Introducing Side Effects…Again

Just in time for the holidays, I’ve released the second edition of Side Effects. This version has been polished and includes material from the forthcoming follow-up novel, Soundtrack.

I’m so excited about this new edition for several reasons. The first should be overwhelmingly obvious. Check out this amazing cover! My friend, genius designer Jordan Veirs, read the book and produced this masterpiece. I couldn’t have imagined anything better for this book. If you already know Isaac and Grace, then you know they deserve it.

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Second, because I published this second edition on my own, I was able to set lower prices. I can’t give it away, as much as I’d love to, but I can make sure I sell them for the lowest price Amazon allows.

The print version is already available on Amazon. I’ve included some links on the Side Effects page and the Buy the Books page. Just be sure to check the cover before you buy so that you get the second edition. If you prefer Kindle, that version will be available December 5, but you can pre-order now.

Keep an eye on the site, because I have two giveaways scheduled through GoodReads and Amazon. I’ll link to the sweepstakes from here as soon as they’re live.

As always, thank you to all who supported during the creation and publishing of Side Effects. The follow-up is coming soon! So soon that I’ll be sharing the first chapter here on the site within a few days. Until then, please enjoy the second edition of Side Effects.

 

Where I Come From – Part I

When we think about where we come from, the timeline is relatively short. My basic bio includes cities and towns like Chattanooga, Nashville, Oakdale, and New York. If you ask me where I come from, I’ll probably answer Oakdale, even though I’ve now lived a majority of my life in Nashville. I come from Oakdale because that’s where I spent weekends and summers while growing up, where I finished high school, and where my church membership still resides.

My mom used to track our genealogy and share the stories she found, but that had to stop when I was around twelve or thirteen. She was hired on as a nursing director, and most of her free time disappeared. I still remember some of the stories, though the details are fuzzy. My maiden name McBay, from my dad’s side of the family, obviously, developed because my ancestors ran a ferry on, around, or to the Hebrides Islands in Scotland. We were, literally, sons of the bay. The Langleys, her side of the family, trace back to England (a fact that irritates the piss out of my very Irish husband).

Her research gave me a slightly larger picture of where I come from. It’s not just the town I’ve lived most of my life in. It’s not where I had my first kiss or went to the prom. Where I come from is actually a sweeping epic—where everyone comes from is, really. Our ancestors MADE the history we study today.

Now that my mom has retired, she’s returned to her passion for genealogy—this time with the assistance of some amazing technology. Her gift for Christmas was a monthly membership to Ancestry.com, and with this powerful tool, she has traced some of our family back to the years Christ walked the Earth.

That is a staggering realization, isn’t it? We think of biblical times as remote, distant, and in no way connected to us except through faith. But these things did happen. And our ancestors were a part of that history. Maybe they weren’t present with Jesus, but they were in a world about to be changed by one man. Some day she’ll trace even further back, and I’ll have another surreal moment or ten.

The timeline that has now been added to the “where I come from” mystery is enormous, and still not even close to reaching the very beginning. The characters she’s uncovered in my ancestry are numerous and deserve to be remembered, just as your own ancestors do. For that reason, I’m planning to blog—probably sporadically—about the discoveries she’s made.

I’ll focus on one or two people at a time, mostly as a record of her discoveries that will live on outside of her website. Also, I think, as a gift to my niece and nephew, who may someday also want to know where they come from. Mostly, though, I’m sharing here because it’s cool. It’s history. It’s me.

Just to give you a little taste of the characters in my family history that I’ll cover, so far we’ve tracked down Richard Warren, a passenger on the first voyage of the Mayflower to America, and also a signer of the Mayflower Compact. That’s super cool, of course, but then she discovered we’re also descended from Óengus mac Nad Froích, believed to be the first Christian King of Munster in Ireland. Legend has it he was baptized by St. Patrick, himself. (Uh-oh, Liam. Who’s Irish now?) Even more amazing, another branch on our family tree just might lead to Charlemagne. Obviously, I have my work cut out for me if I really want to discover where I come from.

What about you? Where do you come from?

The Greenest Green I’ve Ever Seen

We’ve been back for almost a month now. I’m always on top of these things, you know. Here are the photos we took in Ireland. You may have already seen some of them if you follow me on Instagram. Enjoy!

Crosshaven
Crosshaven
Myrtleville
Myrtleville
Kinsale
Kinsale with the kiddos
Kilkenny Castle
Kilkenny Castle
Blackrock Castle
Blackrock Castle
Three generations of Barry boys
Three generations of Barry boys
Bunratty Castle and Durty Nelly's
Bunratty Castle and Durty Nelly’s
Galway Bay
Galway Bay
Thatched roof on Inishmore
Thatched roof on Inishmore
Ruins on Inishmore
Ruins on Inishmore
Rock walls of Aran Islands
Rock walls of Aran Islands
Irish heather
Irish heather
Barren landscape
Barren landscape on Inishmore
Cliffs of Dún Aonghasa
Cliffs of Dún Aonghasa
Cliff view from Dún Aonghasa
Cliff view from Dún Aonghasa
Curious cow
Curious cow
Father Ted caravan
Father Ted caravan
Ger and Rosie
Ger and Rosie
Low tide in Youghal
Low tide in Youghal
Lismore Castle
Lismore Castle
Wooden sculpture
Wooden sculpture
Michael Collins
Michael Collins
Michael Collins home
Michael Collins home
Inchydoney Beach
Inchydoney Beach
Michael Collins assassination location
Location of Michael Collins’ assassination

We also spent time in Dublin celebrating the Easter Rising Centenary, but apparently I was having so much fun, I forgot to take pictures. The whole trip was amazing, but I’ll never forget hearing the proclamation read aloud in Irish and English in front of the GPO. Definite high point, though choosing just one would be nearly impossible. (Yes, Katie, afternoon tea. Without a doubt, afternoon tea was the highest.)

Can’t wait to go back!

 

How Hurley Got His Middle Name

hurley lucky barry

Liam didn’t want a dog. Any time “dog” was mentioned, he’d wax poetic about his childhood pup, Lucky, and say that no other dog could ever live up to his first. Lucky was a Jack Russell terrier, saved from the shelter in Cork by a seven-year-old Liam and his older sister. They didn’t get permission before bringing the lucky dog home and springing him on the family. As is often the case, the rest of the household fell madly in love.

Lucky lived a life more luxurious than any of the kids, according to Liam. While Liam had to eat gross things like porridge or vegetables (remember, this story came from Liam himself – always take with a grain of salt), Lucky got sausages. While Liam was required to stay home and out of his mother’s hair, Lucky got to go to the English market every day. It was from that very English market that Lucky was snatched one day, and a heartbroken Liam grew up determined never to fall in love with another dog.

Well, as we all know, marriage is about compromise. A neighbor let slip that one of his friends needed to rehome a Jack Russell puppy, so I told him to bring the dog by for us to meet him. I knew, knew, knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Liam wouldn’t be able to resist a wriggly, sweet little puppy. And I was right. The dog was given a 24-hour trial period, during which we would try to avoid naming him. I already had a name picked out, of course.

The first morning we woke with the puppy in the house, Liam went to take him straight outside. After taking him from the cage, however, he though the dog might want to see me first thing. Unfortunately, the pup lost his bladder right outside the bedroom door. That was about when I started to stir. Then, the house alarm blared. In his haste, Liam had forgotten to disable it. I jumped from the bed, wide awake by that point, and ran to turn off the awful noise. The moment my foot hit that puddle of pee, I went down into the splits, and there I stayed, laughing so hard that I couldn’t move. Liam had to help me up when he got back inside.

After that, there was no question: we were keeping that puppy. He just needed a name. Liam’s choice? Lucky. I said no way. We couldn’t expect this poor puppy who’d already peed in the house to live up to the rosy memories Liam had of his childhood dog. Besides that, the sister who’d gone with Liam as a kid to adopt the lucky Lucky had named two subsequent dogs Lucky. The name was no longer original.

Liam finally agreed that Hurley was a fitting name, and after a week or so, we realized no other name would have suited him as well. Liam took our new baby for his first checkup at the vet. The vet tech asked for the dog’s name, and Liam, still a little miffed that he hadn’t gotten his way, grudgingly replied, “Hurley.”

“And his middle name?”

Well, Liam didn’t even know dogs could have middle names. Without hesitation, he blurted the first name that came to mind.