Thursday, March 29, 2018

Guest Post from Jordan S. Fersel, MD, author of When Bad Backs Happen to Good People

Title: When Bad Backs Happen to Good People
Author: Jordan S. Fersel, MD
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Medical
Format: Ebook

Chronic back and neck pain is a thorny issue that plagues millions living in today’s modern world and has the power to take over a person’s life—not just physically, but also psychologically, emotionally, and physiologically. The good news is that there are effective ways of dealing with chronic pain that allows patients to return to a productive life without undergoing unnecessary surgery. Dr. Jordan Fersel is a board-certified pain specialist who relies on his diverse professional experience to distinguish the differences between acute and chronic pain, scrutinize the accuracy of an MRI scan to diagnose pain, examine the architecture of the spine, explain nerve injuries, differentiate between the various types of arthritis, and offer potential treatment options. Through included case studies and illustrations, pain sufferers will learn there is hope for managing pain through proper diagnosis and a treatment plan tailored to treat individual needs. It’s Not All in Your Head shares guidance from a trusted physician that explores chronic back and neck pain, its sources, and the many treatment options available.


In her passionate and compassionate article of 11/15/17, "The Death of Pain Management" ,Janice Reynolds, a retired pain management nurse, places her finger with precision on the pulse of what ails the field of pain management. It does not seem at this point that the opioid crisis is the direct resultof doctors over-prescribing narcotics, most doctors I know are afraid to prescribe pain killers for the fear of being sanctioned, fined, or having
their medical license revoked.

When a patient comes to a doctor, it is common that acute pain is the primary complaint. We are used to trying to identify and treat the cause of pain, which in many cases is an indicator of something more serious, but not always. There is a triage system in each physician's mind as to the seriousness of the message of pain. While sometimes we may over-react, but in my mind, the best physicians ask themselves, "what is the worst thing 
that this pain can indicate" and act accordingly. We all know the old adage, prepare for the worst, but hope for the best, and with regard to acute pain that is a 'best practice' in medicine.
But what about the patient that has sustained a work or motor vehicle related injury, has arthritis or any autoimmune disease or chronic infection who complains of long-standing pain that does not go away and that has not responded to conventional medical treatments and interventions?

I can tell you that traditionally, it has been difficult to find a physician willing to treat these chronic pain patients. The reason for this is that these patients do not fit into traditional Western medical models of cause and effect, stimulus and response. There may still be pain despite reducing a fracture, and there might still be severe
back pain following an injury with normal MRI results. And there may even be patients will horrible looking spines on MRI who complain of no pain. And patients have the right to complain when there is severe pain. And physicians or government officials or politicians, or DEA agents are not able to feel this type of pain unless they are unfortunate enough to become chronic pain sufferers themselves. And there is no reliable way for the physician to differentiate between those who have real chronic pain and those who fake it in order to gain access to narcotics, except possibly by examining their behavior. 

So let's say the doctor refuses to believe that the patient has chronic pain. Two options exist for the patient. Find another physician, perhaps more sympathetic than the first. 
But the new doctor may not really understand what is causing the pain either, it's just that he believes the patient when he says it hurts and it doesn't go away. And if you can't find a doctor to prescribe you pain medicine, you may come to believe that it is all in your head, or more likely, attempt to purchase painkillers on the street, because they are out there...

What happens to chronic pain patients that self-medicate? Well, they may just feel better, but more likely they will use too much of the narcotics, and this will result in all types of complications from constipation to physical and psychological dependence, to respiratory depression and death. This group is taking dangerous medications with no medical oversight.  And that group of self-medicators is growing larger by the day because physicians are simply not willing to lose their hard earned licenses to help a chronic pain patient in need of relief. At least not when there is a tsunami of law enforcement, government officials and even other doctors waiting outside the office door so that they can free society of the 'offensive' pain medication prescriber. And more and more patients then seek relief on the streets, where dangerous and potent impurities such as Fentanyl may be mixed in to the narcotics causing overdose and death.

The reason this article by Janice Reynolds is so powerful is because she recognizes that the challenge here is not only the over-prescribing of opioids. No, patients overdosing is the result of the real crisis not it's cause. If you don't define a problem properly, you will never solve it. What is the real problem we should seek to resolve? What is the war that needs to be waged if  the War on Drugs is not the right war? Simply put, what we have all been missing, but what Janice Reynolds understands, is that it is the War on Chronic Pain that needs to be waged. And how is this war to be waged?
  • Better understandings of the mechanisms of chronic pain. What are the patterns and concepts that will support the often contradictory facts that the physician is confronted with? Can we develop simple models of why chronic pain is occurring based on our knowledge of physiology, anatomy, radiology and pharmacology and in the future, molecular medicine? Can clinical research deliver the answers or will basic research or some combination of the two? How can we deal with placebo effects and lack of randomization in our search for answers? Will we ever be able to objectively measure pain as 'outsiders' relative to the pain sufferer? How much of suffering from pain is related to the psychological state, and what is the relationship between the two?
  • Once we have some answers, (and they can even come by trial and error or observation and become 'best practices') some understanding of mechanisms that fit with our understanding of neuroscience and medicine, we can try evidence-based therapies. It is clear that narcotics produce some effect in terms of pain processing in the brain, because otherwise they would not be in such great demand by pain sufferers. Can marijuana produce similar benefits without the side effects? The jury is still out on that one, but I suspect the benefits will be limited. Can we find other treatments that will effectively treat chronic pain by decreasing inflammation in the body and enhancing the body's ability to heal itself. I think the field of Regenerative Medicine may hold some crucial answers.
  • Once we have some useful solutions that provide real relief, then education becomes the key. Every physician needs to have a working knowledge of how chronic pain works. Who will teach this to medical students and doctors and how much time will be spent on becoming proficient in the understanding of chronic pain?
  • There will always be an element of society that is attracted to the psychological effects of medications that alter the central nervous system. These individuals are not the same as chronic pain patients! Hopefully, with better measurements and models of chronic pain these two groups will become differentiated. Right now they both seek the same medications, but for different reasons, and that is fuel that is powering the opioid crisis. It is not only the province of law enforcement or government to distinguish between the two, but hopefully for all our benefits, law enforcement will work together with physicians to identify the individuals that help fuel this crisis.
In my book, When Bad Backs Happen to Good People, I have started to open the discussion of some of the mechanisms of chronic pain so that we will begin to find useful solutions in the near future.

J. Fersel, M.D.

Jordan Fersel, MD, is a board-certified, pain-management fellowship-trained physician who earned a BA in biology from Queens College and an MD degree from Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He has been director of Pain Management Services at Trinitas Medical Center Oncology Unit for several years. Dr. Fersel and his wife, Esty, divide their time between Philadelphia and West Orange, New Jersey. 

Thursday, March 22, 2018

An Interview with Diana Forbes, Author of 'Mistress Suffragette'

Diana Forbes is a 9th generation American, with ancestors on both sides of the Civil War. Diana Forbes lives and writes in Manhattan. When she is not cribbing chapters, Diana Forbes loves to explore the buildings where her 19th Century American ancestors lived, loved, survived and thrived. Prior to publication, Diana Forbes’s debut won 1st place in the Missouri Romance Writers of America (RWA) Gateway to the Best Contest for Women’s Fiction. A selection from the novel was a finalist in the Wisconsin RWA “Fab Five” Contest for Women’s Fiction. Mistress Suffragette won 1st place in the Chanticleer Chatelaine Award’s Romance and Sensual category, and was shortlisted for the Somerset Award in Literary Fiction. Mistress Suffragette won Silver in the North American Book Awards and was a Winner of the Book Excellence Awards for Romance. Mistress Suffragette was also a Kirkus Best Indies Book of 2017. The author is passionate about vintage clothing, antique furniture, ancestry, and vows to master the quadrille in her lifetime. Diana Forbes is the author of New York Gilded Age historical fiction.



About the Book:

Author: Diana Forbes
Publisher: Penmore Press
Pages: 392
Genre: Romance/Historical Fiction/Victorian/Political/NY Gilded Age Fiction


A young woman without prospects at a ball in Gilded Age Newport, Rhode Island is a target for a certain kind of “suitor.” At the Memorial Day Ball during the Panic of 1893, impoverished but feisty Penelope Stanton quickly draws the unwanted advances of a villainous millionaire banker who preys on distressed women—the incorrigible Mr. Daggers. Better known as the philandering husband of the stunning socialite, Evelyn Daggers, Edgar stalks Penelope.

Skilled in the art of flirtation, Edgar is not without his charms, and Penelope is attracted to him against her better judgment. Meanwhile a special talent of Penelope’s makes her the ideal candidate for a paying job in the Suffrage Movement.

In a Movement whose leaders are supposed to lead spotless lives, Penelope’s torrid affair with Mr. Daggers is a distraction and early suffragist Amy Adams Buchanan Van Buren, herself the victim of a faithless spouse, urges Penelope to put an end to it. But can she?

Searching for sanctuary in three cities, Penelope will need to discover her hidden reserves of courage and tenacity. During a glittering age where a woman’s reputation is her most valuable possession, Penelope must decide whether to compromise her principles for love.


Amazon | Barnes & Noble

It’s a pleasure to have you here today, Diana. Can you tell us what your new book is about?

My debut novel, Mistress Suffragette, is about a young woman growing up in Gilded Age Newport, Rhode Island who believes that she is on the traditional path to marriage. Suddenly, her prospects are pulled out from under her as her father tries to cope with some unforeseen bumps due to the Panic of 1893. Distressed, she flees to Boston where she, almost by accident, gets drafted into the early women’s suffrage movement. Unfortunately, her love life shadows her, threatening to unravel everything she is fighting for.

Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

My main character, Penelope Stanton, is seventeen years old. She thinks that she will marry, stay in Newport, Rhode Island, and have children. None of that happens. She has to reach down deep inside of her and find out what she’s made of—find her hidden reserves of tenacity that will pull her through. Penelope faces many obstacles. One of them is a man named Edgar Daggers.

Your book is set in Newport, Rhode Island.  Can you tell us why you chose this city in particular?

I wanted to start my novel in Gilded Age, Newport Rhode Island, but at the tail end of the Gilded Age. I absolutely love Newport, and I wanted to write the story of someone living there who wasn’t rich.

Open the book to page 69.  What is happening?

On page 69 my protagonist, Penelope Stanton, decides to flee Newport, Rhode Island.

What has been the most pivotal point of your writing life?

Writing this story and getting it published were two pivotal points in my writing career. Writing Mistress Suffragette took me five years, partly because I ran every chapter by two writing classes, two writing groups, and BETA readers. I met the editor of my novel in Oxford, England. The story resonated with her. I also want to say that I am writing the sequel now, which is very exciting for me. I see the story as a trilogy.

What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors?

Write what you love. A lot of people say, “Write what you know.” I think that is a great starting point. But writing is also an opportunity to write what you love. I love stories that whisk me away, so that’s what I set out to write. I also think it’s hugely helpful to sit down at the same time every day and write. I am a “morning writer.” I like to start at
9 a.m. and treat writing like a job. I know other writers who carve out a few hours after dinner. It doesn’t matter what time you write, but starting a habit of writing, I feel, helps.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Book Blast: The Possum in the Pool by Joy Liebl

Title: The Possum in the Pool
Author: Joy Liebl
Publisher: XLibrisUS
Genre: Children's Book
Format: Ebook

A fun and educational book with attention grabbing illustrations for younger children and easy to read text for older ones.  The book's focus is on listening to parents and the consequences of not doing so.  It also deals with a parent's love and concern for their children. It received great reviews from "Pacific Book Review" and "US Review of Books (w/Eric Hoffer)". 

Joy Liebl was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI.  She spent 5 years living in Elmhurst, IL before settling in Winter Park and then Safety Harbor, FL.  Joy loves to crochet, do needlepoint & embroidery, sketch and work with dollhouse miniatures which she sells in her Etsy Shop “JoysHandmades” along with her crocheted pieces and varied vintage items.  She is an avid reader but enjoys “Fantasy” the most.  This is her first published book.  The story line is based on a true life experience of finding a small baby possum in her pool one morning and expanding her mind to create what she felt happened before and after the poor possum fell into the pool.  Joy designed every bit of the book herself as to how each page must be set up to maximize the story.  She was thrilled with D’Lynn Roll’s vision of how Robby would look and with each picture subsequently done.  Joy was equally thrilled with the wonderful reviews she received from “Pacific Book Reviews” and “US Book Reviews”  



Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins March 19 and ends on March 30.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on March 31.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone! 


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Thursday, March 1, 2018

Book Blast: Chubby Wubbles by M.J. Abrams -Win a $25 Gift Card

Title: Chubby Wubbles: A Ferret's Tale
Author: M.J. Abrams
Publisher: Trafford
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Format: Ebook

A delightful story about the adventures of a young man and a mischievous ferret awaits in Chubby Wubbles! This vibrant picture book tells a compelling story about the bond that develops between them. As the story unfolds, their loneliness leads to a fateful meeting and a growing friendship. Together they embark on an exciting journey that progresses with lots of humor, fun, and unexpected drama along the way. Chubby Wubbles will warm the hearts of children everywhere!

After being an observer and non-pet owner, I was thrown into the mix because my son was leaving and I couldn't bear the thought of him having to give up his pet ferret to someone else. Since I've grown so attached to this lovable critter, I agreed to take care of him while he was away. Because of the many experiences my son has had with this adorably sweet animal, I decided to write a children's book based on a true story about their adventures and misadventures.



Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins February 19 and ends on March 2.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on March 3.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone! 


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