Writing, My Book

Okay, I’m writing my next book.

I’m finally putting the words on paper and actually have a few pages of the first chapter.  However, I can’t decide the direction of two main characters.

Each character is important and shares equally in the plot development yet their diverging personalities influence the direction of the storyline.

The moral issue the two characters are dealing with determines how they interact with their family throughout the story.  One character projects a cynical attitude showing the harder side of life while the other a more understanding, forgiving and human-caring viewpoint.

My attitude toward character development is that I allow my individuals to develop themselves as I write the book but this time each of the two personalities seems equal and direct in their purpose; I’m in a quandary.

It’s time for a storyboard.  I need to see a written scheme of my story in black and white that will help me to finish the first chapter of my book.

Thanks for listening to my saga and helping me figure out my writing challenge.

I’ll be back next time with another great entry about health and wellness.

 

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Amazon Advertising: The Definitive Guide

This re-blog may interest you concerning your internet purchases.

Nicholas C. Rossis

Amazon Advertising | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's bookI was recently hired by SearchNurture to help them write a series of posts on Amazon Advertising. SearchNurture is a Digital Marketing Agency which matches specialized advertisers with companies and professionals. They also offer training in digital marketing and even help graduates find a job (and pay $6,000 upon placement).

I don’t like tooting my own horn, but anyone interested in how Amazon Advertising works should have a careful read, as this is the most exhausting guide I have seen on the Internet yet–and I’m mighty proud of my part in creating it.

The following articles are available (this list will get updated on a weekly basis):

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Update

As an author I am always encouraging my characters to cooperate.

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Writing the final chapter of my next book is proving to be a challenge.  The characters have been described, the plot is developing and suspense has been building for the past few chapters.   So, as I enter the final path toward winding up my story, I’m finding it rather difficult to harness everyone into place so that the plot and the story can be drawn into its logical conclusion.

Wish me luck and physical strength as I take the reins, control this animal and complete my book.

 

Ghrelin

GHRELIN is an interesting hormone.  According to a recent article in WebMD (July/Aug 2018), this hormone is released from your stomach in large quantities when you lose weight.  So, while you’re trying to reduce your weight, you’re releasing a hormone to encourage yourself to eat more so that you’ll gain weight!  Not only that, the hormone ghrelin doesn’t level off after this roller-coaster ride.  After you have been successful in losing weight, your body does what ever it can to make you fat again.  That’s why researcher say that struggles with obesity and weight maintenance are a lifelong pursuit.  Looking at your relationship with GHRELIN is definitely an intimate experience. The reason why is because this same hormone is your “hunger” hormone.  It plays a pivotal role in helping you to maintain a healthy weight.  Looks like this is another situation where you get the opportunity to make healthy food choices.  Where have we heard that before?  I know – everywhere…

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 A Medscape article (11/4/2016) citing Dr. Kevin Hall from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, National Institutes of Health, in Bethesda, Maryland, states “that metabolism slows when patients lose weight.”  He goes on to encourage medical providers to be aware that two processes are at work simultaneously: an increased appetite and a slowed metabolism.  This awareness may lead medical provider to develop new treatment guidelines for their patients.  Dr. Hall also goes on to highlight the fact that the few individuals who successfully maintain weight loss over the long term do so by heroic and vigilant efforts.

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A white paper by FAIR Health, a national nonprofit organization, reports that the number of children and adolescents diagnosed with type 2 diabetes has more than doubled in recent years and the increase appears to coincide with a rise in obesity rates and other obesity-related conditions (1/20/2017).  This report is based on actual health insurance claims for a privately insured population.  However, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) shows that there is a “fairly stable” obesity prevalence rate for children and adolescents. The difference between these reports is that the CDC survey is based on interviews and physical exams of a cross-sectional civilian population.  However, each study reports a correlation between age and obesity; that means as our children get older they are getting fatter.

Weighty matters continue to be of concern in the U.S.  In 25 states, laws now require that public schools monitor children’s body mass index (BMI) to identify overweight and obese students.  Fewer than half of the parents receiving their child’s health report card accepted the school’s assessment of their child’s weight (WebMD July/Aug 2018). This may indicate that many parents see excess weight as normal.  An article in WebMD Sept. 2018 issue indicates that more than 50% of babies born in the U.S. since 2000 could live to be at least 100 years of age.  However, this golden centenarian age will definitely be decreased by the increasing prevalence of childhood obesity.

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Since we have a lifelong relationship with GHRELIN, we may want to monitor our young children in the basic facts of good nutrition.  Sometimes children view pictures of thin, photo-shopped models portrayed in posed-positions representing unattainable body images inconsistent with life and believe that these photos are the standard of success.  Other children may be dealing with obesity issues and use food as a coping mechanism. Whether you’re an adult challenged with your own weight management lifestyle or you’re a parent dealing with childhood anorexia or obesity, you may want to sharpen your nutrition knowledge about the hormone GHRELIN.

About the Recent Fire

The Fires in Greece

Nicholas C. Rossis

Mati fires | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's book Image: Express

Many of you have contacted me to ask about the recent fires. As you may have heard, we had two big forest fires raging not 30-40 minutes from our house. One from the North (Kalamos) and one from the East (Mati-Rafina). Different ones, too.

I spent most of that evening talking to friends, making sure they were OK. We also had cousins and aunts who had to evacuate because of a third fire, this one away from us.

I only slept a little that night, with one eye glued to the phone in case the wind turned and brought the fire to us. Woke up tired and with a headache. They said it would rain yesterday afternoon, not a moment too soon, but so far it’s been one sunny day after another. Maybe today. We’ll see.

Thank God, both we and everyone we know is safe, but it…

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Intelligent Medicine

“Doctors who partner with (AI) artificial intelligence as a decision-making aid will see their healing powers expand more than they have in the past 100 years” (Men’s Health, p. 42, May 2018).

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Intelligent Medicine

Mr. Greg Corrado, Ph.D. was making a TedMed presentation about artificial intelligence this past year when he stunned his audience of medical professionals.  Well, Dr. Corrado should know the field well since he is a principal scientist at Google AI and an expert in machine learning.  He went on to explain that to tackle the storm of intense medical data available for medical evaluators today a practitioner needs to condense the “data beast” so that appropriate information can be funneled into focused patient care.

The future is coming.  The future is down the road.  The future is here.  Microsoft, Apple, IBM and many other tech-savvy corporations are creating algorithms for medical facilities.  An algorithm is a structured formula for solving a problem. So, when a doctor, hospital, medical records department, medication ordering program or medical supply procurement agency needs to determine the best solution for diagnosing a problem they turn to a robotic algorithm system to capture the solution.

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Personal Medicine

Personal medicine has become more personal.  Your medical treatment can be decided by a complex set of numbers calculated by a fined-tuned robot analyzing specific personal data about your past, current and future health.  Your medical provider even knows the odds of whether you will keep your next appointment.  Rachel Sturtz (Men’s Health, May 2018) relates a variety of “assistive” robots working to keep us healthy.

  • Sensely – this avatar checks symptoms and pulls data for your doctor to review
  • Woebot – this “chatbot” created by Alison Darcy, Ph.D., monitors your mood
  • AiCure – recognizes your face, verifies medication and checks for administration
  • SemanticScholar – a search-based engine for relevant medical information
  • ARTAS Robotic – transplants hair faster than a human
  • HeartFlow – diagnosing heart disease with 3D map of the heart
  • Butterfly iQ – a pocket-sized ultrasound scanner with unlimited possibilities
  • Watson for Oncology – a plethora of resources for cancer treatment plans
  • Lumo Run (Lumo Lift) – personal biomechanic feedback
  • PatientsLikeMe – a FREE patient network to gain insight from people with similar medical conditions
  • ColgateConnect E1 – toothbrush using 3D technology for healthier teeth
  • Noom – custom nutrition/exercise courses – CDC-RECOGNIZED FOR THE PREVENTION OF DIABETES
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Intelligent Health

Cloud-based, yes, cloud-based technology is being used to view, monitor, assess, analyze, scan, interpret, review, research, plan, learn, devise and track almost every aspect of your medical life.  This detailed analysis is reducing unnecessary, invasive medical procedures, eliminating or reducing health care costs, increasing medical diagnosis accuracy, decrease pharmaceutical waste, increasing the proficiency of medical product tracking, assisting medical providers in assembling a library of current and timely medical information, and most importantly, improving the quality of health care for all of us.

As in all things tech, it’s important not to become entangled in the business part of healthcare.  The use of technology must be tempered with the personal care of medicine.  Development of an effective care plan still balances between the medical provider and the patient; with a fair exchange of information.  Hopefully, humans still talk to humans.  This personal conversation isn’t a debate or gabfest, it’s an informed exchange between concerned people trying to intelligently discuss sometimes difficult health-related questions.  AI (artificial intelligence) is used to assist this exchange and achieve the best healthcare decision.

Rachel Sturtz (Men’s Health, May 2018) states, “artificial intelligence is medicine’s future.”  I would reframe that statement and say that intelligent assistance for personal healthcare is the future.

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The DocBot will see you now

 

Front Row Seat

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You have followed your dream.  You have reached the pinnacle of your career.  Only the most prominent people get to sit in the front row seats.  You are on view for everyone to see and acknowledge your accomplishments.  You are obviously a “doer.”

However, there is always a flip side to front row seats.  Remember that the rest of the audience is sitting behind you.  They are watching you and listening to you.  They expect you to lead the way, to know the answers.  Obviously, you have achieved success so you must know how to get things done, to get results.  The audience is filled with people who may be just as talented or as smart or as knowledgeable as you but you must know something special.  Something that no one else knows.  They want to know your secret.  They are looking to see if and when you will reveal your closely guarded secret so that they too can be eligible to sit in the front row seats.

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This is when responsibility comes into the picture.  Since you will not always be the one who is sitting in the front row seat, you must be able to prepare others to take over that duty.  There are a few techniques that you might find helpful to complete the job.

  •  being a teacher gives someone else access to your knowledge
  •  remaining approachable allows other to ask questions and develop new ideas
  •  handing initial ideas over to others for further development  shows leadership
  •  positive reinforcements encourages “trial-and-error” development and initiative
  • Someone deserving of a front row seat always keeps the audience in mind.

 

One Match

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The penniless widow sat in her dark, dingy apartment shivering.  Her few resources include a well-worn shawl, home-made candles, her favorite rocking chair, companion books and an unused wooden match. Most of her elderly friends are unable to climb the wooden stairs to her second floor lodgings.

A knock at the door startles her and pierces the silence of the secluded room. “Martha, why are you sitting here in the dark.  If you would just light the candle, the room would fill with light and you could see to read your cherished books.  Those books have always given you comfort even on the days when you didn’t feel well. You could then use the light from the candle for the flame in the fireplace.  It would warm the room.”  With great effort, the elderly woman turns toward the visitor with a surprised look on her face and responds.  “But if I use the match to light the candle then the match is gone. I may need the match for something later.  I don’t want to use it up.”

In astonishment the visitor responds.  “Martha, you are sitting here shivering in a dark room.  You could use the lighted candle to guide your way down the hall to talk with your neighbor and borrow a box of matches or a couple of candles.  Then you would have light and heat for a long time.  You could also meet a new friend.”  With stubborn conviction Martha responds. “But if I use the match it will be gone and I might need the match for something later.  I don’t want to use it up.”

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I challenge you to light your match.

Partners

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As an RN with 35 years of hands-on experience, I publish with a focus on health and wellness.  This posting will have a slightly different twist.  I will talk about IPV: intimate partner violence.  This describes anyone who experiences violence at the hands of a spouse or partner.  An article in American Nurse Today (March,2017) describes this issue as having serious health consequences.  Since IPV is physical or sexual violence or stalking and psychological aggression, including coercive acts, by a current of former intimate partner, some professions also use the term “domestic” violence.  This term however, is more inclusive and can also include child and elder abuse.

When a former loving relationship turns violent, devotion can be frightening, disturbing or even deadly.  The approaching signs of IPV are not often easy to detect.  Social isolation seems to be a hallmark for abuse.  The abuser initially tries to isolate the victim from any form of help or rescue.  This can involve monitoring the partners cell phone usage or physically restricting their social interactions.  The CDC (Center for Disease Control) states that IPV affects one in three women in the U.S. over their lifetime.  However, this issue is not limited to females.  The CDC also publishes that men experience IPV in 1of 4 relationships.

The U.S. Justice Department defines sexual assault as: any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.  Local police departments have similar definitions.  The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force states that women ages 14 to 46 years (childbearing age) are at increased risk.

Remember that intimate partners know each other well.  Therefore, when a victim tries to reach out for help, they are often shielded from health providers by the abuser.  If someone is reporting abuse, there is usually abuse.  Approach the situation with a non-judgment attitude and set the stage for a trusting and open relationships.

There are many intervention tools.  If you have a friend or family member who you suspect is experiencing Intimate Partner Violence – speak up, say something.  Keeping silent is not an option.  Silence will only continue the abuse.  Contact, and partner with,  someone who can help resolve the situation.

If you are the victim of IPV, it is a scary situation and can be a potentially deadly condition.  However, there are a few safety tips: make an emergency contact list, compile finances for urgent needs, have spare house and car keys available, talk with your neighbors, have access to your drivers license, birth certificate, bank account #’s, insurance policy #’s, and marriage license.

There are national resources available if needed:  National Domestic Violence Hotline 800.799.7233 – Stop Abuse for Everyone, 1.503.853.8686 – National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, http://www.ncadv.org

Intimate partners should be loving, caring and supportive – violence is not part of the agreement.