144 trans people we should talk about more than we talk about Caitlyn Jenner

Media stars and public figures coming out can be great for trans visibility, and I suspect it takes boatloads of courage to come out in a hugely public way no matter who you are. But I’m getting tired of seeing a news feed that’s all pics of Caitlyn Jenner, so here are some alternatives:


Parinya Charoenpho on whose life the film “Beautiful Boxer” is based — go watch the film!


This wonderful list of 10 trans icons from around the world, including Parinya Charoenphol (and if you have not seen the film about her life, “Beautiful Boxer,” run to Netflix and watch it): http://www.towleroad.com/2015/06/10-trans-icons.html

Deva Ozenen who is running for a parliament seat in Turkey: http://www.naijapromo.net/2015/06/meet-transgender-woman-who-wants-to.html

Manabi Banerjee, India’s first trans college principal: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/05/india-transgender-college-principal-150527080214140.htmlREAD MORE

Kimchi for the innocent, the timid and the neurotic

Adapted from the Yummy Kimchi recipe suggested to me by Allison Moon and the recipe in “Brain Maker” by Dr. David Perlmutter. Altered to be more digestible to people who can’t tolerate FODMAP foods (like me) by removing all onions, leeks, scallions, garlic and the like. If you’re on a very strict FODMAP-avoidant diet, do not use the jicama either. (If you don’t know what that means, you probably don’t have to worry about it.)READ MORE

Age & Time part 2: author edition

In a fun confluence of events, just after Kristin published my guest blog about inspired age math and how to not freak out about being over 40, my publisher asked me last week if I was under 35 so they could submit me for an award given to young authors.

I had to tell them I’m not under 35 (as you can see in the blog I wrote for Kristin, I’m 42). And then like every other adult in American culture, I freaked out for a little while thinking that I was too old and had waited too long to get published.

The inside of my head sounded like this: Why didn’t I get published younger? What kind of failure is it that I’m not eligible for a young authors award even though I only have two books out? What did I do wrong? Culminating in: Oh my God, I wish I’d been first published at 30, not 40!

Luckily I have a habit of at least trying to critically listen to my ego when it goes on a rant like that, so I delved more deeply into that statement.READ MORE

Gut feelings: gluten sensitivity is complicated

This morning Business Insider ran a short video: “Gluten Sensitivity Proven False,” which makes a few good points and some dubious ones. First off, a more accurate title for the video would be: “One Study Shows Gluten Not a Factor in IBS Symptoms,” but that’s got a lot less drama to it. (Here’s the video if you’re curious.)

Basically, according to the video only 1% of Americans have Celiac Disease but about 30% report wanting to eat less gluten. Is there such a thing as “non-celiac gluten sensitivity” and how many of that 30% might have it? The bottom line in the video is there isn’t such a thing. The actual title of the video on the page is “The Science is in — Why Gluten Sensitivity is Probably Fake.” I get cranky when people cite “Science” when they really mean one study or a small group of studies and then use emotionally loaded words like “fake.”

My bottom line is this: self-care trumps all. If you feel better eating gluten-free or grain free or only foods that don’t begin with the letter “g,” then that’s what you should eat. Everyone is an individual. Just like there aren’t two one-size-fits-all genders, there aren’t one or two diets for all humanity. Digestion is extremely complicated (at least from the western medicine viewpoint). What works for you doesn’t necessarily work for someone else so if you want to take good care of the people in your life, listen to them and support them if they’re trying different dietary options to be healthier.

Now if you’re curious to see me deconstruct the study and talk about some interesting trends in health and eating, read on:READ MORE

What is a meditation retreat like anyway?

 A friend asked me about the meditation retreat I just atteneed and I thought
that was probably a good topic for a blog. I’d been trying to learn to meditate since I was 15 (and
failing!). In 2004 I attended the first Meditating with the Body program with
Reggie Ray and actually started to learn to meditate in a way that works for
me. It’s different for everyone, but for me having a 6-month program with a
meditation instructor to ask questions and weekly assignments, plus a focus on
the body (including physically how to sit), really worked.

But enough backstory, what actually happens at a meditation
retreat? Well, we sit. And then we walk, really slowly, and then we sit again.
Sometimes we lie down.


The Periodic Table Of SEO Ranking Factors

Search engine optimization — SEO — may seem like alchemy to the uninitiated. But there is a science to it. Search engines reward pages with the right combination of ranking factors, or “signals.” SEO is about ensuring your content generates the right type of signals. Our chart below summarizes the major factors to focus on for search engine ranking success. The Search Engine Land Guide To SEO explains factors in more depth, with tips and a tutorial on implementing them. Read on!

via searchengineland.com

This is one of the absolutely most helpful guides I've seen about SEO. Not only does it remind me of what I need to pay attention to, but it's also a handy way to explain to clients the complexity of SEO.

I encourage you to click the title above and visit the Search Engine Land website where you can download your own copy. 


Survey Shows Publishing Expanded Since 2008 – NYTimes.com

BookStats, a comprehensive survey conducted by two major trade groups that was released early Tuesday, revealed that in 2010 publishers generated net revenue of $27.9 billion, a 5.6 percent increase over 2008. Publishers sold 2.57 billion books in all formats in 2010, a 4.1 percent increase since 2008.

via www.nytimes.com

YA fiction is up 6.6% and adult fiction up 8.8%. I like those numbers! And that's post-Harry Potter.

Speaking of which, seeing The Deathly Hallows parts 1 & 2 recently really demonstrated to me that ways in which novels can go so deeply into characters, moments and story arcs in a way you just can't get in a movie.

Reader Buying Habits

I'm in the process of merging my Novel Marketing Strategies blog into this one now that I've had an epiphany about how to marketing novels. (Yes, soon I'll post a longer article about that epiphany.) Here I'm bringing in some of my favorite reader data from that other blog:

From a 47-page report of stats from Bowker Pubtrack, assembled by Sisters in Crime. (The report focuses on mystery novels, which may be why some of the numberd reasons above are missing for SFF.) 

What influences book sales: Fantasy

  • Part of a series: #1 reason
  • Know/Like this author: #2
  • In-Store Display/On Shelf/Spinning Rack: #3
  • Friend/Relative Recommended: #4
  • Online – Book Review: #5
  • Online – Author’s Website: #6
  • Online – Retailer Recommended: #7
  • Book Club: #8
  • Best Seller List: #12
  • Book Review (Not Online): #25

What influences book sales: Science Fiction

  • Know/Like this author: #1 reason
  • Part of a series: #2
  • In-Store Display/On Shelf/Spinning Rack: #3
  • Book Club: #4
  • Friend/Relative Recommended: #5
  • Online – Author’s Website: #6
  • Online – Book Review: #7
  • Online – Retailer Recommended: #8
  • Best Seller List: #11
  • Book Review (Not Online): #15

In a study by Verso Advertising about book-buying behavior in 2010 (full study online at: www.versoadvertising.com/beasurvey/), the primary factors in a book purchase decision were:

  • Author reputation 52%
  • Personal recommendation 49%
  • Price 45%
  • Book review 37%
  • Cover artwork/blurbs 22%
  • Advertising (including online) 14%