Reblog: THE PLOT THICKENS! Or, Your Suspicions May Be True

[Today I’m reblogging mystery author Helen Currie Foster’s post for Ink-Stained Wretches—about how we’re influenced by our genes, our experiences, our parenting, our parents’ parenting . . . fascinating stuff—and how writers might use what science is uncovering on the topic.]

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by Helen Currie Foster

Okay—Mom Genes is such a great title, it couldn’t not be used. But Abigail Tucker’s new book of that title doesn’t focus just on moms. Tucker, a New York Times best-selling science writer, dives deep into the burgeoning science examining parental behavior—genetic? hormonal? learned?

And you writers may find it a rich source for potential plots.

Moms will recognize Tucker’s description of the weird sensation of being kidnapped, of feeling like victims of an Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Not feeling quite yourself? In the first of a series of jaw-dropping recent research findings, Tucker reports, “Our children colonize our lungs, spleens, kidneys, thyroids, skin”—and brains. Far from being that familiar image of the one-way street, with mother’s blood, nutrients and even cells flowing into the fetus, the fetus also sends its own fetal cells into the mother. It’s “fetal microchimerism.” No wonder a burgeoning mom feels…she’s changed.

Tucker doesn’t dodge painful issues of maternal and paternal favoritism. “Some 80 percent of us allegedly … prefer one of our children to the others, and more than half of parents demonstrate so-called differential treatment toward various progeny.” The most striking predictor? “Moms appear to dote on their cutest kids.” Apparently “the components of infant attractiveness…are rigid and globally constant,” including big eyes, large forehead, small chin, and chubby cheeks. Tucker says this preference extends to nearly all baby mammals.

To read the rest of this post click here.

Lady Edith Defended & ROW80 Plans

I speak on behalf of Edith Crawley.

Highclere Castle
Highclere Castle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Granted, the second of Lord Grantham’s daughters behaves like a real stinker, exposing Lady Mary’s extreme indiscretion in season one of Downton Abbey and rendering her, in Lady Grantham’s words, damaged goods. 

But consider: Edith has spent her life sandwiched between the beautiful Lady Mary and the stunning and sweet Lady Sybil. Mary hasn’t a kind word to say to or about her, at least when I’ve been listening, and neither Lord nor Lady Grantham appears concerned about Mary’s evil tongue. (Lady Mary, in my estimation, should have had a good talking to before she was out of rompers. And several weeks in time-out.)

In addition, Edith is the only member of the family who doesn’t whine about turning the Abbey into a convalescent home for officers during the war. She pitches in and makes herself useful. If Mary had done something besides yearn for Matthew and worry about her marriage prospects, she would have been happier.

And this viewer would have been happier, too.

I’m pleased to see Lady Edith finally getting together with the gentleman she lost because of Mary’s retaliative backstabbing several years before. I haven’t one hope in Habana that he will survive to the wedding, or even to the engagement, since Edith is the hard-luck kid of the series. I only hope Mary isn’t the agent of her disappointment this time. I’ve about had it with Mary.

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Round 1 of ROW80 2013 begins tomorrow. I set out my Eight Suggestions in a post last week. This week, I plan to concentrate on #s 2 and 6: Write for an hour a day and get to bed before midnight. I’m not doing too well with #6, so that one will take extra effort. I’ll check in again Wednesday.

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To see what other ROW80 participants are up to, click here.