Welcome Guest Blogger (Glogger) CJ Lyons!

Happy Friday! I'm wrapping up the JUDAS KISS tour and looking forward to getting back home and back to work. I went to Florida for an overnight trip on Tuesday and got stuck until this evening -  my flight was canceled because of the massive storm up North, so I've been camping at my parents and stole my Dad's laptop to work. It's fitting, really, considering how insane things have been this month. I want to thank all of you for being so patient with me while I manage
the perfect storm of obligations that have converged on my poor life –
deadlines and touring and copyedits all at the same time isn't the
easiest thing. I will do better with my planning in the future – I

In the meantime, my dear friend CJ Lyons is here with a great guest blog. Since I'm using a strange computer to write this I've had to adjust to an alien keyboard. When I was typing today's title I had a zillion errors, and one that sounded pretty cool. I was typing guest blogger, and the screen popped up the word "Glogger". So that's what we have today, our very own glogger.

CJ Lyons is a dynamic, overwhelmingly together woman and writer who I greatly admire. She's a 
familiar face to many of you, but for those who don't know CJ, here's a quick and dirty backgrounder:



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.  Contact her at

Warning Signs

by CJ Lyons

CJ Tall Emergency Sign 3AB copy

A few days ago I woke from a deep sleep
to the smell of smoke. It was 5:22 am. Dark. Too early to get up unless there
was a darn good reason.

There were no smoke alarms going off, no
sounds at all that I could hear–I live in a small condo, so there usually are
sounds from neighboring units at almost every hour of the day and night, but
not this morning.

Took another whiff. Slightly chemical, acrid
smell of something, somewhere burning. But faint. And definitely not coming
from my place.

So….do I grab the cat and laptop (my
basic evacuation plan in any emergency) and run for it? Do I get dressed, bang
on doors, try to track it down? Do I call 911, let them wake and worry everyone
as they investigate? 

Do I roll over and go back to sleep,
knowing that if it gets worse I'll wake up? Or do I wait and worry?

What would you do? Do you listen to your
gut? Do you believe in instincts and intuition? Or do you wait for concrete

That's the same dilemma facing the
medical student, Amanda, in my latest novel, WARNING SIGNS.

Amanda has a problem. Maybe. She's not
too sure. Could be nothing.

Could be deadly.

She has these symptoms–intermittent,
unpredictable, terribly vague. When she researches them, there are thousands of
diseases they could be caused by…..or she could be imagining them.

Maybe just stress–she's a medical
student, working over 80 hours a week, plus more hours studying.

Or maybe not.

Her gut has her worrying. Her brain tells
her to forget it–she'd make a fool of herself asking one of the
"real" doctors and all her research has turned up nothing concrete.

Which to believe?

How to decide what to believe: the
"facts" or your "gut"?

Me, I always listen to my gut instincts. Which
has gotten me into trouble. A lot.

It's also saved me more times than I can
count, so I'd have to say that my "gut" has come out ahead of the game.

Which frustrates the heck out of anyone
governed by logic and facts who wants to understand my reasoning–or lack there

So, you tell me–gut or logic?  Facts or instinct?  How do you decide?  Especially when it's life or death….. 

There are three copies of LIFELINES on the line today – comment and you're entered to win your own signed copy…
(we'll announce the winners next Friday!)

 Oh, and by the way, I went back to sleep
and about ten minutes later the smell of cinnamon rolls baking came from next
door–guess their oven pre-heating must have burnt something. Score another one for intuition!

Thanks for reading!


50 thoughts on “Welcome Guest Blogger (Glogger) CJ Lyons!

  1. Andrea

    I don’t think you have to choose. A lot of the time (for me, at least), I find that my gut is often picking up on something that I can’t quite articulate, but I have to use logic to figure it out!

    Having said that, if my gut is giving out strong signals about something that I can’t explain (i.e., my logic “fails” me), then I’ve found it’s generally best to just trust my gut. Sometimes I learn later what’s going on, and sometimes I don’t, but I rarely regret the decision.

  2. Margaret A. Golla

    I’m a retired MT and totally understand the ‘gut’ thing. Working in the wee hours of night shift, I had to trust my gut because there wasn’t anyone around to ask!Hope I win a copy, CJ! If not, I guess I’ll have to pry open my pocketbook. 🙂

  3. cj lyons

    Andrea,Thanks for stopping by!

    I agree–in fact studies have shown that part of our “sixth sense” is actually stimulus/response reflexes which go directly to our primitive brain (our emotional centers and where action comes from) bypassing our more sluggish “thought” centers.

  4. cj lyons

    Hi Margaret! You’re so right–or try intubating a patient in the back of helicopter when you can’t hear breath sounds….talk about relying on solely your instincts!

  5. cj lyons

    Hi Louise! Glogger–lol, feel like I should be hoisting a beer mug (wait, that’s “grog”)

    I think most of us are best served by balancing our fact and intuition.

    For me, it’s been a struggle to learn that–which was validated when I took a Myers-Briggs psychology test and learned I scored a 100% on the intuition scale (yes, the scientists double checked the results)

    All I can say, is it’s a good thing I didn’t go into surgery where a firm foundation in the here and now is essential!

  6. Joyce Tremel

    Hi CJ!

    Every time I try to ignore my gut, it turns out to be right. I should probably just go with it!

    I already have 2 copies of Lifelines, so don’t include me in the drawing…well, unless you want to substitute the new book!

    Btw, did you get any of those cinnamon rolls? My gut would have told me to go knock on their door.

  7. Alli

    Hi CJ!

    I definitely go with my gut. Just like commenter Joyce, I found everytime I followed my gut, I was right. The big lesson for me was when my daughter (now a healthy three year old) was only three weeks old and didn’t “seem right” – nothing obvious, but enough to make me concerned. The gut told me to get her checked out straight away, and lo and behold she had Group B Strep Meningitis. The Doctors and Nurses couldn’t believe I got her into ER so quickly – but the gut told me I wasn’t being a paranoid new mum and I needed a professional to see her. Thank goodness for gut instincts, I say!

  8. cj lyons

    Hi Joyce! How’s the weather up in Pittsburgh??? Can’t wait for Sunday’s ballgame!

    I agree about listening to your guy–when I ignore mine, I usually live to regret it!

  9. Rashda

    Hi CJ,

    You did a wonderful q&a session for KOD recently. While I was a lurker, I learned quite a bit. Thanks.

    As for the gut Vs. facts situation, I consider myself an informed gambler. I’d go with my gut, but also try to ferret out some facts. If I had to choose –go with the gut feeling.

    Keeping my fingers crossed for a copy!


  10. J.D. Rhoades

    Welcome, CJ! I guess I’m a “gut” person, too. Although a lot of the time, it doesn’t even seem to be a decision-making process as much as it is pure instinct, almost reflex.

  11. J.D. Rhoades

    Welcome, CJ! I guess I’m a “gut” person, too. Although a lot of the time, it doesn’t even seem to be a decision-making process as much as it is pure instinct, almost reflex.

  12. Jena Snyder

    I had one of those “wake in the wee hours for no reason” experiences too, and I’m glad I followed my gut’s advice and woke my husband, because he could hear the smoke detector. Up till that point, I always thought I was “just a little bit deaf.”

    For me, it’s instinct first, logic later, both in real life and my writing.

  13. Vivian Zabel

    Hi, CJ.

    I’m one of those who tries to find a logical reason for those gut feelings, and I do get those in real life — quite strong ones.

    Right now I’m waiting for Warning Signs to arrive in my mail.

  14. jt ellison

    Thanks for sitting in for me today, CJ. I’m definitely a gut person – and it rarely leads me astray. Louise, I like your guts in writing, head in life mentality…

  15. toni mcgee causey

    Hey CJ, welcome to Murderati! And great question. If it’s non-life-threatening, I’ll listen to my gut, but try to apply logic before taking action. If it’s something that feels life-threatening or dangerous to those around me, I’ll listen to that gut instinct and investigate. I’d rather waste a little time than regret that later, with the stakes so high.

    My copy of Warning Signs is on its way, yay!

  16. Jake Nantz

    Ms. Lyons, welcome!

    As for guts vs. logic, I’m a bit of a tweener. I tried going with my gut in jr. high and high school, but found out (to quote John Cusack) that my gut had shit for brains. Funny thing is, the real problem was my self-consciousness making me second-guess my guts. Now I trust ’em and go with my instincts most of the time, because every time I go against ’em I wind up in trouble.

    Thanks again for the thought-provoking post and for stopping in!

  17. Robin of mytwoblessings

    “gut or logic? Facts or instinct? How do you decide? Especially when it’s life or death…..”

    Welcome guest glogger. 🙂 Hi C.J.

    I guess I follow both – it’s when I haven’t listened to my gut and followed other peoples logic that it has caused havoc in our lives. So I’ve learned to follow my own instincts. Being a logical person, of course, that leads to analyzing it afterwords.

    I’ve had those moments – waking up in the middle of the night, smelling or hearing something, but really can’t ferret it out.

    Just put Lifelines and Warning signs on my amazon wishlist. Look forward to reading them.

    Nice to meet you!

  18. Dana King

    I think the gut steers, but facts decide. Last month I woke in the middle of the night with severe chills, fever, and a bad sore throat that kept me bedridden the entire next day. By Saturday I took myself to a doctor, who tested me for flu and strep (negative) and treated me for a sinus infection. No argument there, but I had a gut feeling I also had mononucleosis, as I’d had it about 30 years ago. Went back to my family doctor when I still felt like crud to verify. he gave me the test and, sure enough, mono.

    So I trusted my gut to insist on the test, and I used the resulting empiracal evidence to know I needed to get more rest over a longer period of time than my gut might have thought once I started to feel better. A win all around.

  19. cj lyons

    Hi Robin! Thanks for stopping by–glad to know there’s someone else out there who wakes in the middle of the night and has to figure this stuff out, lol!

    Hope you enjoy LIFELINES and WARNING SIGNS–be sure to let me know what you think!

  20. cj lyons

    Hi Dana! Love the: “gut steers, but facts decide”

    So sorry about the mono, that really sucks–my best friend in med school had it during the month of finals and it was painful just to see her struggle to make it through a day, even with all of us helping her!

    Hope you feel better fast!!!

  21. Mo

    Like most of the others who have posted I too go with my gut. Afterall its just my subconcious thinking faster than the rest of my brain. I’ve learned not to second guess it.

  22. Debbie K.

    Hi CJ:Gut, every time. It makes for some interesting moments in my household. My oh so, logic-based husband just looks at me in bewilderment. I make the intuitive leaps and he wants me to explain the steps in between. Of course, the gut is rarely wrong….

  23. cj lyons

    Hi Mo! I totally agree–but sometimes your gut can get you in trouble, too. That primitive brain doesn’t react well to modern conventions.

    Anyone have that happen to them? Their gut backfiring on them, so to speak?

  24. cj lyons

    Debbie!!! I can soooo relate–I once dated an engineer, ‘nuf said.

    Of course the bad part is that usually I can’t explain the steps in between, I just know where the end is and leap there…..

  25. Kathrin

    I’m a gut kinda girl… And for a simple reason: I’m not good with logic. When I do logic, it takes me too long to make a decision, it’s a decision I’m likely to override later on anyway, so I usually stick to gut right away.My gut doesn’t fool me often – well, maybe when I’m on a book buying spree, but that’s it.

  26. Alexandra Sokoloff

    CJ, so nice to have you here! Can’t wait to see you in Columbia.

    I’m a big believer that the “gut instinct” is really just all your senses processing things faster than your mind can keep up. So yeah, for sure, I go with instinct. My regrets are almost always the times I don’t.

    I think meditation really helps to keep your senses feeding you the right information.

    And I’ve said this about five billion times already, but I think EVERYONE should read Gavin deBecker’s THE GIFT OF FEAR, which really lays out how “instinct” is a primal survival skill.

    Great blog and question!


  27. Chuck

    Go with your gut if there’s no time!

    As someone who has made 550 skydives (believe it or not, an infant in the sport) I have learned, like you said, your instincts are instinct for a reason. We’re preprogrammed to survive, and I would surmise that more people have died due to hesitation than they have because they followed that itty-bitty–or SCREAMING–voice they heard in their head.

    Or was it their gut?

    Cool blog today. Thanks. 🙂

  28. cj lyons

    Alex, I love THE GIFT OF FEAR–essential reading for every woman (including adolescent girls) and all writers.

    The way he unveils the way predator’s minds work as well as our own instinctual responses versus the way we’ve been conditioned to act by our culture….okay, don’t get me started, this is a whole other blog post!!!

    The stories I could tell you guys from my life in the ER–maybe I’ll have to come back so we can chat about looking into the eyes of a killer….

  29. cj lyons

    Chuck!!!! You jumped out of an airplane 550 times????

    Okay, I’ve done a lot of crazy things in my time, but I’ve never understood leaving a perfectly good airplane behind…..

    Have had two hard landings in helicopters, if that counts.

    Think you’re right about hesitation–in fact, I just wrote that exact line a few days ago in a new wip, that when you hesitate in the ER is when people die….

    And yes, that’s exactly what happens, lol!

    Thanks for coming by!

  30. pari

    CJ,Welcome to Murderati!

    Can I put my name in the hopper?

    As to choosing, I don’t. It just depends on the situation.

    Last week I smelled gas in our kitchen. Believe me, I called the company . . .

    (Thank goodness, we’ve still got our home)

  31. Tom

    cj, you asked about gut instinct backfiring. Aside from my fondness for habanero peppers, yes, gut instinct has betrayed me fairly often.

    However, given that it usually involves 3 am awakenings for no obvious reason, I don’t really feel abused. I get up and walk around. If the dog’s barking, I get up and run around.

    Oh, and speaking of Cusack’s speech, if there’s a Wing Stop restaurant near you, I recommend the Atomic Wing Sauce. Perks up my mood for four or five hours!

  32. cj lyons

    Hi Tom! Sounds like there are lots of us up wandering around at night looking for trouble, lol!

    No Wing Stop nearby, but if I see one on my travels, I’ll give them a try!

  33. Kelly L Stone

    Hi CJ,

    Great post. I always go with my gut. I’ve learned the hard way. The times I haven’t, it’s been a mistake. Sometimes I feel silly doing something where there seems to be no obvious reason for it, but I’ve learned to trust that intuition.

    I enjoy your work and I’m looking forward to reading your next release.

    Best,Kelly L. Stone

  34. Bobbi Kilbarger

    If I have an automatic gut reaction to something, I go for it. Sometimes though, I go into a situation with no natural instincts firing. That’s when I have to depend on logic.

    As for my writing, I’d have to ask the muse what he uses. I always say that I’m just taking dictation for my fictional muse when I write anyway, lol.

  35. Jackie Griffey

    CJ: No contest – it’s GUT-GUT-Gut all the way. Te most classical exsample I know happened to me years (and years) ago. I had set my 3 yrs. old in the tup in nicely tested just right water in the bathtub (a room and a half from the kitchen where I’d turned on a top burner to heat a skiller.) Returning the kitchen I’d turned the knob farther than I thought and a flame leaped from the skillet just as I came in the door. I was a head on straight-feet on the ground trained den mama of the Chicasaw council scouts and KNEW all I had to do was put the lid on the skillet, turn the knob back and wait. I DIDN’T. Looking horror in the face I ran form my most precious thing – my child. I set her out in the car port stark nude – THEN went back -the kitchen curtain next to the stove over the sink welcomed me by bursting into flame. I juurked them down in the sink turned on the water with one hand, and put the lid on the big iron skllet with the other. The fire was out sith minimal damage the insurane coverd. BUT MY HEART, NOT MY BRAIN ANSWERED THE DANGER WE FACED. I knew better (and I’ve never forgotten it. I now believe the statements I’ve read from crime or accident victims who reacted without what the rest of us see as ‘logic.’ )Hope this helps.Love and best,Jackie

  36. chuck

    Hi CJ,

    First off, there is no such thing as a “perfectly good airplane”, especially in the skydiving community. Ask any skydiver, they’ll tell you. My final jump was in ’99 (a BASE jump), and because I didn’t follow my gut and land in the water, I shattered my heel (open both sides) and broke my ankle, among other things. That was the end of that. Five surgeries later, I’ve recovered about as far as I ever will. Enough about that.

    In looking through my wife’s books, I realized she is a fan of yours! I’m going to settle down with LIFELINES this afternoon–looking forward to it.

    Have a great day.

  37. Eimy

    Most of the time i’ll go with my gut and insticts. But it all depends on the situation.

    Lifelines looks really good. I would love to win a copy.


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