Gone With the Wind: Part One

Posted by on Sep 23, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

The more I read, and the more I write, the more I’m convinced that good writing transcends genre. A well-paced work of non-fiction can clip along as well as any Vince Flynn thriller just as a beautifully crafted novel can transport readers to a world as vivid as any historical tale of David McCullough’s. In much the same way, good story telling should transcend the editorial peculiarities of a give age. And yet it’s hard to read a Russian masterpiece like War and Peace or a universally acclaimed novel like Moby Dick and not think of Elmore...

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The Road to Publication

Posted by on May 10, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

There was a time in my childhood when my tongue was saddled with a speech impediment. Not an irreparable delay nor a lifelong concern, but a lip-twisting malady that likely made adults smile as my ‘R’s and ‘W’s came out with similar sounds. For a boy whose middle named started with a ‘W’ and whose last name started with a ‘R’, it did not seem like a funny condition. My dad, whose own double-‘R’d name also gave him fits as a child, later told me that he had endured the same problem growing up. “There was a time as an emcee of an elementary...

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Pitchers and Catchers

Posted by on Feb 15, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

The Major League Baseball pre-season kicked off on Valentine’s Day as pitchers and catchers reported to spring training. It’s an annual ritual as important to baseball fans in February as the appearance of Punxsutawney Phil’s fickle shadow. My brother and I participated in this ritual many years ago. He was a seasoned college student and the time; I was an upstart high schooler. Both of us took off in his white, ’88 GMC Jimmy to hit the dusty stadiums of Florida’s spring league. We saw the Dodgers. The Reds. The Cardinals. And our adopted...

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In the Beginning

Posted by on Feb 7, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Like many novels, I suppose, Blood Money began as an affair of the heart. Unlike most, though, the roots of the Mackie McKay series are anchored in academia.   When I was young boy of six, still enamored with Star Wars and Legos, my father dedicated a book to my siblings and me entitled Coronary Artery Disease: Recognition and Management. Even as the text of the thick green book remained largely inscrutable, the idea of being an author’s son enchanted me. Often during my formative years, I would remove the tome from the shelf and simple...

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Farewell to the Odd Couple

Posted by on Jan 28, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

My wife lost her first love this past weekend. She inherited him as a nuptial cast-off from a young couple pining for a fresh start. By the time I came into the picture five years later, this guy was a constant presence in her house. Sharing her bed. Sleeping on her sofa. Eating her food. My questioning glances during the early days of our courtship remained unnoticed. Soon his presence became part of the package. I learned to tolerate his car sickness. To dodge him when I walked into the house. To drop a few well-timed chucks of cheese to...

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Posted by on Jan 17, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

There’s only so much creativity we want in our physicians, right? After all, shouldn’t one stick to  generally accepted rules when writing prescriptions? We don’t sign our name where the date should be and we don’t leave the dosing up to our patients. We employ checklists in the operating room and reminders in the clinic so that even the slightest swerve toward negligence can be quickly corrected. Early in my training, with the starch still stiffening my white coat, I collected thick stacks of notecards to remind me of all the right ways to...

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A 2013 Reader’s Guide for Writers

Posted by on Dec 30, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

In his delightful book My Reading Life, Pat Conroy explains with velvet prose how good reading undergirds good writing. His well-supported argument is that effective writers are first avid readers. Conroy’s personal goal of consuming two-hundred pages a day seems straight from Mount Olympus, and accomplishing that daily feat is an act of almost mythologic proportions. Near the end of his trekker’s guide for writers, though, he explains that, “reading is the most rewarding form of exile and the necessary discipline for a novelist who burns...

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Two Months and Counting

Posted by on Dec 21, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Two months and counting before Blood Money will be published. The road to publication of this book, though, began over five years ago. On a warm Santa Barbara afternoon in June 2008, my writing mentor held up a bound copy of a soon-to-be-published novel  “You want one of these,” she told me. “It’s an ARC.” That term didn’t mean much to me at the time, but if my mentor said an ARC was what I needed, then it was my job to find out how to get it. Only later did I realize that an ARC—an Advanced Reader Copy—represented one of the last stops on...

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Hubris and Humility

Posted by on Dec 1, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

My wife is a seasoned pediatrician. Through a decade of private practice and parenting, she has honed a skill set in primary care that is as impressive as it is nuanced. In many ways, she is a cartographer of kids, able to read the topography of toddlers and the fault lines of adolescents with equal skill. But like any professional ten years into a dedicated career, the visible skills spring from nurtured talent. Many providers-in-training, though, cannot appreciate the terrain at the beginning of their journey. Last week, a student...

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Remembering Kennedy, Considering Character

Posted by on Nov 23, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Young clinicians are taught that most of what is needed to make an accurate diagnosis is obtained in the history. That assumes, of course, that the novice scribe knows not only what to ask but also what to do with that information. With so much historical significance packed into this past week, I took the opportunity to expand my own history taking skills, asking a question at the end of each office visit: do you remember where you were when you found out that President Kennedy was shot? For those old enough to remember, the question...

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