Tag Archives: orange karen

#TeamORANGE: What’s your favorite line?

Fellow Orange Karen anthology author DSavannah George, who was just featured here on this blog not too long ago, shares her favorite lines from each story in the anthology on her blog – that’s 39 favorite lines!

DSavannah George says, "Come on over to my blog! I have cookies right out of the oven." Okay, maybe she doesn't have cookies. But go anyway.

DSavannah George says, “Come on over to my blog! I have cookies right out of the oven.” Okay, maybe she doesn’t have cookies. But go anyway.

Pop on over to DSavannah’s blog. Tell her I sent you. Read her favorite lines.

Do you agree?

Do you have your own favorites?

Let her know!

Still need to get your copy of the Orange Karen anthology? Get it here.

Remember all proceeds from book sales go directly to Karen to assist her with medical and rehabilitation expenses.

Introducing Team Orange: D. Savannah George

Get to know, D. Savannah George! She’s been a wonderful cheerleader for the Orange Karen anthology. She’s even hosted an interview series of authors on her own blog that you can check out and get to know the authors even better!

Author Name:  D. Savannah George

Title of Short Story:   There is Such a Thing as Too Much Orange  (my working title was “Jessie Turns Orange”.)

In 25 words or less tell me what this story is about:   Jessie wakes up in a stranger’s basement after a night of partying. A very orange basement, with an equally orange guy.

How did you come up with the concept for the story?  Jessie is the main character from my WIP, and she’s always getting herself into some sort of trouble. Making her experience a lot of orange just worked.

What prompted you to submit your story to the Orange Karen Anthology? Writing is a solitary occupation. But if you find a group of other writers to support you, and cheerlead for you when something goes well, and listen when you’re having a bad day… well, then you’re truly blessed. Karen is a part of one of those groups for me. I don’t have money to pay her medical bills, but I can give my words.

Tell us one thing about yourself that we wouldn’t know about you from reading your bio:  I like to sleep with tons of pillows and blankets. The more, the better. And I have to take a pillow and blankie with me when I travel. Even the best hotels have crappy pillows.

What is your favorite “orange” item (it could be a food, an object…sky’s the limit)?  This will sound … punny… but the sun. Why? It brings us warmth and light, and I love drawing/painting suns, most of ‘em orange. (Like the image I’ve included, one of my WhymsieBee oil pastel drawings.)

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If you had to use your favorite “orange” item to save the world, what would you do with it?  Ha! Guess I should have read this question before I answered the previous one. I would use it to shine light in dark places.

Who inspires you? I’m inspired by people who have the courage to speak out against injustice and to talk about the bad experiences in their lives. Why? Because it reminds me I’m not alone, and every time we talk about the bad, we lessen its power over us.

Bio:

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D. Savannah George is a multi-disciplinary artist – she writes, paints, crochets, takes photographs, and makes beaded jewelry, bookmarks, and notecards. She has published several short stories and a number of poems, as well as numerous articles in various newspapers and magazines, and has won several awards for her writing. Her first book, A Spicy Secret, #22 in the Annie’s Attic Mystery Series, was released in December 2012. She also serves as a book editor for authors and several small publishers.

Orange Karen Book Trailer Premiere!

Many thanks to Glenn Skinner and Kim McDougall of Blazing Trailers who made this possible!

Announcing the Orange Karen: Tribute to a Warrior Book Trailer.

Take a peek, it’s amaaaaaaaazing!

Introducing Team Orange: Gareth S. Young

Annnnnnd we’re back after a short break! Thanks to everyone who has purchased a copy of Orange Karen: Tribute to a Warrior so far. If you’re just hearing about this for the first time, then perhaps you’d like to read up on why we are doing this.

Let’s continue getting to know some of the Orange Karen anthology authors. Today, allow me to introduce Gareth S. Young. Take it away, Gareth!

Author Name: Gareth S. Young

Title of Short Story: The Orange-headed Serpent

In 25 words or less tell me what this story is about: A story marks the beginning of a friendship between a young writer and the rough and tumble girl he fancies.

How did you come up with the concept for the story? I wanted to tell a story about the power of imagination, friendship and humor. The Serpent idea came from my day job and also from my fascination with mythology, in particular the Ouroboros (the ancient symbol of a serpent eating its own tail).

What prompted you to submit your story to the Orange Karen Anthology? I follow Karen on Twitter and enjoy her sense of humor and the fact she has some Scottish blood flowing in her veins. When she fell ill, I was moved by her strength, courage and by the amazing swell of support she got from Twitter. When the project was announced I had to be a part of it.

Tell us one thing about yourself that we wouldn’t know about you from reading your bio: I can juggle. Not well and only with three balls but it still qualifies as juggling! I practiced every Christmas with Satsumas…yes, the small, orange fruit!

What is your favorite “orange” item (it could be a food, an object…sky’s the limit)? Why? Sky’s the limit, you say? Very well, I choose The SUN!

If you had to use your favorite “orange” item to save the world, what would you do with it? To save the world, clearly I would have to make sure that everyone got good vacation time and always had a reserved spot on a warm beach somewhere under the Sun.

Who inspires you? Why? I’m inspired daily by the hard-working writers I talk to on Twitter. A lot of them have full time day jobs, many have husbands, wives or flock of children demanding their time and yet, there they are #amwriting and supporting other writers with words of encouragement and sharing of information. I have been bowled over by the writer community.

Excerpt: Hear Gareth read an excerpt from his short story, “The Orange-Headed Serpent” on R.B. Wood’s The Word Count Podcast. He has a phenomenal voice. Many a lasses have swooned over his Scottish accent, myself included.

One warm evening, I sat down on the middle rail of a long, wooden fence on top of a steep embankment. The spacing between the three horizontal rails allowed me to sit on the middle one and leave my feet dangling. If I crossed my arms on the top rail, my chin rested comfortably as I looked down into the forest opposite me. This was my place to daydream.

Lost in thought, my reverie was broken when a pair of well-worn sneakers swung through the gap between the railings. Bonnie, grinning big, sat beside me.

“Whatcha doin’?” She nudged my shoulder with hers. Her eyes flashed with mischief.

“Nothing much.” I couldn’t look at her. I stared at my spiral-bound notepad, wishing the words would rush out and climb into my mouth and give me something more interesting to say. I blushed instead.

 “What’s in the notebook?” She peered over my arm at the closed pad. Leaning closer, an escaped strand of her hair brushed my face. My hand rose as if to swat away a fly and she leaned away. “Sorry.” She patted the rogue strand down while the rest of her hair threatened to escape from its ponytail.

“Oh. Sorry. I… it’s okay.” I lifted the notebook and waved it. “Just ideas and stuff.”

She bounced on the railing until I turned to her. She stopped when I met her eyes.

“Cool!” She beamed a thousand watt smile and then laughed. There was always a fire in the coolness of her eyes. “So, what do you want to do now?” She flopped back like she was going to fall from the fence. Instead her hands grabbed the top railing and she let her head snap back. Her ponytail brushed the ground. “D’you want me to go away? Quit bugging you?” She gave me a daring look. I wanted to talk to her, without mumbling and blushing, so I took a deep breath.

“No. You can stay.” I waved the notebook again. “I write stories. I like to come out here and look at the trees and the river, and listen to the birds. It relaxes me.”

She pulled herself up and leaned her head against the top railing. She had full lips, and she bit the bottom one, making me think about kissing them. “Tell me a story,” she said. There was a brief sadness in her eyes. The smile dropped away and then flashed back. “Please?” she added, swinging back and forth.

It took me forever to start talking. I persuaded myself it would be the only way to keep her near me. I looked down the embankment and the story sprung into my head.

“Have you heard about the orange-headed serpent?” I asked.

Her face lit up. “No. Tell me!”

“It travels around the world, day and night, never stopping. It consumes and devours everything in its path. It swallows orchards filled with sweet apples and fields full of woolly sheep. It drinks freshwater lakes and feasts on fish from the sea. Its long metallic claws sound like a butcher sharpening his knives as it snatches cows from their pastures. Its deep throaty growl can be heard miles away as it comes for you.”

Bonnie closed her eyes. Her face relaxed and her eyebrows twitched. She seemed to be imagining the orange serpent.

I continued, “It won’t ever stop, but if you can catch it and open its belly, all its treasures will be yours.”

“Treasure,” Bonnie whispered.

“Yes. Who knows what it’s gobbled up on its travels?” I chuckled.

Without warning, there was the sound of metal on metal; the sound of two sharp blades clashing.

“Oh, my gosh!” Startled, Bonnie stared at me. “The serpent.”

Gareth S. Young

Bio:

Gareth Young was born and raised in Scotland. After that it all gets a bit a hazy. What is known is that he spends his waking hours writing and railroading with varying degrees of success. And, despite the fact he now lives in the St. Louis area, he can still rock a kilt. (Or so he likes to think.)

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.

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.

Introducing Team Orange: Jonathan Gould

Introducing another fantastic author part of our upcoming anthology for “Orange Karen”. He’s all the way from “down under”. Take it away, Jonathan!
Author Name: Jonathan Gould
Title of Short Story: Relief
In 25 words or less tell me what this story is about:
A man arrives at work desperate for a drink. He doesn’t end up with a drink, but he does get relief of a kind.
How did you come up with the concept for the story?
When I thought orange, the first thing that came to mind was orange juice. This then raised the question of how to make a good story out of orange juice. I’m not sure if I managed to come up with a decent answer or not, but I had fun trying.
What prompted you to submit your story to the Orange Karen Anthology?
When I first became involved with social media, and particularly Twitter, I had no idea what I was doing and no contacts. One of my first discoveries was a bunch of people on Twitter using the hashtag #pubwrite to talk about writing and drinking and generally having a fun time. This turned out to be a really welcoming group who seemed happy to include me when I started to join in, and Karen was one of those generous people. When I heard she was unwell, I was happy to try to contribute to any supportive efforts.
Tell us one thing about yourself that we wouldn’t know about you from reading your bio:
I actually don’t drink much orange juice. I much prefer apple and blackcurrant.
What is your favorite “orange” item (it could be a food, an object…sky’s the limit)? Why?
I believe that orange is a mixture of yellow and red – which gets my thinking of the cheese and tomato on a pizza. And pizza is the top three items on my list of all-time favourite things.
If you had to use your favorite “orange” item to save the world, what would you do with it?
Good question. If the world was being invaded by evil aliens, I would invent a pizza gun that would shoot giant sticky pizzas. Once the aliens had fallen to the force of my projectile pizzas and been sent away, we could all have one giant pizza banquet. Perfect.
Who inspires you? Why?
Can’t think of any individuals. Anyone who devotes their time to other people, rather than themselves.
About Jonathan:
Jonathan Gould has lived in Melbourne, Australia all his life, except when he hasn’t. He has written comedy sketches for both the theatre and radio, as well as several published children’s books for the educational market.He likes to refer to his stories as dag-lit because they don’t easily fit into recognisable genres (dag is Australian slang for a person who is unfashionable and doesn’t follow the crowd – but in an amusing and fun way). You might think of them as comic fantasies, or modern fairytales for the young and the young-at-heart.
jgould, jonathan gould

A Final Word: Orange Karen Anthology Countdown

It’s the day after the official deadline for submissions for the Orange Karen anthology. First off I would like to thank everyone who submitted stories. We’ve had an overwhelming response and can’t wait to finish reading through all the short stories. We will be contacting you individually via e-mail in the next couple of weeks to let you know if your stories will be included in the anthology. Hang tight! We have a lot of reading to do!!

Thank you also to everyone to read and shared the posts. We have had great activity on this blog the website the past two weeks and that’s all because of you!Finally a thank you to everyone who posted such wonderful, funny, tender and heartfelt posts on the blog, you are all amazing.

To wrap things up, I’ve called in Glenn Skinner. He and the resident fairy in his head have some final words. Take it away, Glenn and fairy!

* * * * *

A Final Word

Purchase the Orange Karen Anthology, or the fairy in my head will haunt you in your dreams!…

There, that about covers it. What else is there left to say. For the past 15 days, this blog has been hosted by the finest, most talented, assortment of writers and friends I have ever known. Through their words we have learned everything there is to know about our orange top warrior Karen DeLabar, and her struggles and triumphs. We have felt the passion, and compassion, that this group revealed from deep within their heart and souls. They have inspired us, made us laugh and made us cry. They are the humble group we label as #teamorange. I don’t think there is anything I can add that hasn’t been already been said.

Tragedy hits everyone differently, but for every Yin there is a Yang. Tragedy while it sometimes brings out the worst in people, it often brings out their best. Back in June this was the case for a tight knit group of writers who banded together in prayer and support for a friend in need. So strong was their support, that it went viral across the net. In a desire to help their friend in need, they did everything that was within their power. Whether that everything was filling Karen’s room in intensive care with cards of support, or sending a “Doggy Howser” flower bouquet, complete with balloons, chocolates, and a single orange bow to symbolize our solidarity and support. A stranger sent pizza, so Eric wouldn’t starve while sitting by her side. Another sent a new pair of shoes to brighten Karen’s day, knowing it could be months before she could wear them. When Karen was released, their support continued, whether it was simply moral support, visits, or meals, they never let up. It was no surprise when #teamorange learned of the mounting medical bills, this group would do nothing less than rally for their beloved orange warrior.  As such, the Orange Karen Anthology was born (OK, the anthology has a cooler name than that, but the fairy insists I keep it simple).  We live in tough times. Every day we struggle to keep our heads above water. If you’re a group of talented writers (and a hack like me) what do you do to help? You write. You write from deep within holding nothing back. You reach out across the net and you ask others to join your cause.  You rally your cause from every street corner.

The deadline for submissions has past; many talented people took the time to help a friend in need. Many of whom, have never met Karen, but were moved by the compassion put forth by her friends. What remains now is to wait while the submissions are reviewed, the stories selected, and the anthology brought to completion. All that will remain then will be to purchase a copy and spread the word. There are so many people in need in this world today, and so many good causes. Why should I spend what little I have on this particular cause, you might ask?  My answer to you is quite simple; you should do it for you. The stories in this anthology will reach deep into your soul. They will make you laugh, make you cry, and inspire you. The proceeds that will help Karen, will pale in comparison to what the anthology will give you back. Feel the power that is orange.

P.S. (Don’t make me send the fairy after you)

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Glenn Skinner is a fantasy writer and amateur astronomer who has spent a few nights too many with his head in the clouds. With his trusty muse the fairy by his side, he spends many an evening spinning tales of imagination, bringing color to the grey. His current work in progress is a fantasy series called “The Keya Quests”.

Learn more about him at:

http://glennskinner.com

Or his work:
www.keyaquests.com

The Family We Make for Ourselves – Orange Karen Anthology Countdown: Day 5

Yesterday,  Tim Queeney wrote about an unspoken connection with his father and the ties that brought them together. Today, Janelle Jensen talks about a very special long-distance connection that turned into a deep and loving friendship. One with a certain Orange Warrior. Have a box of kleenex handy. Oh, and before your eyes get too watery, remember that the deadline for the short story anthology submission is coming up on December 15th! Submission guidelines are here for you to read. But first, a post from the lovely Janelle Jensen.

Oh, one more thing, our good friend Troy Aaron Ratliff, writer, photographer and artist extraordinaire has created a few “Orange” products with proceeds going to Orange Karen and her medical costs. The amazingness that is his Zazzle site can be found here. The coasters, water bottle and laptop sleeve would all make fantastic Christmas presents!

P.S. Happy birthday, Janelle!!

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The Family We Make for Ourselves

Oftentimes on our birthdays (Yes, it’s mine today. Be kind.), we look back at all the year has brought us. These things may be good, bad, or simply change from what used to be. I am thankful for many things that this year has brought me, but one thing stands out above the rest. Friends.

I have met many wonderful people on Twitter and Facebook, most of whom are part of the writing groups that I belong to. It’s an amazing community of people for which I am most grateful.

I was lucky enough to be able to meet some of those people in person this year. After many conversations through online chatting, texts, and phone calls, I was able to finally meet the stunning Karen DeLabar in person at the end of May. Okay, so maybe I stalked her first and invited myself over to go see a concert together, but that’s semantics.

That weekend brought good music, great laughter, and bound our friendship even closer. I mean c’mon, if I took your dog out in the morning you’d love me too! Jennifer Gracen also came out that weekend to spend time with us, so I had the pleasure of meeting her for the first time in person, as well.

I couldn’t have been happier. We were already making plans to return at the end of June to celebrate Karen’s 30th birthday, in grand New York City style. I drove home from Pennsylvania that weekend with a heart full of joy.

This photo was taken at the Flogging Molly concert with Karen and her husband, Eric on May 24th. I never could have guessed what would happen next.

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Mosh Pit Girls!

Ten days later, on June 4th, Karen started feeling ill with a high fever and severe body pain. She texted me saying that she couldn’t stay to watch her daughter dance because she was so sick. She went to the ER the next day, where they treated her symptoms and sent her home. When she started feeling worse instead of better, Eric took her back to the ER to figure out what was going on and get her feeling better.

By June 6th, Karen had been admitted to the hospital. Overnight they put her on a ventilator and a dozen lines as her body and system began to shut down.  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Our own bright, vivacious redhead who went to the gym nearly every day, who was so full of spirit, who I had just spent a fabulous weekend with, was now lying in a medically induced coma on a hospital bed in the ICU fighting for her life.

I was devastated.  I cried, I screamed, I swore, I prayed. It is never easy when something like this happens to someone, whether you know them personally or not. When it happens to someone that you truly love and is a soulful and kindred sister of the heart, it destroys you.

As the team of doctors fought to save Karen’s life, her friends rallied around her. We sent out call to arms for positivity and prayers to be sent to her. People who didn’t even know Karen started praying for her. Her room was flooded by get well cards that we were able to fill out and send to her via the hospital’s network. Which I still believe is beyond amazing – hear me, hospitals? You need to ALL do this!

Eric quickly stepped up and became our lifeline. I will forever be thankful to this man, this incredible man who let us know throughout the day how Karen was doing and what was going on. Eric was there for Karen every day, every hour, every minute, showing us all what a real man is made of. He has earned a special place in my heart. Forever.

It would get scarier before it got better, but our girl is a fighter. We don’t call her the Orange Warrior for nothing. Think Cheetos, not hair color. Anyone that tries to punch a nurse for not taking out the ventilator is most definitely a fighter. Finally, on June 14th our girl came back to us. They took her off the vent, reduced her pain meds, and allowed her to wake up.

When I got her short text message on June 16, I completely lost it. Broke down and bawled on the couch before I jumped up and shouted for joy. My friend was BACK!

Our plans to celebrate Karen’s birthday may have been changed, but there was nothing in the world that could have stopped me from seeing her that weekend. If I had to crawl on my hands and knees all the way to PA, I was going to be there. I would have had to leave earlier, but I would have made it. Amy Thompson Weaver and I traveled from our homes to the home of Jennifer Gracen, where we all hugged each other, cried, and rejoiced that Karen had fought her way out of darkness. There may have been wine involved, as well.

We all piled in the car, made a few lost turns, and eventually made it to Karen’s bedside where we all broke down and cried on her. I don’t think the fact that we couldn’t stop touching her to make sure she was sitting there in front of us put her off. Too much.

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The Beauty of Friendship

The road to recovery has not been an easy one for her. In fact, it is now the beginning of December, six months later, and she still battles it every day. She went through sixty hyperbaric chamber treatments to restore tissue and blood flow back to her extremities, she goes to therapy to restore function and movement to her hands and feet, and now she is finally back in the gym that she loves trying to gain back the physical strength that she lost.

Luckily, she only lost a pinky toe. And really, who needs a pinky toe? More room for stiletto shoes! And she is right now in the process of undergoing several surgeries to replace and reconstruct the damaged, dead tissue on her thumb. Otherwise, she made it back to her adoring husband and two precious girls, the family she fought so hard to get back to, her driving force to return to life.

Her passion for life continues every day. Of course, she’s human just like the rest of us. She has good days and bad days. There are days when the physical pain is overwhelming from her body still trying to recover. But her positive attitude always triumphs.

On Thanksgiving, I told her the one thing I was most thankful of was that I was able to tell her Happy Thanksgiving. That she was there, on the other end of the line. That she was in my life, and in her family’s life.

As I mentioned before, the thing I am most thankful for, that this year has brought me, is friendship. I started talking with Karen on Twitter in the spring of 2011. I finally met her in person in May of 2012. This may not seem like a long time to some, when sometimes we carry our friends with us from childhood into our adult life.

However, when I met Karen, I knew. I knew right away. We were kindred spirits. I call her my sister of my heart. She is one of my best friends. I’ve known her only a few short years, and I feel like I have known her my entire life. I know that I will treasure our friendship until I’m old and wrinkled. Probably surrounded by thirty cats and twelve dogs.

But above all else, there is light. Especially now, when her Christmas decorations rival the Griswold’s (Eric’s nickname of Sparky should give you a hint) and her two adorable girls’ eyes glow at the mention of Santa, the internal light that shines out of Karen brings me to tears of joy.

Now Karen battles something else besides her health. Her medical bills. Insurance handles some of the cost, but as we all know far too well, it is not nearly enough. Especially when you spend a month laid up in the hospital and in a rehabilitation center. So now, I put forth another call to arms. A call to my fellow writers who are reading this asking what else they can do to help. I put to you a challenge, to stir up your creativity and to help a fellow writer in need at the same time.

We are collaborating on an anthology of stories by talented writers, with every single penny of the proceeds going directly to Karen and her family to aid in paying her medical bills. Where do you come in? We need writers! That’s write! Yes, that pun was intended. Remember, it’s my birthday? Be kind.

We need your fantastic minds to contribute to make this anthology a success. We need writers of all genres, no story is too great or small. Okay, yes there are guidelines. I’ll get to that. Let your story be inspired by one word – ORANGE! – and you’re set!

The writing community never fails to amaze me with their ability to band together and help a fellow friend in need. Please help us as we gather together to help one now.

Your time, your friendship, your love . . . it means the world to me. And I know it means everything to Karen DeLabar.

Find out more about our mission and the anthology!
Orange Karen: A Tribute to a Warrior

Interested in submitting for the cause? Find out how you can help!
Submission Guidelines

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After tak­ing years off of writing, Janelle Jensen’s self imposed hia­tus has now ended. She has fun writing flash fic­tion pieces, which can be found at janellejensen.com, and is hard at work writing her novel. She finds inspi­ra­tion in the imagery of words, as well as through the cam­era she often has stuck to her face. When she is not play­ing with words she can often be found vol­un­teer­ing at a wolf research and edu­ca­tion park, where she works with her real-life muses.

Tied Together: Orange Karen Anthology Countdown – Day 4

As Tim Queeney so eloquently writes, sometimes we can feel a connection to someone even when they’re not near us, or with us anymore. Many of the contributors to this anthology have never met Karen DeLabar, myself included, but I feel I know her and she has a special place in my heart. Through the power of the Internets, we are “tied” together. Also, a gentle reminder that the anthology deadline is December 15th (*nudge nudge*). Here are the Submission Guidelines.

Tied Together

Tim Queeney

Our ties to the important folks in our lives can sometimes pop up in unexpected ways. My father died a few years ago, but I recently came across an unexpected talisman of my connection to him. It started with a milk crate of odd and ends I found in his basement.

We had sailboats when I was growing up. First, an old daysailer and then a wooden ketch. And when people have sailboats, there’s always plenty of line around.

Line is sailor speak for rope. There’s line for running rigging, line for sheets, line for the topping lift, for the Cunningham, for the preventer and for the halyards — plus, various other line for just about everything else. Most of the line my Dad had for his boats was coiled and organized, but some wasn’t. He used this spaghetti of line for little jobs around the house. When its work was done, he’d toss it into a milk crate he kept near his workbench, sometimes coiled, sometimes free.

Unlike my two older brothers, I caught the sailing bug early. My dad and I sailed together often. Like many men of the World War II generation, Dad was not comfortable talking about his inner struggles, his demons. He definitely didn’t chew them over them with me. So our times sailing together were not nautical encounter sessions with explorations into our feelings. The conversation ran more towards, “Let’s set the jib, now.” Or, “Careful, stay away from those rocks,” or, “So, what did we pack for lunch?” The connection we made to each other came from terse male teamwork and the shared experience of sunny days and stormy ones. I know those hours spent sailing meant something to him because they meant something to me.

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A year or so after he died I went down to his basement lair. My mother wanted to clear up the workbench and move out some of his gear. I put a few tools in a box, thinking that was enough. But she insisted, “Take that milk crate, too.”

Back at my house, I found myself needing line for one of my household tasks. I fished in the crate and came up with a coil of old, quarter-inch Dacron. My first thought was that the coil was a too long. I thought about cutting it into two shorter lengths, when I noticed it was not a single line but two lines joined with a sheet bend knot. I gazed at the knot. No one had used this line since my Dad’s death. The knot only existed because my Dad had tied it. The knot was the motion of my father’s fingers, frozen in plaits of rope forever.

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(Sheet bend knot)

Though untying the knot would have yielded a length of line perfect for the job at hand, I couldn’t do it. My dad’s knot may have been tied during one of our sailing expeditions. Tied quickly and purposefully on one of those days we sailed together, talking about lunch, but sharing a deeper connection that we never acknowledged.

I hung the knot on a wall hook under a funnel lamp in my basement. In a place where I could see it from anywhere in the room.

I have no proof, of course, but I like to think that somehow my dad tied that knot for me.

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Tim Queeney is a magazine editor and novelist living in Maine. Tim’s books include a historical fiction tale, George in London, and two Perry Helion thrillers, The SHIVA Compression and The Atlas Fracture. The Atlas Fracture is Tim’s upcoming release, soon to appear on Amazon with his other two books.  <http://amzn.to/RMcPpD>.  Follow Tim on twitter @timqueeney and Facebook http://www.facebook.com/timqueeney.author. Visit his website at: http://www.timqueeney.com