I Have Finally ARRIVED!

I received a google alert for my book title, The Edge of Memory, this morning. The link led to a chatboard discussion comparing various social networking sites.

At first, I thought the alert was related to the series of Social Networking posts I’ve started on the Querytracker Blog. But then I remembered the flag was on my book title, not my name. So I followed the link and snooped around.

Hmmm… nothing about me or my book that I could see… just someone complaining that he didn’t have enough memory to run a particular social networking site.

And then I saw it. My book title, linking to my ABNA entry.

That’s right. Thanks to Amazon.com, I’ve become a stealth ad, triggered by the keyword memory.

Awesome.

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Gather ’round, Peeps! Tis the season…

The season to enjoy one of my all-time favorite websites, that is.

The Peeps Research site is deliciously entertaining evidence of what happens when awesomely funny medical students meet extreme boredom (with tasty marshmallow chickens).

The effects of smoking and drinking on Peeps cracks me up.

But my heart will always belong to the attempt to separate the conjoined Peep quintuplets.

You’re welcome. =)

I Need a Hero…

Yesterday as I drove in to work for a meeting, I found myself behind a beat-up white Lancer. The driver caught my notice with the pointy silhouette of his sweatshirt-hooded head.

His reflection in the rear-view mirror revealed oversized sunglasses. My eyes drifted to his license plate which read: SUPRDV

And suddenly I understood… clearly, I had stumbled upon a secret identity.

No worries, Super Dave… your secret is safe with me.

Oh… wait…

Avast! ‘Tis a Mite Tardy Postin’ I Be Makin’ (In Deep Smit 01/09/09)

It’s awful late for my weekly posting. I got distracted with shoveling my driveway and cleaning my kitchen.

But it IS Friday, and I am abruptly deeply smitten!

I’ve just discovered a new feature on Facebook (which I already loved).

If you go to your settings, you can change your language to “English (pirate)”.

You’re welcome!

Storming Out! I’ve Had Enough!!

To my old love…

We simply can’t go on like this.

For years, you and I have pursued this on-again-off-again relationship, and we always end up right back where we started.

I’m miserable with you. I feel numb.

I’m tired of fighting with you when you just bury everything. We fight every time we go out. It seems like all we do is fight.

And you’re so cold… colder than you used to be. Let’s face it: you’re drifting away.

I should leave you. I know. You’re no good for me. You make me feel like less than nothing.

You storm in late at night and I hate you for it.

And a minute later you’re so darned beautiful, I forgive you instantly.

Yes, you win, Winter, you cheeky bastard.  I’m not going anywhere, no matter how much this relationship blows.

Reluctantly yours,

H. L. Dyer

It is always amazing to me how much I let winter get away with for the sake of its beauty. I still love it, even when I’m using my Jewel Preferred card to chisel through the ice that’s sealing my gas tank door shut.

Back on the Chain Gang: What’s the Big Idea?

null My turn again for the Blog Chain posting! null

Today’s topic was started by the lovely Elana Johnson on Mindless Musings. The question before the group is “How do you get your ideas?”

I, for one, am big into “What if?”.

The inspiration for The Edge of Memory started out in a random way. It began as a tv commercial for an insurance company. I don’t watch much TV, although my husband often has it on while I’m doing other things, but the music from this commercial stuck with me so strongly that I googled it. The song turned out to be “Half-Acre” by a band called Hem.

The song is about your home being a touchstone, but the part of the lyrics that got wedged into my imagination was:

I am holding half an acre

Torn from a map of Michigan

And folded in this scrap of paper

Is the land I grew up in.

Half an acre is not very big– my yard and the yard next door. So I began thinking how a small piece of a detailed map would be practically meaningless out of context. And that led to conceptualizing a person who would need to find this out-of-context place. Why would that place be important to the character? And if it was so important, why wouldn’t she know about it already or remember it? null

To have a true attachment to the place, I felt like the character needed to have lived there for a good chunk of time. Of course, the longer she’d lived there, the stronger the connection, but also the less likely she wouldn’t already know about it. So then I had to reason why she wouldn’t remember a place where she’d lived. Using my medical background regarding plausible explanations for memory loss, I knew that I would have to give her a pretty traumatic background. That raised questions: Is it better or worse to remember something traumatic? Does the truth really “set you free”?

As a hospitalist pediatrician (an inpatient specialist), I see the sickest of sick kids. And many of the most striking cases I’ve handled have been for victims of abuse. I see patients who get very sick or die from brain, heart, or lung problems, from cancers, from serious infections. Every bad outcome is tragic in pediatrics, but the difference is that in cases of abuse the problem is purposely inflicted. And unlike the other sick patients who usually have a loving entourage of family and friends at the bedside, the victims of abuse are often alone. null

And of course, the effects of child abuse don’t stop once physical wounds are healed. They can suffer from prolonged psychological problems: depression, fear of intimacy, anger problems, substance abuse, eating disorders, and hosts of others. The future can seem grim for child abuse survivors, but I like to believe they can find their way to peace and happiness eventually.

So I resolved to write a story of survival and triumph. And entertain the snot out of the reader along the way, natch. null

Short answer… Overanalyzing song lyrics allowed me to tap into my medical experience and my mushy hopes for child abuse survivors. Then I made my story as interesting as I could. 😉

Okay Bloggy Peeps, I’m out. The Next Big Idea is over on Mary Lindsey’s site. Write on! null

A Cold Case File: The Case of the Unsolvable Puzzle– Solved!

Yesterday I took my husband to his physical therapy appointment. Normally, while he is doing his session, I sit in the lobby and read. But yesterday, having been chastised that morning for reading too much and ignoring my husband, I had no book with me.

So naturally, my attention turned to my surroundings instead.

It’s a large waiting area, but it was pretty crowded yesterday, so I ended up sitting in what was clearly the kids section. As a pediatrician, this doesn’t bother me. I spent a few minutes speculating on why there was a shelf full of videos when there was no VCR or even a television in sight. Then, my eyes fell on a wooden alphabet puzzle on the pint-sized table in front of me.

A quick glance over the rubble of pieces left me suspecting that not all of the letters were present and accounted for. As the minutes stretched past, boredom and curiosity triumphed over self-restraint and I picked it up. Using my keen alphabet expertise, I managed to sort the letters into their respective spots.

A-ha! My hypothesis proved correct. The letters A, M, and X were nowhere to be found. How diabolical. No wonder our kids can’t read.

Using my powers of deduction, I embraced the only possible conclusion.

Police now consider a preschool-age boy named Max a “person of interest” in this gripping mystery.

I don’t care what sort of guilt trip my husband lays on me. Next time, I’m smuggling a book in my purse. Look what sort of nuttiness goes through my head when I’m left to amuse myself.