Tuesday, December 11, 2007

She's All Worked up About Sodium Citrate at Perkins

My fantasy author, Sandy Lender, works from home now, writes from home, edits from home, and pretty much stays glued to the computer. I don't think this is healthy, so I encourage her to get out when friends invite her to lunch. A friend grabbed her and went with her to a restaurant called Perkins yesterday. They've actually gone there before, and had the same angry service, so I don't think they'll be going back. (One of the wait staff was actually throwing silverware this time...like a petulant child, Sandy says.)

Anyway, Sandy likes to eat organic food when she can afford it because she hates the thought of putting pesticide-laden poison into her body. She figures cancer already has a fighting chance of killing her, given her genetics; why feed it what it needs to work faster? So she shops at the organic grocery store when possible, avoids bizarre preservatives, and watches out for unsafe food conditions. She doesn't even add salt to her food. (Sodium raises your blood pressure, she tells me.) Sitting at Perkins was dangerous enough, but when her friend read the ingredients of the Half & Half containers sitting in a little bowl on the table, and finished with "Needs No Chill" and a laugh, Sandy's eyes shot open. "WHAT?"

Anyone who knows her knows this began an internet search. Yes, the ingredients of Half & Half (the Perkins variety, at any rate) are milk, cream, and sodium citrate. Two of these ingredients should remain refrigerated. (Even I know that, and I don't hail from this society.) So what is it about the third ingredient that renders the other two no longer in need of "chill?" You people put this stuff in your coffee and drink it. (Sandy drinks neither coffee nor Half & Half, but she was still curious.)

Turns out that Sodium Citrate is a preservative; trisodium salt. And it's hazardous, according to a variety of sources on the internet. (The main source I'm using for this column is www.jtbaker.com. ) It can cause irritation to skin, eyes, and respiratory tract. It has a flammability rating of "slight." Under normal storage and use conditions, the product is stable, but when you heat it to decomposition (more than 302 degrees F), it produces carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. Now, being from another society, I have no idea what those things are, but Sandy assures me they're bad things for humans to breathe for a long time.

What it boils down to is my fantasy author won't be eating at Perkins anymore because the service has been bad each time she's been in there and the food is less than healthy (she says I don't have to describe the grease because people already know this about such restaurants). But the Half & Half put her over the edge and she wanted me to spell this out as just another bizarre moment in a writer's life.

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Sunday, December 9, 2007

She's Got This Thing About 3:30 A.M.

I'm not sure what's so magical about this hour, but my fantasy author, Sandy Lender, tends to either fall asleep at the computer at this hour when I'm trying to get her to write, or she wakes up at this hour. She woke up at 3:30 this morning with an idea for a new fantasy novel, set on the continent of Onweald, which is significant because that's the place where a majority of the story of the Choices Meant for Gods trilogy takes place.

Sidenote: If you haven't already purchased a copy of CMFG for yourself or a loved one, it would make a fabulous Christmas present for anyone who enjoys the Lord of the Rings/Tolkien stories. I'm going on faith there because I'm not familiar with the books, only the movies. (She says I shouldn't admit such a thing because the books, while not able to convey the hotness of Viggo Mortensen, are better than the movies. I think I get her meaning, but I'm going to pretend that I don't.)

Anyway, the point of this post is to let you all know that this day in a writer's life, the writer woke up at 3:30 to scribble down notes for a new fantasy novel. And then neglected to post her usual items to her blog over at www.todaythedragonwins.blogspot.com so she just posted something for writers about half an hour ago. I think she's nuts for trying to keep up with daily posts given everything else she has going on in her life, but she's got this contest going where you can win a copy of the epic fantasy novel Choices Meant for Gods. The rules/directions are posted over at www.authorisland.com, which is a great site for readers (and writers) who want to get information about new books that are out, the authors who write them, etc.

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Sunday, December 2, 2007

She's Staying Busy

While she goes out to the swamp to see if the sheriff has blocked access to her house yet, I'm going to fill you in on my fantasy writer's weekend. I keep thinking that she should get some sort of notification when the locks get changed on her home, but she says nothing else in this process has gone smoothly, why should the "final foreclosing" be any different. Because I'm not from this society, and I have no experience with such things, I can't argue. It doesn't appear that things have been done according to your laws so far, though. It's a pity she doesn't have the funds to start suing these institutions for mental anguish...

The point of today's post, this weekend in a writer's life: my fantasy author, Sandy Lender, got to attend a writers' meeting yesterday afternoon, and then went up to St. Petersburg to visit a friend who was in town for a conference.

It sounds so much less exciting when I spell it out like that. She had a nice time and got back home by 10 p.m. At the writers' meeting, one of the people who has read Choices Meant for Gods suggested in a rather pointed manner to her publisher (who was also in attendance) that he get her second book out. That process is more complex at the moment than one might guess. Of course, I'll get to break the news here as soon as there is news to break.

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