You will not believe my next story. For a mystery writer, it’s a mystery. I was working aft and seated between a couple going to NY for their 37th anniversary. However, they were going as guests of Paula Zahn and would be taped on her show to be aired this fall. Subject: His brother was the victim of a serial killer. I won’t give the story away. You’ll have to watch the Discovery channel this fall.
Sat next to an engineer while deadheading (riding as a passenger) to my next flight assignment. He asked if I had ever visited the St. Anthony Falls Lab of the University of Minnesota. I said no. He said St. Anthony Falls runs right through the building and they give tours. He said it’s one of the creepiest places he’s ever visited and I should place a mystery there. Guess I’m taking the tour.
Haven’t been on my blog because I’m trying to finish three novels so that I can start three more. The ideas keep coming in. I had an orthopedic surgeon on my flight who said he always wanted a mystery written about something that would take place in surgery. If I would write it, he would help with the medical jargon. I can’t wait to start and hope to be ready by this fall. He lives in Boise.
If I can ever figure out how to put pictures on my blog, I will show you some of the sights and great people I’ve crossed paths with in the last few years. Hold on to that thought.
I have been flying with some of the greatest flight attendants. I just finished a trip with Wanda. She was great to work with, full of fun, very thoughtful and attentive toward all our passengers and a new treasure as a friend. Thank you Wanda.
I also forgot to mention my high school reunion in late April. I graduated from Robert E. Lee High School in Jacksonville, FL. We were saddened to hear that the name is to be changed. Even though Lee fought for the south (he lived in Virginia), he was against the war and against slavery. He was a man of honor and history and deserves to have his name remembered. How can we learn from the past if we try to erase it.
I forgot to mention the very nice St. Patrick’s Day I experienced in Jacksonville, FL, my home town. My high school friend, Kim, took me and the other flight attendant, Julie, to the beach to hear live music while sitting outside. Needless to say, we weren’t sitting outside in March in Minneapolis, so it was a real treat. Sorry for the belated thank you, Kim.
Had a long layover in Montreal. Formerly we had to stand on the curb, no matter what the weather was like, to wait for the hotel shuttle. Not anymore. Now we stay at the gorgeous Marriott, right in the airport. Sweet.
Just learned of a new mystery author who is a NY bestseller of Christian mysteries. Terry Blackstock. Entertaining stories.
Looking for hummingbirds, visit the Desert Museum in Tucson. Go toward dusk and see all the animals that come out when the sun goes down. Even hummingbirds.
Interesting how many passengers I’m meeting on flights who know friends of mine in Jacksonville. Bruce and Gerry used to live behind my friend Billy S. Small world
Had a passenger from Berwick, PA, who said the town is famous for Wise Potato Chips. He also said its a town where you can get away with murder. Must explore that for a future book.
Many springs in Minnesota are still a long way from green at the beginning of May. Not so this year. It’s been an amazing spring. The depth of the color green all around us makes me want to take out my crayons and see if I have as many shades of green. Doubt it.
Looks like bumpy summer flying is starting early. We have really had some stormy skies. Today, after flying four bumpy legs around the storms, the captain informed us that we could no longer go around, that we would have to go right through the storm clouds. We decided to say a crew prayer. The captain later said it was the most amazing thing, the clouds literally parted and while we watched amazing lightning storms on both sides of the plane, our flight was as smooth as silk.
Did I tell you about the flight attendant who suggested I look at the monitor for flight information in the Newark Airport. Under U, it had two flights with flight numbers, gate numbers and times for departure. Guess where both were going? Unknown Destination. I’m halfway through my next book, “Destination Unknown.”
According to the previously mentioned pilot, it wasn’t the first time a gun interfered with a flight instructor’s lessons. It seems the student wanted to commit suicide by shooting his instructor while in the air. Stay tuned. That’s a book waiting to be written.
Flew recently with a pilot who told me that back in the 90’s when he was a flight instructor, a war veteran on the ground tried to shoot him out of the air. A bullet went through his knee. Can you imagine being the student who is told, “You need to land this baby while I work on stopping the blood flow.” The student successfully landed and the instructor was rushed to the hospital.
I am captivated by the studies on what receding glaciers/ice bergs are revealing. If you’ve never looked it up, I recommend that you do. Receding glaciers re revealing incredible ideas for mysteries.
Working hard to finish mystery that takes place in Greenland. I hope to submit it to an Amazon contest. This book has been so much fun to write. The research alone is fascinating.
I often read how writer’s are crippled by writer’s block. I’m not sure exactly what that means but if it means they have no new ideas, they should take a new job as a flight attendant. I could write 24/7 and not catch up to all the ideas presented to me.
I recently finished a trip with a former flight instructor, returned to her position as a flight attendant. She read one of my books during the four-day trip and found a blaring error. I was so grateful that she would share that with me, allowing me to go online and make a correction. Thank you MJ
I’ve received some responses about the title of my Greenland mystery, part of the Casey Click series, but will wait for more. Please let me know what you think.
It feels like an early spring in Minnesota. We’ve had very warm temperatures and I’ve been able to sit at a table on my deck and write. The warm sun seems to enhance my desire to write.
I recently flew a flight with a flight attendant who wants to come up with the next idea for a Casey Click novel. We chatted about ideas on various legs of our flights and then we’d each go to our own hotel room for the night. By the end of the trip, she had found perfect subject matter: the relationships between some pilots and some flight attendants. At first it sounded cliche, but the more she told me, the more I jotted down in my notebook.(All names changed to protect the innocent) .
I’m currently working on a mystery that I kiddingly say is based on a pilot I know. Of course it’s not because my character is a serial killer, but whenever I see this pilot, he (also kiddingly) asks me how many he’s killed so far. I know, it sound ghoulish but writers of mystery walk a different path than, say, your romance writer.
My mystery that takes place in Greenland is being edited now but the title has been changed. We have two and would like readers to respond by email to email@example.com with the one you like best. Without knowing the storyline, just as a title, which works for you? Ice Flight, Carved in Ice or Ice Landing. Look forward to hearing from you.
Sometime ago, I mentioned that a flight attendant suggested I look at the airport monitor in the Newark Airport. On the monitor it listed two flights with the destination listed as unknown. I loved it and immediately thought of a book I could base on that. It’s working title is “Destination Unknown” and is about half written. I’ve finished the mystery in Greenland with the working title of “Top of the World” and the pilot mystery I previously mentioned, which is also half-finished, has a working title of “The Wingman Killer.” Stay tuned.
I just returned from a 4-day trip and was it packed with interesting experiences. I met a man who works for a company that implants tracking devices in fish. Do you know that they anesthetize the fish before performing this 3-minute operation. Not a career I had heard of when finishing high school. Who aspires to operate on fish? I was flabbergasted. Then he proceeded to tell me about an expert on sharks who Disney consulted with while producing “Finding Nemo.” Surely there’s a story here. Since I write mysteries, that’s the genre I’ll use. The research will be incredible, as was the research about Greenland. I learned so much. I can hardly wait.
The next day I reported to the gate before the crew, envisioning the restful night they had had in their palatial quarters while my accommodations were, not to be un-kind, but dramatically less. Now I wasn’t mad at the crew but decided to get even by writing a pilot mystery. It should be finished by mid-spring.
Winter has been a mild one but that did not preclude us from ice storms. We were supposed to finish our trip by 8:30 PM, when in fact we weren’t finished until 11:30. The pilots were given rooms at the luxurious hotel right at the airport. I was sent to a motel outside the airport. That might not have been so bad if the hotel had sent a shuttle. By 1:30 AM, standing in the freezing weather, a Holiday Inn shuttle driver expressed his worry about me being stranded and offered to take me to my hotel. God bless Holiday Inn.
Day-three of our trip, we boarded our aircraft and the aforementioned flight attendant had come up with the idea. Organ trafficking. Wow. I never would have thought of that and when I researched it, I was blown away. I guess she’ll be on the cover.
I recently flew with a beautiful young flight attendant who commented on another flight attendant being on the cover of one of my books. I asked if she would like to be featured. She gave an emphatic “yes!” Well, I said there is a condition. The other flight attendant came up with the story idea. You’ll have to do the same. This was day two of our four-day trip.
Flying continues to be a source for many stories. I simply can’t write fast enough. For instance, on a recent flight, one of my passengers was a scientist who spends three months every year on the Greenland Ice Sheet. He suggested that I write a mystery located there. Well, I told him I no little to nothing about Greenland; to which he responded, I can help. He emailed me pictures, information about the ice station and the story began to unfold in my head. It’s now complete and in editing.
Wow, it’s March and I haven’t blogged in so long. Rebuilding, refurnishing and moving back into our townhouse we lost in a fire has been daunting. We still haven’t closed and our punch list is not completed, but it feels good to be home and I’m ready to move on.
End of December but holidays are not quite complete without teaching the young to make lefse. Backstory-when I was in my 50’s, I lost both my parents within 5 years of each other. A couple with grown sons at church asked if they could adopt me. For a while I had a mom and dad again. Now I only have a mom who is 96 but she came over to help my daughter, who she had also taught how to make lefse, to teach her two daughters, ages 12 and 8. Again, the video would help you understand how wonderful it was. Thanks Amy.
Christmas Day–We all gathered at my son’s house. My daughter-in-law had come up with a new game for us to play. Dozens of treasures wadded up into a ball of plastic wrap. When you roll doubles to try t unwrap and reach a treasure, hopefully two, before the next person rolls doubles. It was a boisterously loud and competitive game. Again, all ages competed and the seven-year-old granddaughter was incredibly deft at outmaneuvering her father. The house resounded with laughter.
I love flying during the Christmas holidays. Passengers are so thoughtful, quite often giving me chocolates of some other small gift and saying, “Thank you for helping us get home for the holidays.” Don’t you love people who are so big of heart that they recognize the sacrifice of others, even though it’s all part of the job.
My favorite month with preparation and enjoyment of Christmas. Even our burned out townhouse was included when my husband hung a wreath on both the front door and the garage door, just over the Fire Damage, Do-Not-Trespass sign.
November was also a month of additional loss. My daughter drove me to at least 25 rental townhouses to find one with a door that opened directly to the yard level for our aging 15 year-old-dachshund who can no longer climb stairs. Most had a minimum of 8 steps to the main level, many with 22 steps, but we finally found one and saved our personal insurance carrier $685 a month from the unit they found for us. Two weeks after move-in, we lost our dog to a massive tumor in her lung.
We’ve always spent Thanksgiving with our children but this year seemed so much more meaningful as we wait for the rebuild of our home. Instead of being surrounded by the sadness of the current catastrophe, we are filled with laughter. Our daughter planned a game in which all ages of family participate. I, with my son and daughter-in-law tied with my daughter’s sister-in-law an her two sons, under the age of 7. How did we settle the tie? We had a gobble-off. I wish I knew how to add the video. You would laugh, too.
The month of November is a blur, waiting for the insurance company to at. Here we have the warmest fall you could hope for, a perfect time for demolition ad rebuild of five town homes but nothing is happening. The charred remains stand there as if in monument to the past instead of being torn down in a timely manner and rebuilt for the five families displaced by one careless and inconsiderate smoker. Who is more careless and inconsiderate, the smoker or the insurance company? I wonder.
accommodations October 31
Halloween–when all the little kiddles dress up and giggle about their appearance and the candy they are soon to receive. Since we lost our home during a fire, I can’t help but wonder what the little children in the area will do. Should I put a bowl of candy on the front porch or maybe a sign that says, see you next year.
If you watch television news at all, you watch the yearly occurrence of homes involved in mudslides, fires or some other catastrophe in California and probably shrug your shoulders and say, “It happens every year,” never thinking about the displacement and loss each family is incurring. Everyday
I mentioned my daughter’s help. Today she brought her handy electric drill over and took down shelves that she had helped install years before. She also went through water filled dressers to sort out soggy clothing. This is addition to the fact that we are staying at her house and she is fixing us dinner every night while cooking for her own family of four.
I cannot imagine going through this process without family. My daughter and son have been tireless in helping us. My daughter has driven me to numerous rental places. We have to find something with a door that opens directly to the outside because we have a 25 pound Dachshund that cannot go up and down stairs. Many of the rental townhomes have as many as 18 to 22 steps just to the first level. Finally we found a place in Apple Valley that is very small but meets those needs and signed a rental agreement.
I never mentioned the firemen the night of the fire. They were unforgettable. Fire trucks came from Burnsville, Apple Valley, Savage and Bloomington. It wasn’t anything like on TV. They worked quietly, efficiently and respectfully. One asked if he could rescue a few things for me that night and proceeded to rescue my Bible and my airport ID. We also heard that the Burnsville Police entered the burning buildings looking for residents before the fire trucks arrived; before we arrived. What an amazing event to watch first hand.
Back to the work of sloshing through soaked items. Found a townhouse we liked but the agent never showed. This is obviously not a hungry market. But today a miracle happened. I was buying some plastic bins at Target to store things in until we get moved and telling the gentleman at the register about the calamity of our house. Suddenly a tall, beautiful girl wearing a University of Minnesota sweatshirt walked up and told the cashier that she would pay my bill. At first I protested and continued to protest until I was almost rude when she continued to say “Please.” All she would tell me is that her name is Bree and then she disappeared. Just Minnesota nice or the appearance of an angel?
As once was always the case when I was a child, today was a day of rest. We didn’t go near our charred and soggy house. We having beautiful fall weather. All the maples have turned and the Sumac has started. The sky is without a cloud. My daughter, granddaughter, dogs and I took a long walk. It was heaven. Just a reminder of how beautiful a world we live in.
Spent the day looking for a townhouse to rent. Not an easy proposition with two dogs. Some places were nice enough but some were really sad. Just a reminder of how fortunate we’ve been, even with our home in ruins.
I arrived this morning to find my couch in the dumpster along with both our bedroom armoires and a small, antique platform rocker. That brought a tear. “Soldier up,” my dad would say, “Soldier up.”
Packers are still working in the kitchen, diningroom and breakfast nook. They hope to get to the livingroom tomorrow. We can already see that many of our framed pictures are damaged by water. It’s a little like watching your life march past your eyes, remembering the memory behind each piece.
Packers are in the kitchen, going through each cupboard carefully. Pots and pans and silverware will be held aside for us to take to a rental townhouse. My electric teapot was toast as well as the toaster.:) A little jaded humor there.
Today we watched our mattresses and box springs from both bedrooms go into the dumpster. Evans Cleaners came and went through all our clothing, again, piece by piece, to determine what could be salvaged. Those items will be cleaned and stored. They will clean and return a few items for immediate use.
The town-homes Insurance Company sent a company called ServiceMaster that goes through each item, piece by piece, to determine what can be salvaged and what can’t. It is a long and tedious job but their compassion and humor has been awesome. These are specially gifted people who work in aweful conditions. Imagine if it was winter.
Still no sign of insurance adjusters but the fire department let us collect a few sodden, smoke filled items for immediate use. And though the reality is grim, the outpouring from friends, family and best of all, my fellow flight attendants, has been amazing. Thank you all. Delta and Endeavor Airlines have been incredible.
Daylight and the grim reality of last night’s fire. Everything burned to a crisp or destroyed by fire, and yet our flower boxes were blooming as if nothing had happened. What a ray of hope they were. I posted a picture on facebook www.facebook/egnerink. Now we wait for the insurance companies.
How life can change in just a few days. We were staying at my daughter’s house while our refinished hardwood floors were drying. Midnight, she brings a phone to us. It’s the police informing us that our townhome along with three others was on fire. We sat and watched from 1AM til 4:30AM. Big life change.
Had a wonderful layover in Boston with a great crew. Our Captain made sure we visited the Green Dragon Tavern where many early historical events occurred with Paul Revere, Samuel Adams and others. Then onto another pub for live awful and finally ended at Frost–everything was ice, tables, chairs, the glasses, etc. I’ll try to get a picture on later.
First day of recurrent. Three written exams. Aced all three. Even under enormous stress, the brain is an amazing thing. Thank you to good instructors.
Still in a little shock after last night but found out he has a heart condition called an musice or Atrial Fibrillation. Now that things are under control, I need to applaud the emergency room staff at Fairview Ridges Hospital. I was so impressed by their quick response and care. Husband was released today with some additional medications but doing well.
Only three days until recurrent training which involves numerous written and hands-on testing. However, today my attention took a dramatic turn when I took my husband to the emergency room at 10PM, thinking he was having a heart attack. I watched as they rigged him up with a defibrillator and stopped and started his heart three times. When all three times failed, he was admitted and I returned home at 3AM.
Flight attendants are required to be re-trained once a year on all the emergency equipment and procedures involved in flying. It’s always a little tense as we study to make sure we’re on top of things such as avionics, weather including turbulence, medical treatments, medical equipment, fire fighting and so forth. Today the studies begin.
What? Another birthday. My daughter’s. Exactly one week after mine. But it’s a great day for me. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe my daughter. One of a kind and truly a marvel. Always a reminder that I have been truly blessed.
As I mentioned, today is my husband’s birthday.
A double holiday; our wedding anniversary and the birthday of our youngest granddaughter. If you noticed, it’s the day after my birthday and the day before my husband’s birthday. Our family royally celebrates these three days all in one. What fun!!
Another birthday. It’s been fun to watch all my high school classmates posting on each other’s birthdays. Though only a thin thread of connection between many of us, it is filled with joint memories to be re-lived. Thanks for all the birthday wishes from my classmates.
My family always goes to the lake for the 4th. As usual I’m flying, but though I’m missing the fun family gathering, I’m meeting lots of Americans who define the meaning of the national holiday. I’m so grateful for the individuals who respect and honor what this country has accomplished.
I’ve worked with a lot of great flight attendants, but one in particular is one of my favorites. She’s very musical. No matter what the circumstance, she can find a song with lyrics to accompany the situation. It certainly makes for a light hearted work day.
I always enjoy talking to the passengers on our flights. On my latest flight, I mentioned that I write mysteries in my free time. One gentleman immediately pulled a card from his wallet and handed it to me, saying, “Call me if you need any help.” Turns out he’s a fingerprint analyst in Texas. How cool is that?
I’m currently working on a book that takes me to Jamaica. Remember Montego Bay? How many of you remember the song by the Beach Boys? The song makes you want to hop a plane and head for tropical waters, doesn’t it. However, I discovered an unusual tidbit of information that might sap your interest in snorkeling in the famous bay. It’s original name was Manteca Bahia or Bay of Lard. It seems in the early days of the Spanish acquisition, the largest industry was pork butter (lard) from the wild hogs found on the island. Care to take a dip?
Just experienced another wild and crazy moment with a shuttle driver named Joseph. The only other passenger in the shuttle was the Assistance Director of the Metropolitan Opera. That got me talking about my children’s animated television program and the need for funding. Joseph excitedly jumped in and said that his wife was in funding and that he planned on calling her right away. I wore a big smile today.
Our hotel shuttle driver today referred to himself as Special K. He greeted my fellow crew members and me with a smile and good morning. I asked him if he was always in a good mood. He replied, “Always. What’s the point in being any other way.” He said his wife once asked if if he was ever in a bad mood and his response was profound, “Yes, but you’ll never know about it.” What kind of grace pushes a man to rise above all the negative feelings we all experience and radiate happiness and contentment instead. Awesome grace.
My most recent flight offered a contrast in life situations. I had a passenger who was one of the policemen that arrested Susan Smith in Union, South Carolina. If you remember, she stunned the nation with the drowning murder of her two children who were helplessly strapped into their seats while their car was submerged. A heinous, horrible act. This gentlemen assisted is cutting their tiny bodies free from their restraints. I was gratified to hear that his belief in God and a better world steeled him for the task. As a child, I was a tomboy, never played with dolls and never thought much about being a mother. Was I ever surprised when I became one. This ferocious lioness climbed into my skin. Defending and protecting my young stormed into my soul demanding its acknowledgment and obedience. Thus, I’m at a loss to understand the hearts of the Susan Smiths of the world. Why are some given these strong maternal instincts while others are not?
Thank you to the captain on the Sioux Falls turn yesterday for sharing tootsie rolls.
I know I sound redundant when I talk about the joys of being a flight attendant. Don’t get me wrong; it’s hard work and very tiring, but full of surprises. Yesterday I was seated in the aft flight attendant jumpseat and seated next to me was a family from Norway. The woman, Ann-Karin, showed me beautiful pictures of Norway on her phone and promised to send me some. They even gave me their contact information and told me to call them when I travel to Norway. If that wasn’t thrilling enough; they became very excited when they heard my pen-name, Egner. It seems a well-known children’s author named Egner was from Norway. What a delight.
Well it must be my year for celebrities. I was saying goodbye to passengers the other day on one of my flights and as a gentleman approached to exit, I asked if anyone had ever told him that he looked like Robert Mitchum. He replied, “They should; he’s my dad.” It was Chris Mitchum.
Another reason I was disappointed about not recognizing Arnold Palmer is because of my father. As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, he was a photojournalist for the Florida Times Union and an avid golfer. He even played in a couple of Pro-Am tournaments. One with Lee Trevino and I think one with Jack Nicklaus. My kids think he played with Arnold Palmer as well but I can’t prove that. However, I do know he took hundreds of pictures of Mr. Palmer and was one of his biggest fans. It would have been so nice to share that with my passenger.
I think I met Arnold Palmer. He didn’t identify himself and I’m sorry to say, I didn’t recognize him; or at the least, was not expecting him on my flight. He was travelling to Atlanta with whom I assume was his grandson. We started chatting about the Masters and I asked him if he was going. He said, “Not to play; just to watch.” His grandson added, “He’s a super guru of golf!!” Two nights later as our crew was checking into an Illinois hotel, I was standing at the front desk waiting my turn when I noticed the latest edition of USA Today. On the front page was a picture of Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus at the Masters. “Isn’t that the man who was on our flight?” I asked the other FA. The answer was yes. If only I had known.
April 15 In a month I’m going to visit my close friend in Sioux Falls. I haven’t been in an age and I’m really excited. I think I’m going to miss all the spring colors. Ours are just starting in MN but SD is about two weeks ahead of us. That’s okay. The best part of the trip is getting together with a great friend.
April 12th I’m struggling with the use of social media as a way to introduce my books. Does anyone have any suggestions? I use facebook so far, haven’t figured out twitter and though I’m linked in, that’s about as far as its gone. There must be an easier way to reach the public.
April 9 I previously mentioned being late to the gate by 2 minutes. The captain said he was getting ready to send out the Navy Seals. I would like to add that we closed on time and departed on time. However, in flight, I think he felt bad that he had been so impatient with me and invited me into the flight deck to see the sunset. There it is. Pretty dramatic, don’t you think?
Just heard about a flight attendant that recently gave birth to her first child. What’s so great about that, you ask. Well, she’s 51. I think that’s omen of very good things to come. Her bravery and commitment are impressive. Well done.
A passenger gave me the new Greg Iles book, “Natchez Burning.” Can hardly wait to immerse myself in its 865 pages.
No April Fools Day. My daughter and granddaughters joined me at Macy’s flower show, an annual event that takes your breath away. Looks beautiful, smells wonderful and reminds you of all the beauty to come with spring and summer. Big thank you to Macy’s for providing this at absolutely no charge.
Winter is almost over. Spring is around the corner. You can feel the excitement all around you, even at the airport, where people are arriving wearing sandals and shorts.
I lost a post that told about a scary event. It seems one of the flight attendants was late reporting for the shuttle to the airport. When the captain called and asked how long she’d be, she said she couldn’t find her shoes. He went to assist. They searched the floor of the room, the closet and the bathroom. No shoes. He asked if she’d checked the drawers. “Why would my shoes be in the drawer?” she asked, clearly puzzled. They searched and found the shoes with a note that said, “I enjoyed watching you sleep.” Creepy.
It’s been a windy month, making some flights bumpy; however, one passenger said that he and his wife watched me. They said I seemed very relaxed and not concerned; so they followed suit. I was pleased.
I’m always amazed at how sarcastic some people can become when you ask if their electronic device is on airplane mode. People, it’s not my rule, not the company’s rule; it’s a federal regulation.
Rarely fly with any of the pilots I flew with in my first few years at Mesaba. Many have gone on to fly mainline or have chosen other companies. But I just flew with one of my favorites. He’s so full of fun while very respectful or his crew members. Thanks Doug
In one of those posts, I told you about a flight attendant who pointed out something very curious on the flight monitor board at the airport. It became the title of my next book. I’ve written 17 chapters so far.
Well I lost all my posts from January and February.
In working on my book, I discovered something interesting historically. I was researching Williamsburg, VA, and found that a plantation between Jamestown and Williamsburg called Berkley Plantation had written in their charter that the day they landed would be celebrated as an annual Day of Thanksgiving. That was two years before Plymouth, MA. did you know that?
I love march. It’s still wintery but there are those brief moments of spring every so often. People are experiencing spring fever, too. I can tell by the shorts and sandals coming onboard our flights.
I think our everyday lives provide plenty of material to be woven into our writing at a later date. Some of my memories may be a little different since I was the daughter of a photojournalist who brought home all kinds of stories, which he delighted in telling, usually at our dinner table.
In the late 1950s, I was still an elementary school student when my father received an assignment to cover President Dwight Eisenhower’s review of the Mayport Carrier Basin located at the mouth of the St. Johns River near Jacksonville, FL. The president’s visit would not have been complete without a visit aboard the USS Saratoga, pride of America’s carrier fleet at the height of the Cold War. Of course all the naval officers and enlisted men were on deck in their full dress uniforms, and top political and civic leaders were present for the occasion in abundance. Rocco Morabito, another photographer also employed by The Florida Times Union in Jacksonville covered this event with my father.
This was in the day of the Graphlex camera with its popping flashbulbs. My father was standing on one side of the president’s path and Morabito was opposite him. That’s when it happened. One of my father’s flashbulbs exploded. Secret Service agents quickly grabbed my father and escorted him from the event, erroneously thinking he had attempted to assassinate the president.
As I understand it, the picture my father took showed Ike standing tall while his Secret Service agents apparently ducked. Well, he had served as Supreme Commander of all Allied forces in Europe—one of the most powerful generals in world history. What would you expect?
Though I don’t have the picture my father took (family legend has it that it was confiscated by Secret Service; another version is that was sold to Life magazine), I do have this picture taken by Morabito showing my father just before the flashbulb exploded.
Needless to say, my dad was delighted by the entire event. He had a great sense of humor as well as a great respect for Ike as a historical military leader and President of the United States. In later years, I would hear the stories and see corresponding pictures of my father with President Ford, Johnny Carson, Paul Harvey, Lee Trevino, Elvis Presley, George Hamilton, Jack Nicholas, and Anwar Sadat, just to name a few. In fact, I’m in one or two of those pictures myself.
If you are a writer, possibly one of the richest sources of material at your disposal can be found in your own family’s stories.
January 23, 2014
I recently met a Chautauqua Airlines pilot who writes short stories. He was willing to share eight with me. I was blown away; they were so good. I encouraged him to enter writing contests or submit them either to book or magazine publishers. I know he’s going to make a name for himself as a writer. When he does, I’ll tell you I knew him when.
January 18, 2014
I went to bed last night and we had about an inch of snow on the ground. I woke up this morning to a far different scene, one in which my dog, Hannah, did not respond well. In fact she refused to go outside at all. That brought to mind the book I’m currently working on where a serial killer uses the freezing cold as his MO. Just a reminder, that even weather can dictate the outcome of a story.
January 15, 2014
The best thing about publishing an ebook is the response from former high school classmates. It’s been unbelievable. Some people I knew well; but others, I didn’t really know at all and now we’re becoming friends. Social media is an amazing tool. For all the complaints about people staring at cell phones, etc., there is another side to that coin. I think of all the people I lost touch with after graduation that are now coming back into my life. Thank you all for responding to my books.
December 31, 2013
Happy New Year!!
November 5, 2013
It’s a small world after all . . .
Most readers associate me with my eBook mystery and romance novels; but as I mentioned in an earlier blog (September 24), my first publishing experience was in the traditional printed medium with my “Has Anyone Seen Woodfin?” books and life-size characters. On October 17, I was privileged to visit the classroom of nationally recognized Speech-Language Pathologist, Social Skill Teacher and ASD Staff Trainer Jill Kuzma who uses my Woodfin stories with her students. As Jill tells it, “one of my own precocious little 1st grade students asked where the author lived. Of course, I turned to the back flap of the book cover to find out. Well, you can only imagine my excitement to learn that Susan Egner lived less than 5 miles from my school!! It took me all of about 8 seconds to hop on my email to contact her! Susan Egner was so gracious and excited to come meet my students the following week and shared a fabulous visit with my special group of kids – complete with Woodfin costumes, an interactive program, and most importantly – she fostered the excitement my students had about meeting a “real” author and reinforcing the message to “be your true self.”
You can read the rest of the story on Jill’s blog under the caption: Meet Woodfin!!! A children’s book to promote social self-confidence and celebrate individuality… Jill continues, “These books are a wonderful addition to any literary library – they can be used to support social/emotional skills as I do in my work, but there are also solid character and setting elements, with a clear story structure to use as an anchor text to teach literacy skills. Check out the Woodfinwebsite at: http://www.woodfin.cc/books.htm “
October 14, 2013
When I turned 15, I discovered boys and forgot all about my desire to own a horse. To make it even worse, I fell for the president of the sophomore boys in my high school class. And surprise of all surprises, he fell for me. Wow! He was without a doubt the most popular boy in our class. He was also very nice. Though my parents weren’t thrilled about my going steady, they really liked him. Everyone did.
I spent a lot of solo time in my bedroom writing romantic dribble. It was ghastly; but at the time, I was pouring out the heart of a girl who was experiencing love for the first time. It was a love I can still feel today. I guess you never get over that very first love.
Our house was at the bottom of a hill, one house from the St. Johns River, where the street ended in a small circle so cars could turn around. My bedroom was on the upstairs corner of the house looking up the hill. Seated on my bed, I could watch everything going on in our one-block neighborhood. And I wrote about it. Even today, I could write a whole book about life on Mallory Street, believe me.
I mentioned that the street ended at the river’s edge, which is just another definition for lovers’ lane. Teenagers who were old enough to drive quite often parked there. Some of the kids on my block and I would sneak down to take a peek. I was shocked and titillated by what was going on in those cars. Remember, my teenage years fell just a few years short of the sexual revolution. Having a solid respect, combined with a little bit of fear, for my father, I knew I would never be parked at the end of my street…or anywhere, for that matter.
But was it ever fun to conjure up the possibilities on paper! The very thought of some of the things I wrote still makes me blush, which by today’s standards, would hardly merit mention. Writing was my answer to some heady emotions that would eventually play themselves out.
September 30, 2013
I think I made the decision to become a writer in the 7th grade. My closest friend at the time, now a published poet, also wanted to be a writer. However, I had one desire that surpassed my desire to write and that was to own my own horse. At the time, I went horseback riding almost every day in the summer with my friend. She had a wonderful quarter horse named “Shorty” on which we rode double.
Not far from the stable was Mr. Tippit’s ranch. He bought and sold horses and always had about 30 or 40 in his pasture. He told us, “If you can catch it, you can ride it.” For free was understood—and that was music to our ears! It usually took us between three and four hours to catch a horse and then another hour to brush all the dirt and burrs from its coat and mane. Picture this in the summer heat of Florida. But it was worth it. That gave us at least another five hours; and if we were lucky and my father was picking us up after work, we’d have six hours to ride. It was like owning our own horse. Some days, however, we never caught a horse.
Anyway, many of the magazines published for kids our age seemed to understand a 13-year-old girl’s love for horses because they were always offering writing contests. The winner would win a thoroughbred. That was beyond our wildest dreams and all the incentive we needed!
The first year, Dash detergent sponsored the contest, and we both won (a supply of Dash detergent)! The next year Ipana toothpaste was the sponsor, and we both won again (a supply of Ipana toothpaste)! The last year we entered, a patriotic organization sponsored the contest; and, you guessed it, we both won…an American flag.
I never won my horse, but I did win a permanent passion for writing.
September 24, 2013
I mentioned that I became a flight attendant rather late in life. I’m sure you’re wondering why. Remember, all of this is in the context of my writing career. If you have visited my website, you know that I have two children’s books published in hardcover. Three months after those books were published, I had the opportunity for them to be considered for an animated television series. One catch: in order to qualify, I was given 30 days to produce a demo featuring the characters in my books. Not a problem. I had some great producers who hit the ground running, found a local animation studio, and the rest is history. Our demo won the offer. However, we needed to raise funding for the first season. A successful season would mean the network would get corporate sponsorship for me.
At the time, I was employed as a marketing director but thought, “Hey, this is the brass ring—accept the challenge!” So I retired from my job, spent a year writing a business plan, and secured the necessary funding commitments in November 2007 (just after the stock market had reached an all-time high). We agreed to sign checks and get underway in February 2008. Does anyone remember what was happening in the stock market in February 2008? Refresher course: we were in the early stages of what came to be called “The Great Recession.” Investors, including mine, began backing away from prior commitments; and, if you remember, I had retired.
No chance to return to my former position. Suddenly, it seemed as if all the money in the country had gone into lockdown. “Now what?” I asked my friends.
“You should become a flight attendant,” some said.
“Say what?” I said in a tone of disbelief, as I pointed to my white hair.
“Oh, they love people like you,” they said. “And besides, it will give you a chance to meet lots of people and increase the opportunity to find funding for your children’s television series.”
Well, it’s true. I have met a lot of people. None, however, has stepped forward to fund my television series, but a few have offered to make some calls. Since my children’s character was featured as one of ten programming initiatives at a gala event held in the Chicago Field Museum, I continue to hold out hope for my beloved children’s series, “Has Anyone Seen Woodfin?” If you have any ideas, please visit my website at www.woodfin.cc.
In the meantime…I have heard so many stories and met such a diverse cross-section of people aboard my flights that I couldn’t help myself. I had to write about what I was seeing and hearing and experiencing: I had discovered an untapped resource in anecdotes that I knew would work well in adult fiction, so I published my first ebook mystery in 2012. When I wrote my first flight attendant mystery, “Souls On Board,” readers seemed to like it, so I wrote a sequel, “Ground Stopped!” Same reaction.
That was eight books and over 2,000 readers ago, and I haven’t stopped to look back. I’m working hard on the next sequel in the “Souls on Board” series, and I anticipate it will be published by the end of October. I’ve learned that Life offers interesting paths for all of us: some are a bit rocky, some even muddy, but all are exciting. I know mine is. But a lot happened in my life before this to enrich my writing. Let’s save that for another time.
September 11, 2013
When I speak to readers of my books or make appearances, many ask why I started writing. So here goes.
I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, one of three daughters of a newspaper reporter, mostly photographer, for the Florida Times-Union. Having someone in the family in the newspaper business was like having an open channel to everything going on in our hometown. Dinner as a family was not to be missed, especially as a teenager, when I was reaching the age of questioning everything about life.
My father always shared his work stories with us during dinner, and he listened equally attentively to our everyday stories. His stories were exciting, interesting, heartrending, and occasionally weird: the perfect definition of life. His stories intrigued me and at an early age.
I started writing around the 7th grade. My earliest attempts centered on trying to create stories based on my father’s stories. Sometimes all I wanted was a better ending. I also kept journals all my life, filled with events, places, and people whose characters or experiences I would someday draw upon for a story. My closet is stacked full with them.
My mother had her hand in shaping my desire to write, as well. We often sat late into the evening in our Florida room talking not only about the day’s events and the reasons behind some of my dad’s stories, but also about how we might respond, personally, if we found ourselves in similar circumstances. My mother was an incredibly compassionate person. I never heard her speak ill of anyone, ever. Instead, she’d pose two questions: “What would you do in the same circumstances? How would you change things?”
Together, my parents instilled in me the values for living my own life. And in doing so, they gave me the pattern for development of the characters I create—people who face similar challenges and must ask themselves those same questions. How grateful I am for their inspiration. Writing has always been my life’s joy.
Becoming a flight attendant late in life has given me even more to write about, but we’ll talk about that the next time.