Friday, February 26, 2010

Food Copyright?

This plagiarism controversy continues to intrigue me, and as a member of the foodie community – who constantly share "secret" recipes and information, I'm curious how the concept of "plagiarism" may apply, and why there's so little ruckus when we print up cookbooks or share recipes and techniques on the Internet.

For example, I've mentioned Alton Brown on several occasions because I am a fan and want to see him do well. The academic writer in me wants to make sure I properly attribute what I've learned from him.

But what about the many cooks and cookbooks that don’t offer attribution? I own a number of cookbooks, and the chocolate chip cookie recipe I see, for example, in about three different cookbooks (EXCEPT Mr. Brown's I may add) is the exact same recipe on the back of the Original Nestlé Toll House ® chocolate chips: The Original Nestlé Toll House ® Chocolate Chip Cookie.

So, perhaps the other cookbooks don't specify that this recipe needs a specific brand of chocolate chip, and there is probably a dozen words that aren't EXACTLY the same in the entire recipe (of about 250 words), but if I saw a 250 word excerpt on a student paper that I recognized, with a brand name changed or erased, and 12 words changed, I would call them on plagiarism, no question. Do not pass Go, do not collect your passing grade (paraphrasing/alluding to Monopoly ® by Parker Brothers/Hasbro, in case you need the citation).

On the Internet, and directly between people, recipes and techniques are passed off with hardly a mention of whichever cook discovered, created, or wrote down the recipe or technique; most times it's not known. Don’t these cooks and chefs deserve the credit? Don’t they deserve the pay?

Should Nestlé (if they originated it) demand payment any time a cookbook or blogger shares a recipe so close it could have been plagiarized? Should they demand credit? Or, if Nestlé didn't originate it, if they took it from an earlier cookbook or cook, did they pay for rights of reproduction?

The Food Culture is a big money-maker right now, and restaurants and prepared food companies are losing money because their recipes and information are freely distributed.

Small, independent bakeries and cafes are losing their livelihood because recipes are free – or as cheap as a magazine – all over the place. On the other hand, the magazines and television shows and books are making money for selling these techniques (and related advertising) developed by pros.

There are plenty of people who will denounce plagiarism as a "crime" with absolutely no grey are; I wonder what they eat or cook. Knockoff brands? Restaurant recipes? Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies? One of the biggest arguments I get from writers and creators, who would have the most to lose when their work is pirated and plagiarized, is that it's hard to earn money as a writer or creator; rent needs to be paid.

I don't have any numbers, admittedly, but I wonder how many independent cooks and bakers are thinking of rent when they hear someone can make the same thing at home… from a recipe they found on the Internet.

Just a thought. J Feel free to disagee.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Plagiarism 2: Take Back the Copy!

Last week's plagiarism post pulled in a lot of comments between Live Journal, Facebook, Blogger, and just plain email.

And quite the mixed reactions and colorful conversations!

There were two trends that stood out:

Outside of writing, there was much more of a "what's the big deal?" sentiment - particularly in visual arts and music. Based on how much discussion I've had in both those areas… be prepared for more upcoming topics! (Thank you Dan, Renée, Shannon, Roberta, and others!)

And then there were the anti-any-and-all-semblance-of-plagiarism folks. These people were either writers or in writing professions - and many were quite passionate about their thoughts. One friend likened someone being okay with their work being plagiarized to a woman who thought rape was okay because her husband did it. And she's not the only one to use that kind of metaphor; I've heard the term "raping children" come up more than once among published - many bestselling - authors in regards to fan fiction (fanfic).

And Fanfic is quite the topic!

For those of you unfamiliar with fanfic, it is when writers create stories (anywhere from flash length to novel-length to OMG-Wheel-of-Time-Series length) in existing worlds of fiction: be they movie, television, or a combination thereof. Think Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter, Twilight… etc. It's a growing trend - especially in fan communities - and one that is very often caught in the crosshairs of plagiarism and copyright argument and lawsuit.

As a disclaimer: Any and all of my fanfic has never left my personal files (to my knowledge) or closed gaming groups, with the vast majority never leaving my head. Confession: It had little to do with plagiarism or copyright, for me. My reason is that time is precious and scant, so I better be working on original stuff I can potentially get paid for. The written stuff came from games I played between customer service calls (before I realized, "Oh! Why not write a novel?") and a few pieces of Harry Potter alternate realities that may have left someone scratching her head if they came up on a file backup at my old financial firm.

That said, I have many friends who write fanfic I thoroughly enjoy reading.

In researching fanfic for this article, I found this particular quote that seemed to address everything I've been playing with on this plagiarism topic:

The First Amendment protects free speech, but there is also a copyright clause in the Constitution. These two legal rights are often in conflict, and so the rights of fan fiction writers to write and speak freely and the rights of the copyright owner must be balanced. Each situation can be researched and individually evaluated, but it is important to understand there are no easy answers as to who has a right to the characters. Copyright law is designed to encourage authors to be creative by rewarding their efforts and protecting their work from others who might profit unfairly. This right must be balanced by society's need to have others not be limited by previously published protected works. There is not a clear "right" and "wrong" side in the battle between copyright owners and fan fiction writers.
(from Chilling Effects, )

This point seems to fall in line with what I've been saying: plagiarism isn't a black and white issue. There is a lot of grey.

Most of the fanfiction writers I know adore the works they are playing in and will send anyone who asks (and even those that don't ask) to go out and buy the original works. And the DVDs. And the next sequels. And the not-in-the-same-universe-but-still-awesome other works by the creator(s). They are fans and evangelists that boost sales. Yes, they are writing with characters they did not create, but they aren't looking to make any profit from this hobby - they realize it's a "hobby," not a career - and they truly want to honor the creator who has inspired them and made their life a better place with her creations.

(Most. We'll get to at least one exception later.)

On the other hand, from the legal camp, the article Copyright 101 A Brief Introduction to Copyright for Fanfic Authors by A. T. Lee summarizes this:

Well, you can't derive your work from someone else's work or copyright her work without her permission. Therefore, technically, all fan fictions, which are derivative works (see, Sec. 4.1), are copyright violations. While many copyright holders turn a blind eye to such works (like our TPTB), they don't have to be so nice about it. In the end, it's completely up to the owner of the copyright to decide whether or not to enforce her rights, and prosecute the infringers. Whether or not she will be successful would depend on the availability of the fair use defense to the infringer. (See, Sec. 2.3).
Meanwhile, it often gets my "legal underwear in a wad" when I see disclaimers that say "infringement not intended". Strictly speaking, for fan fictions, there is infringement and the intention to infringe exists. I'm not sure what kind of disclaimer could exculpate that. You should, however, make it clear that you used the characters without permission, that you made no attempt to copyright those same characters, and that you're not using them for profit.

Sooo… technically, it's still illegal per U.S. law. (We won't go into other countries; Lee has links for those, too, though, if you're interested.) It IS pretty black and white.


(Don't tell me you weren't expecting a "but"!)

But… it's not terribly enforceable. Yes, an author can find a fanfiction writer and sue the pants off of her. That takes a lot of effort in the Internet land of anonymity. And money. (There are only a handful of authors who can afford that.) And time. (Most authors prefer to be writing and can't pay a lawyer to spend all that necessary time.)

And even risk on the author's part. Take, for example, the well-known case where a fanfic writer sued Marion Zimmer Bradley for stealing a plot point from a fanfic piece, with the end result of Bradley not publishing her book. Additionally, in that link, Bradley discusses other potential risks to the author. There are over-zealous parents concerned about their darlings… (wait, I haven't written that blog post yet. It will come). Bradley cites a letter where someone asked about bestiality in her books - many targeted to YA audiences. Yeah… that was a fanfic someone posted. While I haven't heard of a case, could authors get sued for fanfic created in their world that includes inappropriate scenes for children? (And may God help J.K. Rowling if such a thing does come to pass! The Harry Potter slash fics I've seen (despite her request otherwise)…)

What is it that makes writing such a hotbed for plagiarism arguments and lawsuits?
Plagiarism in writing… why do you think it's such a hot topic? Is it more of a hot-button here than in any other art form? Why or why not? Is there something I'm missing?

And lastly, for you who write fiction, would you feel your work had been "raped" if someone wrote fanfiction about your world and characters?

*Other great links & resources I used in research, but didn't link to or quote directly:

Monday, February 22, 2010

News of the week…

I ought to be asleep right now because sinus pressure is threatening imminent head explosion. It's either allergies or a cold; I can't tell which. Hand sanitizer stock is rising…


Cyndi's surprise baby shower went off wonderfully. It was Stina's idea, and she's got it documented on Facebook, for those of you interested. Third time was, indeed, a charm as Cyn confessed, "While I was wrapping [Stina's] gift, I thought for a minute, is this another… no, they wouldn't…"

Well, we did. We surprised her for her Sweet 16, we did it for her wedding… and now for her first baby.

We <3 U Cyn!


There was no Friday blog (though it is written), due to planning for abovementioned shower, and the fact I was totally exhausted from my Thursday adventures.

Thursday adventures started Wednesday… with dropping off my car at the shop.

Then, I was up at an ungodly hour to bring Scott into work, and then drive out to the Boston Animal Rescue League for an article I'm researching for Massachusetts Horse. Despite my lack of Boston-driving prowess, I managed to arrive (and later leave) with much fewer minutes (in some cases, hours) lost in the city. Boston driving still is rated as one of my LEAST favorite things to do (along with vacuuming and roller-coasters and massive surgery), but the trip was TOTALLY WORTH IT!

I'm wicked excited with everyone I met and stoked to write the article… so, I won't divulge any details until I decide what makes the cut. Regardless, make sure you get the April/May Massachusetts Horse and definitely check out their website!

They are teh awessomesauce!


Oh… and after the fabulous trip to the Animal Rescue League (and during the earlier driving), I had been working out the details for obtaining a ride to collect my car (damage = $600 *Waaah!*). Renée came to my rescue, and for as late as I was running and the car was finished (left the shop at 4:45), I decided it would be a brilliant idea to just drive out to Sudbury to pick up the hubby - who was going to get out "relatively early."

Yah… well, um, he had to do more tests for his project.

8:45 and the Starbucks across from his job was mopping floors and giving us stragglers (me and three German girls) looks, and finally, he arrives. I'd written my blog post, but figured I could post it at home (without the hassle of LJ's and Blogger's confusion that: omigod, I'm posting from a different computer!).

After dinner at a great healthy Asian place next door to Starbucks called Lavender, we get home for… around 10:PM. We have to still pack for the shower trip, and after our busy days, we both need a breather.

Cue collective couch slump for Burn Notice.

Good intentions: pack between commercials.

Reality: blergh… teeveeeee

Packing accomplished by 1:AM.

Up again at 7:30 for the Chiropractor and the shower preps… and you can guess the rest.


Dear Sinuses & Immune System,

I apologize for the lack of sleep and intense running around in the past several days. Can you please forgive me and blow the m*****f***ing germs and allergens out of my system now? Pretty please?





Just received one good friend's email about her crits of my new chap 1 for Starbard. The message went something like: "Remember, you asked for it."

Mañana… will deal with it mañana.

And then send it off to current dream agent…

Also, still some debate & good conversation regarding my post on plagiarism. ;) If you missed it, please feel free to check it again and comment.

(Cuz, good comments = good karma)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Plagiarism: Not quite so black and white

The Broad Universe discussion list, along with a portion of the blogosphere, has been hopping about Helene Hegemann and her best-selling award-nominated novel… who has been accused of plagiarism. More information about this case can be found here, here, and here.

The debate, as well as one I also had with my friend, Sunder, and the ensuing research lends itself to the argument that "plagiarism" is not the black and white issue so many of us have been taught - and what many of us writers and educators will argue to death with every cell in our body. While there are a lot of problems with what we typically call "plagiarism," there are several cultural benefits and accepted - if not honored -practices that are often overlooked in the mire that is the copyright witch hunt.

Now, as a tutor and educator, I have a template - no, really I do, though I personalize it for each student - that is applied with vengeance to those who simply lift passages and copy them into their work out of laziness, entitlement, or ignorance. It decries how EVIL plagiarism is, and how it should NEVER, EVER be done because "it can result in a failure of the class, a failure of your semester, and even as extensive as being kicked out of your school." It's stealing, it's wrong, DON'T DO IT!

Of course, defining things in black and white is useful in teaching - whether it be school or life. "Learn the rules, and then break them" is something that writers know in regards to things like grammar and style (because, you know EVERY essay is five paragraphs, with an introduction, conclusion, and three body paragraphs - each with it's own topic sentence related to and having been mentioned in the thesis statement, which is the very last sentence of the introduction…) Once you know what is right and what is wrong - the very end points of a spectrum, then you can explore the varying degrees of grey. Like using fragments to make a point.

When it comes to looking at plagiarism and copyright, though, even suggesting that people explore the varying degrees of grey seems quite the taboo subject. After all, so many writers struggle years to make a pittance, we don't want anyone to steal these hard-earned dollars (or pennies in some cases).

But the question of plagiarism spans millennia of writing and a globe of culture.

For starters, not all cultures embrace the American and "Western" idea of "copyright" and the evils of plagiarism. Per Ilona Leki's explanation of different rhetorics in Understanding ESL Writers, many Asian, Eastern or Western, cultures automatically include quotations, opinions, and writing from masters in their field - without attribution. It's assumed everyone has read these masters; if you must point it out, it negates the authority of the source. In referencing poetry and the Koran, Arabic cultures also do not necessarily attribute; everyone ought to know these sources - or if they don't, they should look them up.

Debating plagiarism even in Western cultures is nothing new, either. Shakespeare, in many studies - and even in his own time - was accused of plagiarism. Yet, we still study him and honor him as "The Bard." However, as Richard Posner points out in his Atlantic article, Shakespeare took what he stole and enhanced it: His writing enhanced the meaning of the original, and the meaning and context that piggy-backed on the original enhanced his work, making something stronger, more beautiful, and with its own meaning. Who's to argue that the many bits of what would be called plagiarism in T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland and Love Song of J. Alfred Profrock, didn't enhance both poems? (Ok, several people - but they got PAID to publish (and teach) these books & studies I had to read in grad school! How is that bad?) In fact, both of the poems lament a loss of originality, death of new ideas… the fact that there are pieces of plagiarized work purposefully enhance the meaning; they show the meaning. And they compliment the author from whom the work was stolen. As Eliot, himself, said, "immature poets imitate; mature poets steal."

With Hegemann's novel, as Chris Meadows from points out, one of the themes is "mixing" and a lack of originality. In one of the pages she "plagiarized," it includes the character stating that "Berlin is here to mix with everything," and pointing out that he "helps himself everywhere he finds inspiration." That the passage has been taken from where the author finds inspiration is similar to what Eliot, Shakespeare, Wilde - and many other predecessors - have done. It's purposeful; it bestows meaning by adding another level of questioning to what is considered original.

Of course, where the problem lies - in modern day copyright - is that there isn't anywhere in Hegemann's novel that notes she borrowed or "was inspired" or such from any sources. Nor does she name any other sources. I do not know if in Germany there is the normal disclaimer on US and UK books that states all copy within is original to the author. I also don't know German copyright law. In the U.S. and U.K., because of the required disclaimer and copyright law, Hegemann would be responsible for making some note of her sources; her agent (assuming she is a good agent) would know this. A modern problem is how MUCH reading material is available. Even as late as when Eliot was writing, there weren't BILLIONS of books an individual could read, so it was likely that a borrowed/mixed/plagiarized page, a stanza, or even a line of poetry would be more recognized - as the author may have intended. (I say "may," because I have no time machine to ask them… though Eliot seems likely to have been willing to share.)

On the other hand, though, the book from which she stole the most passages - including the full page that has been so oft pointed out - has benefited from this controversy. In looking at the Amazon ratings, Strobo, the plagiarized book, has a much higher review rating, a higher list point, and in the past ten days - since Hegemann's controversy - has made it to the top 100 bestsellers in German - and risen to #142 in overall bestsellers. For a little-known book, that's quite the lift in earnings for the author, "Airen." Strangely, despite all the mentions, there is no actual commentary from the Airen in any articles referencing this controversy. Does he mind? Has he, himself, sampled/mixed/plagiarized, so he doesn't see the problem?

The issue of plagiarism and copyright isn't as black and white as we are taught; there is quite the pallet of grey. There are benefits and cultural practices that embrace what much of the Western World calls "plagiarism." I haven't even gone into art and culture outside of writing - and the debate is even hotter there! There is a lot more to talk about on this topic - and I will return - but this argument is simply to point out that there is room for debate, room for "mixing," and room to reinterpret and redefine "plagiarism" in our culture - because it's existed long before we invented copyright.

What do you think? How much can the idea and "crime" of plagiarism be defined and redefined?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day!

Since I missed Friday, included in this week's Manic Monday is some nom-tacular Valentine's day festivities.

But first, this message:



This is my very first time making a podcast, and it came out GREAT! J Please go listen to it now! J

Did you go download it? Listen?

It's only 27 minutes long. I can wait.

Isn't it awesome?

Anyway, take it to work or add it to your podcast lists. J Next month we will have a Feminist theme to celebrate Women's History Month!

Stay tuned!!


Now, Valentines Day.

We made sushi. It was yummy! I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Hope you had as much fun as we did!

<3 + xoxo !!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Was Willingly Kidnapped by Awesomeness Last Night… and how that relates to Writing

Sorry for the delay - but VOLTAIRE was playing at one of my favorite night club's Goth night (Haven at Diva's) last night.

Also, sorry for the lack of pictures. I fell back into my "living in the moment" personhood that generally results in a lack of pictures from conventions, too…

And Scott also forgot the camera.

(So, here's a picture from Voltaire's MySpace):

(Yes, he's that hot in person, too. ;) )

What does that have to do with Writerly Wednesday?

Well, A LOT!

Besides being a great wordsmith in songs, Voltaire also writes (& DRAWS) comic books, does stop-motion animation, has two cute little "coffee table" books about being Goth and decorating Goth, and he designs T-Shirts and toys. His T-Shirts also have some of the best quips on them too - more great writing!

Basically, Voltaire has made himself an entrepreneur doing what he loves the most: CREATING.

Isn't that what writers want to do?

Also - he obviously knows how to diversify!

Face it, most of us aren't going to make a living selling fiction. (My intentions are to break that statistic, BTW, but no arguing the numbers are against me!)

Most writers, I've also learned, have an OVERALL artistic streak, so there is probably more you can do than just write fiction… or even just write. What other things are you good at? What else do you love?

I love horses and food, so I write about those things. I also enjoy drawing - so I made myself an illustrated poetry chap book that I sell. I'm working on a comic with a friend, and of course, several fiction projects.

It kinda goes back to Kevin J. Anderson's advice that I often cite/paraphrase: You can put one piece of popcorn on the stove and watch it until it >hopefully< pops… or you can dump a whole scoop of popcorn and know that SOMEthing will eventually pop.

Who are some of your favorite independent artists? How do they support themselves? What do they do besides their topmost favorite endeavor (be it songs, animation, artistry, writing)? How do they market themselves?

Voltaire does an awful lot of legwork, too, and he is constantly making the most of the Internet and social media - in addition to live appearances and interactions - to cultivate a relationship with his fans. If you like his blog writing, for example, you know you'll like most of what he writes, and you (should) know what to expect if you get a chance to meet him or attend a live show. His attitude and personality shine (Oh my Goth… did I just say shine? Um… darkly glower) in everything he does. Even if it's entirely different media, you know what you're getting when you purchase something he's created, be it music, snarky Ts, comics, books, or toys.

Even though he's diversified, he remains consistent in his own "branding."

If someone picks up something of yours, how accurately could they guess its from you? What is your own personal touch that can make everything you create - no matter what it is - uniquely yours?

So, as a fan and one who appreciates his business savvy, check out Voltaire's work and buy some of his stuff. (Call it marketing research and right it off on taxes.) Also check out his MySpace and Facebook to find out more for yourself about what he does and how he markets himself.

Happy Creating!

Monday, February 8, 2010

More Ends, More Bits, More Links

Lots of random news & goings on this week…

Currently, Rick Roberge is hosting my guest post in 6 parts at on his blog. J Where some of you see me translating sales talk into writerspeak, I attempt to discuss how writing tricks affect sales. Let Rick know how successful I am!


Got our official acceptance letter for BAD-A$$ FAERIES 3: IN ALL THEIR GLORY this weekend.


So, Chris & I need to write a response, but she's been busy/occupied lately… so we'll _hopefully_ do that tomorrow night.


Official news: Neil Gaiman has written an episode for DOCTOR WHO!! I suppose it would have to be for this new Doctor because if it were for a Tennant epi, the world may implode from the UTTER AWESOMENESS in a single show.


As I'm writing this, I'm listening to the first episode of The Broad Pod!! If this one actually works, then I'll be shooting out emails to ask for Beta Listeners. Took a little longer, with some strange learning experiences with Audacity… like strange gaps and ever-changing volumes. I think I've gotten it as best I can.

How perfect must a first episode be?


Many of my dear friends kindly helped me through a nasty case of QUERYANGST!! I did even more edits on Kyra… and then debated on who to send it too. Also, debating on using different Moon energies and that fine line of personalizing vs. kissing up.

Of course, my own mind went back and forth between looking for signs, listening to emotions, and rationalizing… all of which seemed to contradict each other. Though, I got a lot of signs directing me to Scott. I wasn't sure what to make of them; my debate was: send out my queries now or wait for the New Moon energy. After chatting with enough people - including a kinda crazy call to Renée… where I was told to "just do it!" (With love, of course.)

Buuuuuuut, just as I was grimacing over my first five pages which this agent accepts (this agent whose blog I've become fangirl-like addicted to, thus making said query even harder!), hubby came home with his revised version of Starbard… and informed me that the first chapter still isn't working for him.

I… had kinda been thinking that too while going through those first five pages.


But Good Damn - as it has been caught and dealt with.

And, since Christy was away for the latter part of the weekend, I had time to work on that. So… after a few people look at it, and I sit on it… it WILL be ready for a query after the New Moon.


Y'know… until #queryangst kicks in next Monday.


This coming weekend is Boskone! I'll be reading Friday Night with Broad Universe. It will be something I have not read with the Broads.


On February 27th, I'll be partying & signing with Renée and Sean and their Grand Opening of Stained Glass Creations & Beyond in Stafford Springs, CT. J They'll even be carrying my chap books! I'm very happy they are finally getting their store - and they are ALREADY getting sales, too. Their work is awesome, though, so it isn't a surprise that people are properly noticing.


For those not following my Twitter Feed, we had some extra excitement at the Wooldridge Household. Since Puxta-whatsisname-aggravating-groundhog predicts 6 more weeks of winter, our week's worth of wood wasn't gonna cut it, so Husband-of-Awesome ordered more wood.

The delivery guy was great and even backed halfway up our Hill of Doom so we'd have less work to lug a FRIGGEN CORD OF WOOD behind the house.

But, once the stabilizing weight of the wood left the truck's rear… it kindasorta slid down the Hill of Doom, got caught on our clothesline, and took out one of our lamp posts.

Yeeeaaah… fun. I thought it was rather entertaining, really… though, I was disenchanted by the time I'd lugged about half a cord of wood behind the house and stacked it… and then had to help the H-of-A reattach the railing to the lamp post.

Extra-hot Jerk Chicken wings were VERY welcome during the FABULOUS SuperBowl.


And that… is all I think. I am off to a nice, warm bed. Wii Fit can kiss my arse for the chicken wings and nachos when I wake up!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Cooking Oil 101: Chemistry of Acid and Chains

This is a sidebar that never got used for one of my Deli Business articles. My editor gave me permission to publish it here about a year ago, but I never did get around to it. As I'm stuck on a food blog today (and already late), I thought it was a good time to bust it out - especially since it's February and the millions of us may be fussing over our achieved and unachieved weight loss/health goals. Enjoy!

All of the commodity oils start off trans-fat free. However, depending on the types of acids that make up that oil, it may not have a very long shelf life nor be very good for frying up chicken. There are two acids often named in reference to cooking oil: linolenic and oleic.

Before we get into the acids, though, let's take a look at some fat chemistry in general. A fatty acid is made up of mostly a chain of carbon atoms. In a saturated fat, a solid, the carbon chain has two hydrogen atoms attached to each carbon and looks like this:




Linolenic acids are what make polyunsaturated fats. What this means is that the chains of carbon that are the building blocks of the oil have several places where they are double bonded. This kind of bond is not as stable, so it starts to fall apart after time or under high heat conditions. When the double carbon bonds fall apart, they often attract free oxygen atoms, which is what degrades the oil. The more double bonded carbons there are, the easier it is for the oil to degrade. A linolenic acid looks like this:




Oleic acids are what make monounsaturated fats. These fats only have one double bond of carbon. They are much more stable than linolenic acids, but still liquid.




The human body needs and uses both linolenic acids (known as omega-6 for nutrition), and oleic acid (known as omega-9). However, since the linolenic acids are more prone to degradation, they can cause problems in food service with shelf life and smoking point.

Of course, most oils have a combination of many acids, oleic and linolenic among others. For oils that have a higher linolenic acid amount, partial hydrogenation was created. (It is only partial because if it was full, it would create a solid saturated fat.) By creating a chemical reaction and pumping hydrogen into oils, the double carbon bonds are broken, and they grab onto hydrogen atoms (rather than oxygen, which causes the degradation). This makes the oil more stable, but causes other problems. Most simply, it's throwing hydrogen at both linolenic and oleic acids. Second, when the carbon bonds break and grab hold of a hydrogen, the hydrogen can be snagged on either side of the chain. If you look at the linolenic and the oleic acids, you'll notice the missing hydrogen atoms are all on one side. This construction is something the human body can process. The hydrogenation process, however, leaves fatty acid chains with missing hydrogen links on both sides, which the human body has a much harder time processing – so it gets stored in fat cells and on arteries; it's not used as the other types of fat are.

With genetic manipulation, breeding, and more modern processes, oils can be tweaked at seed level to be high-oleic and low-linolenic, which avoids the need for partial hydrogenation. It allows engineers to only address the problem of stability as it relates to the fatty acids. And because research has come so far and these oils are now becoming more available, their price has significantly decreased since the initial attempts to create stable cooking oils without trans fats. Additionally, some of these oils are now performing even better than their partially hydrogenated predecessors, which means the higher price reflects an overall higher value.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Selling Stuff... for Writers

I met my Rick Roberge almost a year ago when he ran a speed networking meeting for the Society of Professional Communicators. We hit it off and kept in touch since. Although writing is my passion, I know that I need to sell it if I want to devote as much time as I want to writing (full time forever…). That said, I find sales & selling an intriguing study; I always want to learn more.

In any case, I proposed to Rick that we trade guest blogs. He is much more concise than I am, so below is his post to mine… while my post to him will be spread out among 5 days starting today/Wednesday.

Rick's post is especially pertinent to short markets, non-fiction markets and copywriting, but there is plenty to learn. Please leave him comments or send him an email below!


I read your post on Wii Fit Plus [Wednesday night] with a smile on my face and thought that you were writing my guest post for me. Your writer-readers should re-read the post and realize that you are telling Wii what you want to buy and you’re telling them why. Wii currently uses Math. You’re suggesting a language, grammar and writing version of the Wii. How about a Physics Wii that gives you the left side of the equation F= and you have to hip check the right side “ma”, or PV= and the hip check goes to nrT. Or the astronomers version where you have to hip check your way through the planets in the order that they are away from the sun? The possibilities are endless!

The sales lesson in your story is actually that the customer gets to pick what they want to buy. How they want to buy it. Why they want to buy it and when they want to buy it. They have a buying process. They have a preferred language. They also get to pick who they want to buy it from. They don’t have to listen to blondes or brunettes. They don’t have to see fat people or skinny people. They may not like or respect people that are smarter than them, dumber than them, older, younger, married, single, ethnic or not.

So, your specific request was for me to “help writers sell themselves and sell their work”. Let me twist it. Writers shouldn’t try to sell themselves or their work. Rather they should learn how to identify buyers. A few simple examples. What demographic is your prospect looking to reach? Are they looking for a weekly contribution or a one-time feature article? Are they looking for a heavily researched, fact based treatise or a fantasy? These are questions that are probably already being asked and answered. But do writers ask whether or not the status quo is working? Why they want to change? Or stay the same? Does anyone ask their prospect what they’ve heard about them? Why they’re talking to them now? What they’re hoping to hear?

I talk with inventors, designers, and fabricators that all believe that they have the best solution. They can think of all kinds of benefits to their offering and they become frustrated when the perfect prospect won’t even listen to their story. Writers are no different. It’s not about how awesome the writing is. It’s not about how many readers the writer thinks (or knows) they’ll attract. It’s about whether or not the prospect recognizes that they have an issue, whether or not they feel that it’s important enough to fix and whether they realize that you have the perfect solution… that order.

OK. I’m over my word limit. There are two other issues that are worthy of discussion. The first is that anyone who wants to ‘sell’ consistently and predictably needs to master 21 Core Competencies. The second is that some people have difficulty looking at themselves objectively. Each of us has a sales personality. Which do you think you are? Which do you think your friends think you are? Which would I think you are?

I could go on forever. I’ll answer questions that appear in comments publicly as a comment. I’ll answer questions that I receive by email, by email and if you’d like to call, meet or you’re hungry to read more, start at

Monday, February 1, 2010

REALLY Manic Monday

It's 3:AM* and I'm just churning out my blog post. Wheeee!!

*Posting at 4:AM - sorry for not pinging you Julie!


Buncha stuff.

I was planning a review of the Wii Fit Plus, especially after the warm reception to my letter to the Wii Fit Plus developers on behalf of writers.

So much is going on, here's the short version.

4 weeks = lost almost four pounds. A good rate of weight loss.

Exercised using the Wii 24 of the 30 days I've been using it - not including days I've played with horses, spent over an hour stacking wood, went hiking, or played extensively on Wii Sports Resort. Results: Much more regular exercise than previous to using Wii Fit Plus.

In general, the adorable anthropomorphic Wii Balance Board character is both supportive enough and aggravating enough to make me want to return - even if it's to cuss it out. "Yeah, I do happen to trip over my feet a lot! F*ck off about it, will ya?! No, balance is NOT my friggen cup of tea. Earl Grey is… or Rooibos… or Lotus Green. Bite me. See ya' tomorrow!"

The games do make you want to exercise, too. They are short - few last more than 3 minutes - so you can see how much better you are getting (or how sh*tty a day you are having) pretty quickly. Also, you pick how strenuous you want to be and what you want to work on. While I know I can't handle some of the strength or yoga exercises yet, there's still a good 30+ different things I CAN do and not be bored (or feel like a disgusting fat-monster).

The downside to the many short exercises is the fact that your 30 minute daily workout averages about 45 minutes of time or more - especially if you include the Body Test. Make sure you set aside about an hour to commit. Also, it guilt trips you when you go on vacation. Adorable Anthropomorphic Wii Balance Board: "Is that Trish? I haven't seen you for days! I hope you are well." Trish: "Yeah, yeah… I was at a friggen convention. Deal. My husband does - and he doesn't pout at me."

Next month: Will Trish have maintained her exercise schedule and lost more weight? Stay tuned.


Still on a writer's high for finishing edits on A Silent Starsong!!! I've put off the final edits on this one for… about 2 years, really. I love this story, and so does everyone who's read it… Husband-of-Awesome and Del have been pushing me constantly to send it out. But I am a perfectionist… and it's terrifying when you feel so strongly about something. Anyway, looking over my query again and sending Kyra out into the cold, cruel world of publishing.

Do I dare send it to my top-most agents? I've been stalking them long enough to know it fits what they like: voice, story, style etc. It's even a reasonable word-count for its genre (mid-grade/YA) at just over 50k. I read at least three different authors that each of these desired agents represents… no, I FAN <3 at least three different authors that each of these agents represents. (I found out about said agents because I also "stalk" these authors.)

Aaah - the anxiety!!!!

Wish me luck!!!!


The reason this post is at 3AM is because I traded guest-blog spots with my sales colleague, Rick Roberge. J You'll see some guestwork from him here on Wednesday, and I'll let you know when my post (or posts, because my 1000-word averages are… a bit long for his blog) runs on his page.


I won another award!

It reads more like an Interwebz Meme, but I was rather happy with it. Thank you very much, The Pirate's Bounty!

Kreativ Blogger award: tell 7 secrets and tag 7 people.1. I try to eat healthy, but love food so much that portion control becomes an issue.2. I have a bad habit of falling into leadership positions, doing well at them, and then complaining I have no time to fulfill them.3. Part of my procrastination process comes from pride that I can get something done - and done well - no matter the odds.

4. I occasionally fail due to procrastination, but not enough and not badly enough to prevent the practice.
5. I am still a sucker for fun pop songs.6. I am becoming disenchanted with Massachusetts as a state.7. I wanted to be a lawyer when I was about 12 or 13 - till I realized I might have to defend people who were bad.Now to pass it along:

Kelly A. Harmon
the voices in my head
In Common with Humans
Obligated to Exaggerate
The Teresa Jusino Experience

J I don't actually know the criteria for this award, so my criteria: not-already-really-famous people who's blogs I enjoy on a regular basis - or who I will visit when they remind me they've updated.

Or: People with blogs who deserve more positive attention.

Oh, and if you don't respond to the Meme, that's fine… I am happy for an excuse to tout your blogs. ;)

Congrat's y'all because I think you are fabulous!

Happy Week!

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