Monday, February 28, 2011

Medical Mondays: Anniversary Effect

Today I've got a two-pronged post. First, the business side.

Many of you either know from experience or have heard of the Anniversary Effect.

On the anniversary of something traumatic, people may have upsetting dreams, or behaviors such as sleep disturbances, agitation, anxiety, sadness, jumpiness, or fear.

Classic Anniversary Effect triggers include the death of a loved one (their birthday, day of death, or holidays usually celebrated with them), 9/11, hurricane Katrina, or other traumatic events.

The effect can even be triggered by memories brought on by scents, sounds, and seasons.

Sometimes the sufferer is aware that their symptoms are because of the impending anniversary; sometimes not. In the latter case, the symptoms can be baffling to the sufferer and those around them. Only when they are reminded about the special association does it become easier to deal with.

Has anyone used or seen the anniversary effect in novels?

Okay, on to a happier anniversary item. Today marks the anniversary that I started my blog.

I can't believe it's been one year! I remember when I started. I didn't know what I was doing, and after my first post, I posted again that I was quitting. I'm glad I didn't!

My personal Anniversary Effect includes:

  • disbelief that I could actually blog for a year
  • sheer happiness with the supportive bloggers I've met
  • nervousness that I won't be able to blog about a single, interesting thing next year
  • stress over balancing blogging with writing and life in general
  • enjoyment in making my silly drawings and reading some really entertaining blog posts and comments by my followers
In any case, I've a big, hearty hug and thank you to everyone who welcomed me with open arms and incredible support.

You guys make it all worthwhile!

Also, don't forget to check out Mental Health Mondays at Laura's Blog and Sarah Fine's The Strangest Situation!

Friday, February 25, 2011

N00b? PWN3d? Forget English, try 1337.

I'm not having a complex migraine, seizure, or a stroke. Nope.

I keep seeing this cryptic speak insinuating itself into our language and did a little investigating.
Have you heard of Leet? (1337 or l33t, in leet-speak)

Leet, which originally derived from "elite" is an alternative alphabet for the English language that came about from 1980's computer hacking and online gaming.

One of the hallmarks of leet is the substitution of letters or numbers for similar looking ones in the standard alphabet.
Misspellings are commonly part of leet as well (the=teh)

Some of the more commonly known leet words that have come into everyday usage include:
w00t ("we owned the other team", one among many possible origins)
("newbie", not in a good way.) Addendum: see Erinn's comment below.
(or "owned", as in, getting defeated badly in an argument or game)

Can you imagine writing a novel in leet?
No? Me neither. But the language is pretty fascinating. I could imagine how it could find its way into a cyberpunk novel. It probably has, and one of you is going to tell me about it.

This might come in handy, if you feel the need to email someone and make them think they're having a neurological accident:

Leet online translator
Wikipedia on Leet
Urban Dictionary (warning--some bad language on this site)

H4V3 4 9r347 W33K3nD!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Emotional Recycling

Most of the time when I write my scenes, I tend to put myself in that character's shoes and feel what they feel. But once in a while, I will suck a bit of emotional memory out of my own life and put them on the pages.

Honestly though? I don't do that very often.

How about you? Has the worst day of your life or your happiest moment been somehow captured on your pages of writing? Or will you keep those to yourself?

Also, don't forget to check out Deb Salisbury's Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog post on how she handles giving out critiques. If you missed them, check out Laura's post, mine, and Sarah's!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Medical Mondays: A Shocking Thing Happened...

Happy Monday to all. This week's Medical Monday question comes from J.C. Martin. She asks:

"In one of my WIPs, a guy gets electrocuted in the bathtub. What would the body look like? Would there be blisters? Would the hair be frizzy if his head is out of the water? Would there be a smell of burnt flesh in the air? And if the man was wearing some metal jewelery that was also unsubmerged, would it burn a mark on his skin?"

Okay, well forensics is not my area of expertise, so I had to do a bit of research for this answer. I'll also qualify this answer with the fact that though I got an A in physics, I hated it. So I forgot it as quickly as possible. Hence, my physics is pretty rusty right now.

So in a bathtub-electrocution scenario, an electrical appliance falling into a tub will cause an electrical current that will want to get grounded to the earth. The current will go through the water (pure water itself isn't a great conductor, but becomes good when mixed with minerals from Poor Victim's salty skin, or if the water is heavily mineralized to begin with).

Poor Victim isn't a great conductor either, but in water, his skin's conductivity increases. So the current goes through the water, through Poor Victim, and boom. He's electrocuted. Now, it's not a huge shock, but he probably can't get out of the tub. And if the electrical appliance doesn't shut off, the current continues.

How will Poor Victim die? The current, if running through his chest (say, submerged below the waterline) may cause his heart to fibrillate and eventually stop. That's death possibility #1.

He also might be stunned enough that he won't be able to get out of the tub, slip under, and drown. That's death possibility #2.

What would the coroner find? Possibly the following:
  • blistering on the body
  • no obvious entrance and exit electrical wound (often called joule marks), as the whole body was conducting electricity. Unless--Poor Victim had touched a metal faucet and the exit occurred that way.
  • No hair frizziness. That's more often seen in hi voltage accidents.
  • No jewelry burns, same as the hair stuff.
  • A pale colored line, possibly with blisters, around the body at the water level ("border-zone-phenomenon")
  • No burned flesh smell)
  • +/- Evidence of drowning (water in the lung)
  • blood pooling on the lower parts of the body
Here are a few references to my research. Again, if you've done research on this and have info to add (or corrections) please, have at it!
And I used Wikipedia to brush up on my amps, currents, volts, resistances, electric shocks...

Have a shocking Monday.
Er. On second thought, don't!

Please keep in mind this post is for writing purposes only and is not to be construed as medical advice, or homicidal advice, yeesh.

If you've got a fictional medical question, let me know! Post below or email me at
All I ask is that you become a follower and post a link on your blog when I post your answer.
Also, don't forget to check out Mental Health Mondays at Laura's Blog and Sarah Fine's The Strangest Situation!

Friday, February 18, 2011

What Don't You Blog About?

Funny, I've brought this up in bits and pieces. Lots of blogging habits of mine and my blogging friends came out when I posted about Advice For New Bloggers.

After blogging for nearly a year, I've amassed a list of things I don't blog about.

1. Details about my day job (including patients,obviously!)
2. Stuff about my family (ages, names, school, hubbie's work)
3. Plot details of my current WIP (no excerpts, either)
4. Book reviews (I don't have the heart to blog the truth if I don't like certain things. But I'll spill my guts if you email me)
5. Blog tours (most likely thing to change in the future)
6. Politics
7. Religion and Spirituality
8. My BMI
9. My Social Security Number
10. A satisfactory description of the Annoying Orange (see previous post).

You get the picture.

I'm pretty comfortable with this list right now, but who knows. Things could change.

So, what's on your list of things you don't blog about?

P.S. To the Crusaders and all other new followers...Welcome! If I haven't followed your blog yet, please leave your blog address in the comments. Many of the Blogger icons on the Follower Widget o'er yonder to the right don't display blog addresses.

P.S. Numero Dos: This has been a crazy week at home (nothing horrible, just life. Forget wanting 25 hours--this week I needed 30 hours a day). What with the Crusade and the Bernard Pivot Blogfest, I'm head-under-heels behind on visiting blogs, especially the ones belonging to those who've dropped by this week. Forgive me!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bernard Pivot Blogfest!

So the fabulous Nicole Ducleroir is having this fun blogfest today. I'm looking forward to reading everyone's answers!

What is your favorite word?
Swimmingly. Yes, it's an adverb. Calm down, writers!

What is your least favorite word?
Ornery. Half the time, I hear it pronounced "ohn-ery" and that kind of bugs me. Where did the "r" go?

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Beauty in the natural world.

What turns you off?
When people make assumptions about my religion or ethnicity. I've been asked hundreds of times in my life if I'm Chinese. I'm not. I'm ethnically Korean, born and raised in the U.S.

Oh, and bullying. Bullying makes my blood boil.

What is your favorite curse word?
"F***ity F*** F***." I don't say it often. It is a sign of dire catastrophe in my life.

What sound or noise do you love?
My daughter makes this noise that sounds halfway between a Porsche engine and a cooing dove. I can't replicate it and it makes me grin like an idiot when I hear it.

What sound or noise do you hate?
The Annoying Orange. It's banned in my house because when I hear it, I come close to having a stroke and becoming violent. Plus, it actively stupidifies my children.

Please do yourself a favor and DO NOT YOUTUBE THE ANNOYING ORANGE. This whole blogfest was worth doing just so I do the good deed of warning the masses.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Does writing count? Okay. A painter.

What profession would you not like to do?
Anything that involves working on Black Friday.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"It's okay that you didn't take the left turn at Albuquerque."
(Sorry. I felt oddly compelled to throw in some Looney Tunes philosophy.)

Have a great Wednesday, everyone, and please take a moment to visit Sarah Fine's Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog post on how she handles giving out critiques!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Medical Mondays: Cupid's Pharmacy

Ah, Valentine's Day.

All the world's rosebushes have buzz cuts and the sound of cha-chings grow ever louder at Pfizer headquarters (a.k.a. Viagraville).

In honor of this day filled with the purest love and lustier musings, I bring you a sneak peak into Cupid's Pharmacy: A Smattering of Historical Aphrodisiacs.

Forget the obvious raw oysters and such. Let's bring on the asparagus and the bugs.

1. Asparagus. Yes, it makes your urine stink. That's a chemical lesson unto itself, but did you know it was considered a go-to dish for French bridegrooms in the 19th century?

2. Spanish Fly. This little bug is really a bug. A beetle, actually. The crushed powder is iridescent like the insect and contains a toxic chemical called cantharidin. When eaten, it causes irritation of the urethra (that's the tube that connect your bladder to the outside world). It can also called priapism (That's an erection that won't go away after 4 hours. Despite what you're thinking, it's painful and NOT a good thing).

3. Conch pistol. In the Caribbean, you can get a freshly made, raw conch ceviche. In the process of hacking the poor invertebrate to bits, the server may offer you this gelatinous, spaghetti-like part of the conch called the pistol. Bahamians swear it's an aphrodisiac. To me, it looks like a Jell-O nightmare.

4. Saffron. It's to dye for, it's expensive, it comes from a crocus, and paella is nothing without it. But, it also contains a chemical, crocin, which has been shown in preliminary studies to work as an aphrodisiac in rats. Pfizer owns all the crocus fields in Kashmir right now.
No. I'm just kidding.

5. Lettuce and Arugula. And you thought salads were just good for your waistline! Well, this isn't really backed by science. It's all hearsay, but hey, maybe it'll get more people eating salads.

Okay. There's a million more aphrodisiacs but Cupid is shutting his pharmacy doors because right now, you just can't afford the copay.

But...he'll be happy to give you a shot, instead.


Please keep in mind this post is for writing purposes only and is not to be construed as medical advice (see sidebar disclaimer).

If you've got a fictional medical question, let me know! Post below or email me at
All I ask is that you become a follower and post a link on your blog when I post your answer.
Also, don't forget to check out Mental Health Mondays at Laura's Blog and Sarah Fine's The Strangest Situation!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Research Potluck

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Hey guys. I was visiting DL Hammon's blog the other day when he was talking about being half-cocked in the writing process...go check it out if you didn't get a chance to read.
Anyway, he explained the term half-cocked as a reference to guns from way back when (not putting a man's you-know-what on the chopping block.)

I knew the term and others from my research on flint-lock rifles for my last novel.

The term "flash in the pan" comes from when the gunpowder sat on a little pan that, if improperly loaded, would ignite but without firing the bullet.

I know about flint, and the gunpowder and barrels and how to make bullets and patches and the percussion cap system that replaced the flint lock and how to shoot them in the rain and...

You get the picture.

So, in your writing research, have you learned something that other people would never guess you knew?

Please share!

Also, this year I'm participating in Rach's Second Writers' Platform Building Crusade. So if you're looking for a new way to meet blogging friends, join in!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My Species of Critter

This week I'm to tackle the Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog question from Laura, who asked:

"How do you approach critiquing someone’s manuscript? And once it’s out there, do you ever regret sending off a critique...?"

Laura probably hit most of the important points I consider (click here to read her post), but I confess, I'm far less organized!

I wanted to mention two things I've learned about giving critiques:

1) Find out what the writer is expecting. Line edits? Overall flow? Pacing? Everything? Just praise and nothing but?
When expectations and critique content don't match up, it can be hairy.

2) I am painfully strict about logic. Did you ever see the Youtube video of how the Lord of the Rings should have ended? With Frodo having the Eagles very politely fly him over Mount Doom so he can drop in the Ring of Power, easy-as-pie?

Yeah. So, if you have a loose ends in your story, I will find them like a screwy-logic seeking missile. I am also good at spazzing out over deus ex machinas. They drive me a little batty, too.

As for Laura's last question, do I ever regret sending off my crits?


Every single one. I second guess every opinion I give out. My biggest fear it that it will make someone stop writing. I hate hurting people, and all crits are painful. But if that's what the writer asked for, that's what I'll give, and we'll just both have to suffer for the sake of making us both better writers! So yeah, I regret them, but usually not in the long term.

Keep an eye out for next week's post by Sarah Fine then Deb Salibury's post the last week in Feb!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Medical Mondays: Memory Misers

Happy Monday, everyone. Hope no one got injured or psychologically scarred from all the snowfall recently!

Maybe you'll all remember all the days of this week, down to each weather forecast, school closing, and item of clothing you wore. Probably not, unless you have

Hyperthymesia is a very rare condition in which a person has uncanny autobiographical memories. Ask a person with hyperthymesia what they were doing on February 7th, 10 years ago and they'll remember what day of the week it was, how much sugar they put in their coffee, their grocery list, the fact that there was more than average traffic getting to work...

Only about eight known cases exist in the world.
Marilu Henner is one of them (remember her from the show Taxi?) and can recall every day details of her life from age 11 on.

Hyperthymestic people also tend to dwell somewhat obsessively about their past. (Somehow, that doesn't surprise me.)

It put the whole phrase "put your past behind you" into an untouchable realm, doesn't it?

Please keep in mind this post is for writing purposes only and is not to be construed as medical advice (see sidebar disclaimer).

If you've got a fictional medical question, let me know! Post below or email me at
All I ask is that you become a follower and post a link on your blog when I post your answer.
Also, don't forget to check out Mental Health Mondays at Laura's Blog and Sarah Fine's The Strangest Situation!

Friday, February 4, 2011

NoMoJo Society and Contest Winners!

First, a random drawing of four winner for my 600 Followers contest. The winners are:

1. MPax who now has an insufferably cute case of E. Coli
2. Walk2write, who can now share Chicken Pox with her grandson (and not feel guilty about it)
3. Melody, who'd prefer to curl up with a book instead of an infection (hard to argue with that!)
4. Jonene, who earned herself the irritating yet adorable common cold!

I'll be emailing you for addresses soon. :)

Thanks to everyone for being so supportive and joining in the fun.

On to today's post!

Recently I found myself in the valley between finishing the first draft of a novel and digging into revisions.

The runner's high of laying out the story was behind; what remained was the work of fixing all the mistakes I knew I made.

I'd lost my mojo for the time being. Not the Austin Powers type, but that self-confidence in my ability and in my WIP.

Welcome to the NoMoJo club.

Our mascot is the immovable brick.

Our drink of choice is molasses.

Our motto: "Meh."

Have you ever been in this place before?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hooray for Stupid Thieves and an Interview!

First of all, I had the lovely experience of having my credit card info recently stolen.

What fun.

Yes. That is sarcasm, served dry with a splash of bitters.

Anyway, the perp kindly left me an email trail (not smart) of the $3000 of stolen merchandise within minutes of the illegal activity.

And, the thief also ordered the ship-to-store option, which leaves out his/her personal address (smart) but then I would be the one to get notified when the merch arrives at the store (not so smart).

Needless to say, I canceled my card and reversed the charges fairly fast. And I only emitted one very high-pitched yelp in the process! So proud!

Did you see how many
plot-holes were in this plan?

The thief was clearly NOT a writer.

Hooray and cheers to stupid thieves!

Okay, on to better and happier items.

Please take a moment to hop over to Laura's blog for this week's Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog post on how she goes about doing critiques!

Second, if you haven't had a chance, feel free to enter my 600's Followers Contest that ends on Friday.

And last but not least, Abby Minard is posting an Aspiring Author interview with me on her blog today. I get to discuss my writing process, Hobbits, Antarctica, and why sparkly vampires are doomed to defeat in a duel with wizards. Enjoy!