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A Big Day!

My dad blowing out his birthday candles.
Hey All,

Now this is exciting, and years in the making. Yesterday, my dad, Nicholas, turned 90. Can you imagine? Ninety!

Something struck me while I was talking to him. He said, "Boy, the world has really changed since I was born." My dad was born in the family home, on 17th Street, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1921. The family didn't yet have a car, only rich folks were born in hospitals, and television had a few decades before it made an appearance in most homes.

That seems like a long time ago, I know. But the truth is that life is short, too short. Unfortunately, for many of the people I write about it's way too short, as they fall victim to violent crime. But even 90 years is a brief interlude here on earth. Our old planet spins so quickly, the years ticking by. It's true that there's nothing we can do to slow it down.

Yet, there is something we can do to make our time  Read More 
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I wish you'd been there!

Well, it's that time of year again. I've just returned home from three glorious days in the small town of Jefferson, Texas, ground zero for the Pulpwood Queens. The event: the annual extravaganza,Girlfriend Weekend. I stayed at the beautiful Alley-McKay house, and I had a blast.

It all started Thursday evening, with a dinner where the authors, including moi, waited on the PQs who gathered at the Jefferson Convention Center. The amazing Kathy L. Patrick, founder of this mushrooming book club (400 chapters and growing), fed the authors first, then we each claimed a table. I served dinner to the fine ladies from Southwest Louisiana's chapter. Wonderful women with ready smiles and good hearts who put up with my well-meaning if rather inept attempts at serving sweet and unsweetened tea, a barbecue dinner followed by yummy bread pudding. There were free autographed books and everyone went to their hotel or B&B with a smile.

On Friday, we were all back early, and the weekend kicked into gear with Kathy and her co host, the superb Robert Leleux (author of The Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy) front and center. For the next two days, they moderated the panels, asking questions and keeping us all laughing. That morning, Mark Childress (Crazy in Alabama) was the keynote speaker, and he was so funny. I loved the reading from his new book, Georgia Bottoms. Lucky for all of us he gave everyone copies.

I won't attempt to list all the authors who spoke on Friday. There are simply too many, but here are a few: Helen Simonson (Major Pettigrew's Last Stand), Judy Christie (Goodness Gracious Green), Denise Hildreth Jones (Hurricane in Paradise), Janis Owens (Cracker Kitchen), Kathy Appelt (Keeper) and Melissa Conroy (Poppy's Pants). If I'm counting right, there were about 20 discussing their work and their lives on the stage that first day.

The talent show that night was great fun. So many imaginative acts. I heard Nashville's Marshall Chapman sing and play her guitar for the first time and loved it so much I sprung for a CD. Marshall also has a new book out: They Came to Nashville.

The following morning, Saturday, the great Fannie Flagg began the day with a rousing talk about dyslexia, writing, and the surprises live brings. She was charming and heart-warming, detailing the process that began imagining the ghosts that inhabited her family's dilapidated and abandoned homestead and ended in a beloved book: "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe."

Two more panels, including mine, followed her. Wouldn't you know that Kathy would name my panel "Stories that are Killer?" On the stage, I was a bit nervous. (There were lots of folks there. At least 300, my guess.) But BobKat(Robert and Kathy) put us all at ease, giving us the opportunity to discuss our books and answer questions. I read a short passage from THE KILLING STORM, the Pulpwood Queens' main selection for July 2010.

It turned out that my panel was the opening act for the inimitable Pat Conroy Read More 
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My New Year's Resolutions

Well, here we are. The final hours of 2010, and looking forward to 2011. Do you find this time of year is filled with not only excitement for the new year but regret for the things you missed or never got to in the past twelve months? I do. Perhaps that's healthy, a time to look back and then toward the future.

These are my five resolutions for 2011:

1) Relationships: I'm making sure I connect more often. Life just gets in the way. Do you find that? I do. I have good intentions, but the months fly. In the end, I'm wondering where the year went and lamenting that I've spent too few hours with family and friends.

2) The Net: I'm limiting access. This is a biggie for me. Writing (like many endeavors) takes concentration. I need to work, but it's way easier to surf to see what Snookie is up to, what the politicos are doing wrong, drop in at facebook for a quick howdy. Why not tweet a bit before figuring out that next plot twist? I do enjoy  Read More 
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Why Sarah Armstrong Hates Me

Okay, writing fiction isn’t a popularity contest. That’s true. So this shouldn’t matter, right? Especially since, it’s not really possible for a character in a novel to hate anyone, including the author, right? Still, I’m beginning to wonder.

You see, Sarah’s my heroine. I’ve written three books featuring this Texas Ranger/profiler, a woman I invented sitting at my computer one afternoon after deciding against a host of other protagonists, including a crocheting grandmother and a junior league hostess. I’d been thinking about Sarah for a long time, whittling away at the block of marble trying to uncover the statue inside. Maybe, since my books are set in Texas, instead of a Michelangelo analogy, I should have said, taking a chain saw to the trunk of a fallen live oak to reveal the roughly hewn armadillo? No, that’s all just bad. Let’s just move on.

Anyway, to her delight or dismay, Lieutenant Sarah Armstrong has become my heroine, the center of my fictional world, and since 2007, I’ve literally tormented this poor woman’s life. But then she’s not alive. I know that. But to write about her, she has to be real to me and, to some extent (I’m sincerely not delusional), she is. The result is that I drive through Tomball, Texas, where I’ve planted the Rocking Horse, the ranch Sarah lives on with her mother and daughter, and I sometimes surprise myself by looking  Read More 
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My Reindeer

Christmas begins early at our house. The tree goes up right after Thanksgiving, a faux pine but a beautiful one, with artificial snow sprinkled about its branches. It’s always a full weekend of hauling boxes, unpacking ornaments, putting out the whimsical Santa that stands in our front hallway, and climbing up on the ladder to put the spindly glass ornament on the top of the tree. But for me, there’s really no Christmas tree without one special ornament, a reindeer with a red nose: Rudolph, of course.

This particular ornament takes me back to my childhood in Wisconsin. I don’t remember not having it. As far in the past as my memory travels, it hung on my parents’ Christmas tree. To see it, I imagine most folks would wonder why it’s so special. It’s made of plastic not gems or even blown glass. It doesn’t sparkle. It has no value. But to me, it’s irreplaceable.

My mother kept it in a green box, in amongst her collection of ornaments. There were many. Some my maternal grandmother crocheted, others my father’s sister and mother made of wax paper and sparkles during the Great Depression. As a small girl, I heard the stories of how my father sold the tiny creations door-to-door, desperate for money to buy food and wood for the stove. I think of the trials many are enduring today, with a rocky economy and so much trouble in the world, and those small tattered stars remind me that there have been tough times before, and always we’ve persevered.

Of all the ornaments, however, for me the reindeer was exceptional. I don’t know why except  Read More 
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The German edition of Singularity

Hey All,

Had to share this: Singularity is getting a German make-over. Yup. That's the cover in the right hand column, in German. They've renamed the book, I believe "Blood Sins," or something like that. Since I don't speak German, I'm not entirely sure. This is exciting.

Plus, a reminder: Next Saturday, November 13, at 3 p.m., I'll be at Murder by the Book signing all my books, most of all the latest Sarah Armstrong mystery, The Killing Storm. The reviews have been great, and I can't wait to get out and meet everyone again. The truth is that we writers spend entirely too much time at home alone at our computers. I really need to get out more!

I would also like to take this opportunity to again say thank you to all of you out there, everyone who reads my books and recommends them to others. Your help is sincerely appreciated. I can't tell you how much it means to me. I hope fall is beautiful wherever you are, and I look forward to seeing all of you who can make it at Murder by the Book next Saturday! Read More 
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Listen in tomorrow. I'll be on All Things Southern

Hey Everyone,

Tune in tomorrow to hear me on Shellie Rushing Tomlinson's All Things Southern radio program. We'll be sitting on the porch talking about my new mystery, THE KILLING STORM. During the program, we'll pull a name out of the hat and award an autographed copy of SINGULARITY. There are rules, it's true.

Here's all you have to do:

1. You must subscribe to both of our newsletters:

http://www.kathryncasey.com/newsletter.htm , http://www.allthingssouthern.com/index.php

Comment on both of our blogs:

http://www.kathryncasey.com/blog.htm , http://www.allthingssouthern.com/atsblog/?p=890

And be our facebook friends:

http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=profile&id=1405351429#!/pages/Kathryn-Casey/78341053846 , http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=profile&id=1405351429

Once that's all accomplished, you're in the drawing! Fun, right? Of course. Hope you win! Read More 
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LIBRARY JOURNAL gives THE KILLING STORM a star!

Great News! The Library Journal just gave my new novel, the third of the Sarah Armstrong mysteries, a starred review! This is the highest of honors. Rather than rattle on about it, here's the review:

The kidnapping of a four-year-old boy from a Houston park brings local law enforcement and the FBI together in an intense search. Meanwhile Texas Ranger Sarah Armstrong (Blood Lines) investigates the slaughter of some prize cattle. Symbols drawn on their hides point to African folklore. As the search for the guilty party intensifies, a major hurricane bears down in the Gulf heading straight for Houston. Contrasting the seeming unconcern of the missing boy’s mother with the anguish of Sarah’s daughter, who has just recovered from her father’s death and now fears that her mother will perish in the storm, adds depth to this suspenseful thriller. VERDICT Readers waiting patiently for the next J.A. Jance mystery will want to try this exciting read.  Read More 
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