Thursday, December 26, 2013

It's finally heeereeee! CONTROL Debuts Today!

In 2009, I started writing novels.

In 2010, I started writing CONTROL.

In 2011, in the span of one month, I signed with an agent, Eric Myers, and sold CONTROL to Penguin.

And now, at the very far end of 2013, my dream of becoming published novelist has finally come true.

For those of you who have already bought the book, I can't tell you how deeply honored I am to have my work in your hands. It is truly a miracle that anyone would buy something I created from the depths of my imagination. 

Just...incredible. It's a really weird thing to be on this side of the journey. A good thing, and a scary thing. I've a lot of emotions bubbling inside my head today, but the biggest one? Feeling so utterly grateful. There are so many people I'm thankful for, who supported me from day one.  My family, and closest friends and colleagues, but...

I also want to thank you, my fellow bloggers, for being such amazing cheerleaders. You've been there since the first day I started blogging and learning how to writing fiction. If this book entertains readers for even for a minute, than I've done a good thing. And you were part of making that good thing happen. 

I also want to take a moment to thank the CCHS community (Congenital Central Hypoventilation Syndrome, called Ondine's Curse in CONTROL) and the many individuals within it who have supported this book. The main character, Zelia, possesses this syndrome. If readers can become more aware of the brave patients and family members that live with CCHS every day, well then, that's another good thing done. Click here to learn more about CCHS, or the tab up on my blog!

Aaaaaand...here it is is. CONTROL, my book baby. Fly. Be free!


After the violent death of her father, 17 year-old Zelia loses her younger sister, Dylia, during an abduction at a foster care agency. It turns out her sister Dylia isn’t just pretty and sweet—she’s illegal. In the year 2150, DNA must be pure by law, and anyone with enhanced genes face death. Zelia’s only allies are the freak-show inhabitants of her new, underground foster home. Along with the unexpected love of a very strange boy, she will need her flaws and their illicit traits to save the only family she has left.

“Control blew me away, from the depth and richness of this fascinating, disturbing vision of the future—and all its technologies—to the twists and turns and suspense that made for a thrilling ride. Zel is as authentic a character as I’ve read in a very long time. Highly recommended.” — James Dashner, NYT Bestselling Author of the Maze Runner Trilogy 
“A sweet, edgy romance rounds out this smart, futuristic medical thriller.” Publishers Weekly
“Control, with its mix of legitimate science and inventive fantasy, is unforgettable for all the right reasons.”—VOYA
“Surprising twists, tender romance, and a fierce, smart protagonist make for a winning formula in Kang’s debut. CONTROL is tautly woven and breathlessly delivered—a thrilling read!”  — Jessica Khoury, author of Origin
“Control successfully integrates science, adventure, and romance into one unforgettable read. [It] will keep you wanting more until the jaw-dropping ending.” —RT Book Reviews, Top Pick
“CONTROL is a masterful debut, filled with everything I love in a novel: mystery, danger, and romance. Kang has crafted a world readers can easily fall into and won’t want to leave, complete with flawed yet lovable characters. I couldn’t put it down!”   — Elana Johnson, author of Possession
“Steamy, romantic . . . scrupulous attention to scientific detail adds authenticity.” —Kirkus 

Available! For real! FINALLY! On Amazon IndieBound Books A Million / 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Scorpion Pose Book Release Yoga

Hi everyone! It's after midnight and here I am, writing blog posts!

So, see that countdown widget over to the left? It's ticking down. I remember when it said 300. That was so long ago! And now, Control is nearly ready to be out in the world in only three more days. It's a pretty nerve-wracking feeling. It's exciting and scary and weird all at the same time. So many emotions I didn't expect!

It's been a crazy week so far. I did a fun radio interview for Mom Talk Radio that will air soon, as well as an interview for the Omaha World Herald that will publish in January. Mochi Mag highlighted my book on their site this week along with Amy Tan (not bad company!) and my interview came out online for Omaha Magazine. I revealed my book trailer! Control hit 10,000 add-ons on Goodreads. I'd never thought I'd see this either--a vlog review of my book. That was pretty cool! Thank you Juhina from Maji Bookshelf for the review!

And on top of all that, I'm knee deep in the middle of revisions for Control's sequel (tentatively titled CODE, though recently it was CATALYST. And that may change again too.) Actually, this is why I'm awake past midnight. No rest for the weary when it comes to a revision deadline. Ack!

This week is going to be about spending time with my family and really enjoying the holidays in the midst of launching my book. I'll be taking a break from revising, too. I plan on a lot of yoga breaks to relax, if necessary! See this pose? It's called the Scorpion pose.

Not sure if people were meant to have their toes massage their own scalps, but I digress.
Source
I will NOT be doing that pose. I mean, please! My spine just doesn't do that.

But I just thought I'd think of that pose, and see if it relaxed me. Yeah. Well, if that doesn't work, I may do a down-dog that turns into a face-planting belly snooze. Now THAT will definitely lower my blood pressure. ;)

What about you? Are you surviving the holiday season? Does staring at that picture make your back ache too?

Monday, December 16, 2013

CONTROL Book Trailer Reveal!

Hi guys!

I'm revealing the book trailer for CONTROL over on the League of Extraordinary Writers today! Stop by and tell me what you think. I also discuss a little bit of the process of making the trailer, too. :)

Happy Monday!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Art Inspiration, Book Exhalation

Hi guys! I'm doing a post over on the League of Extraordinary Writers on "Art Inspiration, Book Exhalation" on an artist that inspired me when I wrote Control.

If you haven't already, check out the great book giveaways going on in the post below! Lots of chances to win Control!

This week, I was over at V.T. Bidania's blog, where she highlights lots of Asian-American authors. It was great to chat with her and she's got lots of great interviews with AA authors on her blog.

And Control is in the December YA Cover Contest over on Goodreads. Every vote counts, so please stop by if you can!

And finally...wow. My book is coming out in 15 days. 15! I can't believe it's so close. I also am swimming in edits for Catalyst (Control #2) so if I don't stop by your blogs this month, please forgive me! I'm drowning in social media and editorial Post-it Notes! (I love my Post-its. I need them like a dry turkey needs gravy.)

Hope you guys have a great weekend. Stay warm!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Giveawayarrhea and Interviews!

Lots of stuff happening this month! Okay, this week, even. And lots of stuff being given away. Giveawayarrhea is a way better problem to have then the gastrointestinal kind. :P

If you missed it, I was over at Literary Rambles for an interview and ARC giveaway.

I've loved Literary Rambles since I started blogging! Natalie Aguirre and Casey McCormick do a fantastic job highlighting agents for interested writers, write helpful posts on writing and publishing, and host regular interviews with authors. There's always a great giveaway going on! It's definitely a content-rich blog you should follow.

Ellen Oh and I are the subject of an article written by Maurene Goo over at Hyphen, a magazine geared towards Asian-Americans.

I met Maurene in Las Vegas and she is wonderful!
Here we are at the Vegas Valley Book Festival, in front of the YA tent where we had our panels! I look awful in this photo but Maurene is so cute it had to be posted!
Maurene wrote this incredibly intelligent and humorous contemporary YA novel about a Korean-American teen, Since You Asked. 
Ellen Oh is the author of Prophecy, a fantasy novel set in Korea and her sequel, Warrior, is out at the end of December too!


Finally, there are two more giveaways of CONTROL going on! Over at the Class of 2k13, I'm giving away swag packs and a finished copy of CONTROL.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And over at the League of Extraordinary Writers, there's an end-of-the-year giveaway going on too!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

GIVEAWAYARRHEA! The best disease to have, ever! I hope it goes viral and catches in the holiday season!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Medical Mondays: Scent of a Poison


This is not about Dior's perfume.

Did you know that certain poisons have particular scents? Next time you need to write a poisoning scene, keep these in mind!

Fruity: Acetone (not in the concentrations you find in nail polish remover) has a slightly fruity odor.
What poisons ingested by a person would cause this smell: isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol), ethanol (drinking alcohol), salicylates, and chloroform.
When you might have smelled it: Diabetics who have very high blood glucose levels produce a lot of acetone in their system and may smell like this. People on ketogenic diets (like the Atkins diet) may produce this scent. Also, it's a characteristic odor carried by someone who's intoxicated from alcohol.

Bitter Almonds: Cyanide. This is a classic description of the smell of cyanide gas and is a trope in murder scenes. Keep in mind that some cyanide gases are odorless. And about a third of the population is incapable of smelling it anyway. It's a genetic thing. And finally, before you write this into your story, remember that in order to sniff this scent on someone who was poisoned, there's have to be a LOT of cyanide in the air, which would be unlikely in surreptitious poisonings, FYI.
Oh geez. Does that mean my almonds are poisoned? No! Almonds consumed today are the "sweet" variety, which have no cyanide. The "bitter" variety does in fact contain about 4-9 mg of cyanide per nut, but they are not used as food.

Garlic: arsenic, organophosphates (used as insecticides, herbicides, and weapons of mass destruction), thallium (used to be used in stress tests), selenium, and phosphorus, and zinc phosphide (which is used as a rodenticide. Apparently it attracts rodents but turns off birds, dogs, cats, etc.)

Mothballs: paradichlorobenzene, naphthalene, camphor. All three are used in making mothballs. I made paradichlorobenzene in organic chemistry lab. Fun times! Camphor is what gives that cooling sensation in Vicks VapoRub and cooling gels. It's poisonous in large doses.

Kerosene: organophosphates, parathion (insecticides and acaricides--that's something that kills spiders and mites). Does anyone younger than age 25 even know what kerosene smells like? We used to have a kerosene heater at my house when I was a kid. It scared me witless.

Freshly Mown Hay: Ah, lovely scent. Too bad it's a sign of phosgene poisoning (a chemical weapon used in World War I)

Rotten Eggs: Hydrogen sulfide. Poisonous, corrosive, flammable and explosive. Basically, it's HELL. Also implicated as a cause of the Permian-Triassic extinction about 250 million years ago. Eep.

Wintergreen, or minty: Methyl Salicylate. I did a Medical Mondays on this one: (Wintergreen Party Tricks, Poison, and Ben Gay!)

Shoe Polish: Nitrobenzene. A compound that smells sort of nice and almost almond-y, used to mask bad odors in shoe polish, solvents, and floor polish. Highly toxic to the nervous system, absorbed through the skin, and a potent carcinogen.

Peanuts: Vacor, a rodenticide. Also goes by pyrinuron, and is no longer used in the US. Interestingly, it can kill insulin producing cells in the pancreas and cause Type I Diabetes.

Pear: Chloral hydrate, once used as a sedative gas. Some say it smells fruity, other describe it as "pungent."Still used a common chemical lab reagent.

Carrot or Parsnip: Water hemlock. The root and the oily liquid from it has this characteristic smell, which is no surprise since it's related to carrots. It's highly poisonous.

Disinfectant: Phenols and cresols. These compounds are found in a lot of places, like antiseptic throat sprays, Scotch Whisky, Sharpie markers, and Lysol spray. Here's a fun article, if you've time for it: "Why Does Scotch smell like Bandaids?" Phenols are corrosive and can cause burns and dermatitis.

Well, this post makes me want to sneeze. Here are some references, if you'd like to read on:
http://lifeinthefastlane.com/toxicology-conundrum-027/
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BitterAlmonds
http://www.fpnotebook.com/er/toxin/TxnIndcdOdrs.htm

Oh, and a huge shout-out to my old friend Dr. Wasserman, who pointed out on FB that the esteemed head Dr. Lewis Goldfrank--as in the renowned Goldfrank's Toxicologic Emergencies) made a "Sniffing Bar" to help ER residents associate scents with certain toxic chemicals. Here is the PDF of the published study. So cool! (And, no, they didn't actually sniff real toxins, only smell-alike, safe substances.)

Have a great Monday and Happy December! Don't let this post turn you off from ordering that almond-milk mochachino!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

WOW Wednesday and Happy Thanksgiving!

A few years ago I blogged about a certain wishbone breaking in a funny way:


Well, it's come back to haunt the WOW Wednesday guest post that I've done over at Adventures in YA Publishing. If you're a writer, I hope the advice hits home!

And now, I need to make stuffing. And cookies. And a dozen individual apple pies. And mashed potatoes that are probably more cheese and butter than potatoes. Good thing the eating will be easier than the cooking!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, everyone!
Thank you so much for helping me through this year as my book release nears. Everyone has been so sweet and so supportive. I don't know how I'd go through this craziness without all of you!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Guest Post at the Bookshelf Sophisticate!

I'm a day late for this, but better late than never. :) I did a guest post over at the Bookshelf Sophisticate.

Find out how a fortune cookie actually said something of value for once! 

So next week is Thanksgiving. Woot! I'm thinking of making these for dessert:


Individual apple pies in jam jars. Mmm. Can't wait. Wish I could give one to each of you!

Have a great Thanksgiving Week and stay warm, well fed, and safe!

Monday, November 18, 2013

They Should call it "RUN", not Fall

Because life is getting so busy! The holidays are coming, I'm not ready, ideas of gifts and holiday cards and leaves smothering my yard are making my head spin.

Then there's this book coming out and getting ready for it, which is occupying a lot of my time. I think I might have done less in preparing for the arrival of my first child. He never needed promo!

Anyway, here it is. My editor sent it to me all shiny and wrapped with a ribbon.


And meanwhile, Fall is really upon us.



And I'm running, running, running to catch up to my endless list of things to do, all the while trying to stop and just enjoy the blue and gold.

How is your fall going so far? Are you feeling the stress of the pre-holiday crazies yet?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Flying Syringes

Intriguing title, no?

Come read about Flying Syringes over at the League of Extraordinary Writers today! It really should be a Medical Mondays post. It's a fascinating subject and hopefully inspiring for you sci-fi writers out there.

Oh, and a little good news--CONTROL was chosen as a Top Pick by the Romance Times Book Review! Yay! :)

Hope you guys are enjoying your November so far. It's chilly over here. Stay warm!


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Ode to my favorite Indie Bookstore, the Bookworm!

Cookies at the Bookworm? Yes. And more!
I've gushed about this bookstore before, and I'm happy to do it again. :)


There's also a huge November book giveaway by our class, honoring our favorite Indie bookstores.

On Tuesday, I was interviewed by The Book Wars where we discussed children's literature. 

And remember there are free pages up to read on Wattpad, as well as a pre-order giveaway for CONTROL!


Monday, November 4, 2013

Pre-Order Giveaway for CONTROL

Hi guys! I'm recovering from Las Vegas and the Vegas Valley Book Festival (will tell you all about it soon) but I wanted to let everyone know that I'm holding a pre-order giveaway for CONTROL!


Retailers/sites selling CONTROL:

Bookworm Omaha (signed copies available!)
Book Depository (Free International Shipping)

Please spread the word! There is no limit right now so everyone can get free swag. :)
Thank you to all my friends and fans who have already pre-ordered--this is my thanks to you all!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Eviscerated Fruit, Prom Dresses, and Vegas.

Ah, the eviscerated fruit of our labor. 
In other words, we carved pumpkins.
Here they are. Dazed, Vacuous, and Confused. Our gourdy triplets. 
Every year, I put off this one holiday tradition for as long as I can, sometimes trying to convince my kids that magic markers are really, truly, JUST GREAT for decorating pumpkins.

Well, this year, for a change, we actually did the deed. It was super slimy, I broke all three special carving knives that came in this (what seemed like) nice pumpkin carving kit, and I overdosed on Old Bay-covered roasted pumpkin seeds in my attempt to recover from the situation.

When I tried to help the kids, those knives bent and broke pretty fast. I think the serrated metal blades were made out of some new-age, cheap metal. Like AnnoyMommyum. Or Frustratogen. Either that, or I've been channeling Thor and had NO IDEA.

Well, now it's Halloween and tonight I'm eating candy until my dental fillings scream with indignation. If fillings could scream. Woot! *ow*

On another note, this weekend I am going to Vegas for the first time this weekend for the Vegas Valley Book Festival. I have no idea what to expect regarding Las Vegas. If there aren't ten sweaty Elvis impersonators waiting to welcome me at the airport gate, I will be deeply disappointed.

I'll be on a sci-fi panel on November 2nd called "Resurrecting the Future"with authors Alexandra Bracken, Rachel Cohn, Kimberly Derting, Anna Carey, Jennifer Bosworth, Chris Howard, Karri Thompson, and signing swag later on since I'm still bookless (not for long). That night I'll be attending the prom-themed YA party. Not wearing my prom dress:



Hello, Laura Ashley concoction! I'm not wearing you. I looked like a shapeless twig in you back then, and I've confirmed that I still look like a shapeless twig in you now. Back to the closet you go.


Happy Halloween everyone! 
Eat candy and be happy! 
And don't let the gourds get you down!

p.s. what happens in Vegas will not stay in Vegas. 
I'll be back with pictures! (Just not any with me wearing my old prom dress.)

And last but not least, I've been interviewed over at The Madeleine Project.  The questions were really different from any interview I've done before, so please stop by if you can. :)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Typing at the Speed of Squirrel


I am a fast but sloppy typist. Speed-wise, I'd say I'm faster than a snail, slower than a greyhound. I type at the speed of squirrel.

In middle school, my mom enrolled me and my sister in a summer typing class. I still remember some of the exercises.

adsadsadsads
jigjigjigjigjig

Well, it worked.  By the end of the summer at the tender age of 12, I was typing 54 words per minute. No two-finger keyboard punching for us! (That's also called the "Hunt and Peck" method. AKA the "Eagle Finger" method. *cue Eagle screaming*)

I'm still pretty sloppy though. I make so many typos and I can't seem to reform myself. Like, I can't help but type "ration" instead of "ratio." I constantly type "Tank you" instead of "Thank you."

And I am incredibly blind to my typos when reading my manuscripts. They're hella sloppy, but thank goodness for spellcheck and copyeditors!

I was wondering how fast my typing was, so I randomly googled this test:
http://www.typeonline.co.uk/typingspeed.php

And I clocked in at 83 wpm. Not bad! But nothing compared to the 216 words per minute achieved by Stella Pajunas-Garnand from Chicago in 1946. 

Stella = Greyhound.

Me = Squirrel.

Or these guys. Check out their 2010 Typing Championship final round! (Fast forward to about 2:00 to see the actual competition.)




Are you a "Hunt and Peck" typer? Ten finger whiz? Ever clocked your speed?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

OktoberFret!


Not OktoberFest.

It's OktoberFret!

The month where you realize summer days are really, truly, coldly over and the dead leaves raining down are proof. And suddenly, the things you promised to finish by September 1st are still not done, and the things you thought were forever away are just around the corner (hello, launch day in 62 days and counting!)

*bites fingernails*

So goodbye, weeds in my garden that are taller than my head. I'll let winter take care of you.

Never mind to the pile of books I still haven't read. It'll have to wait until vacation.

Hello book-I-need-to-write, which I wanted to start writing a month ago. Sorry I'm late.

Bonjour, author who must promote herself and her book, because it's part of the job these days. I am you and you are me and that's that. Trying to be brave instead of bashful and it's kind of weird!

And welcome to chilly temperatures that I'm not ready for, even though I always say I'm a Fall/Winter girl. After getting a snowstorm this past May, I was never more happy about summer in my whole life. And now it's gone!

Anyway. Enough fretting! I'm chowing down on some candy corn and getting over it! Halloween is on the way, my kid's costumes are all put together, the air smells faintly smoky and delicious, and I have a good pair of boots to wear. So take that, OktoberFret!

What are your favorite things about October? 
Have you been fretting over anything lately?

And before I go, a few thanks!

Thank you all for the tweets about my Buzzfeed post on 18 Weird Things That Authors Do. If you haven't seen it, check it out!

Thank you for reading the excerpts of CONTROL on Wattpad. I've been revealing new pages with every 50 reads. Part 5 goes up today sometime!

And finally, thank you for entering the ARC giveaway of CONTROL on Goodreads. It closes on October 26th, so if you haven't entered to win one of five copies, please do so!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Medical Mondays: Eyeshine and Red-Eye on Photos

Hello all and happy middle-of-October! Can you believe it's gotten this far into fall? I swear a few days ago it was August. What the--?

Anyway.

Today I'm blogging about tapetum lucidum. What is that?

It's this:

Hello cutie lemur! Source: Wikipedia
Tapetum lucidum is the reflective layer behind the retina (the inner surface of the eye, which is the light sensitive tissue that picks up images seen) of an animal eye that reflects light. It's the reason why when you shine light at your dog or cat at night, you see their eyes glow.

The color of the eyeshine you see depends on the angle of the light hitting the animal's eye, and the kind of animal. Each species has its own set of different crystals that make up the tapetum lucidum, and that is why:
  • Some fish have white eyeshine
  • Horses have blue eyeshine
  • Cats, dogs and raccoons have green eyeshine
  • Rodents and birds have red eyeshine
What about humans? Well, humans and most other primates don't have a tapetum lucidum.

What about red-eye in photographs? This occurs when the camera flash is very close to the lens that is taking the photograph. The light hits the choroid (a blood vessel layer behind the retina) and reflect back into the camera, which records the photo. The red color comes from the redness of the blood 
vessels.

Source: Wikipedia
Why do some people always have red-eye in photos? Or the reverse question, why do people like me never get red-eye? People who have lighter skin tone and blue eyes often have less melanin (dark pigment) on the inner surface of their eye (the fundus, which contains the retina, optic disc, fovea and macula) so more light is able to pass through to the choroid. In people like me, the melanin in my fundus (geez, that sound SO PERSONAL) absorbs that light and very little gets reflected back by my choroid. 

How did they do this in Blade Runner?

Rachel and Deckard have a moment. (Source: Warner Bros.)
Man, wasn't that cool??? They showed the eyeshine of an artificial owl too, and the eyeshine of both Rachel (a replicant) and the owl highlighted the fact that they were both artificial. Beautiful and perfect, but fake.

What the director did was shine a light straight at Rachel that was extremely close to the camera lens. If you look carefully, you'll see that Han Solo (whoops, I mean Indiana. *slaps face* I mean Harrison Ford!) has a faint eyeshine, but you don't notice it in the movie because Rachel closer and in focus.

What's the red reflex?
This is a reflex that doctors look for when we sometimes shine light into your eye during an exam. In kids, the reflex is very bright. When a more white reflex is observed instead (called leucocoria), that is usually a sign of pathology, like an eye cancer (retinoblastoma in kids), cataracts in older individuals, or other problems. 

Well! Everything you needed to know about eyeshine! Thanks for stopping by and leave any questions in the comments. :)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Online Resources for Teen Writers

Hey all! Thank you so much for participating in the free Wattpad CONTROL Sneak-Peek this week (I swear I'm not trying to rhyme on purpose!)

Today, I'm blogging over at The League of Extraordinary Writers about resources for teen writers looking for a place to share their stories. :)

And don't forget to please stop by Wattpad to read your free serialized CONTROL Sneak Peek pages!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sneak Peek Pages of CONTROL on Wattpad!



As promised, you can now read the first five pages of CONTROL on Wattpad right here!

With every 50 reads+votes+comments, I'll be uploading more pages. :D

So please stop by and read! (And if you can vote, that would be great!) 
(You do need to have a login and password to vote, BTW.)

*Thank you!!*

Monday, October 14, 2013

Wattpad Promo Week!

Hey guys!

I'm so excited to tell you about an opportunity this week 
to read some serialized excerpts of CONTROL before its December release day!

MONDAY
I'm posting on The Class of 2k13's blog on

WEDNESDAY
I'll be blogging HERE about how to read sneak excerpts of CONTROL 

THURSDAY
Pop on over to The League of Extraordinary Writers  
for a sampling of great online resources for teen writers

Thanks guys! Have a great Monday!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Stationery Love and Accoutrements

Ah, stationery love. 

(Not to be confused with stationary love, where people throw heartfelt missives while their feet are fixed, immobile, in cement)

I've had a thing for cute stationery every since I was a little girl. I loved the idea of letter writing, of receiving something in the mail written for me. I used to have this huge collection, with strawberry scented sets, folding papers that became envelopes, special stickers to affix them closed.

Haven't used these in years, sadly.
Sealing wax with stamps (rose, leafless tree, and maple leaf)
One of my childhood friends and I would sometimes send each other letters complete with genuine wax seals and stamps. That took a little practice! You had to drip just enough of a blob bigger than the stamp diameter, and press just at the right time, or it wouldn't work. And that wax burned waaay hotter than candle wax! The scar on my thumb has since faded. ;)

My first (and really, only) fountain pen, a Waterman from college
I even had a thing for fountain pens, loving that scraping of ink onto paper, picking my different ink colors depending on my mood. I had purple, brown, black, and midnight blue. I bought my first fountain pen with my first college work-study paycheck, freshman year. I was journaling back then like mad. I still have the pen! And I absolutely loved the smell of fresh ink. It almost makes me wish I lived in the 19th century. The act of writing was such a beautiful effort, then.

Mix of Japanese and Korean stationery. Not much left!
So that picture above? This is all that's left of my little collection. I need more, though mostly my kids used it to send notes to their cousins and out-of-state friends. Korean stationery is my favorite. Sometimes the typos and grammar errors on it are ridiculously adorable. Morning Glory is my brand of choice.

How about you? Got a thing for stationery or its accoutrements? Are you picky about your writing instruments?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Medical Mondays: Ow, my eye!

Hi guys!

Leslie Rose emailed this question:


If someone was impaled in the eye by a something about the consistency of a stiff palm frond what kind of damage would there be to:

A) Cause bleeding
B) Impair sight


Great question. I'm not an ophthalmologist, so I'll do my best with this answer. 

Obviously, the idea of a stiff, razor-sharp, pointy palm frond in the eyeball would make anyone shiver (and maybe gag. Just a little.) So get the gagging over with, and let's see what we can do for this poor character!

When the wall of the eyeball is broken through from trauma, it is called an open globe injury. This case would be called more specifically an open globe laceration, and often accompanies an intraocular foreign body (fancy term for some thing from the trauma left over inside the eye). I didn't include a picture, but you could probably imagine the coffee-spewings that might occur if I did. And I don't want to pay for anyone's broken laptop so...if you're brave, Google "open globe laceration." But let the Googler beware.  ;)

So. Would it bleed?
Yes, but the eyeball wouldn't necessarily be dripping blood. The white of the eye (the sclera) would likely be very reddened from irritation and bleeding would occur around the area of the wound beneath the thin membrane (conjunctiva) that covers the sclera (called a subconjuctival hemorrhage.) 

Would it impair sight? Depends. 
Most penetrating globe injuries include trauma to the cornea (the clear covering over the iris, or colored part, of your eye). The vision right after the injury helps predict whether the vision will stay bad. For example, if the vision is still decent and medical help is sought immediately, it's in the character's favor that they'll keep good vision in the eye.

But, if vision is really poor after the injury (can barely read anything on an eye chart, or can barely see a hand waving in front of their face, or differentiate between light and dark), that's a poor prognosis.

Other signs of a bad outcome are:
  • character can't be seen by an ophthalmologist and have surgery (if necessary) within 24 hours.
  • residual palm frond is stuck in the eye, causing infection (endophthalmitis
  • other injuries, like a eyelid laceration, detached retina, broken eye socket bone
  • blunt trauma to the eye
  • if the vitreous got extruded from the eye. (That's the fancy way to say "eyeball jelly spurting out." Sorry, guys.)
There you go Leslie! So basically, her character's vision in that eye would depend on how severe the injury was, and how quickly they could seek modern medical help with an ophthalmologist.

(Just an aside, let me tell you how happy I was when I finally figured out how to spell OPHTHALMOLOGIST correctly in med school. So proud. Look at how many H's there are in that word! And that wonky LM!)

I'm sure your eyes are watering. Keep them away from palm fronds, okay?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Schmirffday-Birthday Musings

Hello all!

I finally lifted my head up today and looked around, wondering...what HAVE I been doing all week? A whole lot of busy nothings and somethings.

October hit and I realized CONTROL's release is less than three months away. Suddenly, it doesn't seem so far off anymore and I've been trying to mobilize myself for what's going to happen after the release. Things like launch party, going to conferences and book festivals, and generally being a non-introvert (EEK).

So here's a random (and not so random) list of things I've been up to.

1. Revising a new book that may or may not ever see the light of day. One of the things I'm proud of is is I get to delve into my own Korean culture to furnish this world, and that's been fun!

2. I got a prose poem published this past summer! I keep forgetting to say anything about it. The poem is called "The Clot" and it's in Great Weather for Media's summer anthology, The Understanding Between Foxes and Light. 


3. I have a team of people helping me with Control's publicity and marketing. (That sentence I just wrote? Weird. Dream come true, but...weird.) I met the Penguin team in August and I'm excited about what they've got planned to help get the word out about Control. (Like the cool Goodreads Giveaway of 5 copies of Control ARCs going on right now--enter here!)  And I'm also working with Dana Kaye Publicity, who's been amazing with helping me set up lots of events after Control comes out. :)

4. The RT convention is not around the corner, but if you want to go, time to register. I went to RT (Romance Times) last year for one day; this year I'm going for almost a week in May and only just found out that I made it onto several panels and events! So if you'd like to be surrounded by books, authors, and New Orleans culture, it's time to sign up!


6. I promised my son I would hand-make a blue octopus costume for Halloween, because we can't find one ready made that isn't a million bucks. So yeah, I just cut the sleeves off of some super cheap blue shirts and have MUCH sewing to do. Soon. And tentacle stuffing. And sucker glueing. Gads, what I gotten myself into?

This will be my son, soon enough. If I can get my act together...

7. Getting over bronchitis. It's so not fun coughing like you're dying of galloping consumption and about to fade away like Ruby Gillis in Anne of the Island. (Oh, I just got my PPD and it's NEGATIVE. Just FYI.)

Ruby, pre-TB. Source
8. Today is my birthday. I've been too busy to notice my schmirffday (which seems like a better word for it, as it sounds like how I feel when I hear the dreaded word). When I decided to write a blog for today, I was like, what? What am I going to blog about? Is it October already? OMG, look at the date; I'm old tomorrow. When did that creep up on me? I'm not going to tell you how old I am, except to say it's older than you think. Let's put it this way--I've been invited to a Prom Party at the Vegas Valley Book Festival in November, and if I go, I'm wearing my junior prom dress, a black polka dotted Laura Ashley dress. I don't even think that's cool enough to call retro, isn't that sad? So that pretty much tell you what you need to know, birth-date wise. :)

What are you guys up to these days? Tell me one thing that's been keeping you occupied lately!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Get Your Debut On!

Hey guys, I'm guest posting over at Nikki Wang's Fiction Freak for her GYDO (Get Your Debut On) series.

Please stop by if you can and learn why I'm such a mean, mean lady. ;)
Oh, and you can also enter to win a necklace swag pack! 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

CONTROL Advanced Copies Up for Grabs!

Hey guys! Penguin is hosting this great giveaway for FIVE arcs of CONTROL on Goodreads until October 26th!!!




Also, stop by the League of Extraordinary Writers where I review NOT A DROP TO DRINK by Mindy McGinnis and see what her book compelled me to to!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Kelly Polark's ROCKABET & My Dream Grunge Band!


Today I'm playing band manager to celebrate the release of Kelly Polark's ABC's of rock 'n' roll picture book, ROCKABET: CLASSIC EDITION. So Kelly asked me to pick any band members from any bands to form the best band ever. And I got SO stressed out over this! What bands? Which era of my life? AAAAAAHHH!

So in the end, I decided to pick the grunge era from my college days as they were pretty formative for me. So here goes!

Band Name: 
Are you kidding me? I have a hard enough time naming my books! Okay, okay. Since it's a mish-mash of musicians all smashed together, I'll call my band:
SMISH

First Gig: The Slowdown
 Omaha, Nebraska
It's a smallish venue but perfect for a up close and personal experience.

Source: Esquire
Lead vocals:  Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins)
Love the quality of his voice. I never, ever get tired of it.

Source: Wikipedia
Lead guitarist: John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers) 
I love the story of how he became guitarist, after the lead guitarist Hillel Slovak died. He was basically a fan that knew the lead guitar parts by heart, and with great skill. 

Source: Wikipedia
Bass guitarist: Kim Deal (Pixies, The Breeders). 
Because she's so, so, so, so cool and talented.
I was a huge fan of the Pixies and the Breeders.
Though they weren't technically grunge, Kim's the first musician that popped into my head
when I started writing this post, so in she goes!
Did I mention how awesome and cool she is? 

Source: Wikipedia
Drums: Dave Grohl (Nirvana)
 I know diddly about drumming, but Nirvana was so historical in the grunge movement. And I remember reading an interview where Kurt Cobain told Courtney Love (who hated Dave and wanted him kicked out of Nirvana) "But Dave is the best drummer in the world."
So as a nod to Kurt, here's Dave. Not playing drums. Erm...

Source: Wikipedia
So. Who would you choose for your supergroup and why?

Here's a band name generator to create your killer band name!


ROCKABET: CLASSIC EDITION can currently be purchased online at Amazon or at select bookstores. Hardcover books will be available at various online retailers and stores in October.

Kelly Polark is also the author of BIG SISTER, BABY BROTHER and the upcoming HOLD THE MUSTARD! from Meegenius. Come visit her on Facebook and Twitter! Check out her website and celebrity book recommendation site, Book Recs of the Rock and Famous.

READING ROCKS!


The beautiful, generous and amazing Kelly Polark!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Alex Cavanaugh's Taking the World by Storm!

Today I'm helping to celebrate Alex Cavanaugh's release of CassaStorm this week! A little while back, he took questions (any questions!) on his blog and I asked him this:

Me: Since you like keeping your privacy, who would you have play Alex in a YouTube interview?

Alex: I’d like Ryan Reynold’s abs to play me. Nothing else – just his abs.

Me: Well okay then. I'd be fine with that. :)

CassaStorm
By Alex J Cavanaugh


From the Amazon Best Selling Series!

A storm gathers across the galaxy…

Commanding the Cassan base on Tgren, Byron thought he’d put the days of battle behind him. As a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the desert planet, Byron’s ideal life is threatened and he’s caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans.

After enemy ships attack the desert planet, Byron discovers another battle within his own family. The declaration of war between all ten races triggers nightmares in his son, threatening to destroy the boy’s mind.

Meanwhile the ancient alien ship is transmitting a code that might signal the end of all life in the galaxy. And the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago could return. As his world begins to crumble, Byron suspects a connection. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…

“CassaStorM is a touching and mesmerizing space opera full of action and emotion with strong characters and a cosmic mystery.” – Edi’s Book Lighhouse

"Cavanaugh makes world building on the galactic scale look easy. The stakes affect the entire known universe and yet Cavanaugh makes it intensely personal for our hero. The final installment of this series will break your heart and put it back together."
- Charity Bradford, science fantasy author of The Magic Wakes
 
“…mesmerizing story of survival, personal sacrifice, tolerance, and compassion. It’s a rare jewel that successfully utilizes both character and plot to tell a story of such immense scope and intimate passion…” - Nancy S. Thompson, author of The Mistaken

$16.95 USA, 6x9 Trade paperback, 268 pages, Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.
Science fiction/adventure and science fiction/space opera
Print ISBN 9781939844002 eBook ISBN 9781939844019
$4.99 EBook available in all formats

Find CassaStorm:
  
Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He is experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The author of the Amazon bestsellers, CassaStar and CassaFire, he lives in the Carolinas with his wife.

Website – Twitter –  Goodreads 

Stop by Alex's blog for a chance to win a Cassa mug, Cass mousepad, swag, and a $25 iTunes gift card!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

2013 Debut Authors Bash

Hi guys! So I'm psyched to be part of the 2013 Debut Authors Bash this year!  I'm being interviewed by Blythe over at Finding Bliss in Books and will be giving away some swag (and I heard a little birdie say there is an ARC of CONTROL being given away too)!

Check it out if you can. And a big thank you to Nichole over at YA Reads for arranging it all.


Monday, September 16, 2013

Medical Mondays: Do Lobotomies Damage Memory?

Hi guys! I field a lot of fictional medical questions via email and often don't get a chance to post them, so here's one from last year.

Dani Vega asked:

Does a lobotomy destroy intelligence, knowledge and memories to a certain degree? If not, what kind of forceful brain trauma/manipulation could impair memory?


Red highlighted area shows the frontal lobe, targeted by Egas Moniz in the leucotomy pioneered in 1930's.
Source: Wikipedia
The lobotomy has an infamous history in American culture and the medical world. Briefly, it's a procedure that aims to "detach" the prefrontal cortex (basically the part of the brain closest to your forehead) from the rest of the brain.

When the lobotomy ("lobe cutting") was being developed, it was thought that the frontal lobes affected only personality, not a person's functioning intellect or memory. During a time when institutions were becoming overwhelmed with so many suffering from mental illness, there was a hope that lobotomy could treat many, reintroduce them back into society, or make them easier to care for.

In 1935, Antonio Egas Moniz performed the first surgical lobotomy (originally coined "leucotomy") and later went on to win the Nobel prize for his work (many believe this prize should be rescinded.)

In 1945 in the United States, Dr. Walter Freeman, a neuropsychiatrist, performed the first ice-pick lobotomy (using an ice pick from his own kitchen and practicing on a grapefruit first. I know; I will never eat another grapefruit without gagging a little.) The technique was to anesthestize the patient (often after shock therapy), hammer the ice pick under the eyelid, through the skull, swish it around in the frontal lobes (not being very technical here but that's what it seemed like) and it was done within minutes.
Advertisement promoting lobotomy in the American Journal of Psychiatry: Source
The results were varied. Some patients went suddenly calm and no longer had the wilder symptoms that led them to have the procedure in the first place. Their intellect stayed intact and they were able to function in society. But in the darker pages of medical history, there were many, many stories of others who became docile to the points of being unable to care for themselves at all. They couldn't function in society, being "detached" from others and being unable to think normally.

Still others died. Dr. Freeman's performed his last procedure on a women who died shortly after from a brain hemorrhage. But ultimately, it was the discovery and production of the first anti-psychotic medication in the 1950's (Thorazine, called "Lobotomy in a Pill") that eventually killed the procedure for good. But by then, close to 70,000 people worldwide, including 40,000 in the U.S. had been lobotomized. These included unhappy housewives and "difficult" children. The story of one such child named Howard Dully is told in a chilling NPR documentary (see below.)

SO! Back to the question.

So for Dani, where could you "traumatize" the brain to effect memory? Several places, depending on which kind of memory she'd like to zap away.
Hippocampus ("coiled horse" in Greek, because it anatomically looks like a tiny coiled seahorse): used to turn short-term memory into long term memory; works on spatial and procedural memory
Amygdala (Greek for "almond" or tonsil, due to shape): emotional memories, fear conditioning, and long term memory
Cerebellum ("little cerebrum" since it looks like a tiny brain): procedural memory. People with  memory problems elsewhere but intact cerebellums would, for example, be able to perform complex piano pieces they'd learned before.
Basal Ganglia: implicit memory (memory without obvious thought involved, like tying shoes or riding a bike.)
Frontal Lobe: working memory, or the ability to process transient info in the present, like reasoning and comprehension.
Temporal Lobes: long term memory and recognition memory, and autobiographical memory

There's more, but I think I'm already overloading your short-term memory, so I'll stop the neuroanatomy lesson here! Suffice it to say, if Dani wanted to target a specific kind of memory loss, she'd have her pick of areas in the brain. It would be fun (in an Evil Mastermind kind of way) to think of a way to physically traumatize a character's neuroanatomy to cause these sorts of memory loss.

Thanks Dani for the question!

If you want to learn more about the history of lobotomy, check out these links:

NPR story on Howard Dully's "My Lobotomy"
PBS brief video on Walter Freeman

Also, don't forget to enter my ARC giveaway for RED, by Alison Cherry!