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  • Oxygen May 19, 2024

    By Lisa Scottoline

    I’m writing this in the middle of the night.

    And here’s why.

    Steroids.

    I’m not complaining.

    I’m recommending.

    Let me explain.

    We begin two months ago when I develop a head cold and can’t shake it. On book tour, I can’t even hug people and that’s the reason I write books.

    By the way, it’s not Covid.

    I’m still a Covid virgin.

    You think I’m lucky?

    You never met Thing Two.

    So I called my doctor and he refers me to an specialist, whom I go see.

    He looks up my nose and says it’s “frothy.”

    Froth does not belong in your nose.

    It belongs in your cappuccino.

    And now I’ll never drink cappuccino again.

    The specialist diagnoses a sinus infection and prescribes an antibiotic and steroids.

    Thus changing my life.

    I don’t understand how I could go from feeling so bad in the morning to feeling so good at night. In fact, I could paint your house.

    If you want, I’ll be right over.

    I’ve never felt this good in my life.

    I don’t know why I can’t live on steroids.

    Maybe I’ll grow big muscles, but that’s not the worst thing in return for feeling like you could run the world.

    Should I give it a try?

    After I paint your house?

    I’m happy I’m cured because I’m a bad patient. All I did was complain. In my defense, I live alone. So I was talking to dogs.

    But I was extremely profane.

    Somebody needs to explain to me the science of steroids.

    Are these the same steroids that make people hit baseballs into the next state?

    I think they’re different because you inject those steroids in your butt.

    Or maybe that’s testosterone.

    And maybe you inject it somewhere else.

    All I know is now I have two working nostrils, one on each side. I’m breathing like a champ. I’m pretty sure I’m using up all the oxygen in the universe.

    Please be careful.

    Don’t exert yourself.

    You’re only left with nitrogen or whatever.

    The other weird thing about steroids is the dosage. You take six pills in a one day, then five, then four, you get the idea. I’ve never in my life taken five of the same pill one day.

    Now I want six hundred.

    This is why I don’t do drugs.

    The only drug I do is chocolate.

    That’s why I don’t buy chocolate cake.

    Now I won’t buy steroids.

    I have no portion control when it comes to steroids.

    I’m gonna grow chin hair, but what else is new?

    Plus I can write in the middle of the night. By the way, I apologize for not writing new pieces lately, but I’m on book deadline and my nose is frothy.

    Now all I have to do is fall asleep.

    I’ve been trying for four hours and I’ll succeed in four days.

    Meantime I’ll mow the lawn, wash the car, and run the world.

    I think I could run it better.

    In my world, everybody would be nice and all waistbands would be elastic.

    We’d clean up the Earth, the sea, and our bra drawer.

    There would be shows on Netflix we haven’t seen already.

    Books would never be burned, but Spanx would.

    There would be a price cap on prescription drugs and highlights.

    Salted caramels would fall from the sky.

    Bradley Cooper would be my husband.

    The Supreme Court would have the ethical obligations of a traffic court.

    Trials would be televised because we saw everything on Netflix. Also, justice.

    That would just be my first day on the job.

    Mine would be a government on steroids, literally.

    Either that or I’m coming over.

    Say when.

    © Lisa Scottoline 2024

  • Column Classic: Spot On May 12, 2024

    By Lisa Scottoline

    It turns out that my past is spotty.

    And yours may be, too.

    All of us women have to cope with the signs of aging, and some of us do so better than others.

    I mostly ignore it.

    I’m not a model, so I don’t earn a living by the way I look, and I’ve come to like my face, even with its laugh lines, since I like to laugh.

    I know that sometimes my cheeks look drawn and hollow, which is the kind of thing that tempts some women to opt for injections of filler.

    I don’t judge, but that isn’t my style.

    As soon as I hear “injections,” I’m gone.

    And the only filler my face needs is carbohydrates.

    The same is true of facelifts or cosmetic surgery. I don’t blame anybody who does it, but my fear kicks in at “surgery.”

    Though I have to admit that I’ve been tempted recently, a fact I discovered by accident. After summer was over, I noticed an oddly dark spot on my cheek, and since I wasn’t always careful about using sunscreen, I worried it was cancer. The very notion sent me scurrying to the Internet, where I looked at various horrifying slides and learned the acronym ABCDE, which stands for asymmetry, border, color, diameter, and evolving.

    Now you learned something, and so did I.

    The last time I had memorized an acronym with as much interest was when I was getting engaged, and I learned about the four C’s for engagement rings.

    Cut, clarity, color, carat.

    Much more fun.

    Worried, I called around and found a dermatologist, a woman reputed to be a great doctor, though on the brusque side.

    In other words, a woman of few words.

    I hadn’t even known such a creature existed.

    Obviously, she’s the direct opposite of me, but I wasn’t looking for love, just to stay alive.

    Anyway, the dermatologist suggested that I come in for a mole check.

    I agreed, though she’d said it so fast, I thought she’d said, “mold check.”

    Which was probably more accurate.

    I’m not getting old, I’m getting mold.

    Or maybe I’m molting.

    Either way, I went to the dermatologist, who examined the suspicious mole and determined it was benign.

    Yay!

    I promised myself never to skip the sunscreen, ever again.

    But then the dermatologist frowned behind the contraption that magnified her eyes to two brown marbles. She pointed to my temples and said, “You have quite a lot of keratoses.”

    Again, I didn’t understand because she was looking at my forehead, not my toesies.  “What did you say?”

    “These brownish spots on your temples. You have so many.”

    Thanks, I thought, but didn’t say. “They’re from the sun, aren’t they?”

    “No, that’s a common misconception. They’re hereditary.”

    I remembered then that my father used to have them, which might have been the reason I never minded them. Because they reminded me of him.

    The dermatologist said, “They’re not related to age, but they age you, and I can remove them.”

    “Really?”

    “Hold on.” The dermatologist left the office, then returned with a Styrofoam cup of what looked like coffee, because a curlicue of steam wafted from inside the cup. Before I could understand what was going on, she swiped a Q-tip inside the cup and pressed it to my temple.

    “Ow,” I blurted out. “What is that?”

    “Liquid nitrogen. It burns, right?”

    “Right.” I bit my lip as she swiped the Q-tip back in the Styrofoam cup and pressed it on a few other places on my temples.

    I wanted my mommy but didn’t say so.

    Because that would have been immature.

    The dermatologist finished up, saying, “That’s all for now. Call my office in a week or so and make an appointment to remove the others.”

    I thanked her and left the office, my forehead a field of red dots, like a constellation that spelled out:

    WE AGE YOU

    A week later, the red dots had turned brown and fallen off, and in their place was fresh pink skin.

    I could see that I looked better, maybe even younger.

    But I have to say, I missed looking like my father.

    And I think I’ll leave the other ones alone.

    © Lisa Scottoline

  • Column Classic: With Apologies to Mary Poppins May 5, 2024

    By Lisa Scottoline

    My life just changed in a good way. In fact, in a great way. 

    By gummi vitamins. 

    I’m supposed to take a multivitamin, B complex, calcium, CoQ10, and Crestor. 

    But the only thing I take is Crestor. Why? Because I don’t like taking pills, or I forget, and pills suck. 

    That would be a medical term. 

    So, imagine my delight when I’m cruising the aisles in the food store, and I see a massive jug of gummi vitamins. I don’t mean gummy, like my pie crust. I mean gummi, like the bears. 

    I get my gummi vitamins home and they’re exciting and colorful, shaped like blueberries, orange slices, and red cherries. In other words, vitamins morphed into Jujyfruits. 

    I’m so there. 

    And I’m picking red goop out of my teeth as we speak. 

    There’s a visual. Now you know why I’m divorced twice. 

    All of a sudden, I can’t wait to take my daily multivitamins. I’m like a little kid. They’re better than Flintstone vitamins because they don’t stick together. Don’t ask me how I know. 

    I get to have two gummi vitamins a day, and every morning, I look forward to picking my flavors. Never mind that they all taste the same, like the first ingredient, which is Glucose Syrup. 

    It’s candy with a medical excuse. 

    Sugar with a doctor’s note. 

    A spoonful of gummi helps the medicine go down. 

    But it doesn’t stop there. 

    I go back to the store, where they had Vitamin B Complex in gummi form, too, and they’re awesome, too. Soft and chewy, in flavors that taste basically of floor wax. 

    But still. 

    Gummi! 

    And like a gummi addict, I went on another hunt and managed to find Gummi CoQ10 at Costco. 

    Don’t ask me what CoQ10 is. It’s not even a word. It’s a password. It can’t even make up its mind between numbers and letters. It should have to choose. 

    All I know is that my doctor said I have to take CoQ10 because I take Crestor, and he’s the one man I obey. 

    Unfortunately, my gummi CoQ10 is only peach-flavored, but that’s still an improvement on CoQ10 in conventional pill form, which tastes like a conventional pill. 

    And it’s a bitter pill to swallow. 

    So far, if you’re counting, that means every day, I get to have five gummi things and call it medication. Which means that sugar, carbs, and calories don’t count. And I’m not that crazy anyway. I actually love the taste of calories. In fact, calories are my favorite food. 

    Now you might be wondering about calcium, and that’s where Viactiv comes in. Because I couldn’t find gummi calcium, which would be the best thing ever. After gummi Crestor, which they have in heaven. 

    But Viactiv calcium comes in chocolate and is wrapped in a square like a baby Chunky. So, I grabbed those babies and started chowing down. By the way, Viactiv calcium also comes in caramel, raspberry, and chocolate mint. Yes, there are 57 flavors of calcium, according to Dr. Baskin Robbins. 

    I did notice online that Viactiv now comes in chocolate vitamins, too, but they’re no match for gummi vitamins, and I like a mixture in my meds, like Halloween candy. 

    They can’t all be Snickers. 

    The only problem with chocolate calcium is that it’s hard to limit yourself to forty-five servings. 

    I’m starting to think that all of our medical treats are compensation for being middle-aged and having to take all these dumb pills. In fact, whoever invented gummi medicine is a great person. Why shouldn’t we get to have a little bit of fun with our cholesterol? Why can’t we whoop it up while we make our bones stronger? And what’s wrong with making a game out of whatever it is that CoQ10 does? 

    And think of the possibilities. If they made gummi birth control pills, nobody would ever forget to take them. 

    And if they made gummi Viagra? 

    Run for cover. 

    © Lisa Scottoline 

  • Column Classic: Reading is Fundamental April 28, 2024

    By Lisa Scottoline

    Mother Mary has a new job that benefits us all.

    Before I reveal it, let me explain that over the years I’ve made a few author friends, and I buy their books and get them to sign them to my mother, which gives her a big charge. Last month I shipped her five books, including my newest one, then I called to ask her, “How’d you like my book?”

    “I loved it, it was great!. But I have some corrections for it. And for the others.”

    “Corrections? How many?”

    “About five.”

    “Five corrections?” I ask, surprised. “Like typos? That’s bad.”

    “No, five pages of corrections. And for the others, too.”

    I am astounded. “Five pages of typos?”

    “Not typos, corrections, and I have five pages per book. So, twenty-five pages of corrections.”

    Now, I officially don’t get it. “Give me an example of something you corrected.”

    “Okay, in your book, you use the word ain’t. Ain’t is not a word.”

    “Is it used in dialogue?”

    “Yes.”

    “Then, it’s fine. That’s how the character speaks. That’s not a mistake.”

    “Yes, it is. Nobody should use the word ain’t. You know better than that, you went to college. I’ll mail you the sheets. You’ll see.”

    “Okay, send them.”

    “Ain’t! Hmph!”

    So, Mother Mary mails me the alleged corrections, twenty-five pages of notebook paper, each line written in capitals in a shaky red flair. AIN’T IS NOT A WORD! is the most frequent “correction.” A few are typos, but the rest are editorial changes, different word choices, or new endings to the plot.

    Bottom line, Mother Mary is a book critic, in LARGE PRINT.

    Still, I read the sheets, touched. It must have taken her hours to make the lists, and it’s really sweet. I call to tell her so, which is when she lowers the boom:

    “You need to send the lists to your friends,” she says. “Your friends who wrote the other books. They should know about the mistakes, so they can fix them.”

    “Okay, Ma, you’re right. Thanks. I will.”

    I don’t like lying to my mother, but I’m getting used to it. I figure I’ll put the sheets in my jewelry box, with daughter Francesca’s letters to Santa Claus. Those corrections are going to the North Pole.

    Then my mother adds, “You don’t have to worry about the one set, though.”

    “What one set?”

    “A set of corrections, for your new friend.” She names a Famous Author who isn’t really my new friend, but Somebody I Wish Were My New Friend. I can’t name her here, as she will never be my new friend, now. In fact, she’s probably my new enemy. Because my mother sent her five pages of unsolicited editorial changes to her terrific, number-one bestseller.

    “You did what?” I ask, faint. “Where did you get her address?”

    “Your brother got it from the computer.”

    “Her address is on the computer?”

    “She has an office.”

    Of course she does. “And you sent it to her?”

    “Sure. To help her.”

    I try to recover. I have only one hope. “You didn’t tell her who you are, did you?”

    “What do you mean?”

    I want to shoot myself for never changing my last name. My last name is Scottoline and so is Mother Mary’s, and the Very Famous Author signed a book to her at my request, so in other words….

    “Oh, sure, I told her I’m your mother, in case she didn’t know.”

    “Great.” I sink into a chair. “And you did that because…”

    “Because I’m proud of you.”

    Ouch. I can’t help but smile. How can I be angry? I tell her, “I’m proud of you, too, Ma.”

    It’s not even a lie.

    © Lisa Scottoline

Book Clubs and “A Cappella” Readers!

Lisa loves book clubs and is grateful to those who choose her books. As a way to honor and thank those who read her, Lisa has created two special opportunities to join her in virtual discussions about her new book, The Truth About The Devlins.

 

Win a Virtual Book Club Visit with Lisa!

If your book club reads THE TRUTH ABOUT THE DEVLINS, you will have a chance to win a personal Zoom book club visit with Lisa and receive a delivery of special treats to enjoy during the virtual meet-and-greet! Three randomly chosen book clubs will win! But everyone is a winner because all the book clubs who enter will be invited to Lisa’s special Virtual Big Book Club Party!

Lisa’s Virtual Big Book Club Party!
Lisa will be hosting a special Virtual Big Book Club Party on Monday, June 24, 2024 at 7:30 pm ET for all the book clubs who have read THE TRUTH ABOUT THE DEVLINS.

A Cappella Readers Can Join the Party!
Not in a book club? No problem. Lisa wants everyone to have a chance to be part of the book club event, so she is inviting readers to be in her own A Cappella Book Club so they may join the party on Monday, June 24, 2024 at 7:30 pm ET, too! And, five lucky winners will be randomly selected to win a special treat to be delivered in time to enjoy the night of the event.

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GHOSTS OF HARVARD

Ghosts of Harvard, which The Washington Post called “a sweeping and beguiling novel” as well as “a rich, intricately plotted thriller,” is Francesca Serritella’s debut novel.

Best First Novel Finalist– International Thriller Writers

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