The Doctor is IN

Keen Observations on Life … Whether You Need Them or Not


Romantic inclinations

I was excited to go to the Romance Writers of America national conference in Denver last week. Not only did I get some great insight on plotting (which my poor TBI brain needs to learn … pantsing isn’t doing it for me lately), but I got a hot jolt of inspiration and rejuvenation! I got to see some of my favorite writer pals, and best of all, our son traveled with me to do a little adventuring. What a week!


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New Year, New Opportunity!

It’s exciting to have made another lap around the sun. The new year, for me, is lining up to be pretty exciting. Beginning today, I’ll be blogging with USA Today’s Happy Ever After community, making recommendations for my favorite romantic suspense books!

Check it out when you get a chance … I’ll be posting on Thursdays.

Happy New Year, y’all!

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Putting it all together

The continuing education creative writing adjunct instructors at Central Carolina Community College were asked to provide bios and headshots, and images of their book covers for the upcoming Carolina Women’s Show. My mom loves stuff like this, so we’ll most likely swing through. It’s kind of cool to see all of seven of my book covers put together. It reminds me that my TBI is nothing but a blip in my career, a five-year hiatus seasoning my imagination so my forthcoming books will be even more exciting. Onward and upward!


Inspiring words

My grantwriting class met again last night, and I got the nicest note from a student.

I so appreciate your class. I have been inspired to write on a personal level more since last nights class … I am taking back my love for writing.

Though I still struggle with writing anything long-form — my current approach is now more of a slow-and-steady-wins-the-race kind of thing — I find my mind whirling with creative ideas this afternoon. So when you have a good experience at work or at school, or in line at the grocery store, make sure you share the positive feedback. You never know who may need a little pep in their step.


Harry Potter Forever

I was so excited about a piece in yesterday’s USA Today about the USPS selling a limited edition Harry Potter Forever stamp … starting on Tuesday. Little did I pay attention, though, to the fine print: “The official first day of issue, when stamps are available in post offices,  will be Nov. 19.” Rats!

One of the Harry Potter stamp designs, as published in USA Today, 11/12/13.

One of the Harry Potter stamp designs, as published in USA Today, 11/12/13.

I spend a fortune on stamps every year because I’m a huge fan of epistolary relationships. I’m also a huge Harry Potter fan … what I’m not is a fan of patience. I called our local post office and they hadn’t gotten any Owl Mail about it at all, so I knew I was doomed. But then the mister saved the day. “Buy them online,” he said. And I thought, “why not.”

This morning, in the quiet hour between 5:50 and 6:50 when I’m up with our son before he heads to school, I did it. I created an account on and BOUGHT some Potter stamps. They’ll come right to my door on November 19. I’m so excited.


Socializing on the other side of the fence

ncstateUNC … Here I come.

I’m excited to return to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as one of the guest speakers for their Social Media, Writing, and Publishing Careers Meet Up on February 26.  I had a great time mixing and mingling with students and other professionals last year. What a great way to help students to learn more about specific occupations and career areas in the wide, wide world of humanities.

Even the brightest CEO in the world, the most gifted surgeon, the most visionary techno whiz … would not be able to succeed without communicating their intentions. I will fight the urge to wear my NCSU shirt, but will proudly represent my fellow language artists as we try to bring another generation of humanities students to the dark side … because, as some genius said somewhere in the world that was captured and propagated around the Internet: we have cookies.

Go humanities!


Six Months Later …

IMG_3703Most days, I’m a perfectly happy 39-year-old Wonder-mother, wife, author, friend, daughter, and free-thinker. But just when I let my guard down and think that my post-concussion syndrome may finally be considering me in its rear-view mirror, the shit hits the fan. One thing’s for certain: recovery’s a pain in the ass.

Six months after passing the kidney stone that rendered me unconscious before hitting the floor, thus delivering the mother of all concussions and post-concussion disorder, here’s a laundry list of minutiae still plaguing me:

  • Two broken molars. They’ve presented themselves in the most painful, least convenient times possible, damn it. The first one required a crown; the second one broke while we were out-of-town for Christmas, and I had to go to an emergency dentist for a temporary filling … in the two weeks since, I’ve had two permanent fillings done to fix it. I can stand to glance my toothbrush off of it now, but the sensitive gum underneath can’t take any pressure—so no biting or chewing on it. Hopefully, that’ll resolve itself before it seems that a root canal and crown are necessary.  But, seriously,  I’d rather just have the payment than the pain.
  • Forgetfulness. What was I saying … ? Oh, yeah, bad memory strikes when I’m least expecting it, like when I was trying to show my son something at Fresh Market last week. I was pushing the basket and he was walking next to me, but when I stopped to show him something he kept walking. So I said, “shh,” and he said, “what?” I said, “I meant ‘stop’.” Dumb stuff like that. I have a gap in my memory from the summer. It’s like we got back from our trip to the Grand Canyon and Sedona in May, and then our son was starting high school in September. I rented Men In Black III last week, totally excited to finally see it, but the boys told me we rented it the weekend it came out on DVD. In November. When I realize my simple mistake now, I don’t tear up or cry. Mostly. Sigh …
  • Movie dizziness. Man, I LOVE going to the movies. It was our treat when I was a kid, and the same celebratory feeling has transferred to adulthood. But when I went to the movies in September, I had to close my eyes through half of it, be led down the steps and out of the theatre, and hold on to the arm of my husband or son for the rest of the day for balance. Those things cost too much money to miss half of it, so with my continued bouts of dizziness in the everyday mundane shit I come across, we’ve all decided that DVD is the way to go for the immediate future. PS: don’t even get me started on looking up … talk about dizzy.
  • Racquetball disorientation. Damn those stark white walls that blend into the white ceiling with no visible seam! Damn the concentrated power of the overhead gymnasium lights beaming down into the racquetball courts like a sun ray laser. About a month ago, my son said, “let’s try the racquetball court!” Since we love to play, and I was happy to give him something to do at the Y, I said okay. As soon as the glass door closed behind me I knew it was a mistake. The boy said, “you’ll be okay mom! Here, try to hit this one.” And he lobbed it to me gently, knowing I wouldn’t be speedy. It felt like I was tracking in slow-motion, swiping through peanut butter air. Three times he tried before I felt like my head was spinning like a whirling dervish. I had to close my eyes and let him lead me out of that hellish room to a bench, where I sat for a good half hour before getting my land-legs back. Again, the disorientation and headache lasted until I could sleep it off. Lesson learned there, too: I’m still not ready for racquetball. Rats.
  • Occasional agoraphobia (for lack of a better term). This one’s totally new to me, but the best I can figure is that the additional stimulus of peripheral vision hits me in strange, inconsistent places. Like, when we’re hiking, I’m normally okay–but now that the leaves have fallen off the trees I can see farther beyond the path. I think the added dimension of the forest makes me really dizzy. I find when this occurs, it’s best to shift my gaze downward and narrow the field I’m looking at. I tend to do a little better when there’s not so much visual stimuli.
  • Concentration. This one is the absolute worst. In my career, I have written thousands of articles, blog posts, grants, white papers, press releases, books, and the like. I’m quick—I’m an immediate satisfaction kind of gal, so I tend to focus with laser-intensity on a project until I finish so I can get the thoughts out of my head and move on to the next story needing to be told. Not now. Now I’m lucky if I can write four pages in a day. I hate … hate … hate … down time, and not being able to get these thoughts out of my head. I’m working through it, though, and have set some challenging goals for myself this first and second quarter. I can feel my mind getting stronger, and the words come a little easier with everything I type.

Those are the biggies, though in terms of “biggies,” mine are manageable. Most of my gaffe’s fall into those categories, but I can tell you that none of us had any expectation that this concussion and its effects would linger this long. I read an article in the News & Observer a couple of months ago by Katie Bowler (@kebowler) that struck home, and I cut it out to paste into my notebook: Reverberations from my head injuries. Her struggle really spoke to me, and while I’m sorry to know she’s experiencing the things she notes, it is nice to know my issues aren’t unheard of.

I love Hillary Clinton, and I’ve been troubled reading about her recent concussion and subsequent blood clot. I’m sending her vibes of strength and solidarity, just as I send them to Katie Bowler.