Weirdness, deep, deep, weirdness…

So, I’m a writer. Or maybe, hello, my name is Kelly and…I write novels. Rest of group answers back “Hello, Kelly.”

No, that’s the wrong script. Anyway, I do write novels and like the rest of the folks here at SF Novelists I even sell them. This tends to lead to things like, well, books. In my case mass market paperbacks–at least to date.

One of the central points of this exercise is to have people read the books. Another is to get paid to play make believe, but that’s a post for another time. This one is about people reading my stuff. Way back when I started down this road one of my important goals was to find publishers who would buy my stuff and put it out into the world where it would be read. That’s happening now, and I even get the occasional piece of fan mail–yay! I’m delighted to have people read my books

All right, so that’s part one of this post. Part two is that my wife is an F&SF fan and avid reader. She’s also a physics professor which saves me loads of research time, but again that’s beside the point. She reads all my stuff, generally several times: Ongoing draft, Beta, and galleys. She loves my work and once again I’m delighted.

This brings us to last night. She’s just been elected chair of her department and is a little bit stressed about her current workload–it should drop off over time, but that’s for later. In the meantime, she’s feeling swamped, and as so many readers do, she turns to books for escape. Last night was no exception. She said something to the effect of “I need a good book that I’ve read before, comfort reading.” Then she headed for the shelves. This usually means she’s grabbing something by Robin McKinley, and sure enough she was looking at the Mcs. You see where this is heading, don’t you?

Well, you’re right, she picked up one of my books. I didn’t notice at the time since my brain had already said, “ah, McKinley” I hadn’t actually paid attention. So, we’re in bed, she reading her book, me mine. After half an hour or so she asks me a question in re: what she’s reading. I look over and see…my…book. Brain freeze, complete brain freeze. It’s the most surreal thing ever.

My wife is reading my book as bedtime reading.

Does not compute.


Bzzzz, resetting life expectations, bzzzz. Please call back later.

I’m still processing this one.

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There are 5 comments. Get the RSS feed for comments on this entry.

  1. 1. Diana Pharaoh Francis

    Heh. Teach you to put them on the shelf where just anybody can find them. And you just nailed my greatest fear. No, not the spousal reading, the becoming chair of the department. I believe in a year or two they will ask me to do that. NO NO NO NO NO!

  2. 2. Kelly McCullough

    Diana, you have my condolences on the chair thing. Laura’s been dreading it for a couple of years too. It’s been pretty clear that it would fall on her once she got tenure. We call it being the chair apparent. When the time comes, if you want to chat with someone who’s been there, let me know and I’ll hook you up with Laura.

  3. 3. Diana Pharaoh Francis

    I’ve got tenure. This year I’m up for full prof. I get a sabbatical this spring, which is the only thing that’s been saving me. But here, there’s no release time, no extra pay. So it’s merely an added (huge as you know) burden. Gah! It gives me nightmares.

  4. 4. Sam Taylor

    Wow. That thing about your wife using your book as bedtime reading… That’s pretty mind blowing. :)

  5. 5. Sarah Prineas


    My husband is a physics professor, and he crits all my stuff, and his crits are brutal. Because he loves me, or so he says.

    He’s just been made the chair of the executive committee, and I fear a departmental chair may be in his future, though he dreads it.


Author Information

Kelly McCullough

Kelly McCullough is a fantasy and science fiction author. He lives in Wisconsin with his physics professor wife and a small herd of cats. His novels include the WebMage and Fallen Blade series—Penguin/ACE. His short fiction has appeared in numerous venues including Writers of the Future and Weird Tales. He also dabbles in science fiction as science education with The Chronicles of the Wandering Star—part of an NSF-funded science curriculum—and the science comic Hanny & the Mystery of the Voorwerp, which he co-authored and co-edited—funding provided by NASA and the Hubble Space Telescope. Visit site.



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