Kelly McCullough writes fantasy, science fiction, and books for kids of varying ages. 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, School for Sidekicks, Magic, Madness, and Mischief, and Spirits, Spells, and Snark — Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan. His short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. He has Patreon and Ko-fi pages for those who are interested in supporting his work more directly. 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. Kelly on Twitter, Facebook, G+, ello

Monday Meows

September 17, 2019 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Pets and other friends

Iz tired, dis totally comfortable, I swearz!

Yeah, not only do I not believe you, neither do you. Dis comfortable.

No, dis!


Aches and Pains and Privilege

September 12, 2019 in About Kelly, Musings

I have a great orthopedist who has done wonders for me over the years including three knee surgeries, diagnosing my labrum tear and brachial tendonitis, and various other odds and ends.

I have incurred quite a few injuries over the years because I’m very physically active, both in terms of doing things like major house projects and on the exercise side with running, weightlifting, biking, punching bag work, and a dozen or so other fitness regime elements. I’ve torn cartilage, pulled muscles, broken bones, etc. The current crop includes a couple of lightly fractured knuckles, fading brachial tendonitis from last summer, tennis elbow, and a spot of carpal tunnel, all of which requires a daily PT regime. It sounds worse than it is, and now that I’m done with the heavy house reconstruction stuff until next spring, most of it should clear up in a few weeks.

My injuries had me ruminating on privilege today while I was cleaning up from the demolition work I just finished in the storeroom. I was feeling a bit on the stiff and sore side as I was hauling bags of broken plaster up the stairs. You see, when I say that I have a great orthopedist, it elides a couple of things. One, obviously, is the privilege of good insurance.

Another, much subtler, issue is that I have an orthopedist who is great for me but who might not work as well for everyone. I think the fact that he’s an excellent surgeon and diagnostician will work pretty well for all of his patients. His manner, maybe not as much. He’s brusque and smart and he doesn’t pull punches about what he thinks you need to do, or risks and potential for recovery. That works well for me, but I’m a middle-aged, cis, white guy who has always been taken seriously by my medical professionals.

I know that I will be listened to and respected simply because of who I am and how I project myself. I know that the reason he is being brusque with me is because he’s brusque, not because he’s reacting negatively to some part of my identity. I know it’s not personal. Not all of his patients have that privilege. I also have the benefit of arriving at his office for an appointment without having to first plow through a bunch of institutional and societal barriers that might cause me to be worn down beyond the injuries that brought me there. I arrive without the baggage that might make it harder for me to handle someone telling me what I need to do in a not particularly gentle way. I have a great deal more patience for this particular bit of mild friction in the machinery of my life simply because I have so much less friction everywhere else.

It’s a thing I always remember when I recommend my orthopedist. I tell people he’s a really good doctor, and a good surgeon, and I recommend him very highly, but I always note that his bedside manner is definitely not for everyone. I also try to remember that part of why he works so well for me is because the cultural baggage that I bring with me everywhere I go is a lot lighter than that carried by so many of those around me.

Monday Meows, But on a Tuesday, Oooh!

September 10, 2019 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Pets and other friends

Look what gramma got us!



Guys, I’m a little bit uncertain about change, Ima be over here.

Arrrrr! I is Boudicca the bold brave queen of the climby thing!

For now, dear, for now.

Me and my conflict averse butt will be over here.

You’re not my real monkey aaaand you didn’t bring me a climby thing.


*Diphthong O’Malley courtesy of Kim and Jonny

Monday Meows

September 3, 2019 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Pets and other friends

Did somebody mail order a box of condensed evil?

That would be me.

By the floofing of my tail something wicked this way mail.

How about a box of goofball?

I can work with that too.


Monday Meowby Dick

August 27, 2019 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Pets and other friends

Call me Fishmeal!

Oh, ghods and monsters, he’s off again.

Serval ears ago – never mind how long prehensily

To be fair, he’s always off.

Says the cat carrying on a romance with a garden sculpture…

Having little or no money to parse, and noting particular interest in shore

Okay, you might have a point there.

Shuts I’z recitins!

Sadly, yes.

I thinked I’d sails about a little to see the whatevery parts of the world.

It’s like a train wreck, but without the cute bits.

Tis a way I haz of driving off the spleen—bad spleen, go wayz—

Also it regulates the circumcision.

I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

Whatvers. I finds self growing grime about the mouth in a…

damp, drizzly November of the soul

Okay, that’s it. You’re done. Everyone can go home now. Bye.

The Bully in my Brain

August 22, 2019 in About Kelly, Speaking Up

I have a bully who lives inside my head. He sits in the back of my brain and criticizes me.

He calls me names. Lazy. Fat. Talentless. Has-been. Sponge. Wannabe. Timid. Hack.

The bully comes and goes like most bullies, striking when he sees I’m weak or tired or when I’ve just had a setback.

The bully is incredibly clever. He knows just which words will hurt or scare me and when to use them.

My bully’s name is anxiety, or sometimes dysmorphia, or OCD. My bully lives in my head, but he is not me.

My bully is nothing more than a bit of errant biochemistry that got boosted along the way by various events in my life.

I can’t not hear him, but I don’t have to listen. I don’t have to treat what the bully says as if I were saying it.

My bully is no more me than my tendinitis or my allergies. He is something I have, not something I am.

When I remember that, when I separate the bully in my head from the me in my head it makes him weak and me strong.

I have a bully in my head. I can’t get him out and I can’t punch him in the nose, but I can deny him the power to call himself “me” and every time I do it is a victory.

Monday Meows

August 20, 2019 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Pets and other friends

Nothing. No reason. Why do people keep asking about “evil” plans?

Surely, you can’t be serious.*

She’s a tortie, we are always serious, and don’t call us Shirley.*

Really. That’s the line you’re going with?**

Define “evil”, because I’m a little hazy on the whole good/evil thing.

Imagine every atom in your body exploding outward at the speed of light.

No, silly, that’s good/bad.*

I’m bad, I’m bad come on. You know I’m bad!

And, with that communique from Planet Jeeves, we conclude our broadcast.


*Extra (super-adoptable) kitties via Tabby’s Catfe

**Except for this dude. Bob Meowerly got his forever home already.

Monday Mes (1 time only, not a typo)

August 13, 2019 in About Kelly, Kelly Vs. Morning, Surreal

So, yesterday was my birthday, which means I didn’t do anything that looked like work, including Monday Meows (hangs head in shame). I did however dig out and photograph all my old IDs from 7th grade on and post those on Facebook. Because, why not? Here they are again in space I control better, now with added captions. Hopefully you will find them moderately entertaining and not complain too bitterly about missing out on my infinitely more adorable cats for a week.

OMFSM, I was sooo leeeetle.

It’s possible I’ve never been good at mornings…

Holy puberty, Batman. (I grew 9 inches in 3 month over the summer)

Look, ma, I’m a belated hippie.

Screw that peace and love stuff, the time for revolution is now!

Paging Mr Rasputin…

My hair, it’s making a break for it!

Maybe if I lean a little to my right I can get out of this picture…

I think I will call my new look “pirate punk” (I’m wearing a sash)

Why yes, I did just drive 14 hours overnight to get here, why do you ask?

Screw it, I’m tired of my hair trying to live on its own.

Hey, I think I’m just going to quit aging now.

Yeah, that’s it, I’m done, aging is boring.

Why do people keep asking me about a picture in the attic?

That portrait is _really_ is starting to look a little tattered.*

Last three photos are taken in 2003, 2011, and 2019


Monday Meows

August 6, 2019 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Pets and other friends

Dis cat bed is kind of pointy and uncomfortable. I’z confuzzed.

I can’t believe he’s my brother.



Me and the evils I hang with are judging you.

Always remember dance like wherever you goes there you iz!

Adopted. I swear.

Monday Meows Tuesday Tuna Edition

July 31, 2019 in Cat Things, Friday Cat Blogging, Pets and other friends

Our love is a sacred thing.

Pretty sure that’s a rock.

Nope. This is a rock. A big ‘un too.

I don’t thin there were any cats in that picture at all.

I’m calling a meeting of the Committee for Feline Domination.

Sorry, napping. Can’t come.

I smell betrayal.

Nope. Naps take precedence. It’s in the charter, dude.