Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
|'Arawn' - Ruler of Annwn |
(the Underworld), illustration
by Ioan Einion, © Alys Einion, Y Lolfa
|Ceridwen, the Witch,|
illustration by Ioan Einion,
© Alys Einion, Y Lolfa
Monday, October 27, 2014
Several of our friends are dealing with horrible illnesses in their marriages. Their lives are continuing, but the normalcy in those lives is gone. Life revolves around doctor appointments, medicines, chemo, and uncertain futures. Life isn’t easy, but when love is present, couples accept and give to the other.
We recently had company from an old classmate and his wife who has Alzheimer. The love I witnessed warmed my heart. She still clings to him as her remembered love, but she also needs him as her caregiver. Life is not easy for either of them. She knows her condition is making life difficult for him, but he seems never to complain. Instead he goes about the daily chore of taking care of her needs, both physical and emotional. Watching the two of them is a testimony of what real love involves.
When couples say the words “for better or worse,” I’m sure the “worse” is not what they expect, but it can happen and does happen all too many times. My husband and I said the words over forty-four years ago and so far we have been blessed. We haven’t had to deal with horrible medical situations like some of our friends have.
Fran McNabb grew up on the Gulf Coast and now lives on a quiet bayou harbor with her husband. They love to spend time on the water fishing and visiting the nearby islands or traveling to see their two sons and grandsons. Visit Fran at www.FranMcNabb.com or write to her at email@example.com.
Saturday, October 25, 2014
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Years ago, I took my husband to a doctor's appointment. He was suffering from dizziness due to an inner ear problem. He left the room for testing, and the doctor told me "he needs to avoid cats." I went into an immediate internal panic – I can't get rid of my cats – before the doctor explained that CATS stood for caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and sodium. Whew! So long as I don't have to get rid of the cats, I'm good. And no, I didn't say that aloud to my husband.
As a child growing up on a farm I spent many a day patiently inching closer to the wild kittens that were often born in our barn. With time, I tamed them all and we became best friends. At one point, I counted seventeen cats under our maple tree eating from numerous dishes at dinner time. I loved each and every one. Today I have only one elderly cat, but I'm acquainted with many wonderful fictional cats. Chablis, Syrah, and Merlot of Leann Sweeney's Cats in Trouble series and Diesel of Miranda James' Cat in the Stacks series are favorites.
I'm growing quite fond of Hitchcock, the cat in my Bad Luck Cat series to be published by Berkley beginning in September 2015. I'm currently writing book #2 of the series. In book #1, Black Cat Crossing, my protagonist meets Hitchcock, the black cat who many believe is the legendary Bad Luck Cat. Since beginning my series, I've discovered several friends who are so afraid of black cats that they would drive a mile in the wrong direction to avoid having a black cat cross their path. As my eight-year-old granddaughter says "that's just plain silly."
Black cats are not bad luck. As a matter of fact, there are superstitions that black cats are actually good luck. For example: In Asia and the U.K., a black cat is considered lucky; to dream of a black cat is lucky; a strange black cat on a porch brings prosperity to the owner; a black cat given to a bride is thought to bring her good luck; to fishermen, black cats ensure a safe journey home.
I'm hoping that all black cat owners will keep their pets inside and safe during the upcoming Halloween season. Also, remember National Cat Day is not just about showering our cats with affection, but recognizing all the cats out there in need of being rescued! Did you know that nearly 4 million cats in the US are put into shelters every year? I hate to think about their fate.
If you're interested in celebrating National Cat Day 2014, one of the best things you could do is donate money to a shelter. You can make a difference for cats this October 29th. Give your own cat a great big purr-fect hug to celebrate the occasion.
Mystery author Kay Finch is currently writing her new Bad Luck Cat Mystery series set in the Texas Hill Country to be published by Berkley beginning in 2015. Her Klutter Killer mystery, Relative Chaos, features a professional organizer who finds a dead body in a hoarder's garage. Kay lives in a Houston, Texas suburb with her husband, two rescue dogs and a cat. Visit her web site at www.kayfinch.com.
Friday, October 17, 2014
I love this time of year. Actually, I love all the seasons and am grateful that I live in an area where they are all different.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Monday, October 13, 2014
Sunday, October 12, 2014
Two years ago this time I got a phone call from my sister saying that my 87-year-old mother was about to have emergency surgery. An aortic aneurysm she’d had for many years had begun to expand and was close to bursting. My sister put my mom on the phone to talk to me and we had a quick chat, with her saying she’d gotten herself into another “silly mess.” We joked about it and I told her I’d pray that all would go well.
She’d had a couple of other surgeries in the few years before this, and had come through with all flags flying. Although I knew the surgery was critical, I expected her to get through it okay. Still I waited on pins and needles. My sister called later to say that the surgery appeared to have gone well and Mom was in recovery. I breathed a deep sigh of relief.
But the next morning I got another, much grimmer call. Sometime in the middle of the night, as Mom came out of the anesthesia, the nurses had noticed Mom couldn’t seem to move her left arm and leg and her speech was slurred. She’d suffered a stroke either during the surgery or right after.
I live in North Carolina, but flew up to Massachusetts to be with her. I have two sisters and two brothers who live in the Boston area, but I needed to be there as well.
Over the next day or two, Mom seemed to be improving and the nurses talked to us about moving her into a rehab hospital in the next couple of days. Before that, though, the next complication struck. It seems that when the doctor inserted the shunt into her shoulder for the surgery on the aneurysm, he’d nicked a gland, and it was leaking lymphatic fluid (chyle) into her chest. She also had fluid in her lungs. They put in drains for both.
Unfortunately, she had difficulty swallowing due to the stroke, and the chyle leak meant a special intravenous food. And there’s where we hit the first major decision point. The special food they were giving her was not a long-term option, but the only other one was a risky procedure to try to plug the leak.
My mother had seen a lot of friends and relatives, including her husband, go through protracted and ugly deaths. She’d been very clear that she didn’t want any breathing or feeding tubes or other artificial life support.
The doctors refused to perform the procedure unless they could insert a breathing tube, so we had to decide whether the potential gain from the procedure outweighed my Mom’s horror of tubes. Fortunately for us, Mom was awake and apparently listening during one of the discussions with the medical people, and she told us that she wanted to do it. We never were entirely sure how much she understood, but her expressed wishes still carried the most weight.
The procedure was pronounced a success as the chyle leak was repaired. Once again, we prepared to move Mom to a rehab hospital. With the crisis past I went home after 10 days away, while my sisters helped her move. I was pretty elated. We knew Mom had a long, hard road ahead, but there was hope for a reasonable recovery.
Three days later I got another call. Mom was not doing well in the rehab hospital. She refused to eat and was losing weight (and she was a tiny woman to begin with). I prepared to fly back, but nature intervened this time, in the form of Hurricane Sandy moving up the east coast headed for the northeast. All flights into Providence and Boston were cancelled.
While I sat in North Carolina and stewed, waiting for the storm to pass and airports to re-open, my Mom deteriorated and the outlook grew increasingly grim. My mother was moved back to the hospital when she began running a fever and was diagnosed with an infection. They started her on antibiotics, which proved ineffective. When they switched her to a more powerful one, she had a terrible allergic reaction. It was pretty much the last straw. I finally got on the first plane out of my local airport heading for the northeast after the storm and arrived just as my siblings and I had to face the fact that Mom was now beyond any hope of recovery.
A great deal of tears went into the decision to move to palliative care only. The hospital was supportive, up to a point. Once they were no longer treating the infection, they wanted her out of their room as fast as possible. We moved her to a lovely, peaceful hospice home, where they made sure they kept her pain-free for the short time Mom had left. She died after fewer than 48 hours there.
The wound is less raw now, two years later, but I still miss her. RIP Patricia Goeller.
Friday, October 10, 2014
Yes, we all have bios on this website, but there is so much MORE to know about our Classic and Cozy bloggers. So the 2nd Friday of each month is dedicated to getting to know us better. This month I'd like to introduce you to Sandra Wilkins. I think she and I are kindred spirits. And might try to sing a duet on American Idol...read on to see what song that would be...
When did you first put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) to create the your classic and cozy characters?
Do you have a set writing schedule?
Do you re-read books? If so, which one have you re-read the most?
But there is more to life than reading, writing (and arithmetic)…what is your most memorable adventure in your life?
<< I think this is the point where Barbara Walters would ask you if you were a tree, what kind would you be, but I’ll skip that and throw a softball…>>
If you were on American Idol, what song would you sing to WOW! the judges?
More about Sandra Wilkins:
Thursday, October 9, 2014
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
I've found that readers often think we authors have more control over our books' covers than we do. That's not to say we don't have input. I fill out screens of art sheets to help the art department create my covers. I have to describe all of my characters, scenes I think might make a good cover, notable landmarks in my story and I'm encouraged to send pictures of how I see my hero and heroine.
I thought it would be fun to show you the the pictures I sent for a couple of my books and the book covers. What do you think?
This one is Jared Donnelly from Winning the Teacher's Heart, the first book in my new Love Inspired Romance series, The Donnelly Brothers. It's due out in May 2015. Can't wait to see the cover.