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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

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(Information on free eBooks at end of post!)

My first assignment after graduating the Special Forces Qualification Course was to the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) as a First Lieutenant.  I was one of the last officer executive officers on an A-Team (Now they are Warrant Officers).  Then I was chosen to command ODA 055 (Operational Detachment Alpha, which is where A-Team comes from).

We did a lot of really interesting stuff some of which I still can’t discuss.  There was a then classified program being run in 2d Battalion initially called, seriously, Jedi Warrior.  They changed the name to Trojan Warrior (the symbol for 10th Group is the Trojan Horse, not the condom).  My team got the distinct honor of being chosen to take all the evaluations for Trojan Warrior without getting any of the training (we were the standardization score to judge the teams taking the training).

The team in the program did things like blood-packing, biofeedback to control heart beat and body temperature, martial arts, meditation, and a lot of other interesting stuff.  When I was watching the movie: Men Who Stare at Goats, I was stunned at how much of that movie was real and from either the Trojan Warrior program or the First Earth Battalion which I was briefed on while a cadet at West Point.  I’ve always been attracted to strange things.

Then, when he was at the height of his career, which one can debate how high that was, Steven Seagal called me to ghost write a book for him about Operation Grill Flame.  This was the classified remote viewing unit run by the CIA.  We’d had some experience with Grill Flame in Lebanon and when General Dozier was kidnapped in Italy.  Anywho, Seagal claims to have been in the CIA and been affiliated with that program.

Whatever.

I’m a novelist.

Buy at Amazon

So I started doing more research.  I learned the Soviets had investigated paranormal activity extensively.  One theory is that they actually sunk the USS Thresher using remove viewers.  This became the opening scene of my book Psychic Warrior.  What I did was punch things forward, where the Trojan Warrior program was completed, and then a deeper program launched, where not only would Special Forces soldiers be able to remote view, they would be able to project avatars onto the virtual plane and then bring that avatar into the real world to conduct real missions.

Psychic Warrior is now available for the first time on all eBook platforms.  The follow on book, Psychic Warrior Project Aura will be released later this year.

Oddly enough, despite their training, my team scored as well, if not better, than the two teams that received the training.  I believe that was because I had a superb team sergeant who made us a truly cohesive team.  We implemented things that I teach in Who Dares Wins:  For example, when we went to Denmark to go through their Combat Swimmer School, during the morning runs, we’d put our two slowest runners at the front of the formation and no matter how much the Danish instructors taunted and challenged us, we never broke formation and always finished together.  In the same manner, my team sergeant taught us to clip together as buddy teams on a center line when we swam.  We always swam as a team.

Free on Amazon

Today, The Green Berets: Eternity Base (until Wednesday) Black Ops: The Line (until tomorrow) and Black Ops: The Gate (today only!) are free. Please, download the free copy and if you love it please take the time to write a review on Amazon. Reviews really do help out authors.

2012 is going to be an exciting year and we will be sending out newsletters to coincide with some of our FREE book offers, including later this month when 6 of Bob’s book will go free for five days.

Readers Rule!

author of provocative mysteries and thrillers

As fewer authors set up book signings and other events in which they meet readers face to face, creative types have come up with new ways for authors and readers to interact online. Here are seven fun resources and venues for readers to connect with writers:

Kindlegraph

This site lets readers sign up to receive a personalized book signature for an ebook. It’s a great way for readers to collect author signatures without having to attend book signings and buy print books. About 1700 authors are signed up, and I expect that number to grow. I’ve signed up and receive signature requests weekly. One caveat: You have to sign in through a Twitter account. They plan to change that soon.

eReaderIQ

This site provides Amazon Kindle price drop alerts, watches your favorite titles to let you know when they are available for Kindle, and gives you a regularly updated list of all non-public domain freebies on Amazon.com. It also offers a search engine that lets readers search the Kindle store by genre and keyword, but also define the price range, reader age, language and more. In addition, Authors can buy sponsorships to announce their e-books.

@author

Created by Amazon, this feature is in beta testing with only a handful of authors. In essence, you can email the author directly with questions about their book as you’re reading it. So far, I believe only authors published with Amazon Encore are available, but I expect it will expand.

Goodreads Recommendations 

This is a new feature that works much like Netflix suggestions, finding books you’ll enjoy based on what else you’ve read and how you rated it. But it’s more complex than that, and here’s what the blog says: “The Goodreads Recommendation Engine combines multiple proprietary algorithms which analyze 20 billion data points to better predict which books people will want to read next.” Try it!

Stop, You’re Killing Me 

This site is for crime fiction fans and offers complete lists of authors works and the order the novels were published in. It’s very useful for determining the order of a series, so you don’t miss anything or read out of order. It also lists books by character name (very cool) and posts reviews.

Kickerstarter

An innovative platform for readers and consumers of art to fund projects so artists can be creative. Investors receive something equal in exchange: tickets, art photos, books, etc. Here’s an example of an author with a finished book, looking for support money for a cover design and formatter. I know of this author but I’m not familiar with her work. Out of curiosity, I’m tempted to list my next Jackson book and see if 300 fans will kick in $3 each to fund the production of the ebook. They would receive a copy of the book the moment it was ready and likely a bonus as well, such as a short story. It would be nice to cut out Amazon’s profit on a few copies too. 🙂

PubSlush  

This site is similar, but is focused exclusively on books. Here’s the site description: “Authors submit ten pages and a summary of their book. We then let you (readers)  browse the submissions based on your preferences. You read a brief overview, and if it strikes your fancy, you click through to read a more in depth description. If you’re still interested, you read an excerpt. And if that leaves you wanting more, you support it (which is essentially like preordering the book)! You don’t get charged unless the book is published, so there’s no risk. And for every book we sell, we’re donating a book to a child in need.”

Do you have other interesting, unique or fun reader sites to add?

My thriller, THE SHOP, has had a checkered career.  This book got me the agent of my dreams, one of the best in the business, who could get the undivided attention of every big publisher in New York.  She read the book on a plane during a terrible thunderstorm, and told me that reading the book was the only thing that kept her mind off the prospect of the plane crashing. She was positive the book would sell, and sell very well.

But that didn’t happen.

Meanwhile, my husband Glenn and I had built a promotional blog to attract agents and publishers called “Who Killed Brienne Cross”? http://www.whokilledbriennecross.com

Putting together “Who Killed Brienne Cross” was a labor of love. We created an alternate reality, adding stories, interviews, photos, and comments over two years’ time. Some of our friends commented, too—and those comments are pretty funny. If nothing else, “Who Killled Brienne Cross” should qualify as a very nice piece of performance art.  But I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t yearn to show it off to the world.

Fast-forward to the summer of 2011.  Thomas & Mercer, Amazon’s thriller imprint, bought THE SHOP as part of a three-book deal.  THE SHOP will be rereleased, newly-edited and packaged, on February 6, 2012.

No longer will we have to find a way to promote the book to publishers.

Now we want to promote THE SHOP to readers.

And so I have this labor of love—I’ll be frank with you, this is my baby—still sitting up there on the Internet, pretty as a picture and twice as sweet, and I’d like to put it to work.

So I’m asking.  Readers, fellow authors, entrepreneurs, marketing gurus, publishers, husbands, wives, kids, cute little kittens and
puppies.  How can we use this site to get the news out about THE SHOP? I’d love ideas, no matter how crazy, off-the-wall, staid, obvious, creative, or scintillatingly brilliant.

Please help.

http://www.whokilledbriennecross.com

HEARTBREAKER, the 3rd book in my four-book Warrior Series, is now live at Amazon Kindle and B&N Nook.  It will soon pop up at the Apple iBookstore and various other e-bookstore venues.   Yep, I am one happy camper!

I have a deep and abiding respect for the military family, the high standards pursued by its men and women, and their willingness to make the sacrifices necessary for the greater good, so it won’t surprise you that I’ve penned several romantic suspense novels to celebrate these modern day warriors.  As well, I wanted to celebrate the unique women who embrace these men and their often challenging lifestyles.

You may not know that my late father was a career aviator in the U.S. Air Force.  I grew up as an Air Force brat, and I’m proud of the experience.  Yes, the person in uniform is the one who “serves”, but I know from personal experience that the families of these men and women provide the foundation of stability and love to which each warrior returns – at the end of the day or at the end of a tour of duty in a warzone far from home.  Life as an Air Force brat gave me an instinctive grasp of both commitment and community at an early age, taught me to be a team player, and inspired a level of idealism that has always fueled my story concepts as a romantic suspense writer.

Each hero and heroine in the 4-book Warrior Series possesses an amalgam of the personalities and character traits of the men and women I’ve known as the daughter of a career Air Force aviator and as the wife of a military aviator – men and women I will admire until I draw my last breath.  Some of those men and women have already made the ultimate sacrifice, but many more still populate the landscape of my life – and for that blessing, I am deeply grateful.

Last week, HEARTBREAKER joined DESERT ROSE and MIDNIGHT STORM at the Nook and Kindle e-bookstores.  At the end of February, MORE THAN FRIENDS, the 4th book in the Warrior Series, will be available to readers.  My personal hope is that you all will enjoy each book in the Warrior Series.  (The price point for each book:  $1.99.)

More good news: INTIMATE STRANGERS, already downloaded by 80,000 plus readers as of this writing, is a FREE download at Amazon Kindle, the Apple iBookstore, and at Smashwords.  THANK YOU, Readers!

Drop in at Facebook or Google+ and “friend” or “encircle” me.  I love connecting with readers.

Hugs all around,  Laura

 

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

Being a middle child, a nice person, and a workaholic, I’ve spent my life trying to do the right thing and make people happy. As a member of a dysfunctional family, I’ve given up the goal, but as novelist, I’m still trying to satisfy my current readers while reaching out to new ones. Some days though, I’m not sure what I should be doing.

The new catch phrases in marketing are content and engagement. Content seems easy: Just keep writing stories that people want to read. But the experts say that’s not enough. They say I need to pen informative blogs, write short stories to give away, and create entertaining videos. So I’m doing all that.

Engaging readers is a less-concrete concept and I’m starting to think the idea is more hype than practicality. For example, a well-read post recently advised authors to do the following:

  • Listen—Create ways to listen to your readers and collect data about what you hear; use focus groups and surveys to support regular listening mechanisms.
  • Customer knowledge—Find out why people buy your products (or not), why they recommend you to others (or not), why they are repeat buyers. Understand what else they buy. Understand who your buyers are, what segment and communities they belong to.
  • Conversations—Find unique ways of connecting with readers, ways that will enhance your brand as an author, ways that enable dialogue, not one-way broadcast.
  • Collaborate—Go beyond listening and conversation to collaborate with your readers, perhaps testing your products in advance of a full launch or soliciting ideas for additional content.
  • Community—Build a community of your readers. Facilitate mechanisms for readers to interact with one another as part of this community and to broaden the reach to additional readers.

Some of this is intuitive and I’m already doing it. But surveys? As a consumer, I hate surveys, and I’m not likely to ever clutter my readers’ in-boxes with a questionnaire. Collaborate? Meaning ask readers where they’d like me to take the series or characters? I’d get as many different answers as there are readers.

In fact, that’s the biggest problem with engagement. Some readers like to interact with authors. They send e-mails, go to conferences, and participate in online discussions. Many readers, perhaps the majority, would rather not engage with the author. They simply want to read the books and move on. I’ve heard some readers say they don’t even like seeing an author bio in a novel, because they enjoy the story more if they don’t know anything about the author.

I understand and respect this. I also love readers who contact me to talk about my stories. So I’m trying to find the middle ground and make all my readers happy…without wasting time on activities that readers will ignore or find annoying.

Readers: How much and what kind of engagement with a novelist do you want?