Thursday, February 28, 2013


Do bad reviews of your latest novel upset you? Do you dread reading suggestion from an editor? Here’s a way to feel better - at least if the old phrase “misery loves company” is true.

FDA example
In June 2011, the FDA posted a preliminary list of their  27 regulations up for review (

This might not sound like much revising and editing until you read the topics. For example, they will revise and update food labeling regulations to make nutrition information on packaged food label more useful to consumer. Sounds like fun? What do you think – fifty or a hundred typewritten pages of editing and re-editing in response to comments?

The other thing scary about their revisions is a lot more than sales of books rests on their decisions. For example they state that existing rules for GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices)  are inadequate.” So they are going to establish preventive controls for food facilities to reduce morbidity and death from food borne illness. Bet that takes of hundred of pages of revisions too.

Feel better?
Doesn’t the FDA task make your next editing project sound easier? I’m going to keep reminding myself as I read galleys for Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight and revise a third book in my medical medical mystery/suspense series.

Here’s a peek at Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight:
Linda Almquist, who seldom even smiled, laughed.

Richard Varegos had done it again. He had arranged books and a computer on the front counter of the hospital pavilion for a photo shoot. In the resulting glossy, full-color flyer, he sat with at his make-believe teak desk in his supposedly marble-walled office. She read the flyer’s title: THE DIET DOCTOR HAS ANSWERS FOR YOUR WEIGHT PROBLEMS.

Was there no end to his ego?

I hope you want to read more. It’s out later in March. Until then, why not read Coming Flu?

Janet and Bug

Friday, February 15, 2013


Thousands of people blog daily. Most of us are less dedicated, but we still hope others find our blogs useful or interesting. Some of us even envision our blog as publicity for our other creative activities. In my case my medical mystery suspense novels: Coming Flu and Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight (due out in March 2013).

Is the publicity generated by a blog a form of advertising?
I’m obviously no marketing expert so I’ll quote two.

Advertising is something you get by paying for it. Publicity however, is something you hope you'll get. (Benchmark Communications at

Advertising and publicity are two very different communication tools, even though both employ the mass media as a vehicle for reaching large audiences… Advertising buys its way into the media… Publicity is presented by the media because it's "newsworthy." (Michael Turney in Online Readings in Public Relations at

I guess the answer is:  No, blogs should not be considered a form of advertising.

How do advertising and publicity influence our behavior?
Although publicity and advertising are different, I thought if I understood the psychology of advertising, I might do a better job at publicizing my novels. I’m guessing (if you’re still reading), you might think so, too.

Dempsey and Mitchell (Journal of Consumer Research [Dec 4, 2010] Vol. 37) found advertising sold products not by providing factual information but by surrounding the product with other things shoppers liked, thus creating positive attitudes about the product. At least that was true 70-80% of the time. I wondered if this ‘attitude adjustment” worked for more abstract products than toothpaste and cereal.

Could I sell more of my novels if I associated them with something pleasant in potential readers’ minds?
That’s hard to do when you write realistic thrillers. Somehow I don’t think posting a picture of a decorator box of tissues when I write about my novel Coming Flu will help sales.

Maybe I did a better job when I titled my second novel Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight. The heroine Linda Almquist in the book loses ten pounds in fifteen days when she investigates a “diet doctor” for two murders. I even show readers how she does it without consciously dieting. That’s something positive.

Bottom line?
I believe in research so I’ve included positive images in this blog - pictures of my dog Bug when he’s trying to ignore me and when he’s trying to please me. By the way Bug is the only nonfictional character in both my novels.

JL Greger
Coming Flu (paper back and e-book formats) is available form the publisher Oak Tree Press and Amazon. Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight will be published in March.

Sunday, February 3, 2013


The title is meant to be funny. However, new scientific discoveries show levels of certain hormones (substances synthesized in one tissue but affecting the function of another tissue or organ) can affect social behavior. Don’t become too enthused (like I was when I titled this article). The ramifications of the studies I’ll mention are unclear.

A hormone that may make you more social?
The brain synthesizes the peptide oxytocin, which facilitates childbirth and lactation. Since 2000, scientists have observed that oxytocin also tends to promote trust and decrease fear in animal models and humans in research studies. Now some psychologists are planning to test whether an oxytocin nasal spray helps autistic children become more attuned to social cues (Science 339:267-269 – January 18, 2013). Others are speculating oxytocin might facilitate trust and cooperation among humans. Side effects have been noted.

Undoing psychological harm in the future?
Psychologists know that some children and adolescents exposed to aggression show long-term symptoms, such as social aversion and increased anxiety, during adulthood. In 2013, two groups of researchers reported glucocorticoids, so called stress hormones, mediated these long-term changes in behavior in mice (Science 339:332-335 and 335-339 – January 18, 2013). The responses were noted only in animals with a genetic predisposition and involved epigenetics (changes in how genes functioned that didn’t involve alteration in the DNA sequence). Theoretically in the future, scientists may be able to identify sensitive children and lessen the effects of stress on them by blocking their sensitivity to glucocorticoids.

I debated whether to mention this research because it is easy to misuse the data. I decided this blog had three potential functions:
1. Might give ideas to science fiction writers,
2. Might arouse interest in neuroscience,
3. Might give hope to everyone as we read the headlines daily.

JL Greger and Bug