Many of my readers assume that Katy McKenna is me. Let’s just say she is bits and pieces of me woven into a younger, taller, slimmer package.
We both love dogs and cats, good wine and fattening food. She’s a pescatarian—and slowly going vegan (maybe) and believes that ice cream is the staff of life. I’m a vegan who misses real ice cream. Recently, I found a delicious oat milk ice “cream” that I love.
I live on the California Central Coast, and so does Katy. I was a graphic artist, and so is Katy.
I think gardening is therapeutic, and she thinks it’s drudgery. I love yoga and Katy doesn’t get it.
My husband and I own Klondike Pizza restaurants in Arroyo Grande, CA and Santa Maria, CA. Katy’s favorite pizza is Klondike Pizza. What a coincidence!
Katy is divorced and looking for the perfect man. I’ve been divorced after a very brief former marriage, and married to Mike for over forty-five years (I was ten when we married) and have two awesome sons, two wonderful daughters-in-law, and four brilliant grandkids.
Before my keeper-hubby, Mike, I had a “practice marriage.” I’d been playing my guitar and singing in the streets of San Francisco. At nineteen, I joined a rock band, and at twenty, wound up marrying the lead guitarist. Twenty is too young to be making lifetime decisions. I look back and realize that I adored his folks, and that’s why I married the boy.
I’ve been writing on and off for years. My first book was a young adult mystery that Bantam Books liked, although it did not fit their plans for the year. The editor asked me to submit another book but at that time my fourteen-year-old son became disabled. Spencer could not stand up for long, or sit in a chair. He could not attend school, and was usually flat on his back in terrible pain, so my focus was getting him back on his feet again. At sixteen, he had back surgery at UCLA, After rehab, he returned to golfing, and wound up playing in the U.S. Amateur in New York. But my opportunity at Bantam books had long passed me by.
A few years later, a friend who worked at a production company in Hollywood asked me if I’d ever considered writing a screenplay. I had not, but I took the challenge and signed up for screenwriting classes, writer workshops in Hollywood, and teacher at UCLA Film school became my mentor. Hollywood is three-and-a half hours from my house, so I put a lot of miles on my car!
After learning the genre, I wrote my play. A family comedy. But when I was ready to submit, my friend had left the industry and gone on sabbatical. He then went on to work in reality TV — Housewives shows.
Eventually, I got my screenplay read at Fox. I was getting good feedback and was feeling optimistic. However, that was 2008, and we all got hit with a recession. Hollywood productions, especially for a spec writer like me, came to a stop. So, no movie. The reality is—very few screenplays ever make it to the big screen. However, I got to have some fun experiences that I plan to incorporate into my seventh book in The Murder Blog Mysteries.
I went with my dear friend, Jeri, to American Idol every year for nine seasons—until it went to ABC. Boy, do I have some funny stories to tell! We also went to Hell’s Kitchen, and I spoke on camera. I have ulcerative colitis and was having a bad day—but also was having a great hair day! Hey—I have my priorities!
I walked the red carpet at The Wolverine premier. Hugh Jackman is dreamy!
A few years later, my husband was diagnosed with Stage Four Throat Cancer. It was a long, tough, heart wrenching battle. It was during that time, that I started writing again. That’s when The Murder Blog Mysteries began. Mike got through it, but lost most of his sense of taste. He does love his sweets, though!
It seems like we get a curve ball thrown our way with each book I write. One particularly difficult one was Mike had to have a quadruple by-pass. The day after he got home, I had a heart attack. We were cardiac-rehab buddies. That happened while writing Was It Murder?
Then the pandemic hit while writing While She Slumbered. Being in the restaurant business has been very hard. As of this writing, July 10, 2022, we still have daily challenges to find product and deal with the horrendously high prices now. But we are also very thankful. We have a wonderful crew, brilliant caring managers, and our General Manager, Tami, came into our lives at just the right time. But that is a story for another day.
Our oldest son, Casey recently retired as chief from the Coast Guard (how can I have a retired son?) and is about to embark on a new career. It’s a big change for the whole family, but it will be nice to stay in one place now.
Spencer briefly went pro a few years after his back surgery, but the daily golf grind was too much for his back. He became a golf coach and then developed a software platform for coaches and athletes called CoachNow. Drew Brees and Jordan Spieth were early subscribers.
I am blessed to have three long-time, dear sister-friends.
And when I say “long time” I mean it!
I met Elaine when she moved in next door. We lived in Redwood City, Ca. She was three, and I was five. Eventually there were nine kids in her family, so it was wild, crazy, and so much fun! Recently, most of us “kids” got together at their mom’s house in our old neighborhood. Mary was my “next door mom.” She is an amazing woman who migrated from Ireland with her American WW2 pilot, Jim. Very romantic!
We met in seventh grade. I saw her across the room in art class and thought she looked like a nice person. We became besties, Beatlemaniacs, roommates, wives, moms, grandmas… We have been through it all! Good times and hard times. When we’re together, we still get side aches from laughing so hard. We may be older, but we are definitely not mature!
I became friends with Jeri back in the 80s. We’d met a few times at business functions and always enjoyed each other’s company. We were not close friends, more like good acquaintances. Then in the mid-eighties, we moved from Colorado to Alaska with our two little boys. We arrived in the summer. Looong, glorious, warm sunny days. And then I experienced my first looong, dark, freezing Alaskan winter.
Spring time rolled around, and I was depressed! Every day, the snow would melt and then freeze over during the night. Instead of daffodils, all the dog poop buried in the snow popped to the surface. Instead of pretty shoes, I wore “break-up” boots. Black, rubber knee-high boots. In fact, Springtime is called “break-up.”
Anyway, I was going nuts, so Mike suggested I take a trip with a friend. Nina and Elaine couldn’t go, so he suggested Jeri. She lived in Washington and it shocked me when she accepted. Turns out, Mike had secretly called her and she took pity on me. We went to Hawaii and had the best time! We’ve been close friends ever since.
Once I got used to Alaskan weather, I loved it there. It truly was a wonderful time in my life, and I still miss it. But not the winters — although it is beautiful.
Now I’m working on the sixth book in my series. I also have a few books lined out that are not mysteries. There are not enough hours in the day! One thing I know for sure — I will never be bored!
My Other Gal-Pals
A good samaritan found her tied to a trailer and starving. Lucy’s ears were swollen shut, she was laying in her feces, and she couldn’t stand up.
The vet guessed her age at twelve, making her seventeen as of this writing. We had just lost two sweet dogs, Gracie and Gizmo. within three months of each other, and we were heartbroken. So when Lucy’s face came up on my Facebook profile, I knew we’d found our girl.
We had to say goodbye to our dear Lucy in August 2022. I catch glimpses of her in her favorite spots around the house and garden all the time, so I know she is still with us. I’m so thankful we could give her five happy years with us.
We adopted her after my husband, and I had some crazy heart problems. He’d just had a by-pass, and the day after he came home, I had a heart attack.
She was found wandering in Bakersfield, and no one ever claimed her. She wound up at a humane society in our area, and we found her a few days later. She is a sweetheart.
Lucy and Emma
Lucy’s nails needed clipping! Not her favorite thing!