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From Phyllida's Desk

Words as Rough Sex

I recently watched an old television play, "I Remember Nelson," about the naval hero of the Napoleonic era. The story moved me so much I gave it five stars on Netflix, and was shocked to see how many viewers had given it only one or two. "Boooooring," was the common verdict; too talky.  Read More 
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Before Phyllida, or Not Dropping the Cake

Like many authors these days, I've decided to self-publish my backlist as e-books. Recognition, a $.99 novella, the first installment in what I'm calling the ECLIPSIS series of Lady Amalie's memoirs, is now available for the Kindle and Nook, and will be up in other formats soon.

My backlist is a little different  Read More 
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Anisogamy and the Problem of "Sex"

During her keynote speech at the IASPR (International Association for the Study of Popular Romance) conference last week, Laura Kipnis (Against Love) raised the issue of physical differences between the sexes. There are some, she said.  Read More 
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Gandhi Was Human

I read something recently that made me angry. It was an article in the New York Times about Joseph Lelyveld’s biography of Gandhi, Great Soul.

I’m a novelist, a writer who tells made-up stories. This blog is not political, and I don’t want to get bogged down in discussions where I have to be “fair and balanced,” something that is not the novelist’s job (thank goodness!)

But this thing makes me crazy and I have to write it out of my system.  Read More 
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Wrath of Achilles

“Sing, muse, the wrath of Achilles…”

I still remember the first words of the Iliad this way, from the Richmond Lattimore translation. I read it years ago, when I became aware of the part of the story that interests me (no surprise to friends and fans of my fiction): the love between Achilles and Patroclus, and the tragic arc that led from Achilles’ loss of his battle prize, the (literal) trophy wife, Briseis; through Patroclus’ death; to Achilles’ inevitable choice of the short life with glory over the long, uneventful life.  Read More 
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Disinterested Love

A couple of years ago, when I was a regular participant in a “bisexual social discussion group,” I used to have fun with a good friend, a bisexual man married to a woman, debating the difference between a bisexual man and a gay man married to a woman. We weren’t seriously trying to name names or define other people—it was more of an amusing unresolvable question, the middle-aged successor to those college dorm philosophy all-nighters that some people supposedly enjoyed as undergraduates.  Read More 
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