Excerpt From “Deforest Kelley: A Harvest Of Memories” by Kristine M Smith

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME (True Story written up as a stand-up comedy routine and later published in Deforest Kelley: A Harvest Of Memories)

Three weeks after my birthday, I wound up in Denver — and was invited (via Sue) to dinner with the Kelleys! This was my first actual, sit-down-and chat meeting with them, and I was so nervous that before we headed into their suite I pleaded, “Sit right next to me all night long, and if they ask me a question, YOU answer it!”

When you find yourself in an overwhelming situation like this one, you want to be at your best. You want to make a good impression; above all, you do NOT want to come across looking like Garfield’s little buddy Odie! On the other hand, you don’t want to look as if you’re having an audience with the Pope. Something right smack in the middle seems about right… but I was nowhere near certain I could handle a middle-of-the-road approach. So I was nervous.

No. I was petrified.

I followed Sue and a couple other DKFC members – all of whom were cool, calm and collected by all appearances – into the Kelleys hotel suite, where we were to meet, and I managed, for a moment, to present myself as normal. I hugged Mrs. Kelley and said, “Hello.” Then I went over and shook hands with De. So far, sooooo good. But…witness how quickly I went downhill from there, inside my nerve-wracked body.

We stepped over to the couches and prepared to sit down. De asked us if he could take our coats. Now, if anyone else on the planet had asked me that question, an easy answer would have been yes or no, right? I mean, he wasn’t asking my opinion on whether the U.S. should get out of the United Nations; he was just asking if I cared to give up my coat for a while. I gave it serious thought. I thought, “What does HE want me to say? Should I say yes? Will he be upset if I say no?” Finally it occurred to me that he didn’t give a fig whether I said yes or no, just so long as I said something, so he could sit down! So, I said no. That seemed to satisfy him – but not for long. Next he wanted to know if we would like drinks. I don’t drink, so naturally I said YES. (Well, I had just told him no on something else. I didn’t want him to think I was a bitch.) So, I said yes. Then he wanted to know what I would have! Oh, boy… He had me there! He was pitching these incredibly difficult questions at me and I was unable to field them! “Oh…whatever!” I finally “decided,” hoping that would end the interrogation.

Mrs. Kelley probably recognized the fact that I had slipped into the much-dreaded Idiocy Mode (a common affliction of fans) and tried to help me out. She suggested that I try a “DeForest Kelley.” I looked at her, and I thought, “Gee, that is a very generous offer!” But I realized I wasn’t getting the proper picture. She explained to me that a DeForest Kelley was a drink known to all of fandom except me, obviously. “Oh, fine… I’ll have one of those…”

Well, after a couple of DeForest Kelleys (vodka and water with a twist of lemon), I felt calmer. No one had raised any other controversial questions similar to “Can I take your coat?” in quite a while, so I was just sitting back and listening and watching everybody talk and laugh and have a good time….

Not much later, we went downstairs for dinner. De sat at the head of the table. To his right sat Sue Keenan, and to her right sat Jackie Edwards. To De’s left Carolyn (Mrs. Kelley), then me. There was NOBODY on my left – for a hundred miles. Remember this.

I quickly lost my nervousness sitting next to Carolyn, because she is a doll – so nice, and so much fun. She could calm a jackhammer. I know, because she calmed me, and I’m the greater challenge! We lost ourselves in some conversation about having both been raised in the State of Washington. At one point I was explaining something to her in great detail, and a fold or a crease on my left sleeve popped me with a great deal of force and I stopped in mid-sentence and turned around to my left, fully expecting to find a waiter or someone who had come along to ask me a question. THERE WAS NOBODY THERE!

I panicked. I thought, “OK, Kris… How are you going to handle THIS dilemma?” Well, I had two choices. I could turn back to Carolyn and just continue the conversation as if nothing at all had happened – or I could explain what happened. Well, naturally, I opted for the truth – but I forgot to provide a complete explanation. Instead of what I just told you, I turned back to Mrs. Kelley and said, “Strange! I could have sworn somebody just tapped me on the shoulder!”

Carolyn accepted this bizarre information calmly. She looked at Jackie. Jackie looked at her. They both studied their salads for a while and said nothing.

I’m amazed the Kelleys didn’t signal someone to bring a butterfly net!

It took me over a month to remember all the stupid things I said and did at dinner that evening. I found it comforting, at a later date, to learn that other fans admitted experiencing similar difficulties the first few times they were faced with actually trying to communicate with the objects of their affection.

Note: When I was interviewed by DeForest Kelley’s biographer, Terry Lee Rioux for her book FROM SAWDUST TO STARDUST, The Biography of DeForest Kelley, Star Trek’s Dr. MCCoy, she asked me how I went from being a star-struck fan, on the outermost reaches of fandom, to becoming his personal assistant and caregiver and being at his bedside when he died. I told her, “I have no idea. That’s something you would have had to ask De.” She said to me, “You know the answer. Just connect the dots.” Thankfully, I’ve been journaling for 45 years, so that’d what I did… The result: This book! (De gave me permission to write a book about our association, but I probably never would have had Terry not asked me the one question about our association that I could not answer!

***

DeFOREST KELLEY: A HARVEST OF MEMORIES
©2001 BY Kristine M Smith

Available at Amazon (but you can save a bundle by ordering from the publisher at Authorhouse.com–you can get the e-book for $4.95 or the hardbound for what the softcover would cost you at Amazon.)

 

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Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire by Malcolm R. Campbell — Excerpt #2

Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire
by Malcolm R. Campbell
Vanilla Heart Publishing
ISBN-10: 1935407147
ISBN-13: 978-1935407140

Mainstream humor with a dash of mystery… A throwback to Hollywood’s film noir reporters, Jock Stewart is out of touch with the looming world of digital journalism.

While Stewart goes out of his way to mock those in authority by pretending to kowtow to them, he admits he does his best work by “being an asshole.” A mix of Don Rickles and Don Quixote, Stewart is the man for the job when the skirts are up and the chips are down.

Hard-boiled reporter Jock Stewart wakes up on the morning after the Star-Gazer office party with a hangover and an old flame in his bed and  he cuddles up with the mayor’s wife in the back seat of a 1953 Desoto. Between these defining moments, he investigates the theft of the mayor’s race horse Sea of Fire and the murder of his publisher’s girl friend, Bambi Hill.

Stewart discovers the truth for his news stories via an interview style based on lies, pretense and audacious behavior.

EXCERPT:

          Coral Snake Smith was sitting in his favorite booth at the Purple Platter when Jock got there at 11:45 AM. Smith, who suffered disfiguring burns as a child, ended up with a ruddy, red and yellow complexion that made him unfit for any career other than crime or psychiatry. He dabbled in psychiatry until the review board questioned why 98.6 percent of his male and female patients were diagnosed with an Electra complex. Subsequently, he practiced crime without conviction.

          Now he described himself as a storyteller, an information handler, and an unidentified source. Those who trusted him believed his word was well worth the price of a meal, hash browns scattered and smothered and a Denver omelet. Others hypothesized that he was a stool pigeon.

          Jock sat down on the far side of the duplex table and ordered two usuals when the waitress stopped by after a long vacation on the far side of the near-empty dining room.

          “Dawn will turn on her hustle when the church people get here,” said Smith.

          “True,” said Jock.

          “You could have washed that coffee off your face and put on a clean shirt,” said Smith, “unless you were sent packing out of your own house.”

          “Why do you say that?”

          Smith picked at an itchy place on his face where the hairs in his beard grew in on themselves along the edge of a yellow band. “Red and yellow kill a fellow,” the guys at the paper always said.

          Dawn set down two breakfasts that looked like they were cooked yesterday. Smith poured stripes of ketchup across the top of his omelet, and then offered Jock the squeeze bottle. Jock declined.

          “I say that because sources close to the action have confirmed that fifty-two percent of those attending the Star-Gazer office party last night danced with those they didn’t bring.”

More of Jock Stewart:
First Chapter Online
35% Free at Smashwords

BIO:

After working as a college journalism instructor, corporate communications director, technical writer and grant writer for many years, Malcolm R. Campbell published The Sun Singer in 2004 and Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire in 2009. 

Campbell’s articles have appeared in Nostalgia Magazine, Nonprofit World, The Rosicrucian Digest, Quill & Scroll, Training and Development Journal and the former Atlanta Journal-Constitution Sunday magazine. 

He is a contributing writer for Living Jackson Magazine.

Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire by Malcolm R. Campbell — Excerpt #1

Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire
by Malcolm R. Campbell
Vanilla Heart Publishing
ISBN-10: 1935407147
ISBN-13: 978-1935407140

Mainstream humor with a dash of mystery… A throwback to Hollywood’s film noir reporters, Jock Stewart is out of touch with the looming world of digital journalism.

While Stewart goes out of his way to mock those in authority by pretending to kowtow to them, he admits he does his best work by “being an asshole.” A mix of Don Rickles and Don Quixote, Stewart is the man for the job when the skirts are up and the chips are down.

Hard-boiled reporter Jock Stewart wakes up on the morning after the Star-Gazer office party with a hangover and an old flame in his bed and  he cuddles up with the mayor’s wife in the back seat of a 1953 Desoto. Between these defining moments, he investigates the theft of the mayor’s race horse Sea of Fire and the murder of his publisher’s girl friend, Bambi Hill.

Stewart discovers the truth for his news stories via an interview style based on lies, pretense and audacious behavior.

EXCERPT:

            County Road 3724 closely followed the lay of the land like the arm of a lover or a python crushing its next meal.

            While his ancient Kaiser Jeep CJ-5 followed the road well enough through the scrub forests and pastureland, it lacked the feline grace of the midnight blue Porsche that sped by on a blind curve with the top down and a woman’s hair free of restraint.

            Ten minutes later, he reached a place with a black mail box marked “G. Starnes” perched on top of a leaning 4×4 post next to a mixed pea gravel and mud farm road. About 100 feet off the right of way, Grayson had built a small white-washed ranch style house with no landscaping or other embellishments flanked by three-horse gabled barn. Two of the house’s front windows were covered by sheets of cardboard and the barn’s Dutch paddock doors had been left open to the elements. Two things in the resulting pastoral were as out of place as bullshit on a Minton Bone plate, the lady and the car. Both were parked next to the paddock at a rakish angle.

            He pulled up close enough to the Porsche to see the world reflected in more than one of its mirrors, but Lucinda didn’t flinch.

More of Jock Stewart:
First Chapter Online
35% Free at Smashwords

BIO:

After working as a college journalism instructor, corporate communications director, technical writer and grant writer for many years, Malcolm R. Campbell published The Sun Singer in 2004 and Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire in 2009. 

Campbell’s articles have appeared in Nostalgia Magazine, Nonprofit World, The Rosicrucian Digest, Quill & Scroll, Training and Development Journal and the former Atlanta Journal-Constitution Sunday magazine. 

He is a contributing writer for Living Jackson Magazine.

Cirque de Squirrel-lay by Juliet Waldron

Juliet Waldron has recently come back to through the Time Tunnel from the 18th Century, the place where most of her books are set. She’s a writer, Grandma and Cat Mother, author of Independent Heart and Mozart’s Wife.  Juliet wrote this wonderful article, and I wanted to share it with you. Juliet writes:

squirrel2Cute, squirrels-and don’t get me wrong, there’s almost nothing more adorable than a litter-or whatever they are called–of babies, practicing their acrobatics, rejoicing in spring and the abundance of seedy snacks falling from the maple trees. One spring, my best buddy and I were having a cuppa tea and watching the antics of a troop of young ‘uns as they chased, rolled, and swung from impossibly small branches like trapeze artists, when she came up with the best quip of all time: Cirque de Squirrel-lay!  which described their play-time to the letter.

Yes, and squirrels are smart, too, and creative–but just hell on my birdfeeders and on my flowerpots. It’s really a drag to come out onto your porch to see flower sets you just planted tossed or leaning at odd angles because some tree rat has decided he needs that pot for his storage. It’s easier to dig up nice soft potting soil than our hard clay yard. Frankly, I’ve never lived anywhere with such aggressive squirrels. These guys have a look in their eyes that makes me feel they are planning a mugging. Perhaps it’s that we live in a semi-urban area where annoyed gardeners can’t use them for .22 practice as they might in the country, but we do seem in need of a predator.squirrel3

I’m not exaggerating about the mugging. These squirrels do mug my housecats. Of course, cats are not the nicest animals on the planet, either, if you are a chipmunk or baby rabbit. My dear soft little orange Elizabeth loves to find a new bunny nest and eat them, one by one. I’ve started to curtail her a.m. forays out-of-doors during bunny nesting period, because once she has located a hiding place, she is remorseless.

These squirrels, however, are too much for her. They jump on her back and hang on if she stalks them-and so, wisely, she doesn’t anymore. (I wouldn’t want to be chomped on by teeth which can piece walnut shells either!) As a result, my yard, garden, birdfeeders and flowerpots are under constant siege from these furry pests.