stealing food from their cats’ dishes, and tried to take him to a vet where he was so scared and fighty that the vet couldn’t even determine his gender. At the humane society he was assumed feral and they marked his ear as such, but someone there was able to calm him down enough that they realized he does like people, he’s just really nervous.

With this background, I was really worried about taking him to a vet and betraying the trust we’ve built over the past two years. But, when I got him there, our vet was able to go through the full exam with him, and she stopped to talk to me when they were about to go into the blood draw and vaccines. She could tell he was getting really scared, and asked to hold him for a few hours while a sedative worked through his system, so he’d be asleep for the really scary parts of his visit. I was grateful for the consideration, and gladly picked him up a few hours later and brought him back home where he slept off the sedative. He didn’t hold the vet trip against me, and he still follows me around the block when we take walks together.

So this fourth good thing is actually a person: Dr. Linda at Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital and a cat: Crater Lake Hosenpeals

hosenpeals is a mashup of erik and my last names, misspelled on both accounts

I hope the new year finds you well. And if not, perhaps some of these finds will improve it.

Threadwork Things

I started up a twitter account again. I had a very hard time with the app when I was last on it. Too much noise. But I started one because there are cool writing biz things that happen there, and I don’t want to miss it. Anymore.

To remind myself to post there, and to actually make it fun for me, I’m going to put up little bits of the project I’m currently working on. So, if you’re interested, you can follow me over there @meganleebees and catch some snippets of my novel. Out of context bits, sentences I like… and of course it’s going to have story announcements and hopefully some later pitch wars? Gotta work on my elevator pitch.

Also, I have a new story out! Moon Errata just went live on Toasted Cake, so go give it a listen if you want to know what happens when a girl’s mom goes missing and that mom is also the moon!

novel work

For all that I write about the writing process on this blog, I don’t quite understand my own. I’m writing a novel! And I’ve decided to talk about it, to keep myself from giving up entirely once I’ve surpassed 10k words.

My writing group is helping immensely. They are wonderful. They’ve agreed to read this thing as I’m writing it, which is another failsafe upon which I’m hinging the completion of this thing, god bless their souls. Because I have very slowly come to realize that I don’t actually like to write alone. Odd, right? On its surface, writing is such a solitary act. And, on my surface, I am a very quiet and solitary person. (That façade breaks quickly when I have found a comfortable space, btw.)

But like, publishing is a difficult thing to wait for when you’re hoping for feedback on a story, and I am filled with impatience. And coffee. My jittery veins have no time for editors to decide if I am worthy. Certainly not when I’m trying to decide if Protagonist A’s motives are clear enough to justify her eventual betrayal of Protagonist B.

In any case, this sharing has helped ease my ever-present worry over the five thousand things wrong with living in America in 2020. Yes, Covid sneaks its way into everything. Even this blog post, sorry. This year is isolating and terrible, but I’ve been able to sneak away to a distant reality in drafting a novel, and having a community to help me sit down and write words on a near daily basis has kept me from doom-scrolling my phone and wondering if I should remake my animal crossing island for the third time. (I shouldn’t. Someone stop this.)

Here are three fun things from my current project. My notebook app was deleted when Zoom needed its five hundredth update for some god damned reason, and I am trying to get used to making my notes by hand, but occasionally some will go in a text to my husband. The latest was “You stole a knife in chapter six, remember to use it.”

Here’s some text regarding the small college town it’s set in:

Oddfellow College was a series of disappointingly squat buildings crouched against the rocky shore of the Columbine River. Most budding wizards were eager for tall spires and Euclidian halls, but after years rebuilding all those spires that had been blasted into the river, the committees in charge of college funding found that a sturdy building with thick walls was more likely to withstand the inevitable errant spells. The library, a granite monolith of gray stone and sturdy angles, with windows that had been bricked increasingly smaller through the years, was by far the college’s most impressive building, but only by virtue of being it’s oldest.


And I’ve been working on character portraits because I really like to know what people look like, even if it’s in my unpracticed and cartoony style.

tuulikki devil crop

Things are happening! What joy!


Small Joys

I have been keeping all my big feels in this space, but I rarely record the small moments of absurdity and fun that I seek every day. I want to share some small moments. Very small moments.


While watching a pitchfork being used as a fire poker, this exchanged happened between me and my husband.

Me: Why don’t we have a pitchfork? I feel like we should own a pitchfork.

Erik: We don’t need a pitchfork.

Me: You don’t plan on joining any angry mobs?

Erik: I plan on running from them.

Erik: I know a protagonist when I am one.


On a walk through our neighborhood, I found a nerf dart stuck into a rhodedendron and plucked it like a flower.

Me: Nerf tree.

Erik: (laughing, but his eye is caught by another tree) Oh look at these leaves!

Me: That is not Nerf. That is Nothing.


Erik and I spent an afternoon at a park on Fox Island, on a long rocky spit buffeted by constant wind. We took a slushy there with us, and promptly upon finishing, Erik scooped up a cup full of rocks, jammed the straw back in it, and proclaimed it a free refill.


We have been in a fifteen year competition to make the other person laugh the most. I know I’m losing. He is much funnier than I am. But also, I win.


I have a selection of herb clippings littering my counter. They are in little pots, with lots of water, and I am hoping that some of them will start to root. Rosemary, lavender, sage. All three came off well loved plants in my garden. And I have already begun to worry over the drooping leaves on these little branches.

When I was very young, I lived across the street from a woman who could get anything to grow. She had a lavish garden, complete with a massive arbor that had become completely enclosed on three sides by several prolific wisterias. That outdoor room was a sanctuary in the heat of summer, always cool and a little damp when the sun was too intense everywhere else in the neighborhood. The woman who grew it was called Grandma Bobby, and she had this charming Georgian accent, and it sounds as if I’m fabricating this perfect southern plant-witch entirely but I promise you she’s real.

I’ve always measured myself against her when it comes to gardening, which means I’ve never been that good at gardening. However…


I never saw Grandma Bobby when she was 34, the age I am now. Or 24, when perhaps like me she managed to kill a few cactuses, or 12, when she was maybe spending a lot of time across the street and marveling at her neighbor’s perfect garden. Nor did I ever see her toss out the plants that didn’t make it. Propagation for woody-stem herbs only has a 50% success rate. The ones that shrivel up their leaves and never put down roots are tossed in the compost heap, and forgotten about. Because success does not happen because of an absence of failure.

And I want my plants to succeed. I whisper encouragements to them as I make my coffee, and I hum Penguin Café Orchestra because I think the sage likes it. But if they don’t survive, I’ll clip another bit of new growth and try again. There is nothing lost in the attempt. Nothing damning about a bunch of dead herbs.

I can’t be perfect, but I can keep trying, and eventually something will grow.

Erik and I bought two wisteria plants yesterday, and we have a small arbor for them to climb up and join together, and make a tiny room in our backyard just big enough for two chairs and a little side table.

Fingers crossed.