Thursday, June 10, 2010


I recently met the most wonderful woman at the Oklahoma Writers Federation Inc. (OWFI) conference in Oklahoma City, OK. Her name is Paula Bruno. She's from Wichita Falls, Texas and has written a great entertaining read. The title of what I believe is Paula's debut novel is
"Come Hell or High Water." I bought this book at the conference bookstore before I met Paula because I loved the cover even more than the blurb. Ah, the cover, a cowboy riding a large horse in silhouette against the backdrop of and orange sunset. Breathtaking!

Paula is a member of OWFI and the Wichita Falls Creative Writing Group. She can be reached at or Check it out. Buy this book and enjoy. I read it in one day.

"Come Hell or High Water," or CHHW as Paula Bruno calls it, tells the tale of the Kirkland Rance near Burkburnett, Texas in the early 1950's. The ranch is currently owned by Revis Kirkland and has been in his family for two generations before him. Revis suddenly finds himself in custody of his young son, Toby, from a previous relationship. His better-than-any-one-else wife, Holly, tells him it's the kid or her. I won't tell how he comes to his decision.

Young Toby is hiding an evil secret of his own. Something that almost kills him. He is allowed to be a kid on the ranch and proves himself to be intelligent and lovable.

It's winter in Burkburnett and the area is in the grips of a longstanding drought. All of the farmers and ranchers worry. Including Revis. Paula Bruno paints vivid pictures of the ranch house, the land, the livestock, the larger than life cowboys working for the ranch, prarie fires, and the weather.

Revis Kirkland is involved in a longstanding feud with a mean, very nasty, neighbor named Ken Logan. Ken Logan will stir a visceral response in every reader. I wanted him D-E-A-D!

Revis struggles with his heart as well. His marriage is in trouble. He can't forget the girl who grew up with him. And, he's a confused man with a lot on his plate. I loved Revis Kirkland.

I encourage anyone with an interest in historical romance having a western slant and filled with sensory details to order a copy from Paula Bruno. By the way, Paula has a series in mind for Revis Kirkland and his ranch. I can not wait for the second book to be bound and available for purchase.



Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Nursing and me

Today I was playing around on the computer and found a web site for nurses. It includes educational opportunities, discussion forums, questions and answers, and other great information. I have to say it caught my attention. I joined the site and quickly found myself responding to the posts of others. Once a nurse always a nurse I guess.

One discussion was from a student nurse working the summer on an OB unit. She was disenchanted and saddened because the hospital didn't have a program in place for families experiencing miscarriage or fetal demise. As a perinatal bereavement counselor and former OB nurse this made me sad. The hospitals I worked at all had some sort of plan for these families. The last one I was at had the best program including handmade clothes in every size to dress the babies in. The clothes were made and provided by a women's group from a church in Lake Arthur, Louisiana. I think every hospital should make certain every need of a patient and family should be met. This student is in a unique position to make a difference at the hospital. She can work up a bereavement plan and help institute it.

This post reminded of a young couple I cared for 22 years ago. I recently found this young mother on facebook. For several months I was her nurse when she was experiencing pre-term labor. She made it to term and delivered a beautiful baby girl named Robin. After Robin was born I took her to the nursery for her assessment. She couldn't stabilize her temperature. She went downhill by the minute. We worked so hard to save Robin, but she only lived for 16 hours. Beta Strep took that baby. I remember that baby girl like it was yesterday. It is good to be back in touch with Robin's mother.

Another discussion was from a student having difficulty concentrating on studying for her finals. I sent some words of wisdom as a former student and instructor. I hope this student is able to get past her anxiety and fear.

I identified closely with a question from an inactive nurse wanting to know how to get back in the field. I'm facing that decision. I allowed my license to go to inactive status when I was hurt. Big mistake. I am trying to decide now if I should take the lengthy refresher courses to reactivate my license knowing I can't work in a hospital setting anymore. I would like to do something. But, what?

Reading those posts reminded me so much of what I lost when I had to stop working. I loved being a nurse. It was a dream since childhood to become a nurse. I walked across the stage when I was 34 years old. I worked every year of my career in OB, Postpartum, Well Baby, Neonatal ICU and in community, staff, and student education. I served as a perinatal bereavement counselor. It was, and remains, one of the most rewarding things I've ever done.

I hope that most of my friends reading this blog have found professions they love. Dreams should never die. Sometimes they change, though. I began writing not long after I got hurt. It has become my new dream. It's almost as difficult as nursing school. I'm working on it.

I will go to my grave being proud of my nursing career. I will go to my grave loving being a nurse.

Spend some time doing what you love. Dream big and aim for that dream one step at a time.

Blessings to all.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Half Hour of Senses

The view of the creek bank from the deck. Salado, Texas

The senses. Most of us learn about them in elementary school. We learn about sight, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching. Few of us know what it is like to live without these five senses. Wearing glasses is the closest I come to having a weak sense of sight.
Writers learn quickly to utilize the five senses in every scene plus the addition of the senses of time and space. I've used what I call the "sense of gravity" in scenes.
Recently I had an opportunity to experience the senses in vivid reality during a visit to my uncle's home in Salado, Texas. Salado is one of the most beautiful places on earth in my humble opinion. It is hot this time of year.
Early on the morning of May 29th I slipped out with my first cup of coffee. It was still cool and a soft breeze touched me. I settled on a glider overlooking the swimming pool, the sloping manicured lawn leading to a creek, and a wooded area beyond. It was in those first moments I realized my senses were working.
I tasted my coffee. Sweet and light. The mug was warm in my hands.
I looked at several pots of blooms surrounding the deck and pool. Pansies with smiling faces, red geraniums, pink Vinca, and others I couldn't name enhanced the scene.The scent of roses, buffetted by the breeze, came from somewhere nearby. The surface of the water in the pool reflected the sun and looked like jewels glimmering in the motion.
Roosters crowed from a home down the road. It was morning. The sun was up. I heard my Uncle LeeRoy and his wife, Jeanelle, laughing like kids as they came around the corner hauling a yellow water hose. They were watering the shrubs and potted plants. Their laughter was greater than any song. I suddenly heard a cacophony of chattering. It was a group of cardinals announcing that two bright red males were flying and fighting. I watched as they flew past me and into another tree. I wondered if they were fighting over a female or breakfast.
Closing my eyes I felt the cool metal of the glider on my back. I heard the rushing of the water in the creek. For a few moments I was lost in a feeling where time was of no consequence. I wasn't concerned about helping my aunt prepare for the 60 family members due to arrive at noon. My world was contained in the area immediately surrounding me.
For half an hour I experienced genuine peace. I became aware of the beauty reflected by the senses around me. I prayed "Thank you, Lord, for this special time."