Monthly Archives: August 2014


Patrick O’Bryon’s “Corridor of Darkness” was one of the best books I have read in recent years. Book 2: “Beacon of Vengeance” is now available and I expect it to be of as high a caliber as the first. Pick up your copy today!

Patrick W. O'Bryon

Beacon front cover jpeg

In the summer of 1941 America edges closer to joining battle against Hitler’s victorious armies in Europe…but a dangerous spy game is already underway.

Reluctant former operative Ryan Lemmon disappears in Nazi-occupied France, a country riddled with corruption and deceit. Ostensibly assigned to the State Department’s Special War Problems Division, Ryan now works for America’s newly centralized intelligence office under William “Wild Bill” Donovan. His official assignment– undermine German intelligence operations across Occupied Europe.

But the first task of independent-minded Ryan Lemmon remains deeply personal–release his friends from a fascist internment camp while there is still hope for their survival.

And what ever goes exactly as planned?

Beacon of Vengeance, the new thriller inspired by my late father’s undercover life in Nazi Europe, is the second volume in the Corridor of Darkness trilogy. It is now available as a trade paperback at online retail outlets, and as an eBook for Kindle and Apple readers on

For ease of ordering, just click on one of the book covers pictured in the…

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Busy Weeks Ahead

Editing one project, jotting down little anecdotes for another, and outlining yet another, I am sort of between projects but feel as if I am busier than when I am in the throes of dedicated writing.

I am also doing some reading for other blogger friends/novelists.

If it seems that I am neglecting the blog, please forgive me. I read your posts and try to comment when I can, but I might seem a bit absent for the next week or two.

I also have several errands to run over the next two weeks and, if you know anything at all about Central Florida traffic, you know that driving five miles can take over a half hour, so driving twenty-five or thirty and back can be a half day event.

But there is so much beauty within an hour’s drive that makes it all worthwhile.

No Choice

My head has been in weird place this past week. I have a lot in front of me and a lot behind me.

Being both bipolar 1 and also being a child survivor of suicide, Robin Williams’ death sent me spiraling downward at a time when I am trying to spiral upward. I feel empathy for the pain he has suffered and for his family. I can also understand why some people (survivors mostly) feel it was a selfish act, but what they don’t understand is that it is a selfless act in the mind of the victim. I say victim because the chemical imbalance in the brain that darkens the world and slows then stops time chooses its prey, they don’t choose death.

That is the one most vital thing people have to come to understand and the least understandable.

This is not sadness, but it is a sad situation. Depression is called depression for a reason.

Your metabolism slows to the point of not feeling hungry…ever. Or thirsty…ever.

Your thought processes slow to the point that your mind begins to formulate a thought and hours later, after distorted thoughts have come and gone, your mind finishes it.

You don’t know what happened in between. Worse than a drunk in a blackout, you function, but you are not conscious of it.

In the worst of it, your motor functions are crippled. You literally begin to move in slow motion. It’s called psychomotor retardation, and it’s not one day…or two or three, but every day for weeks, months and years.

I recall one day during an episode where I rose from my bed and put my feet on the floor. I was thinking about making some coffee. I, at some point, walked into the living room, opened a window, and sat in a rocking chair. There was a hole in the screen. The kids were at school. I have no clue what I thought about all day long, but when the kids came home, nearly eight hours later, I was still sitting in that chair. A wasp nest was in the corner of the window and it had been disturbed by me opening the window early that morning. So these wasps were now inside. A few were flying around the room. My face and arms were covered in wasps, and I could not, would not, move. I was an observer. They were crawling around on me, I felt them, and I did not care. I was thinking about making some coffee.

That was my day. I was totally not in control of my thoughts or actions.

I never self-medicated with drugs or alcohol. I was on medication for mood disorder, but this was a breakthrough episode. And I felt that I wanted to die. I did not want to put my family through me going back into a hospital for treatment.

In between these episodes, I was Professional Registered Nurse, wife, mother, student, employer, employee, Girl Scout cookie chairperson, Eagle Scout mom, soccer mom, drove the kids to tae kwon do, horseback riding lessons, softball practice, I was cheerleading chaperone and youth group leader. No one knew, but my family.

When I was manic, I was working sixteen hour shifts, a creative genius, devising staffing inservice manuals for CCU, and healthcare program designs, creating ceramic artwork that would blow your mind…no one faulted me that. No one much noticed the toll it took.

Even when you seek help, there are often complications, like there are with any disease. There are resistant strains, chemotherapy and talk therapy are both tricky. It’s expensive to treat. Responses are varied. It can take weeks or months to see the positive effects of medications, and many won’t endure that long. The medication that finally stopped all of this for me, after several experimental cocktails, was a third generation psychotropic discovered in 1996. I took it as an experimental drug. I was willing to try anything. My episodes were off and on from 1979. Some people are not as lucky as me, because everybody’s brain chemistry is different. It can take years, decades, to find the right mix.

I don’t know what Robin Williams was thinking, or even if he knew what he was thinking.

I don’t believe he chose death. I will never believe that he chose death.

Would You Work For Free?

One of the most talented writers on the web is right here on WordPress. Of course, now she is all ta ta wi wi with her own self hosted site since she has so much traffic, but I knew her when. Whether she is writing about backpacking across Southeast Asia, her deranged psycho-stalker ex-boyfriend, or her crazy co-workers in the psychiatric hospital, Aussa Lorens knows how to spin a good yarn.

I am going to be perfectly honest and tell you when I first met her in my comments, I did not like her. I thought, “Who the hell is this ‘HackerNinjaHookerSpy’ biatch talking about her psycho ex-boyfriend and getting wasted on wine on my comments. Has she gone mad?”

Then I went to her blog and got the whole story. I stayed there a while and read her exceptionally well written adventures in Southeast Asia. And more about her hilarious life in the nut house. Now I just love her and you will too. If you have not met her already, drop by and get the scoop. Her latest post ( had me in stitches. You must read the comments also. They are as laughable as the posts.

I promised you posts in a new category called Nurses Notes. Aussa reminded me about that when she spoke of the nurses she works with, which she often does. Since I was one of the good nurses, and not one of the weirdoes just working for a pay check, I didn’t relate, at first, and I resented her remarks. Then I thought about my own co-workers. The ones I escaped from when I retired.

With her last post I also asked myself about my personal motivations as a nurse. I wanted to help people avoid pain and suffering. Nursing school was tough. I thought if I just saved one person, it would all be worth it. But God’s honest truth…if I wanted to work for free I would have become a nun.


There was; however, one time I recall taking an assignment for no other reason than the pay offered, and that is what I will tell you about today.

I had a job once where it was ALL about the numbers and the dollar signs. Not for me, but for my employer. It was about ten years before my retirement, when I was working for a Hospice organization. It was a for-profit organization and my bosses, Mario and Leanna, were brutal. (They’re married now BTW.)

I did the job for a year. It was the most challenging and most rewarding year of my thirty year career.

I worked in Marketing and Admissions…selling dignified death. It is the only marketing position I’ve ever held and there is a whole different climate on that side of the fence. I was a Palliative Care Liaison (PCL).


There were five of us PCLs, all registered nurses. We were expected to knock down four admissions in an eight hour day. Basic math tells you this is a full day, but there should be travel time and meal time and an occasional break. Also, being the compassionate person that I am, I would often feel the need to spend more than two hours with a family. After all, this was their loved one dying. Sometimes (doctors be damned) we were the first ones telling the patient that they were terminal. That’s not news to deliver lightly. Most days turned into at least ten or twelve hours.

We went to homes, nursing homes, and hospitals explaining services, ordering oxygen and durable medical equipment, arranging transportation, getting tons of paperwork signed for a payee source, usually Medicaid with its myriad of complex forms, conferring with physicians and team members. Sometimes we schmoozed doctors over dinner and cocktails (company paid) and sometimes we delivered donuts to nursing home staff when admissions were slow.


Hospice, common in Europe for eons, was a relatively new concept back then in the U.S., so the marketing aspect was crucial. It was all about appearances and we were expected to dress professionally in suits and heels, despite the heat and the loamy terrain we often had to trudge through. We had rolling offices we lugged around in the trunks of our cars.

This particular day, I had slept only about four hours, having been up till 2am the previous night faxing paperwork to insurance companies, Medicaid, and HMOs. I arose with sun, showered and suited up.

By 7am there was already a fax from the referral office. My first appointment was in Yeehaw Junction, fifty-five miles south…in the center of swampy cow country. The only establishment in Yeehaw Junction is a restaurant with what was formerly a bordello upstairs that serves as a hotel.  The historic Desert Inn dates back to the 1800s as the first working hotel in Florida.


Roadkill hash and vulture eggs were the only thing on the breakfast menu so I had a few cups of coffee while waiting on my 8:30 am appointment time. The family and patient I was visiting with were already prepared for Hospice services so all I really had to do was get the paperwork done, make a few phone calls and be on my way.


As I hit the turnpike and headed north my pager went off and the text message from Mario said I needed to be at Orlando Regional Medical Center (ORMC) by noon. Passing through Kissimmee at 11:30 am I felt I needed to swing through the drive-thru at McDonalds and grab some lunch to eat on the way. It was sweltering hot in that suit and I was thirsty so I swigged down about two thirds of the super-sized diet coke in a hurry.

On to the ramp at Osceola Parkway; the next exit would take me straight down OBT to Orange Avenue and ORMC. I was making good time. Not going to happen. Ten miles south of the exit, I topped the bridge to see traffic backed up for miles. No exit between me and OBT and no turning back. This was going to be a long one. I waited.


An hour later, I was still waiting. Knowing we were supposed to stay calm, cool, collected and maintain a professional composure, I texted Mario to call the family and explained what was happening. I could see the helicopters transporting accident victims up ahead.

Calm, cool and collected was a challenge to maintain when you have had to give your lunch over to an old man tapping on your window and pee in a McDonald’s cup in broad daylight. (Not an easy task for a woman guys.) Bless his heart, he had given himself insulin and was on his way to meet his son for lunch. Without food he could have gone into seizures, or worse. Four cups of coffee had to go somewhere.


Mario texted me again, “Where the hell are you?” I explained everything. “That’s TMI over lunch.”

“You asked,” was all I could reply.

By 2:00 pm I was at the hospital and the lady and her daughter were most cordial. They were glad I was there as the plan was to have Mama go home to the daughter’s house and all of the necessary paperwork was signed and arrangements were made.

4:00 pm and I was texted to be at Florida Hospital (FH). I am not happy because, while I have only had two appointments, I have been on the go since 6am on 4 hours sleep. My day should have been over an hour ago or more, and I still haven’t had breakfast or lunch. I grabbed a tuna wrap and a tall iced tea to go at the restaurant café.


I beat rush hour traffic and made it to the FH parking garage in thirty minutes. Just enough time for that supersized soda and that large iced tea to mingle and I was on the tenth floor. The nearest breezeway, and bathroom, was across the garage and down seven floors. All I can say is thank goodness for heels. This is NOT a small building.


With aching feet and a throbbing shoulder from hauling my office across two counties, a ten story parking garage, and up ten more stories in the neighboring building, I made it to the ICU.

My patient, while relatively young, had a horrible clinical picture. I reviewed the chart, made some notes and met privately with the family. The fairly young woman had two children present, a young man and woman in their twenties. They were divided over what to do. Mother was unconscious and had been since brain surgery fourteen days ago. Mother had two terminal diagnoses, brain cancer and inoperable liver cancer. She also had a colostomy, a foley catheter, total parenteral nutrition (TPN) where she was fed intravenously through a central venous line, and was on a respirator.


There were two more children in college, so it was necessary to make a conference call, a difficult thing to accomplish through AT & T at that time. Using my little flip chart, I explained the services a second time. I was hoping for a tie breaker, but again, they were divided.

About that time, the doctor shows up. We ended up in a sparring match with us both citing statistics and lab values. The hospital staff, nurses, respiratory therapists, social workers and two of the children favored terminating most of the life saving measures and sending her home. Two children and the doctor (who had known the woman for years through their church) were at odds. The doctor was adamant, “If you take a woman right out of brain surgery and throw her in a wheel barrow and cart her across town she IS going to die!”

I couldn’t argue with that. I must have repeated a thousand times, “You all think about it and give us a call when you decide.” Each time, I was met with another barrage of questions which the doctor disputed, but the staff supported. It was horrible for the family. I insisted they had been well informed and did not have to decide at that moment (another thousand times). After 7:30 pm, I walked away.

Lifting my rolling office into the trunk I split my pants. About that time I received another page telling me to be at M.D. Anderson Cancer Clinic by 8:00 pm to do a formal presentation for a staff meeting. I explained my dilemma. I was NOT excused because three other PCLS were still on appointments and one had gone home sick. I had ONLY done three appointments.

salvation army thrift store

The Salvation Army was on the way and they were still open when I got there. I grabbed the first pair of black pants that fit. I was wasted by the time I finished that presentation a half hour later and it was pouring rain when I left the parking garage. I drove home and called in reports to the various Team Leaders simultaneously. Getting out of the car in my own garage an hour later my Salvation Army pants zipper busted…but I was finally home.

10:00 pm and I am thinking my long day is over. I slipped into my PJs and made myself a frozen pizza. The fax machine had already spit out tomorrow’s four appointments.  I tore them off and started going through my paperwork faxing signed forms to their respective agencies.


By 11:00 pm I was done with that and crawled between the sheets. My pager went off with a notice to call Mario at home. What?

There was a patient on the south side of Orlando at Dr. Phillip’s Hospital that we needed to hook up a CAD pump (Continuous Analgesia Delivery system) for so he could get out of there before midnight. It required and RN. There was no team nurse or PCL available. All of the Team Leaders had gone to Miami for a conference and I was their last hope. It was imperative that this patient be out of the hospital by midnight and the ambulance for transport was already waiting. The hospital staff was not allowed to touch our equipment and the agency pharmacy had already dropped off the narcotics.

It would be a ten minute deal. The patient was already admitted to the program and was just awaiting transport. Normally we were paid $75.00 per visit, Mario offered $150.00. I knew this was a make or break moment, but I was exhausted. “How much is it going to cost our company if we wait until tomorrow?”

“More than $3000.00.”

“I’ll do it for $1500.00”


So this was the one time that I can recall actually taking a nursing assignment for no other reason than the money offered. By 2:00 am, I was back in my bed preparing to do it all again the next day.


Would you work that hard for free?

Announcing … a new novel by Tim Baker!!

I love this author’s books and am so glad to see Ike is back. The RS loves them also. Tim Baker is one of my most favorite regional authors.

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

My good friend and fellow author, Tim Baker (previously featured on Reading Recommendations), has already written and published six novels that are all set in the Florida community of Flagler Beach on the Palm Coast. I have devoured every one of these suspense/thrillers and not only love Tim’s writing, but also the characters he’s created (some recurring) and his descriptions of life in a tourist beach town. I was honoured when Tim asked me to read an early manuscript of his next book, titled Eyewitness Blues and I’m happy to tell you now that this latest publication is every bit as good – no, it’s even BETTER! – than the other novels! I highly recommend reading this new book and suggest that, if you haven’t already read Tim Baker’s other novels, you go back and read them all, right now! You will not be disappointed! (And here’s a little…

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Book Trailer

Pamela Beckford has a new book trailer for her poetry collections!

Poetry by Pamela

I am pretty proud of this. I used Adobe Voice on my iPad and created a kind of book trailer. I’m pleased with how it turned out for a zero budget/cost video. It was super easy to create – I actually was going to use this for a project at work but decided to try it out by doing the book trailer.

Pros – easy to create, you can use your own pictures or choose from hundreds of icons and pictures, music clips are easy to add (again, your own or theirs). Adobe Voice is a FREE app.

Cons – you can’t save it as a video file so I can’t upload it to my YouTube account. It resides in Adobe’s cloud so the only way to access it is with a link. Right now, Adobe Voice is only available for iPad.

All in all, I think the pros outweigh…

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Rosie’s Book review Challenge – Tess reviewed Red Clay and Roses by S.K. Nicholls

Tess gives an insightful review to Red Clay and Roses. If you have not picked up a book to review on Rosie Amber’s blog…become a member of the team today and grab one!

Rosie Amber

Continuing our posts from Rosie’s Book Review Challengers, her is a review from Tess. Tess blogs at

Rosie's Book Review Challengers 1

She chose to read “Red Clay and Roses” by S.K. Nicholls

Here is Tess’s review,

Book Review: Red Clay and Roses

Publication Date: May 27, 2013

Format: Kindle and paperback

Genre: Historical / Fiction


Reviewed by: Tess



A rushed visit to a small town in Georgia, family stories and times revisited, a hidden ledger and secrets abound.

Sybil, a smart woman ahead of her time, has gumption, is open-minded and knows about secrets. During the racial upheaval in the 50s to 70s, she remains open-minded and true to herself. Nobody tells her how to live unlike other women of the time. She owns a beauty salon, her husband is jailed and a coloured lover waits. She juggles her life and experiences loses she wishes she’d avoided. Who has…

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Social Media Suicide Mission


I had a social media meltdown last night on Facebook in particular. I can’t say that I have Twitter figured out yet, so I don’t spend a lot of time on there.

I started with Facebook the first day they opened to the public. My kids were in college and it was another way to exchange photos with them quickly and see how they were doing. I had friends and family on there. Maybe 80 people. I didn’t need 400 really. There are not 400 people in this world I really care to keep up with quite that closely.

Facebook, as you know, has changed over the years. Groups were added. People set up advertisement pages you could like and get info from time to time.

The ad pages have gone wild sending out dozens of posts a day, probably mechanically through some automated hootsuite-like operation. Most of the reader writer groups have turned into spam mobiles rather than actual discussion forums for people to discuss books.

Despite turning off all notifications, Facebook was slamming my newsfeed with strangers on a regular basis. It got so bad this past week that every time I signed onto Facebook I had this perpetual feed of authors promoting their books….dozens and dozens of them. People I don’t know and have never heard of. Seriously, if I want a book to read, I should be able to go to a group site and scan them myself for something that looks interesting. But having them slamming me on my newsfeed thirty or forty authors two to six times a day was ridiculous.

It got so bad that I couldn’t FIND any of my friend’s posts. I would scroll past twenty or thirty book posts just to find one post from a family member or friend. Then twenty or thirty book promo posts till the next family or friend post. I could spend an hour just finding five close friends most recent posts.

I really wish I could get rid of the gamers also…but that’s another subject.

Suggested posts that Facebook sends are a nuisance but, so far, there are not that many of them.

Pages I have “liked” get to be obnoxious sometimes.

So last night…I pulled out of fifteen Facebook Groups. The only one I stayed in was my writers’ group page, so I can keep up with my local writer peeps.

I unfriended a bunch of folk who bothered me with religious or political posts. I have political opinions, but posting something just so you can be mean and hateful in comments makes me not want to care about your opinions. The fact that you go downtown and wash the homeless people’s feet, pass out food and hygiene products while reading scripture is something I will applaud you for once…but when it turns into daily grandiose grandstanding, you don’t appear very humble and that just sort of negates the whole process to me. (And really, in those 250 pictures, you should have been wearing gloves, and changing the water for their health and yours.)

I “unliked” a bunch of pages that I had previously “liked” because you abuse the privilege of being invited into my home. You talk so much nobody else can get a word in edgewise. Yes, some of my favorite people…like Anne Rice and George Takei were among them. Send me one or two notifications a day, but ten or twelve and, honestly, I’ve just had enough.

Anyway, I logged out, and this morning I logged back in. There you all were, my peeps, my family, my friends. Things look a bit more normal on there again.

If I unliked or unfriended you in my mad frenzy and you miss me. Let me know. I may have done it in a heated moment by accident. If you don’t miss me, it probably wasn’t meant to be.

I may have just committed social media suicide, but my peace of mind has been salvaged in the process.

Am I just doing something wrong?

I tried adjusting privacy and notification settings to no avail.

Is there a better way?


Book #5 in the Legends of Windemere Series is now available! Charles Yallowitz has continued the series with The Compass Key!

Legends of Windemere

Available on Amazon for $2.99!
Listed on Goodreads!
Dive back into a world of fantasy adventure with Legends of Windemere: The Compass Key!

 Book Blurb:

Swords will clash and spells will fly in the newest adventure of young warrior Luke Callindor, Nyx the magic-flinging caster, and their friends.

With Sari captured by their enemies, the champions of Windemere are determined to get her back and destroy the Lich’s castle. Little do they realize, their battles in the Caster Swamp are only the beginning of this adventure. Trinity and her Chaos Elves have invaded the city of Gaia in search of a relic called the Compass Key. Rumored to be the key to rescuing Sari from a magical island, our heroes are in a race to find the mysterious artifact.

Which side will claim the Compass Key? And, what will our heroes do when they’re faced with an…

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