Protect yourself with better passwords

I have more digital passwords than keys, and without a handy key ring and visual clues like a Hello Kitty key cap, I’m having a hard time keeping them straight. Add to that the cautions of most info security professionals to avoid using the same passwords across multiple sites and systems, and creating passwords with […]

Groundwork for a salmon revival

I thought human teen-dom was tough. My own experience of navigating mean girls, not having two Polo shirts to wear at the same time (80s kids called that doubling-up) and picking the wrong boy to kiss after school pale in comparison to the rites of passage nature inflicts on its non-human inhabitants. Take salmon, for […]

Robber’s Cave Social Experiments

Summer camp is not just a rite of passage, but also a fine social experiment in making friends, overcoming homesickness and trying new things. A week at summer camp in Robber’s Cave State Park in Oklahoma’s Sans Bois Mountains when I was 12 brought me a fascination with Belle Starr the Bandit Queen, a fear of archery and a […]

Secrets of the Kitchen Cabinet

The roaches have discovered my secret. They’ve invaded my unit’s kitchen cabinets and made little roach tracks through the dusty wasteland of cut crystal vases, a KitchenAid stand-up mixer, bread plates, a stainless steel seltzer bottle and a carved wood ice bucket. The roaches have found the wasteland of my wedding registry gifts. And for […]

The Oklahoma Girl Scout Murders

The summer of my eighth birthday was overshadowed by a grisly crime made all the more harrowing because of its child victims. On a humid and rainy Sunday in June 1977, the idyllic memories of summer camp I had shared with my friends shattered into shards of horror when three Girl Scouts, two from Tulsa […]

From outcast to Africa’s “golden voice”

People said he was cursed. Schoolchildren avoided him. His father sent him to live on the streets when he was a teenager. Mali musician Salif Keita could be a bitter, angry man, but instead, he writes beautiful songs about life, love and fighting prejudice. His most recent is the plaintive “Folon.” The word folon means […]

Inspiration Behind My First Novel Bloodlines

The bones of the Bloodlines story rattled around in my head for nearly a decade. The main character, Zane Clearwater, was an intruder into my original story. He had a minor role as a love interest to another character. But as I wrote and rewrote the story and worked out the plot, Zane kept reasserting himself, […]

Fiction in a minute: Superstition

My wristwatch was stuck at half past two, even though the morning sun indicated otherwise. Most people would get a battery, reset the time and move on with their day. But I had old superstitions rattling around in my head, a legacy of my Nana’s myriad household warnings and omens–like if your right palm itched […]

Fiction: Opportunity Knocks, Part 3

Robin slid limply down the side of the turbine until she could feel the cold tile floor through the seat of her pants. His fall played on repeat in her head. He was just a man, blood and flesh and bones like all of us, the power he held completely vanished — dispensed into the […]

Fiction: Opportunity Knocks, Part 2

You can read Part 1 here. The bus carrying the VIP entourage of commissioners was king of the parking lot, tall enough to let its passengers look down their noses at lowly cars and trucks driving alongside. It pulled up outside the power plant with a low rumble followed by a squeal of brakes. The […]