Coffee Chat With Ally Shields

PictureCheck out my January 30 Coffee Chat with urban fantasy writer Ally Shields. https://allyshields.com/blog.html

I enjoyed answering her thought-provoking questions about my writing journey and about Primary Source, the soon-to-be-released fifth book in my Aimee Machado Mystery Series.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/primary-source-sharon-st-george/1129752844?ean=9781603815833

IED HAS TWO MEANINGS – BOTH ARE EXPLOSIVE

You might think you know what an IED is. I thought I did, but I was only half right. Most of us who have followed the various military conflicts in the Middle East are familiar with the term. It’s an abbreviation for a deadly roadside weapon called an Improvised Explosive Device.

There is another IED, however, which is often described as a “temper tantrum,”  or “flying off the handle,” but it is more than that. It is a psychological diagnosis found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5 for short), and it’s called Intermittent Explosive Disorder. Coincidentally, it can also be set off on a roadside, as seen in cases of road rage. This diagnosis is another fact I’ve learned by writing fiction.

In Breach of Ethics, book three of my Aimee Machado Mystery series, an angry outburst occurs in a most unlikely setting—a hospital conference room during a meeting of the Ethics Committee. Until I wrote the scene, I had never heard of this other IED. Taking on the persona of my protagonist, a hospital-based health sciences librarian, I decided to research impulsive rage, and in doing so, I discovered Intermittent Explosive Disorder.

In some cases, as in extreme road rage incidents, this lesser-known IED does turn deadly. As defined by the Mayo Clinic, “Intermittent Explosive Disorder involves repeated, sudden episodes of impulsive, aggressive, violent behavior or angry verbal outbursts . . . grossly out of proportion to the situation. Road rage, domestic abuse, throwing or breaking objects, or other temper tantrums may be signs of intermittent explosive disorder.” Simply put, this explosive disorder brings out the beast in some of us in a terrifying manner.

Once diagnosed, treatment might include a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and medications, including antidepressants, anticonvulsants, antianxiety and mood regulators.

For more detailed information on diagnosis and treatment of this disorder, visit the sites shown below.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/intermittent-explosive-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20373921
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/intermittent-explosive-disorder
https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/treating-intermittent-explosive-disorder
https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17786-intermittent-explosive-disorder

The Aimee Machado Mystery series, published by Camel Press and Harlequin Worldwide Mysteries, is available in print and e-Book format from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and by request from your local bookstore. Visit again soon to learn more facts I’ve learned by writing fiction. Primary Source, book 5 in the series, is due for release in mid-February.

(Bear photo by Andre Tan on Unsplash)

 

Music Makes Mystery Memorable

As a very small child, I recall my mother playing “The Third Man Theme” on her accordion. It was a compelling tune that evoked vivid memories for her of the 1949 suspense film, The Third Man. If you’ve never seen it, I highly recommend that you add it to your film list. Visit the following link for more about The Third Man.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Third_Man

I suspect Mom’s fondness for the movie and the tune stemmed from her belief that Joseph Cotton, the handsome leading man, bore a remblance to my father.

The movie version of the “The Third Man Theme” was played on the zither. The YouTube version at the link below captures its essence and provides some still clips from the film, which the British Film Institute voted the greatest British film of all time. Listen for a bit and decide whether this theme might linger in your mind long after seeing the film.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2N5RXvzhrs

With this memory in mind, I began to think of the music I chose for my novels when writing the Aimee Machado Mysteries. As the series grew, each book lent itself to a different genre. So far, these have included country, blues, classical piano, and in Spine Damage, the most recently released book, fado. In the U.S., fado is likely the least known of these musical genres, but in the Azores Islands and in Portugal, it is part of the fabric of the country. Fado became my choice of music genre for Spine Damage, because the story spans the globe from rural Northern California to the Azores Islands of Faial and Pico in the nine-island Atlantic archipelago.

In this fourth book in the series, the solution to the mystery is advanced by the discovery of links between Ana Moura, a real-life Portuguese female vocalist who is possibly the most famous fado singer in the world, and two iconic American musicians: Prince and Mick Jagger. The links between these musical artists are real and easily researched.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42p0_L_ycFk

Here is a sample of Moura’s artistry:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ia1ECfWJCM

Visit these links for more about Ana Moura and fado music.

https://www.newyorklatinculture.com/ana-moura-fado-town-hall

https://www.visitportugal.com/en/node/73868

Books in the hospital-based Aimee Machado Mysteries are published by Camel Press (an imprint of Epicenter Press) and are available for purchase in print and eBook format from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and from your local bookstore.

http://camelpress.com

Medical Interpreters – Saving Lives

Facts I’ve Learned by Writing Fiction

This post is a result of my research for SPINE DAMAGE, book four in my Aimee Machado Mystery series featuring a hospital librarian with a specialty in forensics. 

Ever wonder what happens when a critically ill or injured patient with no knowledge of the English language arrives in an American hospital’s Emergency Department?

 

In Spine Damage, book four of the Aimee Machado Mystery series, that’s just what occurs at fictional Timbergate Medical Center in Northern California. The incident involves a young Portuguese-speaking man with a potentially fatal gunshot wound to his spine. It also results in a new mystery involving Aimee Machado, our hospital librarian.

The critically injured patient cannot tell his story to his doctors or to the police without the help of an interpreter. Aimee finds help for this fictional patient, but what would happen in real life?

Raise your hand if you speak English, and Portuguese, and if you’re also fluent in medical terminology in both languages. No one? The specialty of Certified Medical Interpreter (CMI) is currently experiencing a 29% growth rate, so if you like languages and you’re seeking a career path, it’s worth a look.

Before we go further, let’s clear up the difference between interpreters and translators. Both require a knowledge of more than one language, and both require skilled specialists, but for different reasons. The most obvious difference is the medium: translators interpret written text; interpreters translate orally.

Authorities in the field agree that expert knowledge of subject matter is equally as important as interpreting experience. When a medical interpreter is involved, the accurate oral exchange of information between health care provider and patient can be crucial. A qualified medical interpreter must have an extensive vocabulary, including medical terminology and an ability to express thoughts concisely in both languages. Beyond that, the interpreter must be familiar with both cultures.

Although the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) does not require that hospitals use certified interpreters, it has clarified the standards for qualified and competent interpreters. Qualifications and competencies can be met in a variety of ways (not simply through certification). Those include:

– Knowledge of medical terminology
– Language Proficiency Testing
– Training in interpretation best practices
– Interpreting experience in a healthcare setting

There are documented cases of patients being saved, or lost, because of the quality of medical interpretation. Who knew that second language we were required to learn in school could someday lead us into a profession that would offer the opportunity to save lives?

For more information on medical interpreters, visit one or more of the following sites:

http://www.certifiedmedicalinterpreters.org/

http://www.imiaweb.org/

https://www.aafp.org/afp/2014/1001/p476.html

http://blog.cyracom.com/joint-commission-standards-healthcare-interpretation

Visit www.sharonstgeorge.com again soon for another  fact I’ve learned while writing SPINE DAMAGE, book 4 in this series.

Books in the hospital-based Aimee Machado Mysteries are published by Camel Press (an imprint of Epicenter Press) and are available for purchase in print and eBook format from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and from your local bookstore.
http://camelpress.com

HOW TO KEEP VEGAN CHILDREN HEALTHY

 

With this post I’m sharing an another fact I learned by writing fiction. This one is from book three in my Aimee Machado Mystery series featuring a health sciences librarian. The mystery in BREACH OF ETHICS centers around a famous ten-year-old piano prodigy. The young girl falls ill from being restricted to a faulty vegan diet. This leads Aimee to wonder if an ongoing battle for the girl’s custody led to murder. Here’s what I learned by researching story details involving vegan diets for children.

BOOK THREE QUESTION:
Can young children fall ill or even die as a result of a faulty vegan diet?

FACT:  The answer is yes, and a national survey found that nearly 20 percent of people surveyed about knowledge of vegan diets for children were unaware that it was a risk.

A young child restricted to a faulty vegan diet by well-meaning parents who are not sufficiently informed is at risk of failure to thrive and may not grow at a normal rate. Leafy greens are not enough. The child may develop a broad range of health problems due deficiencies in amino acids, calcium, vitamin D, and B12.

Unfortunately for vegan families, B12 is readily available in meat and animal-based foods, but not in a plant-based diet. With malnourishment, there is risk of rickets and even more dire consequences. Lack of B12 can cause brain damage and even heart failure, so vegans must acquire this essential vitamin through fortified foods or supplements.

Although vegan diets are in many respects very healthy, they are more likely to cause nutrition problems for children than for adults. Any family contemplating a vegan lifestyle for young children would be well-advised to consult a qualified nutritionist before beginning.

For information on vegan diets and B12, visit The Vegan Society at: https://tinyurl.com/ya9k3qay

Visit www.sharonstgeorge.com again soon for more facts I’ve learned by writing fiction.

Books in the hospital-based Aimee Machado Mysteries are published by Camel Press (an imprint of Epicenter Press) and are available for purchase from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from your local bookstore in trade paperback and as ebooks. http://camelpress.com