Tag Archives: inspiration

Introducing Team Orange: Susan Ethridge

You have been introduced to some of the authors in the Orange Karen anthology, but there has been some amazing behind the scenes action from Team Orange. There’s one person in particular who works tirelessly behind the scenes, and her work is all over the pages of many of the stories. Who is she? Why, editor Susan Ethridge, of course! Once you’ve finished reading her interview, take a moment to pat her on the back, give her a fist bump, or even a beer (not too many though, we’ve got to keep her upright and ready to work!).

Thank you so much, Susan for all that you have done. We couldn’t have got this far without you.

Three cheers for Susan! Hip hip hooray!!

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– Christina

What’s been your favorite thing about being involved with the Orange Karen Anthology?

Reading all of the different stories that were submitted has been incredible.  Each of our authors was asked to use the color orange as a strong thematic element, and the talent and imagination they displayed in response to that simple constraint was phenomenal. Working with the other members of the Anthology team has also been really fun and rewarding – in the course of the last few months, I’ve enjoyed a number of new friendships with some incredibly funny, smart and generous people.

Tell us one thing about yourself that we wouldn’t know about you from reading your bio:

I have a long-standing love of muscle cars and recently bought a ’72 Charger that I’m in the process of restoring. Rrrawwrr.

1972 Charger. Can we say, “Dukes of Hazard”? Bitchin’ wheels, Ma’am. 🙂

Hidden Talent:

I wouldn’t really call it a “hidden” talent, but I think I’m a pretty good cook. Maybe one day I’ll go to culinary school and turn it into a second career.

Susan dreams of going to culinary school one day…maybe we’ll see her on Chopped?

What is your favorite “orange” item (it could be a food, an object…sky’s the limit)? Why?

When I think “orange” the first image that comes to mind is of those gumdrop candies that are shaped like little orange segments and coated with glittery sugar. My grandmother used to give them to me; it’s one of the simplest, happiest memories of my early childhood.

If you had to use your favorite “orange” item to save the world, what would you do with it?

I guess that would depend on the nature of the threat – it’s pretty hard to stop the bad guys with nothing but a bag of gumdrops. Maybe I could use them as bait, and trap the bad guys in a cave…or if the threat was some kind of bomb or chemical weapon, maybe I could encase it in a 20-foot-thick gumdrop shield, kind of like those Kevlar blankets the bomb squad puts on top of bombs to contain the explosion.

Who inspires you? Why?

People who do what they do with real passion, and experience evident joy in the process. I once watched an orchestral performance in which the solo was performed by a brilliant tubist; as he played, the expression on his face was literally one of rapture. It made me want to pursue my interests with that same intensity, and on a very fundamental level, it made me want to be a better person.

susan(1)Susan Ethridge works in marketing, and enjoys graphic design, painting, cooking and writing. She and her husband live in Texas with their two cats.

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Introducing Team Orange: J.L. Gentry

Many people have made the Orange Karen Anthology possible and we are grateful for each and every one of them. In the upcoming weeks we will be featuring the amazing people that are part of “Team Orange”. You’ll get a chance to meet the authors who have contributed stories, the editors, our cover designer who donated his time (and you’ll get to see the cover!), and those helping to format the books. It’s a big job and I’m so thankful to have an amazing team to help bring the dream of having an anthology where proceeds go to Karen DeLabar to fruition.

To start, let me introduce one of our authors, J.L. Gentry. After the interview below, read on for a “sneak peek” of his story to whet your appetite.

Enjoy!

Christina

Author Name: JL Gentry

Title of Short Story: Little Wing

In 25 words or less tell us what this story is about:  It is a fantasy of a young, winged woman and her winged guardian facing terrible obstacles to reach their final destination where the truth of their existence is revealed.

How did you come up with the concept for the story?  My inspiration was the Jimi Henrdix song of the same title.

What prompted you to submit your story to the Orange Karen Anthology?  I have been an e-friend of Karen’s for a long time. We share a love of writing and running as well as a birthday.  To top it off, she lives a few miles from where I grew up. How could we not be friends?

Tell us one thing about yourself that we wouldn’t know about you from reading your bio I’ve never watched any of the Twilight movies or read the books, so I don’t know what that glitter thing is all about.

What is your favorite “orange” item? Why?   Carrots. They are good in any form, add great taste to other dishes and don’t have a lot of attitude.

If you had to use your favorite “orange” item to save the world, what would you do with it?  It would be as an orange sonic screwdriver (tip o’ the hat to Doctor Who)

Dr. Who Sonic Screwdriver combined with the power of “Orange” would be able to save the world!

Who inspires you? Why?  Music, my friends and family. Inspiration is all around me and I become more aware of it every day.

Excerpt:

The jolt of the air was devastating. Each attempt to reconcile her flying failed. She gasped as the pain of her injury seared through her body. The air around her was almost too violent to breathe. She coughed, trying to fill her lungs while falling through the stormy air toward land she could not see. A rocky peak appeared out of nowhere. She tilted her body, racked in pain, to avoid collision. Barely clearing the obstacle, she righted herself, lowering her flight to view a barren surface full of sharp rocks and dark sandy soil. The surface below the storm was like none she had ever seen or imagined. She had known only the fertile glades and hills of her homeland. This space, outside of the lochs that bounded her land, felt of desperation. It was a desolate place. A place they were only allowed to pass over on their final journey. So taken by the ragged, sharp vision, she lost perspective; the surface seemed to reach up and grab her, pulling her into its grip. She stumbled, lurching forward, wings clutched for protection, but still her limbs were bruised against the rocky surface. The wind roared around her and the blowing rain masked her tears of desperation and pain. Failure consumed her as she pulled herself into a ball and felt the irritation from the many cuts and scrapes administered to her by the unforgiving rocky surface.

      It was done. Her first and only mission. Her one goal in life, smashed against so many rocks on a desolate coast. The pity absorbed her as she shivered; the pain in her knees a suitable punishment for her inability to meet her obligation. With one deep breath, she envisioned her demise on the rocky shore. Her soul would abandon her long before she perished for lack of food or water. She had been raised to thrive in the bondage. Without that, she would fade away like the mist being devoured by morning sun.

JL Gentry portrait

J.L. Gentry is the author of SYN:FIN, the first in the Jim Harrison Chronicles. His alter ego is an IT professional with over thirty years of technical and managerial experience. When he is not working, writing, or harassing his family, he can be found running the roads and trails of wherever he happens to be that day. Enjoy life and run free.

Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS): Dispelling the Myths

As most of you may be aware, the reason we are putting together an anthology for our friend Karen DeLabar is because last summer she almost died from Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). Her story, in her words, is a harrowing and courageous tale that, when you read it, you think could only be a nightmare. But it happened. And it happened to our dear friend. It almost took her life. Almost.

Orange Karen: Our Miraculous Warrior

Karen DeLabar starting the long road to recovery from her battle with TSS.

Many people, including myself, think of tampons when they hear about Toxic Shock Syndrome. In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, there was an “epidemic” of Toxic Shock Syndrome among menstruating women who used superabsorbent tampons. One brand in particular contained a chemical in the make-up of the tampons that prevented the filtering of the bacteria that caused TSS, thus increasing the risk. Since then, tampon manufacturers have adjusted the composition of their tampons and risk of TSS has reduced greatly.

Superabsorbent tampons in the late 70’s and early 80’s were the cause in an epidemic of TSS in North America.

Please note: This post is meant for informational purposes only. I am not a doctor and the information presented in this blog is not meant to serve as a diagnostic tool. If you have further questions about your health as it relates to TSS, please consult a medical professional.

So what is TSS?

Toxic Shock Syndrome, or TSS, is rare and life-threatening caused by strains of Staphylococcus aureus (staph) bacteria or streptococcus (strep) bacteria that produce toxins (poisons). Initial symptoms of TSS can be similar to the flu: high fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, fainting, and disorientation. Those with TSS might also experience low blood pressure, shock, dehydration, sore throat, muscle pain, peeling skin, kidney failure, and a rash that looks similar to a sunburn. Toxic Shock Syndrome can be fatal if it is not diagnosed and treated right away.

staph

This staph bacteria might look cute, but it can turn deadly once it starts to release toxins in the body.

The most important thing we want to share is this: TSS doesn’t just occur in women who wear tampons. TSS can also occur in men and children. If the staph and strep bacteria enter the bloodstream through a cut or infection, then they may be at risk for TSS. Karen did not get TSS from tampons. Karen and her medical team are not sure how she contracted TSS, but are very sure in that she did not get it from tampon use.

What is the cure for TSS?

The first and most important thing is that TSS must be identified early enough so that rigorous treatment can begin. In most cases the goal of treatment is to keep the body functioning and to assist the body in getting rid of the infection. This is not one of those “get your prescription for antibiotics and go home, drink plenty of fluids and you’ll be back to work next week” type of infections. If you have TSS you will be hospitalized, most likely in ICU (Intensive Care Unit). Treatments may include IV antibiotics, kidney dialysis, fluid through an IV to stay hydrated, a feeding tube to give the body the nutrients it needs. In Karen’s case, she was put in a medically induced coma in order to help her live. She was hooked up to every machine possible to help her major organs to function as the antibiotics went to work to rid her of the infection.

How can I prevent TSS?

Most resources on TSS prevention include proper tampon hygiene – limiting the use of highly absorbent tampons. Since TSS can also be contracted through cuts and open wounds (including post-surgical), it would be very important to make sure wounds are clean and are cared for properly so to prevent any type of infection.

Now What?

Hopefully this post has dispelled some myths about TSS. Here’s what the medical community now know about TSS:

  • People still get TSS and it’s not always contracted through the use of tampons.
  • Open cuts and wounds can also cultivate staph and strep bacteria that can cause toxins to build up in the body.
  • It can occur in men, women and children.
  • While Toxic Shock Syndrome is rare, it is serious and life-threatening.

Resources

MayoClinic

Toxic Shock Syndrome Information Service

PubMed Health

Health Canada’s views on TSS

Sunset through the clouds

Karen was extremely lucky to have survived. Those that know her, or know of her, know it wasn’t just luck – it was a miracle. That and her “kick TSS’s ass” mentality. She’s a fighter and we’re all behind her crouched in our best ninja-fighting stance. One of the ways we’re helping Karen fight is through the creation of an anthology of short stories. We have 39 amazing authors lined up with stories guaranteed to entertain. Perhaps I’m biased, but I’d have to say that this is one of the most eclectic short story anthologies I have ever read. There’s suspense, fantasy, sci-fi, romance, humor…you will laugh, cry, swoon, and cheer! I can’t wait to share it with all of you, but you’re going to have to wait until April 2013!

Stay tuned as we will be featuring the Orange Karen Anthology authors on this blog so you’ll get to know them and will get a taste of their work!

– Christina

The Miracle of Time: Orange Karen Anthology Countdown – Day 12

Steven Luna is a Wizard of Words. He spellbinds syllables and turns letters into beautiful prose. This post is no exception, folks. Luna waves his writerly wand and crafts up a post that inspires us to cherish all the moments in our life because each and every one of them is precious.

Just a few more days left to submit your short story for consideration for the Orange Karen Anthology. Time is precious, folks. Use it well.

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The Miracle of Time

Steven Luna

One of my all-time favorite ideas to head-scratch over is the notion that time only exists to keep everything from happening all at once. Albert Einstein said that…or a much smarter-sounding version of it, anyway. As thought-provoking concepts go, it’s a beauty: wise and elegant, and – if you think about it long enough – thoroughly sensible. There’s a reason they labeled that guy a genius.

And let’s be honest: it wasn’t for his wardrobe choices.

Although some of those sweaters were pretty damn sharp.

In one sentence, he captured the essence of time as a stepwise element of human awareness. My world view gives it a slightly different spin: time is a commodity unrivaled by anything in the universe. It’s the only currency of which you can never earn more, and you’ll never end up with a surplus of it by working harder to acquire it. In fact, the opposite is true: the harder you push forward in your pursuit of gaining time, the quicker you end up losing it.

Whoa. That’s kind of heavy.

This, too: You can measure the prosperity of a culture not just in its ready access to necessities and luxuries, but also in the ability of its people to exert control over how their time is spent. It’s become a twenty-first century norm to double-up on everything in an attempt to find more time somewhere. But it’ll never happen. You get the time you’re given, and it’s up to you to figure out the most fulfilling way to spend it while you still have enough of it to enjoy.

Maybe you can tell that this time thing is a pretty significant concept to me.

Undoubtedly, it is for you, too.

My belief is that each of us is a clock; our windings are finite, and we’re all ticking away our moments at the pace we set for ourselves. It fluctuates according to situation, of course; sometimes it rushes right by without us being aware of it doing so, and sometimes it drags along at an excruciatingly unhurried speed. No matter the rate at which it moves, it all comes with a defined limit that none of us is going to exceed. And because of this, possibly the greatest mystery of life is how much time do we truly have? Barring any extreme circumstances, almost everything else we come into the world with can be managed or controlled in some way. But we’re losing moments from the very first one, without a single hope of ever reclaiming any of them at all.

Sometimes, though, if we’re lucky enough, we end up with an opportunity to reset our own respective timepiece. Sometimes we get to wind the spring again and start anew, with a greater appreciation for the meaning of each moment as it arrives.

Sometimes, we actually do get a second chance. And with it, more time.

My friend Karen did.

She was in the golden hour of her life, her hands and her heart and her head filled with wonderstuff– a beautiful family, a slew of friends and a long list of creative undertakings to make use of her myriad talents. And then, with little discernible warning, something dire pulled the pin and stopped her clock.

For those of us who care about her, it stopped ours as well.

She hovered, and we hung, wondering how long and how severe her ordeal would be. There’s nothing like the prospect of a friend losing the remainder of her moments – and her husband and daughters losing the rest of theirs with her – to remind you of just how important your own moments are. Luckily and happily for us all, she pushed through it.

She’s a badass like that.

Whatever force exists within her, whatever power kept her fighting for her life when it was insistent on surrendering, it recognized that she wasn’t finished with her moments. She woke up with a whole new set of them. That’s not to say some of those moments aren’t difficult or without challenges. Of course they are. But I know for a fact she isn’t wasting or overlooking or wishing away a single one. She has done nothing less than restart her own timepiece through sheer force of will, zest for life and utter obstinance. It’s been incredible to watch her come back to the world with a renewed sense of How to Live Your Moments Well. She’s embracing it all with her clock once more fully wound, and her heart barreling full speed ahead.

We would all be wise to take a lesson from her: If you’re ever faced with the opportunity to defy a cosmic phenomenon as precious and unyielding as time, this would be the way to do it.

I don’t call her Miracle for nothing.

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Steven Luna was relatively quiet when he was born, but that all changed once he learned to speak. Now? Good luck getting him to shut up. He’s not known for giving straight answers, but no one listens much to him anyway, so it all evens out. He’s hard at work on his next big novel…but really, aren’t we all?

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