Posts Tagged ‘New Week New Face’




Call it summer vacation, call it too much on my plate, call it outpatient procedure interference – #NWNF is on a break this week! But keep your eyes peeled next month – exciting things are happening! New Series, New Story, Cover Reveal! Parties and prizes and free copies!


#Blogwords, New Week New Face, #NWNF, On Break, Coming in August


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I fell in love with writing at a young age. Being an only child I was able to use my imagination in creative ways all the time. I made up stories to amuse myself. Plus, in our home, books were devoured (in the best way) and that grew an appreciation for story in me. It was only natural that I’d want to take that love of story and create my own. I became a writer.


What do you think of when you think of a writer? Maybe a favorite book comes to mind (and the author along with that). Or maybe you think of someone looking pensively out a window with a notepad in hand (or typewriter, or laptop…). Or maybe you think of someone who’s a little eccentric and is always taking notes or muttering about some character or plot.


Whatever your perspective of a writers is, I’d like to give you a little insight into some of the things that make writers great—yes, I’m a lot little bias. We’re a rare breed and should you be lucky enough to have a writer friend, this may help you understand them a little better.


Why Writers Make the Best Friends


Writers are:


We see the world in a different way. We don’t just live life, we experience it. All emotion we feel is an experience. All places, possible locations. All new people we meet, potential characters. In the end, every day is research for us. It’s all material for a book. I think that makes us experience things in a different way than others. If you’re lucky enough to be friends with a writer, you’ll see some of that experience. Let it rub off on you!



Writers don’t just take things at face value. They stew on them. Mull them over in their minds. Make connections to things that others wouldn’t. It makes for some tough, emotion-filled days when the things we’re contemplating are difficult, but in the end, we have a deeper well of thought to pull from. Because of this contemplative nature, we are compassionate and empathetic. We won’t give you empty answers, we’ll truly think through what we say.



It doesn’t matter where we are, we’re always thinking about story. Either the one we’re working on, the one (or many) we’re reading, or the one we want to write. Because of that, we take in everything around us. People, places, smells, actions…we are ultimate people watchers. This can be fun, but it can also be difficult if your writer friend is distracted by a conversation they are listening in on. Don’t worry though, they aren’t eavesdropping so much as gaining insight into better ways to write dialogue or to capture the inflection of the person speaking. They’ll come back to the conversation, and they’ll probably have some great stories to tell too!



Being a writer means we have to be able to focus on the task at hand: our writing. It takes time, energy, and immense effort to write a novel. While some may see this as taking away from “friend-time” I’d challenge you to see past that to the reality of what’s going on. Your writer friend is delving deeply into the wells of emotion inside of them to pour out their hearts on the page. They are focused for a time, but that also means they’ll need a break. Time away from the characters in their heads and the plotlines that are twisting before their eyes. That’s where YOU come in. They’ll turn to you and, with that same focus it takes to write a novel, they’ll be there for you. Because a writer that cares about a little will care about a lot. They’ll want you to share your thoughts, fears, joys, and struggles with them.



Let’s face it. Writers just make things fun! You’ll be standing around in a group of friends talking about something and suddenly they’ll start talking about what will happen when the world ends or zombies invade or how their character got out of a tight spot in their current novel. Story-life and real-life are one in the same to writers and that makes conversation so much more interesting.



Writers understand their friendships in a different way than most people. They see them as investments of time and emotion, not just as people to “hang out” with. Because a writer’s life can be filled with lots of alone time, their real-life friendships are extremely important to them. They may not like being in crowds of people or the center of attention, but they will be there for their friends no matter what. Just like struggles make their characters better, they know that difficult times will strengthen their friendships too. They won’t shy away from the hard things but will push through, staying loyal to their friends.


See? Writers really are the best type of friends to have!


Do you have a friend who’s a writer? Let them know you’re thankful for them today!




Emilie is a freelance writer and photographer living in the heart of Washington, D.C. She’s a member of ACFW and currently working on a romantic suspense series while dreaming up YA Sci-Fi dystopian worlds on the side. She’s got a soft spot in her heart for animals and a love for the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. In her spare time you can find her playing guitar or reading a book all while drinking too much coffee.


Connect with Emilie:

My blog

Author page on Facebook





Join my Goodreads group: Readers Unite


New Week New Face, #nwnf, Guest Post, Emilie Hendryx, Why Writers are the Best Friends, #Creative, #Contemplative, #Observant, #Focused, #Imaginative, #Loyal

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reposted from 22 February 2016


Why Writers Write

…or why this writer writes, anyway. 😉


I applied for a job after my last child graduated from high school. Since we homeschooled I hadn’t worked outside the home in quite a while, so putting together a resumé was something of an ordeal. How could I explain the twists and turns of my life?


As I wrote I began to see a sure direction in the seemingly random path of my life. In college I studied architecture but married after graduation instead of completing my masters and certification. I could design homes without the certification, and that’s where my heart was. Through many relocations and child-raising years, I drew custom house plans from a home office—a situation that gave my life balance. When our homeschool co-op needed a drafting teacher, I volunteered. They approached me about a high school writing course, and I accepted that position as well. I’d always loved writing and had written a state history course, Discover Texas, for my own children.


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That experience was more or less like writing ten separate-but-related research papers, turning out one per month for each chronological era. I’d learned a lot of shortcuts between the first chapter and the last, so I knew I could teach high school students to write a research paper efficiently and make it interesting. While researching Discover Texas I’d also discovered many inspiring human interest stories. After my first child graduated, I tried my hand at historical fiction. The result was More Precious Than Gold, the first novel in an inspirational series. I was hooked…but life was busy. Discover Texas had become a cottage industry in its own right. Children graduated high school, then college…then marriage proposals and wedding plans and more moves. I got to put my architectural talents to work remodeling the house we left and the one we moved into, juggling time to help aging parents with moves of their own. Frustrated, I made time during one quiet month to enjoy combining my love of architecture and writing in a project just for fun—Home Sweet Hole: A Folio of Feasible Fantasy Floor Plans. I told myself I was just “keeping one foot in the water,” but the little book came out about the same time as the Lord of the Rings movies and surprised me by becoming a very good seller. Encouraged, I waded cautiously back into writing—this time returning to non-fiction to produce a series based on my most popular homeschool convention presentations. How to Teach the Way Your Child Learns and How to Make Learning Meaningful, Memorable, and Fun are published, and the final two books in the Homeschool How-To series will release by summer.


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In the end I didn’t get the job I applied for, but I commented to a family member that I was glad I wrote the resumé. It helped me see how everything I did fit together—even if it sometimes didn’t seem to while I was doing it.


She responded, “Oh. Well, I’m glad. You never really decided what you wanted to do when you grew up.”


Gotta admit—that stung. I wanted to snap back a protest. “Oh yes, I did! I wanted to do it all…and I did!”


Instead I bit my tongue, but as usual I’m putting down in writing all the things I wanted to say but couldn’t.


You’re welcome. 😉


Writers write down the things they can’t say out loud. Most of us are introverts. It isn’t easy to speak publicly until we’ve had time to organize our thoughts. Writing gives us that time. Besides, the largest group I’ve ever spoken to at a convention was about 200 people. My books have been read by thousands of people—not enough to be called best sellers, but still a larger audience than I could have reached any other way.


Writers have something to say. Because I spend a lot of time quietly observing and “living inside my head,” I have many perspectives to share. Writing is a comfortable way to do that. It’s not “pushy” or confrontational. No one is obligated to buy or read what I write, so it’s almost as if readers are inviting me to share with them personally.


Writers write to help others. I like doing that! I wrote Discover Texas because I didn’t want my children to be bored with history, and there was no hands-on history course available at the time. Other homeschool parents liked it and asked if I’d publish it for their children. I’m writing the Homeschool How-To series to explain how and why hands-on learning works. I wrote More Precious Than Gold to show how God take difficult circumstances and turn them into a blessing, and I wrote Home Sweet Hole because…well, sometimes we just need a “happy place” to dream a little, even if it’s imaginary.


Often, writers want to help without hurting your feelings. We can say things through our characters that we wouldn’t and couldn’t tell you to your face. Instead we tell you a story like the one Nathan the prophet told King David. For example in the beginning of More Precious Than Gold the heroine, Eliza, is having a pity party—and she has every reason. Both her mother and her fiancé died in a war that she had no part in. She heads west to New Mexico Territory to escape her grief and runs headlong into the man who caused it. At this point she has to decide whether her faith in God is just lip service or if she really trusts Him in both good times and bad.


Writers get a rush out of creating. Lest you think that writers are motivated solely by noble causes, I must admit that telling stories is just plain fun! There’s something about creating characters who will come to life in readers’ imaginations that gives me the same satisfaction as creating plans for a home that will envelope a family. Besides, I rather enjoy telling people what to do…but only in the kindest possible way. 😉


So that’s my story. All of our lives are a story, really, just as history is a story—the story of God working out His plans and reconciling the world to Himself, one life at a time.


Whatever direction your life and work take you, if God called you to it, He can use it even if the path is not always direct.


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Growing up in Texas, I dictated my first stories to my mom before I was old enough to write them down myself. She humored me, for which I am grateful, and I’ve been telling stories in one form or another ever since.

I write about the things I know. The things I love. God, family, history, and how those things fit together.


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You can find Lynn at:







New Week New Face, #NWNF, Guest Post, Lynn Dean, Discover Texas, More Precious than Gold, Home Sweet HoleSave

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Early in my writing career one of my beloved readers sent me a copy of Streams in the Desert, a favorite devotional book. I’d heard about this spiritual classic but didn’t have my own copy. Now that I look back, I see that her timing was inspired. One particular devotional serves as a continual challenge and encouragement to me and, I hope, others on all stages of their writing journey.

‘By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. ~Hebrews 11:8

Abraham “did not know where he was going” – it simply was enough for him to know he went with God. He did not lean as much on the promises as he did on the Promiser. And he did not look at the difficulties of his circumstances but looked to His King – the eternal, limitless, invisible, wise, and only God – who had reached down from His throne to direct his path and who would certainly prove Himself.

O glorious faith! Your works and possibilities are these: contentment to set sail with the orders still sealed, due to unwavering confidence in the wisdom of the Lord High Admiral; and a willingness to get up, leave everything, and follow Christ.

In no way is it enough to set our cheerfully with God on any venture of faith. You must also be willing to take your ideas of what the journey will be like and tear them into tiny pieces, for nothing on the itinerary will happen as you expect.

Your Guide will not keep to any beaten path. He will lead you through ways you would never have dreamed your eyes would see. He knows no fear, and He expects you to fear nothing while He is with you.’ ~Streams in the Desert by L. B. Cowman

My own writing journey reflects this mightily. Before publication, I was a blank slate. Green. Full of naïve hopes and dreams. In my head and heart I had my path all mapped out. My first book would be published. If really blessed I would win many readers and perhaps awards. I would earn a solid income.  I would be on bestseller lists. I would never have to worry about getting another publishing contract. All my hard work would pay off.

I had always been a person who played it safe, who courted sameness, who thrived when things were planned and controlled (or so I thought). I liked to map everything out and have it go accordingly. I still don’t like speed bumps or roller coaster rides. My middle name is CALM.

But our Lord is like Aslan in C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe:

“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.” “Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…”Safe?” said Mr. Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

Since my debut novel, The Frontiersman’s Daughter, was published in 2009, I have had to be willing to take my ideas of what the journey would be like and tear them into tiny pieces, for nothing on the itinerary has happened like I expected.

While there have been many highs, there have also been many lows, days when I think that I can’t do this publishing thing any longer. Days when I want to revoke the call of writing the Lord has placed on my life. Days when I dream about doing something else or nothing at all. Days I just want to be normal and not word-obsessed like I’ve been since childhood.

But I am learning that God is like a lion. He is not safe. But He is good. And with His leading I’m on the right path with my writing even if it’s not the one I imagined it would be.

Jeremiah 29:11New International Version

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Isaiah 26:7 New American Standard Bible

The way of the righteous is smooth; O Upright One, make the path of the righteous level.





Award-winning author Laura Frantz is passionate about all things historical, particularly the 18th-century, and writes her manuscripts in longhand first. Her stories often incorporate Scottish themes that reflect her family heritage. She is a direct descendant of George Hume, Wedderburn Castle, Berwickshire, Scotland, who was exiled to the American colonies for his role in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, settled in Virginia, and is credited with teaching George Washington surveying in the years 1748-1750. Frantz lives and writes in a log cabin in the heart of Kentucky.









Laura Frantz, New Week New Face, NWNF, Love’s Reckoning, Love’s Awakening, Love’s Fortune, The Mistress of Tall Acre

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Authors come in two varieties.

There are those who say “I can’t NOT write.” They have an inner drive (perhaps inner demons?) pushing, compelling them to write.

The second group, including me, say, “I can write or I can choose not to write.” It’s similar to this— I can sing; everyone can sing who has a voice. It’s the listening that’s the problem. Many do not want to listen to those who sing off key.

And so, I ask myself, is that true of my writing voice? Am I off key? I am not compelled to write, so I have a choice. Perhaps the effort is not worth it. Writing is difficult, one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done.

The world is full of things that command my attention—my 93-year-old mother who is in the nursing home; my three precious grandchildren who are growing up in a twinkling of an eye; the mountain of laundry that grows even faster than the grandkids; friends or family who are sick or need my assistance—and the list can go on and on.

When I do choose to write, I immerse myself in the process, living and crying and laughing with my characters. Interruptions are like yanking me up from a scuba diving expedition, leaving me weak and confused.

And so the question is: Should I immerse myself into the writing process?




“The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before,” Neil Gaiman has said.

And I agree and so I have written. And yet, more often, I haven’t written.

People need me and I don’t write. I need a quiet mind and I don’t write. I need to see one more TV show and I don’t write. I need to fold the clothes and I don’t write.

The words swirl in my head, but never do I put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard…at least for the last year.

And the keyboard, the putting down of words, becomes a frightening thing, something to escape, not something to embrace.

Writing leads me farther away from family and friends, those who need me and depend on me. For even when I’m with them, if I’m writing, I’m immersed in my world. Immersed as if I was a scuba diver. And family and friends view me, as we view the animals at SeaWorld, with an invisible wall between us.




And my laundry gets mildewed. And my mind gets stressed.

Life is short; life is fleeting. Everyone knows except the very young. And do I want my life to be spent in solitude, scribbling or pounding keys? Is my gift of writing of more importance than the ties to family, friends, and Solitaire? We each have 24 hours in a day. And some are disciplined enough to devote three or four hours to the writing of words, while those of us who are undisciplined know not when to stop. And our imaginary world pulls us deeper and deeper, until the faces pressed against the glass are dim, ghostly, shadowy figures. And do these shadows think the gift is worth the distance? And does even the scuba diver begin to feel the isolation and notice he has drifted far out to sea, farther than he meant to go?




And yet if he stays too close to the glass, he cannot explore the riches of the sea. Too close and the bright faces pressed against the glass will keep him tethered there, instead of searching after that elusive idea.

Life is short; life is hard; life is meant to be lived. Lived immersed beneath the sea? Or lived among those who walk upon the land?

Is the treasure flung deep beneath the waves worth pursuing? Or is it as Solomon said, “I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.”

Ah…but later Solomon said, “the Preacher also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs with great care. The Preacher sought to find words of delight, and uprightly he wrote words of truth.”

And so the question now—Are the words to be written words of truth? The fictional stories? They are. Someone once said fiction is truer than fact.

And the truth shall make us free, will it not? Shouldn’t truth be pursued?

Perhaps it is time to don the scuba gear, to rid my life of all distractions and all nuisances. No, that doesn’t include family and friends. I will surface occasionally to connect or reconnect. However, I can’t promise my laundry won’t become mildewed.




Sheila Hollinghead is the author of a four-book series, the Cedar’s Shadow Saga, based very loosely on her mother’s life. She has also written a thriller suspense, Moonbow, and the first book in her new cozy mystery series, Southern Pines. She lives in south Alabama, near the place her ancestors struggled to scratch a living from the ground.











Sheila Hollinghead, New Week New Face, #NWNF, Guest Post, Clothed in Thunder, Thunder’s Shadow, Fading Thunder, Thunder Snow, Frail Branch, #NaNoWriMo2016


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On the Altar of My Country

By: Scott R. Rezer




Next month, our nation, as it should, will once more take time to honor the veterans of our military, so it is appropriate to take a moment of reflection and look back at the idea of sacrificial duty as seen through the eyes of the Civil War soldier. In my novel, Love Abideth Still, I wrote a plain, unvarnished story of the sacrifice the soldiers of the Civil War endured, using actual letters as a model for the fictional letters between the two main characters. The letters, diaries, and personal accounts of the soldiers, and their loved ones back home, tell a far different, far more intimate story than history affords us.


Although primarily about love and forgiveness, the subtle, though constant, the themes of duty and sacrifice run deep throughout the story, providing tension not just between a husband and a wife, but between families and friends as well. In a letter to his wife Sarah, Taylor writes from the battlefield, “we have all been called to this duty.  I am prepared to die if need be, though I pray it does not come to such a sacrifice for anyone of us”. These were not just empty words of a soldier trying to convince his loved ones at home of his beliefs and the necessity of his duty. It was quite common for soldiers on both sides of the Civil War to describe their deaths in the line of duty using such poetic terms as a sacrifice upon the altar of their country.
In his book, For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1999), James M. McPherson examines the values that motivated the soldiers of both the Union and Confederate armies during the war based on hundreds of letters and diaries still in existence. For the soldiers of the Civil War, the conflict was unlike any other, before or after. Until recently, historians often stated that Billy Yank and Johnnie Reb fought in the war simply out of duty with little understanding or regard for the reasons why he fought. Nothing could be further from the truth. No one statement can accurately describe the thoughts and motives of every soldier who fought in the Civil War. In general terms, the Confederates fought to achieve independence based on a set of values they held dear, particularly in regards to states’ rights and the continued institution of slavery, while the Union soldiers fought to preserve all they, and their forefathers, had fought to secure in the last eighty and seven years in creating a unified nation.

When President Lincoln initially called for 75,000 men to quell the uprising, the response was overwhelming.  The South witnessed a similar reaction to their call to arms in defense of their newly established Confederacy.  As McPherson writes, “How could it be otherwise? This was, after all, a civil war. Its outcome would determine the fate of the nation—of two nations, if the Confederacy won. It would shape the future of American society and of every person in that society. Civil War soldiers lived in the world’s most politicized and democratic country in the mid-nineteenth century. They had come of age in the 1850s when highly charged partisan and ideological debates consumed the American polity. A majority of them had voted in the election of 1860, the most heated and momentous election in American history. When they enlisted, many of them did so for patriotic and ideological reasons—to shoot as they had voted, so to speak… “.

As McPherson relates, one young Union soldier in 1863 summarized his duty as, “first my God, second my country, third my mother. Oh my country, how my heart bleeds for your welfare. If this poor life of mine could save you, how willingly would I make the sacrifice”. Another, older Union officer likewise wrote his wife in the same year, “If I never get home you will not say my life has been thrown away for naught. My country, glorious country, if we have only made it truly the land of the free… I count not my life dear to me if only I can help that glorious cause along”.

Perhaps, it was the romantic, Victorian mentality of mid-19th century America—people certainly do not write with such passion these days—a time we little understand or grasp today, which permitted these brave men to see their deaths as sacrifices upon the altar of their nation—they could see it as little else. “Theirs was an age of romanticisma sentimental age when strong men were not afraid to cry (or weep, as they would say)… They were not posturing for public show. They were not looking back from years later through a haze of memory and myth about the Civil War. They were writing during the immediacy of their experiences…” (McPherson).

Now, let us not think for a moment that these valiant volunteers simply went off to war whispering a death wish on their grinning lips. Every soldier, every wife, mother, father, sister, brother, son and daughter, every cousin, aunt and uncle, every grandparent, friend and neighbor, knew they had little chance of returning home. As the war dragged on, that knowledge grew with every day spent on the lines, fighting the enemy. Despite the necessity of the war, not everyone took comfort in knowing their soldier risked life and limb for a cause that some found hard to understand. For too many, the eloquent statements of sacrifice the soldiers’ wrote became a reality. In the four years of the war, historians estimate that well more than 620,000 men were killed in action. To put that number in perspective, the combined total of losses in the eleven other conflicts in American history since is 648, 000, not to mention the more than 475, 000 wounded soldiers who returned home. In the North, one out every ten men lost their life, while in the South the ratio is three out of ten.


The list of casualties from the war is staggering even today. Despite the tremendous loss of life, though, the most tragic sacrifice upon the altar of the country may have been President Lincoln’s own at the close of the war. It was as if God had loaned him to the nation for just a short while and then took him back again, leaving the nation to grieve. Some believe that his death united the country more than anything he accomplished in life.



In Love Abideth Still, Sarah’s reaction to Taylor’s bold statement of duty and sacrifice is not well received in the story, at least at first, but Taylor continually tries to convince her of his reasons for fighting in the war. His words are eloquent, perhaps romantic, in the grand vein of the mid-19th century mindset. His words, however, ring true, echoing the sentiment of soldiers in countless letters of the war. “It is not lightly,” he wrote,” that we have resolved to take on our duty, nor is it some flight of fancy that has taken hold of us to join the war and fight.  We do so because we believe the survival of our nation, our very way of life, hangs in the balance.  We do so knowing well that many of us through injury or sickness or mortal blows will not return home. It is a great struggle that runs far deeper than the seeming political issues that many say divide us.  I firmly believe either it is a testing of God to unify our resolve to be one nation or a terrible plague birthed in the fires of Hell meant to destroy the bastion of freedom our grandfathers fought so valiantly to create… It is to this cause we have been called forth to serve; it is for this just cause we must emerge victorious, however terrible the cost to each one of us.  I pray only you will understand my actions, not that you would accept them… To what calamitous purpose God has allowed this war with its sacrifice and ruin of so many precious souls upon the altar of our country’s unity, is yet to be seen; but I have seen far too much of the evil men can do to one another, and it has affected me far more deeply than I would like… I have been through the worse a man can endure and still survive.  Still, even with the loss of so much life, I would not abandon my duty to protect our bleeding country… I have committed myself anew to my sworn duty. I dare not break my oath to our regiment, or to our country…”



Love Abideth Still is far more than a simple story of a tragic war; it is a fictional novel of my own 3rd great-grandparents, Taylor Brant and Sarah Ann Rezer. Taylor died as a paroled prisoner of war, offering up his life on the altar of his country—the last full measure of duty. I may have put fictitious words into the mouth of my Civil War ancestor in his letters, but I am certain that he, as well as his comrades, would have felt and lived every word he wrote. Remembering the sacrifice of those who have paid the ultimate price for their duty is the least we can do to honor our veterans.





slide-13Scott R. Rezer was born in Doylestown, Pennsylvania in 1963. He met his wife and best friend while serving in the U.S. Air Force. They have two grown children and live in the Southwest. He is an indie published author of five historical fiction novels ranging from the Civil War to the Crusades to ancient Biblical history. Two of his books have garnered Editor’s Choice selections by the Historical Novel Society (The Leper King and Shadow of the Mountain). He is currently at work on a second Civil War novel.
As a maintenance technician in the U.S. Air Force, he worked on an aging, outdated nuclear missile system of questionable safety. He believes he may have been unwittingly exposed to radioactive material that altered his DNA and gave him his writing ability—well, maybe not. It could be he simply acquired his ability from his grandmother who was a local historian and writer. He could never ask her a simple question without hearing her say with a wink, “Go look it up.” In so doing, she managed to instill in him a love of history and a wonderful sense of discovery that have stuck with him ever since.



Website: www.scottrezer.weebly.com

Facebook Author Page: http://on.fb.me/1ngMVgE

Pinterest: http://bit.ly/1FvcibA

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1IJ7H7n






Scott R. Rezer, New Week New Face, #NWNF, Guest Post, On the Altar of my Country, Love Abideth Still

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Five Medical Pitfalls Authors Fall Into


One of the reasons I created my medical blog for authors, Redwood’s Medical Edge, was to right some of the wrongs in published works—traditional and indie—that caused me to want to toss the book aside and move on to something else.


A reader, even one who primarily reads fiction, wants to trust you as an author. Part of building that trust is doing your research to make sure the details are authentic. The more close to real life you write, the more believable your fiction is. Strange, right?


As a medical professional of almost twenty-five years, these are a few author pitfalls that will signal to me that an author has not done their research and I begin to wonder what other details of their manuscript they’ve been loose with.


  1. Referring to an ECG as an EKG: This is relatively common and you’ll likely be given a pass on this because as medical professionals communicate with one another—we still will say “EKG” but the correct terminology is ECG. An ECG comes from electrocardiogram and is when we attach patches to your chest to look at the electrical activity of your heart.


  1. Anatomical Issues: These can be annoying because they are the easiest to research on your own. I’ve seen passages in published novels where the spleen is on the right side (it’s on the left), and the clavicle referred to as a scapula (your collar bone versus your shoulder blade.) Easiest way to determine where a certain organ/bone is would be to Google search specifically—“what side is the spleen on?” It should pop up pretty readily.


  1. HIPAA Violations: HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This is the law that governs patient privacy and is the information you receive each time you seek medical care that dictates how your health information is shared. The easiest way to understand patient privacy is that only people who are in direct care of the patient should look at that patient’s information.

    Let’s look at an example.

    I take care of a neighbor’s child in the ER during a shift. If my husband calls me at work, I can’t say, “Hey, Mindy is here with her daughter. She broke her leg.” This is a violation of HIPAA. Now, I can share that information if Mindy says I can do so but she has to give me permission. Other types of HIPAA violations I’ve seen in published novels? A nurse giving patient information to a reporter—this is a huge no-no. All information released to the press is done through the public relations office. This is drilled into every medical professional’s head from the get-go. Another example from real life was when a local news station shot an interview with a nurse manager where the patient tracking board was in the backdrop. All big no-no’s.


  1. Injuries that heal too quickly: Sure, you want conflict and sometimes conflict means a character taking a bullet or being in a car accident. Often times the problem in fiction comes after the injury and what your character will be reasonably able to do. These need to match. For instance, if your hero takes a bullet to the arm and it shatters the bone, then that arm is out of commission for a good six to eight weeks. It cannot be wielding a gun the next day and firing off shots with remarkable accuracy. Make sure whatever injury your character suffers, the physical effects of the injury is reflected in the manuscript. If your character breaks a femur then they will not be running the next day.


  1. Scope of practice issues: The term scope of practice covers a set of laws that dictate what a licensed medical person can and can’t do. They vary from state to state so if your novel is set in a specific locale it will behoove you to look at those laws. An example of a scope of practice issue is an EMT performing a C-section. This is clearly outside their scope of practice. Now, can he do it in a fiction novel? Yes—but he also needs to be seen struggling with the decision. He will know it’s outside his scope of practice but does it anyway—this is conflict. He will also be responsible for the consequences that follow. A good example of this was the novel Midwives by Chris Bohjalian where a midwife performed a C-section.

    Remember, medical characters in fiction can do bad things. Violating HIPAA laws and operating outside their scope of practice makes for great conflict and novels should have loads of conflict. However, the reader, in order to trust you and your research, needs to know that you know the character has done a bad thing and the character should suffer consequences for it. For a nurse, this could be something a mild as a verbal warning to as serious as losing a nursing license.


What medical inaccuracies have you seen in published fiction?




jordyn-337eJordyn Redwood is a nurse by day, novelist by night. She has specialized in critical care and emergency nursing for nearly two decades. As a self professed medical nerd, she reads medical textbooks for fun. This led to the creation of Redwood’s Medical Edge– a blog devoted to helping authors write medically accurate fiction. Jordyn loves to weave medical mystery into her story lines and see how her characters navigate through the chaos she creates.












Jordyn Redwood, New Week New Face, #NWNF, Guest Post, Medical Pitfalls, Proof, Poison, Peril, Fractured Memory

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