Category: Life

Sharyn McCrumb Meet and Greet

This past Saturday, November 4th I had the opportunity to go to a “meet and greet” and book signing for author Sharyn McCrumb and her newest novel The Unquiet Grave. This was made possible through the Cobb County Public Library and was located at the Switzer library in Marietta.  I learned they host these events from time to time and hope to attend more. I always love meeting authors, especially when they are ‘new to me’ authors!

This is the program and the book. I arrived at the event a little over 30 minutes before starting time. That was a good thing as it ended up being a full house! And I got a front row seat!!!

Sharyn has written many novels. Here are some displayed.

This is author Sharyn McCrumb and we were also in for a treat: The gentleman pictured is artist Thomas Dodd whose artwork was used for the cover of The Unquiet Grave. Sharyn shared how she had to fight to get that picture as the publishers wanted palm trees on the cover.  But the novel takes place in West Virginia and “Hello! There are no palm trees in West Virginia!”  Then another idea mentioned was where the perspective was going to be from a grave, but according to Sharyn, it looked like a cucumber!  lol. She found Thomas’ picture and it was exactly what she was looking for and the publishers eventually gave her what she wanted.


Sharyn discussed her newest novel. It was a folk tale and as folk tales are so short most information is incorrect. She talked about her meticulous research involved in writing the novel.  And in fact, she is still researching it and the book has been out for seven weeks! There is so much more she wants to learn.

She shared that she pictured one person, James P.D. Gardner as a Morgan Freeman type, but then she found a picture of him and OOPS! He actually was a Chris Rock type.  She had to rewrite everything with him!  That is a big difference: picturing Morgan Freeman and in actuality you get Chris Rock!

When she was done talking she answered some questions and she tells it like it is with her answers.

Signing books and talking to readers!

I got to talk with her and get a few pictures!

Book Description from Amazon:

From New York Times bestselling author Sharyn McCrumb comes a finely wrought novel set in nineteenth-century West Virginia, based on the true story of one of the strangest murder trials in American history—the case of the Greenbrier Ghost.

Lakin, West Virginia, 1930
Following a suicide attempt and consigned to a segregated insane asylum, attorney James P. D. Gardner finds himself under the care of Dr. James Boozer. Fresh out of medical school, Dr. Boozer is eager to try the new talking cure for insanity, and encourages his elderly patient to reminisce about his experiences as the first black attorney to practice law in nineteenth-century West Virginia. Gardner’s most memorable case was the one in which he helped to defend a white man on trial for the murder of his young bride—a case that the prosecution based on the testimony of a ghost.

Greenbrier, West Virginia, 1897
Beautiful, willful Zona Heaster has always lived in the mountains of West Virginia. Despite her mother’s misgivings, Zona marries Erasmus Trout Shue, the handsome blacksmith who has recently come to Greenbrier County. After weeks of silence from the newlyweds, riders come to the Heasters’ place to tell them that Zona has died from a fall, attributed to a recent illness. Mary Jane is determined to get justice for her daughter. A month after the funeral, she informs the county prosecutor that Zona’s ghost appeared to her, saying that she had been murdered. An autopsy, ordered by the reluctant prosecutor, confirms her claim.

The Greenbrier Ghost is renowned in American folklore, but Sharyn McCrumb is the first author to look beneath the legend to unearth the facts. Using a century of genealogical material and other historical documents, McCrumb reveals new information about the story and brings to life the personalities in the trial: the prosecutor, a former Confederate cavalryman; the defense attorney, a pro-Union bridgeburner, who nevertheless had owned slaves; and the mother of the murdered woman, who doggedly sticks to her ghost story—all seen through the eyes of a young black lawyer on the cusp of a new century, with his own tragedies yet to come.

With its unique blend of masterful research and mesmerizing folklore, illuminating the story’s fascinating and complex characters, The Unquiet Grave confirms Sharyn McCrumb’s place among the finest Southern writers at work today.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

I also made two new friends!  We had a great talk once the event was over.  One lady has met thousands of authors. I hope to see these ladies again at future events.  Some people attend these events over and over. I might become one of them!

Harry Potter World at Universal Studios Orlando

Kim’s Review of Harry Potter World: 5 stars!

Yes, I am reviewing a theme park and I’m super excited to do it! When Ivan and I got married 2 and half years ago, we decided to go to Orlando for our honeymoon. We spent 2 weeks doing Disney World, Universal and Sea World! We absolutely loved it. So, for Ivan’s birthday this year, I planned a trip back to Universal. He mainly went for the Halloween Horror Night, but I was there for Harry Potter. HPW was even better the second time, after I had read the full series, than it had been the first time. Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade are beautiful! The movie captured the settings so perfectly, so building them for the park was a no brainer. It’s like walking straight into the books.

I dressed up as a Ravenclaw student and I felt completely at home. The first thing we did was the wand experience at Olivander’s. The wandmaker actually chose me to go thru the process of choosing a wand  . . . geek out!!!! I had shown up not knowing which wand I wanted. I had favorite characters and of course I considered their wands, but by the time we got to the shop, I was still unsure. But with the wand experience, my wand literally chose me!

This time, we ended up taking our time, walking thru each store and exploring every corner. There were areas that we didn’t see last time. The pet shop was amazing! Every creature from the story was there! I ended up getting my very own Fawkes the Phoenix. He sits proudly in my library and I’ve even considered having his theme playing constantly because he looks so real sitting there. We crept down Knockturn Alley and found Borgin and Burkes. Dude, that place was crazy. Ivan, the horror freak that he is, had way too much fun in there. Anything dark, you’ll find it in there. The Weasley’s shop is exactly as you’d imagine, areas all around the alley where spells could be performed, and the centerpiece, Gringotts Bank, complete with fire-breathing dragon! We walked thru the beautifully detailed bank to get to the ride. I will admit that Gringotts was not my favorite of the park, but still definitely worth doing. Then we hopped on the Hogwarts Express that took us to Hogsmeade Village.

If you thought Diagon Alley was beautiful, then Hogsmeade will blow your mind! It was 90ish degrees, but I wanted to put on a jacket because the snow capping the houses looked so real. Music played all thru the village. Honeyduke’s Sweet Shop carried everything that you could want: chocolate frogs, chocolate wands, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, etc. The Three Broomsticks is one of the coolest places you will ever go! We ate there our first time and we have been dreaming of their fish‘n chips ever since. The butterbeer flows. Unfortunately, the 2 dragon roller coasters were under construction, but I can tell you that they are so much fun. They were open the first time we went and I loved them. But the Hippogriff ride was open and it was more fun that I remembered. You can even hear Fang barking inside Hagrid’s cottage. The Owlery store offers all kinds of cool writing materials, perfect to use to send your mail home with your owl.

And then the piece de resistance: Hogwarts Castle!! Oh. My. Gosh. If you do nothing else in HPW, do Hogwarts. I do believe it is my favorite ride in the park! You literally feel like you are flying thru the grounds with Harry, Hermione, Ron, and a dragon. I cannot overhype it enough, as in, it can’t be overhyped because it is that amazing. Even just walking thru the castle while waiting in line is worth it. All this to say, if you have a vacation coming up, maybe consider Harry Potter World at Universal. You do have to get a 2 Park ticket to get to both sides, but it is totally worth it. I felt like I was actually immersed in the story, and I never wanted to leave!

Have you been to Harry Potter World? Did you love it as much as I did!  Who wants to go with me next time!?!?!


It’s Been an Interesting Two Years!

A little over two years ago we had to say final goodbyes to my dog Misty, whom I adopted 10 years ago.  It was the hardest thing I have done. She was my baby and I was devastated. My husband and I had talked about adopting cats way down the road, not realizing we would have to say goodbye to Misty so soon.  She had gotten a UTI in October 2014 and never fully recovered.  This is the last picture of her: My husband took the picture and Misty was looking at me. After a little bit of time I was still upset, and my husband said lets just go to the animal shelter and look around. This was August 1, 2015. We looked at both the cats and dogs.  Among all the cats, there was a litter of 4 kittens named Sage, Curry, Ginger, and Nutmeg and they were in 2 cages. We actually picked up Ginger and Nutmeg first. Then Sage and Curry…. Needless to say we came home with TWO kittens: Sage and Curry!!! (I saw that eventually other two were adopted, just not together).

This is the picture where we announced the adoption on Facebook and introduced our new babies:

Curry is on the left, Sage is on the right.

From the beginning we could tell that these two were meant to be together. They are such twins and truly needed each other. and this experience would not be the same without both cats! This was from the day they were adopted.  Sage is a girl and Curry is a boy.  Curry often lives up to his name; it is like he is two cats at times….

Curry started out the smallest of the four kittens, but he has more than made up for it now! He must have some Maine Coon in him, as he is a  lazy monster at 20 pounds and our co-dependent kitty…  Sage is around 10 pounds now. It’s crazy to look back and see how much they have grown! My babies are not so little anymore!

They definitely have their own crazy personalities:

“Why are you bothering us?”

“What?  I’m not up to anything!”

I guess she wanted some water…


“Hello ladies” says Curry in his sexy voice…

Just hanging out ‘twin style’.

Here is one from the second day we had them.  How could anyone NOT get both at once!?!?  They are even heart shaped too!

Curry on the left, Sage on the right

It’s been an interesting two years, and I can’t imagine life without these guys. I have never been around cats before and who would have thought I would have become a  cat lady?  I never would have!  It was two years yesterday, so Happy Birthday to my lovely babies Sage and Curry!  I hope for many more to come!