Monday, July 13, 2009

Buried bodies....

Anything "criminal" about your road to publication?

Who me? Criminal? I'm the pediatrician here, remember? Lil Miss Mary Sunshine.

So no, of course not...well, unless you're counting the time I was doing 112 mph outside of Las Vegas. Didn't even get a speeding ticket--only a "misuse of natural resources" citation.

Yes, the Nevada State Trooper was gorgeous, nice, and, the best quality any man can have, a Joe Paterno, Penn State Fan!

No, sigh, I never met him again. Was on my way to work on the Navajo Reservation and spent the next two months far from any cities.

Hmmm....there was also the time I hi-jacked an ambulance (and its crew, but they came along pretty willingly after a promise of home-made chocolate chip cookies and a six pack of Yuengling) to go after a sick baby in white-out conditions.

Or the time when I was almost arrested in Ohio for failure to pay the turnpike toll--we were running code 3 a critical newborn and the first toll gate operator let us pass without a ticket, the second argued and wanted us to wait for a supervisor (which he said would take at least 20-30 minutes) so under my orders the ambulance just drove past him and a Statie pulled us over.

I told the driver to send him around back to where I was bagging air into this critically ill peanut of a premie (we didn't have a transport vent that could mimic a hummingbird so I was doing it by hand). The trooper opens the back door, I take a look at him, raise an eyebrow and ask him if he's gonna be the one explaining to a mother and father why their baby died on the road in the middle of nowhere.

Then I just smiled my innocent, "hey, I'm just a baby doctor", smile. He tipped his hat and told the driver to "hang on to his tail lights" and proceeded to give us a high-speed escort all the way home to Childrens.

Wait, and then there was the case, way back when, when I was just a baby baby doc. My first court case. And it was a doozy. Myself, the police detective, and an ambitious ADA convinced the DA to let us go to trial on what was then unheard of: multiple felony rape charges based on a 12 year old's allegations against her stepfather....with no physical evidence (at least none when we convinced the DA to move forward).

That was a milestone case for me. I got to verbally bit** slap a defense attorney during cross (even the judge chuckled at that) but most importantly I was privileged to witness true courage.

The twelve year old was on the stand before me, they kept her there for over two hours. After, there was a short recess and she came out of the courtroom, weeping. Her mother followed, cursing and yelling and telling the girl she was a lying, no good, so and so, slut......yeah, mom was defending step-dad for repeatedly raping her daughter since the girl was eight.

The mom raised her hand--and this woman was BIG! I'm 5'3" and she towered over me, taller and broader and bigger than most of the guys I've dated....and silly me, I stepped in between this woman (did I mention she was big???) and her daughter and gave her my hairy-eyeball-rabid-dog-don't-even-think-about-messing-with-me glare and told her, "go ahead, hit me, why don't you? Cause not only will I hit back, I'll make sure you go to jail for it."

Time stopped. The only sound the muffled sniffs of the girl crying behind me.

The woman (I won't call her a mother, she forfeited that right, IMO) stopped. Frozen, her fist still raised.

I stared at her. She stared at me.

Then she shuffled backwards. Lowered her hand, stared at her fist like she forgot it was there.

About that time the judge who had come out for a cigarette break called the bailiff and they took her away in handcuffs.

Most importantly, we won the case--made PA legal history (or so I was told by the ADA) for nailing the SOB for five counts of felony rape! All because of that one girl's courage.

And that's when I decided that working the ER and abuse cases was my destiny. To this day, that girl is my hero.

Well, I think that's all my criminal dealings.....most of them anyway. If there's one good thing about being a doctor and a writer, it's knowing how to bury the bodies so they'll never be found!

So what criminal bodies are buried in your life? C'mon, we're all friends here, you can share with us.....just don't be surprised if your stories end up in one of our novels, lol!

Thanks for reading!
PS: I won't be answering comments until late--I'm going to be a "guest" of the FBI's all day.  Hopefully they'll release me in time to respond to comments later tonight, if not, send lawyers, guns, and money!

About CJ:
As a pediatric ER doctor, CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge suspense novels. Her debut, LIFELINES (Berkley, March 2008), became a National Bestseller and Publishers Weekly proclaimed it a "breathtakingly fast-paced medical thriller."

The second in the series, WARNING SIGNS, was released January, 2009 and the third, URGENT CARE, is due out October, 2009. Contact her at


Jen Forbus said...

Alas, I have no skeletons to share. I've paid all my tolls here on the Ohio turnpike; I never killed a student, despite a few inkling urges ;) - although I may show up in the news one of these days for attacking one of the many folks in my area who don't take care of their animals!

These are wonderful stories, CJ. Thanks for sharing them!

CJ Lyons said...

Hi Jen, thanks for stopping by!
And yes, the FBI did let me go free--despite a grueling day of interviews.

Just kidding--had a wonderful trip to Quantico and all the special agents there were fantastic!!! Can't wait to start adding their criminal minds and tips to my writing, lol!