Friday, December 02, 2016

To-do List

My to-do list for the next week:

Finish proofing the galleys of No Way Home.
Update my website to show the new book cover.
Update this blog to show the new book cover.
Write the acknowledgements for the new book
Write the dedication for the new book.
Continue drafting the NEW new book.

No problem. I got this.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

R.I.P. Officer Scott Bashioum

Yesterday I stood at the edge of the street in Houston, PA and paid my respects to a fallen hero. And to all the living ones who came from near and far to honor him.

I never met Scott Bashioum, although considering we lived in the same community, I feel certain we must have crossed paths at some point. Shopped in the same stores. Attended the same functions. I know we shared many of the same friends.

On November 10, he made the ultimate sacrifice. Yesterday, thousands of the people he worked to protect sacrificed a little of their day to stand in silence as Officer Bashioum was escorted through the county and towns we shared to his final resting place.

A few of observations that can’t be captured in photos:

When I first arrived, parking in the same lot I used to use when I taught yoga in this town, families and kids played in the patch of grass between the lot and the street. They laughed and tossed Nerf footballs. It was almost a carnival atmosphere. The joy of having a weekday off school. But the adults watched their cell phones. Not in the usual manner though. We were following the funeral in our county seat and tracking the progress of the procession as it approached us.

The first non-cell-phone indicator that they were getting close was when the State Police moved in, blocking the cross-street traffic. Then the sound of the helicopters. News helicopters. I watched the swarm and tracked the procession by the approach of the helos.

The cloud cover parted and let the sun shine through for a moment.

I noticed the football game had ended. Adults and children moved from the grass to the sidewalk. And as the helicopters hovered overhead, the voices fell silent. Every. Single. One.

For more than an hour, we stood together…and alone…in absolute silence…and watched hundreds of emergency vehicles. Police. Military. Fire. EMS. Not to mention the limousines carrying the family of the fallen. In. Absolute. Silence. Even the smallest children seem to know. Some folks brought their dogs. The dogs didn’t bark.

Silence. Reverence.

Oh, I take back the “absolute” silence part. There was weeping. A lot of weeping.

This wasn’t the first police funeral I’ve experienced. I hope to God it’s the last. 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Cover Reveal: No Way Home

The fabulous Dru Ann Love reveals the cover of my next Zoe Chambers Mystery, NO WAY HOME today at Dru's Book Musings! Click HERE to check it out!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

A Rough Week

I confess. This has been a rough week on many levels.

First, the election. I know. We’re all sick of hearing about it, so I’ll be brief. It didn’t go the way I’d hoped. Losing an election is nothing new to me. Not my first rodeo. But this is the first time the loss has left me sick and terrified. Beyond that, all I’m going to say right now is I’m working on some ways to do what I can to make this angry world safer for those who now find they have targets on their backs simply because they’re different. Or because we’re women.

More on that another time.

Secondly, I’ve had my mom admitted to hospice care. While that term sounds scary, I think it’s going to be one of the best moves I’ve ever made. The team is fabulous. I’ve met or spoken with all of them. They’re as determined as I am to keep Mom comfortable and to give her as much quality of life as possible under the circumstances. Still, it’s one of those steps that make me get in my car, sit behind the wheel, and cry.

Thirdly, on Thursday my corner of the world was rocked with what has become all too common. Two of our brave men in blue were gunned down performing their duty, trying to come to the aid of a terrified pregnant woman whose husband had threatened to kill her and their unborn child. In spite of her Protection From Abuse order, he succeeded. All of this happened within twelve miles of my home.

I’m not a cop. But I have many many friends in law enforcement, and having worked on an ambulance crew, I’ve been out there. I know writing a character who’s a small town cop isn’t the same as being one, but this feels incredibly personal. Plus I do know some of the slain officer’s family and we share many mutual friends. My heart aches for them.

Thursday afternoon, as the sun was setting, I took flowers to the Canonsburg Police Department and placed them with the other offerings. I stood and wept and listened as those around me spoke softly and reverently about the officers.

Yes, it’s been a rough week. For me.

For my county.

For the nation.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Mom Update

It’s been a while since I wrote anything about my mom. If you follow me on Facebook, you’ve probably noticed a number of posts recently about long nights in the ER with her. I appreciate the kind concerns and prayers from friends and family. But while I know they’re well intended, the “hope she gets well soon” sentiments cut like a finely honed blade.

Mom isn’t going to get well. She has good days and bad. More and more of the latter. Today’s “good days” are about the same as the bad ones a couple months ago. She has vascular dementia.

In addition to her mental slippage, her legs have grown weak and uncooperative, adding to her pre-existing balance issues. We plead with her to call for assistance to get out of bed. Unfortunately, she can’t remember that she’s had numerable falls lately, so she continues to try to get up and around on her own, resulting in more falls.

And in more trips to the ER.

She has dislocated her right hip twice now. She’s hit her head more times than I can count. But she takes it in stride for the most part. And, except for the hip dislocations, she doesn’t complain of any pain. A blessing to be sure.

She knows family members. Most of the time, at least. There are days when she gets a blank look in her eyes, and I have doubts, but most of the time she clearly knows us.

What she never knows is what time of the day it is, what day of the week it is, that Tuesday follows Monday. She sometimes sees things that aren’t there or misinterprets what she does see.

The staff at her nursing home is wonderful. They do their utmost to keep her safe, but she’s a fast little old woman…in bed asleep one moment then you blink and she’s out of bed, in the bathroom, and on the floor. So please don’t tell me I should move her to someplace else because of her falls. Short of hiring someone who doesn’t sleep or need bathroom breaks to sit and watch her 24/7, there is no way to completely avoid the mishaps. We’re in the process of getting an alarm for her bed, which I hope will at least help them catch her before she gets too far.

Anyhow, this is my life for now. Yes, I’m doing my best to take care of myself during this stressful time. No, I’m not always successful. Yes, I am deeply grateful for your thoughts, your prayers, and your kind words.

But no, Mom isn’t going to get well soon. However, I do appreciate the sentiment.

Mom, December 2013

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Autumn in the Country

We finally have some fall color (and fog) around here, even as temperatures climbed into the 80s yesterday.

I have no doubt that one good rain and wind storm will strip the trees bare, so we need to enjoy the fleeting moment while it lasts.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Bouchercon 2016--Part 3

Saturday morning, I attended another fun panel. This one was on spying and included my pal John Lawton.

I was so excited for my Pittsburgh Sisters in Crime Mary "Liz Milliron" Sutton and Paula Smith for making it into Blood on the Bayou, the Bouchercon anthology, I couldn't wait for the signing. I know how hard they've worked and it's great to see that hard work rewarded.

I had to rush from the anthology signing to my own panel.

The Henery Press gang met for drinks in the very crowded and very loud bar.

Then I headed down the street to my friend Ellen Byron's new book launch party. That's me and Eleanor Jones helping with promotion.

And for me, that wrapped up my New Orleans experience. I retreated to my room to pack for my early flight home.

Thanks to everyone who worked so tirelessly to put this convention together. It was a blast!