Author Archives: D.P. Lyle, MD

About D.P. Lyle, MD

Author, Lecturer, Story Consultant

One Big Kid: World’s Tallest Teenager


There are “giants” in this world. The NBA is living proof. But most non-NBA members have Pituitary Gigantism, which occurs when the pituitary gland secretes too much Growth Hormone (somatotropin or HGH). This makes the person’s growth increase exponentially. If this occurs before the growth plates close in the late teens to early twenties, gigantism occurs; if later in life the person suffers from acromegaly.

The wrestler Andre’ the Giant is famous example. He eventually reached 7’4” and 550 pounds.


But a less common form of giantism is Sotos-Dodge Syndrome. This is not related to a pituitary problem or any other glandular dysfunction. It is a genetic disorder where the victim grows, and grows, and grows. It’s also often associated the a form of autism, muscle weakness, poor coordination, cognitive dysfunction, and the many orthopedic problems that all giants suffer.

Such is the case with 19-year-old Broc Brown, the world’s tallest teenager. He currently stands 7’8” and is still growing. But he lost his Guinness crown when he turned 19 as the tallest teen category is for those 18 and below. He seems to be a pleasant young man dealing with an uncomfortable situation with grace and style. Watch the video and I think you’ll agree.

Good luck, Broc.


The Telegraph News:

Wikipedia: Gigantism:

Wikipedia: Sotos Syndrome:


Posted by on October 19, 2016 in Medical Issues


Guest Blogger: Forensic Psychologist Stefanie Stolinsky, PhD: Problem Gambling


Problem gambling is actually an obsessive-compulsive mental disorder. And although many people gamble without its becoming a problem, addicted gamblers find an excitement in gambling that they find nowhere else in their lives.  It is often referred to as a “high” or a “rush,” akin to taking a drug.  The partial reinforcement inherent in obsessive gambling is the fault of sometimes winning big, sometimes losing big and never knowing what’s going to happen next.  An animal will continue to press a lever if food comes down the pipe sometimes.

Getting help for someone who has a destructive gambling habit can be difficult.  Gamblers rarely want therapy on their own, though they may agree to it under family pressure.  Sometimes when a chronic gambler is sentenced for illegalities stemming from gambling debts, a judge makes therapy a condition of probation.  In a structured environment such as a rehab center, there is the advantage of starting therapy in a setting that removes the gambler from temptation.

But the best approach to therapy is a combination of behavioral techniques, focused on stopping gambling, and supportive therapy to help the gambler deal with the chaos gambling has brought to their life.  Therapy may be long-term and there are usually some relapses, but that does not mean that therapy is a failure if the gambler uses the slip as an opportunity to learn how to resist temptation.

S. A. Stolinsky
FierySeas Publishers


Stefanie Stolinsky is a licensed clinical and forensic psychologist.  She is the author of the acclaimed non-fiction book, ACT IT OUT: 25 Expressive Ways to Heal from Childhood Abuse, published by New Harbinger Publications, Inc. in 2002 and currently in its second edition with Praeclarus Press.  Dr. Stolinsky has written for over twenty years, having finished five mystery novels, numerous short stories (published in Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine) and two well-received plays.  She has worked extensively with abuse and trauma survivors privately and from the military.  She also works with those suffering from gambling addiction.  She has a private psychology practice in Beverly Hills and lives with her husband in Los Angeles.


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Posted by on October 13, 2016 in Guest Blogger, Medical Issues


Lewy Bodies and Robin Williams


Older folks suffer from dementia. That’s a fact of life. Just like the heart, lungs, and joints get old and rickety, so does the brain. Often this dementia is classified as senile dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. But not rarely the loss of brain function is due to something you’ve probably never heard of – –Lewy Body Disease, or LBD. This form of dementia results from the accumulation of abnormal structures within the brain that are called Lewy Bodies. This accumulation interferes with brain function and lead to a host of symptoms including: problems with movement and balance, confusion, loss of memory, abnormal alertness, an alteration of attention span, and even hallucinations that at times are paranoid in nature. The disease is usually not diagnosed until after death when the brain can be examined but it is often suspected by the symptoms the person displays. It is often confused with the Alzheimer’s disease, senile dementia, and Parkinson’s disease.


Lewy Bodies in the Brain

It turns out that Robin Williams suffered from LBD. In a wonderfully written article “The Terrorist Inside My Husband’s Brain” on, Susan Schneider Williams tells of her husband’s ordeal. It is a look inside this terrible disease and what happened to one of the greatest comedians that ever lived.

The Terrorist Inside My Husband’s Head:

Medline Plus:

Lewy Body Disease Association:


Posted by on October 6, 2016 in Medical Issues


Crime and Science Radio: Meet Iris, the FBI’s Only Electronic-sniffing Dog: An Interview with Jeffrey Calandra

Criminals and terrorists often hide data on electronic devices and then hide these devices—-and are often very clever about doing so. In such search situations, many subjects hide flash drives, hard drives, and other electronic components so if the police come, the instruments of their crimes may not be found. Take the example of a child pornography case where a subject will put pictures of innocent children on a thumb drive and hide it in the yard, behind walls, and all sorts of other places. In a normal search, a human investigator may not find the media

What’s the FBI to do? Enter Iris, a young, eager, lab who is the FBI’s only canine capable of sniffing out these devices. And she’s one of only seven in the world. How does she do it? How was she trained for such specialized work?


In this episode Jan Burke and I talk with Jeffrey Chandra about how all this accomplished, as well as how dogs are used in other criminal detection activities.

BIO: Jeffrey Calandra possesses a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and a Masters in Criminal Justice with concentration in Computer Forensics. He spent 6-1/2 years as a special agent working child pornography, criminal computer intrusions, fraud, and bomb threat cases. HE has also assisted on Counter Intelligence, Counter-Terrorism, Drug, and Gang cases and has served as a member of the Hostage Negotiator team. He is currently a K9 handler for the FBI Electronic Scent Detection K9 Iris.


Iris, a 20 month-old black lab, is the first of her type in the FBI and one of 5 in the world. She will be the future of law enforcement. Already we are getting requests from across the country for her assistance. For a little background, Iris was trained as a seeing eye dog for a year and then was selected to be a law enforcement dog.



Link will go live Saturday 10-1-16 at 10 a.m. Pacific


Video link from WNBC:


When Researching Forensics, Remember to:


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So you do all that forensic science research for your story and find a bunch of cool stuff. Now what? How do you use it to make your story believable, and convoluted, and of course suspenseful.

Here is a post I wrote for Le Coeur de l’Artiste that might help.

Original post is here:

When Researching Forensics, Remember to:

Make the Time of Death Vague: When your disheveled detective is standing over the body and chatting with the coroner and the subject of the time of death comes up, don’t have your coroner/medical examiner say something stupid like, “The victim died at 10:30 last night.” There is no way he could know this. The things he uses to determine the time of death during the first 48 hours – – things like body temperature, rigor mortis, and lividity – – aren’t very accurate. They are merely suggestions. But by using these techniques, the coroner can at least make an educated guess as to the APPROXIMATE time of death. And it is always a best guess. Realistically he should say something like, “The victim died somewhere between 10 PM and midnight.” And that gives you wiggle room in your plot.

Give Your Crime Lab Time to Breathe: Only on television do crime labs get results before the first commercial break. You know, the DNA sample is obtained and three minutes later they have the results, complete with a holographic image of the bad guy. Unfortunately, that is humorously far from reality. DNA analysis, toxicological testing, and most other forensic science techniques take time. The tests not only have to be done, they have to be checked and rechecked, and in high-profile cases, they are often sent out to other labs for corroboration. This takes time. At least days, and often weeks. Remember to allow for this when you’re plotting your story as this delay can add tension.

Make the Evidence Difficult to Find or Not Useful: The truth is that evidence is not always present. Of course, the crime scene technicians look for fingerprints, bodily fluids, shoe impressions, hair and fiber, and any other bits of evidence the perpetrator might have deposited at the crime scene. These might or might not be present, and if present might or might not be found, and if found might or might not be useful. If fingerprints are deposited on a window pane, a tile countertop, or some other smooth, hard surface, then they are often easily found and are clear and useful. If they are on a rough surface, such as a wooden slat or concrete, or if they are smeared or contaminated or altered in some way, they might not be useful. The pattern might be disrupted or difficult to see and if so the print is useless. DNA might be found but it might be so damaged from decay or contamination that it is not useful. So make it difficult for your detective. Don’t make the evidence jump right into his lap.

Make Everyone Involved in the Investigation Honest and Capable, or Not: The best-selling horror writer John Saul has said that he places his stories in small towns because the cops are stupid. This might be true in many cases, but I think what John means is that they are not sophisticated, experienced, or well-equipped to handle many criminal situations. This might be because they are poorly trained, or never worked in a major city, or solved any major crimes and therefore a murder in their small town might be beyond their capabilities. Or perhaps the city’s budget for crime-fighting is so small that they can’t afford to hire experienced officers, or forensic experts, or even do autopsies. It might be that those in power are just flat out criminally corrupt, or lazy, or incompetent. If your story is set in a major city, such as Los Angeles, New York, Houston, or Miami, then sophisticated crime-fighting techniques, equipment, labs, and experts are easily available. But if it’s set in a small town, none of these are available. Use this to add tension to your story.

Make the Evidence Controversial: Just because a certain individual’s fingerprints or DNA or shoe impressions are left at the crime scene, it does not mean that person is the perpetrator of the crime. The thing about evidence is that it creates linkage. It links a person, an object, or a place to another person, object, or place. That is, if Joe’s fingerprints are found at the scene of the crime it means that at some point in time Joe was at that location. It does not mean Joe is the one that killed Martha. This is why when police begin their interrogation of Joe they will first ask him if he has been in Martha’s home, or if he even knows Martha. If he says yes, he knows her well and has been in her home many times, then there may be a perfectly innocent reason for his fingerprints to be there. If he says no that he does not know her and has never been in her home, then Joe has some explaining to do. Such evidence that points in the wrong direction is very useful for creating classic red herrings in your story.

Howdunnit 200X267


Guest Blogger: TK Thorne: Confessions Of A Pantser

Confessions Of A Pantser


What’s The Best Way To Write A Novel?

by T.K. Thorne


A controversy rages over the best way to write a novel—plotter vs. pantser.  A plotter is a writer who outlines the plot points and/or scenes before diving into the writing. A pantser goes “by the seat of her pants,” plotting as she goes.

The truth is that writing a novel is a process that requires one’s entire brain in ways that neurological science has (yet) been able to completely understand.  For simplicity, let’s call it left brain and right brain processes. The left hemisphere is the origin for analytic/judgment making and the right brain is the origin of the creative/where-the-heck-did-that-come-from? You could also term it the conscious vs. the unconscious. I think in reality they both muck together a good bit, but we’ll use the terms for now.

One might say that plotters engage their left brain more in the planning process and pantsers use the right brain to come up with plot organically.  True and not true, but either way, I agree with Larry Brooks, who has postulated three stages for writing a novel.

• Search for Story

• Development of Story

• Polishing of Story

Both plotters and pantsers must follow these stages, although they do not have to occur precisely in order.  Sometimes you need to develop somewhat in order to find the story. Many writers advise writing a complete draft before you start polishing, but some writers polish as they go (which doesn’t mean you don’t need to rewrite. Robert Heinlein is the only person I know of who claimed he didn’t rewrite anything and I’m not sure I believe him or possibly he said that toward the end of his prolific career.)

Some people start with the story concept, which is different from a plot, by the way. A concept might arise from something as simple as a “What if—?” question. What if a radioactive spider bit a man giving him super spider powers?  What if young boys and girls went to a secret school to learn magic?

Wow, we have a concept, the first step in writing a novel, right?  Right . . . except not always.

It certainly can begin that way, and you can then explore the concept with an plot outline, noting the needed developmental points, develop the characters, and then write the story.  That may work best for you.

But it is not the only way to find story.

One day, I was brushing my teeth, and three words popped into my head, seemingly from nowhere.  The words were: “You’re a hero.”  I literally had nothing more, but felt the need to put my fingers on the keyboard and find out what lurked in my right brain/subconscious. Quickly spitting out toothpaste, I ran to my laptop and typed those words and then . . . let the muse play.  I’ve ended up with a novel and concept for two additional books.


On another occasion, I “saw” an image of a young girl listening to her grandmother and just started writing the scene, which turned out to be Noah’s Wife.  My next novel, Angels At The Gate, began without even a scene in mind, just a few words out of an audacious young girl’s mind.


So how exactly did that work?  Angels was loosely based on the biblical story of Lot’s wife. If you recall, she is the lady who looked back at the burning city of Sodom and turned into a “pillar of salt.” Nameless and only granted that one famous line, she didn’t give me much to go on. But I figured even as a child, she must have had a little problem with obedience. That led to the idea of her as a young, impetuous girl hiding a puppy in her robe. It could have been her own pup, but given the obedience issue, I decided she stole it. To explain why she stole it, I had to invent a character (the pup’s owner) who gave her a reason. (She overheard him say he was going to throw it into the cook pot.) And so it went. The characters determined what happened, or at the least, how they reacted to whatever I threw at them.

In both cases, I did prior research about the time period, but I had no idea what the story would be.  I wrote based on the first words that came out, building layer by layer. You don’t have to keep those words, but they provide a launching place. A work of quality can emerge from this process. Both novels won national awards.

With that experience, I am tempted to give my truest advice with two words—Go Play!

On the other hand, I have been writing and studying the craft of writing (omg!) for 40 years. According to Malcolm Gladwell, who studies such things, it takes 10,000 hours to be an expert in anything.

So, read, study, and play for 10,000 hours.

Does that mean don’t try writing novels before you have the millage?  Absolutely not! Seven “practice novels” slumber in my computer, unpublished.  Writing them is part of playing and practicing.  It’s important.  And maybe it won’t take you that many!

In reality, plotters and pantsers exist on a continuum, and I am no exception.  My brain, no doubt, is bouncing back and forth as I work, right to left, left to right, subconscious to conscious, and vice versa (as my husband who is trying to get my attention will tell you.) I may start out totally by playing, but at some point I am imaging scenes and dialogue in advance and write toward that. I may or may not make notes about where I’m going, but it is very helpful to have a ending in mind, even if it is a vague one.  And there are definite places (plot points) in most fiction where certain types of things need to happen, and knowing where they are is helpful.

What I don’t do is set how to get there in stone, because I like surprises as much as a reader. If I don’t know what is going to happen next, neither will the reader.  On the other hand, it is scary to start without knowing where you are going, especially if you have a publisher waiting for a book or if you are working on a series and don’t want to box yourself in by doing something in book one or two that will make book three not work.

So, I will amend my advice: Do what works for you. Be a plotter or a pantser, or something in between, or switch as you go. Whatever works is the right way.

A retired Birmingham police captain, T.K. Thorne’s award-winning novels, Noah’s Wife and Angels At The Gate: The Story of Lot’s Wife, fill in the backstories of unknown, extraordinary women in two of the world’s most famous sagas. Her non-fiction book, Last Chance For Justice: How Relentless Investigators Uncovered New Evidence Convicting the Birmingham Church Bombers, made the NY Post’s “Books You Should Be Reading” list. She blogs on her website,, and speaks on life lessons, her writing journey, and her books.

T.K. will be the keynote speaker at the upcoming “Writing In The 21st Century” writer’s conference in Huntsville, Alabama.


Posted by on September 22, 2016 in Writing


New DEEP SIX Review From the Midwest Book Review

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Ex-professional baseball player Jake Longly adamantly refuses to work for his father, wanting no part of Ray’s PI world. He prefers to hang out at his beachfront bar and chase bikinis along the sugary beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama. But Ray could be persuasive, so Jake finds himself staking out the home of wealthy Barbara Plummer, a suspected adulteress. The mission seems simple enough―hang around, take a few pictures, sip a little bourbon. Except Barbara gets herself murdered right under Jake’s nose.

When Jake launches into an investigation of his target’s homicide, he quickly runs afoul of Ukrainian mobster Victor Borkov. Aided by his new girlfriend Nicole Jemison and Tommy “Pancake” Jeffers, his behemoth employee with crazy computer skills, Jake tries to peel away the layers of the crime. The deeper the intrepid trio delves, the more murders start to pile up, leading them to Borkov’s massive yacht — where they just might be deep-sixed.

In “Deep Six”, author D. P. Lyle has once again written a consistently compelling novel that will riveting his reader’s total attention from beginning to end. This is the stuff from which block-buster movies are made! While unreservedly recommended for community library Mystery/Thriller Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading list that “Deep Six” is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).


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Posted by on September 13, 2016 in Writing

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