First thing’s first — we have a number of new followers joining us here at the Cauldron! Welcome to @StevenSpohn, ktpayne2, lcooleyart, @urbanmixer, @elisaromeotweet @ToriHartman, @planomike, and @themollysteiner!

In My Head: Next time I decide to jog two miles, hike for an hour up a steep hilly and rocky trail, get in a car and drive 2 hours, and then hit the dance floor at a wedding reception, somebody remind me that I’m not 18 anymore and my body would appreciate a.) a nap b.) a couple of extra-strength motrin c.) a good stretch prior to going to bed afterward. Whew, I’m stiff today! But happy. Gloriously happy.

In the Cup: English breakfast tea with a little raw sugar and condensed milk

Currently Playing: Valhalla playlist on Spotify — I’ve been (re)writing again!

Daily Run: no run today — but I ran 2 miles and hiked another 3 yesterday!

On the Desk: Merrin Born rewrites; ‘Zoo conference paper rewrites

On the DVR: Game of Thrones, Grey’s Anatomy, Glee, Dr. Who, Supernatural

On the Nightstand: Hilary Mantel, Bring Up The Bodies, Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird, Douglas Niles, Darkwalker on Moonshae

Good news, gang: The term is over. I have officially completed the first year of doctoral work! (pause for cheers, applause, appropriate sacrificial offerings to various deities, and popping of corks, caps, & etc. by means of celebration.) It was a long, arduous, grueling, fabulous and incredible year, about which I will write a bit more in depth at another time, once I’ve had the chance to sit back, chew and digest what I learned a bit more.

In the meanwhile now that I’ve completed the required coursework and paper writing, I can turn my attention to other endeavors. I have a conference paper to present this coming Thursday, and then two chapters to finish; one essay to revise for publication, and two short Female Biography Project entries to annotate. But, I also have a little project I’ve been working on for over a year now that I have, I am happy to report, COMPLETED, and that is now in rewrites over the summer.

Yep… Merrin Born is done. Well, you know, “done” as in, “I have a full shitty first draft.” And now, I will spend the next several months rewriting and rearranging my manuscript into what is hopefully publishable prose. The good news, of course, is I have a full first draft, and you can do a lot with that. Much more than you can do with, say, the first fifty pages of a thing that you thought might someday become a novel but which has actually turned out to be just some vaguely interesting ramblings with no real plot or purpose. So we are in business, my friends!

And I owe you big time for putting up with my going AWOL for the past several weeks while I busily drafted, rewrote, and revised my final course papers. So, I have decided that for today’s Six-Sentence Sunday, I’m going to introduce you to some of my wonderful secondary characters. These six sentences take place at the beginning of the final third of the novel, and are the first time we come into contact with the Valkyries of Valhalla. As always, I welcome your comments, criticisms, and suggestions. Enjoy!

The Valkyries were restless. They sensed the disturbances in the winds and knew the gods were unsettled by some unseen shift in their world. Not blessed with the gods’ ability to feel the origins of such changes, not permitted to join the gods in Asgard unless accompanied by their Lord Sigurd, all the wild warrior women of Valhalla knew at present was that something was happening. Their uncertainty, coupled with their long furlough from action, had raised tempers, and at the center of the hall in which they lounged and dreamed of glorious battle Guᵭr and Sigrdrífa scuffled, an exchange of words between them having escalated swiftly into violence. As Sigurd entered the room, Sigrdrífa had just drawn her shortsword and positioned herself to strike at the other. He paused in the doorway to admire the curve of her hip as she settled into her left haunch in preparation for lunging forward onto her right foot as she struck.