New Publications on Buprestidae and Cerambycidae

Crossidius hirtipes allgewahri

Crossidius hirtipes allgewahri LeConte, 1878

I’ve been busy processing photos and a preparing a write-up of an insect collecting trip to New Mexico this past June-look for a series of posts about the trip in the near future!

In the meantime, I’ve had a couple more publications come out since the end of last year-both as part of joint efforts to document beetle diversity at the state level. The first of these came out in vol. 71, no. 4 of The Coleopterists Bulletin (published 18 Dec 2018) and presents a checklist of the Cerambycidae of Idaho with notes on selected species. The citation is:

Rice, M. E., F. Merickel & T. C. MacRae. 2017. The longhorned beetles (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) of Idaho. The Coleopterists Bulletin 71(4):667–678 [pdf].

The photo of Crossidius hirtipes allgewahri LeConte, 1878 (see above-which was actually photographed in Moffatt Co., Colorado and is, I think, the very first species of the genus that I photographed) also appeared in that article.

The second paper was just published a couple of weeks ago (20 June 2018) in vol. 72, no. 2 of The Coleopterists Bulletin (I am still waiting for my hard copy in the mail!). It presents an annotated checklist of the Buprestidae of Louisiana.

Carlton, C. E., T. C. MacRae, A. Tishechkin, V. L. Bayless & W. Johnson. 2018. Annotated checklist of the Buprestidae (Coleoptera) from Louisiana. The Coleopterists Bulletin 72(2):351–367 [pdf].

As always, a complete list of my publications with links to abstracts or pdfs can be found under “My Publications“.

© Ted C. MacRae 2018


The First Draft is Just the Beginning

I spend a lot of time working with my clients to edit and revise their proposals and manuscripts. I give notes and suggestions for improvements. Sometimes I take them through draft after draft, until everything seems just right.

I know it’s tiring for them, and sometimes frustrating to be pushed to go over it again and again, especially when they know they’ll go through more edits with their publisher. I admire every writer who does whatever is necessary, who keeps pushing through, who remains dedicated to making the work the best it can be.

This is what it takes to be good. When an editor pushes you to be your best, or when you push yourself, you’re doing exactly what’s necessary to rise above the hordes of regular writers to become a good writer. Along those lines, I read this powerful piece in the book Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers’ Guide from the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University.*

No one, not even the greatest writers, creates good first drafts. “I have to write crap before I can write anything that is not crap,” says Walt Harrington, who has been writing well for thirty years. “Writing is thinking. It is an extension of the reporting process.” A first draft might have promising sentences or paragraphs, a brilliant conceptualization, a few surprising turns of phrase, or a sturdy framework. All that, however, will probably be barely visible, entangled in the general messiness of half-formed ideas. Those promising elements will reveal themselves as the writer begins to tease apart the mess with the next draft and the one after that.

Still, as you read through a flawed first draft, remember that the hardest work is behind you. You have moved closer to defining the topic and developed strategies for explaining it…. You have stared down the blank page and begun building something on it.

Good writing is far too complex to get right in one draft or two or five. Good writers are most often plain ol’ writers who go the extra mile and then a few more.

If you are struggling through draft after draft, trying to get it right, take heart. You’re going the extra mile, and then a few more. Keep putting in the work, and you will become a good writer.

Are you pushing yourself hard enough? Are you going through enough drafts to push yourself to be a good writer?


Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

*Quote from Telling True Stories, p. 97, by Mark Kramer & Wendy Call.

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When it makes sense to be selfish

When it makes sense to be selfishNew research proposes how separating yourself from a choice may enable you to settle on the decision that creates the most advantage for you and others. One key to augmenting benefits for everybody is understanding that periodically the best choice will profit you the most, said Paul Stillman, lead creator of the examination who did this […]

The Go-Getter Writer’s Guide to Ramp Up Your Freelance Business

Ramp Up Your Freelance Business. a thriving freelance business as a writer. That’s the goal, right?

But just about every writer discovers that the path to get there includes twists and turns, dead-ends, roadblocks, and delays while trying to build a freelance business.

And sometimes, you might even get lost along the way. Been there, done that?

But if you’re the go-getter type who’s willing to hustle, develop discipline, and learn the business and craft of freelance writing, you can do this.

Whether you’re just starting out, or you’re ready to move up and earn more, there’s a few critical skills you need for long-term success.

And they don’t have anything to do with the craft of writing, but everything to do with the business of writing, planning, finances, and marketing.

Ready to ramp up your freelance business? Check out these five go-getter strategies to help you earn more, get a steady stream of clients, and create a long-term game plan for freelance business success.

1. Two Easy-Fun Ways Freelance Writers Can Find Great Clients

If you’re freaking out about trying to survive a marketing marathon to get hundreds of letters of introduction or queries out the door in a month to grow your freelance business, take a chill pill. Those are effective marketing strategies. But they aren’t the only way to find clients. Here are two more ways to make connections, find clients, and get referrals.

2. Cash Flow 101 for Freelance Writers: Or How to Never Feel Broke Again

If you plan to run a successful freelance business as a writer, you can’t ignore the need for generating enough income to pay your bills and enjoy a certain quality of life. But too many writers fall into the feast or famine trap. And it doesn’t have to be that way.  Here are 10 ways to improve your cash flow.

3. 7 Ways a Freelance Writer Can Create Retirement Income

Want to retire from your freelance business someday with money in the bank, residual income streams, or writing assets you can sell? It’s not as hard as you might think. These freelance business strategies for writers will help you save for the future.

4. Why Writers Should Know Their Daily Rate

If you want to make a living writing, you’ll probably need to charge more than what you’d earn at a J-O-B. Want to make $100/hr? Sounds pretty good, right?

If you want to run a serious freelance business, knowing your hourly rate will help you:

  • Bid on writing projects
  • Weed out clients that can’t afford you
  • Make the most of your time for writing and marketing

Check out this post for all the factors to consider to calculate your daily rate.

5. Five Ways to Make Your Flaky Client Pay Up

What happens when a writing client doesn’t pay? The simple answer: It has a direct impact on your bottom line as a freelance business. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get paid. These five get-your-attention moves typically get slow-to-pay clients to cut a check.

Freelance business strategies for writers

If you want to make a living writing, there’s more to it than just being a great wordsmith. You also need to be a go-getter who makes smart freelance business decisions to land great clients, make more money, and enjoy the freedom of being your own boss.

What do you need help with to grow your writing business? Let’s discuss on Facebook and LinkedIn.

FREE VIDEO REPLAY: How Freelance Writers Double Their Income. Presented by Carol Tice, Freelance Writers Den Founder and Coach. WATCH NOW

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What Are The Five Love Languages?

What Are The Five Love LanguagesGary Chapman PhD is the author of one of my all time favorite books, the best-seller The Five Love Languages. It created the concept of individuals giving and receiving love in specific ways that are measurable and determine how we act and engage with the world and those we love.

Based on his work, each of us falls into a love category (love language) that determines how we prefer to express and receive love. This benefits us by better understanding ourselves and why we feel the things we feel. It also goes a step further when we apply the concepts to those that we love such as our spouse or children. Identify their love language helps us better understand how they give and receive love as well. It helps us understand how best to love them and show that love for them. Love is not a word or a feeling, it is action or a series of actions that display the deep feeling we have.

The things that we personally like/need to feel loved might be completely different for our family and friends. What if the ways in which you show love and affection have always been about you and not them? Wouldn’t you want to change that? Of course you would!

So, let’s take a look at the five love languages:

  1. Words of Affirmation- This love language is essentially based in giving and receiving nurturing and positive feedback. Words and communication of your love and admiration via words are key here. Silence is not golden in this case. This love language is represented by seeking understanding, asking for forgiveness when wrong, sharing kind and encouraging words, and giving and receiving meaningful compliments. This person wants to hear I love you, be told they are beautiful/handsome, be told they are hardworking, a good parent, etc.
  2. Quality Time- The quality time love language is all about togetherness. The distinction being the time is focused and centered on the relationship; time is uninterrupted with no distractions. This is shown by putting away devices, maintaining eye contact during conversations, active listening, and participating in activities meaningful to the relationship. This person needs date nights, family movie/game nights, and other special one on one trips or events. Time spent together is what makes them feel loved.
  3. Receiving Gifts- Receiving gifts is a timeless gesture of love and respect. Those who have it for a primary love language are uplifted by the sentiment of the gift-giving more than the gift itself. It is all about what the gift represents and the effort that was taken by the giver that means so much. It shows that you were thinking of them and that you mean so much to them they bought you a gift.
  4. Acts of Service- This love languages is all about doing things for others that they appreciate. Whereas the above people like physical gifts, these folks like to be served in some way as an expression of your love. No, I don’t mean that they want their feet rubbed all the time I mean they want to see the “work” you put into your love. A wife can fill her husband’s car with gas or pack him a lunch. A husband can vacuum the floor or make his sick wife some chicken soup. Acts of service are expressions of love…more than words or baubles are needed because those are not what they value.
  5. Physical Touch- This love language goes way beyond the obvious idea of sex. This language is saturated in the warmth that comes from being present and being in touch and in tune with the other party. Holding the hand of a friend in distress. Making sure to hug and kiss your spouse hello every day after work. Sitting side-by-side with an anxious child. These are acts of love that mean the world to a physical touch love language receiver. Those moments of contact are what make them feel loved. And yes sex is very important to a spouse with this love language as well.

You can take a simple test at and discover your hierarchy of languages. You may have a dominant language or a blend of more than one. Generally speaking, how you prefer to express your love is also the same as how you prefer to receive gestures of love. Check out your ratings and get more familiar with the concept to enhance your interpersonal experiences.

My husband is a combo of physical touch and words of affirmation. He needs to hear often about how wonderful, handsome, and amazing he is. He also wants to be hugged, touched, kissed, and his hand held often. Physical touch to him means ‘I love you”. As a quiet and not overly affectionate person myself…these are things I have to constantly work at but I do because he needs these things.

My love language is acts of service. For me nothing says love like someone caring enough to be of service to me. I appreciate a clean house when I get home from a trip, someone offering to fold laundry with me, or someone filling my car with gas when I have to work the next day. Hugs, kisses, gifts, and words of love are nice but not what actually makes me feel deep inside like that person really loves me.

That is what it is all about folks. What makes you feel loved deep down? What makes those around you feel loved deep down? Are you going about showing your love for those people in effective or ineffective ways? Find out!

Also read: The 5 Love Languages of Children: The Secret to Loving Children Effectively

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May the forest be with you: GEDI moves toward launch to space station

GEDI (pronounced like ‘Jedi,’ of Star Wars fame) is a first-of-its-kind laser instrument designed to map the world’s forests in 3-D from space. These measurements will help fill in critical gaps in scientists’ understanding of how much carbon is stored in the world’s forests, the potential for ecosystems to absorb rising concentrations of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere, and the impact of forest changes on biodiversity.

Never Say Never Bridger


Living and skiing in Big Sky, Montana, we often see a bumper sticker that says “Never Bridger”, a cheeky dig at Bridger Bowl ski area north of Bozeman. Bridger is less than a two-hour drive from Big Sky, but it’s amazing how many Big Sky skiers have stubbornly never skied Bridger. In fairness, it’s pretty hard to drive away from Lone Peak and many of us don’t leave our mountain town bubble for weeks or months at a time in the winter. When you have the “Biggest Skiing in America” in your backyard, topped off with world-class backcountry skiing in Beehive Basin, why go anywhere else?

As much as I love our mountain home, I make a point to leave Big Sky at least a few times a winter to explore other ski mountains. Earlier this winter we skied Lost Trail Powder Mountain south of Missoula and a few weeks ago we made the trek up to Whitefish Mountain Resort, outside of Glacier National Park. This winter, I really wanted to make it to Bridger because our friend and former roommate Al joined the ski patrol squad there this winter and he was offering to show us the classics, including the Bridger Ridge: a 2.5 mile long ridgeline hike across the top of the Bridger Mountain Range. I also wanted to put an end to my partner Dan’s 8-year “Never Bridger” streak.

Yesterday after a warmup lap on the “Fingers”, we followed Al onto the Bridger lift and then strapped our skis to our backpacks and bootpacked straight up about 500 feet onto the ridge. From there we hiked north along the windy, corniced ridge to an area called the Apron, where we clicked into our skis and dropped into Hidden Gully, a steep, narrow and snowy chute on the east side of the ridge. And then we did it again. Never Say Never Bridger Mission Accomplished!






We have about three weeks left of skiing in Big Sky before the lifts stop spinning April 22. Then we’ll be taking our skis to Iceland! In the meantime, Aerial Geology is back in stock! Signed copies direct from me are $30 plus $5 shipping. Read more about my book here.