Friday, December 28, 2012


Staring Next Tuesday, I will be participating in the Carrie Ann's New Year's Blog Hop. There will be 3 Grand Prizes (more information about them below!), and I will be selecting two winners for either a $25 Gift Card to or B& (Your Choice!); or a signed ebook copy of my first novel, "Catalyst - Guardian Rising".

With more than 200 writers and bloggers offering giveaways, this is an excellent chance to check out new authors and meet new people as well as add come new ebooks to the 'To Be Read' shelf.

See ya Tuesday!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

How the Time Flies!

Merry Christmas, a day late!

I thought about posting this yesterday, but Christmas is a time to spend together with family and friends. This year was my son's first with his girlfriend and her 2 year old son, so he got to experience for the first time, all the craziness that goes with making accommodations for two sets of parents and grandparents. It brought a smile to my face, watching my first born take those steps in manhood, a rite of passage I didn't even know existed until it happened.

With 50+ Christmas' under my belt, I sat and thought long and hard about the most memorable holiday experiences of my life. Most are happy, family and friends; the worst stands out every year: the year my father was in intensive care with an unknown infection and a fever bordering on 104 degrees.

My father went into the hospital the first week of December 1982, with a high fever and general aches and pains of unknown origin. Three days into the stay, he suffered the first seizure, while I was on the phone with my mother. Racing to join her from three different directions, my siblings and I made our way there. The news - Daddy had a stroke. Then came the phone call I dreaded, come to the hospital now, your father is dying.

Upon arrival I was informed my strong, invincible father had a hole in his heart. Conferring with my brother the doctor in South Carolina the decision was made to move Daddy to Emory Hospital, where my brother had a friend in the cardiac department. Since he was too sick to move by ambulance, a Life Flight helicopter was arranged.

The worst feeling I ever had was watching the 'copter leave not knowing that when it landed he would be alive. All three of us had our own cars, so we each drove across town, reconnecting in the parking lot. As we walked into Emory, there was the Life Flight crew walking back out to leave for another mission. Seeing us, they stopped to tell us Daddy made it through the flight and was in the Coronary Care Unit.

Speaking with my brother by pay phone, I sat by the window of his room, watching the action through a crack at the bottom of the blinds and relaying everything to John as he drove through the night to join us at Emory.

Everything eventually calmed down and Daddy stayed at Emory for 9 months before returning home a most different man than the one who left. But I will never forget that first Christmas without him at home, when my sister and I decorated a palm tree in Mother's living room with bows and ribbons and called it a tree.

Daddy died 9 year's later, 22 years old come next March, but I will always associate his illness with Christmas. It makes each one precious, knowing that at any moment it could be the last you have.

Happy Holidays, and as today is the first day - Happy Kwanzaa for those who celebrate. Please stop back by starting on New Year's Day and continuing for a week for a chance to win a $25 gift card to either or B&; or a signed copy of my e-book, "Catalyst - Guardian Rising".

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Interview This Friday at Lindsay Avalon's Blog

I hope everyone is finished with their holiday shopping lists! Still need to go to the grocery store for Christmas dinner, but the presents are all wrapped, the stocking stuffers are ready to go and it's beginning to look like the holidays have arrived.

If you aren't too deep in the shopping mode this Friday, come over and visit as I am interviewed by Lindsay Avalon, as she does her blog tour for the release of her first individual novel, "Breaking the Nexus". I haven't had time to download it as of tonight, but it is on the top of my list for vacation reading.

Also, I will be participating in Carrie Ann's Blog Hop for New Year's, and this time I will have two prizes to choose from: a $25 gift card to either Amazon or B&N, and a signed copy of my e-book "Catalyst - Guardian Rising". So stay tuned as I wind down this election year and prepare to survive the end of the world (and the end of 2012!)

See ya soon!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

"A Hard Candy Christmas"

I'm not by nature a country music fan. Most any style of music is fine as long as it has a melody and harmony. But I must admit I have always admired Dolly Parton. Even before I knew what she sang I appreciated a small woman with a big heart, and the tribute she always gives to the place she came from - the mountains of Tennessee. Today I appreciate it even more, as this morning a piece of my childhood, my elementary school, burned to the ground.

It was a grand old building that had fallen on hard times. Built long before I arrived in the late 1960's, it had been used as a training facility by the police for a while.  Closed and vacant for more than five years, it became a dumping ground for appliances and furniture and anything else no dump would allow. Several years ago some alumni went into the building to document the decay and damage inflicted by both time and men. Everyone agreed it would be the last time. It was too painful.

This was the front entrance. In my mind I can still see the line of yellow buses standing in the steaming afternoon sun, windows down, all waiting in anticipation of the children, loud and gleeful, pouring out the door and down the stairs. I still see the cars waiting for their riders, and the safety patrol with their orange straps directing the chaos. I watch the walkers heading in groups of three and four, vanishing into the pine wood between the school and the subdivisions where most of us lived.

Here is the front office, where the secretary checked us in and out of school, allowed us to call home when we forgot something, or let us do the daily announcements. I still see the desks and counters, see the curtains fluttering as the principal comes from her office or the infirmary calling parents for checkouts. Still remember when the most difficult decisions were which team would pick you for dodge ball.

Closing my eyes I can see my first grade teacher standing at that blackboard, trying with all her patience to make seventeen 5 and 6 year old children be quiet when the sun was shining and the playground was calling our names.  Where the punishment for excessive talking was to write reams and reams of pages about "I must learn not to talk in school" which I must admit to her credit I did finally learn. I can feel the excitement and joy of reading groups, of knowing that in books I found a place where I could fit in, no matter how alone I felt.
All good things come to an end, no matter how hard we try to help time stand still. But we close our eyes, and the pictures come back, the laughter on the playgrounds and the hum of fans buzzing in un-air conditioned rooms, where the feel of chalk dust on our fingers mixed with the smell of old hardwood floors polished to a gleam in a building that was already old when we were young, and we know the truth about memories. The heart remembers, especially when you still have those friends whose bonds of friendship were forged in a time and place that even today we remember with smiles and laughs. And as we smile, the embers of our building grow cold, and our heart beats hot for the grandeur that was once our elementary school.
Good bye Eastern Elementary. Once an Eagle, always an Eagle. We will always remember those we met here.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Only 11 Days Until the End of the World?

Well, despite my constant complaining, December keeps rolling along. This month is almost half over, there are fourteen shopping days until Christmas and this year I might still be out there come December 24th. First it has been too hot for shopping. I mean really, how can anyone listen to "Sleigh Ride" or "Winter Wonderland" when it it pushing 80 degrees outside and you have the air conditioning running because the hot flashes are getting help.

Now, it is raining and a long overdue cold front is pushing through the state. Rainy days are good for two things: napping and reading. Nothing else seems to get accomplished when the clouds hang low and grey in the sky. The days are still getting shorter and the people in this town cannot seem to handle driving and rain at the same time. So, rather than scare myself out of five years of life, I elect to stay close to home when it rains.

But the tree is up, and the decorations are out. The dining room table is almost free of the year's worth stuff with no other home and my shopping lists are complete. Starting tomorrow the run to the finish line begins. I know which stores I want to hit, so I can maximum my trips to the mall (I like to park near to exits, for quick escape). I've picked up all my layaway, and there is room in the freezer for Christmas Dinner.

Just a quick note to say I hope everyone is enjoying a happy Holiday season, regardless of what religion you follow. I will have some great news (hopefully) coming up right after the turn of the year, and I will be blog-hopping for New Year's, and raffling some awesome prizes. So take a deep breath and remember - this only comes once a year Thank God!