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Killer Nashville is upon us

15 Aug

It’s that exciting time of year when mystery writers come to town for the fabulous conference

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Killer Nashville founder Clay Stafford has outdone himself this year with the lineup of talent.

The Guests of Honor are Janet Evanovich and Kevin O’Brien (seriously).

Some of the other well-known authors for this year’s three-day conference include Anne Perry, William Kent Krueger, Charles Todd, John Seigenthaler.

There will be 60 educational sessions in addition to 9 breakout sessions. I will sit on two panels: Fiction as an instrument for social change on Saturday (should be some good discussion here!) and Find your angle (point of view) Sunday morning. If you’re attending KN, I’d love to see you at one or both of these sessions.

Eight agents and editors will be looking for new talent among the attendees. Sign up for a “roundtable” or chat with them in the halls, over lunch or hanging around…(but not in the restrooms, please.)

Lots (and lots) of awards will be given, critiques are available, there’ll be a ‘Shine & Wine tasting’ and a Mock Crime Scene just waits to be solved. These are just some of the events and activities that make Killer Nashville the unique and wonderful conference it is.

Last, but not least, Parnassus Books will set up shop to sell books and host book signings. And, yes, I’ll be there with The New Frontier. My “official” book signing will be Sunday at 1.

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Hope to see you at Killer Nashville August 19-21, 2016!

~ Kay

 

 

 

 
 

Sisterhood Moments

12 Aug

 

I joined Alpha Omicron Pi in college and have never looked back. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t have some kind of sister contact. The past week has been extra special.

I’ve been in a writing frenzy lately. I did take a sanity break for a standing weekly lunch date with a special AOII sister, but didn’t think I could spare the time away from work to join Hubby, his sister, niece and a favorite cousin for lunch when his cousin was in town last Friday. I’ve only met his cousin a few times, but each time I adored her. As soon as lunch was over, Hubby called to report he’d learned his cousin is an AOII. He assured me when the fact was discovered, he did the appropriate squeal on my behalf. Gotta love this man!

Later in the day a long time friend checked into what she lovingly calls the “Elam B&B” for a couple of nights. As we prepared for a workshop we were to conduct on Monday (more on that later), I took a break from writing and began a relaxing weekend.

Saturday we went to an event of the Nashville Area Alumnae Chapter: a pool party hosted by one of our alumna and her husband at their beautiful home. Their outdoor space was amazing–perfect for a party.

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We came home from the party and retreated to our own back porch. More cozy than where we’d spent the afternoon, but we relaxed and shared laughs with our out of town guest and another AOII sister–a neighbor I met only weeks ago but who I already know will be a great friend. Of course she will…she’s an AOII!

Then Monday came and I had the privilege of joining my weekend guest and another long-time friend from Kentucky in conducting a workshop on the rituals and traditions of AOII for the fourteen recent college graduates who will spend the next school year visiting our 200+ chapters.

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If this wasn’t exciting enough, one of the young ladies who will be representing AOII is from my collegiate chapter at Huntingdon College. If I’m not mistaken, she’s the first (in its 40 year history) to ever travel from Sigma Delta Chapter. I’m so proud of her!

In addition, my two RT&J (Rituals, Traditions & Jewelry) Committee colleagues and I slipped out for a special treat. We went to the vault at headquarters where we got to see, touch and read the very first Book of Rituals. It even contained some handwritten notes. The book was numbered #1. So cool! Major head rush! DSC06106

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 AOII is a HUGE part of my life. The past week or so it’s really come to the surface as I interacted with quite a few sisters I don’t normally see. It reminded me we can be different ages, from different collegiate chapters, live in different cities and have different lifestyles. It doesn’t matter. We all have the common bond of our sisterhood…and that lasts a lifetime.

~ Kay

 
 

The books are here

08 Aug

 

“The phone book’s here; the phone book’s here…I’m somebody now…I’m in print…Things are going to start happening to me now!” said Steve Martin’s character in one of the funniest movies of all time: The Jerk.

Steve Martin Link

I loved the excitement he portrayed in this scene, and I totally get it.

When I got my shipment of The New Frontier, the anthology that includes my short story “Good Friday,” I had that box cutter out before the UPS guy could get back to his truck.

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If it hadn’t been raining, I  might have reenacted the above scene in my neighborhood. But, it was storming so I had to settle for unpacking the books in my living room and stacking them in different formations.

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 I was one happy camper!

~ Kay

 
 

Exciting news — New Anthology Release

05 Aug

I am excited to announce the release of the anthology The New Frontier: Short Fiction and Poems From An Old and New World.

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My short story, Good Friday, is one of the dozen or so selections in this book, edited by Jennifer Steen and published by Inkception Books. It has been a joy working with the people at Inkception Books.

The publicity team at InkceptionBooks will be setting up some book readings/signings which I will post as soon as I have the dates.

I do know the book will be available at Killer Nashville August 19-21 and at the Southern Book Festival October 14-16. Both events are in Nashville. Books may be purchased for $12.99 plus tax.

Print copies may also be ordered now from CreateSpace and in the coming weeks from Amazon and Goodbooks. The publisher is working with a distributor to make it available soon in bookstores.

We’re expecting Kindle and Mobi e-book versions in a few weeks.

If you purchase a copy, please leave a review at each site that sells it as reviews generate sales.

If you’d like to host a signing event any of the authors in your neck of the woods would be happy to read and sign, I’m sure. Just let me know, and I’ll work with the publisher on the details.

Also exciting is an Inkceptions Books Halloween anthology scheduled for release in the fall. More about that soon.

Happy reading.

~ Kay

 

 

 

 
 

Ahhhhhh Pooh!!!!!!!!!!!!

11 Jul

Seven years ago when Hubby had MAJOR, SERIOUS, EMERGENCY surgery and spent ten long days in this same hospital, they had to remove about 12” of colon. They sewed it back together, then waited (and waited and waited) for it to work. He walked miles around the hospital trying to force something to happen.

His (now deceased) mom, a retired nurse, visited every day. She’d call before she left home to see if there was anything we needed. Her first question was always “Has he had a BM?” Huh? I was unaccustomed, thus uncomfortable, discussing bodily functions with others. When she arrived at the hospital, she would ask again. When she went home, she called as soon as she got there (about 30 minutes away) to see if “it” had happened even though I’d promised to call the minute he got a result. Hubby explained it was a normal question for her because she was a nurse. It still freaked me out.

A few years after that my dad was diagnosed with colon cancer. He’d had some procedure done and I mentioned to her I’d talked to him on the phone. It all clicked when she asked if he’d had a BM yet. With as straight a face as I could manage, I told her I didn’t know. We hadn’t discussed it.

This hospital stay for hubby was because he started vomiting Wednesday night and continued for about 14 hours. When they did a CT, they saw a bowel obstruction. Hoping it would clear on its own and he wouldn’t need surgery, they first put in an NG tube. After they removed it, they put him on clear liquids, then solid foods. The goal was to make sure his plumbing was working before discharging him.

His first day eating solid food, he felt queasy whenever he ate, but did whatever it took to keep the food down. (Throwing up would mean reinsertion of the dreaded tube which went through his nose, down his throat, into his stomach.) He managed to make it through the first day and overnight. The next morning (yesterday), he had oatmeal and coffee for breakfast. Before long, he turned green, then grey and his tummy distended–not good. He said he felt like he did Wednesday night. When the doctor rounded, he took him off all food and liquids, told him to wrap himself around the fact that he might need surgery and ordered an X-Ray to see if it showed anything. (It didn’t.) The question (in our minds) at that point was whether the surgery would be laparoscopic or traditional.

Hubby got a shot for nausea and we both took a nap. When he woke, he felt better, said he thought he’d turned a corner…but still no output from the bottom. When the doctor came back in, he said to try solid foods again to see if they could “force” something to happen.

Some good friends had stopped by after church with fried chicken, red beans and rice and German chocolate cake. I’d already eaten some (yummy!) but saved enough for Hubby. That’d either get things moving or get him puking. Either way, we’d have an answer. He kept it down and even ordered a hamburger from “room service” last night. But, still no poop.

This morning, however, EURIKA. Not one, but two BM’s.

What? I’m monitoring and even blogging about his bodily functions? I now understand what my mother-in-law was thinking. She’s probably LHAO from the great beyond.

So here we are, sitting in the hospital room, ready to be discharged. We’re all packed up, just waiting for the attending. My plan is to go home and sleep for…I don’t know…maybe a week. He’ll probably want to go back to work tomorrow.

I don’t claim to know a lot, but I know this. We’ve got to find a better place to spend quality time!

~ Kay

 
 

Oh no, not again!

07 Jul

You know, I have a pretty good life. No, I have a great life. Wonderful husband who adores me (most of the time), super friends (some going back as far as elementary and high school and college), fun neighbors. Our kids are grown, gone and happy with the life choices they’ve made. The two that are married picked girls absolutely perfect for them who were made for our family. We have two adorable grandsons. Sadly, they live in NC and we don’t get to love on them enough. But then, would it ever be enough? We have godchildren, nieces and a nephew whom we love, as well as loving, caring siblings. All four of our parents are gone (and we miss them), which makes us the oldest in each of our immediate families. But back to the happy: Hubby makes enough money that we can live a comfortable lifestyle, travel AND I don’t have to work; therefore, I can stay home and pursue my dream of writing.

Why then, is it I only blog when I’m in a twit about something? To be fair, when I started my blog, I posted faithfully three times a week for three full years. What I found was it was taking away from my “real” writing time. I could be a consistent blogger and let my craft suffer or I could post less often and focus on writing short stories and novels. I chose the latter. I’m still happy with the choice.

So back to my question: why are most of my blog posts when I’m upset or need to vent? I guess it’s cheaper than therapy. I constantly process my thoughts and feelings, though not usually in a public forum. But, when I also have information to impart this seems to be the easiest way.

Some backstory: In 2009, Hubby had emergency (and I do mean emergency) surgery for a bowel obstruction. For years, he’d though he got food poisoning easily. Then, one weekend, he had it for three days. On the second day he and a doctor friend diagnosed it over the PHONE. On day three, he finally let me take him to the ER. They did a CT, found a “mass” and had him in surgery before they finished prepping him. Scary stuff. It was the best possible outcome. He had a rare situation where a Meckels (he actually had two) had wrapped themselves around his bowels and cut off the flow. They had to remove about a foot of bowel and he was in the hospital for ten very long days. Meckels are kind of like an appendix, once gone, they don’t grow back. Unlike an appendix, only a few people have them.

Back to the present: Hubby got home from a meeting last night. His first sentence to me was, “I think I have food poisoning.” He headed to the bathroom as he told me he’d been throwing up since about 7:30. He’d eaten some organic carrots throughout the afternoon and thought perhaps they’d gone bad. On top of that, on his way to his meeting, he’d stopped for sushi (yuck—no wonder he was sick, but I digress). He vomited ALL NIGHT LONG. Literally. All. Night. Long. He couldn’t even keep a sip of water down. He got no sleep (and I got very little). About 5:30 he slept for about an hour and a half, but then was up vomiting again. This was his first episode of “food poisoning” since his Meckels surgery. Hummmmm…

I called our family doctor’s office who said they could see him about 10:15 and would call if they could get us in earlier. We were only five minutes away. As we left the house, I grabbed my phone and computer chargers, my iPad, and my toothbrush—enough to hold me overnight, just in case. Did I think we were going to spend the night at our doctor’s office? Not really, but something told me the journey wouldn’t end there.

During the short drive, we decided what he needed was fluids to replace what he’d thrown up, especially since with his recent mild heart attack and regiment of medicine to thin his blood, clots were a concern. We went into the doctor’s office and learned they didn’t have fluids in the office. After talking with the nurse, we decided to forego a doctor’s visit and go straight to the ER.

Now, I was heading to the hospital where he had his heart episode two weeks ago today, but Hubby said he’d rather go to another hospital all the way across town. Why? Fluids are fluids, Right?…Right???

Well…maybe he hadn’t told me the last couple of times he had thrown up it had smelled different, had a fecal odor. OKAY, new information! Yes, we’ll drive across town to the hospital that did his meckels surgery and has all of his medical records. Should this be a bowel obstruction presenting as food poisoning, that’s the hospital where he needs to be. But, why the hell hadn’t he told me this two hours earlier??? Why were we even going to the doctor’s office in the first place? Arrrghhh!!!!

I dropped him off at the ER and searched through two counties for parking. By the time I hiked back (no Uber in the parking garage), they had him in a room. EKG looked good. Not heart. Sigh of relief. Blood was drawn. Because of his history they took him for a CT. They got him hooked up to an IV of fluids and some pain meds. He was having some significant abdominal pain by then. The results of the CT came in: partial bowel obstruction. Damn. But, not surprised.

The good news is there wasn’t a complete obstruction. They had to admit him to the hospital but don’t have to do surgery…yet. They put an NG tube in his throat (so he can’t eat or drink) and they hope the obstruction will resolve on its own…in 2 to 5 days. If not, then surgery is back on the table.

So, there you have it. Here we are. Back in the hospital. This time across town from home. One plus…his hospital bed has an air mattress. He’s lost about 13 pounds from this vomiting so I think his hospital bed is big enough for two! We’ll see 🙂

~ Kay

 
 

Be still my heart

25 Jun

Hubby and I are at that age (61) where ailments are going to start catching up with us…even if we work out three times a week, like my Hubby does. (I plead the fifth.) 

Thursday, after his “normal” three-hour workout at the YMCA, he called to say he was going to Costco to pick up a few things. A little while later he called back. I was expecting him to tell me he’d found something cool on his trip (he loves Costco), like the latest and greatest big-screen-TV, but instead, he said, “Kay, I’m in trouble.”

Of course, as my heart dropped to my feet, my response was “What’s wrong?” Had he been hit by a car? Lost his wallet? Something worse? 

Hubby: Both of my arms hurt—bad—and my chest hurts, too.

Me: Where are you? 

Hubby: Sitting…on a bench outside Costco.

Now, it was about 95 degrees with humidity to match…this was about 4 p.m.

Me: Go inside where it is air conditioned and sit inside. Tell them you need help. Do you have water?

Hubby: I drank plenty of water while working out but don’t have any now.

Me: Tell them to give you some water. Stay on the phone with me. 

I could hear him talking to the door person at Costco. It was obvious he was showing her his card. WTF?

Costco is about 20-25 minutes from our house; our hospital of preference another 20-25 minutes farther. We decided he should call an ambulance. A friend from out of town was visiting. She and I jumped in my car and headed to Costco. Even if I could get there to take him to the hospital myself, I had no medical equipment in my car and, if I did, I wouldn’t know how to use it. Ambulance. Best call. 

As we were turning into Costco, the medic called and said they were on their way to the hospital.  

Me: Our hospital of choice?

Medic: No, Nearest hospital.  

Damn. I knew what that meant. Hubby had been overruled by the ambulance team based on EKG. Hubby’s dad had died of a heart attack at age 58. Take a deep breath, Kay. His dad smoked three packs a day and didn’t work out. Hubby had never smoked and well, I’ve already said he’s a bit of a work-out fanatic IMHO. 

Of all the times NOT to follow Hubby’s example of keeping ½ tank of gas in my car…I was sitting on empty. I filled up at Costco, and my friend and I sped the five miles or so to the closest hospital. The good news was this hospital is only about fifteen minutes from our house. 

My friend who drove in with me had someone come pick her up and they went to Costco to rescue Hubby’s car and take it home. I made a list of things I “needed” from home (computer, blanket, wool socks, change of clothes for him and me, tooth brush, phone chargers, etc.) in case he had to stay overnight.

I won’t relive the hours of tests, blood work and waiting done prior to the decision to do a heart cath. We really liked the cardiologist on call. He did the Echo cardiogram himself and when the repeat blood work worsened (okay I relived it a little), he came back in and the cath team was activated.  

Once called they had thirty minutes to get ready for the procedure, so things started hopping. People were working on both sides of him putting in IVs and such. 

I hadn’t called the kids (only youngest is local) because we didn’t know anything until then, but at this point I called him and texted his out of town brothers. He called them on his way to the hospital. He got here and was with me during the procedure, which took very little time. 

Long and short of it: it was a “very unusual finding” which is why the tests were inconclusive. He had a partial clot in the left anterior desceding coronary artery. In other words, a mild heart attack. 

They moved him to CCU. His son got to visit as did a couple of friends who dropped by. The very kind nurse found me a reclining chair. I thought I’d write all night, but I slept for about three hours. Storms rolled through, so that was interesting to watch. The next morning the doctor decided to anti-coagulate him all weekend then re-cath him on Monday to see what is causing the clot. Our hope is the clot will have dissolved over the weekend and everything else will look good. Another night in CCU. At least the severe pain was gone.

As I write this, we are waiting for them to move him to a room on the floor. Advantages: room will be bigger and have a bathroom with a shower. Disadvantages: In CCU he had 2:1 Nurse to Patient ratio—on floor it will be higher, On the floor he will be monitored with telemetry where he can move around more freely (which he sees as an advantage. I, on the other hand, would prefer he remain still until they do the 2nd cath in case there are any issues. But, my medical credentials have long been revoked, AND no one asked me!)

I spent the first night here in a very hard, kind-of reclining chair. Last night, I went home and got a great night’s sleep until he texted me this morning adding something to the list of items to bring from home. I got all of the plants and the yard watered. A kind neighbor will be doing this until we get home from the hospital. Maybe the chairs in the regular rooms will be more comfortable.

As the news has spread, we’ve been awed by the outpouring of love from family, his friends, my friends, our friends, work colleagues, neighbors… My “update list” has about 75 people on it. Wow!

He’s been bored silly so the e-mails, texts, calls and visits have helped keep his spirits up.

I have a couple of friends who have dealt with chronic health issues (either themselves or their husbands) and have been in and out of hospitals most of their adult lives. I’ve always admired their fortitude; Now, I’m really astonished. Had I been in their shoes, I’d probably be CEO of a funny farm somewhere by now. I may be a junior officer before the weekend is over.

 ~ Kay

 
 

Mother’s Day Post

07 May

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New Frontier

26 Apr

I have another short story coming out in an anthology to be released in June. We just got the cover.

 

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Cool, huh? ~Kay

 

 

 
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It’s finally spring

19 Apr

It is finally spring at my house. Yesterday I moved all of the plants outside. Well, I didn’t, exactly. I hired some young, strong guys to move the big, bulky heavy ones.

 

Anyway, the back porch and patio are clean and plants are in place. We never stopped barbecuing (even in the snow).

 

Best of all, we have a new (temporary resident) right outside the back door. She’s not afraid of us. Sometimes she stays on her nest and sometimes she flies off and leaves us to guard her eggs.  Here are some pictures.

 

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Happy Spring

~Kay

 

 

 
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