Where to buy Traci Robison's books

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April 26, 2010


I'm training to run an adventure race during the first week of June. I started training in March and have progressed from brief jogs interspersed with bouts of walking to three-mile runs. These runs are not pretty. They aren't fast. I end them red-faced and soaked in sweat. I end them tired and giddy and amazed I finished.

I'm no endurance athlete. When I was a kid, I was a sprinter; my longest races, 200 meter dashes. The fact that I can run at any pace for longer than half a minute delights me, but I still have a sprinter's mindset. I look ahead to the turn-around point on my route or at the read-out on the treadmill and think, "Crap, there's that much ahead of me yet? Shouldn't this be over?"

To make it to the run's end, I stop thinking ahead and focus on the moment at hand. Such mindfulness has been a useful exercise as well. Noticed and released, thoughts pass through me. For someone always worrying and plotting and analyzing, that is freedom.

My writing is more fluid on those days when I've exercised. New solutions to plot snags come to mind without my chasing them; characters and settings come to life.

Joyce Carl Oates writes eloquently about the connections between running and writing: To Invigorate Literary Mind, Start Moving Literary Feet. I wonder if most writers share this urge for movement. Or are we simply masochists?

April 10, 2010

Medical Miracles in Medieval Manuscripts

Researchers at the W├╝rzburg Institute of the History of Medicine are investigating cures from medieval treatises such as the Lorsch pharmacopoeia, a monastic medical book dating to around 795A.D.  After coming across an article in Der Spiegel about their work (Looking for Medical Miracles in Medieval Manuscripts), I wanted to know more and looked into the institute. 

They have a great website with a history of monastic medicine and database of medicinal plants Abbey Medical Research Unit.  Their site even includes a medicinal plant of the month.  This month:  Horsetail or Equisetum arvense L., which was used to reduce bleeding in ancient and medieval practice. 

And, in case you're interested, here's a link to some information on Lorsch Abbey, where the Lorsch pharmacopoeia was created: Lorsch Abbey.

April 9, 2010

I Meet the iPad

Yesterday Jim brought me to Best Buy to look at iPads.  I say he brought me because he's the one interested in tech and who has been looking into various e-readers, mobiles, etc. for months.  The trip to Best Buy felt alot like visting the pet store with my sister to play with the puppies--provoking the same urge to wash my hands and recurrent longing to go back and buy what I'd played with.  It will be a while before I buy an iPad (or a puppy, for that matter), but I liked the iPad more than I expected.  I'd pictured it just a little too large to be handy.  In reality it was lighter and smaller than I'd imagined; the display was crisp; navigation quick and easy.  I might be in love.

I'm excited, too, about the expanding market for e-readers and the subsequent opportunities that are arising for new writers like myself.  Until recently, I hadn't considered self-publishing as an option.  But there is quite a buzz about how e-readers are changing the publishing industry and the possibility for independent writers to make money outside traditional publishing channels. 

A couple days ago Joe Konrath posted an interesting blog entry that mentioned his success self-publishing on Kindle (A Newbie's Guide to Publishing: Publishers + Ebooks = Epic Fail).  Konrath's post led to insightful discussion as well as questions about how writers, both published and as-yet unpublished, can benefit from the expansion of e-publishing.  I'll be watching this discussion over the next few months as I continue polishing my manuscripts. 

Experts are predicting multi-function devices such as the iPad will increase the market for e-books even more as those unwilling to buy dedicated e-readers purchase iPads and buy e-books as an afterthought (IPad May Be ‘Black Ship’ That Shakes Up Japan’s Book Industry and How the iPad Could Make Books Go Viral). At a recent e-book conference in Australia, Dr. Richard Seymour of the University of Sydney stated that a third of books will be read on e-readers within the next five years (Third of books to be read on e-readers within 5 years).  I sense that when my work is ready, I'll have options for reaching readers.