Author Cyber Convention 2015 – April 10th-12th

This is a really cool event. I’m there, too, along with a bunch of other great writers.

Timothy Bateson (ramblings of an author)

Author Cyber Convention - Banner Image(2)

Ever wondered what can happen when a group of authors get together to help each, and their readers?

The very simple answer is the 2105 Author Cyber Convention on Goodreads, which starts at 12:01am (New Zealand time) on April 10th and runs to 11:59pm (Hawaii time) on April 12th. My personal contributions to the event will run on Alaska time (which is GMT -8 hours).

More than 90 authors are coming together around the globe to offer giveaways, games, scavenger hunts, trivia, and interviews and you are invited!

This is an exciting event being arranged and run by the participating authors. We will have everything from trivia questions to giveaways. Authors will be participating in blog tours, interviews, and giving away prizes from trivia quizzes.

I’m excited to announce that I will be running a couple of separate events:

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Book Review: The League of the Old Men by Jack London

Jack LondonYears ago, I delayed watching the movie, Schindler’s List, because of the subject matter–yet another recounting of The Holocaust. After I saw it, I was disappointed that I had waited. It was an excellent movie and left me inspired and not depressed.  I looked forward to another treatment of the plight of the Indians in North America with the same lack of enthusiasm.

A factor that made this different was that my wife and I had combined our creative talents (mostly hers) to create a group she named, “The League of Old Men.” The title sounded familiar so I looked it up and found this book with a similar but not exactly the same title. Turned out to be a short story of only twenty-

My impression of what the old man, "Imber," may have looked like.

My impression of what the old man, “Imber,” may have looked like.

three pages. I read it aloud to her today.

London addressed a terrible loss of life amongst both Indian and the White man with a casual, unemotional review of the

numbers and few specific incidents. At the same time, readers are drawn into the profoundly emotional story of the old man who created his own holocaust as he and his comrades delivered death to the invaders without remorse or prejudice. In the end, the judge carries out his own duties as proscribed by law and his broken heart represents the conflicted emotions of the conquerors of the new world.

Readers who have any interest in American History will discover their personal libraries incomplete without this humble volume of significant consequence.

Thought you knew Claudia Barry? Secrets revealed.

Think again.

Follow the further adventures of Claudia Barry in the sequel to, "The Tourist Killer."

Follow the further adventures of Claudia Barry in the sequel to, “The Tourist Killer.”

Until you’ve read Chapter Thirty-one in A Year Without Killing, you don’t know what you’re missing.

Can you really know someone?

Click HERE for the inside scoop.

Looking for a female character who’s more than just a love interest?

Watch for a future blog about Claudia Barry, Star Braun, and Rosemary Woods.

Haven’t read The Tourist Killer? It all started there. Get your copy today, e-book or paperback. Just click HERE.

Book Review: Soul Searching by Shaheen Darr

SoulSearching-CVRShaheen Darr writes after walks.

Walking clears her mind and ignites her creativity.

Soul Searching began as either early morning or late night entries in her diary. This accounts for the free verse style and brevity. Our favorite is, “Poems,” and is reminiscent of the old Latin proverb, “Verba volant, scripta manent.” It means, “spoken words fly away, written words remain.” We’re rewarded by her decision to keep a diary.

Most of the poems in this collection are no more than one page so it’s easy to pick up the ninety page volume and read one or two entries—if you can put it down.

We prefer to savor a collection of emotions and thoughts in bits and pieces, but Darr’s writing is intoxicating. She says, “All my poems were written with a person or an event in mind.”

It’s rare to find someone who has examined her life and beliefs so thoroughly. Darr proves with this collection of diamonds– brevity is the soul of eloquence.

Soul Searching is a great companion for your own self discovery.

The Chronic Pain Conundrum–Conclusion

Continued from yesterday.

Early refill requests from patients, short tempers, and demands for their medicine in spite of legal restrictions, are red flags pointing to addiction and non-therapeutic requirements for dangerous substances. Dealing with people who behave like this frequently cause pharmacy staffs to become jaundiced and suspicious of customers who take a lot of pain medication. It’s an unfortunate situation and has gotten worse in the last two decades.

Pain CycleFlash back twenty years to the late nineties. A doctor friend of mine back in Louisiana was getting a less than favorable reputation with the local pharmacists. Several were refusing to fill his prescriptions. I invited him to breakfast one day and my main point was, “If you aren’t careful with your prescribing habits, your reputation will continue to deteriorate, and what’s worse, a fleet of black Suburbans will arrive at your front door and they won’t be there to help.” Needless to say, the mood of our breakfast meeting turned somber in the wink of an eye. He said, “That’s already happened. Let me assure you, I’m doing my homework. Almost ninety per cent of my patients are referrals from other doctors. These patients arrive with extensive charts, detailed notes, and X-rays. I’m covering my ass.” I said, “Then you should do some PR with the local pharmacists or your patients are going to have a hard time getting their prescriptions filled.”

Flash back to 1979, again in Louisiana.

A team of undercover agents arrives at a doctor’s office and is greeted by the front desk person seated in the apex of a V-shaped desk. On either side of the desk, leading in separate directions were two doors. After a friendly greeting, she asked, “Are you on a diet, or are you in pain?”  Not a good beginning. That prescriber eventually lost the privilege of writing prescriptions.

There’s nothing new under the sun—and because of the abuse potential, pharmacists are now apt to scrutinize every pain prescription more closely, whether it’s a C-2,3, or 4 drug.

I haven’t heard from Alpha again, although it is safe to predict that she found a pharmacist to fill her prescriptions.

Never heard from Mr. Epsilon again either. If he isn’t in jail, I hope he’s in some kind of recovery program.

Gamma’s saving grace is that all of her meds are being prescribed by the same doctor, an oncologist.

Many pain clinics are simply store fronts for unscrupulous doctors engaged in diversion.

Many pain clinics are simply store fronts for unscrupulous doctors engaged in diversion.

Beta is another story. Beta now lives in Tennessee, sees a doctor in a strip mall in Florida, and uses pharmacies in Georgia and Kentucky. He’s not on the peace train, he’s riding the Oxycontin Express.

When there’s so many bad apples, perhaps it’s time to examine the orchard.

Acknowledgement: Free lance writer and investigative reporter, George McGinn contributed to this article.

Future blog topics: “What is the ‘Oxycontin Express'” and “Why won’t you fill my prescription?”

The Chronic Pain Conundrum

Extreme Rx

I would have a lot of questions for both the prescriber and the patient. On the surface, with no details, this really smacks of diversion.

One of my chronic pain patients, “Alpha,” moved to Florida. About a year before that,  I had received notification from the pharmacy chain management where I worked that it would be prudent for me to do a bit of CYA for myself and the company. I was to speak to the prescribers for my chronic pain patients and make notes in their profiles as to their diagnosis. In other words, why are these patients taking so much pain meds? When Alpha found out about this, she accused me of calling her a drug addict and causing her doctor to question her need for the meds. [Not her Rx shown above]

About two weeks ago, I received a phone call from Alpha. She was having trouble finding a pharmacy that would fill her prescriptions in Florida. I referred her to my successor at the store where we had become acquainted. I’ve been gone from that pharmacy for two years. Her daily dose would be fatal for a patient who had not built a tolerance for such high doses. Her doctor requires regular lab tests to ensure she is taking the medication.

Yesterday, I refused to fill a prescription for a “patient” who is on a similar regimen of drugs. We’ll refer to him as “Beta.” His doctor doesn’t do blood or urine tests to confirm compliance.  His doctor requires cash payments for office visits at the time of the visit. This patient drives a new Mercedes. Yesterday, as he often does, he wanted his prescription filled a week early. He became unruly when I pointed out that the doctor himself had put on the prescription when it could be filled.

Pharmacists from around the country report similar occurrences in their practices.

10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 every day.

10,000 Baby Boomers reach age 65 every day.

Both scenarios are commonplace now as baby boomers turn gray and average from  three to five prescriptions (not all pain meds) as daily maintenance. It’s apparent that boomers have a lot of pain. This point was driven home by two noteworthy events:

  1. pain management clinics began to spring up around the country and…
  2. The government made it easier and quicker for pharmacists to order schedule two controlled drugs. (Amazing, isn’t it? The government made something easier?)

Then I met Betty Lou (my favorite generic name) but to be consistent here, she will be “Gamma.” She’s been my patient now for a couple of years. When she first started doing business at my store, her doctor confirmed that she was a terminally ill cancer patient. She’s been terminal now for over two years. She takes three different narcotic pain meds, Ritalin® in the morning, and sleeping pills at night. She takes meds for nausea and constipation. She’s obese.

And this represents only three of the hundreds of patients we see on a weekly basis.

Now meet patient “Delta.” Delta comes in regularly with prescriptions for 240 Ultram®, 180 Percocet®, and 90 Dilaudid® tablets(all generics.) Every month, Delta presents that month’s prescriptions a few days early. Delta’s chief complaint is “Every time I come into this pharmacy there’s a problem.” The recurring problem is that Delta wants early refills every month. Delta’s doctor writes the date each prescription can be filled into the instructions.

Some of the patients who seem legit, take so much, I wonder. Are they really taking that many tablets?

Some of the patients who seem legit, take so much, I wonder. Are they really taking that many tablets?

Finally, patient, “Epsilon.”  Epsilon sees a different doctor every week. Sometimes the doctor is from out of state. I’m not aware of any pharmacy in our area of the state that will fill an out of state prescription for schedule two controlled substance.

It’s disheartening to see bona fide long term pain management patients become addicted to drugs and then watch that dependence change their behavior to the point that we cannot deal with them rationally.

Another day in the life of a pharmacist.

To be continued tomorrow, HERE.

_______________________

Acknowledgement: Free lance writer and investigative reporter, George McGinn contributed to this article.

Music Review: NYC Sessions–Dave Bass

DaveBassCVR Pianist/Composer  Dave Bass  is back, and his new CD, NYC Sessions, so captured my attention, that I must return to my writing roots.  My first writing gig was with Blogcritics.org and I reviewed Mr. Bass’s now critically acclaimed CD, Gone.

Fortunately, Bass didn’t go far, and certainly not away.

The music world, and especially jazz aficionados, are much better off for his return to the recording studio.

His latest project, NYC Sessions, released in February 2015 and has hit the top five on jazz charts already(March 2015).

Dave’s compositional skills have blossomed with this project both in his writing and his selection of musicians to compose his ensemble.

Joining our lawyer-pianist friend are: Harvie S on acoustic bass, Ignacio Berroa on drums, Phil Woods on alto sax, Conrad Herwig and Chris Washburne on trombone, Enrique Fernandez on flute, and Carlos Caro on conga and percussion. Vocalists Karrin Allyson and Paulette McWilliams breathe life into four of the tracks on NYC Sessions (two of which were on Gone as instrumentals.)

NYC Sessions opens with “The Sixties,” a Bass composition that not only documents the composer’s mastery of straight-up jazz/bebop, but sets the tone for the other ten tracks. Bass wrote all but three of the tracks for this project and presents an expansive repertoire of styles and perspectives. “Lost Mambo” follows with a strong Latin influence that gives way to the moody “Endless Waltz” and Allyson’s first vocal appearance (she makes scat work even in a emotional ballad.)

Listeners will compare NYC Sessions to a novel you cannot put down. Once into the third track, you’re hooked and can’t stop. My first listen to this CD was in my truck on the way to work. I missed my exit and was late, but I heard the last track, “Just a Fool” as I was parking.

DaveBass-2

Don’t miss this supporting video, EPK Promo video, and interviews with not only Dave Bass, but many of the ensemble as well.

My only disappointment with NYC Sessions is the inclusion of only eleven tracks. Surely this bound-to-be-a-crossover hit will lay the groundwork for a follow-up recording. It was good enough to entice me to write about music again.

Get your copy today directly from Dave at www.DaveBassMusic.com or from Amazon or iTunes.

The Seven Things (about my writing) Challenge

7

Recently, a couple of my author friends tagged me in a writing project. The assignment: post seven things about your writing.

1. My writing is done at a standing desk.

2. When I start a book, the first and last chapters are written first.

3.  I do not use an outline.TouristKillerNewCover-LRG

4.  In the beginning, notes are made on main and significant characters. As the writing continues, the characters grow and change and take on their own identities and display their strengths and weaknesses.

5.  My plan is to avoid the “dark and stormy night” syndrome. Establish the setting with a few brief sentences, then let the characters tell the story in dialog. Not fond of the omniscient narrator. Instead of writing that the elderly lady sang off key, I bring out the old woman and let her sing.

6.  I read a lot of old books, take notes, then use them for inspiration and ideas in my books.

7.  I enjoy writing dialog. I get into character for each speaker. My dialog has received critical praise. I believe I do good with it because I’m a good listener. My wife says it’s because I talk a lot.

PresidentsClub-new covr 2-8-15

BONUS: I write for the same reason many readers read—escape. My characters are the voices in my head and I enjoy spending time with these people.

FIND OUT seven special things about the writing of Charley Descoteaux and Jeff Tsuruoka

The Art of the Image–guest blogger, Dan Gregory, RPh

"Fire in the sky" Copyright Dan Gregory used with permission

“Fire in the sky” Copyright Dan Gregory
used with permission

This week, we welcome retired pharmacist, Dan Gregory as our guest blogger. 99755-guest2bblog-2

He was born and raised in Louisiana. His interest in photography and painting blossomed in his teenage years, continued through his era of earning a pharmacy degree from Northeastern University in Monroe, Louisiana. He routinely practiced pharmacy until his affliction from MS became apparent in his fifties. He retired and now devotes his full attention to photography, writing, and oil painting.
What many would consider a handicap he has turned into the realization of a dream: full time attention to his visual arts and the expression of it. He currently resides in Lakewood Ranch/ Sarasota, Florida where he is happy with camera, pen, and brush in hand. He sees the world through new eyes. His renderings are sought by collectors through out the United States
and world, and he is the proud father of two sons, and a daughter.

Dans Head shots

Dan presents his thoughts on how and why he merges photography and oil painting.

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The world is quite the wonderful and startling place; discoveries are everywhere with infinite possibilities. All you have to do is open your eyes.
But for some just to see is not enough. Time must be frozen. But how to do that? Again in a myriad of ways, some more complex but satisfying through the magic of accomplishment.
I’m a retired pharmacist, not by choice, but thanks to Multiple Sclerosis, so I have all the time in the world now to discover it.
I’ve always painted since a child, almost always been a photographer from back in the days when everything was manual. I bought a Leica because it’s such an incredible tool to take photos that beg to be translated into paintings, not because I’m a snob. After several months with it, it FORCES me to arrange and compose artistically, unlike my other cameras which have
whittled photography into point and shoots. I’m still learning it, and it never fails to surprise or disappoint me. Much the same as life.
I like to travel the backroads with it, the blue highways so to speak. Here I can find the dichotomies between the past and present. There’s an abandoned motel, truck graveyards hiding in the tall weeds, archaic old general stores. Strange sites as compared to the glass and steel so commonplace today, the hurried pace. They scream in anguish to be remembered, for
once they stood proud and strong, rolled the roads in hubris. And now they just want to be thought of one final time.
And I have that power. Through my viewfinder I carefully compose my trophy within the lines of a grid. I bring the LEDs to a correct exposure, let the auto-focus do its thing by lightly depressing the shutter release. Then I press it all the way. The capture is complete; I have rendered my prey timeless, and, like magic, it is given immortality.
I like to photograph the serene beauty of the female form with it. From the release of that button, a woman who strives not to age will never do so. In decades to come, when the flesh has dried and withered, an ever-young face will stare from that screen or piece of paper. She will always be there, back when she had the power to enchant a man just with a coy smile which has vanished like a ghost. She has gained the prize of forever. And she will never lose it.

Copyright Dan Gregory

Copyright Dan Gregory

The photographs are good, but there is something better. The photographs are recordings which require no interpretation. Physics is physics. They can be personalized a bit with Photoshop or some such program. But more than anything it just depends on how the light strikes the sensor. The quality of a photo depends on the compositional and functional talent of
the photographer.
And what is something better you may ask? I take those images, and I interpret them in paints. I take tubes of pigments made from earth and draw forth from a blank, white canvas the colors of the rainbow. I paint those relics, those graceful women. If the camera gave them a new life, the painting gives them a new interpretation. I am scarcely limited, if only by my imagination. All creatures of mythology, past and present, can be rendered and brought to glorious life. The dead can be brought back to life, the divided reunited .The camera, the Leica, cannot do that. The elegant woman can still be captured by the unfeeling sensor, but it takes the pigments to give her the touch of the artist’s soul. He can see every mark, every crease, on that woman’s body, and he can love them because they are part of her uniqueness. He can appreciate that she is a child of God and render her as such. The camera cannot do that. It is merely a tool. It is like saying the painting exists solely because of the brush, no matter how fine.
The artist can return life to the abandoned building beside the unremembered road. A forgotten store that has seen many decades between the dark and light is suddenly ablaze once more. The song of crickets is replaced by the cries of merriment. The dead have been redeemed. The moon and stars above have seen it all since time began, but like the alloy and glass of a camera they are uncaring. They are not human.
But the camera and the brush are both only tools wielded by a human. A cheap Instamatic wielded by Ansel Adams can hardly be bested by a child with a Zeiss Ikon. A Waterhouse rendered by a cheap dime-store set of pan watercolors can hardly be surpassed by a child with all of the finest Winsor and Newtons in the world. Experience is the best, and harshest, teacher. So it is up to you to embrace it. Go into a world wracked by strife and wars, and cherish all of what you see there. It all exists for a reason, and it is up to you to find the latent beauty that lurks everywhere.

And it is up to you to show it, display it, and better yet, teach it.

ENDEAVOR

Our guest blogger this week is Rev. Bruce McGee of Louisiana.
He was born in Lenoir, NC, 1943 and reared in West Monroe, LA.
He graduated University of Louisiana at Monroe 1974(the same year as me–only then it was N.L.U.)
Studied MBA 1978-1981 and surrendered to pastoral ministry 1981.
Retired from pastoral ministry 2006 and is now preaching supply and revivals.
Welcome, Brother Bruce!
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Brucemcgee43blog's Blog

Many years ago, when I was in training at Keesler AFB, we had exercise time each morning.
We had to complete 4 exercises and run a mile in under 15 min.
For most of us, it was relatively easy.
I was finished in under 9 minutes each day.

However, there was ONE man who beat me on the mile run EVERY day!
Finally, on the last day, I determined to outrun him.
I strained with every nerve.
Just as we finished the 3rd lap, I put all I had into it!
And, I crossed the finished line about 5 yards ahead of him!
I walked over to my Captain and said, “I DID it!”

Then I passed out!
_____________________________________________________________
_________SCRIPTURE_________________________________________

Eph 4:1-3
1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
2 With all lowliness and meekness, with…

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