Non-Fiction Review: How to Pronounce Drug Names by Tony Guerra, PharmD

One of my promises is not to constantly “sell” you my books on my blog. I like to spotlight other authors, and I have a few queued up to tell you all about, but I like to be about variety. So this week, I bring you non-fiction.

Anyone who knows me understands my love for medicine. I have a passion for science. This week, I’m going to tell you all about my nerdy and strange fascination with pharmaceuticals. Go ahead, laugh. Tell me I’m crazy. I’ve heard it all before. I’m probably accused of being a shill for Big Pharma. If this shill thing is real, though, someone please tell me how to become one! I could use the money. (Pfizer? Merck? Novartis? Anyone?)

No takers? Damn.

Well, back to my fascination, then.

I think it all started when I was a young woman and a pharmacist saved my life. It wasn’t anything terribly dramatic, but it could have been. The pharmacist caught a potential life-threatening drug interaction, told me to wait, and then called my doctor. He got an answer right away (because that was one hell of an organized office), and found me an alternative drug to take. When I asked him what that was all about, he stopped everything he was doing and showed me exactly what happens chemically between the drug I was currently taking and the Rx I needed, and explained that I could have had sudden cardiac arrest.

He treated me like a peer, did not speak down to me, and made sure I understood to not ever take that one med while I was on the other one. Sadly, I don’t recall his name, but I know he saved my life.

Fast-forward about 20 years, and here I am, fascinated by chemistry, biochem, and human biology. People tell me I should go to med school or become a pharmacist, but I prefer to write.

One day I was searching on how to properly pronounce “metoprolol” because I had heard it two ways. Well, I like to pronounce things correctly, so I looked at google, and that’s when I found the coolest pharmacist ever.

His YouTube channel is Tony PharmD, and he is a teacher. He teaches Pharmacy Technicians, and I like to imagine all of his Pharm Techs graduate at the top of their classes. Because his videos are informative and they keep one’s attention, I can only think that his classes must actually be a lot of fun.

So I subscribed right away to his channel and I have not been disappointed.

Recently, Dr. Guerra (he has his doctorate in Pharmacology) posted about some books he’d written. Of course, now I’m drooling. Books? Books that can teach me? I love learning. There are two: Memorizing Pharmacology, and How to Pronounce Drug Names. If you are a student of pharmacy, whether you’re a tech or going for your doctorate, get them both. They will help you, especially if you struggle with chemistry.

Tony was kind enough to let me have a code for a copy of How to Pronounce Drug Names. I have finally made it all the way through the six-hour audio-book, and I have to say, it’s tempting me a great deal to go to school to become a pharmacist. I’m looking forward to listening to Memorizing Pharmacology–that one is seven hours and sixteen minutes long, so I’ll have to devote my evenings to that one soon when I’m not editing.

For any student who has English as a second language, has difficulties with pronunciation, and/or who struggles with chemistry, I believe they will find How to Pronounce Drug Names helpful in their studies. If you aren’t a student and just a nerd like me who likes to pronounce things correctly (it’s “lore-at-a-deen,” not “lore-at-a-dine”), you’ll enjoy it, too.

I especially enjoyed Tony’s choice of Ann M. Richardson as a narrator. Her voice is as smooth as silk. I thought she was a computer, at first. She keeps your attention with succinct pronunciation, although the anecdotes don’t carry much emotion. You have to watch Tony’s videos first and then listen to How to Pronounce Drug Names second to get a feel for the anecdotes in the introduction. But overall, that’s a minor shortcoming to Richardson’s reading, because it’s an educational piece and it’s more important to focus on learning than pure entertainment.

This is an excellent supplement to learning, but it can be useful for anyone. One copy is only $19.95, too, so it’s not even expensive, either–you get 6+ hours of learning out of it, and that’s worth the price.

Happy reading, or in this case, happy listening!


There will be more reviews to come, and a return of The Psych Writer is soon. In the meantime, follow Anne on Twitter and Facebook. It’s always a learning experience.

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On Writing Reviews – The Dude

Have any of you read Food with the Dude? Well, it’s not your average food critic site, where someone who’s all stuck up their own ass gives a review/critique of the service in relation to their own personal snobbery.

If you want to become a reviewer and food critic, I think you need to follow The Dude. His unique approach is fair and covers multifaceted aspects of a restaurant, including accessibility, sanitation, food quality, and service. What I like most about it is that he keeps it fair.

Take a look at one of the more negative reviews about a restaurant that couldn’t quite get his mother’s steak right. Now, some of these food snobs who call themselves “foodies” because they’re too afraid of the word gourmand and couldn’t spell it if they tried could really afford to take a lesson from The Dude. He uses tact and thoughtfulness to express why service was not up to par, or why the food wasn’t as tasty as it could have been. Blame isn’t assessed, it’s analyzed.

The Dude keeps a rule of “Be Nice, Be Respectful,” and it works. When I read his reviews, I feel like I know exactly what to expect when I visit the restaurant he’s reviewing. He follows ethical critique which is a refreshing break from the bombastic style of “food critics” who just want to be crabby, snobbish bitches.

I suppose I could take a lesson from The Dude, myself, as I’m a bit crabby. But in all seriousness, I enjoy reading his reviews and am looking forward to a road trip to try out some of these places. If The Dude ever comes to Atlanta, I’ll be pleased as a pig at the trough.

This review style is the kind of succinct, straightforward writing I enjoy seeing in a review. He cuts out the nonsense and presents you with the real experience.

It’s a great example if you’re looking for inspiration on how to write your own reviews.

Nicely done, Dude.


I like to write about writing, and I do a little writing, myself. If you’re looking for something to read that’s a fun scare and enjoy Lovecraftian nightmares, check out my author page on Amazon. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Written From A Dream

I have Nightmare Disorder (along with Night Terrors which is not so much fun), and a lot of my dreams and nightmares make it onto the page in some shape or form. If you’ve read Now Entering Silver Hollow, you’ve met a creepy character by the name of Undaga (OON-dah-gah). Undaga came springing right out of my nightmares to where I remembered him vividly three months later.

Another character from my dreams is a woman named Kathryn Cross. She has many purposes and has been alive in my mind since I was about sixteen years old. So she has been a lot of things–in RP, in fan fiction, and in original fiction.

Awhile back I had a dream about her (she is British, or in the Silver Hollow world, Albionian), and in this dream, the UK was still intact. But I was so moved by the melancholy nature of this dream, I thought it would be fun to share it. Perhaps, if you enjoy reading it, I’ll do a series of short fictions with this story. Perhaps it will develop supernatural elements. This doesn’t take place in Silver Hollow’s world, though. Kit has a gift of traveling into other dimensions. She’s in Now Entering Silver Hollow, in fact. You’ll see her more in the sequel, too.

Enjoy. (I used UK spelling, so if it looks unusual to you, that’s why.)


“Is there a spot here where we could be assured we won’t be overheard?” Kit sat forward in the round-back chair. The plush office reminded Kit of her days in the Headmaster’s office at boarding school. The mahogany-panelled walls, the thick burgundy carpeting, and the scent of old books and fresh ink transported her back to a time when Headmaster Herrick, the short balding blond man, was telling her that if she didn’t bend over that desk, he would ensure she was sent out on disciplinary action.

Her call to Father rather helped with that bridge troll.

Now, though, here she was, clearly not being invited to bend over the desk—he wouldn’t dare and likely didn’t have the inclination—sitting in the best school in the UK for boys, being told that her son, Thomas, was close to being expelled. ‘Non-compliance with the boys’ internship programme,’ he’d said.

Her stomach churned. Headmaster Winter, a man in his sixties, was as glacial as she appeared to be. He surprised her by leaning forward and giving her a small smile, his chair creaking softly against the quiet hum of office equipment and the ticking of the grandfather clock that had likely been there since the 1700s.

“Indeed. Please, walk with me, Your Ladyship.” He stood up and motioned to the door.

Kit held up her hand as she rose, smoothing out her skirt with the other. Her hand was almost the same cream-colour of the suit she wore, but her knuckles were white from having clenched her fist. “Please, Headmaster, call me ‘Doctor.’ That title I earned, and I prefer it to the one I inherited.”

Headmaster Winter opened the large mahogany door and allowed her through first. “Yes, of course, Doctor Cross.”

The secretary kept sneaking glances at Kit until she caught the doctor’s eye, where Kit glared at her until the assistant shrank—a delicate flower in the hot sun, or mould creeping away at the dry heat coming from her eyes. The last thing that Kit needed was this little personal assistant running to the press to chit-chat about all the internal crises the family was facing.

Headmaster Winter led her up three flights of stairs to the building’s rooftop. Ornate gargoyles and intricate mason work stared back at her, matching the grey skies above and the grave faces upon it. A chill, unrelated to the weather, settled over her. She would be able to speak freely, and she wasn’t so sure she wanted to, now.

A stretch of silence ticked out between them. Kit gave the Headmaster a stern look.

“Should any of this leak to the press, Headmaster, I will know it was you, and I will do everything in my power to ruin you. Despite what you’ve heard in terms of scandals since my husband’s death, I am well-connected and can assure you that I’ll make your life more miserable than mine. Are we clear on that point?”

Winter nodded, face pulled into a deep frown. “Doctor Cross, I’ve kept the confidences of many and will take their secrets to my grave. During the war, I was tortured and still not revealed a word of what I know. Rest assured there is nothing you can say that will shock me, frighten me, or otherwise cause me to reveal anything to anyone about what you’ve said to me today—and I do believe that you could ruin what has been my spotless career. I cannot assure you any greater than that. My greatest concern is for your boys—Thomas, Damien, and Klarion, and my only wish is to help them.”

A hint of relief washed over Kit’s body, mixed with its usual cynicism. Could this man truly be an advocate for her children? Could she really trust him with the internal family scandals?

Only one way to find out.

She’d start with the things the public already knew.

“When Malcolm was murdered, the public vilified him, calling the investigation a waste of the taxpayers resources. Though I tried to shield my children from the press, they became increasingly rabid—and hearing their father was ‘not worth the money for the investigation’ was devastating to them. The Press—mad dogs, the lot. They began badgering my two eldest daughters with intimate questions, getting worse by the day. I didn’t realise that Malcolm had been such an impressive shield for the children. Phillip—their uncle—intervened as well, and the two of us were able to stop the harassment, but by then, the damage was done.”

Kit took in a shaky breath and looked over at Winter, who gave her a nod. He said nothing, prompting her to continue.

“Alice began to take drugs to cope with the loss of her father and the terrible things the press had bombarded her with day after day. I had to bring her to the U.S. for rehab at Betty Ford.” She would not allow tears to fall. Instead, she detached from the emotion. The tears could come later. “Hermione began to fail classes. She lost her concentration, her focus. She’s sullen and rude, though she’s picked up her grades, she simply isn’t the same. Kate is vicious to the girls at school. She gets in fights. And now you tell me that Thomas is not attending his internship. Klarion and Damien are barely holding it together … and I’m alone.”

Phillip was back in the U.S. so he could keep an eye on Alice as well as run the corporation’s new base in NYC. He frequently came home to check on the family, but he was of little help with his cool demeanour and seemingly uncaring reception of his little sister’s problems. Not that she burdened him with them. These days, they were the patch-up duo. They kept the scandals out of the papers as best they could, and ignored the press as often as possible.

“I have staff. Oh, don’t misunderstand me, I’m not alone in the sense that I have and entire team of people to assist me and the children, but I am alone in my misery. I took Malcolm for granted. I didn’t think I did, but now I realise it’s so.” She paced to the edge of the roof and looked down. For a fleeting moment, she wondered how quickly they’d clean up her body.

Kit turned away from the ledge and back to Winter, her shoe making a crackling echo on the concrete of the roof. “The bottom line is this: I will do whatever it takes to keep Thomas in school and improving. Clearly without his father he’s asea, and I can’t reach him. So I’m turning to you, to air the dirty laundry of my family so that you’ll be able to understand where he is right now, and help him.”

Winter took a step closer to Kit and put a finger over his lips for a moment, in contemplation. “I believe I can help the boys, Doctor Cross, not to worry.”

She feigned relief in her expression and thanked the Headmaster, but inside, she was more worried than ever. Her family was slipping away from her, spiralling downward into an abyss, and she couldn’t save them.

End of Part I.

From My Quora Blog: The Existential Crisis First-Aid Kit™

This post first appeared on my Quora Blog, where I write about things unrelated to writing. I hope you will enjoy it. Of course, I also hope you’ll keep reading because I’ll be back soon with more installments of The Psych Writer.

Also, for those who asked–my dog is still alive. She is doing well and the terminal illness is still there, but we are enjoying all the time we have left with her. Thank you for asking.

Okay, so I get a lot of questions about the fear of death, so I’m making a corral where you can read all about it if you’re having an existential crisis. I think it’s important to know that you’re not alone.

These five links are proof you’re not alone:

Anne L. Hogue-Boucher’s answer to I am 21 years old and i started to get panic fear of death, what is the problem? Should i go to psychologist ?

Anne L. Hogue-Boucher’s answer to How can I help someone who’s afraid of dying and who’s obsessed by the idea of disappearing?

Anne L. Hogue-Boucher’s answer to I have this extreme fear of death. I have heard many answers, but none of them could convince me. What do I do?

Anne L. Hogue-Boucher’s answer to If I always have constant fear of death, should I seek a Psychologist?

Anne L. Hogue-Boucher’s answer to How do I get over fear, emptiness and other negative emotions?

I think if you go through each one and read them completely, you’ll see common threads such as a fear of isolation, the unknown, and feeling trapped. You’ll also see that it’s a fairly common fear to have.

Use these tools in each of the links to help you overcome your existential crisis. If that doesn’t work, seek the help of a licensed therapist in your area who is trained in this particular field.

All materials included in this post are intended for informational purposes only. This post/information is not intended to and should not be used to replace medical or psychiatric advice offered by physicians or other health care providers. The author will not be liable for any direct, indirect, consequential, special, exemplary or other damages arising therefrom.

If you’d like to read about two people with the ultimate existential crisis, pick up a copy of Exit 1042. Or, if you’d like to scare yourself into being glad you’re alive, grab a copy of Now Entering Silver Hollow.