RSS

Monthly Archives: July 2013

Author Event at The Ledges

For all of you in the Huntsville, AL area try to make it to The Ledges Author Event on Friday, August 16th. It should be fun. Here are the details:

 

Hollywood Storytelling Ledges Speaker Series copy

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 31, 2013 in Writing

 

Guest Blogger: Eleanor Sullivan: Herbalism: Scientific or Sorcery?

Ever wonder what people used to cure old-fashioned ills? Before penicillin?

Plants, that’s what.

 

plant-images4-150x150[1]

 

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet a practicing herbalist in Minneapolis, a young woman with a quick smile and quicker wit. Lise Wolff opened my eyes to a different health care world. (For those who don’t know, I’m a nurse turned author.)

From pre-historic times to today, herbal remedies have been used to treat human ills. Often they were the only treatments available. Our existence is testament to their effectiveness. Scoffed at by medical men (yes, they were all men), herbalists and their close cousins, homeopaths, nevertheless persisted. What was known as mainstream medicine at that time, however, would be unrecognizable by today’s practitioners. Purging, puking, and bleeding as well as dosing with heavy metals, such as mercury, harmed more often than cured, their unwary patients. (See Medical Care in the 19th Century-Part One and Part Two for more on this era’s archaic practices.)

 

medicine-box[1]

 

Herbal Remedies

Herbs can be collected in the wild or cultivated in gardens. Most remedies are derived from the leaves that are harvested at the peak of their effectiveness, but sometimes the stems, roots, or early shoots prove more useful. Leaves may be dried and used in teas or combined with starch or lard for poultices. Plant parts may be soaked in water or oil, and the solutions used in tinctures, decoctions, essential oils, salves, or ointments. I watched Lise melt beeswax and combine it with St. John’s wort solution that she poured into metal cups, left to solidify and use as an ointment to treat burns, sores, and cracked lips.

In the 19th century women, often midwives, treated ill family members and neighbors with herbs, a practice passed down through generations. Realism meets fiction as Adelaide, the protagonist in my Singular Village Mystery series, works as both a midwife and herbalist in 1830s Zoar, Ohio.

Doctrine of Signatures

After famously burning classic medical texts, 16th century German physician Paracelsus declared that plants resembling human body parts could cure ails in that organ, a concept that became known as the doctrine of signatures. Thus, “like treats like.” For example, St. John’s wort doelike shape renders it perfect for treating skin wounds.

Homeopathy

Similarly, Samuel Hahneman, a 19th century German physician, agreed that like treated like but took treatments one step further, diluting substances over and over until it appeared that nothing of the original substance remained. These dilute substances, however, proved remarkably effective. The practice became known as homeopathy.

In fact, homeopathy was practiced in 19th century Zoar. Here’s a photo of a medicine box of homeopathic remedies found in Zoar’s historic artifacts.

The medical community today would argue that neither herbal remedies nor homeopathy are scientifically proven to be effective. Regardless, patients dissatisfied with mainstream medicine, often turn to alternative practitioners, such as herbalists. Medical practice is continually evolving as new remedies and treatments emerge and others decline. Might chemotherapy be deemed archaic 200 years from now?

Eleanor Sullivan: http://www.eleanorsullivan.com

Watch as Adelaide confronts problem illnesses and birthings (along with solving a murder!) in the next Singular Village Mystery: Graven Images, due September 1st!

 

Graven Images cover.indd

 

Albert Did It

Desalvo

 

For years, controversy has surrounded the famous Boston Strangler case. Albert DeSalvo, who was killed in prison in 1973, confessed to around a dozen murders, then recanted. One of the cases at the center of the controversy was the murder of 19-year-old Mary Sullivan. Many felt Albert was responsible; others said no. The controversy can now be put to rest.

 

MSullivan1

 

The Boston Police Crime Lab tested DNA obtained from Mary’s remains and then using Familial DNA techniques compared it with a fraternal nephew of DeSalvo’s. The results suggested that a relative of the nephew’s could be the killer. That is, it could be Albert. This was enough probable cause to obtain an exhumation order to retrieve Albert’s DNA. A match was then made between his DNA and that found in the corpse of Mary Sullivan.

Albert did it.

Familial DNA also played a role in the identification of the Grim Sleeper as Lonnie Franklin

 

Organ Creation and Harvesting: Reality Imitating Art

Back in 1998, Robin Cook released CHROMOSOME 6, a medical thriller that touched on organ creation and harvesting. A very interesting concept at the time. Seems that now such fiction is approaching reality as a group of Japanese scientists are working on a system for creating “chimeric embryos” within animal wombs. The hope is that this will provide organs for human transplants. In medicine, a chimera is an organism, human or animal, that has two or more genetically distinct cell lines.

 

Chrom6

 

Reality imitating art? This will no doubt be interesting and controversial as it moves forward.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on July 18, 2013 in DNA, Medical Issues

 

ThrillerFest/CraftFest, Thriller Award Winners, and FACE OFF

Just back from another great ThrillerFest/CraftFest–seems to get better every year. Congratulations to all the Thriller Award winners:

BEST HARDCOVER NOVEL

Brian Freeman – SPILLED BLOOD (SilverOak)
BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL NOVEL

Sean Doolittle – LAKE COUNTRY (Bantam)
BEST FIRST NOVEL

Matthew Quirk – THE 500 (Reagan Arthur Books)
BEST E-BOOK ORIGINAL NOVEL

CJ Lyons – BLIND FAITH (Minotaur Books)
BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL

Dan Krokos – FALSE MEMORY (Hyperion Books CH)
BEST SHORT STORY

John Rector – “Lost Things” (Thomas & Mercer)

 THRILLERMASTER

Anne Rice, ThrillerMaster
Literary Silver Bullet Award

Steve Berry

Corporate Silver Bullet Award

The USO

 

And next year TF/CF will be very special. The new anthology will be released next June and TF will celebrate this remarkable collaboration–the brainchild of the one and only Steve Berry. From ITW:

Announcing FACE OFF – Our 4th ITW Short Story Anthology!

In an unprecedented collaboration, 23 of the world’s bestselling and critically acclaimed thriller writers will pair their series characters in an 11-story anthology curated by the International Thriller Writers (ITW) and to be published in 2014 by Simon & Schuster.

The stories in Face Off will feature such pairings as Michael Connelly’s Hieronymous “Harry” Bosch joining forces with Dennis Lehane’s Patrick Kenzie in the story Red Eye and John Sandford’s Lucas Davenport teaming up with Jeffery Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme in Rhymes with Prey. All of the contributors are ITW members and the project will be edited by ITW member and #1 New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci, who says, “This is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity for readers. It’s only through ITW that we were able to bring these literary legends toe to toe. I’m honored to be at the helm of this amazing ship.”

Senior Editor Sarah Knight acquired world rights to Face Off, the fourth anthology that ITW has published and the first with Simon & Schuster. Knight says, “This will be a treasure trove for thriller fans—it doesn’t get any better than these writers, with these characters, all in one blockbuster book.”

S&S plans to publish in June 2014, just in time to celebrate at ThrillerFest, the gathering of ITW that happens each July in New York City. Already, foreign rights have been sold to Great Britain, with more sales to come.

ITW is represented by Dan Conaway of Writer’s House. Each author has donated his or her story and all of the proceeds from the book go to fund ITW, which charges no dues to its members. “It’s part of what we do, as ITW members,” said New York Times bestselling author, Steve Berry, who will serve as managing editor working with Baldacci.

The full list of contributors is a who’s who and includes: Linwood Barclay, Steve Berry, Lee Child, Michael Connelly, Jeffery Deaver, Linda Fairstein, Joseph Finder, Lisa Gardner, Heather Graham, Peter James, Raymond Khoury, Dennis Lehane, John Lescroart, Steve Martini, T. Jefferson Parker, Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child, Ian Rankin, James Rollins, M.J. Rose, John Sandford, R.L. Stine, and F. Paul Wilson.

 

 
3 Comments

Posted by on July 15, 2013 in Writing

 

HOT LIGHTS, COLD STEEL Now Available in the Czech Republic

Just got the cover for the Czech translation of HOT LIGHTS, COLD STEEL.

HLCS Czech 300X453 copy

 

Very different from the original.

 

HLCSCover680X1020

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 6, 2013 in Writing

 

MORE FORENSICS AND FICTION Free Until July 15

My Edgar, Agatha, and Anthony Award-nominated book MORE FORENSICS AND FICTION is available in the various e-formats for FREE until July 15th.  Grab a copy. Hope you enjoy it.

 

Amazon/Kindle

B&N

iTunes Store

 

MF&F 200X320

 

 

And it’s also available in China:

 

MF&F-Chinese 200x277

 
13 Comments

Posted by on July 3, 2013 in Writing

 
 
%d bloggers like this: