Category Archives: Blog

‘Newtown’ Film 

If you have read one of my earlier posts – Books and Life – I wrote about a summer I spent in Newtown, CT.  My cousins grew up in Newtown. My aunt taught in an area elementary school for many years.  Newtown is an important part of my families’ history. The pain of Sandy Hook is their pain, as well. 

The events of that horrendous day made the nation weep. It is important for us to remember and to bring change, so we won’t have to continue to watch other communities and families torn apart.  

In early October, ‘Newtown’ will be released in theaters.  I’m going to see it so I can acknowledge the bravery, sacrifice and heartache felt by this small community.  I hope you will join me in supporting this documentary film. 

Venus

 Note from Kate:

I saw this poem this morning after I read my email.  My email notice sounded sexist and I seriously was planning on ‘Unfollowing’ the author.  Instead, I was blown away by the sensitivity shown  by Luke Atkins.  The author informed us that he wrote it at 4 am.  Just wanted to give him a round of applause for poetry every woman feels and lives.

***

Venus. A limbless, lifeless lump of antiquity. A marble slab of meticulous, conscientious sexual tension. A photo opportunity—devoid of meaningful human exchange. No change or range. An estrange…

Source: Venus

Fiction and Politics

When I came up with the idea for Exodus, it wasn’t even an election year.  I didn’t want to write a “fiction-mimicking-life type of story.  I planned to write a Romantic Suspense which had aspects of domestic terrorism.

As each chapter rolled out, my writing forum members would ask if I was getting inspiration from the current political cycle.  That would be a ‘negative’.  My original premise came from my time in the Army Reserve in the 80’s.  An individual or group had tried to gain access to the reserve center to obtain military equipment.  They weren’t successful, thank goodness.

“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.    ~ Mark Twain

This led me to research domestic terrorism.  I found some mind-blowing statistics about the rapid increase in extremist groups and domestic terrorism over the last two decades. I had no idea.

Violence in the name of political beliefs isn’t a new idea.  Think Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton’s duel, assassinations or attempts on political figures, and the bombing of the Federal building in Oklahoma in the 90’s, you will find a small sampling of my thought process.

I write fiction.  I create plausible and implausible worlds where I decide the outcome.  I do think the adage “truth is stranger than fiction” is true.  This is a crazy world with unpredictable people, and I’m happy the world isn’t comprised of cookie-cutter people.  How dull would the paintings, music, film and books be without the diverse creative citizens of our world.

I can only say,  I hope and pray this political season doesn’t reflect my book.  If so, we are in for a helluva ride!!

** I’m offering a discount coupon code SE34Q  , so you can buy the recently published Exodus on Smashwords for only 99 cents!   Follow this link for my book page —  Smashwords   Offer good through 10/7/16. 

Falling Behind

Just as the temperatures fall from the humid 90’s of August to the pleasant 70’s of September, and Autumn heralds its imminent arrival with the subtle changes in the color of the trees around us, I feel the panic of Falling Behind.  

I’m an erratic list maker.  I have lists on my iPhone, in the notebook I use for jotting notes for my writing inspirations and in my journal I have fondly dubbed “My Brain”.  It holds the items my aging synapses are unable to retain in any order.  In my fifth decade, I blame it on all of the names, phone numbers, account numbers and birthdates I have tried to compile in the (let’s face it!) minute amount of gray matter I was born with.

I have a special To Do List which I made three years ago.  I cataloged all of the updates I wanted to make to our home.  I went around room by room listing all of the changes and maintenance items I needed to tackle.  I have crossed off about two things on the list.

Oh, I have my reasons.  Summer overwhelms with family events, camping trips, and outdoor concerts.  Last summer, I had a broken wrist and for much of the summer, I wore a cast.  After it had come off, my dominant right hand and arm were weakened to the point I couldn’t accomplish many of the items on my list.

This year, in addition to the multitude of summer affairs we attend, our youngest son got married on an island in the Carribean.  Yup, I didn’t get very much done.  Now, I am looking at a list older than the two year old, furbaby next to me.  Thinking to myself, ‘If it wasn’t raining, I could’ve painted outside today…’

How many of you have To Do Lists with still too many “To Do’s” on it?

 

 

 

The Tale of Writing Withdrawal

I am going to tell you a tale of woe and angst.  Once upon a time, a writer found herself separated from her story unable to write for ONE WEEK!!!  I can imagine your alarm at this calamity.  But it’s true.  I have gone for over a week without writing a single word in my latest project Winter’s Icy Caress, the sequel to Exodus.

I published Exodus on Kindle and on Smashwords.  Done.  Nope, it isn’t.  The second book in the series is stuck on Chapter 16 unless I can find some time to write.  So, I guess you want to knWinter's Icy Caressow what has kept me from my writing passion.

Simply put – Life.  Appointments both personal and medical, family visits, a music event with friends and family and projects (other than writing about Clare, Wyatt, and Lee) have separated me from my typical routine.  I usually write between 1000 -2000 words each day.  They may not always make the final cut for a story but the words are put on the page either way.  I’m 14,000 words behind.

What might have occurred in Bayfield while I was busy?  Don’t worry I won’t write any spoilers.  I think I may need to end my blog and my misery and get busy.  While you are waiting for Book 2, mosey over to Amazon Kindle or Smashwords and check out my author pages.

Kate McGinn’s Author Page

Kate McGinn Smashwords Profile

 

24 Stories for Charity

As writers, we can bend the worlds we create in any direction we wish.  But in the harsh reality of the world we live, poverty, homelessness and disease are a part of the day-to-day struggle  of many people’s worlds.

The OMP (One Million Project) is an effort by writers and artists to help those who are caught in those struggles.  Please take a moment to check out  24 Stories for Charity .

Books and Life

I remember the summer I read Gone With the Wind for the first time.  It was the summer of 1974.  I’d just finished seventh grade, and my sisters and I were spending our summer with our uncle, Gerry, and his family at his home in Newtown, CT.

The Newtown of my youth was full of sun, swimming, and meeting new friends.  It seemed to exemplify my book-inspired vision of a small New England town with its white church steeples and old homes with shuttered windows and picket fences.  The town’s flagpole was a landmark which helped me to navigate in the right direction towards Uncle Gerry’s home.  Narrow roads lined with old stone fences were shaded by the woods as they crowded towards the lane ready to return the pavement to a more natural state.  I would close my eyes as I tried to picture this community as it might have appeared when our country was newly formed.  It wasn’t difficult.  Newtown was steeped in history.

It was the summer Nixon resigned as president.  I watched his resignation speech on the TV in the den.  I was old enough to realize history was happening in front of me.  I had been reading GWTW, but my attention became riveted on the President. Not too many things could pull me from the story of the Old South.  It is strange how your mind connects certain smells and songs to life events.

I link books with different events in my life.  The next summer, I found myself lonely and spending most of my days going to the library in our new town.  Dreading the thought of going to high school in a new togirl bookswn without a single friend to bolster my insecure teenaged self.  I went through a whole series of historical romance fiction which became the basis for my view on love.  The heroine of the series was my only friend.

A few years ago, I wanted to read the series again.  The books weren’t in print any longer, but searching the internet auction sites allowed me to acquire the entire set of books.  My finds consisted of some hardcovers, some paperbacks and all well used by other readers.  I read them again 40 years later.  I still enjoyed the stories teeming with adventure, danger, and romance.  The author created a world which helped to ease the loneliness of an awkward teen.

Did the book Star Spangled Summer with its Army post setting influence my choice to become an Army officer?   A Wrinkle in Time opened my eyes to a world of fantasy and time travel.  Yes, I have copies of both books tha
t I hope my future grandchildren might enjoy.

I have accumulated a significant number of books on my Kindles (Yes, plural.  One is not enough).  So many books I question if I will manage to read them all before I leave this earth.  But I do know some books will make such an impact on my life, and I will forever mark that time with their presence in it.

 

Olympic Sized Memories

Everyone — let me qualify this — a lot of folks around the world have their eyes glued to the Olympics.  I’m one of them.  When I was a young kid (don’t laugh!) forty years ago, we only received 3 to 4 TV stations at our home.  We had a TV antenna on the roof of our house and when the summer thunderstorms rolled through, our reception was gone.

I always prayed it was during some Olympic event I didn’t really care about.  I won’t say which ones, so I don’t offend anyone.  But the ones I refused to miss were the gymnastics, running, diving and swimming competitions.

I watched Mark Spitz win all of his gold medals, Nadia Comaneci score a perfect “10”, and Greg Louganis hitting his head on the diving board.  I even watched Caitlyn Jenner (then, Bruce) win the 1976 Decathlon.   And don’t even get me started with the Winter Games.  I wore my hair in a Dorothy Hamill cut — along with a gazillion other teens — for years!

Over the years, we’ve been witness to triumph and sadness.  I remember the horror of the 1972 games in Munich.  Eleven Israeli athletes were taken hostage and murdered by a terrorist group.  Those athletes were honored for the first time at the Rio Olympics.  And in 1996 at the Atlanta Games,  a bombing in the Centennial Olympic Park as part of a terror attack affected sporting events and their security measures until this day.  Two people lost their lives and 111 people were wounded in this brutal attack.

Even with those terrible tragedies, the Olympic spirit continues.  Athletes around the world train with a goal of being good enough to go to the Olympics and represent their countries.  Some of them will remain in our hearts and minds for years to come because their spirit and commitment are a testament to the human race and our innate human instinct to become more than we are and more than we can imagine.

So I’d like to say “Thank you” to athletes like Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, and all of the other athletes for giving me not just summer entertainment but inspiration every four years for the past 5 decades of my life.  Now I need to go watch the Olympics.

An Electronic Love Affair, Of Sorts

I received the email from my cell phone provider telling me it was time to move on, upgrade, etc.  Up until this point, my cell phones had been more utilitarian and nothing like the mini computer / phone I currently use.

My phone had been beside me on all of my walks providing music to motivate me.  It helped me navigate strange roads and even learn a “poco” bit of Spanish.  Obviously not enough.  Now I was being told it was time to leave it behind.

True, it really didn’t have enough memory for my growing collection of apps.  I put all of my photos and books in the cloud, but my music and apps like Facebook took a lot of megabytes.  I’d always have to delete one app to load another.  Sigh.

It was time to take the leap.  Of course, once I arrived at the store, I deduced none of the penny phones would do.  I stood before the display of the newer generation of phones.  With all of my apps, it wouldn’t make sense to change brands. One phone was less money (which is code for still a shitload of money), but it was smaller in size than my current one.  I had enough problems with typing on my faithful little blue phone.  No way would this one work.

The other potential replacement was much larger.  It had a lot of GB’s, 64 GB’s to be exact.  What couldn’t I do with so much memory?  It would be easier to type on, easier to read my books when my Kindle wasn’t available to use and it was BIG!  The American way of thinking is ‘the bigger, the better’, right?

I told them to ring me up.  What was a few…several hundred dollars compared to the new relationship I would be developing with my new buddy?   This phone would be in my presence more often than my husband.

I took my new rose-gold lifeline-to-the-world home with me.  After downloading all of my apps again and getting familiar with it, I had a sudden shocking realization.  My new phone wouldn’t fit in my back pocket or any pocket.  It wouldn’t fit in the armband I specifically purchased for my cell phone for easy access and convenience during my long walks.

Just like a real love affair, sometimes the little irritating traits don’t show up until after the commitment has been made.  And as we do in real life, we adapt and accept those quirks, because you can’t live without them anymore.