All posts by katemcginn09

I am a writer who lives in Wisconsin near the Mississippi River. I write stories filled with mystery, suspense, and romance with a sprinkling of humor added to the mix. My stories are about strong women who deal with danger, heartache, and life with dignity and grit.

What’s Kate Reading?

Just I started the book, Distant Shores by Kristin Hannah and am enjoying it very much. Birdie loves her home along the ocean and her children. Her husband was once the love of her life, but now something is missing. Birdie wonders if she’s the one whose missing out on life.

The Hair-pulling Joys of a New PC

The author’s dreaded but inevitable challenge of the old reliable laptop deciding it’s time for retirement. Oh my goodness, talk about the drama! I knew that my lovely laptop that  ushered in all three of my novels was starting to slow to such a point it was taking thirty minutes to boot.

I postponed the decision to go computer shopping. I did lament over it with comments like “I think I may need a new computer” and “I hope this laptop lasts a little longer”. The biggest challenge is reloading all of the programs I use on a regular basis.

One of those programs is my writing program. I spent a bit of change on it a few years ago and have taken it for granted that I would be able to transfer it seamlessly to the new PC. Nope, it isn’t recognizing my license number. Do I really want to buy a new program after forking over money for the new computer?

The answer is no. So, I’ve emailed the company praying they will assist me and I can return to writing my long-awaited book (although, I know I’ve kept my readers waiting too long).

The point of all of this blogging is primarily a writer’s opportunity to publicly wail and thrash around throwing words instead of physical items out there. Now, my hissy fit is finished, and I wish each and everyone of you a good day.

Getting Back into Character

Actors talk about staying in character while they are in a play or movie, and how it helps them stay true to the role. I believe writers have the same dilemma when they are working on a book.

How do you get back into character when you’ve had a long break? While I’m writing, I continue to revisit my character outline and critical, pivotal moments, especially when writing a series. I don’t want the story to deviate from a particular character’s motivations and general personality. It wouldn’t make sense to have a mild-mannered individual begin swearing like a sailor and starting bar fights without reason.

I’ve been away from writing for about six months59821893753__C4C47443-5557-4D4A-B4ED-1059187AE143 after a cross-country move and major orthopedic surgery.  Life was chaotic, and I missed the daily catharsis it provided desperately. My recent move has added some distractions I haven’t had to deal with before. I’m still unpacking boxes and getting my life organized. I’m meeting new friends and have had an increase in social activities. It’s also lovely weather, and I’m spending more time outside walking the trails, swimming, and going to the gym. Plus, my husband is around the house since he retired.

Now that I’m back, I find the voice in my head is muted. I’m re-reading what I’ve written thus far IMG_6529to recapture my creative fire. Each day, I isolate myself after my morning walk and sit down with my laptop to make some headway.  The progress is slow, but I’m hopeful that sometime soon, I will feel like writing for hours.

I’d love to hear from other writers about how they have dealt with a similar situation.  Back to writing ~~ Kate

How Chaos Has Stifled My Creativity

It’s been a very long time since I’ve pulled out my laptop to write anything. My surgery was on August 19th. It was tough but manageable for the first few days following surgery. My knee was swollen to twice its size, stiff and painful causing me to move with slow and precise steps. But by the end of the first week, I navigated without the aid of a walker and began using my cane. By the end of week two, I walked without the cane, and by the end of week three, I was discharged from physical therapy.

I wrote twice over those weeks. So much for using rehab time to advance the storyline on my work in progress. When I could, I walked, climbed stairs, and packed boxes. My life became involved in determining where to stack cardboard cubes and judging what should be placed into the same box. My somewhat orderly world with all of its cozy spots morphed into chaos.

664D4A5B-EC6D-4640-998D-92023D9AFBDE
My library  & writing haven, before.

Where would I find a place to sink into a comfy chair, sip on a cup of coffee and write about strong women searching, struggling, and surviving in the fictional landscapes in my head?

IMG_5479
My library, now.

Every room in the house that I’ve lived in for almost twenty-four years has been rendered almost unrecognizable. Is it a wonder that my internal voice has grown silent when I have problems leaving dishes in my sink before I can even begin to sit down and write.

Even my dining room which is used on holidays, when guests visit, and when I videotape or record podcasts, is a cluttered mess with all of my packing supplies,

IMG_5478
The dining room at Thanksgiving.

extra boxes and the like. The rooms where our bed & breakfast guests lounged while they stayed with us have been emptied of any of the grace and peace that embodied those spaces. My compulsion to put things into order wars with the countdown to moving day.

IMG_5482
The dining room, today.

Instead of working through how my protagonist will find purpose, love, and adventure, I focus on my struggles with chaos and my feelings that I will never be able to write again and the nagging insecurity that my contribution to the world of fiction has ended.

Now, back to packing those boxes. The kitchen is next!


The Clare Thibodeaux Series can be found on Amazon.  Watch for Kate’s short story “What Happens in Vegas…” in the Strong Women anthology to be published by NeoLeaf Press. The story features a character from one of her 500-word short story challenges — “Talent Discovered”.

Talent Discovered

I originally wrote this short story for a Write In Weekend Challenge for WriteOn Refugees. Recently, Neoleaf Press decided to publish a “Strong Women” anthology for Mom’s Favorite Reads group. I figured this was the opportunity to expand on this particular story. My friend, author Sue A. Hart, had encouraged me to tell readers more about Elle. 


My grandma used to say that ‘everyone is talented, but some people haven’t discovered their talent yet.’  Grandma was a wise woman.  I don’t know if she would be proud of my new-found talent, but I’m getting ahead of myself…

My name is Elle.  My dad was a fan of Elle MacPherson.  What can I say?  It was the 80’s, and my dad was a scumbag who left us years ago.  I was as far from the supermodel type as someone can be.  I’m short, plump and unremarkable.  No one notices me.  This fact helps me as I hone my new talent.

I discovered my new talent quite by mistake.  I was minding my own business walking down the Las Vegas strip towards my hotel.  I was at a conference of greeting card writers.  You know — those little sayings inside of special occasion cards.  In the age of the internet and social media, the greeting card business is looking for innovative opportunities to expand their market.  And that is how I happened to be in the wrong place at the right time.

I was sipping on my diet soda running through some ideas for a “Happy Divorce” card, and I heard the squeal of tires.  Turning, I saw a black sedan jump the curb and continue to skid in my direction.

My little stubby legs didn’t carry me very far.  I stood with my mouth hanging open and my diet soda spilling onto the sidewalk awaiting my imminent death.   I squeezed my eyes shut and said a quick prayer.  But death never came.   I cracked open one lid far enough to see the black sedan inches from me.  Prayer does work!  Hallelujah!

What happened next defies any rational explanations.

Two beefy guys sprang from the car; their guns were drawn.  I sidled back hoping they weren’t interested in a greeting card writer.

“Stop right there, toots!”  One of the behemoths rumbled in my direction.  I felt the cool press of steel against my temple.  Sweet Lord!  I’m gonna die!  In Vegas!

I don’t know what came over me, but I decided right then and there that if I were going to die, I would go out fighting.  I stomped on the guy’s foot, slammed into his solar plexus with my bent elbow, and as he leaned forward gasping, I socked him in the nose with my clenched fist.  Blood gushed out of his nose, and the dumbass dropped his gun right where I could grab it.

I didn’t hesitate.  I put a slug into my attacker’s forehead.  His friend was frozen for a second before he charged me.  That second was all I needed to put gangster #2 in my sights.  I hit him in the chest and the forehead.  They call those “kill shots.”

I wiped my prints off the weapon with my shirt, picked up my cup (DNA, you know) and blended into the growing crowd.  Remember, I said no one ever notices me.  It comes in handy when you moonlight as an assassin.

I’m not in the greeting card business any longer.  I’ve found my talent.