It’s been 3 years since my father died. Still miss him.
January 1, 1935 – November 20, 2013
I had the pleasure of visiting my Alma mater, Huntingdon College, in Montgomery, Alabama, earlier this week…on Halloween to be exact.
I was the guest of the English Department. Tom Perin, professor and author himself, interviewed me in a Town Hall type setting. The audience consisted of honors students and participants in a program called Practicing the Art of Critical Thinking which focuses on “leading lives that matter.”
Also in attendance were some of the lovely AOIIs from the chapter on campus. It is always fun to see and visit with them.
Here are some photos of the session.
It was a long day—Montgomery is about four hours away—but we still got home in time for Trick or Treat. Major thanks to Hubby for doing all of the driving!
A great big thank you to Joel & Carol Tomlin of Landmark Booksellers in Franklin, Tennessee, for including me in their author signings at Saturday’s Pumpkin Fest.
Except for the 85 degree heat (it’s October in Tennessee, folks. What’s with that???), which melted the chocolate candy I had out for the trick-or treaters, it was a great day. Lots of imaginative costumes parading by…my favorite was a homemade Smores where Mom and Dad were the Graham Crackers (cardboard with black holes) and the daughter was the melting mushroom, all dressed in white tulle. I didn’t get a photo of that one, but I got a picture of another cutie.
I had all three anthologies (which are available on Amazon) and sold some of each!
Also a big shout out to a sorority sister, writing friend, and neighbor/friend who came out to support me in spite of the horrendous parking situation. Thanks, Rina, Tom, and Susan! Of course, much gratitude to my Honey who toted boxes, braved the heat, and all around ran interference. He’s my rock!
We took some booth shots before the streets got jammed with people. Those shadows in the photos are not due to lack of skills on the part of photographer(s)…they are ghosts.
Happy Halloween! Be safe!
I love Fall–the colors, the weather, our anniversary, Halloween. Well, Halloween, isn’t that big of a deal, though it’s fun watching the kiddies in their costumes. But I don’t like scary. I really don’t like scary. (I have nightmares.)
Along those lines, I don’t read horror; I don’t watch horror. Apparently, however, I can write horror. Go figure!
Last year I had a short story, The Trolls, published in an anthology published by Elephant’s Bookpress
I had a great experience with a different publisher when I published a contemporary short story Good Friday in an anthology by Inkception Books:
The Inception editors were so delightful to work with when they announced a Halloween anthology, I thought, “What the heck, I’ll try to write another horror story.” Knowing horror isn’t my forte, I created two short stories, Oh, Baby! and Hormones of Horror, to give myself a better chance of having one accepted and guess what! Yep, both are in the anthology.
The Creepy Collection came out this week, just in time for Halloween. What a fun time of year to promote a book. It even has a TRAILER!!! Check it out.
I’m doing a book signing at Landmark Books in Franklin during the Pumpkin Fest on Saturday, October 29th from 10-12 a.m.
On Halloween, I’ll be visiting my alma mater, Huntingdon College, in Montgomery to discuss my professional journey with the students in the “Practicing the Art of Critical Thinking” program which focuses on the topic “leading lives that matter.”
I hope to see lots of friends at the events in Franklin and Montgomery. If not, all three books are available on Amazon.
And, yes…I’m still working on my novels.
We visited middle son and family this summer, but had not spent any quality time with our oldest or youngest, so we decided to take them to NYC. Youngest had never been and with a pregnant wife, this might be his last chance without a baby on board which would change the dynamics of the trip.
Youngest and DIL live near here so we flew up on Thursday, arriving mid-day. We stayed at the Doubletree Suites on Time Square on the 32nd floor so our views were spectacular. We could see Central Park/mid-uptown out one window and Broadway in all of her splendor out the other.
Oldest son lives in Baltimore, but travels a good bit so he is in the City a lot. He couldn’t join us until Friday afternoon, so we had to start exploring without him.
Waiting for Phantom of the Opera The BEST way to see the park
Can’t miss the M&M Store
The fountain from “FRIENDS” in Central Park.
Our version of “the jump”
Our “mission” while there was to eat as much pizza as possible. We went to John’s (our favorite) two or three times. We tried to go to Sal’s, but they were closed early, we had a tour scheduled and couldn’t wait around. Next time. We went to a fancy Italian restaurant as well. Good food, but all in all, give me John’s. It’s an old church across from the theatres with a beautiful stained glass ceiling in the back.
When Oldest joined us we did touristy things like Empire State Building (go late–shorter lines; better yet, spring for line jumper pass. It costs about twice as much but time is at a premium).
A (new) fun tour for us was The Ride. I highly recommend it.
Naturally, we had to have a little culture. We toured the American Museum of Natural History and the Guggenheim and booked a guided tour at the Tenement Museum. An unexpected, last minute add-on (that was on City Pass) was the Adventure Museum. We chose the Star Wars Exhibit. It was super cool.
Of course we went to the 911 memorial. Last time we were there we did the guided tour outside. This time we did the Museum tour. It was worth the price of our City Pass to skip the lines. Guided Tour was extra, but it got us to the front of the security line. Tour was outstanding. I cried through the whole thing.
The weather was perfect, but the streets were hard and my back still hurts even though I switched shoes every day. I always love the energy of NYC whenever I go, but I’m usually ready to come home when it is time to leave.
Note: We didn’t break even by buying the City Pass and we tried! It was still worth it, however, because of the line jumping priviledge at several places (not the Empire State Building–they have a separate program).
The important thing: Youngest got a taste of NYC, including how to use the subway, how easy it is to navigate the street system, and that it truly is a city that never sleeps.
One of DIL’s friends asked if this was their “babymoon,” apparently something couples do now before the birth of their first child. She explained they were going with her in-laws, but then paused and said maybe so… After all, we were on their honeymoon (after their destination wedding.) Gotta love the way kids are doing life’s events these days.
Oldest son is in Baltimore and still single, middle son is married with two sons, and youngest son and his wife are expecting their first in early February. Hubby and I were honored to host their Gender Reveal Party. We had a blast planning and executing it.
We started with a pink and blue tulle wreath for the front door. Our playlist was thirty songs with the word “baby” in the title. Guests came inside and signed a picture of the sonogram with either pink or blue ink. They also picked a pink or blue clothes pin to wear indicating their guess as to gender. Dauthter-in-law made a chalk board of “old wives tales” to assist with the voting. (Of course the vote count didn’t matter; it didn’t change anything.)
We had pink lemonade and blue Hawaiian punch. In addition, we made a watermelon fruit bowl to resemble a baby in a crib. (Thanks, Pinterest!)
We also did a veggie platter that was a cabbage patch, complete with the cabbage patch baby.
Daughter-in-Law made her killer meatballs, and we had pink and blue candy sticks and mints. The cake was blue trimmed in pink with the cake color indicating the gender.
Now, DIL and I have said it was a girl from day 1. Son was counting on a boy. (#2 son was also hoping for a boy so he could ship off hand-me-down clothes.). Obviously, one of them was going to be disappointed (short of twins which we knew wasn’t the case.)
We put the box outside on the firepit. The looks on their faces say it all, I think.
…and Harper Marie Elam already has a stack of outfits on our dresser. A granddaughter…she’ll have her two cousins wrapped around her little finger…either that or they’ll have her climbing trees and digging for worms. Either way, Hubby and I will be delighted to have three fabulous grandchildren.
We are the proud grandparents of two grandSONS, ages 4 1/2 and 1 1/2. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see them as often as we’d like as they live in North Carolina with middle son (the Marine) and his beautiful wife.
We visited them in their home for a long weekend this summer and had some quality Grammy and Pappy time. We took books and read them over and over and over. The older one is into trucks — any size, shape, kind.
The younger one follows in big brothers footsteps, literally. They’ve learned to ride their bike and trike.
Here are a few pictures from to help us remember this special weekend.
A couple of weeks ago a writing friend and her husband invited us to a concert at The Schermerhorn. It was the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s 50 year anniversary tour. Wow!
My friend’s husband owns a recording studio on Music Row and is an accomplished musician himself. Lead singer Jeff Hannah and his wife, country music star Matraca Berg (who was out of town and missed the concert,) are personal friends of the couple.
Jeff gave them back stage passes so after the (fabulous) show we got to “hang out” with the band. So cool. After traversing the bowels of the Schermerhorn to find them (with the aide of a security guard and someone from the band’s staff), we got to their dressing room. There weren’t a lot of people, so we got to chat with each of the band members. Jeff’s son, Jamie, played a few numbers with them as a special treat. Talk about a proud papa. We chatted with Jamie and his lovely wife as the band went to the lobby for a short meet and greet with a group of fans.
Nashvillians are surrounded by celebrities and we are known for not getting star-struck. We see them in the grocery store, at the gas station, shopping and out and about. We know it isn’t cool to gush all over them. This is their home, after all. It’s where they should be able to relax and be themselves without folks fawning all over them.
However, we were “uncool” and did take a photo with Jeff. He was most gracious and we couldn’t resist.
Just in case you need your memory jogged, some of their most famous singles include: Mr. Bojangles, I Saw the Light, Jambalaya On the Bayou, All I Have to Do is Dream, Fire in the Sky, Baby’s Got a Hold on Me, Fishin’ in the Dark, Bang, Bang, and I fought the Law.
They have almost as many albums as they have years together. Probably the best known are their collaborative albums Will the Circle Be Unbroken I, II and III. They have Grammy Awards, CMA Awards…well, they have too many awards and honors to list them all.
Amazingly Jeff Hanna and Jimmie Fadden have been with the group the entire 50 years. Jimmy Ibbotson joined them in 1969 and has been with them off and on (mostly on) ever since. Bob Carpenter since 1979. Amazingly, none of them look old enough to have been playing for 50 years…remember, I saw them up close.
So thanks to my writing friend, Lisa Berryhill Davis, and her sweet husband, Michael, for a delightful evening out. As my hometown newspaper would say…A good time was had by all.
Kevin O’Brien & Janet Evanovich
Clay Stafford, Kevin O’Brien, Janet Evanovich, and Robert Randisi
Hubby & me with Janet Evanovich