Murder from Scratch, and My Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Tomorrow, April 9th, marks the official release of the fourth book in my Sally Solari series, Murder from Scratch.

Yes, you could say I’m pretty darned excited.

But it’s been a tough few days leading up to this point. Last Thursday, I awoke to learn that my 89-year-old father, Kenneth L. Karst, was being assigned hospice care. The news didn’t come as much of surprise, as his health and stamina have been declining for months now, and he’d been in the ICU since the previous Monday with a failing heart as well as pneumonia. Nevertheless, it’s always difficult to hear that word—“hospice”—as it means the end is near.

dad2Patty-cake with my dad back in the day

And then, less than hour later on that same day, I received an email from my publisher informing me that all hardback copies of my to-be-released-next-Tuesday book were being recalled, as a printing error–a bunch of pages out of order–had been discovered. (Note that the e-books are unaffected and fine.) It would be several weeks before new copies could be printed, I was told.

So now, in addition to frantically calling my dad’s nursing staff and hospitalist to clarify his status and what would be happening over the next few days, I found myself performing triage regarding my new book: contacting bookstores, readers, and others affected by the problem.

I’m in Hawai‘i right now, where I live half time, and my father is in Santa Cruz, California. So, as I was dealing with all that had come down that morning, it suddenly hit me that I might not have the chance to see my dad again, since he could very well pass before I’m able to make it back to Santa Cruz.

The irony is that the new book—which concerns jazz music as one of its subplots—is dedicated to my father:

For my cool-cat dad, Kenneth L. Karst, who first played
Frank, Ella, and Mel for me on his hi-fi.

I’d been holding off till I could see him in person to show Dad the dedication, but now I realized I shouldn’t wait to do so. I called my sister, Laura, and asked if she’d bring a copy of the book to the hospital to show him. He got all choked up, according to Laura, and was truly touched by it.dad1.jpg

Cocktail hour with Dad in Hawai‘i

This was not, of course, how I’d envisioned the last few days before my exciting book launch for Murder from Scratch. Nor was this the post I’d planned on writing today for the Chicks. But you take what life throws you and deal with it, right?

As of today, Dad’s been stabilized and doesn’t appear to be in any pain. So I’m trying take a deep breath and enjoy the launch of my new book (notwithstanding there are no books to actually “launch” at the moment).

And all I can say right now is, carpe diem!

I love you, Dad.

Here’s a taste of Murder from Scratch:

Sally’s life is already plenty complicated, what with running the popular and bustling Gauguin and dealing with irate cooks, scheduling headaches, and other staffing issues. So when her dad convinces her to take in a blind relative, Evelyn, whose mother has just Murder from Scratch coverdied of a drug overdose, she’s none too happy. Sally’s cousin, however, turns out to be not only highly competent, but also lots of fun. And she’s a terrific cook, to boot—taught at an early age by her chef mom, Jackie.

When moved objects around her house cause Evelyn to suspect that Jackie’s death was not the accident or suicide the police believe it to have been, she and Sally decide to investigate on their own. And Sally soon learns that Evelyn’s blindness makes her more attuned to her other senses, allowing her to discover clues that Sally would easily have missed. The cousins’ sleuthing takes them into the world of pop-up and Southeast Asian restaurants, macho commercial kitchens, and the cut-throat competitiveness that can flame up between chefs—especially when stolen recipes are at stake.

Readers: Have you had a memorable carpe diem moment in your life?

36 thoughts on “Murder from Scratch, and My Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

  1. So sorry to hear about your father, Leslie. And the book too, of course, although that’s the type of problem that can be fixed (even though the news is obviously unwelcome and the timing is horrible). I can picture how pleased and proud your father must have been when he learned you dedicated your new book to him. Whether or not you’re there to say goodbye in person, I have no doubt he knows you love him. Hugs.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I’m so sorry to hear such sad news about your father. And with the book printing problem, your stress levels must be sky high. I feel for you.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Book problems can be fixed and are merely a nuisance that will fade from your memory in time – from the sound of it, your father will not. Sounds like he has had quite an influence on you. Cherish this time – whether in person, by calls, or simply holding on to memories you share.. Been there, so keeping your dad and you in my thoughts and prayers.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks, Debra. He was indeed a huge influence on me (and not just my decision to go to law school, lol). I’m going home early–in a week–so hopefully he’ll last that long so I can say goodbye in person.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My heart goes out to you and your family as you contemplate your father’s failing health! He sounds like a wonderful man and I hope that your cherished memories can bring you comfort in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead. xoxo

    Liked by 4 people

  5. You and I have already discussed your terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day, but I have one thing to add. Your resiliency and grace during this uber-trying time is a testament to your father and the way you were raised. You — and he — can be very proud of that. Cyber hugs to you, my friend.

    Liked by 6 people

  6. Leslie, you are amazing. And so are your dad and your books. Your post is a beautiful tribute to all of you/them. Loved the photos, and that your dad found out about his special dedication early. It had to have meant the world to him. Don’t worry about the delay on the hardcovers-your fans will understand, because your books are more than worthy of the wait. Thinking of you from afar (way, way afar in NH, where it is currently snowing. Again.).

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Leslie, you’ve had quite a week. Love that your dad saw the dedication in the new book. I hope that you get to visit him very soon. I was given that chance when I was about to leave for Bouchercon in 2016. My dad passed away the day before I was leaving for New Orleans and I missed the convention that year but am so very happy that I was still home. As far as your newly launched book, it just keeps building the excitement for the day it is really released to your print readers. Thanks for hosting author connections at LCC. It was wonderful to see you.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Fran! I’m flying home early–a week from today–so let’s hope he makes it long enough for me to say goodbye in person. It was indeed great to get to spend time with you at LCC! xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Leslie, I’m so sorry to hear about your dad. As I told you at Malice Domestic last year, I’m one of the very fortunate UCLA Law alums to have taken his Constitutional law classes (2 in my case). He helped guide UCLA through the tumult over selective admissions with grace and wisdom. He was widely admired. Sending best wishes for him and yoyour family.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I’m so sorry to hear the news about your dad. He must be a wonderful person if he raised you! You’ll be in my thoughts and, as soon as your book is ready to go, I’ll be first in line to get one.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Hugs, Leslie! It’s hard. Let us know how we can support you and all your efforts as your attention turns to your Dad. And if it’s turn hard to figure out what would help, just know we’ve got your back. Always!

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Leslie, so very sorry your dad is declining. What a hard time! There is nothing in this world like a good father…I still miss mine every day. Love to you and your family, and as always, looking forward to your new book.

    Liked by 2 people

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