Tag Archives: orange

#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.

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.)

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.”

SSPX0014

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: 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!!

5110c6a25ff61398adfabf65528751c1f6

– 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.

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

Introducing Team Orange: Patty Blount

It’s time to meet another one of our amazingly talented authors on “Team Orange”! Read on to meet Patty Blount. I approve of her world-saving ideas…do you?

Author Name:  Patty Blount

Title of Short Story: Murder is a Job Best Left to Professionals

In 25 words or less tell me what this story is about: A former NASCAR champion deals with his professional jealousy over his much younger rival.

How did you come up with the concept for the story?  When the request for “Orange” stories came out, I immediately thought of Home Depot. A few years ago, we’d tried to paint our kitchen a Tuscan orange color but what we got was the Home Depot trademark color. I knew I had to write a story set in or around Home Depot, which became “RenovateIT” in the story and the NASCAR sponsorship made that easy to do.

What prompted you to submit your story to the Orange Karen Anthology? The fabulous Jennifer Gracen is my RWA local chapter mate and through her, I learned all about Karen’s ordeal. Even though I’ve never met Karen IRL, I felt a connection to her through Jen and wanted to help make things a little easier for this amazing survivor.

Tell us one thing about yourself that we wouldn’t know about you from reading your bio:  I suffer terribly from self-doubt. Every success I’ve achieved is because I didn’t listen to my inner nag.

What is your favorite “orange” item (it could be a food, an object…sky’s the limit)? Why? Have you ever heard of the chocolate orange? You whack it and then unwrap it and the chocolate is shaped like orange wedges. I am the world’s biggest chocolate addict. The chocolate orange is a big indulgence. I’ve had it maybe three times in my life, but it remains one of my favorites.

If you had to use your favorite “orange” item to save the world, what would you do with it?  *laughs* Save the world, one piece of chocolate at a time? I know the effect chocolate has on me. Calming. Soothing. I wonder if we could achieve world peace if we gave everybody on earth a piece of chocolate at the same time?

Who inspires you? Why? Maybe I’m old and jaded but I don’t try to emulate celebrities and sports stars anymore. Instead, I look at real people for inspiration. People like the school teachers who stood in front of a madman’s gun to protect their students. People like the passengers on the fourth flight that never hit its intended target on September 11th, 2001. And people like Karen, who could curl up in a ball and cry about what happened to them, but instead, fight and keep fighting.

Story Excerpt:

“Yo. Harlan Hot Shoe Anderson. I’m a ‘uge fan. ‘uge! The name’s Tony.” The man sticks his cigarette between his lips and holds his hands three feet apart to prove it.

I nod politely and he whips out a cell phone, slings his arm around my other shoulder, and clicks a photo without even askin’ first.

“Hey, yo, Bobby! Check it out, it’s freakin’ Hot Shoe himself. Don’t piss him off now, don’t want him throwin’ a helmet at ya!” the man called Tony shouts into the crowd.

“Come on, Tony, back off. Let the man breathe.” A smaller guy I’m guessin’ to be Bobby steps out of the crowd, slaps a hand on Tony’s chest, pushes him back a foot. I nod my thanks.

“Yo. We came here to see Beau Givens. Is he comin’ or what?” Another ornery voice shouts.

Before I can reply, Dwayne shifts and adjusts his NASCAR cap. “Well, ol’ Beau — he’s around here someplace. Here now, how ‘bout a nice T-shirt?” He reaches into the show car, pulls out a box. “Here, Harlan. Start tossin’ shirts to the crowd.”

“He’s here? Oh, shit!” The man callin’ himself Tony lights up like a swarm of lightnin’ bugs and turns to me. “You ain’t scared, are you, Hot Shoe? Heard you two mixed it up last week after the Nationwide race.”

“No, sir.” I shake my head. “Beau just needs to be reminded to act like he’s got some raisin’ up to be done still, and I reminded him is all.”

Big Tony blinks down at me like I’d spoken in tongues. That’s when Dwayne’s assistant come runnin’ out of the store, eyes buggin’ and pale as a ghost.

Dwayne takes her elbow, leads her away from the crowd. I follow. “What is it, sugar?”

“He’s dead, Dwayne,” she whispers in a shaky tone. “Oh, Lord, he’s dead. They found him in the restroom at the back of the store.”

About the Author

Patty spends hePatty Blount_085_Fr days writing facts and her nights writing contemporary romantic fiction. A coworker once said if Patty were a super-villain, she’d be called The Quibbler. Her costume would be covered in exclamation points. Fueled by a serious chocolate obsession, a love of bad science-fiction movies, and a weird attraction to exclamation points, Patty looks for ways to mix business with pleasure, mining her day job for ideas to use in her fiction.

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

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)

67248_103004113100435_844844_n

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

Open Your Heart: Orange Karen Anthology Countdown – Day 10 (Part 2)

Shay Fabbro steps into Part Two of today’s Orange Karen Anthology Countdown!! We figured since the deadline for short story submissions is looming (December 15th) you might need an extra reminder (December 15th). Shay’s post is a welcome reminder of what some of us wholeheartedly feel – that we have found the greatest of friends through social media (Facebook, Twitter). One of those wonderful friends is Karen DeLabar.

* * * * *

Open Your Heart

Shay Fabbro

I don’t know how many times I hear people saying that social networking is forcing us further apart, creating gaps, destroying real friendships. It sounds logical, right? How many people would rather text someone than call them on the phone? I admit I tend to do this, especially if I only need a quick answer and don’t really feel like chatting it up. For those that know me this will be hard to believe since I am not known for my lack of talking 😉

It’s true that some people sit in their homes plugged into the computer and don’t spend much time with real people. When I’m neck deep in writing, I don’t leave the house much but I am still pretty social on most occasions and spend time with real, breathing folks. I enjoy movies with the hubby, dinner with my sister, church on Sunday morning, dinner with mom and dad (complete with card playing and wine drinking), lunch with the girls.

With computers in practically every room of the house and many of us with jobs using computers, it’s easy to get locked into the internet and “socialize” with people on Facebook, Twitter, and all the other social media platforms out there. But some would argue that it’s not really “socializing” unless you are face-to-face with someone, can see their expressions, hear their laughter, touch them. I love hanging out on the internet. But does this mean that the time I spend on Facebook and Twitter is robbing me of my humanity or making real connections?

One of the first thing experts will tell an author is that they have to get out there on social media and start connecting with potential readers. This doesn’t mean inundating Facebook and Twitter with messages to buy your book. It means chatting it up with strangers about things you have in common: fantasy, sci-fi, romance, history, time travel, movies, books, kids, pets, music. It’s so much fun to get in touch with folks who share your same interests.

And this brings me to one very special lady.

If I remember correctly, Karen DeLebar and I met on Twitter using the hashtag called #pubwrite. It was used as a way to hang with writers in a virtual pub so we could keep track of our Tweets easier. Oh, the topics we covered and the shenanigans we got into! I recall that OrangeKaren ending up in Twitter jail a few times while hanging in the Pub 😉  Her Tweets would literally have me laughing out loud (not just the polite LOL people throw on the end of a post) and hoping that I would get to meet her someday.

It was clear from the start that Karen was sweet, kind, hilarious, supportive. Over several conversations, we realized that we had a lot in common, so much that we often joke that we are sisters from different mothers. Just seeing her profile pictures flashing her killer smile would brighten my day. Rest assured that Karen brightened the lives of most everyone she came into contact with.

When she contracted toxic shock syndrome in the summer of 2012, to say that the news was shocking is such a cruel understatement. I felt helpless, scared, sad…all of the things I would feel if someone I had met in real life had contracted the same disease. It was amazing how people rallied around OrangeKaren: sharing posts of her progress, prayers, positive thoughts. My whole newsfeed on Facebook was filled to the brim with posts about Karen DeLebar.

That’s when I realized that you don’t have to see someone face-to-face to love them. All you have to do is open your heart and your mind and give people a chance to show you who they really are.

shayfabbro

Shay Fabbro was born in Longmont, CO and moved to the town of Grand Junction, CO in the early 1980′s. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Mesa State College before earning her doctorate degree in Human Medical Genetics from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, CO. While hard at work on her PhD, Shay had a series of dreams that continued to haunt her even during the light of day. The idea for a series of science fiction/fantasy novels began to take shape. Nearly a year was spent designing the multiple planets, characters, histories, cultures, personalities, and sketching maps. It would take another four years for the first draft of The Chosen to be completed and another year or more to do multiple re-writes and edits and formatting. The end result is a novel spanning an entire galaxy, filled with believable characters, human and alien alike, and conflicts both great and small.

Dr. Fabbro currently lives in Grand Junction with her husband, Rich, and their two cats. When not writing novels, she teaches biology classes at Mesa State College. She is hard at work on the second novel in the Portals of Destiny series, Shattered Destiny, as well as a new young adult series, The Adventures of Alexis Davenport.

Visit www.thechosenbook.com for helpful links for authors looking into self-publishing, ask the author questions, see a sneak peek into the second book of the series, and lots more!