Chrys Fey~My Review of her Latest Release, Seismic Crimes~and a Giveaway

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I had the pleasure of reading a rough draft of Seismic Crimes awhile back, so when the book released last month, I couldn’t wait to get my copy. And what a pleasure it was to find my quote inside Chrys’ book.

“From the remnants of a Florida hurricane to a San Francisco earthquake Fey puts you in the middle of the action as Donovan and Beth forge the bonds of a new love while tracking a killer across the country in this nail-biting suspense.”~ Lilly Gayle

And that is what I thought of the rough draft. The finished product is so much better! Beth is more likeable than I remembered from the first draft, and Donovan is sexier than ever. Donovan is a tall, sexy monster truck driver with a sense of humor that would make any woman swoon. But Beth is no push-over. She’s a self-defense instructor who is forced to put her talents to use when she and Donovan get separated after the earthquake.

Seismic Crimes is different from most romance novels, as the hero and heroine have already confessed their love to one another…but did they confess too soon?

Will their romance be reminiscent of Annie and Jack’s from the 1994 movie, Speed?

Jack- “I have to warn you. I’ve heard relationships based on intense experiences never work.”
Annie
“Okay. We’ll have to base it on sex, then.”
Jack
“Whatever you say, ma’am.”

We all know how that romance turned out–or at least, those of us who watched the less worthy sequel, Speed 2, Cruise Control. Keanu Reeves, aka Jack, wasn’t in the sequel. In the second movie, Annie, Sandra Bullock, is with Alex, Jason Patrick.

So, how do Donovan and Beth fare in this sequel? Does their relationship from book one that was based on an intense experience help them in book two? Or does their new love fizzle and die?

Although this is the second book in a series, (and I haven’t yet read the first book) Fey quickly catches the reader up with our hero and heroine as they enter the police station after the hurricane featured in the first book, Hurricane Crimes, and Donovan is cleared of his brother’s murder. Yet there seems to be nothing he can do to help the police find the corrupt officer responsible for his brother’s death.

After riding out the end of the storm at the police station, Beth moves in with Donovan, as her house was destroyed in the first book. As the two begin to draw closer, Donovan becomes more obsessed with finding his brother’s killer, which puts a strain on their new and budding relationship and eventually, leads the couple to San Francisco. And that’s where the action begins as the two arrive shortly before a massive earthquake.

Fey does a good job of building suspense and putting the reader in the middle of the action, while continuing to build on the relationship between Donovan and Beth.

For those who love action, adventure, romance, and suspense, this book will be right up your alley.

I bought my copy on Amazon, but it’s also available from other online bookstores.

Digital Links:

Amazon US: http://amzn.com/B01CRJSPIU

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01CRJSPIU

Amazon CA: http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01CRJSPIU

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/seismic-crimes-chrys-fey/1123508790?ean=2940158028380

KOBO: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/seismic-crimes

Print Links:

Amazon US: http://amzn.com/1509207252

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1509207252

Amazon CA: http://www.amazon.ca/dp/1509207252

The Wild Rose Press: http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=191&products_id=6793

BLURB:

An Internal Affairs Investigator was murdered and his brother, Donovan Goldwyn, was framed. Now Donovan is desperate to prove his innocence. And the one person who can do that is the woman who saved him from a deadly hurricane—Beth Kennedy. From the moment their fates intertwined, passion consumed him. He wants her in his arms. More, he wants her by his side in his darkest moments.

Beth Kennedy may not know everything about Donovan, but she can’t deny what she feels for him. It’s her love for him that pushes her to do whatever she has to do to help him get justice, including putting herself in a criminal’s crosshairs.

When a tip reveals the killer’s location, they travel to California, but then an earthquake of catastrophic proportions separates them. As aftershocks roll the land, Beth and Donovan have to endure dangerous conditions while trying to find their way back to one another. Will they reunite and find the killer, or will they lose everything?

crysAuthor Bio:

Chrys Fey is the author of Hurricane Crimes, Book One in the Disaster Crimes series, as well as these releases from The Wild Rose Press: 30 Seconds, Ghost of Death, and Witch of Death. She is an administrator for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and has participated in the Blogging from April A to Z Challenge.

When Fey was six years old, she realized she wanted to be a writer by watching her mother pursue publication. At the age of twelve, she started writing her first novel, which flourished into a series she later rewrote at seventeen.

Fey lives in Florida and is always on the lookout for hurricanes. She has four adopted cats who keep her entertained with their antics, and three nephews who keep her entertained with their antics. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and through her blog, Write with Fey. She loves to get to know her readers!

AUTHOR LINKS:

Website www.ChrysFey.com

Blog www.writewithfey.blogspot.com

Facebook www.facebook.com/chrysfey

Twitter https://twitter.com/ChrysFey

My Review of Louise Lyndon’s Of Love and Betrayal

Of Love and BetrayalOf Love and Betrayal by Louise Lyndon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A wonderful medieval tale of betrayal and forgiveness. I loved Aveline and Troy. Both have tortured pasts, especially Aveline, but it doesn’t stop them from confronting their demons and finding love.

View all my reviews

I love a good medieval romance, and Louise Lyndon doesn’t disappoint. Great visuals, great chemistry, and strong characterizations. If you haven’t read it, now’s a good time. The Kindle version is on sale now for only 99 cents.

Buy it on Amazon.

Wilder Hearts: Now Available!

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Wilder Hearts is a stand-alone western historical romance and book two in my Western Hearts Series.

Log line: An ex Texas Ranger investigates a serial killer while a young woman who wants to be a journalists puts more than just his investigation at risk.

 Tag Line: Writing about the outlaw, Jake the Snake, could be the opportunity of a lifetime—if it doesn’t get her killed.

Wilder heartsBlurb:

When Ellie Wilder takes her sister from their grandfather’s home, she’s  determined to put her family back together and write of their adventures.  Then she runs into Jacob Harper, a man who resembles Jake the Snake, a notorious outlaw who once rode with Billy the Kid. Is it possible the outlaw who escaped justice has mended his ways? Or is the handsome Mr. Harper now murdering servant girls in Austin? Finding out the truth could be the journalistic opportunity of a lifetime.

Former Texas Ranger Jake Harper has returned to Texas to help solve the Servant Girl Annihilator murders. But when a similar murder occurs in Harmony, Texas, Jake goes undercover as Jake the Snake to find a connection between the series of brutal murders. Then Ellie Wilder shows up. Her snooping could blow his cover and get her killed, but Ellie soon becomes a bigger threat to his heart than his investigation.  Abby has other plans, but they go awry when she goes into labor early and her rescuer, a pirate captain turned lord, insists on marrying her.

Is Jack too much like his jealous, unforgiving father? Can Abby overcome her fear of men and have a real marriage? Or will she never be anything more than the unwanted wife of a Slightly Noble Viscount?

Excerpt:

            Jake saw the boy creeping through the grass before he reached the tree. He waited until the skinny little thief actually picked up the shirt before springing into action. The kid screamed like a girl and tried to take off, but Jake was hot on his heels.

He grabbed the kid by the shoulders and spun the would-be robber around. The kid’s hat fell off at the same moment the face registered in Jake’s memory.

Ellie!

Her gray eyes widened and dark hair fell past her shoulders. Then her gaze dropped to his chest, and he remembered he was naked. Her cheeks flamed as she turned her head away, looking at the hand still resting on her shoulder—her bare, naked shoulder. His rough handling had torn the top buttons free from her shirt, and the garment now hung halfway down her arm revealing the silky strap of her chemise and the upper curve of one breast—one ripe, round breast as smooth and pale as porcelain.

Damn.

As if he needed another reminder of his unclothed state, his lower half reminded him just how naked he was. Naked and hard.

His eyes dropped to his crotch at the same time Ellie’s did. He groaned. She screamed. Then she tore her shoulder from his now limp grasp and ran up the hill. He didn’t give chase. In the state he was in, he didn’t think it was possible.

Buy Links:

Apple ibooks| Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Kobo  Smashwords

Helpless HeartsHelpless Hearts: A Western Hearts Novel (Book 1) is also available.

Tag Line:

Can a former gunslinger find redemption through love?

Blurb:

Former gunslinger Noah Sinclair returned home so he could regain his respectability. Instead of redemption, he finds temptation in Juliana Jeffries—a woman engaged to the man who offered him a job and a second chance. Despite Noah’s loyalty to his boss, Noah’s Helpless Heart still yearns for Juliana—a woman with dreams and ambitions that don’t include a former gunslinger.

Noah stole Juliana’s heart years ago, but then he left town to avenge his father’s death. Now, she dreams of becoming a doctor and she’s obliged to marry Avery, a man with a secret she’s sworn to protect. Noah’s return could test her loyalty, her ambition, and her heart.

Find Lilly Gayle:

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | The Wild Rose Press | Amazon

 

Cover Reveal for my Western Hearts Series

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It’s finally happened. I finished book two of my Western Heart Series. Wilder Hearts is a stand alone romance novel featuring Jake Harper, a young boy in the first book, Helpless Hearts.

Today, I’m not only revealing the cover for my soon-to-be released sequel, I’m also sharing the new and improved cover for the first book, Helpless Hearts.

Helpless Hearts Blurb:

Helpless HeartsCan a former gunslinger find redemption through love?

Former gunslinger Noah Sinclair returned home so he could regain his respectability. Instead of redemption, he finds temptation in Juliana Jeffries—a woman engaged to the man who offered him a job and a second chance. Despite Noah’s loyalty to his boss, Noah’s Helpless Heart still yearns for Juliana—a woman with dreams and ambitions that don’t include a former gunslinger.

Noah stole Juliana’s heart years ago, but then he left town to avenge his father’s death. Now, she dreams of becoming a doctor and she’s obliged to marry Avery, a man with a secret she’s sworn to protect. Noah’s return could test her loyalty, her ambition, and her heart.

Wilder Hearts Blurb:

Wilder heartsWriting about the outlaw, Jake the Snake, could be the opportunity of a lifetime—if it doesn’t get her killed.

When Ellie Wilder takes her sister from their grandfather’s home, she’s  determined to put her family back together and write of their adventures.  Then she runs into Jacob Harper, a man who resembles Jake the Snake, a notorious outlaw who once rode with Billy the Kid. Is it possible the outlaw who escaped justice has mended his ways? Or is the handsome Mr. Harper now murdering servant girls in Austin? Finding out the truth could be the journalistic opportunity of a lifetime.

Former Texas Ranger Jake Harper has returned to Texas to help solve the Servant Girl Annihilator murders. But when a similar murder occurs in Harmony, Texas, Jake goes undercover as Jake the Snake to find a connection between the series of brutal murders. Then Ellie Wilder shows up. Her snooping could blow his cover and get her killed,  but Ellie soon becomes a bigger threat to his heart than his investigation.

The updated version of Helpless Hearts should be available by Monday. I’ll announce the publication date for Wilder Hearts when I have it.  And hopefully, I’ll be starting book three, Hardened Hearts, sometime this month.

Please let me know what you think of my new covers!

Happy Valentine’s Weekend

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Love is in the air! It’s Valentine’s Day Weekend! It’s also hubby’s birthday weekend. I cannot believe the love of my life will be 60 years old tomorrow. Sixty? Did I just say sixty?  OMG! When did he get so old? When did I get so old?

So, why is that men age so much more gracefully than women?

IMG_5093My husband is sexy with his gray hair…kind of like Richard Gere. Me? not so much. That’s why I color mine. This age thing is just a number, but it sure is creeping up into the higher digits fast!

 

 

Life is short people! Today, you may be 27 and planning your wedding to the man you’ve loved since you were 14–like my youngest daughter. 029

058Or you may be on the cusp of thirty as is my oldest daughter. But no matter your age, time is ticking by faster than you can ever imagine. In the blink of an eye, you’ll be staring back at your life, wondering when it passed you by. So stop procrastinating and start doing. Live today and be happy.

Sunday is Valentine’s Day. Be sure to tell ALL the people you love how much you care. Then on Sunday night, sit down, cuddle up and….watch the Walking Dead. Then you’ll really appreciate your life. lol!

 

Write Right: Ten Common Mistakes

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While I struggle to find the time and inspiration to complete two manuscripts and start a third, I’ve done some editing along the way. Although I only have six books in print, I’ve been writing for almost twenty years. Granted, I spent the first thirteen of those years learning what not to do. I thought because I was fairly intelligent and had done well in all my English and writing classes in college that I could just read a few romance novels and sit down and write.

Wrong!

Writing isn’t just about having a good story. It’s about writing that story in such a way the reader feels a connection to the characters. So today, on this cold and snowy January day, I thought I’d share my TOP TEN WRITING MISTAKES:

REPEATS:

Almost every writer unconsciously leans on a “crutch” word. If you’re reading a romance, those words frequently come out during the love scenes. Watch out for how many times you use certain phrases. If you find yourself describing the same action or emotion with the same word in every chapter, the reader is going to notice. If your heroine’s pulse quickens ever time she sees the hero, the reader might think she has a fatal heart condition. Also, watch for using the same word multiple times in the same paragraph.

For example: He raked her with hot, hungry eyes—wanting her, and
knowing he could never have her.
“You thought what?” His voice was harsh, but he had to
make her understand. “That I could stay in Redemption and be your
friend?”
“Yes.” Her voice was little more than a groan.
With a groan of frustration, he bent forward and took her
face in his hands. He leaned closer. Their foreheads touched. His hands ached to pull her closer. Unable to resist, he leaned forward—his lips just a whisper away. “Think again.”
Then he lowered his head and molded his mouth to hers.

hhprintcover3Notice how many times the words, leaned, hands, and groan are used. This is from a rough draft of an earlier version of my western historical, Helpless Hearts.  And here’s the version that made it into print:

He raked her with hot, hungry eyes—wanting her, and
knowing he could never have her.
“You thought what?” His voice was harsh, but he had to
make her understand. “That I could stay in Redemption and be your friend?”
“Yes.” Her voice was little more than a whisper.
With a groan of frustration, he bent forward and took her
face in his hands—his lips just a whisper away. “Think again.”
Then he lowered his head and molded his mouth to hers.

Also check your manuscript for unnecessary words such as “just” and “that.” If the word can be removed from the sentence without changing its meaning or making the reader stumble or struggle to understand, remove it. That is one of the most overused and often, unnecessary words in the English language.

FLAT WRITING:

Amber met Gerard’s gaze, and she was afraid. Was he really a vampire?
“I’d give anything to drink beer again,” he said in a reverent voice.
Amber breathed a sigh of relief. Gerard Delaroche wasn’t a vampire, and he didn’t want to drink her blood. He wanted a beer. Like a normal guy.

a316b-embracethedarkness_w7757_750Boring! And flat. In this first draft of a scene from Embrace the Darkness, I’m telling the reader Amber is afraid. Gerard speaks, and then Amber chastises herself for believing he’s a vampire. Besides telling rather than showing Amber’s fear, it lacks emotion, and the reader will soon lose interests. This kind of flat writing tells the reader you don’t care about the story or the characters. Or, you’ve lost your way and don’t really know what to write. Whenever you see flat writing on the page, take a break. STOP writing. Rest, think, and find your muse. Then scrap the boring writing and fix it. Add emotion. Make it personal.

Gerard inhaled sharply. His eyes devoured her.
Despite renewed fear, she managed to set the bottle
back on the counter without dropping it.
He’s not a vampire. He’s not a vampire. He’s not a
vampire.
“I’d give anything to drink beer again,” he said in a
reverent voice.
Amber nearly laughed out loud. Her shoulders
sagged. Gerard Delaroche wasn’t a vampire, and he
didn’t want to drink her blood. He wanted a beer. Like
a normal guy.

EMPTY ADVERBS

“Ly” words such as actually, suddenly, completely, really, unfortunately, and hopefully, are a lazy way to write. It’s telling instead of showing. And it drags a sentence down. Use fewer, stronger words to tell more.

In stead of:  Abigail Halsey sat on a bench in the convent
garden. She was so sad and lonely. She really wanted to forgive the man who had done this to her but unfortunately, she couldn’t find it in her heart to do so.

Rewrite: Abigail Halsey sat on a bench in the convent garden, head bowed, trying to find forgiveness in a
heart grown cold.

– from Slightly Noble

 

 

PHONY DIALOGUE
Don’t have characters talk about things they already know just to advance the plot. Example from an original draft of Slightly Tarnished:

His mother glared. “How dare you! If you had ever once acted like an earl, things might have turned out differently, but you challenged your brother to a race in the polluted waters of the Thames. You recovered. He didn’t.”

The Earl already knows what happened to his brother, and he most likely feels guilty about it. In this example, his mother is only speaking so the reader will know the brother was somehow killed or injured and the mother blames the son, but it lacks emotion, and the dialogue doesn’t seem natural. So, I had to find another way to divulge the information. The Earl, Chad, is the POV character, so I gave the reader the information he or she would need by filtering the conversation through his thoughts and emotions.

“How dare you! If you had ever once acted like an earl, things might have turned out differently.”
Pain sliced through Chad like a blade, sharper than his mother’s tongue. “We were eleven years old.” He softened his words, his heart heavy with a guilt that would never fade.
Twenty-one years had passed since he challenged his twin brother to a race in the polluted waters of the Thames. Twenty-one years since they both contracted enteric fever. And twenty-one years of Chad shouldering the responsibility for the tragic outcome of his reckless actions.

Also, when writing contemporary novels and romances, avoid trendy slang unless your characters are teens. It dates your book and can make your hero or heroine seem fake. And make your dialogue true to your character. A waitress will not drop to her knees to perform CPR while shouting, “Joe, dial 911. I think Burt is suffering from a myocardial infarction.” Unless she’s a cardiac surgeon in the witness protection program posing as a waitress, she’d more likely shout, “Joe, call 911! Burt’s having a heart attack.”

Dialogue shows the reader something about the character that a physical description can’t. It shows their personality.

THE UN-NEEDED SUFFIXES

Don’t use “ness” words needlessly. Words like mindlessness, precociousness, wittiness. They’re real words but why use them when there are much stronger alternatives?
Adding “ly” to “ing” words is another bad shortcut. Sometimes, it is telling, not showing.
From Wholesale Husband:

Instead of saying:
“This is a serious proposal,” she said nervously.
“Who are you codding?”His eagerness to leave the confines of the coach were exceedingly difficult to hide. Then she touched his arm again, and his body reacted to the contact in a most unwanted way. Narrowing his eyes, he pried her hand from his wrist.
I edited it to:

“This is a serious proposal,” she insisted, gnawing her lip.
“Who are you codding?” He leaned forward, stretching his leg, ready to descend from the suffocating confinement of the hansom cab.
Again, she stayed him with a touch and again his body reacted to the contact in a most unwanted way. He narrowed his eyes and pried her hand from his wrist.

THE DREADED ‘TO BE’ WORDS:

To be words are passive and slow pacing. Avoid them.
Once your eye is attuned to the frequent use of the “to be” words – “am,” “is,” “are,” “was,” “were,” “be,” “being,” “been” and others – you’ll be appalled at how quickly they deflate your writing, slowing the pace to a crawl.
Instead of- Standing behind a tanker car near the loading platform at Petroleum Center, Ellie was watching the passengers board the Oil Creek Railroad when she said, “Did the porter get our trunks loaded?”

I edited to: “Did the porter get our trunks loaded?” Ellie Wilder
stood behind a tanker car near the loading platform at Petroleum Center, watching passengers board the Oil Creek Railroad.  – From my WIP, Wilder Hearts.

Also, try not to use “there was” or “there is.” It slows pacing.

LISTS

“She looked at the big mahogany desk with its dark polish. It was cluttered with papers, pens, a letter opener, and yada,yada, yada.

Who cares? Unless she’s going to use a letter opener from that desk to kill the villain, we don’t need to know about it.

SHOW. DON’T TELL

This, is the most important thing to do when writing. Don’t tell us your heroine was afraid. Describe her facial features. Filter her emotions through her thoughts, words, and physical reactions. Don’t just say she was scared. The moment the reader can visualize the word picture you’re trying to paint, then you’re showing instead of telling.

Example from Out of the Darkness:

Gooseflesh pimpled Megan’s skin. She
shivered, feeling those footsteps on her grave
again, and followed Vincent into the living room.
He wasn’t a vampire. She hadn’t seen his
reflection in the mirror because of the angle at
which he was standing—or the dim lighting—or
whatever. But he was not a vampire, despite her
erotic dream of the night before.
She shook herself, pushing aside the
unwanted memories and her irrational fears.
“Can I get you something to drink?”

AWKWARD PHRASING

When you’ve completed a chapter, a manuscript, or even a paragraph, reread it as if you are reading a published book. If you stumble reading it or think something else while you’re saying the words aloud, then the phrasing is probably wrong. Awkward phrasing makes the reader stop in the middle of the story to ponder the meaning of what you’re trying to say.

COMMAS AND OTHER PUNCTUATION.

Know your grammar and punctuation! Refresh yourself on the rules. Get a style book. hcrwOr check out other books and/or websites on grammar and writing. In today’s digital age, a writer’s resources are virtually unlimited. So learn the rules. Know which ones you can break and which ones you can’t break. If you don’t already know, teach yourself about compound sentences. Most modifying clauses and many phrases *require* commas. A sentence whose parts cannot stand alone as a complete sentence on either side of an AND or BUT does NOT need a comma. And for God’s sake, KNOW the differences between your and you’re, then and than, too, to, and two, just to name a few.

But most of all. Just write!

Merry Christmas to Me!

I have so much to celebrate this year. My oldest daughter, son-in-law, and 18-month-old granddaughter have finally moved back to the states from Germany. They still live a good 10 hours away, but I will get to see them over the holidays, so yippee!

SlightlyNoble_w9291_100Slightly Noble, my latest historical romance published in February of this year won first place in the OKRW International Digital Awards contest in the historical category. http://okrwa.com/contests/international-digital-awards/winners/

And just today, I got an email from Fresh Fiction with yet another glowing review of Slightly Noble. Clare O’Beara of Fresh Fiction says: ” Once I started reading SLIGHTLY NOBLE I was hooked, and I suggest anyone looking for an out of the ordinary romance could do no better.” I couldn’t have gotten a better compliment.

You can read the review in it’s entirety at http://freshfiction.com/review.php?id=57955

To date, I think Slightly Noble is my best selling book. Now, if I could only get off my keister…or, on my keister and finish another book, maybe I can have another good year next year.

b2a69-163733_489976232317_259698_nSo, thank you to my fans, family and friends for a good writing year. May those of you who celebrate, have a joyous and wonderful Christmas, and may you all have a Happy New Year!

 

 

My Review of Donna Steele’s Christmas with Family

christmas with familychristmas with family by Donna Steele
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When Symone’s brother-in-law is critically injured and her sister has to fly to Germany just before Christmas to be at his side, Symone volunteers to look after her 4 year old niece, Rachel. Symone’s Christmas with family isn’t what she expected, especially when her brother-in-law’s hunky friend, a former soldier named Blake, shows up to help. Rachel is tired of spending time with Mr. Wrong, but is Blake Mr. Right? Blake wants what his friend has–a family–but his ex wasn’t the woman she pretended to be, and Symone is too tempting for him to trust his instincts. Is it possible she’s the real deal? This short story is packed with well developed characters with goals and motivations that make perfect sense. It was like reading the script of a Hallmark Channel movie. If you’re short on time but want to read a Christmas story this holiday season that will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy all over, check out Ms. Steele’s novella, Christmas with Family.

View all my reviews

The New Screening Mammogram Guidelines: What you should Know

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For a couple of years now, The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (a group of experts that makes recommendations to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) has been trying to change accepted medical guidelines on screening mammography for women. It should be noted that prior guidelines recommended screening for breast cancer start at age 40 and continue for as long as the woman is in good health. The new government recommendations now state that screening not start until age 50, be performed every other year rather than every year, and cease when a woman reaches age 75. There are guidelines for woman with a higher than normal risk of breast cancer and for those who feel a lump. However, the new guidlines, found here: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/UpdateSummaryFinal/breast-cancer-screening are not wholeheartedly supported by most in the medical community.

Feel the PinkThe American Cancer Society has altered it’s previous views on mammography screening to jive just a little bit better with the government’s recommendations, by changing the initial age to begin screening from age 40 to age 44-45, but they still recommend yearly mammograms vs. every other year,  and they do NOT discourage mammograms before age 50 as the media tried to allude to earlier this week.

It should also be noted that the conclusions made by The US Preventive Task Force  are based on the public health perspectives of the effect of breast cancer screening. It looks at how women who have negative biopsies are traumatized by the fear of a possible breast cancer diagnosis and the cost to public health when a biopsy is “unnecessary.”  It doesn’t explain that the biopsy was NOT unnecessary. There was an abnormal area on a mammogram AND another imaging modality, either ultra sound and/or breast MRI and that abnormality could not be listed as benign without further testing. That further testing came in the form of a biopsy, which BTW, is the only true way to test for breast cancer. So, the fact remains there was an abnormality in the breast that needed to be removed and the patient was damned lucky it was NOT cancer. That, in my opinion, is a blessing and not an unnecessary test.

Secondly, the researchers were looking at how changing breast cancer screening guidelines affect the overall public, rather than the individual. Researchers looked at tens of thousands of medical records of patients who were screened, diagnosed, and subsequently treated for breast cancer. They used a computer model taking into account certain medical data and assumptions about breast cancer diagnosis and treatments to determine the benefits and risks of changing breast cancer screening guidelines. They concluded that breast cancer was less prevalent in women under 50 and therefore, women under 50 didn’t need routine screening if there was no family history or other risk factors for breast cancer.

What they did NOT take into account was the fact that breast cancer is more common in women over 75, so why discourage breast cancer screening after age 74? They also failed to take into account that in women under 50, breast cancer is much more aggressive. It tends to grow faster and metastasize faster. It means that without early detection, breast cancer in women under 50 is not only less treatable, resulting in more aggressive treatment protocols such as mastectomies vs, lumpectomies, it is less curable, resulting in a higher mortality rate.

Another fact to consider is that by the time a woman has a palpable lump which proves to be breast cancer, the disease is already active and growing, which usually means a higher stage of the disease. Why wait until you have a lump in your breast if you can have a screening mammogram each year after age 40 to prevent that lump from growing and spreading?

The new guidelines do make allowances for women with a higher risk of breast cancer. Those risk factors include:

*Family history of breast cancer ( mostly in first degree relatives: mother, maternal grandmother, maternal aunt, sister, daughter)

*Personal history of benign biopsies.

*Does the woman carry the BRCA 1 or BRCA2 gene?

*Woman’s age (over 50)

*Woman’s age at first menstrual cycle- under age 13=higher risk factor for breast cancer

*Childbirth- not having children increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer

*Age when first childbirth occurred- women who postpone childbirth until after age 30 are at higher risk for breast cancer.

*Breast feeding- not breast feeding increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer

*Palpable lumps and or masses in breasts

* Use of birth control pills

If you’d like to take your own breast cancer assessment test, you can find it online at http://www.cancer.gov/bcrisktool/

My Journey with Breast Cancer My Journey with Breast Cancer I was 47 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer after a routine screening mammogram. I had no symptoms, I had no family history, and I only met one of the risk factors for breast cancer. I took birth control pills.

 

My cancer was aggressive as cancers tend to be in women under 50, and it was close to the chest wall. It had a high proliferation rate, which meant it was increasing and spreading at a rapid pace.

My Journey with Breast Cancer

Biopsy specimen

The lesion was already between the sizes it should be for stage one diagnosis, but because of screening mammography, the doctors caught it before it reached stage two. Had I waited until I felt a palpable lump or until I was 50, I most likely would not be here now.

 

 

As a mammographer, far too often, I see women who postponed their screening mammogram until they felt a lump or turned 50, only to learn they have a more advanced stage of breast cancer that could have been caught sooner had they begun screening at age 40.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force did use researchers and doctors to come up with these new guidelines, but they were family doctors, scientific researchers and OB/Gyn’s. They were not radiologists, radiation oncologists, or medical oncologists. They were not doctors who deal with breast cancer on a routine basis.

Another fact: Neither the Breast Cancer Organization, the FDA, nor the American College of Radiology agree with The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force’s findings.

The FDA, also a government agency, is the governing body that oversees MQSA (Mammography Quality Standards Act.) They ensure compliance with radiation safety, quality control, the credentials, registration, and continuing education of all technologists who perform mammograms, the radiologists who interpret the mammograms, and the physicists who ensure the accuracy of all mammography equipment, and the FDA still recommends annual screenings begin at age forty.

The FDA has other guidelines that all certified sites must follow. Facilties that perform mammograms must send out letters to the patient directly as well as full reports to the ordering physician. These letters must inform the patient if their mammogram results are normal or if they need to follow up with their physician. If the letter advises them to follow up, it means additional imaging is recommended in the form of a diagnostic mammogram, ultrasound, short term follow up, and/or biopsy. The FDA also requires the letters to give information on a patient’s breast density. The site where I perform mammograms recommends the site http://www.areyoudense.org/

If this is not enough information to help you decide whether to screen at 40 vs. 50, here are some other facts to consider.

Currently, the government requires Medicare Part B and Medicaid to cover screening mammograms without a copay or deductible on women over 40 if the doctor or other qualified health care provider accepts assignment. Raising the screening age to 50 will save the government money. Insurance companies normally fall in line with medicare/medicaid guidelines, which means most insurance companies would no longer pay for screening mammograms for patients with medium to no risk risk factors for women under 40 if medicare raises the age. Patients will then either not have the study done, or they will pay out of pocket as they were forced to do back in the 80’s.

Insurance companies and the government will save money and the cure rate for breast cancer will rise to the level it was back in the late 80’s and early 90’s before insurance companies began covering screening mammograms. Or, doctors will start ordering more diagnostic mammograms so their patients will get the health studies they need by claiming breast pain or lumps, both of which are payable reasons for a diagnostic mammogram and neither of which can be disproved since breast tissue is naturally lumpy. Since diagnostic mammograms take 2 to 3 times longer to perform than screening mammograms because of additional images and the need to show the radiologist the films, this will result in scheduling delays and longer wait times because of a surge in the need for diagnostic imaging. It will also result in an increase in cost because diagnostic mammograms cost more than screening mammograms and in an increase in radiation exposure to the patient because more images are acquired during a diagnostic vs. a screening study.

As far as the Task “Force claiming screening women younger than age 50 leads to an increase in the number of normal or benign biopsies, the FDA has had guidelines in place for years to deal with this issue. All certified facilities who perform mammograms must also perform annual audit trails. These facilities track the number of biopsies ordered and performed by each and every radiologist who interprets mammograms and the number of those biopsies that are positive. The goal is for the positive rate to be at 25% or higher, which lets the radiologist and the FDA know if too many biopsies are being ordered. The good news for women is that of all biopsies performed, only about 1/4 are positive for breast cancer. That doesn’t mean the biopsy was unnecessary. As stated before, there are other abnormal findings in the breast that are not cancer, but still need addressing, such as atypical hyperplasia, fibroadenomas, and some infectious processes.

Get Your Pink On!Now as always, the best defense against breast cancer is early detection. And according to the ACR Appropriateness Criteria:

Mammography is the only method of screening for breast cancer shown to decrease mortality.

Annual screening mammography is recommended starting at age 40 for general population;  age 25-30 for BRCA1 and BRCA 2 carriers and untested relatives of BRCA carriers; and 10 years earlier than the age at which a patient’s mother or sister was diagnosed with breast cancer, or 25-30, whichever age is greater.
**My daughters will need to begin screening at age 37 because I was diagnosed at age 47***
Annual screening is also recommended 8 years after radiation therapy but not
before age 25 for women who received mantle radiation treatments between the ages of 10- 30 and at any age for women with biopsy-proven lobular
neoplasia, atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH), ductal
carcinoma in situ (DCIS), or invasive breast cancer.
Some final facts about breast cancer:

My Journey with Breast Cancer1 in 8 women (some studies say 1-7 women thanks to early detection) will develop breast cancer in her lifetime.

70% of all new breast cancers are in women with no family history. (someone has to be the first to screw up the family gene pool.)
2% of all breast cancers are in men.
There is a reason for the lower mortality rate of breast cancer. Improved All About the Pinkmammograms in the form of digital and more recently, 3D mammograms, and screening programs put into place that not only recommend screening at age 40, but programs like Komen for the Cure and local health departments that assist low income and uninsured women get the screening studies they need. If the government succeeds in raising the screening age to 50 nationwide and all insurance companies, medicaid, and medicare comply, the government and insurance companies will benefit by saving money and/or increasing profits, but there will be a rise in the mortality rate of breast cancer.
I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want that death to be someone I know and love because they couldn’t get screened until they were 50.

 

Award Winning Author…Lilly Gayle!

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So happy to announce that my historical romance won first place in the historical novel division in the OkRWA International Digital Awards Contest!

The IDA is a contest sponsored by Oklahoma Romance Writers of America, but is open to all works of fiction in digital format, regardless of their romantic content.

Historical Novel

First Place ~  Slightly Noble by Lilly Gayle

Second Place ~ To Ride a White Horse by Pamela Ford

Third Place ~ Then I Met You by Deborah C. Wilding

Fourth Place ~ Wagers Gone Awry by Collette Cameron

Fifth Place ~ Highland Escape by Cathy MacRae and D.D. MacRae

https://oklahomarwa.wordpress.com/contests/international-digital-awards/ida-breaking-news/?preview=true&preview_id=799&preview_nonce=424dfeec6e

 

American privateer, Captain Jack isn’t really an American, but heir to a viscountcy. When his father dies, he leaves everything not entailed with the estate to his worthless cousin. Jack’s only hope of inheriting his mother’s ancestral home and honoring her dying wish is to marry and produce an heir before his thirty-fifth birthday—in five months. And he doesn’t have a single prospect. Pregnant and unwed, Abigail Halsey is sent by her father to an Anglican convent until he can find a family to adopt his grandchild or a husband for his daughter. Abby has other plans, but they go awry when she goes into labor early and her rescuer, a pirate captain turned lord, insists on marrying her. Is Jack too much like his jealous, unforgiving father? Can Abby overcome her fear of men and have a real marriage? Or will she never be anything more than the unwanted wife of a Slightly Noble Viscount?

http://www.amazon.com/Slightly-Noble-Lilly-Gayle/dp/1628307781/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1446505721&sr=8-1&keywords=Slightly+Noble

Thank you to the judges and the Oklahoma Romance Writers of America!