Tag Archives: #stories

What Kate’s Reading — “Lara” by Anna Pasternak

The current book I’m beginning to read is the untold story about Boris Pasternak, the author of Doctor Zhivago and his inspiration for the love story generations of readers and movie fans have loved. If you haven’t read the book or seen the original movie with Omar Shariff and Julie Christie, make a point of finding them online and reading/viewing them.

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Sometimes You Eat Concrete

Whenever things seem to be going amazingly well something happens to put your feet back on the ground. It never fails, and I believe it is the universe keeping everything in balance. Call it karma or the biblical “pride cometh before a fall”, but either way, life has its ups and downs. I’ve been on the roller coaster ride of life this summer. Good times and sad ones have been mixed with moments of triumph.

My third book is coming along, and I hope to reach a point where I can publish it this fall. It will the end of a trilogy. My first, but hopefully not the last one I will write. My goal to work out regularly has been interrupted at times but I’ve managed to still work out at least three times each week.

Then there was Tuesday. I got up, threw on my workout clothes, and headed out the door. I was going to put in some miles. Turned on my tunes and started walking down the sidewalk with my ponytail bouncing to the beat. Unfortunately, the music was fading in and out with each step. I reached for my iPhone and the universe decided to take my high spiritedness and level it out…

Sometimes you eat concrete.

Miss Lydia and the Magnolia County Bake-Off Debacle

Miss Lydia watched the woman running down her sidewalk from her kitchen window. If Miss Lydia remembered correctly Clarice was quite the track star in her days at Sinippi Cove High. In fact, Miss Lydia was certain the other woman had run all the way from the library where the fleet-of-foot Ms. Travers worked part-time. A frantic tapping increased in strength until it reached the level of a pounding knock before the octogenarian ambled to the back door. Miss Lydia could have arrived faster, but she liked to frustrate her younger neighbor.

As soon as she started to open her kitchen door, Clarice appeared body part by body part sliding in with the skill of a spelunker through the crevice in a cave. Her friend had a serious case of head-sweating as evidenced by her wet locks and the sodden collar of her dress. Miss Lydia handed her a dish towel which the librarian accepted with a nod mopping with unprecedented enthusiasm at her damp face and neck. It took her guest a few moments to slow her panting enough to speak.

“You will never guess what I just heard at the library,” Clarice crowed throwing the dish towel down on the counter for emphasis.

“No, I don’t suppose I will guess the news. Since I’m in my 80’s and my days are numbered why don’t you tell me, Clarice,” Miss Lydia stated with a wry tone. Unfortunately, her sarcasm was lost on her young friend.

“Well…” Clarice provided a long pause to build suspense (too bad it only built irritation), “You wouldn’t believe who walked into the library this morning.” Feeling another pause in the ready, Miss Lydia made a repetitive circular movement with her hand to get her friend to hurry up.

“Spit it out, Clarice,” Miss Lydia said, her words staccato and harsher than her usual clipped manner of speech.

“Enid Floss,” Clarice whispered the words. The whites of her eyes were clearly visible around her irises.

Miss Lydia opened her mouth slightly with shock for a fraction of a second before snapping it shut hard enough for her dentures to clack together. Miss Lydia never wanted to appear shocked in front of others.

“What did she want?” the older miss hissed like a snake as she uttered the pronoun representing her arch nemesis — the Jezebel of Sinippi Cove.

Trembling like a leaf in a hurricane, Clarice divulged the ultimate betrayal, “Enid Floss is entering the Magnolia County Bake-Off. And if that isn’t enough, she is planning on baking Snickerdoodles.”

Miss Lydia’s signature cookie. She gently tapped her closed lips with the index finger of her right hand as she ruminated on this debacle. Enid was her best friend until they reached the age of seventeen. Miss Lydia had met a nice, young man and had fallen in love. His name was Roy Floss. The rest of the story would have to wait. Let’s just say — although 69 years had passed — Miss Lydia never forgave Enid. Pushing Clarice out the door didn’t prove too difficult, she knew when it was time to leave Miss Lydia be.

It took all of three days and dozens upon dozens of batches of Snickerdoodles before Miss Lydia was satisfied she had the winning entry for the Magnolia County Bake-Off. The day of the big event Miss Lydia dressed in her best church clothes, submitted her entry, and walked past Enid Floss with a triumphant smile. Later, as Miss Lydia accepted the Blue Ribbon for her Caramel Chai Snickerdoodle cookies, she felt like a champion. (On a side note — Enid didn’t even receive an honorable mention for her Snickerdoodles.)


Words and Actions Have Power

Sometimes I forget how one human being can have a powerful influence on someone else. I go through my day trying to smile, to say “Thanks!”, and to avoid exhibiting road rage. (I had a brief flirtation with it earlier today. Please forgive me for being peeved.)

Each day, I write a blog, post something on social media or work on my latest book draft, I’m affecting someone’s mood for the good or maybe in a negative way. I’m sure you have all had the post you hid because it was upsetting ( I’m picturing the trauma of seeing a dog being tortured.) Or had somebody send you a very personal photo that you didn’t wish to have sent to you. Even the very way everything is divided in the US across political lines is disconcerting. I remember when we identified as Americans first and not by political parties. But that is another topic that is off limits because of the bad karma it brings.

I like to keep things light. Positive thoughts, happy photos IMG_8762and every meme or video I can find that makes me laugh, includes Jeeps or nurses or dogs or babies or books. Get the idea???

My books are not necessarily happy love stories. They are filled with many themes including love, misunderstandings, pain, hate, criminal activity, friendships, and suspense. But the main theme is how people affect each other for good or bad.

I want to stay on the “good” side. Thank you to all of my readers and social media friends. Writers tend to be a bit introverted myself included, so your comments, likes, and book reviews mean a great deal to me. They give me the motivation to sit down, again and again, to wrangle a multitude of words into pages that transport those who read them to another place and another time. I couldn’t do it without all of you.

 

Just a Midwestern Girl

One of the things I love best about being female is being privileged to know so many fabulous women.  There is something about the women of the Midwest that is real. The kind of “real” which is imbued with sincerity,  caring, strength, humor, and the pursuit of fun.

They speak their minds. Some women do so bluntly in a “take no prisoners” way, but most will tell you what they think in a thoughtfully worded statement trying to help but not wound the recipient. That is the caring part of the equation.

Caring enough to bring food to an ailing neighbor IMG_8753or shoveling the sidewalk for another is a commonplace occurrence. These women are caring enough to volunteer to help out at church and school events without griping about it. They don’t think twice about helping because the culture they grew up in incorporates the ethos of good works and citizenship into daily life.

Women who get up at the crack of dawn to help milk cows before making breakfast, sending the kids off to school and heading to their “day” jobs.  After work, they work on the evening meal, head back to the barn to milk cows once again, and then drop into bed after the homework is done and the kids are bathed. A strength of body and spirit enable these women to do this day in and day out–not Monday-Friday, but 365 days a year.  Dairy farming is not for the idle.

The strength of dealing with hard work when the rewards aren’t designer clothing, fancy vacations or luxury cars. For many women in the middle of the country, our rewards are evidenced in having a roof over our heads, bills paid (but not paid off), and food on the table. Our lives are simple, but money can’t buy the luxuries our world offers.  Natural beauty, a sense of community and a focus on family are a few of our rewards.

D2B8A3FA-1AFB-49E1-BAF2-C9A424F42BE4We don’t need to get overly raucous or lewd to laugh and have a good time. A weekend of camping and/or a concert are some of my favorite outings.  We aren’t perfect, but when we aren’t our friends are there to keep us safe.

I was born in New York City, but the majority of my youth was spent in the Midwest.  I’m just a Midwestern girl, and I’m darn proud of it!

Check out the #OneMillionProject blog post by Raymond St. Elmo entitled On the Borderlands of Fantasy.  It’s a great read by a writer whose humor and storytelling I truly enjoy!

https://theonemillionprojectcom.wordpress.com/2018/07/16/on-the-borderlands-of-fantasy-by-raymond-st-elmo/

What Kate’s Reading

A few months ago, I was asked to join the local book club. I’d always planned on joining when it was formed a decade ago, but life and my introverted persona thwarted any plan to attend.

I was excited and frightened to go.  I knew most of the attendees — when you live in a village of less than 1000 people for over twenty years, you get to know who’s who.  My fear was garnered by writer’s doubt.  They would realize I’m a fraud.  They hated my books and were planning to tar and feather me.  Or even worse…they planned to review my book in front of me.

Well, despite my fears, none of the terrible things I thought would happen happened.  I’ve enjoyed my time with the group, their insights and the books that we’ve read.

This month’s selection is Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance.  The New York Times Bestselling story is about Vance’s family, his youth and the culture of the Rust Belt areas of Ohio and Kentucky.

I felt an affinity to the characters described in this book.  They fought to protect the family and the family fought among themselves.  In my family, we were taught from a young age that “blood is thicker than water”.  Another point the author made was how even as his family moved into the middle class, they were uncomfortable with the difference in the culture around them. Behaviors which were accepted in Jackson, KY were frowned upon in Middleton, OH.

Throughout the book, J.D. Vance chronicles the events of his life and how he could have taken a different road than the one he ultimately did — graduating from Ohio State and Yale Law School.   His story made me laugh, cry and get angry.  Bounced from household to household, a parade of “father figures” and dealing with a parent with substance abuse, J.D. grew up with uncertainty and fear.  His only source of stability were his grandparents.

I highly recommend  Hillbilly Elegy, it is a moving story which helps to shed light on the reasons we have a large social and political divide in our country.  I believe it is important to see what other people have experienced and how their lives are affected by the politics of the day.

Never Show Your Hand Progress Update

Writing a book can be crazy, but writing a series can be nightmarish at times.  Even though I have notes from each book about characters and plot development, invariably there is some item I’ve forgotten to document.  I started writing Exodus in 2015 and now three years later, I’m scratching my head over a little detail knowing I’m going to have to go back and look it up.  Aaaarrrgghhh!!

On the next book, I will try harder to provide a bit more detail in my chapter summaries and notes.

Oh well, here’s the update on the status of NSYH — 39,000 words IMG_8055thus far and working on Chapter Twenty-Seven at present. The action is starting to fire up and the story threads will begin to emerge to show the big picture. This book will unveil the truth behind the other books and the sometimes incomprehensible actions of the main characters. It will also lay the stage for some potential future stories about some new characters, but only time will tell where the writing muse takes me.

In my future projects file are three stories — the compilation and expansion of my “Natalie Parker” short stories; a novel about a widow who discovers love again in Empty Chairs, Empty Promises; and another short story I’m planning on expanding about the most unlikely assassin.

So hang in there, friends, the next Clare Thibodeaux book will be nearing completion sometime in the near future.

Keep reading!   ~ Kate

Country and Camping

Over the past few years, my family and friends have been traveling to a 4 day-long Country Music Festival called “TreeTown” in Iowa.  It’s great fun with the IMG_7717best in Country music (new and classic artists) as well as a night of Classic Rock.

Listening to music outdoors under the summer sun and the starry skies with good food, drink and company is a wonderful experience.  I take my trusty laptop with me in the hopes of getting some writing done each year.  This year wasn’t an exception.

Wifi was spotty even with my dedicated hotspot and I found it difficult to work as quickly as usual on projects that required data to download. It didn’t stop me from attempting to get some work done.  In between the music and socializing, that is.

Back to the party…IMG_7703