Monday, December 24, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

Every shopper likes a good deal; every writer a good idea. Most of us see lots of great ideas, but forget most of them. That’s why I “coupon” them.

Is “couponing” a real word? I'm not sure, but there are certainly lots of “guides to couponing” found on the WEB and in popular women’s magazines.

Maybe couponing should be one of your New Year's resolutions. I substituted the word ideas for coupons into a composite guide for couponing. My examples will focus on the development of my two novels Coming Flu, a medical thriller published by Oak Tree Press in July 2012, and Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight, a medical mystery to be published in April 2013.
         1. Look for ideas everywhere. Printed materials, TV, ads, etc. I like to include bits of science in my novels to add authenticity. So when I read Science and other scientific journals weekly, I pull pages that look interesting. I save maps and menus when I travel. Now for the hard part
2. Identify a use for ideas. Write on each saved item an anticipated use when you clip it. For example in April 2010, I read an article “The Microbes Made Me Eat It” (Science 328: 179-180) and labeled it, in my messy scrawl, “novel on obesity.
3. Focus your collection activities. Random collections are difficult to use and bulky to store. That’s one problem with computers, most of us save too much unsorted (or poorly sorted) fluff. 
Throughout 2010, I looked for and found interesting articles in medical journals on how the trillion microorganisms in our guts influence us, including our weight control or lack of it. The result was Dr. Izzy Roth and Dr. Richard Varegos, the diet doctors in Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight. Unfortunately for them, Izzy is killed in the first chapter of this medical mystery and Richard is suspected. 
          4. Don’t save stuff that is easily available on the Web. To emphasize how difficult it is to lose weight, I set many scenes in Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight in popular restaurants in the Albuquerque area. I used the menus published on the web to give descriptions of food.
           5. Review ideas regularly and purge. In 2006, I started saving articles on mutations in the flu virus, the development of vaccines, epidemics, and the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act with the intent of using them in a novel. Re-examining the file when it was a half-inch thick finally gave me the incentive to start writing Coming Flu. Yes, I did use this information to create a realistic (certainly not optimal, but not a worst case scenario either) of what could happen if a new and deadly mutation of the flu virus hit a community before vaccines to the new virus were available.
You know what bugs me about my couponing system? It's easier said than done, especially the regular purging part. That's why my office is a mess and I have two file  cabinets of semi-sorted ideas waiting to be used.  


JL and her faithful Bug

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Are You Ready for COMING FLU in the Winter Book Blast?

Which neighbor would you fear more: a friendly neighbor infected with a new flu virus or a
not-so-friendly neighbor who is a drug dealer? 

Think about the relative amount of column space that newspapers devote to crime and to science. Most of us would fear the drug dealer more. Readers of Coming Flu are challenged to rethink their priorities. 

Don't worry if you don't like a lot of science. Coming Flu is action packed with lots of surprising twists and turns. The realistic characters are like you and your neighbors, just quirky enough to be lovable. 

One reviewer said, "Contagion move over. Coming Flu has realism and heart. I can’t wait to see the movie!" 
Here’s a peek into Coming Flu. A new flu strain – the Philippine flu – kills more than two
hundred in less than a week in the small walled community near the Rio Grande.
The rest face a bleak future under quarantine. One of the residents Sara Almquist, as a medical epidemiologist, pries into every aspect of her neighbors’ lives looking for ways to stop the spread of the flu. She finds promising clues – maybe too many? 

Coming Flu makes a great Christmas gift for men and women. Select it and other books in this Winter Book Blast.

JL Greger and Bug 

Genres:  Crime and Mystery


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Winter Book Blast Event

   Shop December 15-23 the Blog Hop
 Books for yourself and others

THE EDIBLE BOOKSHELF will host a variety of authors. Visit their websites and pick your favorites. Along with daily features, you’ll have a chance to win FREE books.

Here’s how the book blast will be organized.
Dec 15th: Action Adventure
Dec 16th: Drama
Dec 17th: Crime  Coming Flu will be featured.
Dec 18th: Romance
Dec 19th: Young Adult
Dec 20th: Historical Fiction
Dec 21st: Mystery/Detective  Coming Flu will be featured
Dec 22nd: Fantasy

Dec 23rd: Young Adult Fantasy/Paranormal

Giveaway Rules: US residents can enter giveaways for either paperbacks or ebooks. International residents can enter ONLY for ebook giveaways. International residents can enter the grand prize giveaway, but they will only receive ebooks listed, or listed paperbacks will be exchanged for ebooks due to high shipping costs. 

Sharing books
I always try to put something to make you think in every blog. In the winter 2012 issue of On Wisconsin, I read about an interesting idea - little free libraries. It seems that residents of Madison WI have converted birdhouses (or made similar structure with a big latched door on the front), filled them with used books, and installed them on posts in parks or near busy intersections. Anyone can "borrow" one of the books inside the little free libraries. Anyone can leave a book for others. What a friendly idea!

On Wisconsin is a publication of the UW Alumni Association. You can learn more about little free libraries and see pictures at