This week is a call block, which means yours truly is on call for 7 days in a row for Ob deliveries, if my colleagues need someone to do a C-section, and at times for all admissions to the hospital (adult or peds) and q15 minute calls from the nursing home. Call is always feast or famine. It could be boring. It could suck rocks. I work in a small, rural hospital, so FP’s do pretty much everything here.
If you live in a big city, then this job may seem like the unholy love child of Marcus Welby, M.D., Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, and Dr. Joel Fleischman (Northern Exposure). And you’d be correct. The net result when I’m on my call stint? Poor sleep, putting out fires in the office and all hours of day and night, and difficulty doing anything but sit around and wait for the next call to light up the phone.
Why my cats are the best
No surprise, but hubs and I loved every pound kitty we've owned. They’re totally a mess, semi-defective, and that's what gives them...character.
In case you think dogs are better than cats, let me describe my two current “preciouses” and change your mind.
#1) They are automatic foot warmers. Even in summer. How fabulous...
#2) We do not have to let them out to use the bathroom in inclement weather. They’ve got their own box. Indoors. We do not have to walk them. They wouldn't go, if we tried.
#3) They stare at us adoringly for hours. Or maybe they’re plotting some sort of revenge.
#4) Excellent actors. The younger, ridiculously hairy cat had us totally fooled by the look-at-how-sweet-I-am act at the pound. Now that she has a roof over her head and blankets to shed upon? She’s the devil.
Sometimes writers are just too tired to write. Sometimes we have day jobs or families or general insanity that sucks up every last minute of the day. Well, now what?
During this week's call block, I started thinking about everything I get done besides writing when I'm on call. Here goes...
#1) Blogs. Ta-dash. Case in point.
#2) Research. This activity fits well into small, interrupt-able attention packets, which is nice when the ICU + med-surg floor + Ob unit + ER + 5 nursing homes all have my number on speed dial. You know it’s been a bad weekend when the switchboard operator at the hospital begins her spiel with an apology. Sometimes a few minutes of research is nice. Like thinking about really hot men and how they might fit into a novel, hypothetically-speaking of course. Yum!
#1) How come everyone speaks American English? (Ok, besides Jean Luc Picard, but he’s really French or something.) Did America win the universe and now every place in the galaxy has to speak standard English?
#2) How do we know that the entire series isn’t all happening inside of Q’s little snow globe of amusement?
#3) Rock climbing in the holodeck. How high can you really go?
#4) Why no changing rooms near the holodeck? Remember the mud bath with Mrs. Troi, Worf, and Alexander? Did they track mud through the ship until they got back to their quarters? Or did the mud magically disappear because it came from…a holodeck?
#5) How come only the Romulans and Klingons get cloaked vessels? That’s a bit unfair to all the Vulcans, humans, and well -- everyone else -- in the universe...
Recap: Because of some questionable decision-making on my part, I ended up fastdrafting a paranormal romance novel over an approximately 4 day period. Part 1 and Part 2 give a good recap of those four days of insanity.
So, the first draft of the novel was completed as of 2/23/16. Deadline to send it to the developmental editor: 3/6/16. My personal preference? I hate being late, so I generally try to get things in a little early, mostly to reinforce to my latent OCD. So late is not an option.
That meant I had to take the novel from first draft (37K words) to ~45K words – my second stage goal. No, the book is not done yet – not by any stretch – but I wanted it layered enough for the editor to take a look and make revision suggestions before I go back for another rewrite and expand it some more.
Disclaimer: I make no claims as to the quality of the manuscript. Also, no claims as to any expertise other than how dumb I was to attempt something like this in such a short period of time. Making bad choices? I'm a level 11 certified expert.
So. 12 days to revise the book. 160 pages divided by 12 = 13.5 pages/day. Should be easy, right? (Spoiler alert: This scheme doesn’t work well if you have a day job.)
In a sleep-deprived state (thank you, little 3am vampire baby delivery), it occurred to me that the advice I give for medical care is pretty good. (The fact that only about 1.3% of patients listen to it is another thing entirely.) But then I got to thinking: what health behaviors do my characters portray? Am I sending the wrong message?
I give you: Things my characters do that I would never recommend.
#10) Drive really fast. Ok, maybe if there’s a reason, fine, just be aware of surroundings and careful of other vehicles/pedestrians.
#9) Drink far too much coffee. Which is funny, because I don’t like coffee. But my characters do. Don’t the women know that lots of coffee will increase fibrocystic breast changes? Don’t the guys know that it just makes them annoying as hell when they’re that peppy and talkative in the mornings?
#8) Leave the Emergency Department AMA (Against Medical Advice) while not yet recovered from life-threatening injuries. Don’t give me this BS about how you're almost immortal. You need neuro checks and vitals q hour for overnight observation.
Why I would NEVER date Odilon
Poor Odie, hero of the third book in the Hell to Pay series, Flame Unleashed, has been neglected. I've previously explained in great detail with requisite gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands why I would never date the previous two heroes of my books. (Earlier posts this year.) But what about Odie? He must have some qualities that make him undateable, unsexy, un-forever-loveable.
So here goes.
#10) Perfect beard scruff, not too much, not too little. Like a kid brother of Joe Manganiello. Dis. Gust. Ing. Who likes rugged guys like that?
#9) Intense green eyes? Naw.
#8) A guy who sacrifices himself to save his young daughters? What a turn off. Give me selfish fellas all day long.
If you've clicked through the pages of this blog, you'll know I have a preoccupation with how people in airports drive me nuts. After 2 (or was it 3) posts about how much airport people make me want to tear out my hair, I thought that well had run dry.
Then I went on another trip.
Why airport people make me crazy, round 3 (or 4?):
#10) How does an adult woman pack a full-sized Pantene bottle of shampoo into her carry-on and then have the temerity to go postal on the hapless TSA worker who tells her to throw the bottle away? Anyone who has breathed in the past 15 years knows : little travel size. Anything larger can be a bomb. A bomb of fabulous lather and three natural conditioners, including jojoba.
#9) Let's take a quiz. Let's say the sign says: "1 carry-on and 1 personal item" Does this mean A) 2 rolling suitcases + a purse B) 1 baby carseat + diaper bag + stroller + rolling luggage bag (per person) or C) backpack (like one you would use for camping for a week) + guitar + 3 plastic grocery store bags full of gear. (If you answered all three, you win the prize.)
#8) Item #9 -- all of it -- attempting to be crammed into the overhead slots of a regional jet. And then being ticked off when it does not work.
What a difference a year makes!
One year ago today. Has it only been a year? Time flies.
I’m at the same physician conference as this time last year. And, as I struggle to stay awake in the classes, I’m once again pushing each evening to get edits done for another book. (Because nothing says “rampant creativity” like Six Sigma industry safety data and leadership development skills, right?)
This time last year, I was:
10) About to quit the whole writing dream. I mean, come on now, 7+ years of working on this stuff and no one wanted my books. A gal can take a hint. Check, please. Then along came Crimson and lots of support and, yes, I’m still writing away, and feel more confident with each book. Timing and the right people and a little perseverance make all the difference.
9) Dealing with fear. What the heck was I doing, writing a book, much less editing it? How ridiculous. What if people hated it? (Thank goodness, it looks like most of them thought the series was a fun read!)
8) Keeping secrets. Still doing that. Patients, colleagues and families as yet are not in the loop. Until it becomes inevitable to spill, I’ll keep this writing gig as my little secret for right now.
My cat judges me
My cat sits and stares at me for hours.
No, it's not an expression of adoration. It's judgement.
But what is she really thinking...?
10) Oooh, dust motes!
9) How many nails can I pull off and deposit on the freshly-vacuumed carpet?
8) Yippee, clean clothes! Time to sit on them and shed.
7) Yippee, clean clothes! Time to ralph up a hairball on them.
6) Yippee, clean clothes! Time to chew a clean bra strap.
5) Mumsy's gotten kind of lumpy.
4) If I lick my chops, the scent of fish-n-glop will go everywhere!
3) I hope Mumsy doesn't want her pillow back anytime soon.
2) It's amazing how a kitty like me can be so pretty. (BTW, she's a hairy nightmare.)
1) Why is Mumsy always writing? She knows I can't read.
Author, daydreamer, and practitioner of trying very hard to duct tape folks together and help when I can.
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