From Allison: Please welcome one of the original members of Murder She Writes back into the fold as a guest today! When we originally talked about starting a blog, Karin and I were chatting, and Karin said that she had a friend Natalie who was thinking about starting up a group blog, and then Natalie brought in Deborah LeBlanc, and I don’t remember who brought in Jennifer Apodaca, but it was Karin or Nat. Anyway, the five of us original members had a fantastic bond that kept us sane during our early years of publishing. Well, relatively sane! So please welcome back Natalie!
It’s always fun to come back and say hello to my friends at Murdershewrites.com. You may not know this, but I was one of the original members, until my life spiraled out of control (health and personal issues) and I simply didn’t feel I was pulling my weight for the other members.
It was at this time that I had to back out, but my heart has stayed with this blog, and I’m so glad to see all the successes these amazing women writers are having.
My health is still iffy, although I know what I am dealing with. We joke that I have Bubble Boy disease. I don’t, really. Bubble Boy had SVID, which is severe variable immunodeficiency. I’m fortunate to only have CVID, which is common variable immunodeficiency.
I sat in the immunologist’s office as he came in to give me the news. The conversation went something like this:
Doctor: Well, you have a serious and rare disorder called COMMON variable immunodeficiency.
Natalie: It’s called common but it’s rare?
Doctor: Because it is the most common of the rare immunodeficiencies. It’s inherited, and you’ve probably had it all your life. I don’t like that PICC line in your arm. You are at extreme risk for infection.
Since I had Vancomycin going into my body twice a day, I hoped that would keep me from getting a serious blood infection. Nevertheless, I eyed my PICC line with a bit of dread. Since the Vanco made my veins collapsed, I really didn’t want a new IV in a different place every day. Luckily, he didn’t push further.
So my response to his news was: Uh, okay. What am I supposed to do now?
I was continually sick as a child, but misdiagnosed with Celiac disease. This disorder mimics symptoms of Celiac.
I also have a spot on my lungs they are watching, a problem with my liver, and some other issues.
Around that time my head was spinning. It made sense. Finally, it made sense. I never tested positive for Celiac disease, but do better if I eat gluten free. I don’t get fevers, but am constantly sick. Now I realize I don’t get fevers because my body is not attempting to fight off the infection or virus. It’s abandoned me. If I leave the house, I come home with a virus or bacterial infection. I have had a chronic severe sinus infection for two years, which has mutated into various types of MRSAs (resistant to antibiotics). I eventually ended up on a PICC line, getting two daily infusions of Vancomycin. Oh, and as for the head spinning, along with the sinus infections I deal with life-altering vertigo.
So, here I am. Boo hoo? My primary care doctor up North called me Typhoid Natalie. Yay me.
But I didn’t drop into extreme depression or the “feel sorries.” This was not my reaction at all.
Instead I felt in control, because now I knew what was causing it. During the two years they were trying to figure it out, I had brain fogs that would make me forget everything. I could barely remember my name, let alone to follow up on something. Now I know why, I have to take special effort to write things down.
We also made a change in our environment, and moved away from the Wasatch Front in Utah, to Southern Utah, which is at a much lower altitude. It’s easier to breathe here, and the pollution and air is better. My mother and father also had to relocate down here, so we have family and are able to help them.
I’ve contemplated a black wig and a silver glove, so I can go out in public doing my Michael Jackson impression, since if I’m going to call attention to myself, I might as well do it up BIG.
Right now I am in a lull, and my immunoglobulin levels are within normal range. Keep your fingers crossed. Toes, too.
Bad things happen to people all the time. They rarely deserve them. All you have to do is look around and you can see someone who has it worse than you.
So the bright side is, although I can’t work outside the home, I have a lot of time to write. And write I have been doing.
This story delves deep into the history of Mormonism, but is set in modern day. With the very first Mormon presidential candidate on the Republican ticket, the story is timely. And most importantly, it is realistic. It COULD happen. To me, that is always a key component of fiction. I want it to resonate with the readers. I want them to think, “Wow this is real. This could be.”
Here’s a little about the book:
Carly Jacobsen has a secret… or two…or three, and someone is willing to kill her to make her keep it. Her only hope is the son of a Mormon lawyer and general authority, who runs his own security consulting firm. Brig Jackson is sent down to her home to make Carly an offer for a Mormon artifact she owns, but what does he really want? How much does he really know?
With assaults on her life coming from every angle, she is forced to put her life in Brig Jackson’s hands. And he has to trust her. But can they do it? Should they?
And will what they find at the end shatter the beliefs of the Mormon faithful? Some secrets are meant to kept…to the grave.
Ties is also set in the modern-day Mormon arena and reveals the secrets that lurk in every town, the darkness that lies in every heart, and the ties that bind every family—till death…
The first victim is found hanging from a tree in her backyard. A popular cheerleader in the small town of Kanesville, Utah, she appears to have committed suicide. As does the next girl…Then comes a third death, and a growing suspicion that these are not suicides at all. Police Detective Samantha Montgomery has seen her share of tragedy back in Salt Lake City—but this is different. This is methodical, planned, perfectly executed. This is the work of a serial killer.
Visiting Detective Gage Flint knows Sam from her Salt Lake City days. After a brutal case left her traumatized—and Gage broke her heart—Sam decided to return to her hometown, never thinking she’d have another chance to work with Gage…or that another case would hit so close to home. The deeper she digs into the murders, the more she uncovers about her own family’s past. Somehow, the two seem connected—and Sam could be the next target of a killer’s obsession…
I hope you’ll take the time to check out my books at www.nataliercollins.com. It’s nice to be back to see old “cyber” faces, and to connect with new faces. You can also find me on Twitter (@nataliewrites) or on Facebook.
We’ve all been thrown a curve ball once or twice in our lives. Writing and my kids help keep me sane. What about you? How do you keep your spirits up when life is overwhelming?
(And thanks to the MurderSheWrites.com crew for having me back! All commenters will be entered into a drawing for one of two ARCs!)