2021: Expect the Unexpected – Flatiron Death Grip

The tag line for this year’s blogs is “Expect the Unexpected.” And I have.  I came up with a “brilliant” idea several years ago taking characters from short stories I’d written and putting them together into a novel. They were all fantasy characters, and my plan was to take them and merge them into one story.  These characters would make a band of superheroes with one main goal in mind.  Maybe not so “brilliant.” What could they possibly have in common?

I might have bitten off more than I could chew when I tried to make these characters blend. It turned out to be more of a challenge than I had imagined. When it was finished, I wrote an author note for the beginning of the book to tell the reader where the brainstorm came from.   It went like this:

The novel Flatiron Death Grip is the culmination of characters from four original short stories. These stories were the birthplace of some of the main characters. “Sarina” from Werewolves in the Park – published in Legends of New Pulp Fiction by Airship 27 Productions, “Vlad” from Red Eye took Honorable Mention at the 2016 Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc. contest,  “Jeremy” from  Zombies are People Too – was published in sections during Halloween 2017 on my blog www.peggylchambers.com. Brucie was the main character from my flash fiction “What’s That Smell?” They are characters I created in the past and dredged up again to combine into a gang of superheroes. Teasy is a newborn.

But that was just the beginning of the novel.  There was also the original art.  And my publisher, Airship 27 Productions, came up with some winners.  The inside black and white illustrations were done by 16-year-old Gabriella Saenz. I am proud to say this is the first (of many) books she has illustrated.  The cover was painted by Canadian artist Ted Hammond http://tedhammond.com/. They are both so talented and made the book a winner.

I hope to have an interview with Gabriella soon and introduce you to her and her art.  Then maybe Ted will have time to talk to me too. 

I am planning a release party locally soon and will let you know about it when plans are made.  In the mean time you can purchase copies of the book at Flatiron Death Grip: Chambers, Peggy, Saenz, Gabriella: 9781953589101: Amazon.com: Books.

What are you reading this week?

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2021: Expect the Unexpected – Yoga for Health

When I was a young mother of a two-year-old I saw that a yoga class was being taught at a local church. I needed the socialization and time away from home—not to mention the exercise.  So, I joined and loved the class.  I began to practice it at home. A life-long swimmer, as time went on I became a certified swimming instructor and taught swimming and water exercise at the local YMCA.  I continued to practice yoga and they asked me to teach that class too.  I wasn’t certified to teach it I merely parroted what I had learned but the classes filled up.

I took my kids to work with me when I taught swimming lessons at the city Olympic-sized pool across the street from the YMCA in the summer and put them in classes. They too hung around the local YMCA and pool with mom.

Later I changed professions when my kids were in school all day and I worked in an office.  But I continued to practice yoga when I was stressed or in need of stretching. The thing about yoga is it is good for both mind and body.

Today the two-year-old is a mental health professional and guess what she’s certified in to add to her practice? Yoga.  She teaches on the UCO campus where she works and at yoga studios, churches, and even a Saturday morning Zoom class that I join most of the time.  You can find Brandi at (7) Yogaby Brandi | Facebook and join her at a class near you.  She took her years of swimming, dancing, and her mental health career and combined them into yoga as a side vocation. She knows the healing power of yoga and spreads the good word.

I’m now retired and have had three back surgeries because of arthritis, and I know how much better I feel if I exercise.  My surgeon agrees. I walk and join classes at that same YMCA and then practoce Saturday morning yoga with my favorite instructor.  It is the best thing I can do after sitting and writing for long periods. I will probably curl up and die on a yoga mat someday.  I would find it relaxing.

What are you reading/writing this week? Namaste.

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2021: Expect the Unexpected – The Light of Writing/Living

On my way out the door for an early walk I glanced back and saw this site.  My own dining room in the morning sun.  I see this room daily.  I dust the room that seldom gets used now that there are only two in the house. I often talk about getting rid of the antique furniture and turn it into a den. I gripe about the neighbor’s trees leaning on my fence and shading my grass so it doesn’t grow as it should. But this morning I stared at the way the light filtered through the trees and across the dusty table—and I saw beauty.

I took a photography course once and the instructor said, “Photography is the capturing of light.” I loved that phrase and remembered it.  Morning sun is the best.  It is brilliant and soft at the same time. Early morning light is still cool in the Oklahoma August summer though the rays can be blinding.  But through the trees that morning they produced lacy shadows that fell across the room in patterns.

“We’re all broken, that’s how the light gets in” has been attributed to Ernest Hemmingway. I often heard it as, “We’re all cracked, that’s how the light gets in,” but one way or another, we’re all damaged in some way or another—lacy and not smooth.  And that is what it takes to make us all unique. 

I find writing to be sometimes glaringly bright and other times filtered through lacy patterns.  As I make my way through a new novel, I plow through light both bright and dull, but somehow the light gets through.  Lacy patterns are still light, and they are beautiful and unique in their own way.  Shadow is not the absence of light, but the designing of it.

In your writing do you have periods of light and dark and do they show you the way—or make it impossible? 

What are you reading/writing this week?

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2021: Expect the Unexpected – Flatiron Death Grip!

I had a book release this week!  Flatiron Death Grip, published by Airship 27 Productions, is a pulp fiction that has been on my desk and the publishers for a long time.  It has finally come to fruition, and I couldn’t be happier! 

            Flatiron Death Grip was the name of Teasy’s after-hours alter ego.  She cut hair by day and made herself into a superhero by night.  She set out to clean up the crime in her neighborhood but had no idea when she partnered up with other superheroes she might end up saving the world.

            The novel Flatiron Death Grip is the culmination of characters from four original short stories. These stories were the birthplace of some of the main characters. “Sarina” from Werewolves in the Park – published in Legends of New Pulp Fiction by Airship 27 Productions, “Vlad” from Red Eye took Honorable Mention at the 2016 Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc. contest,  “Jeremy” from  Zombies are People Too – was published in sections during Halloween 2017 on my blog. Brucie was the main character from my flash fiction “What’s That Smell?” They are characters I created in the past and dredged up again to combine into a gang of superheroes. Teasy was a newborn.

            The cover is beautifully painted by Ted Hammond and the interior illustrations by Gabriella Saenz. I hope to be able to introduce you to them by way of interviews in the next few weeks. 

Teasy patrolled the streets at night wearing her lime green F. U. tee shirt from Flatiron University where she wished she could have attended. Like so many people in her neighborhood she’s tired of the criminals like the Gray Wolf gang who’d taken over. Gangs had killed her family and friends and she wanted her neighborhood back. She had the tools to put an end to the criminal activity, but the air pollution in the city was getting worse by the minute. And Teasy and her new gang may have found an answer to that.

The Civil Rights Act had once more been amended, and now included all life forms: humans, werewolves, vampires, and the most hideous, zombies. And suddenly the world was full of them. But could they save the world before everyone choked to death on the pollution?

                A fun romp through a world where fantasy becomes reality and the answer to the world’s problems could be sitting in an abandoned subway tunnel just waiting to be discovered.

            Flatiron Death Grip is available on Amazon in paperback Flatiron Death Grip: Chambers, Peggy, Saenz, Gabriella: 9781953589101: Amazon.com: Books and soon available in Kindle.

What are you reading this week?

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2021: Expect the Unexpected – Bernhardt at the Manz

I have had so much fun lately in my writerly/readerly world.  Last week I set up at Comic Con in Enid and yesterday the Enid Writers Club presented Bernhardt at the Manz in the historical Champlin Mansion in Enid H. H. Champlin House – Wikipedia.  My writing club has been working for over a year on this workshop with William Bernhardt.  It was the brainchild of my friend Martha Draper.  When she originally mentioned it, I said “we can’t afford that!”  As usual I was wrong. We got local grants and many local businesses donated things.  Our club donated a lot of the snacks (we had way too much) and I got a chance to catch up with old friends.

The venue was gorgeous in a vintage 1938 home will all the amenities. And William Bernhardt William Bernhardt never fails to connect with the crowd.  I have learned more from this man than any other writing workshop I’ve ever attended.  He has Writer Con Writer Con coming up at the Skirvin Hotel in Oklahoma City on Labor Day Weekend.  Look it up online. 

Friday the 13th, the day before the conference, the elevator broke. It actually broke a week prior and we had to contact our attendees to let them know. But the Friday the 13th our club made countless steps up and down the marble stairs to the Ball Room in the basement and there were no mishaps.  A couple of brave souls with disabilities came anyway and we helped them get up and down the stairs. There were no injuries!

We tried to have this event last year and cancelled due to the pandemic.  This year, as it once again raises its ugly head, we did it anyway.  We required vaccination cards and masks.  We set hand sanitizer on each table and in the kitchen. The social distancing became impossible due to the number of tables.  We had approximately 55 in attendance. 

I hope to make this an annual event.  I don’t know how the speaker, or the mansion owners, feel about that, or even my club, but I’d do it all over again.  I loved it!

What are you reading this week?

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2021: Expect the Unexpected – Enid Comic Con

I spent the day in an alternate universe.  I set up and sold my books at Enid’s Comic Con.  It was a blast.  I was amazed at the characters and all the fabulous costumes.  People spared no expense or imagination.  Some of the characters I didn’t know, but that was because they may have been gaming characters that I didn’t recognize, or maybe I’m just too old.  But I was in awe.

I sold several copies of my books and spent the day getting to visit with my sister and had so much fun.  This conference has set up in Enid for the last four years, but I’d not set up there before.  I visited in years past to see what it was all about but didn’t stay.  This year I set up.  There were three other authors, and I didn’t get to visit all of them.  But I did take a little time to walk around and check out many of the vendors. 

If you’ve never been to a comic com, take the time. Even if it is not the kind of thing you normally do, you will find it eye opening.  Great people who are great fans and spend lots of time and effort on great costumes.  Oh, and did I mention they love to have their picture taken? 

Check out a comic con near you and buy from these hard-working vendors.  You will surely have a good time.

What are you reading this week?

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2021: Expect the Unexpected – Herb Gardens

I don’t know if I’m the only one noticing, but it is hot!  Oklahoma has had lower temperatures this summer and more rain than normal, but that is beginning to change.  I know west of here in Arizona and other places, it has been a hotter than normal summer, so I guess it is our turn.  But it is awful outside.

My herb garden is thriving in the heat and humidity and things are blooming.  I don’t know if oregano is supposed to bloom, but it is and there are little bees and butterflies on the lavender blossoms.  The dill and parsley have “bolted” (a strange term that gardeners use) into blossoms too and last month so did the chives.  The garlic died down and I need to dig it, I guess.  I don’t know what to do with garlic other than dig some up and use it now and then.

And then there is the basil.  If you love pesto, have I got basil for you!  My garden is small on the north side of the house and every year most of these herbs come back.  There is limited space, and the basil takes up more than its share.  I keep digging out the irises that originally inhabited that area and moving them to make more room for the herbs, but irises multiply with abandon too.  

It seems the biggest reason I have an herb garden is to water it.  I don’t use a lot of it, and it takes over spreading like wildfires. But it does smell nice.

If you need some fresh herbs, come on over.  I’ve got them for some reason.  My sister-in-law took some dill to make pickles and she may take more.  I can make and freeze pesto, but I only use so much of it. 

Help, I’m being overrun with basil and oregano!  Did someone say spaghetti sauce?

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2021: Expect the Unexpected – Blooming Justice

Erin grew up in a loving home – just her and her mom after the death of her father. They had little money, but they were happy. She had friends, family and a plan to go to college to become a lawyer. 

Todd grew up with a bully for a father, a scared mouse for a mother, and a brother who left home as quickly as possible.  The two things they had that Erin didn’t was money and power.

They could not be more opposite.

Erin quickly realized she was out of her league when she accepted the date from Todd and showed up at the senior prom in a borrowed dress.  She was bullied and sexually harassed at the prom in front of the entire senior class.

Once at college, Todd escalated from bullying to rape and Erin began to hear about it on campus.  She wasn’t certain at first who they were talking about and then it became obvious. Todd was on the University of Tulsa campus too and he was the main topic of conversation some nights in the girls’ bathroom at the library.

After the incident at the prom, Erin grew up quickly in her first year of college with a new job in her aunt’s law firm, leaving home, and learning about the law.  She still maintained her friends, but she had changed. 

According to Webster’s dictionary a bully is someone who seeks to harm, intimidate, or coerce someone perceived as vulnerable. To persecute.

Stuck on the same campus as Todd, Erin decides it is time to turn persecution into prosecution with the help of her aunt, an attorney in a prestigious Tulsa law firm, after her best friend, Bernadette, goes missing.

Blooming Justice is the first in the Keystone Lake series set in beautiful, green, eastern Oklahoma. It is a new twist on an old story. Money and power do not keep you from justice and Erin will prove it. Pick up a copy of Blooming Justice in paperback or electronically https://books2read.com/u/mggv9D and catch up.  Blooming Greed is right around the corner and Erin will be solving more mysteries at beautiful Keystone Lake.

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2021: Expect the Unexpected – Putnam Six Bookstore

I had a great book signing at Putnam Six Bookstore in Enid yesterday.  Friends from all around came in to see me and I sold several books.  In fact, I had to come home and order more books for the upcoming ComiCon in Enid.  Putnam Six is a great bookstore, and Chloe is always welcoming. People come and go, often picking up what they ordered or just browsing.  The music is soft, and the atmosphere is quiet but yet there is a bustle in the background. 

I’ve been working on the third novel in the Sandhill Island series and my second novel in the Keystone Lake series is on the editor’s desk.  We’ve been through several rounds of edits, and I am waiting on a cover and release date.  I’ll let you know as things progress. 

My final book signing and sale of the summer is coming up at Enid’s ComiCon.  I’ve never set up at this event though I’ve been there, and the place is busy.  After the pandemic last year, I hope people will come out and enjoy the energy of the event. I’ll be the one dressed like a writer. Come by and see me and all the characters who will be there.

August 7 & 8, 2021 – Enid’s ComiCon at the Stride Center, 301 South Independence, Enid, OK 73701.  I will have all my books on sale. Come see me along with crazy characters from the known universe and beyond!

What are you reading this week?

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2021 – Expect the Unexpected – Oklahoma Author Panel

Yesterday was the Oklahoma Author Panel presented by the Enid Public Library and I was proud to be a part of it.  Seven authors from around Enid presented their works to a small audience at the Public Library of Enid and Garfield County.  We even made the front page of the Enid paper this morning!  It was great to get together with people of like minds and promote our craft.  I met people from around the town with aspirations for writing and talked to authors I’ve known for a while as I listened to them describe their work.  We all have different reasons for writing, but all had the fire within them that prevents them from not writing.  If you write—or if  you are an artist of any sort—you will understand.  It’s a passion that cannot be ignored.

After a year of pandemic news and new ways of living, we all found that our writing had changed.  Some found the time to write more while others found their muse had left for greener pastures.  Some took the opportunity to use the internet for more sales to people who were also stuck at home, while others retreated into themselves.  Creativity comes and goes, and the artist has to roll with the flow. 

I finished a novel in the last year that is on the editor’s desk and I’m on to another. Now that I’ve been vaccinated, and hope that it protects me, I am venturing out into the public eye once more.  I have a few things set up to promote my books and if you’re in the area, come by.

July 17, 2021 – Putnam Six Bookstore, 610 S Cleveland St Ste 212, Enid, OK 73703, 1-3 pm. Come out for a copy of Ian’s Magic and I’ll have all my books available.  Chloe’s shop is full of the latest books and many from the past.

August 7 & 8, 2021 – Enid’s ComiCon at the Stride Center, 301 South Independence, Enid, OK 73701.  I will have all my books on sale along with crazy characters from the known universe and beyond!

What are you reading this week?

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