A Big Deal

Ah, summer, a great time to kick back and relax, right? I love summer. I love being outdoors. I love to travel and find out-of-the-way places, like Cobbly-Nob, near Gatlinburg.

I have to confess, though, Bob and I missed our beach time this year. I didn’t think we would. I really expected more from the mountains. They were a feast for the eyes and soul, but…

If you love the beach, you know what I mean.

So, what’s the big deal? A HUGE sale from my publisher! I was just informed that ALL my Write Integrity books are on sale–Kindle Versions–for only 99¢. Yay!

And that’s not all, there’s a Sweepstakes for you to enter. I’ll let her give you the details. If you are interested, click the meme, or here’s the direct link: Write Integrity Press “We Love Our Readers Sale”.

Contest runs July 15 – 21

I hope you’ll take a look at the 39 books included in the sale. Everything from teen & YA Dystopian Fiction (I loved those!), historical romance, contemporary romance, suspense–even some excellent daily devotionals. You really can’t lose. You could buy the whole lot for less than $40.

I’ve read most of these books and highly recommend them. Be sure and let me know if you win the sweepstakes!

Have a question? Contact Me

Farewell to the Crime Fictionista

In this age of email, social media platforms, cyber chats, and zoom calls, is it possible to build relationships? Real ones? I suppose it could depend on the personality type of the involved parties.  

Just in case you’re thinking romance, I’m not talking about that.

Back in the twenty-teens, I joined a small critique group hosted by American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). They host a massive number of groups, so it is sometimes difficult to find the right fit. This was my third try.

The “captain” of this group was a local writer and friend, Jean Thompson Kinsey. Rather than being all historical fiction/romance, we had historical, suspense, mystery, thriller, and contemporary. Among them, was a writer named Nike Chillemi.

I had never met anyone quite like Nike. She hailed from Brooklyn, New York. I could easily imagine her accent.

Her writing? I’ll let her describe that:

Today, you might call me a crime fictionista. My passion is contemporary detective stories, murder mysteries, national security/espionage thrillers, and cozies. I like my bad guys really bad and my good guys giving their all fighting the good fight. I write gritty-funny-uplifting detective novels with a national security/public safety twist. My main characters, both male and female, are jump into the fray, fighters for justice. They are tough and very likeable.

Nike Chillemi – About Me

And so was Nike—tough and very likable. In fact, over the years of working together on stories, I grew to love her. Though I’d never met her in person, she became a best friend. She taught me a lot about telling stories, especially the joy of writing. Never lose the joy.

Nike, when we “met.”

When Jean Kinsey retired due to illness, Nike should have become head of our group, but she was far too busy with her many other roles, so she suggested that I take over. I did, with Nike’s help. She might have been second banana, but she never let that keep her from expressing her opinion. 😊

She was my go-to whenever a decision needed to be made in the group. She liked being in a “small” small group. Ours was one of two groups she participated in. As we added other writers to our roll, she made them feel at home, though her wit often caught them off guard. Afterward, I would receive a private email from one of the newbies, “What did Nike mean by that comment?”

She was fond of slapping my hand over misplaced or missing commas. The hand slap was more like a guffaw. It was an ongoing joke between us.

Not so long ago, Nike left Brooklyn and moved to a place she loved—Jacksonville, Florida. She adored her new home and told funny stories about her many pets. This post from February gives us a tiny glimpse into her day-to-day life: “I really do have a life besides writing detective novels and sticking my nose into politics. I cook a lot from scratch and bake. I also have four senior cats and a senior dog.”

Yes, she stuck her nose into politics. Further proof that she was not afraid to express her opinion.

Most recent publicity photo

Then, a few months back, Nike told me she had cancer. She intended to fight, and fight is what she did. All the while, she wrote. She finished her work-in-progress, Courting Danger, and managed to get it released on Amazon. There was a book release and then there was silence.

No emails. No posts on social media. Nothing. I sent emails that went unanswered.

That’s when I knew her condition was grave. In April, she sent out a note to all her friends. She was having surgery and would be out of touch for a while. Then there was a brief post on Facebook, written while in rehab,

While I was in post surgery I watched TBN exclusively. It was honey to my soul. Now I’m in rehab an it’s going well. Every time I come to FB I am overwhelmed by fear and panic. So I will only be posting about writing Christian murder mysteries on writing centered sites. I will not be making comments much on my stream or responding.

That was the last post I read from her. In June, I received a note from a mutual friend to let me know hospice had been called for Nike. The members of our critique group sent emails to be read to her.

On June 9, she passed away.

I had never met her in person. I had never heard her voice. Yet in her passing, my heart was broken. I had grown to love our conversations. I grew to respect her as a writer. She was my mentor, and a dear friend.

The members of our group mourned her passing. We haven’t had much heart for working on our stories yet.

No more sorrow. I know it was well with her soul. She is resting in Jesus now. No more suffering or anxiety for Nike. Our group will begin again, but I think we will always have Nike in mind when we send through our chapters.

So, can you build lasting relationships, sight-unseen in this electronic age? The answer is yes, you most certainly can.

Nike Chillemi on Amazon

A July Post

Rain on the roof this morning! Like many of you, we needed rain.

June was a dry month, but a fun one! Here on my blog, June was all about travel.

Welcome, July. I am deep in the editing of my latest work-in-progress, “Still Water.” It will be Book 1 in the HomeFound series. Due to the need for an extensive rewrite, the release date has been postponed until March, 2022. I’m excited about this book and the new series.

What is the book about? When a young woman’s parents are killed in a car accident, and facts about their early lives begin to surface, she is forced out of the comfortable life she has built for herself. Then she discovers that the wreck that killed them may not have been an accident. Someone from their past had finally caught up with them.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

From my publisher: In mid-July, my other books will be on sale. If you’ve never read my books, or haven’t read all of them, watch for this e-book sale. E-books are easy to read on the road, on the beach, in the air, beside the lake, on break at your desk, or wherever this summer happens to take you.

This weekend many will gather for cookouts and picnics to celebrate our country’s birthday. I can remember several consecutive years that my husband and I spent the 4th of July in Panama City, Florida, where we watched the fireworks from a balcony overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. This year, we’ll be in our little court, celebrating with our neighbors.

Have a safe and blessed July 4th weekend.





Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.

Hosea 6:3

Off to the Mountains

We are home again but the mountains have left an impression in our hearts and minds. We stayed in a condo above a golf course in the village of Cobbly Nob. Our view, other than the golf course far below us, was of Smoky Mountains National Park with pristine woodlands blanketing the mountains. Nature at its finest.

In the early morning–very early–you can sit outside and listen as the clouds move through the valley in front of you. It’s the air moving through a million leaves. A thrilling sound for me. A cool breeze, the soft twittering of thousands of birds in those thousands of trees. Peace.

My Morning View at Cobbly Nob

We learned an important lesson, this trip: stay away from resort areas when school is out for the summer. And you can’t beat them to it, because folks get out early here. There are pancake houses on every corner and a few in between. They are all busy. By midday, a living tide moves along the wide sidewalks as thousands vie for space in the hundreds of shops.

We ducked into a quiet gallery and enjoyed some excellent artwork. We didn’t buy anything but it was a nice break from the crowds.

Our favorite thing turned out to be the sky lift. It was just fun and the views of the city and surrounding mountains was perfect. We sat in rocking chairs at the top while sipping cool drinks. A nice respite on a hot afternoon.

Our trip up into the mountains was less than perfect, due to roadwork that closed one lane of the two-lane highway. This meant long delays due to the crowds–thousands making the same journey. We left early (good thing!) and made another discovery. My husband’s recent health issues made breathing difficult at the top, so he was unable to hike up to Clingman’s Dome. We turned around and headed back down.

The views along the way made the trip a little less painful.

The “blue smoke” of the Great Smoky Mountains lay heavy in the early morning.

One of us was disappointed that we didn’t see any “large” wildlife. No bears. No elk. Bummer. I enjoyed the wildflowers and the expansive views. I was happy to note that the forest is healing after the devastating fires of a couple of years ago.

So, back in the land of blue grass and beautiful horses, I am quite content. I do love the mountains, but if there’s a next time, we will head there when the crowds are thinner, and hopefully, the roads will all be open.

If you go, and you love the hustle and bustle, do stay in town. There are some fine places to rent. You might consider one of those that backs up to the Little Pigeon River. The sound of the water rushing over the rocks is mesmerizing. If you prefer to be away from the noise and the crowds, the surrounding area is filled with nice cabins, fully equipped homes, and some great campsites.

Don’t forget the Alamo! We enjoyed a wonderful steak dinner on the front porch of a restaurant known as “The Alamo.” Excellent service! There are other good restaurants in town, but this one was our favorite.

As always, thanks for reading!

Christy History

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! I am running late today, but it is still morning, and I’m enjoying a second cup of my favorite brew.

I completely missed last week’s post. That holiday threw me off! My last post, I promised more family history. In searching through old photos, I discovered cowboys. You’ll find that post here. The Packnett family intrigued me with their good looks and interesting lineage.

In Family History, I talked about the Youngers and the Christys. Long before my grandmother, Audrie Packnett met and married my grandpa, Henry Earl Christy, Minnie Younger married William Henry Christy. Minnie and Willie Christy both came from pioneer stock. Their families had traveled west and ended up in Arkansas and Missouri.

William Henry Christy II was born Nov. 2, 1886, in Arkansas. He died at the young age of 54, in Amarillo, Texas, and was buried in the family’s hometown of Henryetta Oklahoma.

Minnie Lee Younger was born Oct. 2, 1889, also in Arkansas. She also died in Amarillo, in 1970. She was eighty years old.

The Christy Family, 1918

Willie and Minnie had four sons. Twins, Floyd & Lloyd, Henry Earl, and Elton. I think the twins look like double trouble. Kind of like Dennis the Menace times two. My grandpa, Henry Earl, is in the center of this photo. His younger brother Elton stands in front of him. My grownup Grandpa looked a lot like his daddy.

The first time I saw this photo, I was confused. I wondered what my younger brother was doing in such an old photograph. He looks an awful lot like Willie Christy.

The twins were born in 1909 in Dardanelle, Arkansas. Grandpa was born in 1912, and Elton was born in 1915. Elton was the only one to remain in Henryetta. He died in 1991 at the age of 75. Grandpa also died at 75.

The twins moved to Amarillo, where they spent their lives working for the railroad. They were seldom on the same train at the same time. But in 1968, they were. The train derailed, killing Uncle Lloyd. Uncle Floyd was injured but survived. He died in 1996 at the age of 85.

Great-Grandma Christy was a widow at 51. Eight years later, she married Parker George White, the widower of her sister, Lissie, in California. My Grandpa (Henry), would later move to California. I assume he didn’t like the weather in Seattle, Washington, where he’d been living with my Grandma and his two daughters, my Aunt Earlene and Mom. Grandma had no intention of ever going south again, where there was any possibility of dust storms. She remained in Seattle with her daughters.

I think he resembles Walt Disney in this photo. I wonder how he felt, starting over without his family. Whatever the reasons, his daughters forgave him and had a very good relationship with him.

 

I found this little card among his old photographs. I think he lived here at one time.

He and Audrie eventually divorced, and both remarried. Grandpa would live his last years in various trailer parks.

Grandpa & Viola.

 

 

The Christy brothers are in the first photo. Second photo: Lloyd and Floyd, all duded up for some occasion, then pictured with their wives in the third photo. The fourth photo is of their mother, my Great-Grandma, (right in the photo). I always knew her as Grandma Christy, though she was officially Minnie White.

I didn’t know my Grandpa Christy very well. He and Viola (we never called her anything else) lived in L.A., and we lived in West Tennessee, with the exception of a few years in San Diego. My fondest memories of him included things like visiting a “swap meet” at a drive-in movie theatre (during the daytime) and riding in the back of his VW. He was always smiling, and always had a dog. He loved baseball (Dodgers) and the roller derby, and he loved to cook.