Saturday, December 3, 2011

Side Street Books on N. Ocean Ave in Patchogue now sells 'Death Is A Relative Thing' Check it out- Diane the owner is very knowledgeable and nice- the store is very quaint and stocks both new and used books.

The books can also be found on Rt 25 in Calverton at Something Creative and don't forget- I will be at the Cradle of Aviation on Saturday December 10.  Fourteen writers from The Long Island Writers Group  will be there to sell and sign books!  

Have a great day!  Holly

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pennies from Heaven

One year ago today, my friend, Penny Lindenberg died.  She had leukemia. She left a husband and two young daughters.

She was only 37 years old.

A few potential bone marrow donors were found, but for reasons we don't know, they backed out.  She didn't get what she needed in time to give her a chance.

Please talk to people from DKMS about how to become a dedicated marrow donor.  FAQ's are here- http://www.dkmsamericas.org/faq.  The process of being a donor, if you are ever called, is not as difficult as movies make it out to be, or as scary. 70-80 percent of the time, donors are NOT asked to have any surgery- the transplant team uses a blood transfer system that is a lot like donating platelets.    DKMS will ship you a test kit- it is a simple cheek swab.

For more information on that, contact http://www.dkmsamericas.org/.

Bone marrow donors are not like blood donors- there has to be almost an exact match on many levels for bone marrow- therefore ancestry and ethnicity matter.  YOU could be someone's only chance for a chance. 

Thank you- Holly

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Toxic Plume & A Serial Killer Thriller

Hello all!
Today is a banner day!  Long Island based author Robert Banfelder agreed to a contribute a piece he had written to post on my blog.  If you don’t know Mr. Banfelder, he is a man of considerable knowledge and writing skill.  He’s an avid fisherman and outdoorsman as well as a businessman.  A renowned author who has written innumerable articles on fishing and boating, he’s also created writing courses and has penned novels. You can find out more about him at his website http://www.robertbanfelder.com/
KNOTS
His latest full length book was published in September 2011 and is his first e-book edition.  It’s called  KNOTS and it’s the third novel in the award-winning Justin Barnes series. http://amzn.to/qZbF9Q is the link to the book on Amazons site. 
Enjoy! 

A Toxic Plume & A Serial Killer Thriller
 
Written by Robert Banfelder
 
Back in 1991, I was very fortunate to find a slice of heaven.  I purchased a home situated on the Peconic River in Riverhead, Long Island.  A recent article titled Toxic Plume Threatens Peconic River, published in our local newspaper, The News~Review, caught my eye.  I live on and fish the Peconic River and the bays beyond, so this story certainly grabbed my attention.  It is quite evident that the defunct Grumman airfield in Calverton, where aircraft for the United States Navy were built, commencing in April of 1954, has significantly contributed to polluting the upper reaches of the Peconic River.  The culprits were chemicals used to clean the airplanes.  I’ve been addressing this matter for years.  Senator Charles Schumer has called for the Navy to commence a clean-up operation of the site to prevent further damage to the waterways. 

As all my novels focus on serial killers, I research and delve into the slick, sick mind of the serial murderer.  In order to build verisimilitude into my works, I attend trials; for example, the Robert Shulman serial killer proceedings.  I have lectured at Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center on Ward’s Island, New York, regarding that trial.  I had made it my business to interview heads of law enforcement such as Detective Lieutenant John Gierasch, head of Suffolk County Homicide (now retired).  Too, I sought out many peripheral players.  You may be asking yourself, “But what does a toxic plume have to do with serial killers?”  My two-volume thriller titled The Author explores an apparent psychopath who is ostensibly obsessed with the pollution of our environment and brutally murders the loved ones of those he deems guilty, while those responsible suffer interminably.  Initially, the police believe they have an eco-terrorist on their hands, but authorities, along with my protagonist Justin Barnes—a covert operative for Suffolk County homicide—soon discover that they are dealing with a prolific serial killer.

The Peconic River has been in the news many times concerning heavy metals that are harbored in its depths.  That is what motivated me to write The Author.  Malcolm Columba (my antagonist), is the author and architect of an operation that surreptitiously and safely places federal agents within the ranks of extremist groups around the globe.  But is a faction within the Bureau looking the other way?  I write to entertain, but I also write to educate the reader.

Suffolk County, Long Island is a magnet for cancer.  That is a fact.  I delve into the issue with devastating documentation.  The Author is an award winner.  Too many losers to this dreaded disease made The Author possible.  The United States Navy, in its naiveté and neglect, deserves, to a large degree, blatant blame and the shame in polluting the upper reaches of the Peconic River.  This is but a facet of cause and effect concerning the culminating point.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Very Cool Photo App

Just a quickie here - check out this app- it's online and free and you can have a blast with it. http://www.photofacefun.com/   Look at what I did- 








Really easy and a lot of fun!  Have a great day

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Growing Pains

Fall is officially here.  I love living in a climate where the seasons change, but it's still a little sad when fall arrives.  Every spring, when all things become new again I make a personal vow I’ll actually grow something, a garden, a vegetable, a flower. But fall comes quickly it seems, and when it does I have no choice but to face the fact that I've failed again. Miserably.  

This was post on my old blog. It will give you an idea of what I'm talking about.

Growing Pains
 My son Joe gave me a beautiful hanging planter on Mother’s day.  Pink and white blossoms in a huge basket, long flowery tendrils hanging over the side, robust dark green leaves.  He walked into the house, kissed me and handed it over.

“Happy Mothers Day!”

“Thanks Joe!”

Then-from the corner of the room, another voice:

“So, Joe what did that plant ever do to you?   Did it indicate in any way that it had a death wish or were you just being sadistic?” from Rob my second child.  Obviously still annoyed he wasn’t born first.

Enter my mother.

She said to Joe, “Nice plant!” Then turning to me she added, “Maybe you should just give it to me.” 

Everyone’s a comedian.

I decided it was high time I grew something… and had it survive. 

How hard could it really be?  I mean, it’s spring and the whole neighborhood is brimming with people tending little plants. If they could do it, why couldn't I? Most are growing vegetables, a booming business in this economic downturn.  By the way, walking around my neighborhood is a lot more fun than it used to be!  I get guys talking to me about their jumbo cucumbers-and they are quite forthcoming with details related to how big they will get with some tender loving care.  The lady down the road told me that she traded in her Small Fry tomatoes for Supersonic VF Hybrid grafted ones- explaining that they will keep their firmness when everyone else’s have shriveled and were hanging on the ground.  I was able to learn a number of fertilization techniques from the couple next door, but, I digress….

I created my own little garden, a small piece of heaven and cost effective nutrition. 

Growing tiny seedlings and transplanting them to the tilled and fertilized outdoor garden went better than expected.  I made sure they would have enough sun and made certain they were close to a water source as insufficient quantities of both have derailed my gardens in previous years. I planted them tenderly, with little stakes at the beginning of each row indicating what vegetable my family would be enjoying in a few months and watered my little bambinos.  Then I put up a little fence so the area was cordoned off- a necessary visual barrier for the kids as verbal instructions are rarely successful without reinforcement.

All was going very well for close to 18 hours.

Just so you know, that’s probably a record for me.

As I was letting my puppy in from outside, I noticed she had a sprig of green in her mouth. I stood there, not quite comprehending for a few very long moments, knowing it looked a lot like one of the carrot plants I had sown, but not understanding how it possibly could be.  Reality slowly dawned.  I eased my head toward the garden, terrified to look. Glancing out of the corner of my eye, my worst fears were confirmed.  I was met with a vast, nuclear wasteland where my garden should have been….grey, flat…..dead.    There were partial plant carcasses  strewn about haphazardly, holes were dug, and a little pile of  puppy dung sat in the center where my one pumpkin plant should have been. My fence had been breached, violated by an overzealous ten pound Boston Terrier.

I have concluded that I will serve our economy best by purchasing vegetables at our local farm stand…
I stopped in front of my Mother’s house, knowing that what I was about to do was the right thing.  I tenderly placed the basket Joe gave me in a blanket, nestled a bottle of plant food between its blossoms and placed the bundle on her stoop. I rang the doorbell, then ran and hid until I was sure mom answered and watched as she brought it in the house.

Under the circumstances, it was the merciful thing to do.   

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Kindlegraph Me!

For some time now, Kindle sales have outpaced print books, in both hardcover and paperback. I don't want to get into a philosophical discussion about the values of either, as I believe there is a place for both in any avid reader’s collection.  Being tactile myself, I personally will always prefer to feel, smell and flip through the pages of a paper book. I love to look at them on my shelves.
That being said, I do like the ability to download and read a book at the touch of a button.  My instant gratification switch is turned on and I feel so very green as I do so knowing I have saved a tree. I will walk with my feet on both sides of the line drawn in the sand.
Sadly, one of the casualties of the electronic readers is the inability to have an author sign the book. Obtaining a signature and a personal note is one of the pleasures of owning a paper book. In an attempt to fill this void, Kindlegraph creator, Evan Jacobs, has invented a way to send an electronic message and signature to a Kindle upon request.  The signature itself is a digital representation of the author’s signature. It gets sent in a separate file to the Kindle or Kindle reader.  Another piece of good news; Kindlegraph is free.
Of course, I'm a bit of a techno-freak so I think this is great. I jumped on the bandwagon and can now send Kindlegraphs! All you need to do is go to http://www.Kindlegraph.com. Search for my book, "Death Is A Relative Thing" and request it.
The caveat is this- At this time you must sign in with a Twitter account. There are alternative sign in options being looked at so I am sure this will change down the road, but currently Twitter is the only option. If you don't have an account and don't want one, I'll be glad to let you when it shifts.  For the rest of you who have existing Twitter accounts or are ok with creating one, feel free to send me a Kindlegraph request. 
This is going to be fun.
The world of publishing is changing by the minute.  POD books are being put out by mass market publishers, self-publishers are finally finding respect, electronic signatures and notes are a new way to connect authors and readers, the demise of huge brick and mortar stores, they are all shifts that are rocking our world. I don't know if anyone can tell where it's all going or how our reading habits will change.  I do feel however, that as long as we are still reading and we can still be touched, thrilled, terrified or tickled silly by words, we are doing ok.
Have a wonderful day!  Peace, Holly

An update to this blog post: 
As was commented by Evan Jacobs my Kindlegraph page is http://kindlegraph.com/authors/HPatrone .  You can head right there and not have to search.  Additionally I have added my short story "The Harper's Ring" to the Kindlegraph page.  Thanks!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Brooklyn Book Festival

BROOKLYN BOOK FESTIVAL

Hi there!  Today my mother and I went to the Brooklyn Book Festival.  We had a great time.  The weather was a little cool, mostly overcast but the sun kept peeking through and warming us up.  The place was jumping-there were a lot of people to negotiate as we went booth to booth.  Some were handing out bookmarks, and of course I reciprocated with my own!  Street fairs of any kind are fun and this was no exception.
ME
I networked.  I talked to some publishers, some workshop coordinators and some authors.  I met one author who self published her book  Her name is Sandra Lakeland and her book is 'Six Feet From The Ledge'. (http://amzn.to/qpbdg3)  She was here from Texas.  Of course, I haven't had time to read the book, but I'm sure I will.  It sounds great. I thought it was wonderful she came from the midwest to Brooklyn.   

SANDRA LAKELAND


Then I stopped by the Pro Press tent ( http://www.propressbooks.net/index.html )- and met up with my author/Indie Publisher friend Grace Protano (Absent From Class, As Long As You Can See The Clock, You're Okay).  There I had the opportunity to meet her friend turned author Mary Mineo Marra who has a book coming out soon called "Getting Fit With Adam".  We had a few laughs and planned an adventure or two. Actually Grace planned...she's just dragging me along kicking and screaming!
MARY AND GRACE

The greatest thing about the festival was the energy.  You can feel the passion everyone has about their work whether it be a book, a publishing company or a group that holds workshops for disadvantaged persons who long to write. I look forward to next year when hopefully I am there as a vendor/author.   

Hope you had a great day too! Peace  Holly

Friday, September 16, 2011

Facebook Frenzy II

I’ve been so focused on promoting 'Death Is A Relative Thing', that at times I think nothing else has happened since the book came out in June.  Fortunately I have a complete record of what I have been up to in the form of Facebook posts.  I have not been as single minded as I thought!
Check it out; in no particular order…some non-book related Facebook updates
1)      Fact. In your lifetime you will spend about 5 years eating and 3 years on the toilet. There are an awful lot of things I can say about this but I think everyone should come to their own conclusions here. Extrapolate folks LOL
2)      School tomorrow! This is my baby- number five and headed to Middle school...I could wax poetic and ponder on where the time has gone OR I can do the pee pee dance DUUUUUUH! Take a guess!
3)      My daughter is making French toast for herself and what does she do? Yep folks, she set off the smoke alarm. I'm so damned proud!
4)      We made it to Kingston NH -Marisa mentions that my mother said she got a ticket in this town. I said "Boy Nona gets a lot of tickets doesn't she?" And Marisa says.....wait for it...."Yeah for an old lady she does."
5)      My friend’s children slept over last night. As I'm cooking breakfast, the smoke alarm goes off (go figure) as I'm pulling out the damned battery, her son looks at me and says "Wow, my mom does the same thing when she cooks!" I feel vindicated somehow...)
6)      So I'm in my new office space trying to work and Marisa wants to read (quietly-the Guinness Record Book) in the room with me. I say ok. Silly me. She just announced that on my birthday in 2010 the widest tongue AND the longest nose was recorded and wanted to know if I was a contender....
7)      Cupsogue beach. Put purse in back seat. Locked it. Can't find keys. Called hubby who says to call a friend who could help. Guy too far away but tells me-find a Bay Cop. Found one-but no lock out kit. Cop was nice. Emptied trunk looking for slim jim. No go. Takes a ride and comes back with kit. Opens door, we rejoice. DUH keys not in purse. Found them in a bucket that we had all the while. I DO need to write a book.
8)      OK it takes 33 seconds to silence my smoke alarm and 33 minutes to silence the damned bird imitating the smoke alarm. Definitely worth eating out....
:)  Have a great day all!  Holly

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Free Is For Me

Here we go. It's a giveaway of my e-book "The Harper's Ring." Yeah!  I love FREE things!

About the e-book:

"The Harper's Ring" is written in a very different style than my novel. It is a short piece based on a true story of a young pregnant woman forced to flee Cuba when Fidel Castro took over. It's a story of courage, loss and promises fulfilled.  The piece placed in the top 27 out of 448 entries in the 2010 Santa Fe Writers Project Literary Awards Program. It would be about 40 pages long if it were a paperback, it's about 8,500 words. You can check it out online here:
http://amzn.to/qTwAYT

Ok here are the (very simple, very few) rules:

1)   It is running FOUR DAYS ONLY only.  Midnight Friday Sept 9th through midnight Monday September 12th, 2011.

2)   Buy a copy of Death Is A Relative Thing sometime during those four days from Amazon.com in the Kindle or paperback version.

3)   Copy and paste the "description" portion of your receipt that shows the order number and the book title (there is no credit card information on this) and send it to info@hpatrone.com.

I will then gift my e-book "The Harper's Ring" FREE to any email address you specify.

Remember, you don't have to have a Kindle to read e-books- just download the Kindle app from Amazon.com. The link to the app is here:
http://amzn.to/91eo2U

Grab a few copies of "Death" for holiday gifts now- I mean really- You know it's right around the corner! (Sorry...)

Here's the link to purchase Death Is A Relative Thing:
http://amzn.to/nyexeQ

So there it is!  Easy and cheap....sounds like, well, I won't say it!

Have fun.  Thanks so much and don't forget to email me.

Peace,
Holly

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Irene moved over just a little...

My  interview in the North Shore Sun was understandably held back due to the storm but it is out on the website now!  Check it out!

http://northshoresun.timesreview.com/2011/08/16599/ridge-author-wins-award-for-first-fiction-novel/


Irene packed a punch.  Our family was lucky and kept electric but so many around me were not.  I hope everyone fares well and that things get back to normal soon!

Best Wishes- Holly

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Park Road Books Signing

http://parkroadbooks.com/event/death-relative-thing

Hey!  I'm in NC.  Book signing at Park Road Books tomorrow night, Friday the 15th at 7:00 in Charlotte.  Come and say hi!

4139 Park Road
Park Road Shopping Center
Charlotte, North Carolina 28209

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

First Chapter Freebie

http://hpatrone.com/first-chapter.html I uploaded the first chapter to my website. Here's your chance to check it out. Free!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Hooray for E-Books!

Well, here we are, a few weeks into the book launch and the most incredible thing to me is the Kindle sales.  Right now, Death Is A Relative Thing is number 22 in the Kindle-ebooks-Humor category.  Since Thursday I've watched it go from 43 to 31 to 27, 26 and now 22.  That is so cool.  Thanks to all that have been walking and talking the book.

People ask me questions about the book all the time- how did I come up with the characters, is it biographical, how long did it take me to write.  That stuff I expect.  Some things throw me though, like the guy who came up to me and said "I just want you to know that I really liked the ending of your book." 

Hmmmmm.  Did that mean he like the ENDING of the book or that he liked that it was ENDING. One is good, the other as you can well imagine, is well, bad. Ok, we clarified, (whew) but wow....

Anyway, thanks to everyone!  Keep the good word going.  I appreciate it. 

I'm shooting our another recycled post from the old blog from New Years I think 2 years ago...

The Olden Days

“Mom?” asked my seven year old daughter from the back seat of the car, “can we talk about the ‘olden days’?  I like when you tell me about them.”

“Sure honey, let me just turn up the volume on my hearing aid, ok?” Jeez!

“Ok.  Hey mommy, did they have cars like this when you were a kid?”

“No baby, not like this.  Have you ever seen “The Flintstones? No I guess not, they aren’t even in reruns. Well we had to stop our cars with our feet, roll down our windows manually and there were no portable DVD players for us.  We had to rough it by watching the scenery as it went by.”

“Oh.  Booooring!”  She sat quietly for a bit.

“Mom?” 

“What?”

“Was there TV when you were a kid?”

“Yes honey, but not like you are used to.  There was no 24 hour children’s programming. We had only 7 channels and no do-overs.  If you missed a show, you were out of luck.  If my room was clean, I was allowed a few hours of TV on a Saturday morning.  If it wasn’t clean, grandmas made me weed. We watched black and white ‘follow the bouncing ball’ cartoons, Captain Kangaroo and Lassie.  There were no “on screen guitars”, belly buttons or talking back to teachers.  Oh! And we had to take turns holding the rabbit ears on top of the TV to keep the picture viewable.”

“Oh”  She thought for a moment.  “Why did you keep a rabbit on the TV?”

“It was the 60’s version of cable”

“Oh.    Mom?”

“What baby?”

Did you have stoves in the olden days?”

“No hon, we rubbed two sticks together and the whole family did a dance while sacrificing small woodland creatures to fire gods.  Of COURSE we had stoves!  Ask your grandmother about the stick rubbing thing though, she may have some insight for you.”

 “Mom? Was I in your belly in the olden days?

Egads!  “No hon, not until much much later. After marriage- but we will discuss all of that after you get out of the monastery daddy wants to send you to.  And even though mommy looks like she still has you in her belly, we all know that you aren’t there because you sitting right here in the back seat asking me all these wonderful insightful questions!”

“Everything was so different then.” She looked a little sad.

I felt badly.  Maybe my answers hadn’t been what she was looking for. 

An acute case of ‘Mother guilt’ set in.  Because of it, when she asked “Mom, can you help me build a snowman?” I said “Sure”, instead of “Uhhhh, well, I think sticking a fork in my eye would be a preferable activity.”

We got home, and set to work.  I made a small snowball and started rolling it around, watching it grow as it collected more snow.  Soon it was large enough that we were both pushing it around the front lawn, laughing, huffing and puffing.  We made two others and stacked them all up, shoring them with more snow where they met, making them bigger and rounder.  My nose was running and we were both red faced and frostbitten.

I sat down in the snow because my legs were killing me. I called out “Hey Marisa, do you know how we built snowmen in the olden days?”

“No”

“Exactly the same way we do it now.”

She looked at me, grinned from ear to ear, ran over and gave me a hug.  “I’ll go get a carrot, ok mom?”

“Ok baby, you go get a carrot.”

My butt was frozen to the ground.  I laughed and waited for the spring thaw.

***


May the New Year bring you much joy
Here’s to embracing change
And to touching lives around us
Looking ahead to the future

But may we never move forward so fast however,
That we forget from whence we came
Simple pleasures and tradition
Or how to make a snowman with a child.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Well, we have Kindle!

Ok - the Kindle version is up and running on Amazon. I just love this.  I'm having such a good time and want to thank everyone for the overwhelming response to the book.  Please if you like it, tell someone! Thats the way to keep the momentum going and I appreciate it. :)

I'm trying to set up a few book signings and have been working on publicity.  I'm also talking to a few bookstores, so things have been really busy.

I am working on a sequel to the book, but I have a few short stories in the works that I want to get back to soon. Here's the first chapter of something I was working on before getting so sidetracked.  Thoughts?



The Fallow Side of the Bright Red Sun 

Mari walked from the farmhouse toward the old truck tire that stood standing sentry, suspended from a heavily frayed rope. It was a strangely still day, and except for the occasional flick of a ragged cow’s tail to chase off a nagging horsefly, the animals were quiet.  The air could be seen rising like watery ripples from the ground, but of course, there was no water, there hadn’t been any for weeks and there was none forecast.
She headed toward the tire swing, sat atop it, hung her knees over the worn rubber treads and flipped her body upside down.  Her hair fell forward off her neck, cooling her for a moment.  Mari stared past her feet looking towards the Wyoming sky for some minutes. Finding nothing of interest, she focused inward. Yesterday she was a misplaced princess, rescued from this most wretched place.  She was whisked away on horseback to govern a small country that was surrounded by deep blue oceans and brightly colored people.  She wore gowns of pure silk while holding an impossibly overstuffed Persian cat and ate juicy pineapples and warmed figs. 
Mari was prone to fantasy.   
Other times she had visions of her mother, running, arms outstretched ready to embrace her. The soft rosewood fragrance that was so much a part of Vidonia would drift through Mari’s senses.  She would rest her head against her mothers’ breast, look into her eyes and for a moment, right before Vidonia went to a glittering red shimmer, Mari would remember that she once was loved.    
Today she was a dark native huntress in a faraway rainforest.  Lush wide leaves hung heavy from tall trees straining to gain a foothold of light in the dense undergrowth.  She was stalking a leopard that was terrorizing local villagers- it had already killed three men.  Mari ran sleekly, her leather clad feet navigating thick roots, her body twisting and turning, keeping pace with the man eater, finally gaining as he was beginning to tire.  He met his match in Mari, his nostrils were flaring and she caught the scent of his fear, harsher, saltier, more vivid set against the damp and earthy smells that were the jungle.
She was pushing to defeat him when she was distracted.  It was a mere second, just a glimpse caught from the corner of an eye, but enough to bring her to a halt for it was alien in this world she had created.  Her mind stopped running - the bright green and browns of the jungle faded, the calls of toucans and orangutans in the trees quieted and she was transported back to her familiar bleak and crackled landscape.  She sucked in the dry air while transitioning back to reality and saw the shoe that had distracted her.   A wing tip? She thought it might be, although she had only read of them in books. It was attached to a body.  Still upside down, she took note of the grey wool pants that were neatly cuffed and creased and her first thought was not fear, but astonishment that anyone would wear such heavy clothing in this stifling heat. She pulled herself up and slid off the tire swing.
            “Oh!” she said as she took in the extraordinary height of the man standing before her.  “Can I help you?”
The man tipped his hat to her and said “Allow me to introduce myself.”  He had light orange hair and pale skin, but it was his eyes that held her captive.  Green, amber and purple, the colors were moving, swirling about one another in a mesmerizing dance.  She did not break free of the gaze until he spoke again, “Your mother is calling.”
Mari startled. “I’m sorry, but my mother can’t be calling.  She disappeared.”
The man smiled a thin wide smile that displayed two uneven rows of impossibly white teeth. Mari noted that his hair was perfectly combed and he did not seem to be uncomfortable at all in the heat which was incongruous as he was wearing a wool jacket to match the pants.  The ensemble was completed by a striped ascot. “Aren’t you hot?” asked the girl.
“No, not hot.  Not cold either. Just right I would say, but that is not of consequence.  Your mother is calling.”
“I told you…she can’t, she disappeared”
The stranger reached with his hand to cup his ear and leaned on one leg far to the right,  listening intently.  Mari watched him carefully, expecting him to fall at such an angle while she also strained hard for the sound of anything other than the drone of a passing horsefly.
“No, only misplaced.” He continued, “If she was really gone she couldn’t be calling you!”
Frustrated, Mari fell back into her native Portuguese.  “Onde esta entao?”  Where is she then?
“Maybe through the hedge”, he said pointing east. Mari turned and looked.  She took in the fence, at the far side of the clearing. Rough hewn posts in the ground and three rows of rusty wire served as a place holder for the few miserable animals that were kept here.  Beyond that there was nothing but miles of brown grass and dirt.  She looked back to where he had been, but he was gone.
Mari began walking to where he had pointed  and carefully negotiated her body through the uneven wire strands. She saw nothing. Irritated, she sat down on the hard packed dirt. Where had he come from she wondered?  And where had he gone?
She pushed at the ground with her fingers, loosening up some of the dirt and created a little dry pile of dust while she considered her strange visitor.  Had she been having one of her “daydreams?   Mari had never mistaken fantasy for reality before and the thought concerned her.  She loved her little escapes, but she knew intuitively that she couldn’t confuse them.  Her fingers slowly picked out a small trench, hard granules of dirt pushing under her nails. Grey, everything here was grey and dreary. 
She spit on her hands and rubbed them together in an attempt to clean off.
She couldn’t spew enough moisture to do much except make a small smear on her palms. It was hot, her body was effectively using what liquid it had to keep her cool and hydrated.  She spit again while employing a small stick she found nearby to remove the dirt under her nails but wasn’t very successful. She stood up, wiped her hands on her pants began to walk back to the farmhouse. 
His tall form was leaning against the worn railing of the fence. His orange hair       was mobbing side to side and an audible “tsk tsk” came from him. 
“What!”  she snapped, irritated, not understanding.  “What do you want me to do?  I don’t see her, I don’t know where she is.”
His fingers were tall, knobby, pointed.  They reached like pincers, daddy long leg style into his top pocket and pulled out a deck of cards.  Red diamondbacks.  He shuffled them with one hand, over and over, absentmindedly while he spoke.  “Me?  I don’t want anything.  What do you want Mari?  Do you want to see your mother?  Do you want to go home?
He looked at her, the swirl in his eyes slowing, waiting.
She nodded.
Fanning the cards out in front of him he said, “Sometimes all you can do is play the hand you’re dealt.”  He shuffled and let go of the cards.  They hung suspended in the air, began to shimmer and then disappeared.
He raised his hand above his head and with a circular motion, brought it down to chest level.  In his hand were seven cards, one wedged between each finger.  He turned the first one over so she could see it.
“What do I do with this?” Mari asked, torn between looking at the card and counting his fingers as she spoke. “How do I proceed?”
Smiling, he took his right thumb and forefinger and plucked his hair up.  He twisted and pulled at it, and as he did he grew taller and thinner, beginning to glow with a silver edged transparency. His voice become a high pitched tremolo as he laughed, a bizarre insane asylum sound that pierced Mari’s head.  She began to panic as pain zigzagged behind her eyes, through her temples.  She pressed her hands over her ears. He yanked again on his hair this time pulling it so hard it came out in one fuzzy orange handful.  With that, his body snapped, rolling onto itself much as a window shade would.  He disappeared with a crackling, the tail end of a lightening bolt sound and his hair vanished in little sparkly bursts before hitting the dirt. The cards hung suspended in the air until one twisted and turned, falling and landing face up, at Mari’s feet. The other six did the same until she had seven cards face up in a perfect pile. The first card the stranger had shown her was on the top.
It was only then that she realized they hadn’t been properly introduced

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Ya Hear? It's a Book!

Yes the book has been published!   It's been a process for me and I'm a little wiser (not much mind you cause at my age...well...) and I'm very happy. The book looks great and I have to thank the people at TAG Publishers for doing such a phenomenal job with it. 

Until I find a better way to post it, here's the link to the Amazon site:

http://www.amazon.com/Death-Relative-Thing-Holly-Patrone/dp/1934606081/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1307187260&sr=8-1

I'm working on setting up a signing or two.  I'll update as I know- feel free to contact me!   Thanks!  Holly

Thursday, June 2, 2011

And Away We Go!

Ok everyone,  the book is indeed a book.  I haven't actually held it yet, but I do have a few copies on their way to me. The publisher uploaded the book information to the distributor who uploaded it to the retailers (amazon.com, bn.com, borders.com) early last week.  I will update everyone when it shows up online.  I do hear that the book images and descriptions can all come at different times to the sites so, don't be surprised if all the details don't show immediately. 

I'll post the first chapter of the book in the next day or two.  My publisher suggested the idea. I like it- hey you might as well take it for a test drive! If you like it, send it off to your friends, relatives, co workers and complete strangers.  I'm hoping you like it enough to recommend it.

This has been such a learning process for me! P-A-T-I-E-N-C-E.  Still learning how to spell that one....(sigh)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Book Release

Ok guys,  June 1st is going to come...and go...without my book being available.  It's ok.  I was warned I should expect that the date was a bit of a moving target. It's hard for me though.  I'm an Italian mother with a Type A  personality from New York which makes me predisposed to impatience and bloat by salami.  It shouldn't be that much longer.  The publisher says the book info has been sent out to the retailers, the media kit all but completed....but I don't know a date.  I will keep you informed.

For anyone who doesn't know the premise of the book- here it is:

Death Is A Relative Thing

Can April have any kind of sex life knowing her dead husband might be watching…or worse yet, critiquing?

April Serao’s love life is much like a desert, dry, dusty and a little cracked. Six years ago, her husband Sal died while having sex.  That was bad, but he was with her, so it could have been worse, however he hadn’t finished renovating the kitchen, so his timing could have been better.  Now April’s raising their three sons alone.  Word got around about how Sal met his unfortunate demise which has earned April a “killer good” reputation. Because of it, most men put a considerable amount of distance between her and them.
Her mother takes April to see a local celebrity psychic, convinced Sal will talk to them.  April knows Sal hasn’t held up his end of a conversation in a long time but goes anyway because her mother is wiry tough, sports Cherry Cola #17 red hair and is a force to be reckoned with.  She’s also a “Sicilian Guilt Trip” maestro, and April knows she won’t win the battle.
April works as a Technical Support Engineer at a company called Tin Cup Software.  Her co workers and occasional partners in crime are Rob and Marley.  Rob has a hologram perfect family and Marley passes the time by tweezing chin hairs while talking to customers.  She lives with a large multicolored parrot named Rodney that she believes is going through teenage angst.
  April finally finds a man willing to risk dating her and the relationship heats up.. She soon finds herself struggling to balance her past, her children and the possibility of new love.  Her life, further complicated by a dead musician, a latex fetish and a few bad guys becomes a rollicking laugh out loud read that you won’t want to miss. .

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Growing Pains

Well, it's May 21, and we are all still here. That's good because I would have been really upset if I'd come this far with the book only to have the world end before anyone got to read it! 

Anyway- June 1st is still the release date but, I have recently found out that it may be necessary to allow a little wiggle room.  Really, the reason is editing.  The manuscript has been through a series of edits and a copy editor but, there are still changes, albiet small, to be made.  Of course, it needs to be printed as error free as possible, so, although the changes are small, they are still in process. The wonderful thing about POD though is that once the changes are made, it should all move pretty quickly so I'm not anticipating a long delay if there is one at all.  Just saying....

Here is another resurrected post in the meantime...

Growing Pains

My son Joe gave me a beautiful hanging planter on Mother’s day.  Pink and white blossoms in a huge basket,  long flowery tendrils hanging over the side, robust dark green leaves.  He walked into the house, kissed me  and handed it over.

“Happy Mothers Day!”

“Thanks Joe”

Then-from the corner of the room, another voice:

“So, Joe what did that plant ever do to you?   Did it indicate in any way that it had a death wish or were you  just being sadistic?”

Rob.  My second child-no self editing capabilities.

Enter my mother.
She said to Joe, “Nice plant!” Then turning to me she added, “Maybe you should just give it to me.” 
Everyone’s a comedian.

I decided it was high time I grew something… and had it survive. 

How hard could it really be?  I mean, it’s spring and the whole neighborhood is brimming with people tending  little plants. If they could do it, why can’t I? Most are growing vegetables, a booming business in this  economic downturn.  This, by the way, has made walking around my neighborhood a lot more fun than it used to  be!  I get guys talking to me about their jumbo cucumbers-and they are quite forthcoming with details related  to how big they will get with some tender loving care.  The lady down the road told me that she traded in her Small Fry tomatoes for Supersonic VF Hybrid grafted ones- explaining that they will keep their firmness when  everyone else’s have shriveled and were hanging on the ground.  I was able to learn a number of fertilization  techniques from the couple next door, but, I digress….

I created my own little garden, a small piece of heaven and cost effective nutrition. 
Growing  tiny seedlings and transplanting them to the tilled and fertilized outdoor garden went better than  expected.  I made sure they would have enough sun and placed them close to a water source as  insufficient quantities of both have derailed my gardens in previous years. I planted them tenderly, with  little stakes at the beginning of each row indicating what vegetable my family would be enjoying in a few  months and watered my little bambinos.  Then I put up a little fence so the area was cordoned off- a necessary  visual barrier for the kids as verbal instructions are rarely successful without reinforcement.

All was going very well for close to 18 hours.
Just so you know, that’s probably a record for me.

As I was letting my puppy in from outside, I noticed she had a sprig of green in her mouth. I stood there, not  quite comprehending for a few very long moments, knowing it looked a lot like one of the carrot plants I had  sown, but not understanding how it possibly could be.  Reality slowly dawned.  I eased my head toward the  garden, terrified to look. Glancing out of the corner of my eye, my worst fears were confirmed.  I was met  with a vast, nuclear wasteland where my garden should have been….grey, flat…..dead.    There were partial plant  carcasses  strewn about haphazardly, holes were dug, and a little pile of  puppy dung sat in the center where  my one pumpkin plant should have been. My fence had been breached, violated by an overzealous ten pound Boston  Terrier.

I have concluded that I will serve our economy best by purchasing vegetables at our local farm stand…
I stopped in front of my Mother’s house, knowing that what I was about to do was the right thing.  I tenderly  placed the basket Joe gave me in a blanket, nestled a bottle of plant food between its blossoms and placed the  bundle on her stoop. I rang the doorbell, then ran and hid until I was sure mom answered and watched as she  brought it lovingly into the house.

Under the circumstances, it was the merciful thing to do.   

Monday, May 16, 2011

Gotta Love That Cover

If you haven't gotten here from there, backtrack for a moment to http://www.hpatrone.com and check out the book cover.  Is that just adorable or what?

We are still on for a June 1, 2011 release date.  Final layouts are being approved and I know I'm excited.

The book will be available online at a number of places-

http://www.amazon.com
http://www.borders.com
http://www.barnesandnoble.com

There will be a Kindle version available for download.

I'm working on a few bookstores and libraries and I'll let you know if I have any success. It's a tough sell being the new kid on the block :)

Anyway please sign up to follow this blog- (look over to the right side of the page.,..I know the sign up is there...believe me, it's a great idea!) that way I can get info out easily and quickly.  Of course please also, send this site out to your friends.  It would be greatly appreciated.

Ok, I'm going to go back to sitting on pins and needles waiting for this to happen!  More to come soon!

Thanks, Holly

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Exercise With Caution

Another resurrected post:

Exercise With Caution

As some of you know, I am attending a cardio kickboxing class five days a week.  It is a lot of work and great fun.  Regrettably, I have also found out just how dangerous it can be.

I am currently sporting a staple in my head.

No, I didn’t get kicked nor did I drop a weight on myself.

I keep trying to come up with a better story, but the truth is that while in the bathroom at the gym,  I somehow dislodged the toilet paper roll from the holder.  I watched while it did a frantic little dance across the floor and I dove as it rolled to a stop.  Smug in the knowledge that my trainer would be proud that I used my new found lunging skills in a real world application, I grabbed the roll and jumped up. 

Unfortunately there was a cabinet above me and my head came up into the corner. Hard.

I couldn’t get it to stop bleeding so I drove to my doctor’s office.  It was promptly decided that I needed “the trauma room” and a staple in my head to close the wound.

STAPLE?

“So, how about we stitch that thing instead, doc?”  I ventured.

“Sure we can do that” she said, “but I’d have to shave a portion of your head.”

SHAVE?

As I awaited my staple, the doctor called the nurse.  Nurse number one then called another nurse and that nurse called the PA.  The Novocaine that was shot into my head was starting to wear off.

“Uh guys, is there a problem?” 

“No, not really, we just aren’t sure how to use this particular stapler.” said nurse one.

“It’s older technology” volunteered nurse two.

My doctor added, “We may have to stitch it after all.”

HUH?

“By law, I need to tell you guys that I'm in week five of cardio kickboxing and my body is officially a weapon." I said.  "I'm ready to pounce, I'm spring loaded and just a bit over-wound right now.  I can’t be responsible for my actions if you come near my head with a razor.”

The doctor bestowed me with a look that silently indicated I was a moron.

Five minutes later my head was stapled.  I didn’t even feel it. I got up, ready to leave when she asked, “How long has it been since you had a tetanus shot?”

“Hmmm, well, that depends on how long are they good for...”

“Ten years”

“Oh!  Then I had one eight years ago.”

Again, I got “the look.”

I sighed and rolled up my sleeve.

Afterwards, I drove to my husbands shop.  He came out to meet me, concern in his eyes, an oversized magnet in his hand. He started rotating it in a figure eight pattern as he pointed it at my head..

“Darn" he said.  "It doesn’t work.  I really was hoping there was enough metal that the magnet would make your head move. Now that would be funny!”

A few things about this day that I wish to add:

1- The tetanus shot hurt a lot worse than the staple.
2- I did go to my kickboxing class the next morning.
3- Practice “the look.”  You may have to use it on your husband.

Have a great day!

Mojo!

I love when I exceed expectations.  It's 9:16 am and the smoke alarm has already gone off.  EVACUATE Smoke in kitchen- EVACUATE!  Good to know that I still have the mojo!

As an aside my publisher has given me a June 1st release date barring any complications.  I should have some more information and a book cover to post soon! 

Who'da Thunk It

We all feel our kids and families are special, even if it’s in a  little yellow bus sort of way.  The stories are our own, special and unique.  They get told and retold at family functions and when new girlfriends arrive on the scene. Personally, I feel I’ve been blessed with kids that are overachievers in the “special” arena.  I figured I would share a few stories with you.
1) Joseph, when he was seven, set his bedroom on fire.  Always the responsible one, he thought to fill a two liter bottle of water in case things got out of control.  To this day, he doesn’t understand why he got in trouble.


2) Rob could vomit on demand.  No place was sacred.  Crowded diners were especially fun. Rob would, and still will, do anything for effect.


3) I remember one day coming home to a huge sign on the front door stating simply “The snake is loose.”  Neighbors love me. 


4) Nick mooned his kindergarten class. The teacher never saw it. The kids did and told their parents who in turn told me, one after the other, as they dropped their kids off to my son’s birthday party.


5) One day recently I asked Nick to take down from the ceiling what looked like a spider egg sack.  As if came off the ceiling it fell to the floor…with a “plop.”  We just kind of looked at each other for a second before checking it out.  Chapstick.  Clear, cherry flavored Chapstick.  I genuflect a lot.


6) Josh forged my name in second grade.  I went to the school to inspect the signature.  The teacher admitted she almost let it slide.  It was good.  I check all of my credit card statements regularly. 


7) Christmas cheer, tree in the corner, shopping begging to be done and I can’t find my keys.  Under the couch, the freezer, in the woodpile…no go.  Pulled all the pockets of every winter jacket inside out.  No keys.  Exasperated after an hour, I asked my then four year old daughter if she had seen them.  “Sure mommy.”  She walked over to the Christmas tree, reached inside it and plucked them out of the branches. She thought they matched.  You know…shiny.


8) When Joe and Rob were out of school, but working and still living home, we had a deal.  They either paid $50 a week each for rent OR they could each clean a bathroom.  (It was well worth it to me- including my husband, there were five guys living in the house!) Eventually it came out that Joe and Rob were each paying Josh $25 a week to clean the bathrooms for them.  When confronted, they all looked at me like I was crazy for not understanding the logic.  They proceeded to speak very slowly (you know, so I would catch on) and explained that they saved money by paying Josh half of what they would have to pay me.  Josh made $50 a week- for a kid who was about 13 at the time, that was pretty darned good.  And, they reasoned, I got what I wanted, two clean bathrooms.


Some arguments I know I’ll lose right from the start, so I didn’t even try.


The boys were right though about one thing though.  I did get exactly what I wanted- kids that challenge, shape and move their own universe. No wallflowers in my family tree!

Facebook Frenzy

First Published  4/17/2010 1:58:00 AM
-----

  Anyone not familiar with the Facebook phenomenon won't understand this post so let me try to explain. Facebook is a social networking site on the Internet where people can contact and share their lives with friends, relatives and acquaintances. Although there are differing opinions, I feel it has a lot of value in todays society. The busier we become and the more physical distance we put between ourselves, the harder it is to keep connected with people we'd like to have in our lives. It can be a great tool to keep in touch with relatives that aren't close by. High school, college and work contacts you haven't seen or cared to talk to in twenty years are suddenly your friends.  It's great fun. I pretty much mainline Facebook.

  There is a "Profile Status" which can be updated as often as you wish and all of your friends on your list can read it. I change mine a few times a week. I recently updated my status and a friend of mine commented that my house is a "total comedy skit." I was thinking of being offended, but then decided to take an honest look at my updates.

MY FACEBOOK STATUS UPDATES (In no particular order)

     I'm convinced I'd have an easier time starting a fire in the woodstove if it was moved into the kitchen.....

     Rob and Chelsea's dog, Diesel just arrived. We are watching him for a few days. I now have FOUR Boston Terriers running circles around the house...I am seeing black and white and black and white and black and white and bla.....you get the idea!

     My daughter is all upset that she got a bit part in the school play...I'm not sure how that happened because the DRAMA QUEEN has been honing her skills all afternoon...I need a drink...

     I've come to the conclusion that it's not me! The kitchen smoke alarm just needs to be moved. To the backyard maybe?

     My 8 yr old daughter has determined her life is unbearable-she says there's no  food in the house, there's no one to play with, her life is miserable and she has no good toys. She's better be getting sick cause if she's not, I plan on sending her to Haiti for a reality check.

     Just read that frowning burns more calories than smiling... at least it's a good excuse for the extra weight *sigh*

     Had to call the Coon Man once again today because a raccoon infiltrated our new roof- (you know, the one we just had put on to keep the them out). Adding insult to injury, it's raining, and because of the raccoon hole and the rain, the ceiling is leaking. Badly. Just another day in paradise....

     Easter baking. Braided Spinach Artichoke Recipe says "make 3 inch slices down each side about 1.5 inches apart. Do not cut through center area" Huh? No indication of how many strips and how do you do that? Called mom. Took her 15 minutes to explain- Seems it's more of a FRENCH braid and I had Pippi Longstocking stuck in my head! Got it now!

    So I pointed out to the hubby (proudly I might add) that I started a fire in the woodstove all by myself. He said, "What did ya do, throw in a hamburger?" My culinary reputation precedes me......

     My daughter and her cousin Erin are pretending to be princesses that belch. Pretending the princess part apparently, because the belching part is quite real.

     I think the whole damned world has gone crazy- I just saw a commercial for "Booty Pop' underwear. They are padded butt lifters/enhancers. I think they look ridiculous. What is up with that? Are there that many of us out there that need our asses to look BIGGER? A bra named Booby Pop on the other hand.....

    "Warning evacuate, smoke in kitchen, evacuate!" Danger Will Robinson, danger! Jeeez! All I did was try to cook it fast! (sigh)

     The camper was brought home today! I love it, that is, until I remember that this means there is yet another bathroom for me to clean....

    I tried on a hat and asked Marisa how it looked. She said- "Mom! It looks very good, if you were in the back yard and if no one was here to visit and if it was kinda dark. Actually mom, you never look good in hats." Jeez, I went through labor for this?

    Ok- have to suck it up on this one- 3 days ago I bought Marisa two hermit crabs. Steve said that he would give it three days before they are dead or missing. Well, watch where you step boys and girls, we have an escapee......and noooo, that's nothing at all like saying "Honey, you were right."

    The kids are off most of next week for school vacation. My daughter was allowed to bring home her recorder for the break. Who comes up with this stuff? What did I ever do to the music teacher? Why does she hate me?

    This evening my daughter showed me how to play "Ode to Joy" on her recorder using her left nostril. She was quite proud. I'm not good enough to make this stuff up....really.

    Ok, I'm really, really, really, glad this rain isn't all snow. Now that I've been thankful, here comes the bitch- I had to pick up 60 or so cases of Girl Scout cookies in this freakin monsoon eight hours ago and I still feel soggy...Thank you for that moment. Now let us return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

     There are like 400 boxes of Girl Scout cookies are in my cupboard and I have not eaten one of them! I am so proud! My secret? Every time I want one, I just eat a slice of Panera three cheese bread (toasted, with butter) instead. It really staves off the Thin Mint cravings.
 
    Ok so I got an early Happy Birthday letter from AARP. Nuff said.
     Went to the gym today with water in my water bottle, not black coffee....thinking I should get kudos from my nutritionist sister-in-law. I'll be right here waiting Kerry.

     Just entertained my son my by singing the 40 year old Partridge Family favorite "I Think I Love You" in its entirety along with a few choice dance moves. I'm not sure how impressed he is, but hell, I was!

     So, how come the body keeps getting older, but inside my head I'm still 20? Somehow or another, that just can't be right...

    I was watching my little puppy run and jump around in the snow like he was having the time of his life. Then it dawned on me that we had 14" of snow and his legs are less than 8" long. Poor Bandit! Probably hopping all around cause he was freezing his little thing off! HAHAHAHA!

    My daughter did something self centered and rude- so I turned and said "What, you think you're the only person on the planet?" and she said "Duh, no...who would pay the bills?"

     Well, my daughter and two friends are using the karoake machine. My husband (who tucked that little ditty into Santa's bag) is conveniently at work....I wish I knew how to pull an engine...It would be worth it to trade places.
This is now the second time I have restarted this blog.   Long story.  Anyway, I am kicking it off with some of my favorite postings from my previous blog.

Holly
May 15, 2011


Ok, new website, new blog.  Why did I switch?  Well, I really wanted everything in one place- but beyond that, just look at the name of the hosting company . FAT COW!  How cool is that?  Yeah, that is how I buy things.  I’m a marketer’s dream.  Anyway, one of the best things is that the sites are ‘Powered by 100% Wind Energy.’ I had to do a little reading to make sure that if the winds died down, I’d still have a web presence, but it seems there a credit system in place to make sure sites stay up and running even on the calmest of days.   

I feel so green right now, I need to go change my whole makeup palette.

Anyway, after having lived upstate for a time, I am fully aware that cows do indeed produce a considerable amount of wind, with a requisite amount of methane (which by the way accounts for about 30% of greenhouse emissions). I find humor in the gassy cow website thing, but then again, I have four sons and a husband. Oh and a daughter, which at times is even worse.

That all being said, please check back often for blog/website updates.  I’ll be keeping everyone posted about the book through the blog.  I don’t have a release date yet, but I have seen what it’s going to look like and it’s all very exciting. 

In the meantime, I’m going to be powered by wind.  Nuff said.

http://hpatrone.com/

You'll find it all there

Have a great day!