Monthly Archives: April 2013

Team Orange: Our Readers Expose Their Inner Orange

Thank you to everyone who has purchased a copy of Orange Karen: Tribute to a Warrior so far. One hundred percent of the proceeds go to Karen DeLabar to assist her with her mounting medical costs.

This short story anthology has something for everyone: humor, romance, suspense, sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal…even steampunk!

The great thing about a short story anthology is you can read a story on your break at work, or while you’re waiting at the doctor’s office (okay, maybe you can read a few stories there…). Short stories are perfect for people on the go.

Here are some of our readers showing us where they like to read the anthology.

Reader Brandi shows us her copy of Orange Karen (and in the background an orange glow. Coincidence?).

Reader Brandi shows us her copy of Orange Karen!

Orange Karen author Christopher Cantley is entranced into the pages of wondrous short stories.

Orange Karen author Christopher Cantley is entranced into the pages of wondrous short stories.

Reader Amy reads Orange Karen poolside.

Reader Amy reads Orange Karen poolside.

Reader Holly proves that spring is on its way and enjoys her short stories al fresco.

Reader Holly proves that spring is on its way and enjoys her short stories al fresco.

Author Anna Meade beams from seeing her story in print.

Author Anna Meade beams from seeing her story in print.

Have you read Orange Karen? Send us a picture of you reading and we’ll post it on the blog! Send to christina.esdon@gmail.com.

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Introducing Team Orange: Julie Glover

Hi everyone,

One more sleep until the official release of the Orange Karen anthology, officially titled, “Orange Karen: A Tribute to a Warrior”.

“One Day More….until the Orange Karen anthology is officially available for all! P.S. I absolutely adore Colm Wilkinson.”

This week’s featured authors is Julie Glover. I absolutely love Julie’s story for the anthology (then again I love all of the stories…). Julie’s story, “Color Me Happy” is touching, sweet, and endearing. Get to know more about Julie below and hang around after the interview to read an excerpt from “Color Me Happy”! Take it away, Julie!

Author Name: Julie Glover

 

Title of Short Story: Color Me Happy

 

In 25 words or less tell me what this story is about: A high school cheerleader falls from the top of the pyramid and breaks her toe, throwing her body and her relationships off balance.

 

How did you come up with the concept for the story? I read that Karen DeLabar was having her toe amputated as a result of the toxic shock syndrome. I recalled breaking my pinkie toe years ago and being shocked how much it affected my whole balance for a couple of weeks.

 

Knowing that I was writing a young adult story, I wondered what could happen to mirror this experience. My high school had an amazing cheerleading squad, and I recall one of the girls fell while doing stunts and ended up in a cast (I think she broke her ankle).

 

All those pieces together brought me Tabitha—a cheerleader who falls from the top of the pyramid and breaks her toe.

 

What prompted you to submit your story to the Orange Karen Anthology? Karen has always been lovely to chat with in the writer community. When I learned she had come so close to death as a young mother, my heart and prayers immediately went out to her.

 

Several years back, I spent 28 days in the hospital awaiting the birth of my younger son—a preemie. I was visited by friends 27 of those 28 days, and that doesn’t count phone calls, mail, and favors. It meant so much for people to reach out and help when I was in need. I have been on the receiving end.

 

Thus I jumped at the opportunity to be on the giving end for such a wonderful person, Karen…surprisingly, with my words.

 

Tell us one thing about yourself that we wouldn’t know about you from reading your bio: I’m three degrees of Kevin Bacon, but a lot of people already know that. So how about this? I’m two degrees of the Robertsons from Duck Dynasty. A friend of mine grew up in the same church that they attend.

 

By the way, I’ve never seen a single episode. I hear that I am really missing out.

 

Source: Wikipedia

What is your favorite “orange” item (it could be a food, an object…sky’s the limit)? Why? Grandma’s hat and gloves. My grandmother had a collection of stylish hats that dated back to the 1920s. When she died, I got to choose a hat from her stash. My selection was a burnt orange hat with a black velvet band and matching feather and a pair of matching gloves. Every time I see that orange hat and gloves, I am reminded of both my grandmother and the classy fashions of the past.

 

Julie with hat

 

If you had to use your favorite “orange” item to save the world, what would you do with it? Oh no! I gave myself a hat and gloves?! (And I am so not MacGyver.)

 

Perhaps I could go out as a spy into enemy territory, pull out the feather, dip the pointed end in ink, and use to write a report to the good guys back home. The Navy SEALS or whoever can take it from there.

 

Julie goes MacGyver-style to save the world

Who inspires you? Why? Peter. The apostle. Perhaps I should have chosen someone alive. Or an author (we writers often pick other writers).

 

But I am always inspired by the story of Peter because he messed up so doggone much and never gave up. He learned from his mistakes, got back on his feet, and boldly went out to use the talents he had for the good of others. And by doing so, in the long run, he made a huge difference.

 

As a person who has struggled with the fear of failure, I love his story of perseverance.

 

Come to think of it, perseverance is a character trait beautifully demonstrated by Karen DeLabar.

 Excerpt:

Oh, how I wanted to be the girl-on-top.

I know what you’re thinking, but the term had nothing to do with sexual aggressiveness or sluthood. I’m not like that. I’m talking cheerleading pyramid.

Splits, back flips, herkies, toe-touch jumps, tumbling passes — I could do them in my sleep. I’d been tumbling since elementary school and a cheerleader since the first tryouts in junior high. I’d craved that top spot since I’d made the high school varsity squad, and finally the cheerleading coach had designated me to be “the girl-on-top”.

We came out in orange football jerseys with tight white shorts, shaking our orange-and-white pompoms. With my natural light red — okay, orange — hair, I looked like a striped traffic cone. The first part of our routine went smoothly — a choreographed dance to a pop and hip-hop medley. Then it was go time for our stunts. The lifts and jumps were as smooth as the satin ribbons in our hair, as three of us were hoisted up and thrown into flips and twists, each caught by three spotters below. The students clapped and yelled as we performed our daring feats… or showed off our legs — take your pick.

Then we gathered up into a bunch and started to form the final trick. I was lifted like before, but this time even higher. At the top, I raised one leg over my head and stood single-footed on the flattened hands of junior Tara Smith. The crowd erupted with cheers, and the stands rumbled with the feet of hundreds of students expressing their admiration. I was there — at the top to hear and see it all.

My heart thumped wildly, and my head floated further above my third-story location. The music ended on a boom, and the praise of our spectators washed over me anew. This was exactly where I’d wanted to be.

And then I felt it. A slight movement at the bottom of the pyramid, like the princess felt the pea or Yertle the Turtle burped at the bottom. Immediately, I lowered my leg, and Tara quickly responded by spreading out her hands to let me stand in a more stable position. But her hand faltered. Her balance wavered. Time slowed to a crawl, and I could see what was happening before I fell.

The cheerleaders’ hold gave way, and I went down like an ice cream scoop onto the sidewalk. Spotters scrambled beneath me. I had one last thought before I landed: “Please, no one put this on YouTube.”

Bio:

Julie Glover

As a city girl from the Lone Star State, Julie Glover owns both go-go boots and cowboy boots; has been to Broadway shows and rodeos; enjoys chateaubriand and rattlesnake sausage; and likes Led Zeppelin and Rascal Flatts. When she isn’t daydreaming about having a personal chef or wrestling the family’s laundry, Julie pens mysteries and young adult fiction.

 

 

 

 

Introducing Team Orange: Christopher Cantley

Author Name: Christopher Cantley

Title of Short Story: My Orange Karen

In 25 words or less tell me what this story is about: This is a magical story about an old farmer who discovers a lost child in a storm, and their next few years together.

How did you come up with the concept for the story? Well, I’ve always been a big fan of the fantasy genre, but there are other inspirations for the story too. Karen DeLabar’s illness provided a key plot point. Much of the middle of My Orange Karen was an exploration of being a father. The final third or so was about Mrs. DeLabar being a strong fighter in her time of trouble, and all our willingness to help.

What prompted you to submit your story to the Orange Karen Anthology? Initially, it was my friend, Stephanie Fuller, who posted the project on Facebook. I really enjoy writing, too, so I figured I‘d give it a go. I also wanted to do this in honor of my mom. She’s a Karen, as well. Ultimately, though, it was the encouragement and support of my wife that made it possible.

Tell us one thing about yourself that we wouldn’t know about you from reading your bio: I am huge movie buff, and ran a Quote of the Day contest on my Facebook page for quite a while.

What is your favorite “orange” item (it could be a food, an object…sky’s the limit)? Why? Wow. This one’s tough. I’ll choose the orange of a flame, especially candles. Firelight always helps me relax.

“Would you light my candle?”

If you had to use your favorite “orange” item to save the world, what would you do with it? I’d ensure everyone would have a safe fire source, and no one would have to be cold again.

Who inspires you? Why? The person who always inspires me is my late Grandpa Keen. He was always willing to listen, and never had a harsh word for anyone. We would spend hours just talking, or playing some silly game I’d invented. I hope I make him proud.

Excerpt:

In the years after that tragedy, my fiery-haired daughter redoubled her efforts at hunting. With Lucille gone, and my age rearing its ugly head, farming was nearly impossible. It was only Karen’s sojourns that kept food on the table and money in our purses. Sometimes she would be gone for a week at a time. I knew she was working hard to keep us going, but I couldn’t help feeling sad at her absence.

During Karen’s last trip, I noticed something amiss. I would awaken in the night, feeling as though a steel band was wrapped around my lungs. Not long after, the incessant coughing started. When dark blood joined the coughs, I knew what was wrong. It was the same Deathlung sickness that took my first daughter. As much as I hated to, I had to send Karen away. Two nights later, she came back all smiles. I was sitting by the fireplace, wrapped in a blanket.

“I’m home, Papa!”

I had to smile. All grown up, yet she still called me Papa. I tried to greet her, but a fit of blood-filled coughing silenced me. Karen came into the living room, orange hair pulled back into ponytail.

“I found some boars yesterday,” she said hanging up her bow and quiver. “They were really tough but—”

She went quiet when she finally turned toward me. The smile faded from her face, but when she tried to step forward, I waved her back.

“What’s wrong, Papa? What’s happened?”

I struggled to take a breath.

“I’m dying, Karen. It’s Deathlung.”

“No,” she shook her head. “No! You can’t be dying!”

“It’s only a matter of time now, child. And you have to leave.”

Karen stumbled backwards, pain flaring in her eyes.

“You’re sending me away?”

I nodded as another fit of coughing wracked me. The young woman stood taller, hands balled into fists at her sides. She was furious.

“Why? Why can’t I stay and take care of you?”

“Because you could get sick, and I can’t allow it,” I said, voice straining to be heard. “You’re grown now, and you need to find your own life. Please go.”

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Bio: Christopher Cantley is a factory worker residing in Lapeer, Michigan. He’s a devoted husband to JoAnn and father to Samantha, Tabitha, and Andrew. He also has four fur kids: Mickey, Tinkerbell, Ninja, and Abbie. He heard about this project from his good friend Stephanie Fuller,  aka The Book Hipster, and leapt at the chance to contribute.