Wednesday, April 27, 2011


One of my granddaughters has a birthday coming up soon.  Birthdays always cause contemplation of the birth of that person.  I remember the birth of my last child.  I was two weeks late, my husband was away for the evening attending a volleyball game, (pre-cell phones).  He left me in the capable hands of my favorite cousin, Mark.  

Mark had called before his six hour journey to our farm and asked if there was anything special I'd like to have.  I suggested a French Silk pie.  The two of us shared one piece, and then I had a second.  Part way through my second piece, I had a strong labor pain.  Mark panicked until I told him there was nothing to be concerned about, I'd been having contractions off and on for weeks.  

The pains increased.  The school where my husband attended the game was only 7 miles away and he was due home in two hours.  Mark, called the school.  With no one in the small school's office after hours, the call went unnoticed.  Mark paced.  The minutes ticked by.  More contractions.  Mark paced.  Finally, my husband returned home and Mark relaxed.  My water broke and we were off to the hospital to have our son.

Six months later, while visiting family in Omaha, my sister-in-law was due to have her baby.  Mark, brought her a French Silk pie.  Halfway through her first slice, she experienced a wave of contractions, her water broke and off to the hospital to have her son.

One of my daughters was just past her due date, so we laughed and suggested Mark's labor inducing French Silk pie.  She had not one, but three slices, and her water broke and off to the hospital to give birth to my grandson.  

Pregnant women and Mark with his French Silk pie became a family story.  Several years ago, Mark was back for another visit. My friend was at our house and she was due to have her baby.  So, Mark and my husband drove 75 miles to a Village Inn Restaurant to purchase a French Silk pie.  

My friend ate her slice of pie, Mark watched in anticipation--nothing.  We watched her eat her second piece--nothing.  My husband and I left Mark in charge while we went out to finish chores.

No sooner had we made it across the farmyard than my friend grabbed her belly and doubled over in pain.  Mark graciously helped her to the sofa then called us.  We explained babies don't happen that quickly, so we'll finish our chores and be up to the house shortly.

Mark returned to his patient, who now moaned her way through her next contraction.  "Time them," she suggested.  "Wait a minute," said Mark.  He rushed to the phone and called us again.  We once more assured him babies don't happen that quickly.  

When he returned to my friend she informed him the contractions were coming every two minutes.  
"What's that mean?" asked Mark.
"I had my last baby thirty minutes after my contractions were this close," she said. 
"Oh, man.  Let's call the hospital," he said. 
"No, I'm planning a home birth," she said.
"Okay, okay, let's call your husband."
"Can't, he's out of town."
Panicked he called us once more.  

We told him we'd be up to the house as soon as we finished chores.

He said, "Chores!  I have a pregnant woman up here and she's about to give birth!!!"
My husband responded, "In the bottom drawer you'll find a birthing kit complete with episiotomy scissors.  Just listen to what she tells you and you'll do fine.  Birthing is a natural process."
"WHAT!!!  "You'd better get up here and fast!"
My friend called out to him, "Get off the phone and help me I think its coming."
"Let me run outside and get them," he begged.
"No time," she said.
He held her hand while she moaned through the next couple contractions then he raced to the window.
"They're coming!  They're coming!  Can you hang on?"
"No!," she cried.
Mark ran to the door, opened it and yelled to us, "Hurry up, hurry up, its coming!!!"
We casually walked toward the house.  He was holding her hand, sweat beaded on his brow, his heart racing when we entered the living room.
I sat on one chair while my husband sat on another.  A confused Mark looked pleadingly from me to my husband.  "Aren't you going to do something?" he asked.
"How'd he do?" I asked.
She sat up and said, "Pretty good.  He was very attentive."
Mark, still frazzled, look at each of us, waiting for someone to step in and catch the baby, which was not really due yet for three more weeks.  
I could no longer control the giggles.  The three of us burst into hysterical laughter.  
"Oh man, this was a joke, " said Mark.
Later he sent her a trophy for best actress.  He still continues to deliver his French Silk pies, but not the babies.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

On the air with Josh Mackey.....

On Monday April 11th, I was invited to be a guest on KOGA radio's morning talk show.  I have always enjoyed being interviewed by Josh Mackey.  I feel I'm in good company with Dean Kuntz, Mary Higgins Clark, and Alex Kava.  Plus, Josh is a great interviewer.  I've been on the air and on television for interviews since the early 90's and he is by far the best.

I planned well for the interview.  What should we discuss? What answers I might have for his questions?  I tried to guess what his questions might be.  I chose my outfit two days in advance.  I know, I know, it's radio and no one will see what I'm wearing...but my husband, the photographer, is always taking publicity shots.  So I'm certain my hair would look its best and the lighting would make me look flawless on the days my clothes look the worst, so I have to keep trying to look presentable because you never know when non-photogenic me will actually have a good photo.  Of course, that morning I was having a really bad hair day.

On the way to the studio, I had a little morning tickle in my throat.  I coughed it away, or so I thought.  The coughing irritated it a bit and caused more coughing.  How could I give a good interview if I'm having a cough attack.  So I started to drink the bottle of water I brought along...didn't help.  After we stopped in front of the radio station I popped a Life Saver peppermint into my mouth.  Coughing stopped, everything was going to be just fine.

We started our interview.  The more I talked the more saliva was created by the mint.  My mouth was filling and I had to wait for a break in my speech to swallow.  I wanted to chomp down on it and chew it quickly to get rid of it.  But, then that would come across on the air.  If you listen closely to my interview, posted on my website on the media page, you can hear that my voice isn't quite right, sort of like someone using a retainer for the first day...slurp...slurp...slurp.  

I'd sip water quickly between answering questions.  Do you really know how long those peppermint candies last in your mouth?  At one point when Josh said something funny and I had to laugh, the mint started to fly out of my mouth.  I caught it and shoved it back in before it ricocheted off of the microphone. I know Josh saw that slick move.  

The interview went on, and we had a grand time.  We talked about my first middle grade book SECRET OF DRAGONFLY ISLAND making it to the kindle best seller list...woohoo!!  We talked about the second middle grade book, LEGEND OF ARTERBURN LAKE, having just been released on kindle 10 days before the interview and the sales were doing better than we expected.  We talked about my first suspense thriller, CORNSTALKED being released this month on kindle and 50% of the kindle sales going to domestic abuse programs.  We discussed the short story  A Breath of Hot Air, that Alex Kava and I co-wrote.  

We laughed, we talked, I slurped.  We laughed, we talked, I slurped.  Then the interview was finished and I removed that mint and tossed it in the trash.....wait a minute....I REMOVED the mint????  Why didn't I think to just take it out of my mouth during the entire interview?  It was too early in the morning to think straight?  There were no trashcans in sight?  I didn't want to make my fingers sticky?  I can dream up some of the most intriguing or scary plots but I couldn't think fast enough to simply remove the mint from my mouth.  You pick an answer....I'm too embarrassed.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

I'm not viral but I'm highly contagious.....

I'm so excited with the release of LEGEND OF ARTERBURN LAKE on kindle today.  The first book of the middle grade series SECRET OF DRAGONFLY ISLAND, took off and jumped into the top selling ranking in just 48 hours.   This morning I went out to join my husband while he was doing chores, told you we live in the country.  I wanted to let him know I checked sales and they were still moving quickly...woohoo.  That's when he said, "You're not viral yet, but you're definitely highly contagious.  I think that's a compliment???

I decided to help him finish chores.  While I was pouring a water bucket to top other buckets I saw something scurry past.  Mind you I don't do mice....I jumped back spilling the water all over the floor.  Turns out it was one of our puppies who darted behind me and broke the stream of light at my feet and in that split second all I had noticed was movement.  

Let me take you back to last fall when I was feeding the chickens.  I love my girls because they give me the biggest most yummy brown eggs.  If you've ever had a farm fresh egg you will never allow another store egg to cross your lips.  

Anyway, I was out in the hen house to feed them.  My husband was away.  I picked up a nearly empty bag of chicken feed to spread some out on the ground near the door to the chicken house.  Chickens love to scratch for the food.  As the grain poured out of the bag, I poured out a mouse.  I'm not quite certain who was more afraid the mouse or me.  It jumped back onto the bag for safety which meant it could run up my arm and that's where it was heading.  I screamed and started jumping around, chickens scattering everywhere, which in turn frightened the mouse even more.  It fell from the bag when I dropped it and made an attempt to run back into the chicken house, over my foot to get there.  I'm still standing there screaming, like anyone within ten miles would actually hear me other than the dogs, the ducks and the chickens which were all running around like the sky was falling.  

The mouse ricocheted off of the door and landed back at my feet where I wanted to dance, but was afraid I'd step on it.  I can't even step on a crunchy bug without freaking out.  Finally, the mouse made it back to the safety of the hen house, but how was I going to get up the nerve to collect eggs after that?  

When my husband returned he poured the bags of chicken feed into large metal trash cans so no mouse could get into the feed again.  And, I do collect eggs, but only during daylight hours, not at dawn or dusk and I make lots of noise when I'm entering to give the mouse and his or her friends adequate time to hide from the hysterical screaming woman.  

But those eggs are soooo worth it.