Monday, July 30, 2012

Autumn Withdrawal

I shouldn't complain about summer.

There are no icy driveways, no snow escaping my scarf to give me a frosty wet Willy.

But I confess:

I miss fall and winter so badly!

I know there are those of you who adore summer. But right now, I'm sorely tempted to put on my favorite knee-high boots, my skinny jeans, my soft, long sleeve sweater, an extra-long scarf and gloves, go to the large, refrigerated produce section of Costco and just hang out.

For those of you impatiently awaiting fall, I made this for you.

It's a pumpkin spiced bundt I made last week, only 18 weeks too early for Thanksgiving! WOOT! (Does anyone else hear the voice of Maria Portokalos going "A bun? Bunk? BUNNNNNNNDT!" 

No? Well, then listen to this then.

Those in favor of autumn, say "I! I'm freaking melting!"

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mojo Barista

Ah, mojo. That fleeing bit of energy that propels words effortlessly onto the page.

I've discussed how to handle the absence of it.

I've also made a club so the mojo-less could commiserate.

We've also heard the less sympathetic, the ones who say, "Fer crying out loud, shut your whining and JUST WRITE."

So for those with crazy glue in their imaginariums, I offer a nice, tall, drink free of charge, from the Mojo Barista. Take your pick.

Caramelotta Tension, Tall, with Whip (and chains)
-for those scenes that fall flat because nothing bad is happening, and you're being too nice to your main character.

Fat-free, caffeine-free, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free cup of nothing
-for those that need to whittle down the adverbs, the modifiers, the useless sentences that repeat what you already wrote, like those useless sentences that repeat what you already wrote

Full-fat moccacchino with optional pound of melted chocolate
-for the "sexy-times" scene you're afraid to write
Hot tea with a twist of lemon, lime, orange, and a side of pretzels
-for those way too linear story lines

Burger n' shake blended 4000 calorie meal-in-a-cup
-for those that keep escaping the writing chair to get a bite to eat. Contains all the food groups writers need (calories, caffeine, chocolate, salt, and a shot of vodka).

Spoiler Jave-Frappe-Mega (extra shot of curdled milk)

-for the ending to your novel that you wish you knew, but can't think of yet. Spoileriffic!

Well, there you go. If you ever need some mojo, feel free to tweet me @lydiaykang and I'll send you a hot cuppa something that might make you vomit, but WILL make you write.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Medical Mondays: Bloodletting--Humour me!

What is bloodletting? 

We've seen it in movies, and read about it in books. A poor, sick person has their arm cut and the blood gathered in a bowl (remember that scene from Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility? Poor Marianne!) This is supposed to cure them of their ailments. Meanwhile, the reader or movie watcher is batting their head, going, "Are you crazy? Trying to kill them faster, or what?"

Bloodletting has been around since ancient times. The Egyptians, Mayans, Mesopotamians all used it to treat illnesses. One ancient Greek physician, Erasistratus, believed that illness occurred because of "plethoras" or overabundances in the body, that could be relieved by bloodletting, diuretics (medicines that make you urinate like crazy), or vomiting.

Apparently, some thought that women had the concept down without trying. It was believed that menstruation was the model way to remove bad humors from the blood. 

Speaking of bad humors, we turn to this guy, Aelius Galen (129 AD- 199 AD).

Photo credit

He was a Roman philosopher, physician, and surgeon who first coined the terms "humors" to describe the human temperaments and their representative elements in the universe:

blood (sanguine) = air = social, extroverted
black bile (melancholic) = earth = kind, creative
yellow bile (choleric) = fire = lots of passion and energy
phlegm (phlegmatic) = water = dependable and affectionate

(It's funny that blood is the "air" humor. Galen finally figured out that blood, not air, flowed through people's arteries and veins.)

He also promoted the idea of bloodletting to maintain the proper balance of humors.  Depending on the ailment, blood would be removed from the left or right side of the body, at a particular time, in a particular quantity, from particular vessels that corresponded to certain organs.

What a fussy doctor, that Galen.

Bloodletting was used to treat every disease under the sun, and persisted into the early 1900s, even being recommended by Sir William Osler. (You know this guy. He helped found Johns Hopkins Hospital and helped define what became 3 hellish years of not sleeping or eating, aka medical residency. Oh, he also said that people are pretty useless over age 40 and recommended "chloroform at age sixty" but we'll skip over that for now. #OslerFail)


Two last fun tidbits about bloodletting before we stop.

You know the barbershop pole above? Though bloodletting was often prescribed by physicians, it was the barbers who did the deed. The red stripe represented blood; the pole was the stick that patients gripped during bloodletting to make the veins stick out, and the white was the cloth tourniquet used.

And finally, will all this laughing over how archaic bloodletting seems, maybe you'll be surprised to hear that bloodletting is still used today for very specific diseases.

Hemochromotosis is a condition where people have iron overload in their body. As red blood cells are a principal carrier of iron, regularly scheduled phlebotomy (the modern word for bloodletting or removing blood from the veins, for lab tests for example) can cause a relative iron deficiency, which treats the disorder.

Polycythemia vera is a condition where people make too many red blood cells. It is treated with regular phlebotomy as well, along with other available treatments.

Bloody cool.

If you've got a fictional medical question, let me know! Post below or email me at
   Also, remember to check out the disclaimer bar on the right!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Revving up to Write

I don't know about you, but I'm not the most efficient writer.

Call it clearing my literary throat, but I can't seem to get into the groove of writing unless several things are off my plate.  This is what a normal writing session is like for me.

1. Sit down. Open up internet. Check email, Twitter, blog, forums, Facebook, my favorite Facebook game.
2. Get annoyed with myself for being unproductive. Send off two more emails.
3. Log in remotely to work and do some doctorly stuff.
4. Pretend to crack knuckles. (I can't, that hurts me.) Open up Word or Scrivener.
5. Realize I need caffeine. Make coffee or tea.
6. Drink said coffee or tea.
7. Realize I'm hungry. Get food. Consume food.
8. Check Twitter, email, blog, forums, Facebook.
9. Visit several blogs. Laugh out loud. Draw untoward attention to myself, if I'm in public. Slouch in chair.
10. Look at manuscript again. Narrow eyes like a hawk.
11. Realize my fingers are sticky. Go wash them.
12. Check Twitter.
13. Tell myself to stop being so flutter-brained and get to work.
14. Write a few words. Realize bladder is full. Go take care of that.
15. Write some more. Try not to look at Facebook. Close forum windows.
16. Realize that my teeth are furry from the coffee.
17. Go brush teeth.
18. Floss.
19. Write some more.
20. Realize it's lunchtime. Pack up and growl at myself for being so unproductive.

And so on, and so on. I need a personal assistant to shut all that other stuff OFF.

So what about you? How do you revv up to write? Or get anything done, for that matter?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Some Super-Upbeat Graveyard Poetry

Well, I did it!

I survived this past Friday the 13th in the company of hundreds of dead Bohemians and wrote some poetry.

Stop by the Friday the Thirteeners to see what phantasmagoric wordsmithing may or may not have occurred!

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Little Lenny Lee Support & Congrats to Leigh Talbert Moore!

Hi guys!

Just a quick post to tell you that Lenny Lee, the super-sweet, super-awesome kiddo who blogs about writing (and doesn't ever complain about his own serious medical issues) is being hosted by Natalie Aguirre over at Literary Rambles.

Please show Lenny your support and get some insider YA opinions from a real young adult! I promise it'll be worth your time.

AND and huge congratulations to Leigh Talbert Moore for this little juicy tidbit in PM:

Leigh Moore's ROUGE, in which a New Orleans chanteuse must decide between saving herself (and her young charge) from the brothels by marrying her well-heeled suitor, or following her heart and marrying a poor stagehand, to Abby Zidle at Pocket Star, by Kate McKean at the Howard Morhaim Literary Agency.

Go Leigh! So happy for you!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

My Querying Journey

I'm blogging over at the Lucky 13s Blog about my querying journey. And it's super detailed. There are numbers and percentages involved and timelines. If you were ever curious about how I got my agent, then stop by and take a peek.

I'm disabling comments so there's no need to be polite and comment twice. Thank you all in advance!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Of Graveyards, Truths and Dares

So one of the Friday the Thirteeners (some awesome authors debuting in 2013), April Tucholke, asked me over to their blog to do a truth or dare. The post isn't due today; in fact, I have until next week.

The problem is, well, I picked a dare.

*why oh why didn't I pick the TRUTH??*

And the dare is to hang out in a cemetery at dusk and write a poem.

There are two major problems with this, as I see it.

1. I don't want to get arrested.
2. I don't want to get arrested.

Okay, maybe three.

3. I don't want the undead pissed off at me for sitting on their bones.

I mean, I Googled all these cemeteries in my town. And lo and behold, cemeteries are NOT like Ruby Tuesdays, because cemeteries close well before sunset. The websites also don't instruct you on what to do if a bony hand pushes its way out of the loamy soil, seeking flesh, its bony maw thirsting for blood and revenge and...

Oh. Did I also tell you I'm a total wimp when it comes to horror?

Anyway. Just wanted to let you know that this week probably, I may get eaten by midwest zombies on my journey to fulfill one, itty bitty truth or dare.

Any advice for me as I tackle a sea of undead, six-feet under? Do you think a police officer will buy my lame-o explanation that this is for writing research?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Huge Lucky 13s Giveaway!

Before I get started, I just want to warmly thank everyone who stopped by to read my post on being bullied. I am completely overwhelmed by the support from friends, bloggers, and family. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Okay, now on to some fun stuff. :)

The group of 2013 debut authors that I'm honored to be a part of, the LUCKY 13s, is having a fantastic contest.

Many of my fellow authors are 6 months away from their debut! So to celebrate, there is going to be a 20 book--yes, you read that right--TWENTY book giveaway on the Luckys blog.

We've all chosen books that influenced us in one way or another.

My giveaway choice could have been one of a dozens, but I chose A NORTHERN LIGHT by Jennifer Donnelly. It is one of my all-time favorite YA books. Yes, it would go with me to a desert island (ideally, a dessert island, but I digress.) Heck, I love this book so much I've already given it away on my blog before!

Here's the blurb:

Sixteen-year-old Mattie Gokey has big dreams but little hope of seeing them come true. Desperate for money, she takes a job at the Glenmore, where hotel guest Grace Brown entrusts her with the task of burning a secret bundle of letters. But when Grace's drowned body is fished from the lake, Mattie discovers that the letters could reveal the grim truth behind a murder. 

It's based on a true event that occurred in the early 1900's but Mattie's story goes so far beyond this one event. Donnelly expertly weaves fact, fiction, history, and the complexities of family and relationships to make you completely forget that you're living in the 21st century. You end up so invested in Mattie's life, her choices and her world.

In a word, it's brilliant.

This was a book that made me aspire to be a better writer. To make a character and plot so engrossing that it was un-put-downable. To make every sentence count and try to craft some beauty out of a handful of words. 

So if you want to win this and a whole lot of other books, stop by the Lucky 13s blog to enter, and read about the other books that are being offered.

The contest ends July7th and winners will be announced July 8th.

So. Is there a particular book in your life that has changed you, or your writing?