Friday, May 1, 2015

Fiction Friday: Nobody Told Me There Would Be Math

I work in the Institutional Research department of a community college. One of the researchers there once told me, "People really like things that are one standard deviation off the mean."

He went on to say that things that are further from the mean are too far out for most people's comfort. Things that are right on the mean are too familiar to be interesting. The sweet spot is one standard deviation off the mean.

I entered Demon's Wager in five contests this winter. It was selected as a finalist in all five, including the Golden Heart®, the grandmother of all RWA® contests. Although I've received some valuable criticism, the overall reception has been very positive. In the Diamonds in the Desert contest, I won the paranormal category and the final round judge, Brenda Chin from Belle Books, gave me full points for "Avoiding cliche and bringing a fresh perspective to an old idea." (Final results aren't back for the other contests yet.)

My takeaway is that my co-worker is right. Demon's Wager, based on its largely positive results at contest, falls right at that standard deviation. It's a little weird, but not too weird.

So my question to you is: what is it about your work that pushes it that one standard deviation off the mean?


  1. Oooh, you redecorated! I like.

    I saw you finaled in the Cleveland Rocks Romance Contest. Congratulations (also for all the others, too)! Are you going up to the Cleveland Rocks Convention to see if you won? If so, look for me! I'm going (and signing--yay!).

  2. Congrats on going all the way to the finals and getting such a positive review!

  3. I recommend a book by Jim West called Libellus de Numeros (The Book of Math) that my 11-year-old daughter just finished reading. The story is about Alex, a young precocious girl, who mysteriously gets transported to a strange world where Latin and Math combine in formulas and equations with magical effects. With a cruel council leading the only safe city of its kind in this world, she will have to prove her worth to stay as well as help this city as it is the target for two evil wizards who seek to destroy the city and its ruling council. To help the city and also get back home, she will need the help of the greatest mathematician of all time, Archimedes. In a world where math is magic, Alex wishes she paid more attention in math class.

    A Goodread 5-star review said:

    "The storyline inspires a hunger for knowledge and a 'can do' attitude - a strong message of empowerment for young readers. I’m sure that this book will be interesting to read for both, boys and girls, as well as adult readers. Libellus de Numeros means 'Book of Numbers' and it's a magical textbook in the story. Math and science are wonderfully incorporated into a captivating plot: Latin and math are presented as exciting tools to make 'magic' and while Latin is often used as a language of magic the addition of math is definitely a fresh approach.

    "The main heroine Alex is a very relatable character for young people, especially girls. I love that she has her flaws and goes through struggles all too familiar to a lot of young people. Alex is an authentic female role model - a very courageous girl, who is not afraid to stand up for herself and others and who is able to learn fast how to use knowledge to her best advantage.

    "She can definitely do everything that boys can and I find this to be a very powerful message that is needed in our modern society. Furthermore, it was a pleasure to read through the pages of a well-formatted eBook. Highly recommended!"


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