Halt and Catch Fire

Binge watching TV series has become one of our favorite past-times. It’s not like we become obsessive and not get dressed, eating only delivered pizza and Chinese food all weekend but we have done that a few times.

One of our latest favorites just started its 3rd season. Halt and Catch Fire airs Tuesday nights at 9:00 EST on AMC.


The show is based on the pre-internet tech drama of the 1980’s. If you remember those days you will appreciate the fashion, music and culture in this series. If you don’t remember those days but want to know what it was like prior to cell phones and laptops this series will be a history lesson.

The first season received lukewarm reviews but the producers promised a more exciting second season and they delivered. The 3rd season is off to a hot start too.

The series starts out set in Texas but moves to the Silicon Valley in season 2.

The show is based on some truth. We actually go crazy trying to figure out who the characters and companies are actually based on.

Joe MacMillan: The shows protagonist is played by Lee Pace. Lee has quite a resume including The Hobbit, The Twilight Saga, Wonderfalls, Pushing Daisies and Soldier’s Girl. From the first few episodes we realize Joe is a complex character. Is he a brilliant tech visionary or a dangerously damaged psychopath? I can’t figure out if his character is based on Steve Jobs or the ex-fugitive; millionaire; anti-virus creator that ran for the President of the United States as a third party candidate, John McAfee or both.



Cameron Howe: Mackenzie Davis plays this annoying, yet we feel sorry for her sometimes character. The college student and gamer drops out and hooks up with MacMillan who may or may not be gay. She is a genius coder and goes on to haphazardly build her own company. I want to wash her clothes and comb her messy hair. Is her character based on Ada Lovelace the first computer programmer?

Gordon and Donna Clark: Scoot McNairy and Kerry Bishe’ were first coupled in Argo. In Halt they portray 80’s college sweethearts turned upwardly mobile engineers that should be a power couple but aren’t. Donna was my favorite character until season 3. I have NO idea who this couple could be based on. Any ideas?

John Bosworth: Toby Huss makes the rounds as father figure first to Mac Millan and then to Cam. He is the one with business management experience. He takes the rap for a crime he didn’t commit and returns to keep the haphazard geniuses in the black. Toby’s credits include King of the Hill, Rescue Dawn, Bedazzled and more.


Season 3 has the characters lives and businesses once again colliding in California.

We enjoy the moments this show reminds us of but as we watch we are shaking our heads wondering where the time has gone. Wasn’t it just yesterday that we had to hurry home to avoid missing a phone call?

Do you know what Halt and Catch Fire means? What are some of your binging favorites?





Meet Baby Bailino…

I am so excited to introduce you to author, Dina Santorelli. I really enjoyed her first book Baby Grand and cannot wait to read the sequel, Baby Bailino!



Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Queens, New York, one of the five boroughs of New York City and about ten minutes from midtown Manhattan—two hours, if there’s traffic. J

Did you grow up in a home that promoted reading or writing?

Not really. We were more of a movie and TV show family. My mom took me to the local theater every Saturday to see a Disney cartoon and feature film.

When did you first know you wanted to write a book?

I think I’ve always been drawn to storytelling. I’ve found pieces of colored construction paper filled with stories I wrote when I was very young. And the stories were always thrillers—suspense-driven, edge-of-your-seat stuff.

Do you have any pre-writing rituals?

Not really. I just sit myself down and start to write—or, at least, try to write. Some days are easier than others.

Did you map your stories before writing or do you just let the words flow?

With my first novel, Baby Grand, I just let the words flow. By nature, I’m more of a “pantser,” as they say—I write by the seat of my pants. But there came a point, about a hundred or so pages in, that I found myself losing focus. And that’s when I put together a very general outline for the rest of the book. Nothing fancy. Just sort of a “this goes in this chapter, this goes in that chapter” kind of thing. That outline served as a roadmap to help me steer my way toward the end of the novel. I used that same process for my second novel, In the Red, which I’ll be publishing soon. However, for Baby Bailino, the sequel to Baby Grand, I made the general outline at the outset and filled it in, elaborated, delved deeper, etc., as I went along.

Do you have a dedicated writing space?

I have a little nook in my living room where I write. For Baby Bailino, I also spent lots of writing time at Panera Bread—so much time that I contemplated mentioning Panera’s Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Strawberries and Pecans in my Acknowledgments. J

Do you have a day job?

Yes, I’m a freelance writer and editor.

What are you writing now?

I started writing a women’s fiction novel after I finished Baby Bailino, but I have put that aside to write the third book in the Baby Grand Book Series. I have a habit of moving on to something completely different after I finish a book—whether it’s reading one or writing one. After I wrote Baby Grand, I dove head-first into In the Red when, actually, I think my mind was more interested in writing Baby Bailino. I just didn’t realize it. Or maybe I wasn’t listening. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to hear that I struggled through In the Red, which took me four years to finish. I like to think I learned my lesson, so when thoughts started turning toward the Baby Grand storyline again this time around, I listened and put the women’s fiction aside.



What is your favorite non-alcoholic drink?

Chocolate milk.

Did you know when writing Baby Grand that there would be a Book 2?

Not at first. I thought it would be a stand-alone novel. However, as I was writing one of the final scenes of Baby Grand, I got the sense that there was more to the story. I could see in my mind’s eye how things would play out, and it was in that moment that I made a major change to the storyline and decided to create Book 2.


What is your favorite thing about the fall?

Fall is absolutely my favorite season—the brilliant sunshine, the vibrant foliage, crunching leaves, cooler temps, corn mazes, Halloween (my wedding anniversary), apples, apples, and more apples! What’s not to love? J

About the Book:


It’s been two years since Jamie Carter escaped captivity and saved Charlotte Grand, the infant daughter of New York Governor Phillip Grand, becoming a national hero for foiling the kidnapping plot that incarcerated reputed mobster/entrepreneur Don Bailino—the man who abducted and raped her. As Governor Grand considers his candidacy for U.S. president, Bailino inexplicably escapes from prison, and soon Jamie’s fifteen-month-old daughter, Faith—Bailino’s biological child—disappears. Jamie sets off to find her and, in the process, finds an unlikely ally in Bailino, who is on the run not only from the FBI but from members of organized crime who have a score to settle. Can Jamie trust the man who once held her prisoner? Can she rely on her instincts? And can she again find the strength to save a child when, this time, that child is her own?

Connect with Dina:



Instagram: http://www.instagram/dinasantorelli

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin/in/dinasantorelli



Baby Grand:

Baby Bailino:




Poldark Returns On…

One of PBS’s first hit series, Poldark first ran almost 40-years ago. The timeless classic was brought back to the small screen last year thrilling old fans like my mother who loved the original series and me a new fan.

The new season starring the dreamy Aidan Turner and gorgeous Eleanor Tomlinson begins with a 2-hour special on September 25th. Fans will be thrilled to know that season 3 has been ordered and will begin filming in September.

Poldark Books 3

In season 2 the love triangle between Elizabeth, Demelza and Ross continues as Ross fights to stay out of prison and for his life while also trying to save his marriage. Demelza still struggling with the pain of losing their baby is terrified she will lose Ross too.

The original series was based on 7 of the 12 books written by Winston Graham. The first 4 books were written during the 1940’s and 1950’s. The author resumed the series in 1973 writing 8 more books.

Poldark Books

In season one the title character Ross Poldark returns home to Cornwall after fighting in the American Revolution as a British officer. He is devastated to find his father has passed away, his family mine is in ruins and his beautiful fiancé married to his cousin.

Poldark Book 4

The 8 new episodes will be based on books 3 & 4. They were adapted for television by Debbie Horsfield. If written closely by the books as season one was we can look forward to a long trial, more of that nasty George character, another young woman with a dog, social tensions, maybe a war and possibly a new addition to the family. It’s guaranteed to be a tense season and I can’t wait!

Poldark Books 2

What are you looking forward to watching this fall?



The link between PTSD and Addiction

I was diagnosed with PTSD 17-years-ago. For the longest time I did a pretty good job of hiding my symptoms but they eventually affected my life negatively on a daily basis, sometimes for days at a time.

The breaking point came for me when I was in line at my bank and one of the guys that was involved with the murder of my brother was 4 people behind me in line.  He eventually ended up directly behind me and I blacked out. I don’t remember screaming at the top of my lungs, the police and paramedics coming and being transported to the hospital.

Through counseling I learned my anxiety, depression and OCD were directly related to past traumas not only the murder of my brother.

When Jennifer Woodson asked if she could provide a guest post on the link between PTSD and Addiction of course I said yes.

I want everyone to be aware of and to understand Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and most of all I want those that suffer or love someone who suffers that there is life beyond this disorder and if you want to get there, want to feel happy, alive and safe again please ask for help.

Photo by jarmoluk

 Alcohol whisky


The Link Between PTSD and Addiction: Important Factors to Know

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health problem that occurs after someone faces a life-threatening or traumatic event, such as being sexually assaulted, witnessing a violent crime, going to war, or being in a serious car accident. Not everyone who experiences a traumatic event will develop PTSD: the risk factors include being abused or neglected as a child, being a woman, having other mental health problems, and lacking a good support system. Military combat is the most common cause of PTSD in men, and sexual assault is the most common cause of PTSD in women.

Each year, approximately 5.2 million adults struggle with PTSD; it is more common in women than men. Typically, PTSD occurs with other disorders; in fact, 80% of people diagnosed with the disorder also suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), substance abuse and addiction, depressive disorders, and other anxiety disorders. Studies show that people with PTSD are more likely to develop addiction than people who do not have it. One study in particular found that up to 75% of combat veterans with PTSD also abuse alcohol.

PTSD and addiction, by the numbers

Studies show that about 8% of Americans will develop PTSD. Studies also show that about 8% will become addicted to an illegal drug, while approximately 17% will develop an alcohol problem. 34% of men and 27% of women with PTSD will become addicted to drugs, and 28% of women and 52% of men with PTSD will become alcoholics. All in all, individuals with PTSD have a higher risk of becoming addicts than people who do not suffer from the disorder. Recent data estimates that nearly 33% of people who seek treatment for substance abuse suffer from PTSD.

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The connection between PTSD and addiction

Some experts believe that PTSD and addiction are closely linked because people with PTSD turn to drugs and alcohol to self-medicate in an effort to escape the flashbacks, depression, and anxiety that are characteristic of PTSD. Initially, the drugs and alcohol may make the person feel better, forget the trauma, and sleep better; however, the longer the person uses drugs and alcohol, the better her chances of becoming an addict.

What people with PTSD may not realize is that substances like drugs and alcohol make depression worse. Drugs and alcohol increase the chances of the person becoming more violent and aggressive, which in turn makes her feel guilty for lashing out and drives her to drink more. These substances also strengthen depression and can increase paranoia, anxiety, and fear.


Female veterans, PTSD, and addiction

Research shows that veterans often have a dual diagnosis of PTSD and substance abuse disorder. Female veterans are at risk for PTSD if they participate in active combat missions, suffer military sexual trauma, feel isolated and alone, or worry about family. These women may begin abusing drugs or alcohol when they are in the military or after they come home to self-medicate. Other female veterans may develop an addiction because they have an existing mental health disorder and are prescribed medications for managing pain from a service-related injury. No matter the cause, female veterans need to seek help if they are diagnosed with PTSD and substance abuse disorder.

PTSD, addiction, and suicide among veterans

Because of the long-lasting effects of trauma and PTSD, people who live with the disorder are at an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Their increased risk is due, in part, to their other mental health challenges with depression and substance abuse disorder. People who have PTSD and abuse drugs and alcohol are more likely to act impulsively or engage in risky behavior that can lead to suicide.

Veterans with PTSD and substance abuse disorder especially are at an increased risk for suicide. They often struggle with the trauma, anxiety, depression, and flashbacks when they return home, or they may struggle with being separated from friends and family while on active duty. Some veterans’ PTSD is not diagnosed, and these service members are at a higher risk for developing an addiction in an effort to escape their traumatic experiences or cope with returning to civilian life.

The link between PTSD and addiction may require some more study, but it is an issue that requires intensive treatment in a program that addresses both disorders. Getting help early is important so that the person can learn how to cope in healthy ways and avoid triggers to start on a path toward wellbeing.

 Jennifer Woodson enjoys serving the public as a writer for The site is dedicated to putting the public back into public health by serving as a hub of reputable and useful public information on health topics.

August is the Sunday of Summer and the Election…

Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

On Wednesday’s I like to share information I picked up on my path from writing to publishing, marketing and publishing again. Information that I wish someone would have shared with me, back then.


August is the Sunday of Summer and this Year it is also the Sunday of another Election Cycle

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Good News for Insecure Writers…

Insecure Writers support group

IWSG badge

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak.Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

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Its Release Day for The Stranger In My Recliner!

Its release day for The Stranger In My Recliner! I am overwhelmed and filled with gratitude for all of the kind words about Sophie’s story. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart!

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Library Humor…

I want to introduce you to humor writer and librarian, Roz Warren. We have been Facebook friends for quite a while and to my delight, over the summer we met in real life at a lovely tea house to celebrate the release of mutual friend, Cathy Sikorski’s  book Showering With Nana (good book)

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Post Concussive Syndrome…

The woman was driving much too fast for a neighborhood.  She ran a stop sign and hit my car’s passenger side.  I felt a very sharp pain in my neck, shoulder, arm and I thought 2 of my fingers were broken.

Stop Sign

She attempted to leave the scene then came back and shouted at me. I called the police. An officer took the report and I went to work. While at work, I had a bit of a panic attack. I was also developing a headache. I left early and went home.

By the time I arrived home, I was a basket case. My head was pounding. My husband told me to go to bed and he brought me tea, toast and Advil.

I slept horribly. I had vivid nightmares. I woke up with the worst headache. I was sick to my stomach the entire day. Convinced it was my nerves, I took it easy and rested.

The next day I called my husband at work and told him my shoulder, arm and fingers were hurting. He made an appointment for me to see an orthopedic doctor that afternoon. He prescribed the usual muscle relaxers; steroids and pain medication. He thought I had a neck and shoulder sprain and suggested physical therapy.



I headed out to my daughter’s house. I drove 45 minutes past her exit. I stopped the car got out, was sick and got back in the car and drove to my daughter’s house and acted like nothing happened.

Something was amiss because the {real} me would have immediately known I had a concussion.

I would have been familiar with the symptoms because I suffered several concussions as an adult and most likely a few as a child.

Two-and-a-half-months later I was finally diagnosed with post-concussive syndrome.  There is no specific treatment for this syndrome.  Instead your doctor treats the individual symptoms. The types of symptoms and their frequency are unique to each person.

Concussion 2

I thought this was an important post to write because people die from concussions, or as they are sometimes called, closed head injuries.

The worst symptom I was experiencing was dizziness.  It was head spinning, vomiting inducing dizziness.  I was sent to a balance center. Balance therapy actually makes you dizzy supposedly so your balance system will re-learn how to balance you. This was awful. I went twice a week and was so sick in between I was useless.  I was also sent for MRI’s and hearing tests. There was evidence of bleeding that healed and I suffered significant hearing loss in my left ear.


Headaches that occur after a concussion can vary and may feel like tension type headaches, cluster headaches or migraines.  Most are however, tension type, which is most likely due to a neck injury suffered at the same time as the head injury.  In some cases, people experience behavior or emotional changes after a mild traumatic brain injury.  Family members are usually the first to notice that the person has become a bit more irritable, suspicious, argumentative or stubborn. {Insert fast food and police rage here}.

Concussion 3

Memory, cognitive and thinking problems may also appear.  No medications are currently suggested or recommended for these symptoms.  Brief focused therapy on how to use a pocket calendar, an electronic organizer or other techniques to work around memory deficits are often helpful.  I suppose this would be helpful if you could remember where you put them.  I had no idea how forgetful I was.  My husband was becoming more and more frustrated with my ‘forgetfulness’.

Depression and anxiety are also symptoms.  It was suggested I see a psychologist who had experience working with people with brain injury.  In my case because of a history of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and severe OCD issues anti anxiety and anti depressive medication was prescribed.

Some experts believe post-concussive symptoms are caused by structural damage to the brain or disruption of neuro-transmitter systems, resulting from the impact that caused the injury.

My symptoms were being treated and I was finally starting to feel more like myself.

I had a lot of catching up to do….and then out of nowhere, I was curled up with gut wrenching pain.  My gall bladder needed to come out.  Six days in the hospital, different medications and I was dizzy and sick again.  I was devastated.

I started to pass out.  I ran back to the neurologist.  Medications were adjusted and I returned to therapy.  The crazy thing is I am aware of my memory loss.  I go nowhere without my calendar and a notebook.

Did you know that a 15-mile an hour accident generates 10 G’s of force on the head—a fighter pilot can start to lose consciousness at 6 G’s.

How many times do we hear our children really smack their heads, we are so scared, and the doctor says it is only a mild concussion? If you take anything away from this post, let it be that there is no such thing as a mild concussion and if another is suffered, it is worse and so on.

I cannot help but wonder if forms of ADD and autism can be caused by head or neck injuries during birth or just from playing as a small child.

Please put those helmets on your kiddo’s and if you have that ut-oh something is not right do not stop until you are satisfied with the diagnosis.

bike helmet

With all of the changes happening in health care it is so important that we all become vigilant and well informed when it comes to our health.


Stay healthy,


Scary Medication Side Effects…

A few months ago I came home from work to find my husband acting strangely. He had been having trouble sleeping and now he was full of anxiety and speaking loudly and fast but making no sense.

The scariest part was he had no idea anything was wrong.

I knew right away to check his medication. Just a month before he had the same reaction to a generic version of a medication he takes to help him sleep. At that time we thought his doctor had solved the problem by calling the pharmacy and instructing them not to substitute this medication with another.

Pills 2


As I spilled the pills into my hand that night and saw they were the wrong ones I was furious.

We spent hours in the ER that night.

BloodPressure pic

His doctor now calls the prescription refills in personally and for now that is working.

If we had not read the information that came with the medication we never would have known the symptoms my husband was experiencing were actually side affects to the medication.

It is so important to ask your doctor about possible side effects at the time he prescribes a medication and also a good idea to ask your pharmacist as well.

The slightest change from one manufacturer to another, such as a dye or a time release ingredient can trigger a reaction. If your pills look different don’t hesitate to ask your pharmacist.


*This post is a joint effort with the American Recall Center for World Health Month and to spread awareness about medication safety. For more information visit:

The American Recall Center:

Have you ever had a reaction to a medication?

Thank you for reading,




Zofran and Zuplenz Side Effects

Patients who are hypersensitive to selective 5-HT3 receptor antagonists have experienced hypersensitivity reactions to Zofran and Zuplenz, including anaphylaxis.

Other reported adverse effects of these drugs have manifested in the form of electrocardiographic (ECG) changes (including QT interval prolongation) and cases of Torsade de Pointes. The Zofran and Zuplenz labels also carry warnings regarding serotonin syndrome, a potential side effect of having an excess of serotonin in the body.

Scientific studies indicate there is also a risk that Zofran may cause congenital birth defects.

In one study, researchers noted there had been reports of transplacental transfer of Zofran during the first trimester of human pregnancies.

A 2012 study that examined data from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study found more than a doubling of risk of cleft palate among babies whose mothers took ondansetron during the first trimester of pregnancy.

A 2014 study by Danielsson et al. determined that the risks of certain heart defects in newborns whose mothers took Zofran during early pregnancy were “increased and statistically significant.” Some of the most frequently encountered of these congenital malformations due to Zofran exposure were ventricular and atrial septal defects.

Pills Zofran 2

For more information on Zofran:


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