First, this isn't a new chapter. Yes, I hate when that happens too—you get all excited to see an update only to find an author's note instead. Boo. Hiss. Maybe another boo reminiscent of the one Buttercup receives in the Princess Bride. I'll gladly take it.

Thank you to everyone for the reviews and the PMs expressing your concern. As you can tell, I'm not dead. I've been in a much worse hell: academia. This last year has been torturous with long nights, conference presentations, and madness that I've just managed to keep at bay. Up until January 21st, I wasn't sure if I would be defending/graduating this semester or not. But in less than two months (with tons of prodding and encouragement from my department) I managed to finish my dissertation, revise all of my chapters, and schedule my defense.

And the inquisition, I mean, defense is this Thursday, April 3rd at 3:30 CST. So, as you can imagine, I'm nervous and excited and terrified and vindicated and numb and all other manner of adjectives that I can't summon because my brain is utterly depleted. Pray for me, dear readers.

But I wanted to let you know that I'm still here, that I'm still writing, and that I'm still listening. I check fanfic every day (part of my morning routine), so I've been reading all of your comments and leaving some of my own on other people's stories.* I promise to get back to all of my stories once I finally achieve this lifelong goal.

Yet one final point before I return to the land of books. As I move ever closer to the terrible and amazing day that is Thursday, I want to thank you, dear reader. I started writing fanfiction around the same time that I started my dissertation. That's not coincidental, I assure you. In writing fanfiction, not only did I gain an outlet for the "Mergana feels" that consumed me, but also I started to understand my own voice. And that's because of you. For every review, for every comment, for every follow or favorite, I started to trust that whatever I was saying about these characters mattered. That my interpretations, my understanding of this canon (and other literary canons) was valuable. Potent stuff, especially for someone in an industry where you have to constantly prove your brilliance. You, with your comments and words, you gave me the confidence to write, to become a better writer. While I may not use the same language to examine the texts in my dissertation (I did take out a nice footnote on how men crying was similar to the process of ejaculating. Meow), writing on this website helped me to practice my skills—which, at times, I began to doubt—in a safe and encouraging environment. So thank you. I can only hope to repay you in the future with more chapters.

As always, thank you for reading. I'm still here-and soon, I'll be writing again for you.

*By the way, if you haven't seen Arrow, then you are missing out on some major sexual tension. Felicity Smoak is my spirit animal, and the eyesex between her and Oliver Queen has almost threatened to unseat Mergana in the category of "how are they not rolling around on the nearest table? My loins are on fire, and he's not even looking at me?". Almost. Oh, and Stephen Amell might be the sexiest man I've ever seen. Watch it. Now.