Thursday, February 18, 2021

5 Tips for Writing Medical Scenes: A Guest Post

Y'ALL! Today we get to try something new! (I could give you the typical 'and I'm so excited for it' line, but I won't do that to you) I've approached some authors and put together a series of guest posts that is gonna be epic.

What is this series title, you ask? I...have no idea. *shrugs* But what I do know is that every other month, I will be posting a list of five tips to help you improve your writing! I've already learned so much from today's post, and I'm sure that you will too.

Today's guest is Jesseca Wheaton, bringing you five tips for writing medical scenes!

Hey guys! For those who don’t know me, my name is Jesseca. I work full time on our local ambulance service, and in my free moments I dabble in writing. I’m also an indie author and I’ve published several books. Currently I’m studying to get my degree in Paramedicine. I’ve been an EMT since 2018 and an AEMT since last year. I worked in the ER for nearly two years before I left that and went full time on the ambulance. I’m currently loving it and wouldn't change my job for the world. And as anyone will tell you, I’m notorious for finding medical errors in books and TV shows. Working in the medical field I notice things I don’t even want to and I’ve decided I should probably stop watching Chicago Med. After all, it seems most of what I do is lecture the show for having things wrong. XD Anyway. Kate’s invited me here today to talk a little bit about writing medical scenes and characters, so let’s get started.

1) Do your research. Are you writing a character with Asthma? Research the disease. Study more than you need to know for the book. It’s easy to open a book and tell whether the author actually knows about the disease they’re writing about, or whether they did just enough research to know some facts about it. Same goes with medical procedures. And I’m not talking about surgeries, I’m talking about something as simple as placing an IV. If you have your medical character start a 16g IV in the hand of a little old lady in a nursing home, any medical professional reading that is going to roll their eyes. It doesn’t matter how small the detail — do what you can to make it as accurate as possible. Your readers will thank you. (And I’ll definitely thank you.) I don’t mean just internet and book research. If you really want to write an accurate book with a first responder character, go out into the field and do some hands-on research. Most EMS agencies will let you do a ride-along with them to see how things work, and they’re more than willing to answer questions. It’ll add a degree of realism to your book you wouldn't have otherwise. Also … don’t use TV shows as your research. Maybe that seems obvious, but the amount of people I know who have watched a medical TV show and decided to write a medical book … Let’s just say there’s more than one. 

2) You don’t need to go terribly in depth. If you decide to write a medical scene and you don’t know much about the medical field, that’s okay! You don’t have to. Hit the important parts and don’t give many details. Say the paramedics came and took the guy in an ambulance. Don’t try to talk about what they did on scene or in the back of the truck. But if you do decide to go into detail …  

3) ...Ask someone who’s knowledgeable in that area. Doctors, Nurses, Paramedics, AEMTs, and even most EMTs will be able to answer basic medical questions. Find one who doesn’t mind answering some questions and ask them how things would most likely go. Obviously every situation will be different but there are some medical facts that won’t change. (If your character has lost a lot of blood, chances are he’s not gonna be able to grab a sword and just keep on fighting.) And just a fun fact for you here … any sort of trauma to the abdomen can be just as fatal as trauma to the chest.

4) Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation hasn’t been practiced for a number of years. In fact, most instructors who teach CPR classes have gone to teaching compressions-only CPR. If your character comes upon someone who’s down without a pulse, they most likely won’t have any sort of CPR pocket-mask with them. (I mean … unless they’re in the medical field and carry one just in case, or they’re paranoid and try to be prepared for any circumstance.) In such a situation, hands only or compression only CPR is what’s encouraged. It’ll keep the rescuer safe, while also improving the chances for the person found down.

5) If you decide to make a medical character your main character, keep in mind that they don’t think like everyone else. They’ll notice details most people don’t. And they have a sense of humor all their own. 
Sometimes people accuse us of being insensitive, but you need to realize that we have to have a certain degree of that to be able to do our jobs. We can’t be bothered by life and death situations. We won't freak out over a minor injury. Most of the time we don’t show emotion. Don’t get me wrong, we all have that one call that still haunts us. We still wonder if there’s anything more we could have done. But you’ll never know that unless we feel like you’re someone who will understand. It’s why we tend to stick together. We’ll share things with each other because we know that someone who’s in the same spot will understand. It isn’t often that we’ll share things with someone outside. (Unless maybe you’re our best friend and we tell you everything regardless of what it is. )

People working in the medical field can’t imagine doing anything else. It isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. Sure, there are days that are hard. There are days we question why we ever chose this profession. But there’s a reason we haven't left yet. This is what we were called to do. 

I hope this was somewhat helpful! And if you ever have any questions about writing medical characters, feel free to shoot me a message! You can find me on Instagram at @jessiedawn98. 

Thank you, THANK YOU, Jesseca, for writing this post! Super helpful, and the memes were fantastic. ;)

If y'all have any topics you'd like to see covered in this series, drop them in the comments!

What do you struggle with most when writing medical scenes? 

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Book Review: The Water Keeper by Charles Martin

A riveting new story of heroism, heartache, and the power of love to heal all wounds.

Murphy Shepherd is a man with many secrets. He lives alone on an island, tending the grounds for a church with no parishioners, and he’s dedicated his life to rescuing those in peril. But as he mourns the loss of his mentor and friend, Murph himself may be more lost than he realizes.

When he pulls a beautiful woman named Summer out of Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway, Murph’s mission to lay his mentor to rest at the end of the world takes a dangerous turn. Drawn to Summer, and desperate to find her missing daughter, Murph is pulled deeper and deeper into the dark and dangerous world of modern-day slavery.

With help from some unexpected new friends, including a faithful Labrador he plucks from the ocean and an ex-convict named Clay, Murph must race against the clock to locate the girl before he is consumed by the secrets of his past—and the ghosts who tried to bury them.

With Martin's trademark lyricism and poignant prose, The Water Keeper is at once a tender love story a heartrending search for freedom, and a reminder that the needs of the one outweigh those of the ninety-nine.

Series: Murphy Shepherd, book #1

My rating:

Honestly, this one didn't hit as hard as other Martin books have in the past. Maybe I'm just used to other emotional reads and this one wasn't quite as...I don't know...evocative, maybe?

The fact remains, however, that the plot and premise were FANTASTIC. Murphy Shepherd, a priest who is way more than meets the eye, secretly working for the government to save young girls from traffickers? Sooooo good.

Anyway. I really enjoyed Murphy's character. Matter-of-fact, didn't let emotions get in the way of common sense (but often throwing common sense out the window if someone needed help), huge heart for helping people. His heartbreaking backstory and how it led him to where he is now was just...*cries* GUYS THIS POOR DUDE. Such a broken lil' cinnamon roll.

Summer was an endearing first I thought she'd grate on my nerves, but nah. I actually liked her (me? Actually liking the strong female character in the story? *gasp* shocking, I know), and there was one of her quotes that I especially appreciated...something about how in a marriage, the man leads and the woman is beside him as a partner, 'cause you can't have two leaders. Or something like that.

The one thing that bothered me the most about this book was the fact that since Murphy was hunting down a trafficking ring, there was talk of a lot of half-naked (or completely naked) people. I know it's realistic, but it personally made me slightly uncomfortable. My hyperactive imagination didn't leave much room for guessing, heh.

But the fight scenes? *grins* YASSSSS. I ain't gonna lie, when good ol' Murph got injured (I'm gonna try to avoid giving away spoilers here), I'm just like "I feel sorry for ya dude but NOW PEOPLE CAN COME LOVE ON YOU" and I just wanted to go join him in laying in hammocks. 'Cause I haven't lain in a hammock in y e a r s. Random but true fact that you probably didn't wanna know.

One thing that confused me was the whole part about Fingers and Marie and all that. I know that it was supposed to be a little bit confusing, but there were a few things that just didn't make sense until the end that I would've liked to have found out before that. But it wasn't too bad so I can't really complain. *shrugs*

Also let's just have a moment of appreciation for Bones.

What was the last book you read featuring a character with a heartbreaking backstory?

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Time for a Scavenger Hunt!

Today is a special day! It's time for...

Welcome to the Hope Chest Scavenger Hunt! Today, I’m taking part of this fun event and giveaway to celebrate the release of Sarah Holman’s new book Fanny’s Hope Chest.

Here’s how to play:

1.     Go to Tangled up in Writing or The Destiny of One and get the full list of items to search for and blogs taking part

2.     Find the hidden item on each blog

3.     Go to Tangled up in Writing or The Destiny of One and enter the giveaway with your completed list.

4.     Tell your friends about the scavenger hunt

5.     Watch to see if your name is drawn on February 16th for one of five winners

Sound fun? Yes? Good! See if you can find the assigned item I’ve hidden:

Did you find it? Congratulations! *claps wildly* (If you didn't find it, here, have some consolation Christmas clearance chocolate) I enjoyed finding so many brown things...and, incidentally a lot of these are things someone might put in their hope chest! 

Anyway. Now shoo and go find the rest of the items!

And don’t forget to enter the giveaway—there will be five winners!

Interested in Fanny’s Hope Chest? Grab it for $0.99 through the 14th (Price will go up to $2.99 after)

How old is too old for a hope chest?

When Ellie starts a new job as a home health aid, she doesn't expect to meet a woman in her eighties looking for her hope chest, nor a house as messy as Ellie's own emotional state. But as she cleans up Fanny's house, she begins to wonder if Fanny's hope chest might hold the answers to her questions about disappointed dreams and holding on to hope.

That is, if she can face both the mess and her own heart.

You can find my review here, and the book on Amazon here. Or, you can add it on Goodreads here!

Have you preordered Fanny's Hope Chest yet?? And how hard was it for you to find my hope chest item? *grins*

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Book Review: Fanny's Hope Chest by Sarah Holman

How old is too old for a hope chest?

When Ellie starts a new job as a home health aid, she doesn't expect to meet a woman in her eighties looking for her hope chest, nor a house as messy as Ellie's own emotional state. But as she cleans up Fanny's house, she begins to wonder if Fanny's hope chest might hold the answers to her questions about disappointed dreams and holding on to hope.

That is, if she can face both the mess and her own heart.

My rating:

Who has a hope chest? *raises hand* I do! least...I have hope chest items. Stored in random little plastic tubs and cardboard boxes. *sheepish grin* So when I saw that Sarah Holman is releasing a book about hope chests (among other things), I thought it looked super interesting, and when she invited me to join her launch team, of course I said yes! (Why not? Supporting a fellow indie author, early access to a review copy, that COVER *heart eyes*)

The story itself was super sweet and encouraging. I related with several of Ellie's and Fanny's struggles, and the message woven throughout the book was uplifting and spoke to me. It did not, however, really hook me. I understand that this book was not supposed to be fast-paced and suspenseful; I knew that before I began reading. But it didn't...engage me, I suppose? I don't know, maybe I'm just too used to suspense novels. Being a novella, this book didn't really have time to dive deep into a major character arc, but at the same time, I found it very hard to connect with the characters.

Being thirty years old and still single has made Ellie and emotional wreck. I'm definitely not as old as Ellie, and therefore I haven't been a single adult as long as she has, but even so, I found it difficult to relate to her constant attempts at holding back tears. Do I want to be a wife someday? Of course. Am I going to be an emotional wreck until that happens? Probably not. That's just me; I'm someone who doesn't put a lot of stock in emotions (just ask my family; I've been told I have no heart, muahaha), so to see Ellie holding back tears so much was...I don't know...not very relatable to me.

But. What did I like about Fanny's Hope Chest?? *grins* I'm glad you asked! (and even if you didn't ask, I'll tell you anyway. You can thank me later.)

My favorite thing about Fanny's Hope Chest is Fanny herself. She actually reminds me a lot of my own grandma, and just some of the things she said made me smile, 'cause I could totally imagine Grandma saying it! Seeing Ellie interact with her was super fun. Plus, the way she interacted with her two siblings was so fun to watch. (That bit with her brother hugging her for the first and probably last time in years? LOVE. So accurate. *cackles*)

Despite that mini rant about Ellie's emotions, I really did enjoy Ellie's character. The way she cared for elderly people and accepted the job as a home health aid, even when it wasn't where she necessarily wanted to be in life, was inspiring. She went where God lead and trusted Him even when the going got rough and she didn't understand. Trust is something I've made no secret about struggling with, so this part of the book especially resonated with me.

Overall, if you've ever been discouraged about being a single adult—whether you're 18 or 80 years old—this book is super encouraging! Shoot, I've even been told that it's encouraging for married ladies.

Sound good? Good! 'Cause right now, it's at a SPECIAL PREORDER PRICE of just $0.99! Go snag your copy at this discounted price before it goes up on release day (Valentine's Day—fitting, isn't it?)!

Come back on Thursday for a special scavenger hunt for Fanny's Hope Chest's release!

Thursday, February 4, 2021

My Latest Jams

After a brief and unplanned hiatus (y'all didn't notice I was gone? Ha, I really didn't either), I'm back with a post to combine two of MY LOOOOOOOOVES.

Have you guessed it yet?



*grins again* I'm sooo happy to be writing this post. 'Cause I get to take my story playlists and favorite podcasts and say HERE GO LISTEN! ('Cause that's all I've been listening to lately—if it's not my CD collection, particularly Joseph Habedank, then it's my Little Boy Blue story playlist or writing podcasts.)

Have I actually been writing and putting these media outlets? HA! I'm preparing myself for the day I actually sit down and write. *nods*

Besides, I actually have been writing a bit! I joined The Writer Games contest to see where I'd end up...and three rounds later, I'm one of the three finalists! It's been a super fun and challenging experience, and if you'd like to see some of my best writing (and a couple of other pretty fantastic entries!), we'd love love love for you to go vote for your favorite!

Anyway. On to the fuuuuunnnn part! *rubs hands together*

First up, I'll give you some songs from my Little Boy Blue playlist. I've got 40 songs on it, but to save you all the time that you would spend (so wisely, I might add) to listen to all of them, I'll just share a few of my favorites. ;)

In no particular order, 'cause I love all of these and choosing one favorite is like choosing a favorite book...


Here I Am - Bryan Adams

He Ain't Heavy, He's my Brother - Glen Campbell

Stand - Rascal Flatts

Ceasefire - for KING & COUNTRY

Brothers Under the Sun - Bryan Adams

Even if it Hurts - Sam Tinnesz

Every Storm - Gary Allan

Welllll, whaddaya think? *bounces in my chair* I just love these songs.

So. Now, we get to the podcasts! I generally do not like to listen to anything but music, but I finally decided that if I'm not gonna write, I can at least try to improve my writing by listening to writing podcasts! 'Cause I can do this while I work, and kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. So, if you'd like to hear about a few of my favorites...

Exploring the Blank Page with Emilie Hendryx and Christen Krumm
I've followed Emilie on Instagram for awhile, so when she and her friend Christen started a writing podcast, of course I had to check it out! It's so much fun to listen to these two interact with their various guests, and all of the golden writing tips inevitably sprinkled in!

The Kate & Abbie Show with Kate and Abbie Emmons
I've enjoyed watching Abbie's YouTube channel, which is full of fantastic writing advice. But I don't have the time nor the phone battery to spend hours watching said videos. So when she and her sister Kate started a podcast, I was so excited! It's so much fun to listen to these two interact. Plus, I really enjoy their case studies.

Story Embers with...uh...the Story Embers staff
I personally don't do a whole lot with Story Embers aside from listen to their podcast, but I have heard nothing but good about them as a resource for any aspiring writers...or published authors, for that matter! And listening to their panel of writers discuss various topics writing-related will really make you think about your writing.'

Hope Prose with Tara K. Ross and Rebekah Black
I can't tell you how many books have been added to my TBR because of this podcast! Listening to Tara and Rebekah interact with the authors that they host is so entertaining, and I love hearing about all the authors' experiences and fabulous advice. Plus, Tara (whose voice is ah-mazing, btw) always reads an excerpt from a book by the author they're interviewing!

So come, come, come, my friends, and tell me what you've been listening to lately! I'm always on the lookout for new fantastic tunes to become obsessed with (just ask my mom—she's sick of Glen Campbell *cackles*).

Do you listen to podcasts? What are some of your favorites?

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

2020 Bookish Recap

Meant to do this last week buuuuuut life kinda got in the way.

(Aka Kaitlyn was just too lazy and wanted to read instead but pfft #minordetails)

Better late than never, right? *grins*

So. According to Goodreads, I...

-Read 69 books (Like...dude. For me, that's...a lot O.O)

-Read 18,387 pages (y i k e s)

And rather than recapping it all in text, here's some pictures 'cause they're so much more interesting.

This one was actually really good! Full review here.

I know I read a short story somewhere...*rubs chin* Oh well.  Find my review of The Coronation here.

Duuuude this makes me look like I worked hard! I like it. *cackles* a lot of good books this year. *shrugs* Definitely not a bad thing.

Definitely worthy of such a high rating. Definitely. *nods*

*GASP* This series...I binge-read all of them ('cept the last one 'cause #reasons but they're allll finished and AAAAAAH) and I LOVE THESE BOOKS.

Mmkay, so. Now is the time I start flailing about my top 5 'cause I kinda started that as a tradition. But Y'ALL THERE'S SO MANY THAT I WANNA PUT ON MY TOP 5 LIST THAT I JUST—*deep breath*

I want to talk about all. of. them. So. How 'bout I give you allll of my 5-star reads of the year, and then I'll narrow them to my top 5, and then down to my favorite one of the year. If possible.

Mmkay? Mmkay.
-The entire Blades of Acktar series by Tricia Mingerink
-All Manner of Things by Susie Finkbeiner // review
-Stories that Bind Us by Susie Finkbeiner // review
-Certain Jeopardy by Jeff Struecker & Alton Gansky
-Blaze of Glory by Jeff Struecker & Alton Gansky
-Fallen Angel by Jeff Struecker & Alton Gansky
-Candle in the Darkness by Lynn Austin
-In 27 Days by Alison Gervais // review
-The Torch Keepers by Hosanna Emily // review
-Mercy Me by Margaret A. Graham
-Concealed by Lisa M. Clark
-Window Fellow by Faith Potts {a short story} // review
-Stop the Rain by Kassie Angle // review
-Untitled by Jesseca Wheaton // review
-Set the Stars Alight by Amanda Dykes // review
-Never Say Goodbye by Sarah Grace Grzy // review

Soooo apparently 25 of the books I read in 2020 I rated 5 stars?? Wow. *grins* Definitely not mad about that.

Now to narrow them down...*scratches head* *deep breath* okay. I think I've got it.

My top five favorite reads of 2020 are...


All Manner of Things

Set the Stars Alight


Stop the Rain


*deep breath*



*queue fanfare and fangirling*

I linked to my review ^^up there somewhere, but just in case I only JUST NOW convinced you to check it out, and you don't wanna scroll back up to find it, you can find the book here and my review here. You're welcome. *smirks*


Also I love Dash.

(and just LoOK at ThAt cOVeR *alllll the heart eyes*)

Just go read it. You'll thank me later.

What was your top read of 2020?? (also if you've read Set the Stars Alight and didn't like it, don't tell me)

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Book Review: Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

Thomas Fawkes is turning to stone, and the only cure to the Stone Plague is to join his father’s plot to assassinate the king of England.

Silent wars leave the most carnage. The wars that are never declared, but are carried out in dark alleys with masks and hidden knives. Wars where color power alters the natural rhythm of 17th century London. And when the king calls for peace, no one listens until he finally calls for death.

But what if death finds him first?

Keepers think the Igniters caused the plague. Igniters think the Keepers did. But all Thomas knows is that the Stone Plague infecting his eye is spreading. And if he doesn’t do something soon, he’ll be a lifeless statue. So when his Keeper father, Guy Fawkes, invites him to join the Gunpowder Plot—claiming it will put an end to the plague—Thomas is in.

The plan: use 36 barrels of gunpowder to blow up the Igniter King.

The problem: Doing so will destroy the family of the girl Thomas loves. But backing out of the plot will send his father and the other plotters to the gallows. To save one, Thomas will lose the other.

No matter Thomas’s choice, one thing is clear: once the decision is made and the color masks have been put on, there’s no turning back.

My rating:

If you know me well, you know that I've had my eye on this book ever since it came out in '18. Seriously. I thought it was the most gorgeous cover ever, but I wasn't going to buy it without having ever read anything else by the author, and neither of the local libraries carried it, soooooo I was doomed to a life of longing.

Until Christmas. I tore off the wrapping paper and literally went *ggggaaaaasSsSsSSSSSPPPP* when I saw that this beauty was FINALLY within my grasp.

*dramatic pause*

Well. I still think it's one of the most gorgeous covers I've ever seen, and if possible, it's even more beautiful in person.

I'm rambling, I know. Because I'm literally in love with a book cover.

(And this should tell you the state of my mental capacity. *Ross Geller voice* I'm fINE!)(for real though, I just never outgrew my obsession for pretty book covers and I'm okay with that)

So let's just get out of the way why this nugget of unmatched beauty with the creepy mask on the front got 4 stars instead of 5.

The real answer? BOREDOM. Seriously. For the first 150-200+ pages, it. was. boring. Learning about the color system and all was fascinating, but the majority of that first half was a combination of "Oh look the people are being oppressed by the other people" and "PooR ThOMaS DoeSN't hAVe HiS MAsK" and while I liked Thomas, he was just kinda...a brat. Don't get me wrong: it was very well-written. Just slow and not quite what I'm used to. ;)

BUT. The SECOND half.

Guy Fawkes favorite. *grins* The dad learning to be a dad. Complex. Secretive. And it's so obvious that he cares even when Thomas can't see it, and the lengths he goes to are just...ACK. All the blubbery feels.

All the other characters were great, but let me just take a moment to appreciate Emma. Emma has a secret that she doesn't let anyone else know about, and it holds her captive. (those that have read the book know what I mean *smirks*) But I love her strength. I love her nature. She's a strong female character; very strong. But I. loved. it.

And, of course, we can't forget Thomas. *grins* Like I said, he was just a general brat at the beginning. But his character arc was *chef's kiss* The struggles he went through were so real and relatable, and the hardest decision he ever had to make in his life was just *cries* 

So then we get to the BATTLES and the SOURCE of the MYSTERY and everyone's screaming and pointing fingers and Thomas is grappling for control and the *censored for spoilers* is there to help him and *flails*


I'm soooo glad I didn't fully read any reviews. 'Cause I was expecting a little bit of heartbreak, but then I got sucked into the story and kinda forgot about it.

I halfway knew what the end would be. It was inevitable, really. ONE SCENE and then he SAW WHAT HAD HAPPENED TO *again, censored* AND I WAS CAUGHT SO BY SURPRISE THAT I LITERALLY WAS ON THE VERGE OF TEARS.


*deep breath*

That. Ending. Scene. Though.

*incoherent fangirl noises*

My first Brandes novel is complete. And I'm still fighting a literary hangover.

Will I read more by this author?

Bring it on.

(for real though, I'm kinda sorta DYING to read her Out of Time trilogy)

Anyone else wanna come scream about this book with me?