Archive for May, 2022

Low Down Dirty Vote

As promised, LDDV 3 was released on May 15 and a flurry of posts followed.

LDDV 3, edited by Mysti Berry, has 22 stories, covering a wide range of subgenres. Here’s a rundown that appeared on Raven-winner Dru Ann Love‘s blog last week.

Other pertinent links:

• BookLife review:

• David Corbett’s post – “Writing Wrongs: The Color of My Low-Down Dirty Vote” 

• Mysti Berry’s post on “Editing for Voice”

For my entry, “Vote Early,” I decided to try something different. Unlike 80,000-word novels, short stories allow for experimentation, and this time I experimented with (sort of?) sci fi.

Emma, a two-month-old baby is frustrated — she has the intelligence and skills of an adult but can’t reveal her situation to her parents. She’s passionate about voting, and when her apathetic parents toss their ballots in the trash, Emma decides to take action.

See what you think!

First Lady of Physics

Look who I missed in my May newsletter! Chien-Shiung Wu, born May 31, 1912.

I remember first hearing about her when I was researching the overthrow of parity* for an undergraduate term paper. Wu did the experiments; her co-workers Lee and Yang (male) received the Nobel Prize for the work.

Enough about that.

At first, it was hard for me to accept the “First Lady of Physics” title for Wu, when I might have given it to Marie Curie. But, I admit, Curie was more of a chemist, and after all, did win two Nobels, the first person to do so, and in two different fields.

For all its faults, the USPS came through for Wu and issued a Forever stamp with her image.

(There’s no stamp for Lee or Yang that I’m aware of.)

In the interests of spreading science literacy and the importance of STEM, I’ll be glad to send you a strip of Wu stamps upon request. Send your address (even if I’ve mailed you before — I don’t keep addresses lest I be hacked and your privacy destroyed!).

*demonstrating that nature is not symmetric at the atomic level.

The Other Gloria

My dear cousin Gloria (1925-2022)

As you might know if you follow my Facebook posts, Gloria died last week, a few days after her 97th birthday. She was a model for me all her life. She was a college graduate (Simmons College, Boston, 1946), probably the first I’d met outside of my teachers, and a became a lab assistant to polio researchers in the 1940s and ’50, attached to the well-known, Nobel-winning Enders laboratories. Amazing!

Gloria at work, c. 1947

In the ‘90s, I named my first protagonist after her and I loved that she would then call herself “The Other Gloria,” signing cards and notes that way.

In her honor, I’d love to send an e-copy of “The Hydrogen Murder,” the first in that series, to anyone who’d like one. Send your email address to me

Mexican what?

It was the late 70’s and I hadn’t been in California that long. I was hardly used to a culture so different from places I’d lived the rest of my life —all east of the Hudson. I had no idea where things were. In fact, I thought Hawaii was right off the coast of LA, since that’s where it was pictured on a map.

I also had no idea what grew where. Walnuts on a tree? Even heavy oranges? Where I grew up there were no seasons for fruits and vegetables—they came to us from *somewhere or other* all year, many in their own little molded foam containers.

Another difference was the celebration of holidays. As a kid, I knew all about Patriot’s Day

Listen, my children, and you shall hear

Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere

On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five

Hardly a man is now alive

Who remembers that famous day and year.

and so on.

In fact we had the day off from school!

And, of course, July 4, INDEPENDENCE DAY, was celebrated with great aplomb, all through New England, New York, DC, all the places I’d lived—with concerts, fireworks, BBQs, flags everywhere.

Cheers for the red, white, and blue.

In California, however, a bigger fuss seemed to be made on May 5, Cinco de Mayo. I tried to get in the spirit of that day, and even included a mention of it in an early book in the Periodic Table mysteries—Mexican Independence Day, I proclaimed!


It turns out, Mexican Independence Day is September 16, commemorating Mexico’s independence from Spain. May 5, on the other hand, is the anniversary of Mexico’s victory over the French Empire. What?

I learned this the hard way—in an email from a professor at a college in Mexico City, excoriating me and my error. Such a gringo, she said.

I apologized, of course, and I repeat it here. Hopefully, you’ll never make that mistake.