New York Adventures

20 Oct

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.

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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.

~ Kay


Baby, I Need your Loving

17 Oct

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.)

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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.

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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.


DIL’s brother’s girlfriend knew the gender along with DIL’s mom, Hubby, and me, and she made a giant box filled with balloons for SON and DIL to open at the big moment.img_3098

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.


It’s a Girl!

…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.

Can’t wait!

~ Kay



Grandsons are fun-sons…

14 Oct

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.

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14492387_10208858296072940_6562261040650055674_nCan’t wait to see them again before Christmas.

~ Kay


Nitty Gritty Dirt Band… still rocking after all these years

12 Oct

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.

~ Kay



Killer Nashville…Yes, it was

11 Oct

This post is a bit late (can we say 6 weeks?), but better late than never.

“They” say a picture is worth a thousand words. I think I have a short story here!


Hobnobbing with the Stars:

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Robert Randisi


Anne Perry








Kris Calvin




                             Kevin O’Brien & Janet Evanovich

Clay Stafford, Kevin O’Brien,  Janet Evanovich, and Robert Randisi










                                             Hubby & me with Janet Evanovich



On a couple of panels:

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My Book Signing:

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Hope to see you at Killer Nashville, 2017!

~ Kay


Killer Nashville is upon us

15 Aug

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


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




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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.


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.





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


 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.


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.



 I was one happy camper!

~ Kay

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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




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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