And the posts won't just be on my blog, I've arranged to have them also post on SF Signal! I'm very excited about this, not least because I miss contributing to that excellent site. I felt that authors - both those recommending and being recommended - deserved a larger audience than my site provides. They'll still post here on specific Fridays. I want Fridays to be the DAY to check out my blog if you don't follow me regularly. It's when I put up my author interviews and new author spotlights, reading lists, etc.
The other column I'm working on is called Historical Tidbits. I've been reading more history books and watching more of The Great Courses courses (their "The Other Side of History" about how regular people lived in the past is fantastic so far). This column would be for small tidbits I learn that I think are interesting, might be neat to see in works of fantasy, are weirder than fiction, etc.
Things like this on ancient pregnancy tests:
The ancient Egyptians invented a ... method of testing for pregnancy. It is described in a papyrus of the thirteenth century B.C., ... According to this, a woman wanting to know if she was pregnant would be asked to urinate daily on bags containing grains of wheat and barley. The papyrus states that the urine would accelerate the growth of the grain if the subject was pregnant.
Remarkably enough the method works, due to the action of a particular hormone present in the urine of pregnant women, of which modern science only became aware in 1927. A series of tests carried out from the 1930s onward has shown that in 40 percent of cases the hormones in the urine of a pregnant woman accelerate the growth of cereals, while the urine of a woman who is not pregnant (or a man) will retard growth.
Ancient Inventions by Peter James and Nick Thorpe, p. 192
I'm really excited about these new columns and hope to have them up and running soon. And tune in tomorrow for an interview with Will McIntosh, author of Soft Apocalypse, Hitchers and Love Minus Eighty.