Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Online Marketing on Unsplash

In the U.S, any discussion of healthcare invariably includes the ridiculously high cost of everything, including insurance premiums, hospital bills and many medications. Still, there are some steps you can take to mitigate expenses.

I learned to navigate health care the old-fashioned way: because I had to.

From preemie twins in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, to an older a son with multiple health conditions, to my aging mother, I have spent time in hospitals, can compare multiple ERs, researched specialists, acquired medical records, filed appeals (and won), and paid attention to countless medical bills.

My work experience includes fifteen…


Every author is an “authorpreneur” and CEO of their writing business. Watching a business-themed reality TV show was great training for being ready to pitch my book

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

I can binge watch Shark Tank. It is one of my go-to shows to watch while I am on the treadmill at the gym or if I need to veg out on the couch. As an author, after watching so many episodes I can recognize a great pitch.

It’s more than watching the art of the deal. As a people person, I love watching the human interactions and negotiations, and studying who is successful and why. Every entrepreneur and business is different. But watch enough episodes and common themes and behaviors repeat again and again.

The Emmy-award winning show is…


Hire a darn good editor before publishing a book. But editors can miss something, or technical errors can occur. It is still the author’s name on the book, not the editor’s. It happened to me.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

You, the author, are one-hundred percent responsible for the quality of the book you write. Sure, the job of an editor is to polish your work and make it shine. But it’s your work, not theirs.

Your best friend’s mother’s sister who was a high school English teacher falls into the category of nice person, or perhaps a reading critique, but does not substitute for a professional editor.

By editor, I mean a professional editor trained in the details of the Chicago Manual of Style and who can spot developmental and content issues. …


Two years ago Shelly suddenly stopped responding to emails, phone calls, texts, or private messages on social media. I still ask myself “What did I do wrong?”

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Mikael Kristenson on Unsplash

Shelly and I met at a writer’s group a year earlier. We clicked. We shared a lot of similar interests. Shelly was smart, ambitious, a whiz at marketing, and outgoing. But …. it was Spring 2016 and two completely opposite candidates vied for the White House. We each held strong feelings for and against one of the candidates.

More than strong feelings, she aimed for a high-level position in her candidate’s campaign. She posted daily on social media about how wonderful her candidate was. I hesitated. So often the political choices we make reflect the core values of who we…


Łazienki Park, Warsaw Poland by Katrina Shawver 2013
Łazienki Park, Warsaw Poland by Katrina Shawver 2013
Photo by author, Łazienki Park in Warsaw; Poland, 2013.

If there was a Masters degree for the School of Trial and Error, I would have several. The lessons from my failures have taught me more than additional letters and degrees after my name.

Life is rarely a straight line. Sure, one strategy for success is to begin with the end in mind (thank you Stephen Covey.) It is a wise and proven step towards effective goal setting that I employ when I can. An effective writing exercise in this vein is to write your own obituary. Now that, is true planning for the end.

Similarly, Yogi Berra is quoted…


A pandemic? Worldwide virus? It didn’t seem relevant to me. Sure we had Ebola but that was limited primarily to Africa. And there was SARS, H1N1 and others. But they didn’t affect me personally. They happened elsewhere, to other people, or in crowded conditions where illness can spread fast. Not in 2020, not me and not in the middle-class suburbs of Phoenix Arizona where I live.

Two doctors put on PPE to care for patient
Two doctors put on PPE to care for patient

My husband and I attended an outdoor Irish Festival in Phoenix on Saturday March 7. Lines were long, the bagpipes fabulous, the fiddles fiddled, and the beer flowed. We had not one thought of…


Image for post
Image for post

Sadly, I am learning more all the time, and I am angry.

On the evening of October 27, 2018, I received the 2018 Polish Heritage Award from the Polish American Congress of Arizona for my “contribution to the documentation of the suffering inflicted on Polish people during the Holocaust.” This award stands as an honored and public acknowledgment that when I wrote my book HENRY: A Polish Swimmer’s True Story of Friendship from Auschwitz to America, and teach on Poland and the Holocaust, I “got it right.” Did I mention I am neither Polish or Jewish?

So, what is the irony? The next morning, I woke up to realize that the same…


Have you read any obituaries lately? Reading about how other people lived their lives, may inspire you to look at yours in a different way.

I have read obituaries for years and learn something from each one. They are a window into the lives of regular people, as written by those left behind. Many include a public announcement of the upcoming funeral or memorial service. Call me dated, but I still read the print newspaper every morning, and subscribe to an online edition of another city’s paper. I prefer traditional journalism to biased websites, and I know my subscriptions help…


Image for post
Image for post

The ill-fated Warsaw Uprising began 74 years ago on August 1, 1944 and lasted for 63 days. Nearly 200,000 Poles were killed.

Yet I ask myself, why don’t more people know about the Uprising. Like most Americans without a Polish connection or proximity to a strong Polish community, I had never heard of or read about the Warsaw Uprising before meeting Henry Zguda and studying Poland. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943 yes, but not the Polish Warsaw Uprising that came a year later. I have several theories that may explain.

I have found that World War II history is…


I recently published my first book, a nonfiction biography that took fifteen years from start to finish. One of the first questions everyone asks is “What took so long?” I like to defer the question with a broad answer that it was not a continuous effort, which is partly true. The extension of that statement is that life happens, and I now recognize that ADHD is a permanent part of my DNA.

Image for post
Image for post

I envy disciplined writers who get up every day at four or five in the morning, sit down, and write non-stop for two hours. Or four, eight, ten…

Katrina Shawver

Author of Henry: A Polish Swimmer ….. from Auschwitz to America. Loves to use an innate curiosity to provoke thought and find untold stories. katrinashawver.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store