Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘CJ Lyons’ Category

As a former ER doc, I’m often asked about life in the ER and how it’s different than the “normal” world.

One obvious difference is that for people who work in Emergency Rooms, holidays take on a whole different meaning than they do for the rest of the world.  Here’s a list of the five most dangerous days of the year to be in or around an ER.

Number 5: tie between Valentines Day and St. Patrick’s Day

Valentine’s Day has sloppy heart-broken drunks with suicidal ideations. St. Patrick’s Day has more sloppy drunks puking up green beer and seeing leprechauns.  Definite toss up (pun intended!)

Number 4: Christmas

Over the hills to grandma’s—often while driving drunk on icy roads; stomach viruses, influenza, and respiratory diseases all hitting at once; curious kiddies surrounded by poisonous mistletoe and poinsettias; traveling out-of-towners who forget their heart, diabetes, blood pressure, or anti-psychotic medications….need I say more?

Number 3: New Years

More drunk driving, more icy roads, coupled with kids waking up before their parents and overdosing on left-over booze, add in a plethora of stroke of midnight kisses turned into date-rapes, hang-overs, and football bets gone wrong.

Number 2: Thanksgiving

Sharp knives do not mix with a once a year family gathering!  Festering hostilities tend to surface, aided by liberal doses of wine and turkey.

Number 1: July 1st

Actually make that July 1st through the 4th.  You see, for teaching hospitals, our calendar starts on July 1st.  That’s when the new interns—yes, the bumbling fools who were mere medical students on June 30th—hit the hospitals and start taking care of patients.

Add to that the age-old American traditions of drinking yourself stupid and shooting off explosives and/or guns while celebrating Independence Day and you have a sure-fire recipe for disaster.

Is it any wonder that my medical suspense novel, LIFELINES, takes place from July 1 through July 4th?

I remember my own Transition Day.  Brand new, still not unpacked or moved in, barely finding the hospital parking lot (it was two blocks away in a gang-riddled, not-so-nice neighborhood) much less figuring out my way around the hospital and I’m suddenly on call, responsible for three floors worth of very sick kids!

No one died that night, not on my watch….for which I’ve forever been eternally grateful.  I don’t take credit for it—I think it was more likely because of the always-excellent nurses who were well aware of the dangers July 1st posed their tiny patients.

Anyone out there with a favorite holiday disasters?  I’d love to hear!

Thanks for reading,

CJ

Visit CJ's Website

About CJ:

As a pediatric ER doctor, New York Times Bestseller CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge Thrillers with Heart.

CJ has been called a “master within the genre” (Pittsburgh Magazine) and her work has been praised as “breathtakingly fast-paced” and “riveting” (Publishers Weekly) with “characters with beating hearts and three dimensions” (Newsday).

Learn more about CJ’s Thrillers with Heart at www.cjlyons.net

Read Full Post »

 

As a former pediatric ER doctor turned thriller writer, I love talking about the really important things in life: namely, the best ways to kill someone and get away with it.

So, given the winter holiday season, I thought I’d throw out a few ideas on Homicidal Holiday Hazards.

  1. O Tantebaum—not only do they make for excellent firestarters (arson, anyone?) but think of the possibilities while actually obtaining one. —Imagine: deserted tree farm, you and your victim far out of sight of anyone else, it’s getting dark, and there you are with hatchet and saw in hand….or better yet, cutting down and hauling a live tree is a great time to induce a heart attack and given the holiday rush, it probably would go undetected as the medical examiner would be too busy to do more than a cursory examination.
  2.  Auld Lang Sangdo you have any idea how easy it is to slip poison into New Year’s champagne or eggnog?  The possibilities are endless: antifreeze in a sweet drink, an overdose of barbiturates or sedatives in an alcoholic one….
  3. Dradle, Dradle—holidays with all that candy and cheating on diets make for a perfect time to induce a diabetic coma in those old folks with fat life insurance policies.  Just swap out their “sugar” pills or insulin for a few days, ply them with some gelt or candy canes and pouf!  There goes granny, here comes the inheritance!
  4. Up on the Rooftop–Hmmm….climbing up rickety ladders, hammer and nails and aluminum gutters and electrical lights, snow and ice all around—anyone else seeing a great set up for “accidental” electrocutions or slip and falls???
  5.  Over the Hills—all that ice and snow (for those of you in northern climes) not to mention crazy, hectic drivers all rushing hither and yon make for a perfect recipe for disaster.  Mix a slashed brake-line with faulty power steering, add a little too much holiday cheer and voila!

And then there’s always the cold and hypothermia and all the possibilities the wilderness can offer us.

In the meantime, what’s your favorite Homicidal Holiday Hazard?

I’d love to hear them!

CJ

PS: I feel honor-bound (the pediatric ER doc in me) to point out that the holidays actually do pose a very real risk, especially to children and pets.  Clean up ALL remnants of alcohol after parties before you go to bed (kids tend to get up early and love sipping at all the left over drinks and it only takes a few swallows of alcohol to poison a little one) and please dress everyone warm, even for short trips.  Always, always buckle up and have a designated driver!  Happy–and safe–holidays to all!!

About CJ:

As a pediatric ER doctor, New York Times Bestseller CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge Thrillers with Heart.

CJ has been called a “master within the genre” (Pittsburgh Magazine) and her work has been praised as “breathtakingly fast-paced” and “riveting” (Publishers Weekly) with “characters with beating hearts and three dimensions” (Newsday).

Learn more about CJ’s Thrillers with Heart at http://www.cjlyons.net

Read Full Post »

When I come to the end of a writing project, I often indulge myself in a self-made “film fest” during the final editing stages.

I find that watching tons of movies helps to cement the three act structure clearly in my psyche as I can “see” how a well-done plot unfolds in two hours better than I can when dissecting each line of a 100,000 word novel.

This year, since I want my next project to echo the same themes as one of my favorite filmmakers, Frank Capra, I went on a Capra-binge.

For those of you who only know Capra for It’s a Wonderful Life, you should be aware that Wonderful Life was actually one of his last movies.  The culmination, if you will, of decades of telling David v. Goliath stories with the recurrent theme that he finally verbalizes in Wonderful LIfe: No man is poor if he has friends.

The New York Times  did a wonderful deconstruction of Wonderful Life and I was taken by how film critic Wendell Jamieson’s analysis mirrored my own.

Wonderful Life isn’t really the magically uplifting movie we all think it is–or should I say, we all FEEL it is.  And therein lies the magic of Capra.

He was one of the first filmmakers to use “real life” subject matter for his movies.  His first major film, American Madness, was filmed during the Great Depression (as opposed to the Not-so-Great Recession we now find ourselves in) and told the story of a bank that has a run on it and is failing.  It is saved because of the past actions of the good-hearted bank manager who had faith in “little people” when his friends call upon them to help him out in his time of need.

Shades of Wonderful Life–but many of Capra’s films have shades of Wonderful Life in them.  Even the music and words of Auld Lang Syne are repeated in several of his movies.  His heroes are almost uniformly Davids caught unprepared for their Goliaths–they are innocents thrust into a dirty street fight that is the “real” world.

And Capra’s heroines?  They also follow a repeated theme of redemption.  They begin as conniving, world-weary professional women (remember this is seventy years ago, the world of the 1930’s and 40’s!) who are redeemed by falling in love with the hero and embracing his idealistic ways.

These themes were repeated so often that the term Capraesque now means anything that evokes a feeling of an optimistic, “feel-good” movie genre, or what some critics call the genre of the “hopeless dreamer”

But one other recurrent theme in Capra’s films–and what truly sets them apart from so many other filmmakers of his era–is that often his Goliaths are never defeated.

Yes, the hero wins--but he wins a battle, not the war.

Potter in Wonderful Life is neither defeated nor redeemed.  Nor is the Hearst-figure in Meet John Doe, or King Wesley in It Happened One Night.

Some nemesis figures are redeemed–Senator Payne in Mr. Smith, the banker in You Can’t Take it with You–but Capra always makes it clear that other Goliaths are waiting to fill their places, so the war is not won.

In fact, for Capra, the war is never won.  Because it’s never won in the real world that he takes his stories from.

He tempers his films with romance and humor to soften this blow, always ends them on an inspirational upbeat note for audiences to carry home, but in fact, he is the master propagandist, preparing his army and sending them off to war.

For a storyteller, this is an awesome power to behold.  One that I covet!

So, I ask myself–and you–if Capra were alive today, what stories would he be telling?  How would he tell them?

What Capraesque moment, in the movies or in real life, has most moved you?

Thanks for reading!

CJ

About CJ:

As a pediatric ER doctor, New York Times Bestseller CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge Thrillers with Heart.

CJ has been called a “master within the genre” (Pittsburgh Magazine) and her work has been praised as “breathtakingly fast-paced” and “riveting” (Publishers Weekly) with “characters with beating hearts and three dimensions” (Newsday).

Learn more about CJ’s Thrillers with Heart at www.cjlyons.net

Read Full Post »

What inspires my writing?

When I was a kid, it was my own need to learn how to become a hero, someone strong enough to change the world for the better.

After my pediatric internship when one of my fellow interns was brutally murdered, writing became my way to understand my grief and control the chaos around me. That’s when I wrote my first thriller, BORROWED TIME, and I dedicated it to Jeff’s memory.

Much of my fiction since then has been inspired by my patients and their families. Ordinary people facing tragedy with courage and grace, proving that heroes are indeed born everyday.

I still search for order in the chaos–after practicing pediatric emergency medicine and pediatrics for seventeen years, that will never change. But now, after having sold hundreds of thousands of books and receiving fan letters from all over the world, I have another inspiration: my readers.

Discovering that I had the power to connect with people I’d never met, to inspire as well as entertain–that felt almost as good as saving lives in the ER!

I treasure each fan letter as much as the very first one.  There have been people facing the pain of chronic illnesses who have been able to make it through the night because of my books.  Fellow medical personnel, EMS, firefighters, and police officers have written, thanking me for the way I “tell it like it really is.”  And readers who simply needed an escape from their lives have found refuge in my words.

Honestly, no matter how much money or which bestseller lists I hit, I can’t imagine any feeling as wonderful as the feeling I get when I hear from readers who have fallen in love with my books.  It’s an adrenalin rush that fuels my writing and inspires me everyday!

About CJ:

As a pediatric ER doctor, New York Times Bestseller CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge Thrillers with Heart.

CJ has been called a “master within the genre” (Pittsburgh Magazine) and her work has been praised as “breathtakingly fast-paced” and “riveting” (Publishers Weekly) with “characters with beating hearts and three dimensions” (Newsday).

Learn more about CJ’s Thrillers with Heart at http://www.cjlyons.net

Read Full Post »

I live in a rural area and anytime I go for a long drive I often have to rely on my mp3 instead of car radio. Which is fun because I throw my songs on there, hit shuffle, and off we go…at least that’s how it’s supposed to work.

Twice in the last month I got busted by my playlist.

You see, I like kickass rock n’ roll. Doesn’t matter if it’s old or new as long as it has attitude. Which makes for some rather un-politically correct, not safe for work, non-kid-or old folk-friendly choices.

And since I keep my mp3 on shuffle, I never know what’s gonna come out of the speakers next. It could be Led Zeppelin or the Stones or Buck Cherry doing the “dirty” version of Crazy Bitch.

Yeah, crank that over your speakers as you drive into the courthouse parking lot, ready to report for jury duty. Then park between a sheriff’s cruiser and a Cadillac that probably belongs to a lawyer or judge.

Worse? Forget the sunroof is open and sing along at the top of your lungs.

(If you don’t know the song, practically every other word is the F-bomb.)

Those dirty looks were nothing compared to the tongue-lashing one of my friends gave me as we were driving together and Nickelback’s Something in your Mouth came on.

(yes, THAT is what the song’s about…one of Nickelback’s favorite themes)

She’s a true blue feminist and felt my choice in music was a betrayal of the cause, setting back women’s rights fifty years.

I had no defense other than, “it’s got a good beat.”

“It’s misogynistic.”

“Not as bad as their Figured You Out.”

She hit the fast forward button. Saving Abel, The Sex is Good. Scowled at me, hit it again.

Saved by the Stones, Sympathy for the Devil.

I relaxed, steered the conversation to a safe place. Of course that’s when Puddle of Mud’s Control came on.

Otherwise known as the “smack your ass” song.

 What can I say? I gave up, and sang along. Heck, if you’re gonna be busted by your playlist, you might as well have fun doing it.

So you tell me, when has your choice in pop culture led to you being busted?

C’mon, you know what I mean–that hidden DVD with the best of Gilligan’s Island, the tattered, well-read copy of Mad magazine, the Sonny and Cher album you can’t bear to part with….

Thanks for reading!

CJ

About CJ:

As a pediatric ER doctor, CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge Thrillers with Heart.  In addition to being an award-winning, New York Times Bestseller, CJ is a nationally known presenter and keynote speaker.

CJ has been called a “master within the genre” (Pittsburgh Magazine) and her work has been praised as “breathtakingly fast-paced” and “riveting” (Publishers Weekly) with “characters with beating hearts and three dimensions” (Newsday).

Learn more about CJ’s Thrillers with Heart at http://www.cjlyons.net

Read Full Post »