Code Blue: Prescription for Trouble written by Richard L. Mabry, M.D.
As an avid fan of medical dramas like Grey's Anatomy and House, I was excited to pick up this Christian fiction novel written by an actual medical doctor. Code Blue did not disappoint. Mabry did a spectacular job of weaving together suspense, medical mystery, Christian ideals and a touch of romance.
Here is the back-cover copy: For Dr. Cathy Sewell, Code Blue means more than just the cardiac emergencies she faces--it's the state of her life when the return to her hometown doesn't bring the peace she so desperately needs. The town doctors resent the fact that she's not only a newcomer but also a woman, and the devastating results from one of her prescriptions may mean the end of her practice. As two men compete for her affection, an enemy wants her out of town--or possibly even dead.
Medical Error, Maby's second book, is due out in September of 2010. I can't wait!
Friday, May 28, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
Once again, television has brought us to a cultural standstill with the long-awaited final episode of LOST. Over the past six years, I must admit to a love/hate relationship with this show. I was fascinated by the writing and the characters, but I hated the in-your-face violence and the story that seemed to twist so tight that I couldn't just stop watching it. Often I told myself, "I'll just watch one more episode so I can figure out what happened to ____ ." I felt a bit like a fish who just kept getting reeled back in by that barbed hook stuck in my mouth.
I only have a few thoughts that are worth sharing about the series finale.
First -- phew! I'm so glad it's over. Now I can have my evenings back.
Second -- I was seriously intrigued by the faith images in the final episode. I know, I know -- it was kept vague enough that you were able to see what you wanted to see. But still. They were led off into the light (from a CHURCH nonetheless) by a man named Christian Shephard? I had to slap the side of my head when one of the characters joked about the symbolism of that name. I felt pretty stupid -- I had never gotten that. Duh! At the end, I found myself humming, "I once was LOST, but now I'm found; was blind, but now I see."
Third -- So many have discussed how "intelligent" and "deep" LOST was. The more I ponder that, the more I wonder if it was a bit like The Emperor's New Clothes. Maybe so many of us watched it because we wanted to feel deep and intelligent. Even though we (including myself) didn't really "get it," we continued to try to figure it out. Perhaps in the end, we just wanted to feel wise, like the foolish emperor in the children's story. Maybe the truly wise ones were the viewers who realized there was really nothing to "get." It was just good story.
What did you think about the show?
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Interested in learning about other common writing mistakes made by new writers (like me)? Check out these posts:
Talking to Yourself
Couch Potato Characters
Beginning with Chapter One
Friday, May 7, 2010
Today I will continue my series on Common Writing Mistakes Made by New Writers (Like me) with "Beginning with Chapter One." If you want to catch up on the other posts (in no paticular order), read Back Up the Dump Truck, Battling Backstory, Talking to Yourself, and Couch Potato Characters.
Today's common writing mistake is starting your book with "chapter one." Most new writers start their books in the wrong spot. This has become obvious to me in the two fiction mentorship classes I have taken at the Mount Hermon Christian Writer's Conference (with authors Randy Ingermanson and Brandilyn Collins) and I've seen it noted by various agents in blog posts about writing (See Agent Kristin).
Generally, we "newbie" writers spend the first few chapters introducing our characters and the setting, giving copious detail (See Battling Backstory) without doing much of anything to move the story along. The story itself doesn't begin until chapter two or three.
Randy explained that most writers need to take their first chapter, toss it in the trash and start their novel at chapter two. Brandilyn Collins stressed finding your "inciting incident" that throws your character into turmoil. That's where you begin. It creates interest, tension and suspense -- just what you need to keep the reader turning pages.
I didn't know about this when I wrote my first novel, Shaken, so I had to go back and fix the problem. Now I'm "educated," it should be simple to start out writing a book at chapter two, right? Wrong! When I sat down recently to begin the sequel to Shaken (I'm hoping to make it a three-part series) I struggled desperately with that first chapter. I wrote probably a dozen "chapter ones." None of them seemed right. I despaired of ever getting the book off the ground. But the process of writing helped me to hone my character's motivations so that I could create the ultimate inciting incident. Once I nailed that, the true starting place of the novel jumped out of hiding. All of the other "chapter ones" went into the trash.
So, here's your mission -- should you choose to accept it. Go to your work in progress and find your inciting incident. Is it in chapter one? Or is it buried in chapter three? Get busy with that delete key. Good luck and happy writing.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Springtime in the Pacific Northwest is rollercoaster at its worst. Plants are dressing in their finery -- apple and cherry blossoms, pink dogwoods, azaleas, rhodies, tulips, daffodils -- you name it. At the same time, weeds and moss are rearing their ugly heads. (Does moss have a head?)
Our Spring weather is insane. One moment its glorious sunshine and blue sky -- five minutes later, dark clouds roll in and it's pouring rain or hail. Five more minutes and here comes the sun, again. How do you plan for that. What do you wear? Flip flops or rain boots? Coats or shirt sleeves?
I bought my first box of fresh strawberries yesterday, too. Berries are such a treat -- but they are just as fickle. One moment they are lucious and ripe, you turn around and they begin sprouting white fuzz. I am trying to teach my children some self-control when it comes to "treats," but then I'm snapping at them -- "Hurry! Eat! Before they spoil!" Mom is a bit like the May weather, I guess.
So, here I am washing berries, gazing out at the black clouds beginning to roll across the previously blue sky, when phrases began floating through my mind. "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may" was followed closely by "Carpe diem -- seize the day," and then our all-American, "Make hay while the sun shines."
But, that's not the way I'm wired. I like to know what's coming and be able to trust that when I put on flip flops in the morning, I won't be splashing through icy puddles by noon. And yet, God didn't promise that life would be predictable or simple. "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
Even though I cannot trust the joys of this world (like strawberries and sunshine) to last more than a fleeting moment, I am thankful that He promises that His joy will last forever. 1 Peter: 23-25 lays out this certainty.
For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever."
So, I've decided to gulp down my strawberries and wear my flip-flops in the rain. When the hail begins to beat on my sun-hat, I'll close my eyes and wait it out. The sun is coming back, soon.