Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Setting Goals versus Resolutions

It's that time of year again - New Year's Eve is around the corner and people are planning their resolutions for 2015. Gyms will be packed with people who have the best intentions of getting fit again, diet programs will see an uptick in memberships, stores will sell more organization tools, and many people will be making lists of things that they plan on improving on. I'm not one of them.

I've never made resolutions for the new year - at least I can't recall ever doing so. My new year always seems to be in September, when children go back to school and work places return to normal after employees have returned from summer vacations. January 1 doesn't seem like a new year to me. The week before and the week after are the same - not like September when the season is changing and new opportunities seem to be everywhere.

But what about setting goals? Is that different? I think it is. Setting a goal means you want to accomplish something over the course of the upcoming year. The goal could be related to health (losing weight, getting fit, eating better), personal life (learning a new skill, traveling, saving money), or business life (landing a new client, starting a business, changing jobs). A goal seems to be a more practical way of approaching a new year.

Last year, I set a goal to save money for Christmas 2014, starting in January. I used the 52-week savings plan that was circulating on Facebook. But I did it with a twist. The plan said to save one dollar for the number week of the year - so in week one, you saved one dollar. In week two, you saved two dollars, in week 32, you saved 32 dollars, and so on. But I thought that it might be harder to have more money at the end of the year than at the beginning, so I flipped it. Week one, I saved 52 dollars. Week two, I saved 51 dollars, and so on. Sure enough - by the time shopping for Christmas came around, I had a nice sum in my savings account to pay cash for everything. It worked. It may not work for everyone, but it worked for me. I met my goal and I was quite proud of myself!

So, what's my goal for 2015? I have a book coming out early next year. It's for the general public on a health issue that most people should find helpful. My goal is to ensure the book is off to a great start, and that marketing and publicity push it to a point that people will see it and think, "hmm, I need this book."

I also want to increase my number of clients. I have some great regular clients for whom I write site content and articles for online and print use, but I'd like to add to that group for a bit more variety. To do that, I need to do more marketing and networking. So, my goal is to get out a certain number of letters of introductions (LOIs) and applications over the course of the year.

For the personal part of my life, I want to learn more about different quilting techniques that are interesting me. I started a new-to-me skill project just before Christmas and am happy with how it is going. But there is so much more I want to learn! My goal is to read, learn, and practice until I feel I've accomplished the new skills.

Do you have goals? What are your goals for the upcoming year?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Over 200 Billion Dollars For Prescription Meds in U.S. Alone

Wow. Just wow.

I'm doing some research this morning for a book I'm working on - about prescription medications. I decided to do a search for how much money Canadians and Americans spent on prescription drugs in the course of one year. The numbers blew me away.

According to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2013, Americans spent $235,447,332,092 on prescription medications - that's over 200 billion dollars. Canadians, with a much smaller population than in the U.S., spent over 2.2 billion dollars, according to the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA).

The issue with so many prescription medications given to so many people is that there are some cases where the medicines may cause more problems than they solve. This could be due to the medicines not being appropriate for the particular patient or the patients may be taking them incorrectly - a major problem in itself.

For prescription medicines to be taken properly, the patients or their caregivers have to understand how to take/give the drug, when to take/give it, what it's supposed to do, and when to stop taking/giving it. Unfortunately, this isn't always as easy as it seems.

A study published in 2009 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine looked at prescription drug use and patient errors. The authors wrote:

"Physicians may assume patients can interpret prescription drug label instructions, yet four out of five patients (79%) in this study misinterpreted one or more of the ten common prescription label instructions they encountered."

For the study, 359 adults (average age 49 years) were asked to look at 10 prescription medicine labels and interpret them. According to the researchers:

"Seventy-eight percent of patients misunderstood one or more instructions, with 37% misunderstanding a minimum of three labels."

When I was working clinically as a nurse, I often advised patients, and I now advise family and friends to always double check their prescriptions with their pharmacist. Pharmacists are front-line healthcare professionals and they are often the easiest person to get hold of for matters like this.

Also, as a nurse, I would (gently!) scold patients who would grab the medications I handed them and just swallow the pills, without looking at them. I used to explain to my patients that they should take a look at what they are receiving and ask questions if the pills don't look like the ones that they normally take. There may be a perfectly good reason for that (change in dose, different manufacturer), but there could also be an error. If a patient questioned a medication I gave, I always took it back and double checked it. Most of the time, everything was fine - but there were the odd times when a mistake had been made somewhere along the chain.

So, moral of the story? Know your prescriptions. Know your meds. Ask questions. It's your right to know what you're putting in your body.

Friday, September 26, 2014

It's Duh Study Time Again

As a health writer, I read many press releases about articles and studies that have been or will be published in the medical journals. Some of these are quite interesting while others are, quite frankly, head scratchers.

I've written before about my idea of Duh Studies - studies that make you think, "Seriously? They had to study that?" This week, I found two great entries for the Duh Study database, two days in a row. I don't think that has happened before:

"Pain keeps surgery patients awake, extends hospital stay." Did you know that? That if you have uncontrolled pain, you can't sleep, which could in turn affect your ability to heal? To be honest, this particular one bothered me because pain is an issue that is often not taken seriously. I wrote about the myths involved in the whole area of pain when I was preparing to give a talk on chronic pain. But when we need studies to tell us that people who have just been cut open, had joints taken out and replaced and then sewn back up have pain? Wow. Just wow.


"Not all Hispanics are the same when it comes to drinking." Another doozy. Do I even need to write down what I find offensive about this one?

"A new Michigan State University study indicates that the risk of alcohol abuse and dependence can vary significantly among different subgroups within the population."

I'm just shaking my head on this one.

Some people may say, "what's the harm in these?" While there is no actual harm (that I can think of) in these types of studies, I do think that they lower the value of research overall. What kind of impression do these types of findings give to laypeople who read that researchers are spending such valuable time and money in these ways? One can argue that it is important to study obvious things in order to move forward to more intricate details and perhaps this is true. If that is the case then perhaps it's the media's fault, for even making news out the findings? I don't know.

Do you have any Duh Studies to add?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Why did the Robin Williams news hit so many so hard?

We hear of celebrity deaths frequently. Old favourites die of old age, new favourites may die of drug overdoses, illness, or in accidents. There are also some suicides. The news of their death makes the rounds, now much more quickly than ever because of the Internet. We see retrospectives of their work, people comment on beloved scenes or events, and then we move on.

But yesterday, the Internet exploded with the news of the death of comedian and actor Robin Williams. From the first moment I saw the news on my sister's Facebook page to just before I began writing this, my own FB and Twitter feeds were overwhelmed with posts about his death, a suspected suicide. Why is it that Williams brought out such a reaction? Why are people quite literally in tears at the news? While I can't claim to know the answers, I have my theories, brought about by my own experience with depression.

For many people who have or have had depression, there is that knowledge that it may become too much to bear, that you may not be able to take it any more. Some of us have also lost a loved one to suicide, which makes that feeling even worse. And when a person as out there as Williams was can't take it any more, it's scary. It makes some of us feel more vulnerable, more exposed, more "that could have been me."

There is also the shock that if someone with his resources, with his support systems - if he can't make it, how can the average person? From all the reports I've read and listened to since last night, Williams was a kind, giving, gentle person who went out of his way to help others. And if he couldn't feel that the help was enough for him, what does that mean to the rest of us? There is also the acknowledgment of the pain he must have been feeling because many of us can identify and remember how horrible it was. To know that someone else felt that way - it is heartbreaking.

And then there is the added stigma of mental illness, of discussing it, of admitting it, of putting it out there for others to see. Depression, anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia - those are all words that make many people too uncomfortable. We hear of violent crimes and if there is any hint of a past with mental illness, it is often mentioned in media reports. It's even part of our language, that someone must be crazy, mental, schizophrenic, or manic if he or she does something outside what we perceive to be normal. Who would want to admit to an illness that is connected to only bad things?

So my biggest theory is that Williams's death hit too close to home to many and it opened up a conversation that many people are afraid to have. Williams graced us with his humour and his talent ,and seemed to have it all. Yet he didn't. He missed something incredibly important - good mental health. It reminds us that we are all vulnerable.

Here in Quebec, as in other jurisdictions, we've had many media campaigns about understanding depression, but it's hard to tell if they've been effective. Right now, how to ask for help and numbers to call are all over social media. People are saying that they hope that his death will begin a conversation about mental health, depression in particular. But is this effective? Yes, right now there's a groundswell of support for people who may be suffering, but will this continue? Or does this become just another blip on the radar - not unlike the big uproar over Corey Monteith's death, or Philip Seymour Hoffman's death from overdose? The drug issue was everywhere then - but it drifted away very quickly.

The Williams experience - watching his sometimes over-the-top manic comedy could be uncomfortable sometimes. There's no doubt that Robin Williams was a comic genius. This morning, a Montreal radio host was talking about a show Williams did here that started with a 20-minute piece on our city. This wasn't a "I love [insert name of city] and I'm glad to be here" piece. It was one where he'd obviously done his homework and he knew where to jab for a good laugh. But other times, his comedy seemed manic, like he had to keep going to get a laugh or else he wouldn't know what to do. I don't know if that was the case, but it was a feeling I got sometimes, and those times it made me uncomfortable. Maybe it hit too close to home - who knows?

And yet, he was also a wonderful dramatic actor. He could set aside that comedic aspect and really pull you into a movie, making you believe in the character he portrayed. His drama had an edge to it that I couldn't quite place. I preferred his dramatic roles over his comedic ones, but even in the comedies, something else came through.

He will be missed. There will be more tributes. The next Academy Awards presentation will honour him. He'll be remembered when we see the movies on Netflix or where ever else we watch them. But will we have changed how we see depression? Sadly, I don't think so.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Q&A with Heather Boerner, author of Positively Negative: Love, Pregnancy, and Science's Surprising Victory Over HIV

On August 1, I posted a review of Heather Boerner's book Positively Negative: Love, Pregnancy, and Science's Surprising Victory Over HIV.  As a writer, I'm often curious as to why other writers choose their topics and why they choose to focus on certain ones. So, as a follow-up to my review, here are some questions I asked Boerner:

Why did you write the book?

I wrote Positively Negative because I was blown away by how far the science had advanced and how few people outside the HIV community were aware of it. When I first talked to the Hartmanns in my book, the couple who had unprotected sex and had a baby without passing on the virus, something shifted for me. I began to hope that our collective relationship with HIV and people with HIV could be different—that it didn’t have to be a relationship based on aversion and fear, that we could see people with HIV as just like us, whoever that is. And really, the two couples in the book are the most normal people in the world. Their desire for babies is totally normal. And now that the virus has been tamed, it’s also safe.

What is it about HIV that you find fascinating?

The virus itself is fascinating. Our understanding of how HIV cloaks itself from the immune system, how it lingers for years—the recurrence of HIV in the so-called Mississippi baby is proof—is so interesting. But more than that, I’m fascinated by our cultural understanding of HIV. HIV, the big boogeyman, is really another character in the book. The *idea* of HIV vs. the reality. For many of us—and I counted myself among this number until after writing the book—our idea of HIV froze at its most horrifying stage. I watched The Normal Heart recently, the HBO film adaptation of one of Larry Kramer’s plays about HIV and I am still haunted by the deaths of those men and by the exploitation and humiliation they suffered at the hands of healthcare professionals. If this book taught me anything, it’s that HIV stigma still exists in the medical community. HIV won’t end until we root that stigma out. The emergence of a once-daily pill for HIV-negative people to prevent the spread of the virus is a real opportunity to change medical practitioners’ minds.

Obviously, we'd like everyone to read your book, but who do you think needs to read it the most?

The people who need it are the couples like the Hartmanns and the Morgans, and the non-infectious disease doctors and NPs (nurse practitioners) who treat people who may need or ask for PrEP. In doing the crowd funding campaign to get Positively Negative published, I offered a perk wherein a donor could speak to me on the phone about the book. The one person who took me up on that was a woman in Japan who’d found the book and is in this very situation. She desperately wants to know facts, and it’s so hard to get them. I want couples to feel less alone. And I’d love for healthcare providers who don’t think of HIV as in their wheelhouse to read it so they can feel comfortable prescribing PrEP or counseling their patients on this issue without their own fears coloring their practice.

Anything else you'd like to say?

Just that the other group of people who I think will relate to this book but may not think so at first glance are couples who have experienced trouble getting pregnant. This is a human story, a science story, and it’s a fertility story. I bet any woman who’s had trouble conceiving might find the story cathartic. I hope for everyone who reads this that they feel less alone. I also hope that those of us without anyone in our life with HIV, that we now feel like we do know someone with HIV, that our heart opens to this experience in a way that we are typically guarded against.

Now to my blog readers: Do you have any questions you think I should have asked?

Friday, August 1, 2014

Book Review and Discussion of Positively Negative: Love, Pregnancy, and Science's Surprising Victory Over HIV

Positively Negative: Love, Pregnancy, and Science's Surprising Victory over HIV is a book that made me bend my "I don't write book reviews" stance. I am asked regularly to review books, but it's not something I like to do. Since liking a book is very subjective, one I may dislike may be another's favourite - but I do make exceptions when I think a book is a must-read.

Positively Negative: Love, Pregnancy, and Science's Surprising Victory over HIV by Heather Boerner, is about couples that want to have a biological child, but the male is HIV positive. It's a short book - you can read it in one dedicated sitting if you want. But don't be fooled - Boerner uses her words wisely, weaving scientific information with real couples who have to make life-changing decisions.

When I graduated as a nurse in the early 80s, we just started to see our first patients with AIDS in the Montreal-area hospital where I worked. The fear was everywhere as healthcare professionals learned how serious the virus was and how the virus spread. Unfortunately, this was also the time when it was considered to be a "gay disease" and a "promiscuity disease," which delivered a whole other set of problems and issues.

HIV and AIDS forever changed how we worked with patients. When I studied nursing, we rarely ever used gloves. As students, we were only allowed to don gloves if we were going to be giving intimate care or had to clean up body fluids. Otherwise, gloves were forbidden because the skin-to-skin, the contact, was considered vital for a good connection with the patients. With HIV and AIDS, this changed. We were told we needed to assume that all patients were infected - universal precautions, it was called. If we treat all patients as infectious, we reduce our chances of being caught off guard and becoming infected ourselves. We were told to wear gloves whenever we touched a patient - even if giving a back rub. While I see the practicality in the advice, it changed how we saw and treated patients - and this way of thinking stayed with me all these years.

I don't work clinically any longer; I don't work with people who have HIV or AIDS. As s result, I've not really thought about it very much since those early days, other than when I read news stories. So when I bought Boerner's book, I wasn't sure what to think. I had the pleasure of meeting her in March and I listened as she talked about the project and what it meant to couples who shared their stories. I do remember thinking that breezy Denver night, "I never realized that having a biological baby with an HIV positive partner was even an issue to be discussed." I have to admit, I was taken aback at how little I knew of the topic and I waited for Boerner's book to be published.

The urge to have a baby is very strong among many women and it's no different for some who have HIV positive partners. And until recently, the risk of allowing such a pregnancy was unheard of - or it wasn't discussed. Boerner's book follows the paths of two couples who did go ahead and have naturally conceived children. She speaks with experts on both sides of the debate, and another mother who made the decision without medical advice or interventions.

It is well written, well researched, and worth your time. Let me know what you think if you read it.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Why you have to take health articles with a grain of salt (or a ton, in this case)

This morning, a Facebook friend posted a link to a story that declared that if you used sunscreen, you were more likely to die than if you didn't. In fact, the intro was: "According to a June 2014 article featured in The Independent (UK), a major study conducted by researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden found that women who avoid sunbathing during the summer are twice as likely to die as those who sunbathe every day."

There is so much wrong with this sentence and the whole article itself. First of all, we all die. At least, at this point we still all die. What the future holds in terms of eternal life, we don't yet know.

The article, in case you haven't guessed, is anti-sunscreen. The author uses references such as this one from the journal Cancer, which doesn't say at all that sunscreen use will lead to an earlier death or that sunscreen causes melanoma, both of which the original article's author claims it says. The article says that if you use sunscreen, particularly the lower SPF types, you will likely spend more time in the sun, increasing your sun exposure, increasing your chances of developing skin cancer.

The article author also doesn't take into account that the people most likely to use sunscreen are people who are fair and who burn easily - and are by their genetics at higher risk of developing skin cancer. He also ignored that Australia, which has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, is starting to see a decline with its campaign to get people either out of the sun or to protect themselves with clothing and sunscreen.

Outside of that one scientific reference, which the article's author completely misinterpreted for his own means, his only other references are to newspaper articles or website articles, which are not credible first-line sources.

Are there problems with sunscreens? There may be with some types, considering what is put into them to produce them, which is why we need to be careful about what we use. Are there problems caused by not using sunscreens - yes and it's been proven. The problems are called cancer. If you have concerns about sunscreen, find out more about them and the type you use. But this type of article, which is making its rounds through social media, is not educational or beneficial in any way - it is fear mongering.

Folks, if you want to spread news about health issues, real news, please be sure that the articles are written with good scientific backup. This particular article is crap and may do more damage than good.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Duh studies not just for the public

And we have another Duh Study for the Duh Study files.

A couple of weeks ago, I came across a study that told radiologists that the newer CT scanners exposed their patients to less radiation than the older ones. Considering that this is one of the goals when researchers develop the new machines, I figured that was pretty well a Duh Study. Almost like telling physicians that oxygen helps people live (that was a comment from my editor for this client). But today I came across yet another Duh Study meant for radiologists. Did you know that the more experience you have reading mammograms, generally the better you will be at reading them? Yes! It's true!

A published study that looked at Australian and U.S. radiologists said that the sensitivity in reading the images increased with experience. Good thing we have researchers studying these things.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Final week blogathon round-up

Week 4 is over and this week has been a bit challenging in terms of finding topics I wanted to write about. Here is what we discussed:

Yesterday, June 28, I posted about three blogs I like, as well as a list of over 100 bloggers who were also participating in this blogathon.

On Friday, I addressed a question I get frequently - "Have I read anything you've written?" Maybe...maybe not!

Thursday's post was an excuse to write about my quilting, in a piece about how crafting is good for the brain. I put some nice photos too. :-)

Wednesday's post was about soccer and head injuries. I watched the Netherlands win over Mexico today and saw some nasty head collisions. Ouch! But I'm glad that the Dutch won!

On Tuesday, I covered an important issue, that of midwives and how they save lives all over the world.

And the week started with an interesting piece (I thought) about how a clinic in Montreal is bringing healthcare to the homeless and marginalized in Montreal.

Lots of variety!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Over 100 bloggers!

As a writer, I am fortunate to know many other writers - and several of them have blog, sites, or projects of their own. So today, I wanted to share with you three that I like. I hope I'm not hurting any feelings by not writing about all the blogs I like, but there would be so many and I'd still accidentally leave some out.

Jennifer Fink, a nurse, health writer, and mom to four boys started a new venture last year, BuildingBoys.net. She has great stuff on the issues surrounding raising boys. In my opinion, it's worth reading even if you don't have a son or your sons are grown up. I know some of her posts have made me stop and think about certain issues.

Monica Bhide is a food writer and a great all around person. Her blog talks about food, writing about food, and life in general. She is the author of a few cookbooks, including Modern Spice and The Everything Indian Cookbook.

Moving over to writing and earning money writing, Kelly James Enger's blog is chock full of great advice. Called Dollars and Deadlines, Kelly's posts are helpful for both beginning and experienced writers. Being a professional writer, working for yourself means that you have to make all the decisions yourself too. Sometimes, you need someone like Kelly to tell you the obvious (at least I do) or to explain the more complicated.

And here is a list of bloggers who were participating in this year's blogathon - which is almost over!

  1. Nick DiUlio Twenty Pounds Of Headlines 
  2. Jennifer Allen Pierced Wonderings 
  3. David Allen David Allen in Catalonia 
  4. Lois Alter Mark Midlife at the Oasis 
  5. Karen Bannan Natural as Possible Mom 
  6. T.A. Barnhart Carpe Bucko 
  7. Pat Blumer patblumer 
  8. Sue Ann Bowling Homecomingbook 
  9. Deborah Brauser Travel Browsing with Deb 
  10. Beverly Burmeier Going on Adventures 
  11. Margarette Burnette Coupons and Kids 
  12. Susan Caba Resale Evangelista 
  13. Caren Chesler The Dancing Egg 
  14. Doug Glenn Clark Author with Guitar 
  15. Julie Cleveland Blue Morning Expressions Bluprint 
  16. Katie Coakley Katie on the Map 
  17. Tammy Petty Conrad tammyyoga 
  18. Damage Control Damage Control Radio 
  19. John Cooke CookeCapeMay 
  20. Brandee Crisp Never Pity The Past 
  21. Ruth Curran Cranium Crunches: The Quest to Find my Keys 
  22. Katie Dancause TLC: The Lactating Catholic 
  23. Mikaela D’Eigh La Belle Dame de Merci 
  24. Laura Depta Depta Being Depta 
  25. Jackie Dishner Phoenix Living on the Cheap 
  26. Kristen Fischer Every Last Breath 
  27. Kevin Flavin Carlisle Group 
  28. Barb Freda Babette Feasts 
  29. Laura French Words Into Action 
  30. David Geer David Geer Talks Tech, Take Two 
  31. Kristen Gillette Adult Ballerina Project 
  32. Jenna GlatzerHot Diggity! 
  33. Reyna Gobel Graduation Debt 
  34. Jennifer Goforth Gregory The Content Marketing Writer 
  35. Natasha Golinsky Next Level Nonprofits 
  36. Sandra Gordon BabyProductsMom.com 
  37. Debra Gordon Debra Gordon 
  38. Carol Graham Battered Hope 
  39. Yael Grauer Yael Writes 
  40. Rose Green Drop 50 Fast 
  41. Shihaam H Misplaced Indulgences 
  42. Holly Hammersmith Keeping a Healthy Home and Lifestyle 
  43. Elizabeth Hanes RN2Writer 
  44. Heather harris Heather Harris 
  45. Jennifer Harris Ponderings of an Elect Exile 
  46. Christina Hernandez Sherwood Christina Hernandez Sherwood 
  47. Megan hicks Life, the Universe, and Everything 
  48. Joan Hocky grace and dirt 
  49. Lisa Hubbell Landguppy Productions 
  50. Leah Ingram Suddenly Frugal 
  51. Kelly James-Enger Dollars and Deadlines 
  52. Gauri Kekre Mind Brew 
  53. Amanda Klenner Natural Living Mamma 
  54. Alice Knisley Matthias herbinkitchen.com 
  55. Nancy Koerbel Settled Work 
  56. Megan Kopp Time. Travel. Trek. 
  57. Elizabeth Kricfalusi Tech for Luddites 
  58. Jody Kristina Wolfpack Lovin 
  59. Nicky LaMarco Freelance Writing 4 Beginners 
  60. Marla Lawrence bpnurse 
  61. Christina Le Beau Spoonfed: Raising kids to think about the food they eat 
  62. Annie Logue The Root of All 
  63. Sarah Ludwig Parenting by Trial and Error 
  64. Kirsten Madaus Farm Fresh Feasts 
  65. Katy Manck BooksYALove 
  66. Alana Mautone Ramblin’ with AM 
  67. Jen Miller Notes from a Hired Pen 
  68. Gwen Moran Biziversity 
  69. Billie Noakes The BillieGram 
  70. Anne Noble Mac’s Musings 
  71. Holly Ocasio Rizzo California Wildwoman 
  72. Holden Page Holden Page 
  73. Andrea Payan Mrs Payan Reads 
  74. Michele Phillips Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans 
  75. Jennie Phipps What Freelance Success Says 
  76. Jaya Powell Jaya Wrote This 
  77. Sreeja Praveen The Alter Ego 
  78. Shalini R Tale of Two Tomatoes 
  79. Michelle Rafter WordCount: Freelancing in the digital age 
  80. Kate Reilly Kathleen M. Reilly 
  81. Meredith Resnick Reflections on Narcissism: Surviving the Self-Involved 
  82. Meredith Resnick The Writer’s [Inner] Journey 
  83. Corinne Rodrigues From 7Eight 
  84. Pia savage courting destiny 
  85. Joyce Schmalz The Skinny Pear 
  86. Damita Shanklin Damita’s Life 
  87. Irene B. Smithi Bentmom.com 
  88. Randy Southerland Southwrite 
  89. Vidya Sury Your Medical Guide 
  90. Darci Swisher He Eats What I Make 
  91. Jean Thilmany upanddownadoption 
  92. Vilissa Thompson The World Through the Eyes of Ms. V 
  93. Lori Tripoli Bashful Adventurer 
  94. Marcia Layton Turner Association of Ghostwriters 
  95. Paul Vachon Vachon’s Curiosity Shop 
  96. Paula Vergara Paula Vergara 
  97. Marijke Vroomen Durning Marijke: Nurse Turned Writer  (that's me!)
  98. Rebecca L. Weber Backstory 
  99. Susan Weiner Investment Writing 
  100. Melissa Willis Ever Growing Farm 
  101. Michele “Wojo” Wojciechowski My Life with Riley 
  102. Lindsay Woolman Reasons to Live -