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Carlyn Beccia
Author & illustrator. Editor of The Grim Historian. My latest books — MONSTROUS: THE LORE, GORE, & SCIENCE and THEY LOST THEIR HEADS. Contact:

Quick links to my favorite stories

Welcome to my bright corner of the internet. That’s me to the left, hoping the camera doesn’t steal my soul. (Spinning fast helps.)

This TOC will help you find the topics that interest you. These are not necessarily my most popular stories. But they are the ones that I put out into the world, hoping to make it better. You may find my topic headings strange. But I believe we read to feel — to learn, enlighten, escape, cry, laugh, and for one brief moment, step inside a world so different from our own.

Here are my doorways. Choose wisely…

Why the woman who can provide for herself is a scary creature

It was my fourth date with Robert,* and I was finally comfortable with him picking me up at my house. He arrived, and I headed out to his car. As I sat down, he turned to me and said, “That’s a big house for one adult.”

I never know how to respond to these statements, but I usually deflect with humor.

“Yes, I better get procreating and fill those rooms with babies.”

I never heard from him after that date.

I have grown accustomed to this pattern. The first few dates go smoothly. We laugh, flirt, spark each other’s intellect…

And is it art or science?

The “Venerina” or “Little Venus” anatomical model by Clemente Susini, 1782 Wellcome Images, CC by 4.0

There’s nothing more seductive than a reclining Venus. From Henri Matisse’s brightly colored Reclining Odalisque to Titian’s enigmatic Venus of Urbino, a woman needs only lie on her back with a come hither look to invite the gaze of the viewer.

But there’s another reclining Venus with a darker past — the “Anatomical Venuses” (also called ‘dissected graces’ or ‘slashed beauties.’) Her bow-like mouth drops in a quiet surrender to death. Or is it ecstasy? We will never know. Her stilled eyes stare past us with blackened pupils. She does not invite us to look.

And still, we cannot look…

And the one you should listen to

Photo by Roberto Nickson from Pexels

“I am worried Tom* is losing interest. He seems distant lately.”

Without missing a beat, my friend Margaret* responded, “If it feels like he is losing interest…he is. You need to dump him and move on. You deserve better.”

I got off the phone, ready to rally my bruised self-esteem. God damn it, I did deserve better. I will just toss this one away and get swiping again…

But once my ego stopped manipulating my thoughts, I remembered that this is “my echo friend.”

Margaret never asked any questions before offering advice. She never asked — what makes you think…

Find the sweet spot between hubris and pride

Photo by Gabby K from Pexels

“Rejection is just someone’s opinion.”

That was the advice a friend gave me recently after a manuscript I submitted to my agent was rejected. She meant to comfort me, but her advice felt hollow.

This was the “opinion” of someone with far more expertise than I have. It felt egocentric to dismiss it. (Btw, my opinion was that my manuscript was positively brilliant. Hers was that it was completely unmarketable.)

But did my agent’s opinion carry less weight than mine?

Whether it is our love life or work, it’s a question we must answer every time we face rejection —…

Artwork: ©Carlyn Beccia |

And the one lesson we can learn from them

Three American presidents have been accused of rape (Grover Cleveland, Bill Clinton, and Donald Trump). One traumatized his staff by repeatedly whipping out his genitals (Lyndon B. Johnson.) And one insisted on having sex with several mistresses on his wife’s bed (John F. Kennedy).

We would be naive to think these sexual dalliances were driven by libido. They were driven by power. And that power was absolute for one reason — there was no one to hold them accountable for their actions.

Secrets only psychologists know…

Photo by Ayaka Kato from Pexels

I have never been a fan of getting creative on a first date. Personally, I think you should keep it simple — a quick drink or dinner. Because let’s face it…nothing is more torturous than being trapped in an escape room with someone you knew you didn’t like in the first thirty seconds.

But as a third, fourth, or hundredth date…go jump out of a plane together. And if you need some (safer) date night ideas, research has found the following activities increase your sex appeal.

1. Roller skating, horseback riding, or skiing

All of these activities have one thing in common — the potential to fall…

Science, history, and my disastrous butt enhancement experiment have some answers…

Diego Velázquez: The Rokeby Venus, 1647–51 | Public Domain

You might have noticed that women’s butts are having a moment lately. From the queen of the derriere, Kim Kardashian, to Instagram celebrities’ “belfies” (butt selfies), everyone has gone gaga for the gluteus maximus.

And the trend is BIG. Bodacious backsides are the latest beauty ideal. Butt augmentation — taking fat from one part of the body and adding it to the backside — is one of the fastest-growing cosmetic surgeries. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeon's annual report, from 2019–2020, buttock lifts rose by 228%.

The obsession for big bottom girls is nothing new. Most of history…

The advice sounds good, but…

Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash

I have a confession. I am a quote whore. And my addiction is hurting my personal relationships.

It started with a slim yellow journal in my twenties, where I scribbled my favorite musings. And then technology allowed it to grow. And grow…

Now I have a searchable database of witticisms for every occasion.

If a friend needs existentialist advice, I will regurgitate the Dalai Lama. (If my advice later proves wrong…I can blame it on the Tibetian translation.)

Love troubles? I will solve it with a pithy Proust missive. …

From flammable couches to exploding TVs, many did not know their homes were deadly

Photo by Julien Tondu on Unsplash

We tend to take for granted that our homes are our haven. But what if everyday items in your homes could suddenly kill you? Or even worse, what if items in your home were slowly poisoning you and you didn’t even know it. The following are some of the common household items that were once very dangerous.

Couch of burning love

When polyurethane-filled couches first hit the market in the 1950s, the public loved them. Unlike horsehair-filled couches, polyurethane was more comfortable, lighter, and cheaper.

They were also highly flammable.

But it’s the way polyurethane burns that would excite any pyromaniac. The material liquefies…

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