Thursday, March 26, 2015

Keeping It All in Perspective in Publishing

Edie here. Today's guest, Dianna T. Benson, is the award-winning and international bestselling author of The Hidden Son and Final Trimester. Persephone’s Fugitive is her third release. An EMT and a HazMat and FEMA Operative since 2005, Dianna authentically implements her medical and rescue experience and knowledge into all her suspense novels. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and their three children. I hope you enjoy her insight as much as me!

Keeping it All in Perspective in Publishing
by Dianna T Benson @DiannaTBenson

Since writing is my full-time career, EMS only part-time (too intense for me for full time), I’m reminded that as an author of fictional suspense I’m just an entertainer. Unlike EMS crews and firefighters, I’m not saving lives as a writer. That truth dissipates the pressure of being an award-winning author and the expectation to produce as good (if not better) book with each new book. Sure, the pressure is there but I don’t allow it to be anything more than motivation to write my best. With my experience and time in EMS over the years, I’m able to keep my publishing career in perspective and remain grounded.

Keeping it all in perspective grants me inner peace about my professional life and the wisdom not to get too caught up in any part of the publishing industry. Even though the details of our lives seem so important to us humans, the only thing that is important is how we treat each other, how we treat ourselves, and how we treat God. Everything else beyond is just a human detail. Even though I know this to be true, at times it’s difficult to keep in my mind’s forefront. During those times, I turn to God to redirect my focus for the reminder our life is not about achievements.

In addition to entertaining readers, I hope my fictional suspense shows the realism of working emergency scenes and all that the job entails in order to honor EMS crews world-wide. For anyone interested for research purposes or other reasons, below is a snippet of EMS in action….


Pulling up on scene in our ambulance, my partner and I respond to a cardiac arrest of a forty-six-year-old male. With our stretcher packed with our airway bag, our jump bag, and cardiac monitor/defibrillator, we push through the opened door of the restaurant. After hearing the hysterical wife explain her husband fell over in his chair seconds after the family ordered their drinks, I touch the man’s shoulder.  

He’s unresponsive, so I feel for a carotid artery. Pulseless. I begin chest compressions.

“Does he have any health issues? Allergies?” I ask the wife, and swallow the sadness clogging my throat at the couple’s two teenaged children crying as they hang on to each other.

“No,” the wife cries out. “Nothing.”

My partner presses defibrillator pads to our patient’s chest—one under his right clavicle, the other on his side over his left lower ribs as I continue non-stop chest compressions.

The cardiac monitor assesses the heart rhythm. The wave pattern displays on the screen, and I interpret it. “Pulseless ventricular fibrillation,” I tell my partner while he’s whipping out our IV kit.

As we defibrillate the patient, four firefighters arrive on scene.

“Take over compressions,” I say to one of the males. He does.
As my partner drills a hole into our patient’s shin for intraosseous access, the preferred and more effective route over intravenous in cardiac arrest, I dig into our airway bag for an airway adjunct, an oxygen tank, and a BVM (bag valve mask). I insert the oropharyngeal airway down the patient’s throat and connect the BVM to an oxygen line to oxygenate our patient.
“Two of you bag him,” I say to three of the firefighters. One presses the mask over the patient’s mouth and nose with a tight two-handed seal, the other squeezes the football-sized bag every five seconds.

I whip out our med box and spike a bag, as my partner finishes the IO (intraosseous) line. We push 1mg epinephrine and 40 unit vasopressin into the line; the four firefighters take turns with the exhausting actions of chest compressions and bagging.

I prick the patient’s finger and a run a BGL (blood glucose level) to test for hypoglycemia. “Does he take any medications?” I ask the wife. “78 BGL,” I say, telling my partner it’s at a normal level.

“No,” the wife wails out, tears flowing out her eyes. “Why isn’t he waking up?”

“Ma’am? If you believe in prayer, focus on praying, okay?”

She nods at me with the saddest smile I’ll never forget.  

I check the pulse. Carotid still absent. We repeat defibrillation then resume chest compressions and bagging. We add 300mg of Amiodarone to the line. Then sodium bicarbonate. We start another line, this one IV in the arm, and run cold fluids in it. We repeat defibrillation then resume chest compressions and bagging. I check the carotid. Still no sign of life. We add magnesium sulfate to the IO line. We push another 1mg of epinephrine and 150mg of Amiodarone. Then doses of Procainamide and Metroprolol.

We work the code for over thirty minutes, to no avail. I’m thinking this young and healthy appearing man possibly suffered acidosis, hyperkalemia, or cardiac tamponade. Or maybe he has an undiagnosed heart condition.

“Astyole,” I say to my partner while viewing the monitor screen.

“Is that bad?” the wife wails out. “There’s only one straight line on the screen thing.”

“Keep praying,” I tell her. “How about some Atropine?” I say to my partner, and he nods. I reach for the medication to administer it.

We continue to push additional med dosages and work the full code as the firefighters continue to rotate turns with bagging and chest compressions, neither I nor my partner willing to call it. Not yet. I can’t yet let the man go, and the wife and two children aren’t ready for it….


Everyone is different; what works for one person doesn’t work for another. How do you keep it all in perspective? Be sure to share your insights in the comments section below.


Persephone’s Fugitive
*** SPOILER ALERT *** Reading Persephone’s Fugitive (including the book blurb) before The Hidden Son (Book One in the Cayman Islands Trilogy) will ruin the ending of The Hidden Son. However, both books are standalones. 

When a routine 911 call turns deadly, Paramedic Sara Dyer finds herself held at gunpoint by Jason Keegan, an injured psych-ward patient charged with murder. The situation spirals out of Sara’s control when the confrontation becomes a tense standoff between Keegan and the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.

As Keegan’s hostage, Sara fights to save them both before he blows them up. She realizes his warning to the Cayman police is no empty threat since he’d rather die than spend the rest of his life in a prison cell. Sara soon discovers Keegan is just as determined to survive as she is - provided he can escape Grand Cayman and disappear forever. As she struggles to trust in God’s protection, help from an atheist turns her struggle into a lure away from her faith.


  1. How we treat ourselves and others and God is my Lent meditations. I totally agree with you. I have always thought that it's not about the achievements in life but the milestones with God. Thanks for little reminder and best wishes on your writing journey. Keeping it Real!!!

  2. Thank you for reading and commenting. Yeah, it's a challenge for us humans to focus on what's important in life. One minute I'm doing well with it, the next I find myself caught up in the human details again. I wish you all the best always. Blessings, Dianna

  3. Keeping a clear perspective on life and writing goes right along with priorities. It's too easy to get caught up in what I'm working on and let family and God take a back seat. The thing is, I find my writing is better when I put God and family first. Thank you for the reminder that in the big picture, what we write isn't life and death. That does take the pressure off, allowing me and others to focus on what's truly important.

  4. Hi Jillian. Thanks for reading and commenting. We all need gentle reminders from time to time to keep us on track (I need them several times daily :) I'm so glad God gave us humans each other to support and encourage. Blessings to you today and always, Dianna

  5. Thank you, Edie, for featuring me on your awesome blog! Keep up the terrific job here; so many people find guidance, support and comfort in the articles.

  6. For anyone interested in watching the book trailer to Persephone's Fugitive:

    Blessings to all for a Happy Easter!