Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Some Holiday Reading Material

Wishing you all a very merry holiday season.

In case you’re looking for something to read, my Pittsburgh Chapter of Sisters in Crime put out an anthology a year ago, and to celebrate, we’re offering a real 12 Days of Christmas Deal for Lucky Charms: 12 Crime Tales.

My contribution, “Sweet Deadly Lies,” is set in the same county as my Zoe Chambers mysteries, although in a different town. In fact Monongahela County Police Detective Wayne Baronick puts in an appearance.

Mona Peterson had once told me the chunk of fake turquoise hanging on a heavy silver chain around her neck always brought her luck. Seeing that same silver chain cutting purple grooves into the gray skin of her throat, I had my doubts.

My Marsdale PD partner, Cale Harper, finished stringing crime scene tape around the back side of the Marsdale High School football field bleachers where Mona’s body had been discovered. He shoved his hands into his coat pockets and ambled over to me. “I’ve seen it all now, Abby. Who’d want to kill sweet Mrs. Peterson? Can you believe it?”

I didn’t say what I was thinking. Hell, yes, I could believe it. In fact I was surprised it hadn’t happened sooner. But then, I knew Mona better than Cale did…

Want to read more? Lucky Charms on e-readers is only 99 cents through Christmas. Choose your format: Kindle, Nook, Kobo.

Also, I have two more appearances before Christmas.

Friday, December 19 – Chartiers Houston Community Library, Houston, PA, 11:30 a.m.

Saturday, December 20 – Red Engine Press Holiday Event at Papa Gallo Cucina, Bridgeville, PA, 2:00 to 4:00. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Finding My Rut

I like to think I’m flexible—the emotional kind, not just the physical kind of flexibility that comes from almost two decades of yoga practice—but I’ve come to the conclusion that I resist change as much as anyone I know. Give me a rut, a routine and I’m happy.

When my rut caves in on me, I lose my center. Heck, let’s face it—I lose my mind!

After several months of no routine, no rut, no sense of structure in my life, I’m finally getting back to a schedule. Mom’s settled in nicely to her new home. I don’t necessarily have less responsibilities, but I do have different ones.

The important part is I’m managing to fit my new responsibilities in around my writing.

And I’m writing every day! The next book is more than scribbled sticky notes tacked to my office walls! It’s taking shape.

In the meantime, the print version of Bridges Burned is now available for pre-order

Sunday, November 30, 2014

A Mom Update

So many friends have been asking about my Mom, I realized I needed to post an update. It’s been a rough couple of months for both of us, beginning with the realization that she wouldn’t be able to live independently at home any longer. However, the plan for her to move in with us didn’t set well with her. She repeated she didn’t want to be a burden in spite of my insistence that she wouldn’t be.

As of this past Tuesday, Mom has moved to Sunrise SeniorCare, a beautiful assisted living facility. This place is incredible. Heck, I want to live there! Either she’s lying to me or she really does like her new digs. Time will tell. My home will always be open…although I have to admit, where she’s at now is WAY nicer than Casa de Dashofy!

For Thanksgiving, Hubby and I picked her up and took her to the family gathering where she oversaw the carving of the turkey.

No blood was shed, no fingers lost.

With Mom settled into her new apartment, a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Once again, I’m getting back into the writing groove. No one is happier about that than Pete and Zoe, who were raising quite a fuss inside my head these last weeks!

Speaking of Pete and Zoe, I have some good news to share in the very near future. Stay tuned!

Friday, November 07, 2014

California Dreamin'

In less than a week, I’ll be winging my way to Long Beach, CA for Bouchercon: Murder at the Beach. Having seen our local forecast, I think I’m getting out of town just in the nick of time. That “polar vortex” thing is being tossed around again. Whoever coined that term should be shot. Too apocalyptic.

In the meantime, I’m trying to get my household in order. You see, not only am I attending Bouchercon, I’m then heading to New Mexico for a much needed vacation and some girlfriend time with my BFF Leta.

The problem is I’m leaving Hubby at home to take care of the cats and life in general. I think he’s having panic attacks.

Hubby: “Am I going to have to do laundry???”

Maybe I should stop at the store and buy a few packages of new underwear and socks for him.

The cats aren’t thrilled with the idea of being left with The Dad either.

Kensi: “Puh-LEEZE take me wiff you, Ma!”

Sorry, baby girl. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Life Changes

I’ve been totally off kilter the last few months. My mom…feisty, independent, tough-as-nails...has taken a major hit healthwise.

Only a few months ago, she was outside, leaving her cane behind, scrubbing down her house and trimming her shrubs. Now, with no solid explanation, she’s wheelchair bound, unable to walk without a lot of assistance.

As I last wrote, she’d been in the hospital for almost two weeks. She was doing pretty well at home afterwards…until she fell. Nothing was broken, but she sort of came apart at the seams on a lot of levels. She’s been in a nursing facility ever since, getting PT and OT. But she still can’t get back to walking on her own.

She’s also not so bad off that they can keep her much longer. This according to the insurance company, which of course, runs the show. Don’t get me started.

Anyhow, once my upcoming book tour concludes, Mom will be moving in with us. Three adults and two cats in a very small house. It’ll be interesting. I may be delusional, but I still have hopes for a medical explanation and solution to her dizziness and balance issues.

(No, it’s not inner ear…everyone asks, and it was ruled out long ago as the cause).

Thank goodness I have a career that allows me to work from home 90 percent of the time. Mom fears she’ll be a burden. I laughed and told her I intend to make her earn her keep. I plan to give her a Swiffer and the Dust Buster and she can round up all my dust bunnies.

She thinks I’m kidding. Ha!

No, it’s not the ideal solution. There is no ideal solution. But we do what we have to. And for now, this is it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

WPA and Lost Legacy

It’s been a roller coaster couple of weeks.

As I was pounding toward the deadline for my third Zoe Chambers mystery, my mom, who has been having some health issues, had to be admitted to the hospital. Familiar (to me) terms like atrial tachycardia and atrial fibrillation floated around along with a new one: orthostatic hypotension. Basically this means her heartbeat was fast and irregular…and her blood pressure plummeted when she stood up.

In the midst of runs to the hospital and conferences with doctors, I completed and turned in the manuscript—ON TIME. But then there was this little matter of the Writer’s Police Academy, something I’d been looking forward to for a year and had paid for months ago. I seriously contemplated staying home. But my darling hubby earned a boatload of brownie points by cancelling his own “guys’ weekend” and staying home to make sure Mom had a ride home when they discharged her and to keep an eye on her once she was home. My brother stepped up big time, too. So I left Mom in the care of “the boys” and headed to North Carolina.

I didn't take a lot of photos. Was too busy being immersed in the classes. But here are some shots of a mock rescue they set up--multiple casualty rescue drill. 

Besieged by guilt, I managed to have a great time. And I learned a lot, which will find its way into the next Zoe Chambers mystery.

Another high point from the weekend was the fabulous ad Henery Press placed in the program.

Mom was STILL in the hospital by the time I returned home. A week ago, she was finally discharged. Yay! And a big sigh of relief. She’s still not back to where she was, but we’re working on it thanks to a terrific team of visiting nurses, physical therapists and occupational therapists.

Sunday was my launch party for Lost Legacy at Mystery Lovers Bookshop. We had a wonderful time and a good crowd.

Mystery Lovers still has signed copies if you want one. Order here.

And today is Lost Legacy’s official book birthday! I have to stop every so often and remind myself this is REAL. Two books in print. One more in the pipeline. Ideas for more banging around inside my head waiting to be put on paper.

I love my life!