Category Archives: A Day in Kate’s Life

The Stories We Tell

Picture the family gathered around the radio on Friday night to hear the latest episode of “The Lone Ranger” or “Fibber McGee and Molly”.  Today’s radio show is the podcast or books on Audible. Combine them both and you have The Stories We Tell.

Check it out from the beginning on April 23rd! The podcast will feature short stories by a diverse group of writers, including yours truly! Join us for something new with a tinge of nostalgia.

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What in the World is Kate Doing?

Oh, yeah, I’ve been off the grid quite a lot lately.  I have my reasons, and I think they are pretty valid.

I’m a Baby Boomer and my husband and I have toyed with the idea of retiring somewhere different. Our 165-year-old home requires a lot of care and maintenance. As we get older, we won’t be able to give it the justice it deserves.  So, we started researching, traveling and sometimes making lists of the pros and cons of living in different places. We considered spots in the Midwest, living on an island, moving to Ireland and several other possible destinations.

We had a list of what we wanted in our final home and commuIMG_1953nity.  We wanted a newer home to reduce maintenance. A small town with plenty of safe areas for walking, easy access to a grocer, pharmacy, a few restaurants and a golf course that was close to our home. We wanted that small town feel that we love in our tiny village along the Mississippi River with small-town festivals and friendly neighbors.  But we decided after this past winter, we also needed warmth.

We’d lived along the Gulf Coast (Texas and Florida) as well as in Sicily, Italy.  Two years before my hubs retired from the military, we started looking at where we wanted to raise our sons. Growing up in the Midwest, we determined we wanted to return. Now, after twenty-three years in Wisconsin, we think it would be nice to be back in a warmer climate, so we headed to Arizona.

We found a community that meets all of the requirements we determined were important to us.  We are building a new home where I can walk the miles I need for my health and creativity.  We can play golf anytime.  It’s close to a larger community so we don’t have to drive hours for certain services like an airport, for example.

We are fortunate to have this opportunity, and one of the things that I like about the town where we are moving is that they offer a variety of housing options in several different pricing levels.  We will be in a community that values diversity with different age groups, socio-economic levels, cultures, religions, and backgrounds. Isn’t that what America is all about?  We believe so.

Stay tuned as we begin our new adventure.

 

Thank You to My Readers!

I want to take the time to thank all of the people who have downloaded my books over the past three months, read my books on Kindle Unlimited and left reviews.  I hope you were entertained by my tales about Clare Thibodeaux and her friends.

I promise you there will be more action, drama, romance, and suspense to come.  Mark your calendars for February 5th and 12th.  I will be offering special deals on books in the Clare Thibodeaux Series on those dates. Watch for more info on my Facebook Author’s Page

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Book reading/signing at local library

I was invited by our village library to do a book reading and signing this past week. Despite the nasty weather earlier in the day, I was pleased to have some brave souls navigate the snowy roadways to attend. I am so blessed to have so much support from so many nice people.

Now, I need to start writing again… TTYL!

The Role of Environment in Creativity

I never thought of myself as being particularly fond of winter, but I have noticed as I’ve gotten older I do like many aspects of this frosty season.

I’m not really a snow bunny; although, I waimg_1367 1s born with large ears to my sincere regret. My favorite Lab isn’t really bunny material, either.  Except, I seem to remember watching him hop, hop, hop through the deep snow from time to time.

During the winter, his nose turns from black to pink, a condition aptly called “snow nose”, because he is always sniffing the ground and coming up with a coating of snow on his nose.  He loves winter!

I liked cross-country skiing when I was younger, but recently, I discovered I really enjoyed snowshoeing. It is a great workout and gets me outside. Unfortunately, we have snow but the temps are in the double-digit negatives, so being outdoors for extended 470440dd-b225-4365-a130-d7c8065f719cperiods isn’t necessarily a good thing.

This leaves me no other alternative except to turn to another favorite activity — writing. Winter days are perfect for sitting down with my laptop and pounding the keys as I peel back the layers of my characters and create something worth reading. By my side is a piping hot cup of coffee, tea or cocoa assisting in the efforts to keep me warm.

Most of my writing over the past three years has occurred during the winter and springtime and have published most of my work during the summer or fall time frame. Could that be why the winter season figures prominently in the books?  The second book in the Clare Thibodeaux Series is aptly named Winter’s Icy Caress.

What impact does environment have on a writer’s creativity? Princeton English Professor Diana Fuss explored the habitats where her favorite writers penned their literary works in her study, “The Sense of an Interior:  Four Writers and the Rooms that Shaped Them.”

Professor Fuss researched for eight years and visited the very rooms where the subjects of her study wrote their books. It seems each environment was as different as the subject from Freud’s antiquity-filled Victorian office to the surprise of finding Emily Dickinson’s light and airy cupola with views over the countryside. Dickinson’s writing space was unexpected, because she was widely portrayed as being a helpless agoraphobic, and many envisioned her shut up in a tiny, dark room in her father’s home.

I like to write in my library surrounded by5df8dc15-6c5a-4be2-a825-8dc4c4c9b1ab hundreds of books and mementos from past travels. Three large multipaned windows allow the space to be flooded with the morning light, and I can look out and see the snow swirl down or watch the birds play in the fountain outside.

I know my environment plays a fundamental role in my writing. I’m happier on sunny days, morose on rainy ones, and energized by the cold snap of fall and winter weather. I get my best ideas after periods of physical activity particularly those activities that occur outdoors. My mood and my muse tend to go to the dark side after too many days when I’m stuck inside.

Unfortunately, I’m not a snow bunny, but the winter weather does influence my mood and my writing. I like to think I’m attuned to the changing environment around me whether that involves the change of the seasons or a swing in the mood of a room full of people. I strive to put my observations down on paper using them to create the imaginary worlds my characters inhabit.

What influences your writing, your art, and your moods? Does it matter what desk you write on? Do you like to shut out sensory stimuli like Professor Fuss found during her research on Proust? Or doesn’t it matter to you?

It is an interesting subject and I’d love to hear whether your environment affects your creativity.

Odd Things About Me

It is those quirky differences which make humans so interesting. Jane Austen had a knack at finding the humorous in her interactions with her neighbors and acquaintances that she later immortalized in print. The outrageous, bizarre and laugh-out-loud hilarious moments are the stuff of writers’ dreams.

I’m an odd duck. Always a bit nerdy, I loved school, reading and history. In elementary school, I read every biography of the founding fathers of the United States. They were my heroes. I loved playing “Landslide” — a board game about U.S. Presidential Elections where you collected Electoral College votes to win the Presidency. How many ten to eleven-year-old girls today would find that game captivating?

I asked for a globe for Christmas one year and on my img_1199 1bedroom wall, I had a poster of the universe. I would force my younger sisters to sit through my rendition of the Catholic mass or would drill them as their teacher using old school books of my mother’s from her youth. (I wonder what happened to them?)

I had a rock collection when I was young and kept it in an empty cardboard egg carton. Way before Indiana Jones had youngsters wanting to be an archeologist, I wanted to explore ancient ruins for artifacts. I also wanted to be a pop singer, Peace Corps volunteer and a nun. I ended up being a nurse, an Army Reserve officer, a bed & breakfast owner, and an indie writer, go figure.

We all have our stories about our youthful fascinations and dreams. They are the very things which mold us into the individuals we are today. What were yours? Did you follow through on your dreams?

What I Love About My Fitbit

OMG! Will this woman ever stay on a topic — like writing?  Or living in a small town?

Nope. Sorry to disappoint you, but I am a flitter. I flit from one topic to another in conversation, linking thoughts in my head which no one else sees as being at all related to the discussion at hand. It is also not so out of the norm for me to write about inanimate equipment that I love (remember my love affair with my kitchen faucet or my romance with my commercial-grade floor buffer?) That being said, it does make sense for me to write about my Fitbit, because it has become a part of my daily routine which includes writing tales of mystery, suspense and on occasion — romance.

So, what do I love about my Fitbit?  Well, the first thing is that it wakes me up every morning at 6:30 am with its vibrating buzz on my arm. Without it, I would sleep too long and wake up grumpy because I overslept. It gets my butt up out of the chair while I’m writing, so I can take a stroll outside or around the house to keep my blood flowing.

Some of my best story ideas come to me while I’m exercising. It’s a form of meditation for me, and my Fitbit helps keep me on target each day.  When I find writing to be difficult, the band on my wrist provides me with the solace of knowing  I have accomplished something today, even if it’s only a specific number of steps and active minutes.

It is strange to think how a watch has become such an essential part of my day. In fact, I resisted purchasing one while others were singing praises about theirs. I thought I didn’t really need to count steps because I was already using an application on my phone to track my workouts. Strange to think that something I felt I didn’t need has become such a part of who I am in the past year.

What I love most about this little black band is that it has kept me goal-oriented throughout the year. Exercise helps to keep my mood light so I can smile in all those selfies I post online. LOL! It has helped me drop another size in clothing, and boy, do I love that!

So to celebrate I have ordered some different colored wristbands for my little motivator. I’ve stuck with basic utilitarian black since I got it Christmas of 2017. In 2019, we are going to be styling.

Sunset Walks

When your soul is troubled and your mind is a jumble of frenzied thoughts, the best remedy is to take a walk and experience the beauty around you. How many pairs of eyes are looking at the sky at this moment, joining you in this moment of zen-like serenity and awe? Just brush away your tears and square your shoulders, because today is coming to an end and tomorrow is another opportunity to reconcile with loved ones and friends. Another chance lies ahead to create a solution to the issues which cause you concern.

 

A Day in Kate’s Life ~~ Sunshine and Holiday Packages

What a beautiful day it is today! The sun is shining brightly, and the wind has died down enough to keep the temperatures above teeth-chattering cold. (Yes, it is a meteorological term for a certain type of temperature, kind of like “colder than a witch’s — oops!  Sorry, I digress.)

I have so much to do at home but the thought of being outside, stretching my legs as I walk with my yellow mascot,  had me donning my coat and scarf and hitting the road.  No worries, I didn’t fall this time. LOL!

The sky is that color blue so common on a winter day – a paler blue than the deep blue of a summer day. The sun glints off of the river’s surface and I have to squint my eyes as my gaze passes over its brilliance. Ice floats lazily down the river today. Yesterday, you could hear the low groaning sound of ice flows colliding with each other as they progressed down the river.

More people are out walking today. I even saw a few bicycling around the town. I wave at a couple out for a morning stroll, and they stop to give my sidekick a pat on the head and they receive in return his eternal gratitude. The signature dark brown UPS truck is making its way down the road, and I wonder if a package will be waiting for me when I get home.

As we saunter towards the big gray house on the corner with those bright red rocking chairs, I’m a bit disappointed to see there isn’t a big cardboard box waiting. Heading inside, my furry security system begins to bark. Could it be? I hurry to the door and sure enough, I find a package! Oh yes, it is a glorious day to be alive. Am I the only one who loves holiday packages?  That would be a big “NO”!

 

A Day in Kate’s Life ~ Christmas Preparations

How I Avoid a Christmas Meltdown

It’s that time of year again when the holiday prep, decorating, shopping and events can take a toll on my psyche. I used to take part in the madness and over the years I’ve toned down the “I’ve got to get this done!” expectations to a more modest “How can I enjoy Christmas more?” vibe.

Gone are the fourteen — yes, I did correctly say 14! Christmas trees, and in their place is a more modest number. Now, I decorate five small tabletop trees, which I cluster in the dining room on a sideboard, as well as the main tree, but even that tree has shrunk from an eight-foot height to a more modest six-foot tree.

I make only one or two Christmas cookie selections and send them off to the hubby’s workplace and home with my sons to save me from having a sugar coma throughout the holidays. I do love sweet things!   

If I have the time and feel creative, I will scrapbook and stamp my own cards, but if I’m time-crunched, I see nothing wrong with buying a nice holiday card and sending them off to close family and friends. I will use an app like JIbJab to create a funny Christmas greeting for all of my friends and family on social media. 

Time has taught me that I’d rather spend my holiday enjoying hot cocoa and a Christmas movie with my loved ones than running from one chore to another during this season.  So enjoy yourself, and if you love to shop and can afford to, do it! If you love to bake a dozen different kinds of cookies and holiday treats, knock yourself out! 

But whatever you do, make sure you make time for the ones you love, because that is what Christmas is truly about — faith, family, and friends.