October 21, 2013 | No Comments
Give me a bright shiny fall day in the country-side. Give me gently rolling green hills, blue skies, fluffy white clouds. Give me junk! A big ol’ room-full of delicious vintage treasures, collected by some of the nicest, most talented junk sisters (and one brother) on the planet. Then, give me a chance to play with the big kids, the PRO-fesh-ional junkers and lifestyle bloggers–and let me sell my shiny new book, CHRISTMAS BLISS–and you’ve got a day that’s pretty doggone close to heaven. That’s what we experienced Saturday when we were invited to be vendors at The Chapel Market in Pike Road, Alabama. The market was the brain-child of our friends Layla and Kevin Palmer of The Lettered Cottage fame. Some months back, Layla asked if I’d be interested in participating, and of course, I jumped at the chance. The timing was perfect, as CHRISTMAS BLISS just came out last Tuesday. I even managed to rope Mr. MKA into coming along too–as junk wrangler/painter/fixer-upper/head salesman. Here’s an abandoned oak dresser he helped me save–it only had one drawer when we found it, so he made shelves, then painted it so I could wax and distress it. This found a new home on Hilton Head Island, S.C.
I made it back to Atlanta from book tour on Friday, just in time to jump in the SUV which Mr. MKA had stuffed to the gills with our treasures. We even had furniture roped to the roof, Clampett-style. We got to Layla’s postcard-perfect neighborhood, The Waters, just in time to unload the vehicle and get our booth set up. With just one little hitch. We’d left the boxes containing ALL my smaller treasures at home in Atlanta. A three-hour drive away. Glancing around the room at all the gorgeous booths of my neighbors, I was nearly in tears. Our cupboard was looking mighty bare. But my sweet neighbors came to the rescue. Mary of The Urban Farmgirl–whose amazing booth was right next to ours, loaned us some strings of lights–and a ladder to hang them with. Cindy, one of Layla’s neighbors, ran home and got some treasures from her now-closed shop to add to our booth. And suddenly, life was looking brighter, literally. We especially felt better after all of us were treated to a delicious dinner at the home of our gracious hosts Kathy and Eddie, who put us up in their beautiful guest house. Let me tell you, we slept the sleep of the dead that night!
Saturday morning, we made it over to the Chapel in time to put the finishing touches on our booth, and to meet the fabulous booksellers from Books-A-Million who brought many, many bins of my books to sell. I’ll admit, I was nervous. This was the first time we’d done a vintage pop-up market–and a book-signing. Would people come? Would they buy our stuff? Would they buy my books??? We thought they might when we arrived at the chapel at 7:30 a.m. and there were already people lining up for the 9 a.m. opening. We knew it at 8:30 a.m. when Mr. MKA took this picture…
Yes, folks wrapped all around the building and down the road! To shop and meet all these fabulous junk-istas. Like the uber-bubbly Karianne of Thistlewood Farms, who trucked down all the way from Kentucky and shared space with Susan from Finding Home and Heather of At the Picket Fence. Here’s a quick snap of their booth.
They were there to shop with Shaunna, of Perfectly Imperfect, who has a for-real shop in Troy, Alabama. How much do you love those stalks of cotton–those sold out in a New York minute.
And they came to plunder the wonder of The Urban Farmgirl, who brought one of everything I would ever like to buy, all the way from Rockford, Illinois. I loved Mary because she loaned me lights–and also her very tall helper dude offered to help Mr. MKA hang them. Can you see a cute little Tonka red truck? I bought it before the doors opened–don’t hate me.
And they came to meet rock-star blogger/author/furniture painter extraordinaire Marian Parsons, of Miss Mustard Seed, who trucked in such mouth-watering vintage loveliness, and styled it so beautifully I wanted to hate her–because my scanty booth was right next to hers. But I couldn’t hate her, because she’s so darned nice and talented. You can tell I pulled this photo off her website, right, because she’s a crazy good photographer. And I’m not…
And they came to see Layla, of course, but she was hard to pin down, because she was buzzing around all day, and Kevin of course, but he was ferrying people around on golf carts. I didn’t manage to get pictures of all the booths, or all the dealers–because fortunately, we were crazy busy all day! And what a day it was. Nearly perfect. So good I almost didn’t mind hearing the screams of the Auburn fans because their team was winning, while we few Georgia bulldog fans were sulking around feeling sorry for ourselves. But here’s a pic we did manage to snap, at the end of the day, tired but happy.
Oh, and, you know all those great vintage smalls that didn’t make it to The Chapel? They’ll be making their appearance this weekend at my booth at Seaside Sisters on Tybee Island. See, it all worked out after all!
October 7, 2013 | No Comments
Attention ATL-area peeps! Sunday, October 13th is the
not-to-be-missed launch party for CHRISTMAS BLISS!
Order your tickets by calling (770) 516-9989 or purchase online by CLICKING HERE!
The Decatur library and the Georgia Center for the Book is the place to be this Sunday. Yep. It’s launch time, go-time, party time, for my newest novel, CHRISTMAS BLISS. Yes, I know it’s only October. I haven’t even put out my Halloween pumpkins yet. But booksellers like to start the holiday shopping season early, so who am I to argue? Anyway, who doesn’t love a party? Especially a party with stuff like, oh, I don’t know . . .DESSERTS? And maybe, um, let’s see, what would make this even more festive? Hey, how ’bout a peppermint infused vodka cocktail from our down-home Georgia girlfriends at Vixen Vodka?
Not a vodka drinker? Well, there will be beer, wine, and soft drinks too. And it wouldn’t be Christmas without some rockin’ cleverly crafted holiday cards, right? So, we got another down-home Georgia girl, Anna Griffin to agree to join the party. Anna herself will be at the Christmas Bliss launch party this Sunday, and she’s bringing a boat-load of card-making supplies so that everybody at the party can make their own take-home hand-crafted Christmas cards.
We’ll be decorating the Decatur Library launch-pad with my own vintage Christmas decorations. Yep. Aluminum Christmas trees, lights, the works. We’re loading my favorite Christmas tunes on the iPod too–so you know that means the playlist will include Darlene Love’s version of White Christmas, and her inimitable Christmas, (Baby Please Come Home) plus the Ronettes singing I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus and Eartha Kitt’s, Santa Baby.
It wouldn’t be an MKA launch without swag bags…so, of course we’ll have those too. You’ll go home with recipe cards, book marks, and loads of goodies and coupons
And let’s not forgot the reason for this celebration, the publication of my 21st novel, CHRISTMAS BLISS. This time around, I’m bringing back my most beloved set of characters, Weezie Foley and BFF BeBe Loudermilk, the protagonists of my Savannah Series, which includes Savannah Blues, Savannah Breeze and Blue Christmas. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I will say that the story starts a week before Christmas, with Weezie planning her Christmas Eve wedding to long-time love Daniel. Her maid-of-honor BeBe has a major life change underway too–she’s pregnant with charter boat captain Harry Sorrentino’s baby, but is resolutely refusing to take a third trip down the aisle, despite the pleas of everybody in her life, including Harry and Weezie.I had so much fun re-visiting my old friends Weezie and the gang, I almost felt guilty about getting paid for it. Almost. But not quite!
The advance reviews for CHRISTMAS BLISS have been a gift in itself. Kirkus Reviews said “Readers can expect a delightful diversion that’s fast paced, character-driven and extremely fun. . .Andrews delivers a blissfully divine holiday gift.” Library Journal said “Andrews’s holiday-themed novel is as warm and funny as usual, and the crazy antics of her two protagonists will entertain readers…VERDICT: An essential Christmas read for anyone who likes amusing, Southern women’s fiction.”
But wait, there’s more! No, you don’t get a Ronco Bass-O-Matic or a set of Ginzu knives, but the $25 admission ticket does get you all of the above, plus an autographed first edition of Christmas Bliss. A portion of the sales of all books goes to the Georgia Center for the Book. Our friends, those good old girls from FoxTale Book Shoppe will have loads of extra copies of the book–enough for everybody on your Christmas gift list. Go here to order your ticket for the firstest, bestest, Christmas party in town.
August 20, 2013 | No Comments
Most people go to the beach and they actually GO to the beach. Ya know, frolic in the waves, stroll the sand, burn their flesh to an unbecoming shade of crimson.
:Luckily, our granddaughter Molly, and her cousin Ellen, have plenty of time to romp on the beach this week at Tybee.
Not me. I go to the beach and I tweak. The beach house. Last week was no exception. As you may know, we rent our Tybee Island beach homes, The Breeze Inn, and Ebbtide, through Mermaid Cottages. Not being filthy stinking rich–I know-waaaaah–we don’t usually go to the beach in the summer because that’s our busy rental season. But we had a last-minute cancellation at Ebbtide last week, so off we went.
In my own defense, I had no real right to relax. I had to read the final copy-edited version of CHRISTMAS BLISS, which goes on sale Oct. 15. I had to read and answer copy edit questions for the re-issue of MIDNIGHT CLEAR, which will release Nov. 19. And I had to write! Next summer’s book is already over-due. So no rest for the weary.
We did do some fishing off our friend’s dock on the Back River–and lucked into several nice-sized flounder. Which meant Mr. MKA whomped up a fish fry–to which I contributed a homemade tomato pie made with my friend Linda’s heirloom tomatoes. We also served Linda’s fresh-picked corn. And her homemade pickles. It was a real throw-down.
But in between writing and editing, I had several little projects i was anxious to complete at Ebbtide. And I had the luxury of having the ever-handy Mr. MKA on the premises–and willing to attack my long honey-do list–in between fishing expeditions. We filled both our cars with tools and paint and bins of vintage treasures I’d been hoarding for the house.
First on the list was hanging this vintage grocery sign I picked up at my favorite North Carolina antique mall, The Depot at Gibson Mill, in Concord. I talked my husband into making a plain frame for the sign and painting it black, and I knew it would be perfect in the kitchen. Like so.
Next on the list was assembling and hanging the cheap Michael’s glass floating frames for the collection of vintage DO NOT DISTURB hotel signs I’ve been hoarding for eight years. Yes, eight years. Some people might accuse me of buying a second beach house just to have a place to display these sweethearts. And some people might be dangerously close to understanding my peculiar brand of insanity. I adore these hangtags. Also the story behind them. When we were living in Raleigh, I went to an estate sale of a sadly dilapidated house down the block from our own house on St. Mary’s Street. The elderly lady who’d lived there was apparently quite a character. She’d traveled with an actor’s troupe in her youth–probably in the 1940s and 1950s, and I discovered a trunk full of items she’d stolen, er, appropriated during her long-ago travels. Shrivelled-up hotel soaps, stationery from long-closed hotels–with great graphics, and these ten “Do Not Disturb” door signs. Finally, last week, they found a home in the guest bath at Ebbtide. They are sharing wall space with a vintage 1920s wool bathing suit. i “might” have a thing for these suits. i have three of them framed in this house alone.
While we’re on the subject of hoarding, i’d been hiding (and hoarding) a primitive folding wooden daybed under our bed in the master bedroom at Ebbtide since January. I bought it for $10 at an estate sale in Atlanta and was told it came from a cabin in the North Georgia mountains. I thought it would be ever-so-lovely at the foot of our bed. But it was just big enough that I would have gotten up in the middle of the night to pee and tripped over it. So I had to find another spot for the daybed. And get a cushion made for it, and slipcover it . . . But finally, last week, Alison, the magic slipcover girl who has definitely slipcovered everything in this house that doesn’t move, delivered my daybed cushions. And it was worth the wait. Because in the meantime, I found a red and white antique crib quilt at another Atlanta estate sale–for $15, to go on the daybed. And I bought a vintage French grain sack from my pal Beth at KnickKnack Paddywhack which Alison magically transformed into a long bolster. To slipcover the mattress and end bolsters, Alison used some of my vintage blue and white ticking. I bought a bolt of this stuff, probably 15 years ago, from the Atlanta estate of an upholsterer. The bolt probably had a hundred yards on it–and it cost $40. Over the years I had a sofa and love seat slipcovered with the ticking, and still had plenty left. The daybed was screaming for ticking like this. Doesn’t it almost make you want to swoon? And nap?
But the big project we tackled was setting up a dining and seating area in the open area on the ground floor of Ebbtide, adjacent to our grilling area. I assembled most of the mismatched, oddball pieces for the area over the past few months. One trip to Scott’s Antique Market a couple months ago yielded two wrought iron “bouncy” chairs, a wicker settee and a glider. Everything needed help. Another trip to an Atlanta thrift shop brought me a pair of wicker chairs–they also needed paint. I found a wooden swing at an estate sale, and at yet estate sale in Druid Hills in Atlanta, I found a beat-up wooden farm table in the garage–for $10. It had old linoleum glued to the top, and when i peeled back the linoleum I found that the wooden top stained with large blotches of red, green and blue paint. At a yard sale in Savannah i found a second pair of wrought iron bouncy chairs. And then on a morning walk in my neighborhood I found a set of seat cushions–they were coated in yellow pollen and mildew–but they were striped red and blue. Yoink!
After Alison slipcovered all the upstairs porch furniture I turned her loose on the downstairs porch–with the last of my ticking fabric and some feed sacks I’d bought at the Depot. While she was sewing, Mr. MKA was building me benches to go with the farm table. We found the plans for these here on Ana White’s website. I used gel stripper to get off the worst of the paint on the table top, then sanded it and topped with a coat of poly. Then we attacked all that mis-matched furniture with Rustoleum spray paint. Here’s how the glider looked when we started. Bleah, right?
And here’s Gladys the Glider, after she got tarted up with some Rustoleum navy spray paint, with white painted inserts and her glam new cushions. The throw pillows, by the way, are from Home Depot.
Here’s the rest of the seating area. I ran out of time to style it, but I think you can get the general idea.
Time for one more picture? Here’s the vintage coke sign I found on Craigslist in Atlanta. We literally met the seller in the Target parking lot to conduct this “coke deal.” It found a new home on the upstairs porch at Ebbtide.
July 25, 2013 | No Comments
i don’t know about you, but come February, I start getting cabin fever. True, we don’t exactly have blizzard season here in Atlanta, but we do have what seems like endless gray, chilly days. That’s when I start to think about running away to sea. Sunny skies, blue water, tropical ports. This year, for the first time, I’m inviting all my readers to join me–and Sail Away with MKA.
My friend Nancy Yoffe, better known as The Cruise Chick, has put together a fabulous seven-day cruise for us. The ship is the Celebrity Reflection, which was just launched in 2012 and is a beauty. We’ll depart port of Miami on Saturday, Feb. 8 and sail the Eastern Caribbean, to ports including San Juan, St. Thomas,and St. Phillipsburg.
Reflection dining room. And we do not have to cook a thing! Hot and cold running waiters. Yippee!
I’m so excited about this fun getaway. I’ve sailed on Celebrity before, and the cabins, food and service were all top-notch. In fact, my last Celebrity cruise was one of those Big-O birthday celebrations with my junior high girlfriends, and we had a total blast. And i know this time will be no different.The posted price for the cruise is for balcony rooms, but if you’re looking for something more “budget friendly” you can contact Nancy and ask about availability of other options.
The Spa. Ahhhhhh.
Nancy and I have been planning all kinds of activities. We’ll have a meet and greet with appetizers and cocktails shortly after boarding the ship, and everybody will get a chance to mix and mingle. There will be a private book signing, of course, a fun formal photo session (complimentary for those who book by Sept. 1), a tea, and a private jewelry shopping expedition in one of the ports.
Lots of opportunities for beach reads around the pool!
Each guest on the Sail Away with MKA cruise will get a swag bag filled with fun surprises, especially gathered for this occasion.
The best part of all though, will be the chance to chillax and meet other readers like yourselves. So–who will you ask to join you? My daughter Katie will be sharing my stateroom, and it looks like my sister-in-law and niece will be coming along too, as well as some friends from Savannah, and a couple from Ohio.
There’s even a lawn area. On a cruise ship. Who knew?
You don’t necessarily have to have a roommate lined up to book the cruise. We expect there will be plenty of other “singletons”–who want to come, so Nancy will be happy to try to match compatible folks as roommates.
Right now in July, February seems a long way off, I know, but if your life is like mine, you just need to take a deep breath and BOOK IT!
May 14, 2013 | No Comments
The release of Ladies’ Night is only three weeks away (YIKES!) and we are hard at work getting last minute projects done at our new Tybee Island beach cottage, Ebbtide, before I go out on book tour for six weeks. So I thought I’d share a progress report. It’s no coincidence that Grace Stanton, the protagonist of Ladies’ Night is a lifestyle blogger and DIY guru. Any of my regular readers will recognize that I myself am a dedicated house fluffer and project plotter, but I got tons of inspiration for our Ebbtide re-do from many real-life lifestyle bloggers and DIY-ers.
Since we bought this cottage five months ago, my husband and I have busier than the proverbial one-armed paper-hanger fluffing and furnishing. Although Ebbtide is much larger and older than our other house, The Breeze Inn, thankfully, this house needed much less work.
Ebbtide, by the way, was built in 1932, and it is a classic Tybee raised cottage. The house had been in the previous owner’s family since 1945, and they’d done a great job maintaining and updating it, so most of our work was cosmetic.
Since Mr. MKA and I love to cook and entertain, job one was a new kitchen. Our wonderful contractor, Cory Scoville and his crew gutted the existing kitchen, removing a large butler’s pantry and broom closet to give us a bigger space. Here is a before picture. Hard to tell from this photo, but if you opened the pantry door, it banged into the old stove!
Cory’s crew scraped up a couple layers of vinyl to reveal the original oak floors, and they opened up the new kitchen to the adjoining dining room. They built all the kitchen cabinets on-site. We chose a soft gray and white granite called Kashmir for the countertops, and a simple white subway tile backsplash. We kept the existing fridge and added a new gas stove, wall oven, microwave and dishwasher. The new kitchen is a joy to cook in.
I loved my old enamel over cast-iron double sink at the Breeze Inn, so of course, I had to track down another for the new kitchen at Ebbtide. This sink came from the Greensboro, Georgia location of an architectural salvage shop called Pinch of the Past. I shop at their Savannah location all the time. The vintage Drive-In, Private Bath sign came from another haunt, Habersham Antiques Market in midtown Savannah.
Once the kitchen was finished, Mr. MKA and I rolled up our sleeves and tackled the fun stuff. I hit Craigslist, estate sales and antique shops far and wide for furnishings and accessories. And after much hesitation and second-guessing, we had the original dark pine board and batten walls in the living and dining room painted. Some purists have decried this as a sacrilege–but we found these rooms dark and gloomy and foreboding–and since we’re the ones paying the mortgage note, we get the final vote! The paint color is my favorite white, Benjamin Moore’s Moonlight White, with ceilings painted Benjamin Moore’s Morning Sky Blue. Here’s a shot of the living room before paint.
And here’s the after version, which includes the nifty picture ledges Mr. MKA built, with a little help from my Pinterest page and several on-line tutorials, like this one from the amazing Ana White.. All the paintings were inexpensive ones I’ve collected over the years from estate sales and junk shops. They’d hung in the den of our previous house, but since our current house in Atlanta doesn’t have a den, I had a bin-full of these just waiting for a new home. The slipcovered white twill sofa was a lucky Craigslist score–I call it the sofa of no-return because once you sink into it, you can never get out!
Also in the living room, I cribbed an idea from Miss Mustard Seed’s blog to transform a beat-up mahogany dresser with a spiffy Union Jack paint job. Many years ago I was clever enough to marry an engineer who is capable of pinpoint accuracy when taping off lines for a project like this.
Speaking of collections, I adore vintage tin litho beach toys–watering cans, sand buckets and shovels, which I’ve collected for nearly twenty years. I have part of my collection at The Breeze Inn, so I decided the rest of the toys should find a home at the beach too. We put them on a high-up shelf–where they can be appreciated, but where little hands won’t be tempted to actually take them down to the beach.
These babies are getting harder and harder to track down, and they can be quite expensive too. I found the latest addition to the collection–a toy pump and bucket, at a favorite haunt, Kudzu Antique Market, in Decatur. I love those vintage rattan peacock chairs (scored for $50 for the pair at an estate sale) you see in front of the window here, but my friend Ellen calls them the Morticia Addams chairs.
While I was tracking down more junk, er, treasures, I had Mr. MKA busy making lamps from all kinds of funky old stuff. Like these vintage galvanized tin ice cream churns I bought on eBay. I was actually looking for a pair of cool painted wooden buckets, but I found these for much less money, and I think, a lot more charm. They’re sitting on the oak buffet in the dining room, beneath the framed 1970s bathing suit my friend Barb and I found last month in a great little antique shop in Westerville, Ohio.
As part of the kitchen project, we had to install a new circuit box–not so conveniently located on a prominent wall in the dining room. I kept looking around for something to hide that box. And then I remembered the vintage 1920s wool Jantzen bathing suit I found last summer while I was junking with my pal Ki Nassauer–of Flea Market Style magazine. Mission accomplished!With the ice cream lamps completed, I sent Mr. MKA back to the workshop to craft a pair of lamps for Boomerang Boy’s downstairs bedroom. This is one of two ground-floor rooms which the former owners only used as storage. We converted them into bedrooms by painting floors and walls, updating wiring and installing window air conditioner units. The nightstands were a pair of fugly chests I found at Tybee’s city-wide yard sale for around $25. They were painted baby poop brown–with linoleum tacked to their tops.
The dented Old Pal bait bucket was Mr. MKA’s from his teen years, and I bought the Falls City bucket either at Scott’s or on eBay. Here’s the room now–with the windows draped with a huge piece of vintage bunting.
The other ground floor bedroom was formerly home to a big honkin’ hot water heater–and storage. Mr. MKA and his brother Bob the Builder transformed it by constructing a closet around the heater. Now it’s a cool space with vintage twin beds contributed by my friend Ellen, a pair of estate sale quilts, estate sale nightstands, an old wire Tom’s Peanuts rack I swiped from my booth at Seaside Sisters, and another pair of Mr. MKA’s lamps–this time hanging pendant lamps made from old minnow traps I found at Scott’s. I found a tutorial to make them from Brittany of Pretty Handy Girl, and then he free-styled them, because he could.
Because I hate bare walls, I dug around in my stash of old stuff until I came up with a vintage chicken mash sack, which had an awesome design screen-printed on both sides. I cut the sack in half and then stapled each half above the bed–directly onto the wall–because I’m KLASSY like that.
We’re still finishing up some more projects around here, but now it’s time for me to get back to work–finishing my Christmas book, which will be out this October (EEK!) and getting ready for the publication of LADIES’ NIGHT. Check my tour schedule here to see where I’ll be signing (and junking) this summer. And yes, you too can have a family vacation–or a ladies’ night of your own, at Ebbtide. We’re pretty booked for summer (heck, I can’t even stay here in June or July!) but check with the girls at Mermaid Cottage Vacation Rentals for availability starting in late August.
March 26, 2013 | Comments (1)
Of course, she isn’t really new–or at least not new to some of my readers.
Starting back in the early nineties, I penned eight of these mysteries, under my real name, which is Kathy Hogan Trocheck. At the time, I was working as a features writer for The Atlanta Journal Constitution and had two young children at home. I’d always been a mystery reader–like so many women in this country, I cut my teeth on the old Nancy Drew mysteries. By 1990, I was ready to leave newspaper journalism behind and strike out for the land of fiction.
Since I’d always read mysteries–transitioning from Nancy Drew to Mickey Spillane (I know, weird, huh?) to Agatha Christie, to those pioneers of the contemporary female P.I. novels–Sue Grafton (Kinsey Milhone), Marcia Muller (Sharon McCone) and Sara Paretsky (V.I. Warshaski)–I decided to try to write one.
That first one never sold. But the second one, Every Crooked Nanny, found a home at HarperCollins Publishers, and I went on to write a total of eight Callahan Garrity mysteries, in addition to the two Truman Kicklighter mysteries. The Truman Kicklighter titles, Lickety-Split and Crash Course, set in my hometown of St. Petersburg, are currently available only as e-books.
The first book in the series, Every Crooked Nanny, introduces readers to Callahan. She’s an Atlanta native, graduate of the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!), and she lives in a Craftsman bungalow in the real-life neighborhood of Candler Park. Callahan is a former Atlanta Police detective, who quits the force when she gets passed over for a slot on the APD’s Homicide Squad, because of sexism. A note here; when I began writing the first Callahan novel, there were no women homicide detectives on the APD. Callahan gets her private investigator’s license, but when she can’t drum up enough business, her mother talks her into buying a cleaning business called The House Mouse.
Callahan’s chain-smoking, Solitaire-dealing mom Edna Mae, shares her home, and helps ride herd over the House Mouse “girls”–a memorable crew of misfits including white trash queen Neva Jean McComb, the octagenarian Baby and Sister, and the gentle Ruby.
Following on the heels of Every Crooked Nanny came To Live and Die in Dixie, Homemade Sin and Happy Never After.
All the books are set in real locations in and around Atlanta. Callahan had many devoted fans, and the books were commercial and critical successes, but after eight of the mysteries, I had an idea for a different kind of novel, which became Savannah Blues. With the success of Savannah Blues (and my new pseudonym of Mary Kay Andrews) I morphed into writing women’s fiction–but always with a mysterious element.
Over the years, several of the Callahan titles went out of print, and the remaining ones were hard to find in bookstores. Now, however, I’m thrilled that Harper is re-issuing all the Callahans, starting with the first four in the series. Callahan has gotten a little facelift–this time the titles are debuting as trade paperbacks, with gorgeous new covers.
Even more exciting, for the first time ever, there will be Callahan audios! The audio of Every Crooked Nanny will be released today, March 26, and the other audios will follow soon. I’m so thrilled that my Mary Kay Andrews fans will finally be able to find these books again. Look for the final four books (and their audios) in the series to be released in coming months.
Can’t wait for you to meet Callahan and the girls. I hope you’ll enjoy reading her as much as I enjoyed writing about her exploits.
GIVEAWAY ALERT! We are giving away sets of all four Callahan paperbacks and all four Callahan audiobooks. Here is the entry form for the book giveaway (deadline 4/19). Here is the entry form for the audio giveaway (deadline 5/24). Good luck!
February 22, 2013 | No Comments
We’d been looking for a bigger house on Tybee Island. We love our first house, The Breeze Inn, but with two grandbabies added to the family since we restored it in 2009, it has gotten to be a tight squeeze. So we looked around. Made offers, were re-buffed. Then, in November, I got a call from our friend Diane at Mermaid Cottages. “Your forever dream house is on the market, and they’e just dropped the price,” she said. “Get here. Now!” I went. I saw. I fell in love. And although Mr. MKA was off in the wilds of the Dakotas, I made an offer. And on Dec. 19, we closed on our new old beach house. Meet Ebbtide, circa 1932. She’s an unassuming old girl from the street, but once you get inside, the magic starts to happen. She’s one house off the beach–with occasional ocean views if you know where to stand. She’s got room for the family to stretch out–six bedrooms! The entire main floor of the house is old heart pine board and batten walls and pine floors. There is a huge wrap-around porch for lounging, dining, daydreaming or catnapping.
(No worries–we are keeping the Breeze too–and you can still rent it through Mermaid Cottages) Our whole family trooped down to Tybee the day after Christmas and we began our makeover. Although the house came fully furnished, with perfectly nice things, if you know anything about me, you know I have hoarding issues. Out went most of the old furnishings–sold off through Craigslist, word-of-mouth and the Tybee Island-wide yard sale. But not the Sunbeam Bread sign in the dining room. To be honest, when I saw the house with our real estate agent, they had me at Sunbeam!
In came my stuff–a whole truckload of beat-up, threadbare rugs from our basement, a pair of Craigslist four-poster beds painted white, a set of rattan chairs from the Scott’s antique market, nightstands and a headboard from a hotel liquidation place, and more unused basement treasures. I did buy two brand-new armchairs for the living room, from T.J. Maxx. I found the first chair at TJs in Savannah, posted a look-out for its twin on Facebook, and an alert reader found me the mate at the TJ in Smyrna, Ga. Mr. MKA and his brother have been hammering and sawing and making some changes, and I have been painting and waxing and distressing. And shopping. The biggest change we are making in the house is putting in a whole new kitchen. Whee! Complete with my beloved porcelain over cast-iron vintage double sink, which I bought at a great architectural salvage place in Greensboro, GA. called Pinch of the Past. Those old pine walls are gloomy, so some of the rooms–especially the master bedroom, will be painted my favorite Ben Moore Moonlight White. We’ve got some great looking lighting coming in too, and lots more, but here are some before and in-process pics to enjoy. Watch this space for more pictures as we finish up our beautification process. Ebbtide will be making her debut as a Mermaid Cottage in late March!
November 10, 2012 | No Comments
As I write this, I’m snug in our little beach cottage on Tybee Island, Georgia. I have heat and electricity, cable, internet and access to all the necessities of life–including food and gas and Diet Coke and cheap Chardonnay. But many of the victims of Hurricane Sandy are without the comforts of home.
Which is where you and I come in. For weeks now I’ve been plotting a little holiday surprise–the E-publication of an original Christmas short story called Fatal Fruitcake, featuring my mystery series protagonist Callahan Garrity. Callahan, for those of you who don’t know, was the star of eight mysteries I wrote under my own name, which is Kathy Hogan Trocheck. In March, HarperCollins is going to re-issue all the Callahans as trade paperbacks by Mary Kay Andrews writing as KHT. So I thought it might be fun to give my MKA and KHT readers an advance taste of Callahan–and of some holiday shenanigans.You can buy it here for your Kindle. And you can currently buy it here for your other e-Readers, including iPad, Kobo and Nook.
Fatal Fruitcake is not a novella or a novel. It is a SHORT STORY. The story is 17 pages long, plus, at the end, I’ve included my own personal recipe for not so fatal fruitcake. Personally, I detest all those weirdly colored candied fruits that go in most fruitcakes, so I adapted my recipe to use dried fruits I like. I don’t specify that you wrap the cake in cheesecloth and drench it with likker for the weeks leading up to Christmas, although I suppose you could do that if you wish.
After Superstorm Sandy turned out to be such a nasty surprise to so many folks in the Northeast–including many of my dear publishing friends in New York and New Jersey, I got a new idea. In addition to making the book available for e-readers, I decided to do a small limited edition printing of Fatal Fruitcake. My talented friend Lauren Lee designed what I think is an adorable cover for the story. And I’ve lined up six retailers in Georgia who will be selling the 500 signed and numbered copies of the short story. My plan is to donate a dollar from the sale of every $9.95 copy of the story to the American Red Cross, to go towards disaster relief. And I’ll also donate a percentage of the sales of the electronic version of the story to the Red Cross.
I’ve also set aside the very first copy of Fatal Fruitcake, and it’s available now through Sat. Nov. 17 on eBay. The buyer will receive Fatal Fruitcake #1, along with some holiday surprises, including an autographed copy of my Christmas novella Blue Christmas..
Want your own limited edition, signed and numbered copy of Fatal Fruitcake? Contact these retailers to make arrangements. And please note that I will not be selling the copies myself–cause I’ve got a book to finish!
I hope you’ll want to help me help our neighbors who’ve been victims of this devastating storm. Growing up on the Gulf Coast of Florida, I’ve lived through storm evacuations, and when I was a newspaper reporter, I witnessed and wrote about the destruction Hurricane Hugo wrought on Charleston and the low country of South Carolina. I’ll never forget the sight of all those downed trees and homes waist-high in muck, mud and water. In our own small way though, we can hopefully help speed hurricane relief efforts.
Thanks, y’all…and happy holidays!
August 31, 2012 | No Comments
Waaaay back in March I was thrilled to be invited to go on a little Atlanta junk jaunt with flea market rock star Ki Nassauer, the editor and magic-maker behind Flea Market Style Magazine. Ki flew in from L.A. where she lives, her friend flew in from Minnesota to act as her assistant, and we hooked up with an Atlanta-based photographer. What followed was 48 hours of hard-core, full-on extreme junking. Did I love it? You betcha! And here’s the brand-new magazine, with a great ten-page feature on our odyssey.
Because you can’t junk on an empty stomach, we started our day with scones from my neighborhood sugar shack, Sweet n’ Sinful Bakery, where our friend Layne treated us to her bacon-cheddar scones. Mmmm. Bacon. Then we motored down to Scott’s Antique Market for set-up day. It was Ki’s first trip to Scott’s, and even though she shops flea markets all over the country, she was amazed at the depth and variety of primo junk at Scott’s.
Let me tell you, we hit Scott’s like a ton of bricks, shopping both the North and South buildings, plus the outdoor vendors on both sides, with the photographer snapping away, and Ki and I honing in on our favorite junk. We did stop for lunch, and Ki had to experience boiled peanuts. Let’s just say this Midwest gal was NOT a fan.
From Scott’s, we hit three more Atlanta area antique markets, including Kudzu, in Decatur, where Ki fell in love with all the mid-century loveliness, not to mention owner Kate and George’s shop dogs Bella and Charley. I seriously had to drag the girl out of there so we could hit some more of my favorite junk honey-holes.
Part of Ki’s mission while she was in town was to sample some down-home Southern cuisine. Her first night in town we did the BBQ thing at Fox Bros. on DeKalb Avenue. Sooeeeey pig! She especially loved the sides–like Fox Bros’. famous Tominators–barbecue drenched and cheese topped tater tots. The second night we had dinner at Leon’s Full Service gastro-pub in Decatur. And yeah, the star of that show was Leon’s pommes frites with all those luscious dipping sauces.
On Friday, we went way north–all the way up to Alpharetta to Queen of Hearts Antique Mall, where I actually scored two or three treasures for my antique booth at Seaside Sisters on Tybee Island. Then it was back to midtown Atlanta, where we wandered the aisles of Antiques & Beyond on Cheshire Bridge Road. Ki, who is a horsey kind of girl was seriously jonesing for a vintage coin-operated horse ride, but since it wouldn’t actually fit in her carry-on luggage, she had to leave it behind. This time. Of course we had to make one more food stop before I dropped the girls off at the airport, and Ki wouldn’t let me pass by Kitsch’N 155, the very cool retro diner lunch spot on Clairmont Road in Decatur.
The junk divas flew home, and I went back to work on TFB (the friggin’ book) for next summer. I went on tour for SPRING FEVER, which took me all over the country. And then, early in the second week of July, when I just happened to be home between tour stops, Ki called. There was a lil’ glitch with the photos of our junk jaunt. Actually, a major glitch. All of the photos from our two-day session were gone. Long story short, I invited Ki to come BACK to Atlanta. Luckily, it was a Scott’s weekend–I say lucky because Scott’s is only open the second weekend of every month. And luckily, I was home and free for two days. And Ki was available too. So we did it all over again–only in ONE day instead of two. Somehow, we did it. We junked ourselves into a frenzy, re-shot the feature, and 24 hours later, Ki was back on a plane to California to face magazine deadline hell. All that serious junking was fun–but it was also work, hard, hard work.
The good news is, the second set of photos were great. I got to see my new junk buddy again, I scored more treasures–including the framed glass pinball backboard you see in one shot, the deluxe vintage birdcage, and the fabulous fifties terra-cotta flamingo–which is currently roosting in the front yard of our Tybee Island beach house, The Breeze Inn. And shortly after that second excursion, I got to hang out and go junking with Ki in California, where we agreed we must be sisters from another mother.
I hope you’ll run out and snag a copy of Flea Market Style for yourselves. It’s full of so much vintage junk eye candy you’ll run the risk of overdose. You can’t subscribe to the magazine, it’s newsstand sales only, but you should be able to find it at magazine stands all over the country. I know here in the South I’ve seen it at Publix, Kroger, Wal-Mart, Target and Books-A-Million. And if your favorite store doesn’t carry FMS? Feel free to throw yourself big ol’ HISSY FIT. And Enjoy!
July 26, 2012 | Comments (2)
I’ve been rippin’ up and down the country all summer long, touring for my latest book, Spring Fever. But this week, I decided to take a little time off before heading to Anaheim where I’m attending the Romance Writer’s of America Conference. On Monday I flew out to Los Angeles to do a fun meet-up with my friend Ki Nassauer of Flea Market Style magazine. Ki’s apartment is a fun mash-up of mid-century modern flea market finds mixed with many of the fun junk projects we’ve seen in past issues of the magazine. Since she’d just put the fall issue of the magazine (the one that features a junking trip with moi) to bed, she was ready for some fun. And did we have big fun! We started the trip with a big helping of old school–choosing to do the fun but cheesy Hollywood Home of the Stars tour. Ki researched all the different tours, so we chose the one that puts you in an open-air van, mostly because towns like Beverly Hills don’t allow the big double-decker buses on their streets. While we were waiting for our van pick-up, we moseyed over to the Madame Toussad’s Wax Museum to show some Lucy Love.
Then we climbed aboard our van and took off with our driver, Josh, giving us an unintentionally hilarious, if semi-dubious narration of the haunts of Hollywood stars. “Look!” he exclaimed at one point, “That was Janet Jackson just driving by in that black SUV!” But the scenery was great, and we were able to get great views of some neighborhoods where stars could have lived. We went up the steep incline of Mulholland Drive and stopped at the observation point to look down and spot the iconic Hollywood sign.
Then we all climbed back aboard and cruised the Hollywood Hills and vicinity area for glimpses of the famous and near-famous. We saw the alleged chimneys of Katy Perry’s house, Jennifer Anniston’s alleged driveway, Tom Cruise’s alleged flagpole (no jokes, please!) and Ringo Starr’s alleged carport, not to mention Ellen DeGeneres’s alleged construction site. We drove over to Beverly Hills and admired the spotless streets and beautiful landscaping. And tall palms. Very tall palms.
The one actual alleged star’s home we got to see was Lucille Ball’s house, which was on a pretty corner lot, one of very few properties in the area not obscured by tall hedges or imposing fences. We’ll probably never know if anything we saw was actually real, but when you’re having fun and leaving the driving to somebody else, who really cares?
On Tuesday, we set out to do what we do best; junking! Since it was a mid-week day, there were unfortunately no flea markets to explore. Damn! I guess shopping The Rose Bowl will have to remain on my bucket list until my next trip out. The next best thing was a shopping center called Whizin Market Square in Agoura Hills that was chock full of antique shops. First stop was A Beautiful Mess, where owner Kymberley has curated a gorgeous collection of rustic and industrial finds in a setting straight out of a movie set.
Like this bed. I hope my drooling all over it didn’t embarrass Ki.
Our next stop was right next door at Agoura Antique Mart, where this eye-catching vignette made us both stop and reach for our cameras.
Even though I have to fly home with already over-stuffed luggage, I picked up a few treasures, including this adorable find.
We had to force ourselves to stop for lunch, but the menu at Hugo’s had tons of yummy, healthy options, including this surprisingly delicious sipper.
Guess I’ll be shipping some stuff home, huh? After lunch we headed over the mountains to the beach, specifically Venice Beach. For this East Coast girl it was wonderful to get that first glimpse of the blue Pacific Ocean as we rounded a bend in the road. After admiring the beaches, it was back to shopping. We stopped in at Urban Country in Venice to browse around at the owner’s truly unusual offerings of antique signage, carnival and amusement park pieces and more, like this huge paint on canvas vintage “freak show” poster.
It was getting late in the day by the time we finished shopping all the cool spots in Venice, but Ki didn’t want me to miss Santa Monica, so off we went. We walked around seeing the sights and then stopped at a trendy bar/restaurant called The Misfit for drinks and dinner. And before heading back home to L.A. we just had to walk down to the historic Santa Monica Pier so I could take in the vintage amusement park.
Sadly, there was no time to indulge in cotton candy, the photo booth or the roller coaster. Just time for one more snapshot before two tired junkers headed back to the barn.Where we were awakened at 3:15 a.m. by an earthquake tremor–just a minor 3.8 on the Richter scale, but boy, what a hello from California! Thanks, Ki, for the best mini-vacay ever!