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.
Patty-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.
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 died 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?