Sunday, November 10, 2013

Procrastination 101

in case you're looking for ideas...
  1. Keep multiple calendars. Wall calendar at home.  Another at work.  Appointments calendar on your iPhone. Google calendar on your laptop (because you're not loyal to Apple, and your 5-year-old ThinkPad works just fine).  Monthly dry-erase calendar for each of your children (except the youngest, who can't read yet). Write on these in permanent marker, as otherwise the boys would wipe each other's entries off "accidentally on purpose"; better some rubbing alcohol, roll of paper towels, and lots of elbow grease once a month than having to play referee yet again on a daily basis.
  2. Update said calendars regularly.
  3. Read your email.  Especially the multiple posts from Barr. Phillip Butulezi, an attorney of law to a deceased client who left behind Fifteen Million one hundred thousand united states dollars (US$15,100,000.00)-- money that is unclaimed, and YOU are the only person who can help gain access to this fortune.  
  4. Troll the entertainment websites to get the latest on Miley Cyrus and her tongue, Kate and Will et al., and Jennifer Aniston's hair (yep, it's in the news again).
  5. Flip from book to book to book.  You've got that TBR stack on your bedside, not to mention the virtual one on your e-reader of choice -- and really, how and when else are you to get through it?
  6. Pick the most complicated DIY Halloween costumes for all three kids, and get started on them.  Even though next Halloween is still eleven months away.  
  7. Browse through for all those knick-knacks which you're never going to need.  Add them to your basket.  Then delete.
  8. Answer the phone, every time it rings.  Especially when it's the Affordable Care Act robo-caller telling you about the wonderful new website you can visit to enroll for medical insurance.  Go to said website, and try to enroll.  Keep at it!  It's bound to work eventually.
  9. Turn on the TV.  Or Tivo.  Or Hulu.  Or (fill in your viewing medium of choice).
  10. Return to #1.  Repeat.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


My kids are growing up in a brave new world dominated by social media. 

Me, I’m still trying to figure out what this whole hash-tag thing is about.  I don’t have a twitter account.  Or rather, I do, but I’ve forgotten how to access it.  The only time I used it was back in ’09 when I got incredibly frustrated over bad customer service at an airline that shall remain nameless (you know, the one that “breaks guitars”).  They managed to lose my luggage on a one-hour direct flight, and every time I called them to try to resolve the issue, I ended up getting transferred, or put on hold, or disconnected.  Finally I got through to a real live person, who denied all knowledge of any lost luggage claim (though I filled out the paperwork in triplicate before leaving the airport).  So what’s a girl to do at 5 a.m. but open a Twitter account and tweet her outrage into the world wide web?  (By the way, it worked:  within an hour of that tweet, I got a call from the airline that they’d miraculously recovered my luggage and would deliver it that day!) 

After that, I got caught up in other things:  work, kids, real life.

But the virtual world just wouldn’t go away.  Friends kept bugging me to open a Facebook account.  Email is passé, they said.  IM—what’s that?  You can still text, but what you really need is photos, videos, check-ins.  Right.  Do these people not know about all the criminals out there, monitoring FB and Tumblr and Meetup to know when you’re not at home so they can burglarize your empty house?!?

Alas, I am alone in my paranoia.  And truth to tell, some of my reluctance to join the digital revolution is fueled by the fact that I am an idiot when it comes to computers.  I never quite got over the trauma of having to learn how to program in FORTRAN.  (For those of you who were born into a world of smartphones and swipe-screens, FORTRAN is a long-dead computer language from post-IBM, pre-Apple days.  It’s what Latin is to the Romance languages that grew out of it.  Do they even teach Latin in public school anymore?)

What’s more, I actually like communicating the old fashioned way.  I enjoy talking with people face to face.  And I especially love writing letters long-hand, putting them in an envelope, sticking on a stamp, and dropping them off at the corner post-office.   I grew up reading volumes of correspondence between Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald (sigh!), Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf, Shelby Foote and Walker Percy.  Really, how can Twitter or Facebook compare with that?

In quantum physics, there is the law: “like attracts like.”  This principle applies to relationships, too.  We self-select our social network—both online and in the real world.  As a result, I am marooned on an island of similar-minded Luddites.  In our world, “going viral” still refers to a constellation of symptoms including fever, cough, and congestion. 

So, until my kids are old enough to clue me in, I will likely remain a social networking illiterate.  I will not be plugging my books on a bazillion-and-one online sites.  I will continue writing slowly, laboriously, in longhand (at least sometimes).  And I hope that the content of what I write will be interesting enough to sell a few books. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Taking a Chance - now available on Amazon Kindle!

I do not multi-task.  It's not that I can't (when you've got kids, multi-tasking is a basic survival skill).  But when it comes to being productive--whether at work or while writing--I simply choose not to.  For me, concentrating on one thing at a time is the key to getting that one thing done.

So, you may have noticed I took a long hiatus from this blog.  That's because I was busy writing the second book in my "Doctors of Rittenhouse Square" trilogy.  Taking a Chance is now done, edited, and uploaded to Amazon Kindle!  Check it out, and let me know what you think.

(Book one, Pursued by the Playboy, is also available.)

Taking a Chance

by Jill Blake
City girl…

When Samantha Winters’ career as a big-city doctor leads to major burnout, she applies for a temporary position at a small clinic in central Pennsylvania.   She’s as out of place in the town of Oakridge as a pair of high heels in a cow pasture, but that won’t stop her from going after what she wants.  And what she wants most—after rediscovering her passion for medicine—is a family of her own:  a loving husband and kids.

…meets country boy

Alex Kane is the local boy who made good.  He’s spent years building his computer start-up into the biggest employer in Oakridge.  Between that, and raising his sister’s orphaned kids, he’s ready for a break.  What he really wants is to cut loose and have some fun.  Too bad the new doc in town isn’t interested…. Or is she?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Head Start on Spring Cleaning (sort of)

This was supposed to be my year for getting organized.

I come by my pack-rat tendencies honestly: I think my dad is still wading through receipts from the 1970s.  In my defense,  I have a lovely husband and three terrific little kids, but none were blessed with any organizational or cleanliness genes.  Things fall where they will, and no one notices except me when I get home from a looong looong day at work.

So this year I finally decided that enough was enough.   We're talking not just tidying up the precarious piles of papers, books, clothing, toys, etc that crowd every room of the house.   I do that periodically anyway (usually an hour or so before the arrival of guests, because though I may have gotten used to the clutter, I always fear that someone not skilled at navigating such chaos might get lost on the way to the bathroom).  What I meant to do this year was weed through, sort, and donate or toss all the unnecessary crap that followed us across the country from home to home and job to job.  

I got through phase one pretty handily:  washing, folding, and boxing all the maternity clothing and supplies that I am never going to need again.   Our local hospital happened to be collecting donations of clothing, so one short drive and I was shed of four big boxes of gently used "Pea in a Pod" and "Motherhood" dresses, "Liz Lange" full-belly panel pants, and "Japanese Weekend" nursing tops.

Next step:  sorting the books.  OK, I admit I'm a bit of a hoarder when it comes to books.  Chalk it up to a touch of ADD.  I don't believe in serial monogamy when it comes to reading.  I'm more of a sample the smorgasbord type, before returning to the buffet for seconds of what I really like.  So at any given time, I'm reading four or five or six books from different genres (and that's not counting the technical journals I read in the office breakroom while wolfing down my brown-bagged sandwich between patients).  And if I like what I'm reading, I'm willing to share (as long as I get it back), but I'm not willing to part with it forever.  In fact, I've been known to buy a second copy of favorite novels that have somehow never found their way back to me after being lent out.

So--no big surprise--this is when I got bogged down.

I mean, how can you decide what to weed out for donation without actually opening the cover and reading a few lines or rifling through the pages?  And then how do you keep from getting sucked in all over again?  Obviously, those books will remain on my keeper, shelves.  But the process will take much longer than I anticipated.

One good thing to come out of this, though, is that I am now putting up a list of "favorite" reads:  authors, books, blogs, etc.  Check it out here:  What I'm Reading .  Like the rest of my life, it's not quite organized, and certainly not complete.  But it's definitely a work in progress, and one that I'm going to enjoy updating on a regular basis.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Escapist reading….

For me, romances represent the ultimate escapist read:  no matter how bumpy the road to love, you’re always guaranteed your HEA.

But there are degrees of escapism, even here.  And as with much of my approach to life (diet, exercise, child-rearing), I prefer moderation.  Call me vanilla or mainstream or even “tame”—especially as I stand like a solid stone in a rushing river of changing societal mores and tastes (viz. how digital publishing is shifting the boundaries from what was in the past “soft porn” to “erotica” to what is now almost “mainstream”). 
Don’t get me wrong, I like reading (and writing) hot sex scenes as much as the next person.  I even like ménage stories, and a little light BDSM (if it’s well written). 

I also enjoy paranormal romance.  Vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters, immortals, faeries:  bring them on!  Though even here I like more conventional development of the relationship, where there is a slow falling in love process and growth of the bond between H/h, rather than the hero just “knowing” or “recognizing” his mate from the start, as if this were some biologic imperative against which free will is helpless.
And I love all those alpha heroes who populate both the contemporary and historical romance worlds:  the billionaires and CEO’s, the filled-with-ennui dukes and earls. 

But at the end of the day, I’d rather curl up with something that is more like real life—just a little bit better.  Give me the imperfect heroine, who’s perpetually struggling with those last ten stubborn pounds, and who has bills to pay and a job where she can’t just take off in the middle of the day to join the hero on some grand adventure.  Give me the hero who’s a little seasoned but not a man slut, a little arrogant but not a total jerk, successful but not so mind-bogglingly wealthy that he has a helicopter on standby and drops a fortune on diamonds as “parting gifts” for his paramours.   Give me a story rooted in the here and now, with some drama but minimal angst, and characters you wouldn’t mind having as friends and neighbors.

Oh, and don’t forget the happy ending. 

Taking the plunge...

When I was kid, my mom would take us walking in the park. Whenever someone would stop to coo over my baby sister and ask how old we were, Mom inevitably answered: "The doctor is 7, and the lawyer is 1."

Fast-forward a few decades, and what do you know? Doctor and lawyer, bingo!

I love practicing medicine. I especially enjoy the rewards of taking care of entire families over long periods of time.

But secretly, I always dreamed about writing. Over the years, I dabbled as time permitted: freelancing for various local newspapers, doing a summer stint as a teaching assistant at a creative writing program, penning a few manuscripts that promptly got relegated to the bottom of some desk drawer.

Thanks to my wonderful husband, who encouraged me to blow the dust off one of those manuscripts, I'm finally pursuing my dream! Not full-time, to be sure. I'm still a physician with a busy practice, and a mom with three kids. But after the charts are done and the kids are asleep, it's just me and my laptop---and, boy, am I having fun!

Pursued by the Playboy is my debut novel. It's a contemporary romance, set in Philadelphia, where I grew up.

Why romance, you ask? Because I love a guaranteed happy ending. I hope you do, too!