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Miscellany

1.  I have 100 itsy bitsy seedlings on my dining room table, and another 100 to set today.  With all the warm weather, it's hard to remember the usual planting date for summer crops is still six weeks away.  By then, though, I should have hardy starters to set in the ground.

2.  After the last post, I had a friend ask if my feelings toward self-publishing had changed.  Nope.  Self-publishing has become an awesome option--one I plan to utilize for a mix of projects.  If they don't succeed...oh, well.  They likely wouldn't have succeeded in traditional publishing, either, and it's not as if trying a couple projects will "use up" all my ideas.  It isn't for everyone, and the burden of responsibility is greater when one self-publishes, but there are obviously opportunities there that didn't exist a couple years ago.

No, the last post was merely intended to point out the industry as a whole isn't dying.  It is changing and evolving and, just like smart folks who want to succeed in any field, it behooves us to understand the industry on our own rather than rely upon one-sided interpretations of others.  I read stuff I agree with.  I read stuff I think is bullshit.  I read stuff that's written with tact and stuff that's written with snark.  I read it all because confirmation bias is a very real phenomenon.  It's good to see what facts and angles both sides think worthy of mention.  Doveryai, no proveryai.

3.  A big hang-up on the forward motion with the wellness books was managing citations and such.  Stupid me, I was working from the pattern of paper books.  Academic paper books at that.  After downloading a reviewing the formatting of ebooks on similar topics, I quit worrying.  Pages should proceed with much greater speed now.

4.  In my little dojo, where I now have an almost even number of male and female students, the social limitations and expectations of gender are fading away.  It's pretty danged awesome, and fascinating to realize what subtle and common phrases/actions/beliefs are no longer spoken/practiced.  More on that as I figure it out.

5.  And to all writers--for the love of Pete, there ought to be more in a fantasy character's medicine bag than white willow bark.  Really.  When I see a character use white willow bark in combination with some other made-up assortment of natural remedies, I know the writer either didn't want to bother with looking up specifics, or doesn't know enough to understand there are other specifics.

So I'm putting this out there to y'all: if you need information on herbal medicine and/or healing foods for your characters, ask me.  This gives you the added advantage of discovering which traditional remedies have proven value and which ones don't, knowing what the herb will taste like, what its side effects may be, and what it actually does. 

No, it's not the same as asking a doctor.  Doctors aren't given coursework in the use of supplements and herbs.  Even the Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is woefully incomplete at its most basic levels.  I teach classes--sometimes to medical professionals--on this stuff.

(True, most of your readers won't care.  But most readers don't care about whether you get horses, guns, and fight scenes right, either, and I've yet to hear anyone advise a writer to just not worry about it.)

6.  I really wanted to go hiking today.  But it's raining sporadically, and we'd have to drive an awfully long way to find a non-muddy place for us and the dogs.  Maybe it'll just be a Sunday drive kind of day, which would give Dev a couple solid hours behind the wheel.

7.  For the record, nothing here is related to 04/01.  Just sayin'.

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Blair MacGregor
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