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Writing Journal: Fun Facts about Spleens

Good morning, sleepy peeps. It’s a Lofi beats kind of morning. Not too fast, not too eager. The city is suffused in mist and it’s dark enough that the florescent lights in the tower across the street look nighttime bright.

On misty days, I like to imagine Seattle from above, the towers poking up from the white fog, the glow of civilization below. We’re cocooned in atomized precipitation, the kind that leaves your skin damp and the streets shiny, all without a drop of rain.

Last night, I read Working Stiff: The Making of a Medical Examiner by Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell, and yowza it was a good read. Good because it was compelling and educational and human, but it was also heart-wrenching and disturbing because it talks about tragedy, icky decomposition, and incidents of human suffering. The book didn’t glory in any of those things; it was a respectful, uplifting, and emotional experience. But it’s a good thing I have a strong stomach and I’m not prone to nightmares.

Here’s a non-disturbing passage I liked:

Spleens are very delicate, full of tiny blood vessels and liable to rupture. Quite a number of people have two or three accessory spleens, like bright red mushrooms. Others have no spleen at all. Sometimes patients who have had spleens removed due to trauma will have sprouted lots of weird little accessory spleens all over the abdominal cavity. The spleen is a weird organ.

I picked up the book on a whim, as I have a side character in The Butterfly Island Mysteries who is a coroner (although not a medical examiner), and I was curious to learn more about how those types of departments operated. What I didn’t expect was to be sitting on the couch last night, my heart aching, my eyes burning, learning what it was like to identify victims in the aftermath of 9/11.

It’s a comfort to remember that we’re all held up by a network of public servants and helpers, people who do the impossible for us. All those angels we do not see.

Indie Author Education

There’s a new episode of the Six Figure Authors podcast today, so I’ll give that a listen today.

In Las Vegas, the 20booksto50K conference is going on, and they’re posting some of their panels online.

Author business events are a mixed bag. Some of them, like 20Booksto50k, are pretty good, but there’s also a lot of “get rich quick” bullshit at these kinds of events. New indie authors waste a lot of time chasing trends, going after the shiny new platform or business strategy, not focusing on the important things, like learning to write entertaining stories at a good clip, or learning how to target and package a series toward an existing readership, or building a newsletter list.

Vella came out, and authors skidded to a stop and reformatted their books for Vella. Someone serializes on substack, and a thousand authors skid to a stop, and decide that THEY TOO will become a famous author on substack.

Don’t be like that, fellow kids. Be jaded and wise, like me! 😂 Write books. Improve your skills. Package them well. If you want to earn money, learn what readers enjoy and target your series appropriately. Advertise your work. That’s the whole game, right there.

Walk right past the rubes waving their dollar bills outside the moron store. Invest your precious dollar in something useful. Maybe a proofreader. Maybe a nice premade cover for that story you just wrote. And don’t forget, the only thing more valuable than your dollars is your time.

Time you should be writing. Speaking of which….

Imagine me now, stepping off my soapbox, and tossing a smokebomb on the ground.

POOF!

(Into the book I go!)