Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Blog Tour: Guest Post & Giveaway - Welcome to Nursing HELLo: A Graphic Memoir by Joel Craig


Welcome to Nursing HELLo: A Graphic Memoir
by Joel Craig

Publisher: Joel Craig
Pages: 190
Genre: Graphic Memoir/Nonfiction
Format: Paperback
  • Welcome to Nursing HELLo: A Graphic Memoir is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.


This nurse is not out to save the world. He’s too busy dodging bed pans and urine containers.  

What happens when all the jobs for movie star have been filled. The next best thing is to become a registered nurse and that is exactly what Joel Craig did. Here is Joel’s journey through the pitfalls, quicksand, and joy(s) of his profession told in a graphic memoir format. The book begins in the year 2007 with Joel’s story unfolding in chronological order.  

Such topics are discussed: dirty needle sticks, intimidating preceptors, job stress, and cursing on the job. Joel has imaginary conversations with rockstar Madonna, who is preparing to play Nurse Ratched on Broadway, who gives him advice along the way. Nursing students and new nurses can learn from Joel’s mistakes and what NOT to do as well as what to do. But they will get a little peek into what it’s like being a new nurse. This is almost like a small shock absorber to make the transition to new nurse not so bumpy. Also actors, writers and any creative person who appreciate the struggles of an artist in a world where art and commerce are seldom friends, will appreciate this book.


About the Author: 

JOEL CRAIG is a nurse who works at a busy hospital in Los Angeles and lives with his husband, Donovan. They have been married twice with the second time finally being legal. In addition to writing about nursing, Joel is also an actor, having appeared in the films, Sideshow and Sordid Lives. Currently he is acting in the web series, What’s My Intention? He's working on his next graphic novel, Vampire Nurse in Hollywood.

His latest book is the graphic memoir/nonfiction, Welcome to Nursing HELLo: A Graphic Memoir.

For More Information:

Here are a list of my five favorite books that have influenced me as a writer. ~ Joel Craig


1.      Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person by Miriam Engelberg 

This book was why I started drawing cartoons at age thirty-nine. Engelberg tells her story about getting breast cancer and what goes along with that. This book is told in a series of cartoons. The story is heavy but it has its hilarious moments. There is this depth to her writing that is illustrated with these crude and simplistic drawings but it works as a book. I didn’t care if the pictures were good or not because I was so taken in with the story. One interesting story is when Miriam tells people at work in a mass email with the subject: “I have cancer” and in the body of the email that also the new Intro to Excel Manual is finished. The characters are interesting too, such as Dina the lab technician with a puppet who says, “Don’t worry, cheer up kitty and I are on the job, praise the lord.”    

Miriam’s priorities change. She says after surgery and chemo, “Yeah, I know, I should be meditating and journaling and reflecting…but I don’t feel like it. I’m still waiting for some kind of epiphany so that I can use illness to turn my life around. But in the meantime I’m just going to watch Judge Judy and read a magazine.”      

On a personal note, I’ve read the book when I first purchased it in 2009 and later re-read in 2013 with a different perspective after my father died of cancer in 2011. This is one of those books I read and get something new and different each time. Okay, so I’ve like depressed everyone but keep reading. I have a silly book on my list too. Just take a look at number two.

2.  Life With My Sister Madonna by Christopher Ciccone 

This book is JUST PLAIN FUN. I love making fun of Madonna and her brother in this non-fiction story. It’s like eating candy. I can’t take too much at one sitting or I’ll be sick. I have not, in any way, made myself a better human being by reading about: Madonna’s tantrums, silly situations where she has had two Lemon Drop drinks with someone dumping candle wax in her hair or, nasty fights with her brother over whether butter should or should not be placed on the table at Thanksgiving. But I’ve enjoyed myself immensely.  


“I have up my F#$% life to help make you the evil queen you are today…15 years listening to your bitching, egotistical rantings, mediocre talent, and a lack of taste that would stun the ages…every ounce of talent you have, you have sucked dry from me and the people around you”


3.  Drinking at the Movies by Julia Wertz 

Here is the story of a twenty something girl that had a dream and moved to New York. She wanted to set the world on fire with her cartoons and she did exactly that. She tells her story in a series of cartoons. Her self-depreciating humor makes the story fascinating. She writes about real problems like work conflicts. She writes about interesting people who come into the bar where she works such as with the homeless man that the management left her to deal with. Then there is also “the Urinator”, this other guy who came into the bar also and would pee in the corner of the room when no one was looking. But all she had to do there was clean up urine. Julia has lupus and no health insurance and, also she drinks too much. At times she can be too self-involved but she’s still entertaining. She published some books and still struggled to make a living. As a writer, I can identify with that struggle.     

Julia Wertz opens her book with, “On the day I turned twenty five, I came to consciousness at three am in a twenty four hour laundromat in Brooklyn, New York, eating crackerjacks in my pajamas. To understand how I got there, we need to go back one year…”     

This book gave me permission to write about my negative character flaws. In my book, Welcome To Nursing HELLo, a Graphic Memoir my character flaws spill out onto the page quite effortlessly. People get the complete truth as opposed to just bits and selected pieces.


4.  Awakening the Actor Within by C. Stephen Foster 

This book is for any artist, not just actors. It’s for anyone who started out young, got beaten down by people saying, “No, you can’t….” and stopped them in their creative process.        

Foster gives the reader exercises about acting to help them do their job. One exercise is the “vein of gold” exercise from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way.  The “vein of gold” is a certrain range actors are born to play, roles that come effortlessly. Stephen explains, “If cast outside their vein of gold they use their craft and technique to play the character.” In this exercise you list your five favorite movies and favorite childhood book. Then list your favorite scene from each movie. The actor can find similar relationships, characters, themes they can identify with and that are important to them in playing a part. But any artist can use this tool to find out more about themselves and why they create the things they do.  Foster gives us these exercises that are fun to try and also he relates his personal experience as an actor where these exercises have given remarkable and unexpected results.

Foster gives us quotes and stories from artistic people who drive home what he is communicating.  He mentions quotes from Woody Allen, Chekov, my favorite, Madonna, and more. Anton Chekov says, “If you want to work on your acting, work on your life.” Stephen echoes these words throughout the exercises in his book.    

Even if you are not a writer, actor, or painter, this book is fun in unpeeling the layers of your personality and becoming more aware of why you are you. 


5. Jihad Honeymoon in Hollywood, Not Without My Dogs by Juliet Montague 

Juliet is a retired court reporter living the dream in Hollywood as an actor and stand-up comedian.  She has made just enough to cover her SAG insurance for six of the ten years she has lived there. Julie falls in love with Ali, a man twenty-two years her junior and Muslim. Juliet is Christian. (Ali makes her remove the picture of Jesus in her hallway before he comes to her house.) For the first time really in her whole sixty two years (and not counting four husbands) has she been swept off her feet by this man sleeping with her in her basement. She even says “I had been married four times. It’s not that hard to find four men who need a place to live.”    

This book is hilarious but also heart breaking because Ali tells her “When I come into your house we are married. When I leave we are not married.”  What kind of crap is that? The romantic dinners Ali took her to are long gone (no more cozy dinners at  Polermo, an Italian restaurant in Los Feliz [just don’t get their chicken parmesan]). Instead he takes her to occasional runs to Zankou Chicken (that has festive fluorescent lighting) and stale donut desserts at the Donut Hut two blocks from her house.    

Actually this book is book two of the Muslim Romance Trilogy with book one being, The Year I Learned to Text, Why Am I sleeping With a Muslim in My Basement. The third one has not yet been published. Honeymoon is really 90% nonfiction and 10% fiction. I know Juliet so I’m reading about things that have actually happened. Each chapter begins the day number of her honeymoon (if you even want to call it that) and listings for alcohol and nicotine.

My favorites:

Honeymoon in Hollywood: Day No 8

Alcohol: Three rum and cokes, but who’s counting?

Nicotine: If ya got ‘em, smoke ‘em


Other alcohol entries:

Grapes are good for you.

Red wine after coitus.

Why not?

Reading this book taught me a LOT about writing comedy and it’s another escape/guilty pleasure. But it’s also about a human being just looking for love in all the wrong places. It’s a place where most of us have been at in some point in our lives. Julie I’m routing for you. I have my pompoms out. Give me a J. Give me a U. And you know the rest.


Joel is giving away three paperback copies of WELCOME TO NURSING HELLO, 3 pens, 3 magnets and (3) $25 Amazon Gift Cards!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Three winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter.
  • This giveaway begins November 3 and ends November 29.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, December 1.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Great list of books.. and thanks for sharing the excerpt :)