Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A BUMP IN MY ROAD




My travels have taken a long detour since my last post, which was in August. That was the month my eclipse anthology, DAY OF THE DARK, came out. Also the actual eclipse, which happened in my own back yard. All our kids came here to see it, which was a wonderful thing, considering what happened next.

I’d been looking for a place for my husband to stay for quite a few months. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 4 years ago and Parkinson’s 3 years ago. It was especially cruel for him to have diseases that attacked both his brain and his body. However, he handled everything with incredible bravery and grace. His attitude was, it is what it is and we’ll deal with it. He was never angry. I was angry enough for both of us. Through everything he struggled to do everything he possibly could and never gave up on anything.

By July or so, his care had gotten to be too much for me, even with home health aides a few hours a day. The middle of August, he moved into a nice, small, residential facility. They took very good care of him there, but he continued to decline, more rapidly than before. After only a month in the home, he passed away, on September 21st, a day that will be etched in my mind forever.

I had a September deadline for my next novel, the first in the Vintage Sweets series. I contacted my agent in July or so and told her I knew I wouldn’t be able to meet that deadline. In fact, I stopped being able to write at all in August. August, September, and October, I was consumed by his dying and then by the aftermath.



I know many other women, and men, too, have gone through losing a long-time spouse. We were married for 50 years in June. I draw hope from the strength of the people I know who have been through this, and bless every single one of them who have contacted and supported me. I hope to pass this on in the future, as they have done.

My husband’s niece sent me this anonymous poem that spoke to me, almost out loud. I’ve posted it here in case it can give anyone else comfort and some measure of making sense of everything.

Also, I have been able, this month, to start writing again and hope to finish my first draft by the end of the year. It’ll be tight, but I’m working hard, so I may not post every week here. But I’ll get back to my blog eventually on a regular basis.

One or the other must leave,
One or the other must stay.
One or the other must grieve,
That is forever the way.
That is the vow that was sworn,
Faithful 'til death do us part.
Braving what had to be borne,
Hiding the ache in the heart.
One, howsoever adored,
First must be summoned away.
That is the will of the Lord
One or the other must stay.    ~Anonymous


photos from photobucket

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

DO YOU HAVE YOUR ECLIPSE GLASSES?






No? Would you like a couple pair of them? Comment here to win them! But wait, there’s more!

If you win the glasses, you will also win a copy of DAY OF THE DARK: Stories of Eclipse, from Wildside Press. This is a stellar (well, solar and lunar anyway) volume of 24 short stories, ranging from light to dark and falling across several genres as the shadow of the moon falls across the country. Something for everyone, just like the eclipse will hit everyone on the continental United States.

Some of you will experience the total solar eclipse, some of you only 90%, but that’s worth a trip outside, too, if it’s not raining where you live.

The date I’ll pick a winner is August 5th, midnight Eastern Time. I want to be able to mail the loot out to get there in time for the event! The date of the eclipse is August 21st. I HOPE we have clear skies for it, and hope you do, too!



Wednesday, July 19, 2017

TEN NINE EIGHT…



Almost ready for launch on Friday! It’s set up for a long run, 9 to 9 Eastern time, but we’ll love it if you pop in even for a few minutes to chat.

What am I talking about? Vicki Turner Goodwin (w.a. Sojourner McConnell, children’s author) offered to hold a live launch for DAY OF THE DARK on the Mystery Thriller Week facebook site. There are 24 authors included in the short story anthology. We won’t all be there, but many of us will.

The stories are all inspired by the August 21st total solar eclipse. Most of them deal with that specific eclipse, but some include partials, some lunar. The stories are as varied as they can be considering each contains a kernel of mystery. They trace the path of totality from Oregon to the South Carolina coast, with other locales, time periods, and even another continent inserted. Likewise, they vary in genre and tone—something for everyone.

Please check out the launch site and click if you’ll be able to attend.

We’ve been getting some good publicity on blogs. Writers WhoKill carried part one of an interview with all the authors last week. 

One of our authors, Debra Goldstein, posted on The StilettoGang the 14th, and on the 17th on her own blog and another, KB Inglee, posted on her blog the 18th.

photo from morguefile






Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Charity and Fiction

Recently, I’ve been part of several projects that give the proceeds to charity. In some cases, the connections are obvious. That’s the case with MURDER ON WHEELS, written by the Austin Mystery Writers, giving half the proceeds to Meals on Wheels in the Austin area. (We’re proud that, two years after publication, we’re still able to buy a few meals for them.)



If/when I get it written, I’m contributing to an upcoming anthology that will give ALL the royalties away. (More about that later.) Honestly, with short story anthologies, we’re not talking about a huge sum—it’s money I won’t miss and that the organizations can use.

I’m proud to say that the donations that will come from DAY OF THE DARK: Stories of Eclipse will be all over the map—somewhat like the stories themselves. Here’s a smattering of where our dollars will go.

*Earth and Sky
*Petconnect Rescue in Maryland; this wonderful organization "enlightens" the public on the benefits of adoption through shelters and rescue organizations and provides renewal and a new life to animals.
*Natural Resources Defense Council
*Science Center in Finland
*DonorsChoose.org, shining light on inner city schools in the Bronx
*Friends of Goldendale Observatory
*Friends of the Earth
*Morehead Planetarium
*Texas Museum of Science and Technology
*DAPCEP.org for STEM education for future astronomers and scientists in Detroit
and personal friends in need.



I’m thrilled that the authors in DAY OF THE DARK are so filled with the spirit of light and life in their generosity. This project has been one of the most gratifying things I’ve done in my writing career. I hope those who read the book will enjoy it as much as I have so far.

What connections does your fiction have with charity?

PS. You can pre-order this at Wildside Press.  




Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Getting the Word out on the Eclipse



I notice lots of publicity, more and more, as the date of the total solar eclipse approaches. Not to be left out, here are some promotional/publicity activities we’re planning for our anthology, DAY OF THE DARK: Stories of Eclipse, coming this month from Wildside Press to celebrate the August 21st total solar eclipse in the US.

Some of our dates are indefinite, but I wanted to get these out there.

Look for our ad in Kings River Life with a preorder link!

I was interviewed for Criminal Element by Katherine Tomlinson. The interview will appear soon.

An interview of all 24 of us, short ones, will appear on Writers Who Kill. Questions from E. B. Davis.

B. K. Stevens is featuring a few of the authors on her wonderful First Two Pages blog in July, so check in there a few times on Tuesdays.

A number of the authors are approaching local observatories to see if they’re interested in a partnership.

I need to mention my previous blog posts with tidbits about each story:
MORE ECLIPSE GLIMPSES (I didn’t notice I’d already used this one)
THIRD ELCIPSE GLIMPSE (really the 4th, that duplicate title confused me)
MORE ECLIPSE GLIMPSES (at least it’s a different title)
MY LAST ECLIPSE TEASERS (try typing the words “eclipse” and “glimpse” this many times!)

And last, but definitely not least, Vickie Turner Goodwin is giving us a live launch on Mystery Thriller Week.

One of the story authors, Laura Oles, put together a press release that I’ll share here, too, soon.

(I’m so pumped that we’ll have totality in my own town! http://www.eclipse2017.org/2017/communities/states/TN/Farragut_1728.htm)


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Thoughts on Dear Capitals

I ran across this on the Chicago Manual of Style site:

You can see that they don’t favor capitalizing pet names. Example: Please close the door, darling.

When helping others edit, this is the tactic that take (the tack that I take?). However, I DO see a lot of caps used for pet names. I would use capitals for titles, like this:
I’m coming home tonight, Mother.
Will I live or not, Doctor?
Or for pet names consistently used instead of actual names:
Oh for cryin’ out loud, Loopy, you know you can’t jump your motorcycle over the Grand Canyon.

But not for a common endearment, as in the second paragraph.

The question in the link mentioned “down” styling. I’m wondering just what this means. Any ideas?


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

My Last Eclipse Teasers



I’m happy this series has been successful and my readers have enjoyed it so much. This is the 6th and last group of 4 tidbits of eclipse stories that will appear in DAY OF THE DARK, the short story anthology of eclipse-based stories coming out July 21st from Wildside Press.

We reached the eastern shore with the last story from last week, so these are others that aren’t in order of the path of totality, or even in the same century or on the same continent sometimes. Without further ado, here is the last batch of the 24 stories:

“Women’s Work” by KB Inglee is a historical mystery story, set in the DC area in 1875. The reason her period pieces feel so authentic is because she spends a lot of time dressed up and re-enacting that period as a tour guide for an old mill.

“Open House” by Bridges DelPont takes us to a quirky swindle that I know you’ll enjoy in Boston.

“Relatively Annoying” by John Clark includes horror and sci-fi elements and a partial eclipse with other heavenly happenings. A chilling tale.

“Ascension into Darkness” by Christine Hammar, with a lunar eclipse, finishes up in Finland with murder and suspense.

I’ll do at least one more blog on this anthology, so stay tuned! And thanks for your continued interest.