Merwolf and The Pup Pack

  • Why haven't the Pups driven you mad yet? Or have they?

I have a really high chaos tolerance. It comes from working in the IS business. I'm also just naturally really laid back. (G)

  • Any thoughts about the evolution of the Pup community?

It's cute. I think it's fun to watch... I'm glad you guys are having such a good time.

  • How has contact with other bards and pups influenced your stories?

Only in that tiny bits get tossed in for fun, like having Lunacy nutbread, and the Amazons eating nutballs.. that kind of thing. Otherwise, the stories are pretty much self driving -

  • What is the most amusing response you have received about your stories?

One person told me they were absolutely against two women being in love, and they had read my stories several times just to make sure. All of them.

Merwolf, the X:WP Fan

  • Given an opportunity, which Xena series episode would you like to change and how?

I wouldn't - because that's their vision - and they're entitled to it. Oh.. wait, yes - I'd like to eliminate the first ten minutes of Bitter Suite. But I think that goes for a lot of people.

  • Ummm, as I recall, you did change this scene in Darkness Falls. And I believe it is the only thing you have actively varied from the series. I have to admit that I now view the series though the Merwolfverse version lens. Are you planning on writing us a more satisfying explanation to Gabrielle's rescue from the fall in Sacrifice?

I might.. it depends. I haven't come up with a really good explanation save one, and I might use that.

  • In what direction(s) would you like to see the fourth season go?

I'd love for X and G to fight like heck and finally realize they answers they've been looking for have been right next to them all the time. I don't think it'll happen, though. (G)

  • Do you have favorite subtext moments from the series?

My favorite subtext moment? Hmm. The dream sequence in The Quest, I guess.. but there have been a lot of them.

Merwolf, the Author

  • Was Warrior By Any Other Name the first thing you wrote? Or have you been writing stories and poems over time? Have you had Creative Writing classes (perhaps a double major like Kerry)? or are you self taught? (like our favorite bard from Poteidaia).

I did some short stories for Anne McCaffrey's Pern universe - five, six page things. Other than that, the Xena stuff is all I've written. I haven't had any classes or just sort of comes out.

  • Do your characters clamor constantly for your attention?

Sometimes.. yes. Usually when I've got nothing else to do, like when I'm driving, or waiting around in airports. (or on airplanes)

  • In general, which scenes do you most enjoy writing?

The emotional ones - between the main characters. Also.. the funny ones.

  • Does your Mom like your stories--is that why they are rated pg-13?

She's aware that I write Xena stories - but she doesn't read much (she has vision problems) so she's not really aware of what they're about.

  • What do you see as Xena's/Gabrielle's defining moment in your stories?

I don't think there's one - I keep redefining them.

  • With all these deep, fascinating characters you write, have you ever had an epiphany (I'm trying really hard not to say "Ephiny" here) in your life that parallels the stories?

Other than noticing that people do tend to be multifaceted, and interesting - no.. it's all fiction. (G)

  • What interests you most about writing Dar and Kerry?

They live in my world - and it's a great deal of fun being able to write about our time period, and the things that we all go through on a day to day basis.

  • Has the EDS world been introduced to Tropical Storm? What has been their response?

(laugh) no.. EDS is not aware of Tropical Storm - at least not officially.

  • Have you considered publishing your stories in hardcover?

Being as they are copyrighted characters, no. I did drop a note over to Naiad Press, and asked if they entertain unsolicited manuscripts, and they told me they had enough authors, thanks.. and patted me on the head. So.. (G)

Merwolf, Member of the Secret altBard Society

The following agenda items were obtained from the Secret Bard Society's November meeting in a clandestine operation:

  • Naming of body parts, where is the line between romantic vs. uggy sex scenes?


  • Though we know you cannot divulge any SBS secrets (or MaryD might get your head), but could you comment on this subject?

Whenever I name body parts, it starts sounding clinical to me.. and I hate that. (G) I just try not to get specific.. and I try to describe feeling, sensation, smells, and sounds more than the actual act.


  • Creative Uses of Crashing Your Website and raising money for the holiday season.

  • Could you describe the mountain of snail mail you received in this Merwolfverse response to the crash and tell us some of the funniest things you got? Graphs are not necessary.

It was very nice.. I was surprised and amazed with the generosity of the pups and others... of course, everyone knew I was down before I did.. I came home to three hundred and sixteen messages telling me the site was locked out. It took me about an hour just to answer them with a brief "i'm checking on it.." mail. Then I contacted MaryD and arranged to get my files over to her to host until I got things fixed.


  • Reducing your email with the use of website message boards, pros and cons.


  • It sounded like a good idea at least. Could you elaborate?

Actually, I think the best thing that happened was that all the folks that are enjoying the stories got to say hi to each other, and form a little community. That was very way cool. That it crashed the site.. (laughing)


  • Fan vs. Fanatic, nutball vs nutcase, merpup vs rabid fan. Where is the line?


  • You seem remarkably calm in the face of fairly obsessed interest in you as well as in your stories. Have you given thought to areas that make you uncomfortable? or thought to protecting the private vs. the public person? (there is speculation that house shopping started in response to the drive-bys).

I really don't have any trouble with any of it - the fact that folks knew who I was did startle me at first, and it took a while to get used to that.. because you don't know what to say to people when they meet you and start gushing, but I usually just kind of start asking them questions like are they having fun, and it works out.

I don't maintain an online 'persona' (some bards do, some don't), so there really isn't a public/private split - what you see is basically what you get. I'm really straightforward, and not very complicated, so... I do this because it's fun, and interacting with other Xenites is a blast.

  • What exactly is secret bard society policy on restraining orders on fans? Have they had a summit about the development of suspense in altfiction and how to leave them hanging?

BL Miller and I trade hints and tips sometimes. (g) Seriously.. I just have to find a logical ending place to finish typing for the night - sometimes it's a resolution, sometimes it's a cliffhanger - it's not on purpose.

  • What do you trade for MaryD's beheadings?

(G) I'll never tell.

Merwolf, herself

  1. Can you give an instance of a story particle colliding with your real life?

In Tropical Storm, when I described those airline printers going down - that actually happened the night I wrote it in.

  1. Any personal flashbacks to doing technical theatre in college that you'd like to share?

Other than being hit by lightning on the roof of the Ring Theatre? Not really. (G) It's a lot of fun, and a lot of hard work, like anything else. Color gelatins smell very weird when they burn, and chemical fog is bad for your throat. Asbestos in the cabling makes you itch.

  1. Did I read that right? You were hit by lightening? Do you remember anything about it? Did it leave you with any super powers?

I've been hit twice, actually.. the first time when I was out in marching band practice in high school, and the Ring was the second. I remember the Ring one - it's like getting hit on the head really hard with a two by four. It knocked me off the roof, but I didnt' black out. The first time I did. The only lasting effect is an unsual tendency to pick up a lot of of static electricity. Inconvienient in the winter, trust me.

  1. How did you enter the world of EDS? What drew you to an IS career?

I've always been mechanically inclined - I saw an ad for a technical temp agency (Alternative Resources) and decided to see if I could do the geek thing for real money - my first placement was at EDS, and 90 days later they asked me to become permanent. That's really all there was to that. I'd been doing software support for a couple of years previous to that, but EDS was my first introduction to networking, telecom, that kind of thing.

  1. In most of the non-deadly confrontations, you are able to solve conflicts very non-traditionally; Rena offers a "tickle challenge" and Elana gets taken down by a food fight! These are wonderful because they come out of left field, when most people would get caught up in a direct confrontation. Are you able to do this in your life as well as your writing? And if so, are there any such incidents you could share?

Direct confrontation generally gets you no where in the support business. We have to find ways to get often angry, usually clueless people to cooperate with us, and a sense of humor and laid back attitude really helps. I find humor is much more useful in dealing with tense situations than anger is - you really do get more with honey than with vinegar.

  1. Outside of writing, and a minimal amount of sleep, what other hobbies do you/would you like to pursue?

I stick to one hobby at a time. (G) Other than computers, that is.

  1. How did you get interested in the Creative Anachronism Society? Was it just out of a need to cook for large groups?

Nope.. a friend got me and my ex involved.. and it sort of snowballed from there. I didn't start out to be a feastcrat, but I helped out the local group's feastcrat at an event, then when the group was doing another event, that feastcrat asked me if I wanted to do the cooking. Like an oblivous idiot, I said sure.. figuring it was one of the little, local events we have near home. Then, about a month and a half later, my ex calls me at work and asks me if I realize I volunteered to feastcrat the Kingdom's second largest event of the year? Whoops. It turned out okay, though.. and I had a great time. I've done ten or so events since then.

  1. Are you tapping into a renewing fountain of mushy moments in your creation of the Merwolfverse? Or as Gabrielle would say, "What is your source?"

Those parts write themselves - don't ask me where all that mush comes from. (G)

  1. Did you have a "Flameball" when you were growing up? Can you describe him/her?

(laugh) No. I had a Bozo the clown doll, though, which talked.

  1. Siblings.... are there any Lila's or Toris's in your life?

Nope.. just me.

  1. If you were a Disney ride, which would you be?

(g) I dont' think I could pick one - at Epcot, my favorite place is the communicore, the Land, Living Seas, and any place you can learn new things at.

  1. Under what circumstances have your oxytocin levels been raised?

(laugh) when I was in a relationship, and when I got my new puppy.

  1. Which is your soap of choice: xenamon or strawkerry?

I like them both. (G) I have one of each.. and I trade off. But I do like the cinnamon a little better.

  1. Would you personally be more attracted to Dar or to Kerry, or a combo? (no, I don't mean a 3-way).

Hmm.. that's a hard question. Kerry, I think.

  1. Would your friends describe you as being more similiar to Dar or to Kerry?

Neither.. or, a mixture, actually. I have Dar's sense of humor, but I generally am not confrontational like she is, and I prefer to cooperate like Kerry does, but I'm not as smart. (g)

  1. You have a great depth of understanding in your writing of the defining moments of your characters. What was a defining moment for you personally?

What was a defining moment for me... well, walking across the courtyard at Fisher Island at 2am, and almost tripping over a peacock when I realized I was in love for the first time. That would have to be one.. and then.. it's kind of melodramatic, but I used to run a Pizza Hut, and one morning we got robbed. A guy came in the back door and held a 357 magnum on us, and I found out right then that I was able to function under dire circumstances without panicking. That's a very comforting feeling. (G)

  1. Ah, so Fisher Island has fond memories for you, not just a place you used to work. So, will you tell us which scene in your stories comes closest to describing what happened before the near-peacock-colliding moment that led to your awakening?

Dar's being told by her doctor what her problem is. (G) Her reaction in the car was pretty much what mine was, though I didnt' have any bad experiences in my past to cloud the issue.

  1. Of course we want a full description of the now famous Pizza Hut Robbery. Were you killed? And then what happened?

Well, fortunately, I had most of the store's cash in my back pocket, since I had been about to head out to the bank, and lied when the robber asked me if I'd already been there. I directed my folks to lie down, gave him the sixty bucks in change that was in the safe, walked the employees back to the fridge and closed the door until we heard the outside door close, then came out and called the cops. My most important task was to keep the robber calm - he was young, and my staff was also very young, and I didn't want anybody getting either nervous or heroic.

  1. We have come to expect hay lofts, beaches full of ducks, and even an apple tree. You have lately shown an affinity for couches. Are there personal experiences that have inspired this preoccupation?

Nope... in Kerry's case, it was less threatening for her, because she was a little nervous, and going in the bedroom would have stressed her a little. She was more comfortable where she was, and so that's how I wrote it.

  1. Now a very important question. Food figures prominently in your stories, and in TS, particularly, you have started a chocolate milk craze that has swept the globe (we won't even mention everyone's cravings for strawberries and melted chocolate). So, do you prefer milk chocolate over dark? We had figured Dar for dark chocolate, and thought you might be trying to lighten her up.

I'm a dark chocolate kind of person. In fact, I got a large canister of Godiva dark chocolate cocoa mix just the other day, and have been enjoying it during this cold snap we've been having.

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