Sunday, August 22, 2021

Me Too Moments of Women Scientists

 Many women #scientists and #physicians have experienced #MeToo moments. All these experiences were annoying to the women. Many found the events hurtful and demeaning; some were scared. 

Although sexual #harassment of women scientists has been frequently documented in #Science and other scientific journals, less has been written about the causes of the harassment. Here are a few factors to consider:

  • Science is  competitive endeavor. On the other hand, modern large scientific efforts, such as the development of COVID vaccines, require the cooperation of large and diverse groups of scientists.
  • The workforce in science has changed. Women and Asian minorities have become more dominant in laboratories. Although scientists like to think of themselves as elements for change, many traditional scientists, i.e white males, find this change frightening.
  • Personnel in science are generally part of tiered, hierarchal systems that foster hazing during "training" periods. In some ways the ranks in medicine (interns, residents, attending physicians), laboratories (graduates students, postdocs, research associates, professors), and universities (lecturer, assistant professor, associate professor, professor) are similar to military ranks where sexual harassment is also a problem.
  • New ideas are the currency of science. That makes those who have new ideas (ie. the young, women, minorities) threatening to those in power.
The important point is harassment decreases the effectiveness of the workforce and destroys lives. 


In GAMES FOR COUPLES, I tried to show the consequences of sexual harassment  on women engaged in a scientific endeavor - the development of cultured meat (the so-called meat grown in a test tube) - while creating an exciting, but realistic murder mystery. So, enjoy the plot but think about the consequences of Me Too moments.

Blurb for GAMES FOR COUPLESDid lethal compounds in a cultured meat product kill a man in a clinical trial? Or did the toxic competition among biotechnology companies and spite of battling couples cause his death?  

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Mystery tour of a senior gated community with Marilyn Meredith

My friend Marilyn Meredith takes you on a mystery tour of a senior gated community in her new novel THE TRASH HAREM. I live in such a community and this story rings true. I'l let Marilyn tell you about Moon Glow Village.

The main setting for The Trash Harem is a fictional gated community for folks fifty-five and older. No, I don’t live in one but I have two daughters who do. Their homes and neighborhoods are quite different from one another, as are the houses themselves.I borrowed the outsides of the homes from one community, and the insides a combination of both.

In this tale, the fictional Moon Glow Village is located in the city of Temecula. I’m fond of Temecula and have visited there many times as I have lots of relatives who live in the general area. I’ve also given classes on mystery writing there.

Temecula has a great Old Town with many great shops and restaurants and a wonderful museum. 

I do want to assure everyone that the characters in The Trash Harem are not based on any real people, though the main character who is the main suspect in a murder investigation does have some similarities to my son-in-law. And these similarities are what gave me the idea for the story. The tale has many interesting characters including other suspects who may have vague resemblances to people I know, but none are from the place where my daughter and son-in-law live. One thing I might mention is most of my daughter’s and her husband’s neighbors are closer to my age than theirs. To my knowledge, none of them has died under suspicious circumstances.

On a personal note, my home is much different than theirs. My husband and I share our home with my granddaughter and husband and their three young girls. It’s pretty lively around here. 

I had a great time writing this story; I hope you’ll enjoy reading it.

Marilyn

Blurb: Deputy Tempe Crabtree has retired from her job in Bear Creek when friends, who once lived in Bear Creek and attended Pastor Hutch’s church, ask her to visit them in Temecula. The husband, Jonathan, is a suspect in what might be a murder case. The retirement community includes many interesting characters, any of whom might have had a better motive than Jonathan. There is also a connection to Earle Stanley Gardner as well as the Pechanga Old Oak. What is a trash harem? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

To purchase The Trash Harem

https://www.amazon.com/Trash-Harem-Tempe-Crabtree-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B096KZDPH8/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=The+Trash+Harem+by+Marilyn+Meredith&qid=1622899167&s=books&sr=1-1


Marilyn Meredith’s Bio: 
She is the author of over 40 published books including the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, and writing as F. M. Meredith, the Rocky Bluff P.D. series. She’s a member of two chapters of Sisters in Crime and the Public Safety Writers Association.

Webpage: http://fictionforyou.com/

Blog: https://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marilyn.meredith

 




Tuesday, June 1, 2021

SUMMER READING

Many of us find summer is the perfect time to escape our day-to-day humdrum and immerse ourselves in books that help us escape to new places and different ways of looking at life.


Do you want to avoid the hassle of long flights but still still want to have exotic experience Explore India while you solve a mystery back home with scientist Sara Almquist in DIRTY HOLY WATER.

In this psychological mystery, Sara is about to become engaged and leave for a vacation in India when a friend is murdered. She soon learns snake dances in India are no more bazaar than her friend's secrets. 

 




Are you tired of "superman-type" heroes in movies and ready for

adventure based on real people?  Read I SAW YOU IN BEIRUT.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/0960028544

In this international thriller, a mysterious source of data on the Iranian nuclear industry sends an email from Tabriz. "Help. Contact Almquist." As Sara Almquist is drawn into the plan to identify and rescue the agent, known only as F, from Iran, she is forced to remember and re-evaluate characters from her student days at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and from her career as a globe-trotting epidemiologist.

 




Maybe you'd like to learn more about Native American culture? Travel to Acoma Pueblo and other sites in New Mexico with A POUND OF FLESH, SORTA:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0960028560/

In this adventure story, a ticking package with the guts of animals is delivered to scientist Sara Almquist. The police think gang leaders are trying to prevent Sara from testifying at their upcoming trial. Sara thinks it might be a plea for help from a rancher in New Mexico after she learns the package is contaminated with the bacteria that causes the plague

 


Or maybe you want to take hard look at reality and look at the elderly 

who have made a van their home. Read Jessica Bruder's NOMADLAND. 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0393356310/ 

This nonfictional account of transient older adults who travel for work from the beet field of North Dakota to the campgrounds of California to the Amazon's CamperForce programs in Texas is an eye-opener. 



No matter your choices, it's time to start your summer reading.


Friday, January 15, 2021

SELLING BOOKS DURING A PANDEMIC


Please enjoy this post from Marilyn Meredith - author of more than 50 books. 
Marilyn writes her Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery series as F.M. Meredith. I think you'll learn a lot from her comments on marketing her books. She's a real pro.

Before the pandemic, my favorite way to promote my books was in-person, whether as a speaker for a writers’ group or conference, or at service or social club. If I could get people to laugh, I sold books. My second favorite was to participate in a book or craft fair. My calendar was full of both for 2020 and everything was cancelled.

So that meant I had to concentrate on other ways to let people know about my books. One thing I’ve always enjoyed doing is being a guest on someone’s blog like I am today. One of the big reasons is because I like to write, but does it sell books? Sometimes. When I’ve done best is when I’ve been on a blog tour and held a contest for someone to have his or her name used for a character in the next book.

Like other authors, I use Facebook to promote new books—and old ones too. I’ve gathered quite a few friends along the way, and some of them have become fans. Of course, I don’t just write about my books, I talk about everything I’m doing. The same for my own blog, I write about most anything that comes to mind and host other authors. I also belong to some Facebook groups, but not sure any are helpful when it comes to selling books.

Now, what has worked best for me. Because I write series, offering one of the early books  series for free has resulted in reader buying other books. There are many places to offer free books, all you have to do is a search on the Internet to find them.  Most of these places charge a small fee.

And there is BookBub, but they are picky about what books they promote, and the fee is way beyond my budget. 

Sometimes I feel like my promotion efforts are like throwing cooked spaghetti at the wall and seeing if it sticks. It’s hard to tell what is working, though much easier now that I’m self-pubbed and watch what and how many books are being sold.

How about any of you other authors, what are you doing and what works best for you?



Blurb for #16, 
Not As We Knew It. 

The challenges come one after another for the Rocky Bluff P.D. to handle―from a missing woman to a fatal house fire. Detective Doug Milligan is faced with new and unusual problems to solve, some on the job and others related to his family. With the department shorthanded because of the Covid virus, Chief Chandra Taylor must make some hard decisions in order to protect the town of Rocky Bluff. 

To buy: https://www.amazon.com/Not-As-Knew-F-M-Meredith/dp/B08NDT3FW5/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=


Tuesday, January 5, 2021

RIDDLED WITH CLUES


 Meet the characters in the international #thriller RIDDLED WITH CLUES. It begins at the VA Hospital  in Albuquerque but takes you to #Laos and #Cuba as the protagonist Sara Almquist frantically trys to solve the mystery of Red from Udon Thani. 

Sara recognized Xave Zack as the lopsided man who stared out the window toward the Sandia Mountains. His body appeared twisted in the wheelchair, but his shoulders remained broad. Many white creases and sagging skin on his darkly tanned neck suggested he’d lost a lot of weight recently.

She hesitated recalling the macho guy who had saved her from drug traffickers in Bolivia, where she had served as a consultant on public health issues. Unfortunately, she had learned too much about the coca trade. At the time, he’d had ebony hair with gray at his temples. Now, his hair was silver.

Her mind moved to the polished sophisticate—a George Clooney look-alike, who had left her in Washington to take an assignment tracking the movement of coca from Bolivia through Cuba to the U.S. Finally, she thought of the beaten, dirty bum who gave her a message for his controller, Eric Sanders, in Colombo Cemetery in Havana. Her history with the man had been brief, colorful, and emotional. In Havana, he’d made it clear she’d never see him again....

 

She allowed no hint of sympathy in her voice because she knew pity would annoy the man in the wheelchair. “Xave.”

The man turned slowly. “Sanders must be worried if he sent you.” He flashed a wide grin. She knew he was about to tell less than the whole truth because he smiled with his teeth showing.

Maybe I can force some honesty. “Did they retrieve you from Cuba before you destroyed your liver with cheap booze as you tried to perfect your cover as a drunken sailor? Hopefully, broken bones are your only problems.” She motioned to the cast on his right leg.

He grimaced.

“Why are you in a Spinal Cord Injury Center?”

He looked around the room as if he feared someone would hear. “Better security here. What were you told?”

“Not much. Can you walk?”

“Always direct. It’s why we hit it off.” He rubbed his chin, but didn’t answer the question... (Then) he smiled. This time with no teeth showing, which usually meant sincerity. “How about twirling around, slowly. The pink top shows off your blonde hair and light skin.”

She was glad she had worn the khaki skirt, which she always wore in summer to do pet therapy. Most of the hospitals in Albuquerque preferred volunteers didn’t wear shorts. The skirt was acceptable and cooler than trousers. “You must be on the mend.” She twirled quickly. “Sorry, but I’m not going to talk with my back to you so you can study my ass.”

He chuckled. “Sit next to me. I want to talk business without curious ears overhearing. Lots of nosy people here.”

She pushed the table away and sat on the edge of the bed. He pulled a slip of paper from the cuff of his right sleeve. “A woman slipped this note into my pocket when I was in a large crowd about two hours before my accident. I need your help.”

Sara looked at the small piece of ragged paper. She read a phone number and “Red from Udon Thani.” She turned the slip over. “Seen a lot of wear.”

 

You'll have to read the rest of Riddled with Clues, to discover the identity of Red from Udon Thani. Here's several hints. 

  • Xave doesn’t know anyone called Red, and the last time he was in Udon Thani was during the Vietnam War. 
  • After Sara listens to Xave's rambling tales of all the possibilities, both she and Xave are attacked. He is left comatose. 
  • She is left to fight for her life with little help from the local police but with frequent coded clues for a homeless veteran who apparently frequented the VA Hospital in Albuquerque.

Available at:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/1938436237

Sunday, December 27, 2020

BAD PRESENTS

 Did you get at least one holiday present this year which was a dud? You know what I mean—a sweater that is two sizes too small or is in a shade of orange that makes you cringe. 

Just wait till you read about the "present" Sara Almquist got. It was about a pound of animal guts and made an alarming ticking sound. Did I mention it was contaminated with the bacteria that cause the plague?

In the medical thriller A POUND OF FLESH, SORTA, Sara Almquist receives a mysterious box of animals guts. The police suspect  gang leaders are trying to threaten Sara and prevent her from testifying at their upcoming trials. As a scientist, Sara wonders whether the packet might be a plea from a rancher fearing another outbreak of the plague in the Southwest. 


Soon all suspect the package is a clue needed to solve a suspicious series of accidents. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0960028560


Why not gift yourself with this book and spend a day or two immersed in a real mystery/thriller? Then you can ignore all the boring presents you got.


P.S. Plague occurs almost every year in the American Southwest causing the death of many livestock and occasionally a few human deaths.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Does this sound like the memory of a spy?


Sara Almquist is in a lackluster love affair in I SAW YOU IN BEIRUT. Then an agent who has been undercover for thirty years in #Iran sends an email: "Help. Contact Almquist." As Sara is drawn into the plan to identify and rescue the agent, known only as F, she is forced to re-evaluate characters from her career as a globe-trotting #scientist and rethink what matters in #romance and her life in general. Available at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0960028544

 

This excerpt from Chapter 3 of I SAW YOU IN BEIRUT, an international #thriller, is based on a real incident and a real Iranian student in the U.S. in 1978:


“I don’t remember how I met her.” She (Sara Almquist) noted the Major continued to tap the table. “I only remember… three incidents with Farideh.” She gulped. “I guess I’m ready. I’ll start with the most revealing. I hadn’t worked for Doc Steinhaus long. So, it must have been a Saturday in September or early October of seventy-eight.”

***

The day was hot. I heard a roar of the crowd at a football game in Camp Randall Stadium as I entered the almost empty, red brick Horticulture Building.

Four of Doc’s graduate students were in the workroom when I delivered printouts from the computer lab in a nearby building. Three hardly lifted their heads to acknowledge me. I knew why. Danny was yipping in his high tenor voice about inconsequential departmental gossip as he looked at his near empty desk. The other three politely refrained from telling him to shut up.

I sat down by Mike and waited for instructions. I had a bit of crush on Mike. As was the fashion then, he had a thick unruly beard. He muttered, “Think of a way to shut the fool up. Doc should be here shortly. He wants you to enter data for me at the computer center.”

I got up and sliced a thin sliver of chocolate cake for myself from a tired-looking birthday cake on the table in the center of the room. The grad students had celebrated Mike’s birthday the day before. Most of the cake was gone, but wax candles were strewn on the table. “Danny, do you want a piece of cake. It’s still moist.”

Danny drew a freckled hand through his carrot red hair and blinked his brown eyes at me in apparent surprise. “The baby talks.”

I ignored the insult and placed a big slice of cake on a napkin and was handing it to him when Farideh slammed into the office. As usual she wore hip-hugging, frayed blue jeans, the bell-bottom type. An off-white knit ribbed top, which showed her slim waist, clung to her torso. Despite her dark hair and black eyes, I doubt most would guess she was from Iran. She was about five-seven and moved with long, smooth strides.

Danny talked as he stuffed cake in his mouth. “Did you do your daily protest march against the Shah around the Bascom Hall?” Chocolate cake dribbled from his mouth. “From what I hear, he’s been good for Iran. That’s why you and your husband are in grad school here.”

Mike kept his head down. “Danny, leave her alone.”

Farideh plunked in her chair. “We were followed today by men in suits. I think from SAVAK, the Shah’s secret police.”

“You’re hallucinating,” said Danny.

“Don’t display your ignorance.” Farideh strode to the table and sliced the cake.

The three other grad students kept their heads down, as though they expected a blow-up.

“Hey, doll cut me another piece,” said Danny as he swallowed the last of the cake I’d given him.

Surprisingly, Farideh did. As she cut the cake, Danny rose to stand behind her. He rubbed his hands from her waist to her hips. “What a waste to cover this with a burqa, or I guess you’d say a chador in Iran.”

She dropped the slice of cake and rammed her elbow into his gut. Hesitated a second, before she picked up the knife. “Don’t touch me.”

Mike ran from the office. The mouths of the two other grad students hung agape.

Farideh turned the knife in her hand.

Danny, who about three inches taller than Farideh and quite muscular, laughed, “Doll, you know I can take the knife from you.”

Everyone gasped as the door opened and Doc rolled in, followed by Mike. Doc was obese, and he panted when he walked at a normal speed. Today he gasped from having hurried in the heat. “Farideh… come… to… my… office.” 

Danny squealed, “You’re in trouble now.”

She gripped the knife and lunged at Danny.

“Farideh!” Doc howled.

She stabbed the knife so hard into the cake that she broke its blade on the table. Then she stalked out of the office.

As he closed the door, Doc said, “Danny, try to keep your mouth shut until I return. And Sara, here’s what you need to do.” He handed me a stack of papers.


DON'T YOU WANT JTO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS TO FARIDEH AND SARA ALMQUIST?