Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Why should you be looking forward to the Creatures, Crimes, and Creativity conference on September 13th?  In a word, FUN.
We literary types have the head for this kind of stuff.  I mean, where else can you get together for a weekend with a bunch of like-minded people and talk about horror? Suspense? Murder methods and body disposal? If that gets your imagination revved, you will be right at home here.
And we know that we writer types can talk endlessly about things like social networking, marketing and publicity, and what to expect from those people from another planet: publishers and editors.
But this conference, should we actually get there, will have a deeply personal meaning for my husband and me. My husband is author Robert E. Bailey, who started the Art Hardin mystery series in 1998 and whose books have received a Josiah Bancroft award, and been finalists for the Shamus and the Great Lakes Book Award. Ever since we started dating ten years ago, we’ve always wanted to go to a writer’s conference together. We tried to find time and money to get to the Florida First Coast writer’s conference, where it all started for Bob back in 1998, but for a few years it never worked out, and then the Florida First Coast abruptly folded. Too many writer’s conferences have bitten the dust. Bob is full of wonderful memories of FFC, and that’s why it’s always good to see a new conference make its debut.
But then something worse happened, right in the middle of Bob’s fourth book. Brain cancer. It showed up in the speech and language area of Bob’s brain, making him aphasic and making completion of this last book extremely difficult. But he got it done. In March of this year he reached the words, “The End,” and submitted the book to his agent. His agent requested that a chapter be added, and Bob started to work on that. It was right about then that we planned several appearances and signings for the summer, including the CCC conference, and spent a wonderful evening anticipating the fun we were going to have.
Bet you can guess what happened next. Brain cancer came back, and it is inoperable this time. In the course of two weeks, Bob went from reading, writing, walking, and driving, to someone suffering from both three new brain tumors and gout at the same time, who couldn’t even turn himself over in bed. By all the published information about brain tumors I could find, I estimate that we were about three weeks from losing him.
Dr. Khan, our wonderful neuro oncologist at VCU Massey Cancer Center, came to the rescue with a change of chemotherapy, and so far Bob has gotten quite a lot of function back. He’ll never drive again, but he can walk, talk, and complete many basic tasks he could not perform two weeks ago. The human brain is an amazing thing. The sad thing is that Bob’s tumor, glioblastoma multiforme, is rare compared to breast and prostate cancer, and research for this does not get a lot of funding. There are only two chemotherapies that are really proven to work, Temodar and Avastin. When the tumor comes back after those, your number’s up. But Bob is determined to be there to meet all of you on September 13th.
Please come, and stop by to say hi. We’ll be REALLY glad to see you!


  1. P.P.S., For more information about glioblastoma multiforme, and for a lot of beautiful artwork, short stories, and nonfiction submitted by various writers and artists to support brain cancer awareness (done for May 2012's Brain Cancer Awareness Month), please click on my profile, and our Welcome to the Chocolate Box! mini-mag/blog.

  2. even more reason to celebrate at the conference...

  3. I'll count on you and Bob celebrating the conference and his birthday in style. You are both loved so much.

  4. This certainly puts so much into perspective and shows an amazing courage and determination. I look forward to meeting you in September.

  5. Thanks, Austin, Penny, and Anonymous...whoever you are. Bob has always been very single-minded about writing. He wanted to write since he was little and publishing his books has been his proudest achievement.

    Fellow PI's used to tell him he'd publish a novel when pigs flew. He found a notebook with a flying pig on it and used it for inspiration. Duck down or you might get hit in the head by a flying pig!

    1. ok, I just spit out my coffee on that last line...but I'm ducking and covering...you never know WHAT those pigs might drop!