Tag Archives: nursing

Has it Been that Long

Okay, so I wrote out this huge post and my computer did something awful. Next book: When Good Computers Go Bad! So where have I been? In a place where free time no longer exists.

I started my Bachelor’s program in nursing through GCU. It is a rigorous thirteen month course that has occupied every last bit of free time I have had, and has even snuck into my not so free time. By this time next year, and $16k in debt, I will have a BSN and a government loan. Exciting, yes I know.

Any time for writing has been shot out the window, and the rantings of characters has been quickly drowned out by rantings of health care essays and deadlines. But I need some sanity, and the characters of Life by Chance started invading my brain even through medical papers. They were tired of being on the electronic shelf; tired of the promise of fruition; and tired of being unheard.

Blackbird Press and I had gone round and round on publishing prospects. I looked at some indie presses, but most either worked only in press or only in e-books. Some weren’t a right fit, others made me nervous, and still others didn’t offer the variety I desired. We talked about sending out queries to agents, but my time was already being strangled. It looked Life by Chance might spend another bout “shelved.” Then I received an email that Iuniverse was having a 50% off sale, and I thought about it.

On June 30th, the last day of the sale, I made the call and chose to go with Iuniverse. I used them for Be Still so I’m familiar with the process; I know what is important and what isn’t. Of course my only complaint is the low royalty payout and the timeliness of the payout, but all-in-all it isn’t breaking the bank. My spirit is renewed! Yay. If all goes well, Life by Chance should be out by the holidays.

While I haven’t spent much time promoting the book these past few months, except in blurbs on social media, the artist has been promoting the art work. “Life by Chance” has been accepted into several mainstream contests, and was displayed at an art show in Hollywood, CA. It is currently a submission in the Bombay Sapphire art contest, and has received honorable mentions in other events.

Tania L Ramos, RN and author

"Life by Chance" Artist: Mariano Daniel

“Life by Chance” Artist: Mariano Daniel

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The Magic Schedule

Today I am setting a schedule, not that I think it will help because I truly hate schedules.  Life has a way of manipulating even the best laid plains, but I’ll give it a try for the sake of being correct in my evaluation of schedules. Then again maybe it is just what the doctor ordered (pun, because i’m a nurse . . . haha. No? okay, I’ll continue).

Why a schedule? Because I see the accomplishments so many others are making in their literary career and here I am trying to catch, what I feel is, a much deserved afternoon nap. My life revolves around two major factors: nursing and my daughter.  The nursing portion consumes thirty six hours a week, but, and I stress BUT, it can, and has, easily gone into 48-72 hours due to my on-call requirements.  I also work 12 hr shifts, so if by chance I get the awesome 7am shift, it means I leave at 615am and do not arrive back home until 815pm. I’m so exhausted both mentally and physically that I can’t do much beyond making the drive home.

Then there is my beautiful and amazing, and now 6 year-old, daughter.  If you know the sordid story then you know I only have her half the week because of shared custody. 50-50, yikes. Dad lives 80 miles away, so I drive over 1.5 -2 hours into L.A. to pick her up. That’s one way. So half a day is lost to driving.  The days I do have her it’s usually all about her, as she is a handful of energy, but lovely to talk to and pick her brain.  She’s very hands on, artsy like grandma and her brothers, but tells awesome stories like her mom.  The firey ball of energy and need to move move move comes from dad. Thusly, she is a handful and occupies the better of three and a half days.

So if I’ve lost three days to work and three days trying to keep up with Little Miss Take-on-the-World in fifteen minute spurts, I’m left with half a day. What could I possibly do with half a day? Laundry, market, Costco, yard, marketing, advertising, blogging, a shower would be nice, toting around one of the other kids (17 & 18 yrs old), helping them with homework, procrastinating any of the above (especially laundry), trying to give Glenn some time or he gets antsy, and now trying to market my latest career as an independent distributor for a well known body contouring company.  Oh, and now I gotta create a schedule to find time to write? Is there a magic app for that? I’ll get right on that right on that magic schedule right after my first nap.

Tania L Ramos, RN, Author . . . Shhhh, I’m napping

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Huskyish

Looks like the couch is taken

Self-published Rut

Here it is , the rut. I heard so much about this rut, this madness of feeling stagnant and otherwise without direction.  Is it a rough patch? Perhaps writer’s remorse? That drudged old nemesis that is my brain saying, “You only had one good story didn’t you? Told ya!”

I wallow in the thought as I have little to no motivation to start something new.  Yes there is the project WIP that I’ve already got several chapters into, and yes the characters speak to me everyday.  But where is my motivation? Perhaps I need a muse. Perhaps I need a swift quick in the posterior.  Am I a has-been after only two books and one manual? Could it be?

I need another outlet.  I stare at the walls, into the infinite span of gray that clouds my mind and I strive to find more channels to push my story into, but it seems all avenues have been charted on my map of marketing.  Is there more? How much more time can I afford to give up into marketing for forty hours to maybe make one sale, maybe? I could’ve been writing, I say to myself, but when I’m writing I think I should be marketing and so instead I find myself working on small projects at home instead.

It occurred to me that maybe I was upset at the lack of funds to publish another book.  I’m dead set against using KDP Select as my only means to publish.  Besides, there are other costs to incur: editing, formatting, purchase of an ISBN, and the actual cost to publish.  With all that on my plate I opted to take on another job which, ironically, puts me back as a self-marketer or independent distributor for a popular body toning program (can’t mention just yet as I have not been formally approved to blog it).

Then I made another decision in my vast list of procrastination techniques: I’ll start a blog about nursing. After all, I am a nurse and it is a major part of my life. I have many stories to tell about this career aspect of my life . . . and the procrastination continues.  Did I mention my backyard is thriving with fruits and veggies? Not an easy thing to do in California’s high desert region . . . procrastination also yields fruit.

I’m at a loss. So what do you do when you feel you’ve exhausted all your resources and find yourself dead center in the middle of a rut? All suggestions and comments welcomed.

Tania L Ramos, Author, RN . . . rut!

If you’re in the middle of a rut or procrastination, enjoy this fun video of my daughter singing in the car, here.

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Creature of Habit

Trying something new is a very bitter-sweet thing for many people.  There are definite things I would try and others I just wouldn’t.  On the to do list: jump off the Stratosphere in Las Vegas, white water rafting, sky diving.  Things on the “That ain’t ever gonna happen” list: hot air balloon, kayaking in the ocean, and bungee jumping.

Of course those are physical things, and I tend to be more adventurous about physical aspects rather than emotional aspects.  I am clearly and assuredly anti-therapy.  Not that I don’t believe therapy works, just that I don’t believe I have a problem.  🙂  However, I do believe in writing in journals, talking to pets, and hitting a punching bag are all great forms of therapy.  I am also stubbornly dead-set against the chiropractor.  That is my spine and after years of anatomy and physiology classes, along with EMT and Nursing programs, I’m against any manipulation of my spine.  However, I have no qualms with massage and acupuncture approaches.

And if you know me, as an author I am insanely stubborn about my approach to writing.  3rd person limited is my comfort zone and what I have always written in.  I do not sway from what I know. I am a creature of habit in regards to writing.  So why is this new book (that I’m still trying not to write) written in 1st person limited? And why in the world does the male character decide he needs to be written in 3rd person limited? Good grief.  I am so out of my element here.  Do they not know that writing in 1st person and switching to 3rd person is on my “Not To Do” list? Well, here is to leaving the comfort zone . . .

Tania L Ramos, Author Moving Outside of the Box

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And again, just because I love animals. Enjoy this cute talking dog who just wants a kitty.

Happy Nurses Week: That’s Me

This week is nurses week in the good ol’ U.S. of A. What does that mean for me as a nurse? Not much.  What? I’m not talking books or writing today? Not today, because my career as a nurse is what pays for my career as an author . . . or should I say, the writing career that sucks all the money from my nursing career. yeah, I need a real job to support the everlasting dream.  Why? Because I’m a single mom, running an entire household, putting food on the table, and handling business on my own. Is there a single mom’s week? And if there was what would you get a single mom? A cook and maid would be nice.

Back to nurses week! What is happening during this fine nurses week at my job? Not much. I worked yesterday from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.  Count those hours and it amounts to SIXTEEN hours at work, and what did I get for it? Zip. Zilch. Nada. No, “Happy nurses week,” or “We appreciate your time.” Nope. Of course I did get double time, but after taxes I’ll owe more than I actually get.  Hearing the words, “Happy nurses week” would’ve been nice.  Of course, all my nursing friends have blasted this all over Facebook and Twitter, but we are in the trenches with other, so it should sound more like, “Hey buddy, we survived another year!”

Now here is what truly irks me about the nursing stereotype.  One, I really don’t mind if a guy thinks of a nurse as some sexy woman with wild hair pulled back under a small nursing cap, wearing a short and tight white scrub dress and white fish net stockings.  Why don’t I mind? Because I’d rather be thought of as hot and sexy rather than, “Please tell me that is chocolate on your gloves.” If you could see me at two a.m., you wouldn’t elect to have your appendix removed and then have me as your nurse. *shivers at the thought* It’s not a hot look, unless dark circles under the eyes, hair pulled up into a sloppy bun held together by a syringe, and dried tear stains (from when I silently cried in the corner at a one a.m. moment of delirium) is sexy to you. It’s not to me.

What do nurses do? I tell you this so you can get a better understanding at the fact that we don’t sit around the counter, passing around food, and gossiping all day.  Trust me, if you ever see that happening then the apocalypse has surely begun! And yes, it does occur, but mostly we are comparing notes and trying to maintain our sanity by venting to other staff. What do nurses do? We are the consummate multitaskers, and given the opportunity would love to take the time to get to know our patients better.  But we can’t, and that’s not your fault.

Healthcare is a broken system, and not just because of the insured or the uninsured, but because it is not run by doctors and nurses, it is run by CPAs and bureaucrats. Not your fault, but not mine either. So if I can’t spend more than five minutes getting to really know a patient, it’s because we now wear many hats. CNA’s, LVNs, aides, techs . . . they are all being slowly phased out.  Now a nurse has to take vital signs for all patients, cleans beds, dole out the gambit of meds, hunt down your doctor to clarify his orders, then reclarify the orders with pharmacy only to discover the new medication is not in our system.  Track down doctor–who is now livid–reclarify order, recall pharmacy and wait! It is a vicious cycle.  Now add that a patient needs to be prepped for surgery which can take a good two hours if all the labs and ancillary workups aren’t done. Heaven forbid another patient needs a blood transfusion which now requires the nurse to sit at the bedside for half an hour to ensure there is no allergic reaction.  Don’t get me started on the one hour process to admit and the two hour process to discharge.  It’s all about the paperwork and the need to cover your ass (CYA), or more-so, to cover the facility’s behind and in the meantime the family of our patients are yelling at our blatant neglect of their loved one. Arghh!

We do this twelve hours a day, and in some instance like mine, twelve can easily turn into sixteen (once it was twenty) hour shifts. And at two a.m. there is still a family member screaming over the phone at how they are going to call the CEO and file a report.  “I understand,” is all I can say at that point, and still, I sit patiently by the patients bedside and ensure he/she is not in pain, spoon feeding ice chips, putting dentures back in their mouth, and changing a soiled diaper, all the while ensuring the patient who is apologizing for being so helpless that this is my job, and that he/she is my main concern.  Meanwhile, I am being reported by family to a department manager for being uninformative, or something equally as assanine.

Let me explain this: It isn’t that I don’t want to field a million questions, it’s that for every minute I spend defending myself and my actions to a distraught family member, is minutes I am taken from my patient.  So, yes, sometimes I’ll opt for being reported.  I am an advocate for your family and sometimes for you if you are a patient.  My loyalties lay with you.  This is my job.  It is my oath. Even when you scream and yell at me, I ensure you receive perfect care.  Even when you are rude and condescending toward my abilities in my chosen profession, I ensure your safety.  Even when you poop your pants, I console you and say I am doing my job and not to worry, I’m not judging you.  Even when you degrade me for forgetting something off my ever growing list, I apologize and sincerely mean it.  Why? Because I’m a nurse. I’m about as tough as nails as it could ever get . . . and still, I care.

HAPPY NURSES WEEK

nurses

Tania L Ramos, Author and Recovery Room Nurse

When I’m Wrong, I’m Wrong: I Was Right

A few posts ago I declared that I would take a hiatus from writing due to life and the way it interferes with my love of writing.  To put it in perspective, when I love to do something I want to do it all the time and I want to do it well.  Between working, raising children, running the WritingApocalypse.com website, book shows (it’s that season again) and all the other surprise things that life doles out, it became difficult to find time to write.  And because I was staying up until all hours of the night trying to sneak in a few chapters only to wake up three hours later for a full twelve hour shift of nursing at the hospital, it felt like I was starting to despise my true passion.  And because of that, I knew it was time to take a break.

Let me say this: So many of you wonderful bloggers and authors immediately sent me well wishes and gave me the thumbs up to take a break.  I thank you all for that. It felt like a huge relief to know I am not the only author who needs to get off the boat and take a side excursion for awhile.  You all eased my guilt trip a bit, though I still feel like I’m missing something when I’m not writing . . . so I know i’ll be back.

Since my short break I have so far: worked in my yard and planted numerous flowers and fruit plants. Made the call to fix the pool. Updated the WritingApocalypse.com website. Wrote out my reviews.  Caught up on emails. Started to get the desk organized. Finished reading a book. And just sat down to hold random, useless conversations with my friends.

Alas, taking a hiatus has been good for my soul and sanity.  Still, those grungy teens full of hope and life have sat patiently and silently by.  I know they are there awaiting their story to be told.  I hope they hang around a bit. The more rest I get, the more I feel a welling of courage to write that next book. I was right in taking some time off. Then again, I’m usually right  🙂

Tania L Ramos, Author Taking A Siesta

BeStillNovel.com (free gift with purchase of book direct from author)

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The Hazy Auburn, Purple, and Gold Mood

Ever have a melancholy kind of day? I have the blues. Seriously, can’t seem to pull out of this funk. Maybe I should kick up the beat to my iTunes music. Today, I spent my morning catching up on music, since I haven’t downloaded in nearly a year, I felt it was time to make amends with Apple Inc (long story). So i downloaded and downloaded, then sorted the downloads into files.

Why files? Well, I have one file of upbeat music for days I feel upbeat. Then there’s “punching bag” music, for days I rage against my punching bag and need some kick butt music to help me vent. Then I have slow songs, which I play when I’m writing, because they always keep me in the writing mood.

Except, today, I’m stuck in this slow music, country kick, with the occasional Bon Jovi, Green Day, Glenn Miller Band, and a little Peter Cetera tossed in there. Yep, its eclectic tragic love songs day. Not doing much for my writing though. I need my peace and quiet, which is why I tend to write at 1 am.  But when I write at 1 am, it means I get little to no sleep, which makes for bad nursing habits. And step away from a story too long and I lose focus. I swear, I’ll have to reach into the deep nether reaches of my brain to find these characters again. Bad author! Bad author, for letting it get away from me.

desert sunsetSo, back to these love songs, breaking up songs, why did my wife leave with the dog songs, and Cowboy Take Me Away songs (my favorite ones). I’ll imagine myself in a quiet place, out on some desolate prairie, the weather is mild, the sky is a hazy auburn with purples and golds, and I’m sitting in a rocking chair listening to “Somewhere With You.” Ahhh, that is bliss!

SO WHY THE HECK DO I STILL HEAR SPONGEBOB LAUGHING??!!

Tania L Ramos, Author in need of a time out