featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Today at Book Club Friday we’re happy to have back author CJ Lyons. As a pediatric ER doctor, CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about.  In addition to being an award-winning medical suspense author, CJ is a nationally known presenter and keynote speaker. 

Her first novel, LIFELINES (Berkley, March 2008), received praise as a "breathtakingly fast-paced medical thriller" from Publishers Weekly, was reviewed favorably by the Baltimore Sun and Newsday, named a Top Pick by Romantic Times Book Review Magazine, and became a National Bestseller. 

Her award-winning, critically acclaimed Angels of Mercy series (LIFELINES, WARNING SIGNS, URGENT CARE and CRITICAL CONDITION) is available now.  Her newest project is as co-author of a new suspense series with Erin Brockovich.  You can learn more at CJ's blog and for free reads, "Like" her at http://www.facebook.com/CJLyonsBestsellingThrillerAuthor -- AP

CJ Lyons

Would you say no to Erin Brockovich?

I couldn't -- in fact, I could barely suppress a squee of fan-girl delight when I learned that Erin not only enjoyed my medical thrillers but that she'd chosen me as co-author of her new suspense series.

When we spoke -- well, she talked, I could barely string words together, I was so excited! -- she said that she enjoyed my strong female protagonists and how they let nothing stand in their way of doing what was right. Turns out we both feel the same way about our fiction -- heavy on the characters and their relationships, light on the plot devices, and as fast-paced as possible.  

During that first conversation we began to talk about our personal life-views and philosophies and I mentioned how the entire reason I write what I call "Thrillers with Heart" is because of my belief that we are each our own hero. And Erin finished my sentence for me--because she shares the same viewpoint!

Of course we gave our main character, AJ Palladino, that life philosophy as well. Only for AJ it gets her into a lot of trouble along the way!

It was easy to develop AJ Palladino (her name kinda says it all, doesn't it?) as a real "people's champion" like both Erin and myself (as a pediatric ER physician, I specialized in child advocacy). But what should our first novel be about?  

A few weeks earlier I'd traveled to teach a writing workshop and my flight had taken me over the Appalachian Mountains. Being from central Pennsylvania, I'm no stranger to strip mining, but this was my first time seeing the ravages of mountain top removal mining up close.  

I wept. Yes, tough, ER doc me, not bothered by blood, guts, or gore--and I actually was crying!

Staring out the plane's window, my stomach lurched, my very soul fought for balance as I looked down on the man-made travesty that had once been beautiful, life-sustaining mountains. It was so very wrong on so many levels that it made me physically ill.

I shared this with Erin. She had also seen the destruction first-hand and thought mountain top removal mining was a fight worthy of our protagonist. And so, ROCK BOTTOM was born.

But I think what became important about ROCK BOTTOM, even though it was inspired by the passion Erin and I felt about mountain top removal mining and the damage it does to the people of Appalachia, was that at its heart, it's really the story of an adult child returning home and learning the true meaning of family.

And haven't we all shared that experience? Coming home and realizing that it's not the "home" we've fantasized about while we were out in the "real" world?

Of course, AJ's homecoming also involved murder and mayhem!

What kind of homecoming surprises have you had?

Share your story in the comments and you'll be entered to win a copy of the finale of my Angels of Mercy series, CRITICAL CONDITION.

Thanks for reading,

Okay, readers, let’s hear from you. I can tell you from personal experience that CRITICAL CONDITION is a fabulous read, and I can’t wait to crack open my copy of ROCK BOTTOM. -- AP


Caridad Pineiro said...

What a marvelous opportunity! It sounds like a great pairing of two powerful and determined women. Good luck with the new release.

CJ Lyons said...

Thanks, Caridad! It was a lot of fun, that's for sure!

Pat Dale said...

Congratulations, CJ! a wonderful opportunity for both of you. While I've not seen the devastation you speak of in person, we have an industry in Missouri that tends to rape the very ground it uses; quarrying for building rock and other materials. However, in this state we have laws that require those folk to go in when their work is done and restore the land to a condition that roughly equals what it had been before. After seeing the excellent landscaping they've done here, I have to say it is much better than those areas that have been left raped and destroyed.
As a final thought, we must remember that the land was never intended to stay the same. Witness the recent catastrophies world wide. I grew up in the shadow of the highest peak in Missouri. At about 1700 feet, it was hardly a mountain in comparison to the Rockies, say. But the Ozarks were once a Rocky Mountain range in their own right.
But we do not have to allow our lands to be pillaged and left worthless for eons, either. JMHO,
Pat Dale

CJ Lyons said...

Hi Pat! I agree, there are definitely good reasons to make use of what nature has provided--but not at the cost of the people living there.

I think people have to come before profits. The problem with mountain top removal isn't that it merely alters the look of the region, but that it's poisoning the people who live there.

There are smarter alternatives...easier? no. Cheaper? no. But definitely better in the long run.

Janet said...

I think this pairing will make some really interesting reading. I always enjoy books that give me new knowledge, outlook, and expands my horizons.

Good luck and I will look forwarding to reading your books.

Bobbi Carducci said...

I can't wait to read this.

CJ Lyons said...

Thanks, Janet! We tried to stay true to Erin's larger than life personality, making it fun, entertaining but also thought provoking.

CJ Lyons said...

Thanks, Bobbi!

Jody said...

Those co-authored books should be good. I know you do such a good job, so with Erin, double the energy and innovation.

CJ Lyons said...

Thanks, Jody! That's exactly what we were aiming for!


CJ, thanks so much for being our guest today. Best of luck with ROCK BOTTOM. I saw an awesome review for it in Mystery Scene today.

Readers, there's still time through tomorrow to post a comment for a chance to win a copy of CJ's CRITICAL CONDITION. Check back on Sunday to see if you're the lucky winner.

CJ Lyons said...

Thanks so much for having me! And thanks for the heads up on the review--I'm going to have to track that down!

Anonymous said...

CJ, thanks for your individual series. I have enjoyed it very much. The new pairing sounds like a great match & I look forward to Rock Bottom.

Helen Kiker

CJ Lyons said...

Thanks, Helen! Hope you have as much fun reading it as we did writing it!