About Penny

Paleontology, Photography, and Pets

I do a lot of things. The running joke in our household is that “I need another hobby”

Professionally, I am a vertebrate paleontologist/isotope geochemist/geologist. Most of my research revolves around studying the chemistry of fossils of mammal teeth to learn about the environments in which the animals lived and what they might have been eating while there. My work has taken me to some interesting parts of the world, like the high Arctic, and the Altiplano of Bolivia. I love that I get paid to do what a lot of people would pay to do!

I recently started a business called PaleoPix, which is all about nature and pet photography. It’s keeping me busy, but it’s a ton of fun.

When I’m not working, I come up with other things to do. One of my favorite things to do, of late, is write fiction. That’s why I’m here. What I write tends to have very little to do with the science that I practice. I occasionally write science fiction, but my latest tome is historical speculative fiction (if there is such a genre), where the action is taking place in something like 14th century Europe. Now that I’m 100k words into the first novel, I’m finally accepting that I do have a passion for writing. That’s why I’m here.

I have a deep and abiding interest in medieval warfare and culture. I have been studying the Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) for about 5 years, learning to use the 14th and 15th century longsword, as well as period dagger and grappling techniques. I participate in SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) activities, which includes but is not limited to martial activities (like swordplay) and costuming. I attempt to make costumes that represent the mid-15th century of Europe, which is about the time that many of the important treatises on the German school of longsword were published.

To round out my life, I have a son who has an autism spectrum disorder (he’s a handful!). We live in a rural home outside of the metropolitan area of Rochester with our thirteen cats, two dogs, and ten bunnies and hope someday that we can figure out how to live sustainably off our two-acre plot.

I need another hobby.

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