Monday, April 29, 2013

Anyone going to RT?

Hey guys!

So, I'm going to my first book convention! I've always wanted to go to a convention and threatened many, many times to head to SCBWI in NY, but this time I have no excuse.

RT is right around the corner, literally (I can drive there!) and though I've got no actual book in my paws to sign, I'm still going. (I don't think my ARC counts, though I may wave it around, all excited-like)

I'm pretty excited to meet up with several other debut authors from the Lucky 13s, as well as support members from the League of Extraordinary Writers.

I'll be there on Saturday, May 4th for Teen Day AND at the FAN-tastic Day Party as an author (officially from 6:30-7PM, though I'll likely hang out for longer). Ask me nicely, and I'd be happy to hand out some CONTROL swag!

I'll be wearing a Lucky13s button and will be the short, Asian gal with the deer-in-the-headlights expression. Yep. 

Anyone of my blog friends going to RT? I'd love to see you!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Three Notes on Poetry and YA

Hey guys, I wrote about my history with writing poetry, poetry in CONTROL and other YA/MG books, and #twtpoem, a new Twitter poem prompt I started with some fellow writers.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Some Thoughts from Amy

Last week was pretty crazy.

I spent way, way too much time watching the news and following the horrific events unfolding in Boston. In the face of such inhumanity, I clung to the stories that told of first responders (both professional and civilian) that came to the aid of the victims.

Truly, the goodhearted of the world countlessly outnumber the bad. I believe this. I have to believe this.

In any case, I randomly found this video of Amy Poehler, whom I adore, and now I practically worship. With all the images floating around that leave indelible marks on our memories, it is certainly something to think about.

How do you handle the overwhelming amount of media you're barraged with? 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Twitter Experiment

Hey guys!

Thanks for the comments on the malaria post. (I'm still itching! Where's my hydrocortisone? Where's my mefloquine???)

So today I had this random idea. I have 2900 Twitter followers and would love to break the 3K mark. I used to search out random Twitter people to follow in hopes that they would followme, but I simply don't have time.

So I'm offering some swag to get more followers. I wonder if it will work. So please RT the following, and you'll be entered into the contest! Later on, I'll tell you if it's an effective technique to get more followers. :D

Follow @lydiaykang and WIN CONTROL bookmarks+stickers+magnets! New followers and RTers entered & 5 winners picked at 3kfollowers!

So. Have you ever experimented with Twitter or social media like this? Do you actively try to get more Twitter followers, or just let it be?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Medical Mondays: Malaria, bugs, and blood

Hey guys! I wanted to blog about malaria because, well, I've been watching River Monsters and that English chap with the charming accent and bad teeth got a bad case of malaria.

One of my favorite authors, Laura Ingalls Wilder, described getting malaria in her book Little House on the Prairie. (They called it fever 'n ague, and though it came from eating watermelons that grew in the night air. Ma and Pa Ingalls had a huge fight over that little bit of false information.)

When I worked at Bellevue, it wasn't uncommon to get a patient who'd been traveling from Africa with the following symptoms:

  • shaking chills and fever that cycled every 2-3 days
  • headaches and joint pain
  • hemolytic anemia (low red blood cell count due to bursting red cells)
  • jaundice, or yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • enlarged spleen (it's job is to clear out the broken red cell bits)
Malaria, and parasites in general, are fascinating. We've heard of the "eat or be eaten" survivalist mentality in the wild kingdom, but we don't usually consider the microscopic guys that are trying to use (and sometimes eat) us as well. 
The round purple things are red blood cells.
The purple banana thingies are P. falciparum (source: Wikipedia)
What is malaria caused by?
A microorganism called Plasmodium. Plasmodium falciparum and plasmodium vivax are responsible for most deaths due to malaria in the world. 

How does the parasite infect us?
This gal, the female anopheles mosquito. She carries infected blood with the parasites and spreads it around. So generous of her! Not.
Anopheles mosquito, drinking so much blood that it's coming out the other end. GROSS.
Also, sorry if this picture just made you itch like mad. (Source: Wikipedia)
Can malaria kill you?
Yes. The infections in sub-saharan Africa are deadliest; malaria from other parts of the world aren't as deadly. 

Let's say I'm healthy, and I get bit by that THING. What happens?
The parasites (sporozoite stage) in the mosquito saliva enter your blood. They end up in your liver, where they multiply and turn into the next stage (merozoite stage). Those bust open your liver cells and infect your red blood cells, where more merozoites are made, and some male and female forms (gametocytes). When your red blood cells bust open spilling out more parasites, that's when those shaking chills and fever start to happen. When a mosquito bites the now unhappily-infected-you, the male and female gametocytes get sucked by the mosquito, and they end up making more sporozoites and the whole thing starts over again. 

Man, and that's the watered down version! 

For a more detailed diagram and about 10 more life cycle terms I sorta skipped over, click here

How is it diagnosed?
Classically, it's diagnosed by looking at a smear of the patient's blood under a microscope. It looks like that picture up above, or you can see the parasites within the actual red blood cells. There are also Rapid Diagnostic Tests available, but not all hospitals around the world have them as they're expensive.

How do you treat it?
Back in the 17th century (maybe even as early as the 1500s), it was discovered that the bark of the Cinchona tree could cure malaria.
Cinchona flowers (Source: Wikipedia)
The compound in it responsible for this is called quinine. Quinine is so cool--in fact I did a Medical Mondays on quinine! Nowadays, most types of malaria are resistant to quinine, and synthetic versions of it are used (such as mefloquine). 

Another medication, artemisinin, is also used and was used as far back as 200 BC in China for the treatment of malaria. 

Artemisinin plant
Nowadays, several different medications are used to treat malaria, almost always in combinations. It's hard to keep up with. Here is a nice update on treatment. 

See the skinny, sickle-shaped red blood cell in the center?

One last cool medical factoid: 
You might have heard of sickle cell anemia. This is a disease in which blood cells turn into a sickle shape, and it causes all sorts of problems. People who have two sets of sickle genes can be quite sick, but those that only have the trait, or one sickle cell gene, are resistant to getting malaria. Traditionally, most people with sickle cell trait live in places where malaria is endemic. So it's believed that mutation occurred and was kept as an evolutionary advantage for people in these areas. (Parasites are less likely to complete their life cycle, because the abnormal red cells are cleared out of the circulation faster). Cool! 

This may be all the malaria you can handle with your monday morning coffee, so I'll stop now. But please stop by the CDC to learn more about prevention, traveling, treatment, and mosquito-y stuff. 

HA! And you thought vampires were bad...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

My Favorite Sci-fi and Fantasy Reads

Just a few of them! 

Check out my picks on the League of Extraordinary Writers

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Laura Diamond's TSAVO PRIDE!

Hey guys! Laura Diamond has been a bloggy friend of mine since waaaay back when. She's a board certified psychiatrist and author of all things young adult paranormal, dystopian, and horror. 

Her Young Adult Paranormal Romance novelette, NEW PRIDE, and novel, SHIFTING PRIDE, debuted late 2012 from Etopia Press. And now, she's releasing Tsavo Pride!
 Here’s a teaser trailer on YouTube:

Rogue shapeshifters, Santamo and Legeny, believe they are kings blessed with the power to shift into lions. Using that strength, they brutally defend their land from the British building the Ugandan Railroad that threatens their way of life. On a particularly ruthless raid, Santamo meets his match—Naserian. He spares the girl’s life, a move that fractures his relationship with Legeny and blurs his visions of cleansing his territory of invaders.

While the pile of bones in Santamo and Legeny’s cave grows, so does Santamo’s attraction to Naserian. When she challenges him to give up his murderous ways, will Santamo stay on the path of death he believes is his duty, or will he choose Naserian, and love?

Purchase on Amazon 

Connect with Laura!

Congrats Laura!!! :D

Monday, April 1, 2013

Vacation Reads

Thanks so much for stopping by on Kerri and Tamera's blog tour last week! I was off on a long-awaiting vacation with my family and caught up on a ton of reading.

*I don't actually read in the ocean. I'm more afraid of dropping precious books in the water, vs being shark bait
Here's what I finished:

Infinite Sky, by C.J. Flood (beautiful contemporary; and hey, Dr. Kang makes a cameo!)
ARC of Starglass, by Phoebe North (great space sci-fi with a lot of rich culture built into the story)
Crewel, by Gennifer Albin (a really creative dystopian. I remember Genn from our Querytracker forum days!)
Seraphina, by Rachel Hartman (wow. 10 stars. Seriously!)

I love catching up on my to-read list. It makes me so happy to sink myself into a book for hours on end, which is a time luxury I don't have in my normal week.

What have you read lately? Do you do massive catch-ups on your to-read list on vacation too?