Sunday, November 6, 2011

Nicholas Sparks (saved my life)

I’m sure you must be wondering, how exactly did Nicholas Sparks save my life? Well, thanks to his novels, I quit smoking.  Yes, that’s right, years ago I smoked cigarettes. Very hard for a nurse to admit, but let me just add that when I became a nurse 21 years ago at least half of the nurses I worked with back then smoked.  I was a new nurse at the age of 19, and I easily picked up the habit which followed me into my early 30’s.  Around age 28, I began working as an account manager for a national healthcare company and boy did I want to kick the habit!  But, as many of you who are reading this will probably agree with, it’s not an easy habit to put down.  This particular job I was working at the time involved a lot of marketing and a lot of driving.  This meant that I had the freedom to smoke all day long while I was on the road for work.  As time went on, I knew I wanted to quit smoking, but one thing remained: what to do with myself while behind the wheel all day?  Somehow for me driving and smoking simply went together.  Then one day, I casually mentioned to my boss that I wanted to quit smoking.  She was about 15 years my senior and lucky for me she had already “been there, done that”.  I told her that I had zoned in on a product to help ease the physical cravings, but what was I going to do with myself while I was behind the wheel for hours on end!?!  There had to be something to take my mind off of cigarettes, but what?  My boss said simply:  Audio books.  That was when the light bulb went on.  So I picked a date to kick the habit and headed off to work, armed with my nicotine lozenges and The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks (on audio book).  Guess what?  It worked!  Before long, not only was I a non-smoker, but I had found a way to catch up on a lot of good reading while I drove around in my car for hours on end.  Fast forward to present day, and you’ll find me free from cigarettes and absolutely hooked on Nicholas Sparks novels.  Whether I’m reading them on my Kindle or listening to them on audio book while I power walk with my two year old son every evening, I just can’t get enough of them! 

Most readers of fiction novels love a good read which carries them away to another time or place.  My latest novel "A New Year's Eve to Remember" does exactly that.  Many of you I’m sure will enjoy this book, it’s a great quick read for a plane flight or a quiet afternoon – it will carry you away to a time full of beauty and romance. So don’t miss it! 

One day I hope to meet Nicholas Sparks.  I’d like to shake his hand and truly thank him for saving my life and for inspiring me to write novels which are full of nostalgia and romance.  For now I’ll thank him for saving my life right here on my blog, and I’ll ask him to keep doing what he does so well – keep those novels coming Mr. Sparks, we all adore you.

With Love and Gratitude,
M.J. Butler 

PS:  My baby boy’s name?  If you guessed Nicholas, you’re right!

Click here to view "A New Year's Eve to Remember" at

"A New Year's Eve to Remember"

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Why I Love Ohio State

The Ohio State Buckeyes!!!!   Love them, love them, love them!!!

Let me just state right off the bat that I have never attended Ohio State University.
I also do not know anyone personally who attends Ohio State University.
I have never visited the campus.
And I am in no way affiliated with this school or the organization itself.
But I love the Ohio State Buckeyes. Have in fact for many years.

My father died unexpectedly several years ago.  He was from the state of Ohio and he loved the Buckeyes, even though he never had the opportunity to attend college.  It was his home state, therefore he was a fan with good reason.  As a kid growing up, we spent every Easter, summer vacation, and Thanksgiving at my grandmother’s house in Ohio.  Those were picturesque times, and I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything in the world.  Growing up in our Ohio world with my parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins is something I’ll always cherish.  I remember at the end of every trip, when we leave to go back to our home in Indiana, I would cry my eyes out. 

So now, present day, I am a writer.  I write mainly fiction novels, and it’s only natural that my latest book "A New Year's Eve to Remember" is set in – you guessed it, the state of Ohio!

I love Ohio State and the Buckeyes, yes in part due to my family’s Ohio heritage, but for the most part due to one single fact:  the FANS.  Ohio State has the largest number of fans of any other college team in the country.  This is an actual fact, brought forth by the New York Times in a study done and published in September of this year.  The number is staggering:  more than 3 million fans!  More than any other University in the country!!  Now that’s something to be proud of Buckeyes!! 

Why does this matter to me?  Well to me, fans equal loyalty, and loyalty is everything. To me as a writer, fans are held in the highest esteem. They are the foundation and the backbone of everything I write.  Loyalty goes hand-in-hand with faith and integrity.  Faithful followers induce champions.  Champions give rise to powerful legends and leaders.

So go Ohio State! Go Coach Meyer! And GO BUCKEYE NATION!!  Myself, along with over 3 million other people are rooting for you!! 

With love and loyalty,
M.J. Butler

"A New Year's Eve to Remember" Barnes & Noble for Nook

(Also available on iBooks for iPad)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Nurse's Passion

A good friend of mine once asked me:  “How do you unwind after something like that?”  My friend Kelly is a nurse, just like me.  She was talking about one of those days in the ICU which brings you to your knees. Her quest was to find out:  how does one go home after a day like that, un-wind, re-group, and carry-on?    
The patient was a 20 year old young man who had suffered catastrophic injuries during a car accident.  He was taken from the emergency room to surgery, and then admitted to the ICU, where the staff cared for him non-stop for the next 8 days.  His mother and father never left the hospital.  Their love and concern for their son’s survival touched everyone so deeply. They stood at his bedside for endless hours, each holding one of his hands, and talking to him.  They were active participants in every aspect of his care.
 The first two days, his condition remained unchanged.  Two days later the chest tube was removed, and he seemed to be doing better than ever.  The next day, as his parents stood by his bed speaking to him, his eyelids began to flutter.  His eyes opened and closed several times, rhythmically at first, and then finally they stayed opened!  As his eyes looked up into the loving faces of his mother and father, they reached down, held him in their arms, and thanked God.  As for my nurse friend, along with the staff who witnessed this miracle awakening - well let’s just say there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.    
My friend had cared for this young man for six of the eight days in the ICU, and she finally was witnessing the fruits of her labor – what a great feeling!  She could only imagine how his parents must feel; they seemed just overwhelmed with joy and gratitude after endless hours at his side.  It really seemed that love, prayers, good medical/nursing care, and perseverance had equated to an all out miracle.
My friend’s shift ended, and as she prepared to head to the locker room to gather her things, and leave for home, a massive change filled the air.  This miracle-patient, whom she had just told: “I’ll see you tomorrow” was coding!  There came the overhead announcement, just as she reached for the locker room door: “Code Blue, ICU…Code Blue, ICU”.  She thought to herself, there’s no way, it can’t be, he is stable - this is probably the new patient they had just admitted into the ICU after surgery.  She took her hand off the doorknob to the locker room, turned around, and headed back down the hallway, just as a nurse’s aide rushed toward her.  The aide confirmed that he was coding, and that his parents had asked for her. 
My friend entered the ICU visitor’s waiting room and looked into the eyes of these loving parents, who just a few moments earlier had been celebrating their son’s awakening after eight days in a coma.  She sat with them the entire time attempts were being made to resuscitate their son.  She could not help but notice the look of pure love, concern, and terror in their eyes.  After what seemed like an eternity, the attending physician, along with the ICU charge nurse entered the waiting room. They all stood up as the doctor came toward them.  “How is he?”  His father had asked – eyes filled with hope.  The physician said in a slow, calm, steady voice, “I am so sorry to tell you both this.  We did everything we could to stabilize him, but our efforts failed.  After over an hour of resuscitation efforts, we have stopped the code, and he has died.”  His parents fell into each other’s arms as sobs of grief filled the room.  My friend Kelly felt tears rolling down her face; as a mother herself, she couldn’t even begin to imagine the heartbreak they were feeling.

          Kelly told me she had gotten home late from work that night – her kids were already in bed, her husband was watching TV.  She kissed her husband as he asked her, “How was your day?”  She thought to herself, what an incredible question; one that couples ask each other every day.  She told him, “Today was very, very tough.  A young patient died that I had been taking care of for the past week.”  She headed upstairs to kiss both of her kids as they slept.  Then she took a shower, and thought to herself:  “How do you un-wind after something like that?”  She decided that she needed to talk to someone.  She gave me a call, and asked me if I had a few minutes to listen to her talk about her day.  Finally after she had decompressed into exhaustion, I told her to get some rest and to call me the following week. The next week we spoke, and she told me that an autopsy had been done on this young patient which showed the cause of death as an embolism.  He threw a clot.  He had died almost instantly.    
Being a nurse is like no other career in the world.  The dynamics of the job are endless, as well as the trials and the rewards.  You really do care about the people you serve, and their families deeply.  That’s part of what being an R.N. is about – selfless caring. Yes, nursing is a career, but it is also a passion.  My hat goes off to my fellow nurses with great pride - for they are unsung heroes every single day of their lives.

For more writing by M.J. Butler, click below to view my latest fiction novel:
Click here to view "A New Year's Eve to Remember"

"A New Year's Eve to Remember" is available at (click above link). Also, and  $2.99