Monday, December 30, 2013

Goodbye 2013, Thank You Readers, and Hello 2014

In saying goodbye to 2013, I have to confess that it has been an amazing year for me. Publishing The Bunco Club, in April, took me on a journey that I never could have imagined. I humbly thank everyone who purchased a book from this first-time-author, trusting that they would enjoy it.

I have had the pleasure of meeting so many wonderful readers and enthusiastic quilters this past year who have been supportive and helpful in my "late in life" dream. I especially thank those who took the time to write those 4 and 5 star reviews of The Bunco Club, and so many others who emailed me their reviews and well wishes. I love hearing from each of you.

It's been a wild and satisfying ride. I feel blessed by all of you who have encouraged me and been genuinely happy for me--your kindness did not go unnoticed!

In early 2014, I'm hopeful to be publishing the next book in the series: Quilters of the Bunco Club: Phree and Rosa. Three more books are mapped out after that. Looking past the Quilters of the Bunco Club series, I have an idea for a possible spin-off series.

I wish you all a happy, healthy, and safe 2014, filled with love and fun.
Thank you again, dear readers. My heart is full and my gratitude has no limits.



Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Audiobook of THE BUNCO CLUB is Back on Track

After six long months and a failed attempt due to technical problems, the audio version of The Bunco Club is back in production with a new narrator/producer.

I am fortunate and very proud to have Kymberly Dakin, of SFI Audio, narrating and producing the digital audio version my book. Kym won the 2006 Audie Award for her narration of Alice Munro's Runaway.

I've already approved the first month, August--Lettie, and have downloaded the second and third months, September--Phree and October--Nedra, to listen to next. Kym is a professional and perfectionist with over twenty audiobooks to her credit! It's wonderful to be working with her.

I'll post the first five minutes or so as soon as I approve the next two months.


Kymberly Dakin

Friday, December 20, 2013

Ummm...Well, Duh...Look What Happened to Me!

Sometime late Wednesday evening (we have pinpointed the time at approximately 7:50) this is what we think happened:

I had made dinner (don't remember) and I must have gone to the bathroom and slipped on my comfy stretch pants (don't remember). I came steaming around the peninsula in my dining room/kitchen and ran into / stepped on a brown-paper grocery bag that I had (apparently) just emptied but not folded up (don't remember). I fell backwards, and must have broken my fall when the back of my head hit the counter top (don't remember) and ended up with a noggin that was swollen the size of a grapefruit. 

My hubby came home from work about 8:10 that evening (this is our busy season at Frame Masters--our custom picture framing business). He told me that I was perched on a dining room chair, clutching the land-line phone. When he came inside, we sat on the couch holding hands while Bob tried to sort out what had happened, and I kept repeating myself and asking the same questions over and over...Scary, right?

Bob phoned his sister, Lynn (nurse extraordinaire) for advice, they packed me up, and drove me to the hospital (don't remember a thing!). They tell me there were countless tests, and MANY additional questions from me that circled around and around, and that I asked over and over and over (don't remember).

The "fog" began to lift about 3am the next morning when the pieces finally began to make sense. It was a slow process that took another 36 hours before the hospital would discharge me. YIPPEE, I'M HOME!

Cat-Scan showed no bleeding of the brain, no broken skull.
Diagnosis: Concussion and whiplash.
Blessedly, I am doing well, and in a few days I'm sure I'll be as good as new. It's doubtful I'll ever remember those ten hours, but I'm not too concerned over that.
My view for the past two days.

VERY happy to be going home! Flowers from Bob, balloons from Rob...love my guys!


 The hospital doctors, nurses, and staff of Franciscan St. James Health in Olympia Fields, Illinois were incredible. Thanks to everyone who pulled me from the black-hole of my brain and back into the real world...especially my hubby, Bob.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Fun Evening with THE BUNCO CLUB at Top Shelf Quilts

It was cold in Chicagoland on Thursday evening, but warm and friendly at Top Shelf Quilts in Frankfort, Illinois, where I did a book talk, reading, and signing. We had a full house, and the attendees were enthusiastic listeners.

Thanks to everyone who braved the near zero temperatures to listen to my story, and to Paula for inviting me.
Paula Kmetty, owner of Top Shelf Quilts, introduces me.

We had a full house!
Telling my story and talking about The Bunco Club.

Answering questions during Q & A


There's nothing better for an author than a room full of attentive and interested listeners...Thanks ladies!

Book reading


Having fun signing my book!

Thanks Barb for taking pictures with my camera for me =)

.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Join Me at Top Shelf Quilts in Frankfort, Illinois

This will be a FUN evening at a truly fabulous quilt shop with a great group of women! If you need any last minute holiday quilting supplies or a fun book (The Bunco Club, signed by the author...ME!) as a Christmas gift stop by.  

Top Shelf Quilts, 10 Elwood Street, Frankfort, IL 60423   
Call for more info: 815-806-1994
The event starts at 6pm ... BE THERE! 

PS: Shhhh...there's going to be treats!


Thanks Paula. Can't wait!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Las Vegas Fun with THE BUNCO CLUB

For the past several years, my sister and I have gone to Vegas for her birthday. This year we had fun photographing my book, The Bunco Club, at various Las Vegas "landmarks." We even had some "celebrity" sightings, and they all cooperated in the fun.

Here are the (sometimes whacky) pictures we took. I hope you enjoy them =)


The Flamingo Hotel has a fabulous bird habitat/sanctuary that we love to visit.
MICHAEL!
Tim McGraw with one of his fans. She was so nice to help us out.
These parrots were very interested in The Bunco Club!
All the way to Paris!
Even Gordon Ramsay cooperated!
Yep, the Beatles!


The Bunco Club, strategically placed in front of the scaled-down replica of Michelangelo's David at Caesar's Palace.

Pee Wee Herman--we're still laughing from our visit with him!
Jamie Foxx

The cowboy's were gathering for their big yearly rodeo in Vegas.

Pretty Showgirls

Caesar's Palace

Living statue
Lisa at the Flamingo Salon does our manicures/shellacs every year...the BEST in Vegas!
Chihuly Glass Ceiling at the Bellagio

Beautiful florals are EVERYWHERE



My sister and book with Donny and Marie
Lots of laughs and tons of sister-fun, but it's back to reality today and more writing for book number two in The Women of the Bunco Club series.

Let the count-down begin for next year's trip!

Karen

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

And the Winner is.....

...NOT ME!

The winners for the Chicago Writers Association 2013 Book of the Year were announced, and unfortunately for me The Bunco Club was not chosen =(

While, I was semi-sad for about three whole seconds, I reminded myself what an incredible honor it was for my first book, The Bunco Club, to be one of three books chosen as a finalist for the Book of the Year Award.

My congratulations goes to the winner!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

An Evening at Mt. Carmel

The Jingle and Mingle Market at Mt. Carmel this past Thursday, where I was selling, signing, and talking up The Bunco Club, was a bit of a walk down memory lane for me. Ten years ago my son graduated high school from there. For the four years that Rob went to Mt. Carmel, I was a very involved Mom, and had the pleasure of meeting many, many other Moms that were equally involved in their sons education. Happily, several familiar faces were at the Jingle Mingle and we had fun reconnecting.

I was able to snag a few of them for photos, but missed the Kodak Moment opportunity with so many other wonderful Alumni Moms.
Mary and Erin
Lori, Lu, and Marcie
Overview of the Market from my booth in the gym

MC Mother's Club still doesn't do anything without a lot of food and wine! Another friend and Alumni Mom, Mary, is in this photo--wish I knew how to add an arrow pointing to her.
Sales of The Bunco Club were quite brisk during the three hours of the Market, and the networking was remarkable. If everything works out and comes through, I'll be doing a book talk/sales/reading at the Evergreen Park Library sometime in Jan/Feb (they already have Jennifer Chiaverini and Lisa Gardner scheduled sometime in those months, too!); the Mt. Carmel Bunco Night on Friday, January 24; and appearances at about 4-5 book clubs.

NOTE: If you have never been to a Bunco fundraiser and want to experience a fun/wild night, the Mt. Carmel Bunco Night is a must!

Thanks to all who purchased a book or chatted with me at the Jingle Mingle. It's always fun to go back to 64th and Dante and see familiar smiling faces.
WE ARE MC


Monday, November 18, 2013

A Busy and Slightly Crazy Week!

It's November, and on Monday we started the week with an inch of snow. Today, Sunday, only six days later, the temps started in the 60s and we had tornadoes raging through the upper part of Illinois. At one point, my husband, cat, and I holed up in the closet under our stairs while the sirens warned the village to take cover.
Bob holding a confused Wrinkles in our closet, where we sat on coolers and waited out the worst part of the storm

I spent a wonderful evening reconnecting with Sharon Swidler, a friend from grad school at SIU. She  had four pieces in a show at the Christopher Art Gallery, Prairie State College, Chicago Heights, Illinois. We hadn't seen each other for many years and had a great discussion about art. Congratulations, Sharon--so good to see you!
With Sharon Swidler and art work--The Diary Series.

There was a Sewing Expo just a few miles from my home this past weekend. I took a few hours to investigate if I might want to be a vendor there next year. The most fun thing that happened was running into a couple of The Bunco Club readers. We chatted for a while and they asked to take a picture with me.
Thanks Barb and Debbie for making my day!
The owner of Vogue Fabrics made a really cool and fun looking vest from 100 zippers. They were selling bags of 50 zippers for $7.00. Yes, I bought a bag! Thinking of making a purse from them. What do you think?

My favorite quilt of the show--of course, it's made with 30's reproduction fabric.


Paula Kmetty, the owner of Top Self Quilts in Frankfort, Illinois, invited me to give a talk about The Bunco Club at her quilt shop on Thursday, December 12, at 6 PM. She wrote a fun article about how we met, and shared it on the front page of her newsletter! Thanks, Paula--I'm looking forward to talking about, selling, and signing my book in your wonderful quilt shop.

With Paula Kmetty, owner of Top Shelf Quilts

I met up with a group of good friends and quilters for dinner at The Cottage on Dixie in Homewood, Illinois. The food was fabulous, and we had a fun evening with a lot of laughs.

Kathy, Geri, Karen, Mary, Sandy, and seated is Moe

Moe enjoys her double chocolaty dessert
Sandy with a BIG glass of wine!

I'll be spending the next few days preparing for the Jingle and Mingle Holiday Bizarre at Mount Carmel High School in Chicago on Thursday, November 21. I'm looking forward to going back to MC as an alumni Mom, where my son spent his four years of high school. What a great school!