Tag Archives: writing

Never Show Your Hand is Available!

I know, I know. It has been a year and a half since Winter’s Icy Caress was published, but the good news is (Drum Roll, followed by Pregnant Pause)… Never Show Your Hand (Clare Thibodeaux Series, Book 3) is available to purchase on Amazon!!!!

I also updated the covers of all three books to celebrate!! Exodus is a variation on the original cover which was done in a watercolor painting effect. For Winter’s Icy Caress, I wanted a dramatic cover which reflected the eerie suspense of the story.

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I hope you like the new covers!

Stay tuned for special pricing on all three books in the coming weeks!

Interesting Fun Fact! The Jeep pictured on the new cover of Exodus is actually MY Jeep!

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#One Million Project’s October Blogs

I am honored to be able to assist the One Million Project in uploading blogs to their website. We have a talented group of writers who contribute to the blog and October was a prime example of why so many readers are following it.

The blog offers a unique mix featuring the charities we support with our short story anthologies (Cancer Research UK and EMMAUS Homeless Programs) and blogs concerning writing, the creative process, marketing and a host of other related topics.

If you haven’t read this month’s offerings, I have provided the links below:

“Courage” by Michele Potter

“What Comes Around” by Mark Huntley-James

“Home from Home??” by Christine Larsen

“The Confession” by John Nedwill

and this week’s blog – “Deep Waters” by Melissa Volker

November’s blogs will feature the writings of Raymond St. Elmo, Moinak Das, Nera Hart, and Michele Potter.

What Kate’s Reading…

A Wrinkle In Time is my local book club’s selection for November. I love this book, and I read it, for the first time, when I was in third or fourth grade. It is a “YA” or Young Adult book but I would recommend it as an inspirational read for all ages.

The winner of the 1963 Newbery Medal, this book is a mix of science fiction, fantasy and the drama of coming of age for a young girl who feels like she doesn’t fit in anywhere but finds the courage to battle for those she loves.

Editing…oops?

I guess I should have realized that writing involves the process of editing what you write. And, if truth be told I did, but I didn’t understand the total extent the process would involve. Yeah, I could’ve hired someone to edit but in reality, the writer needs to edit their work throughout the writing process, even if an editor is employed to help refine the manuscript.

When you are new to the business of self-publishing, you don’t know who to trust with your manuscript — I mean this is YOUR baby! Will they do a good job? Will they charge you an exorbitant amount with questionable results for the money spent?

I would advise new writers to ask other authors that you trust, who they have used to edit their books. Find out what the fees are upfront, and what exactly will they be reviewing in your finished work.  Will they be acting as a proofreader — doing only punctuation, spelling and grammar? Or will they be looking to improve your book by identifying plot holes, timeline issues, and manuscript flow problems?

The writer should understand they are responsible for doing the revisions that may be suggested by the editor. They are suggestions, and you have the right to reject their ideas, BUT… You paid for their input, and I would suggest you wait a day or two to allow the emotional response to dull before making a decision on any presented ideas that may have been upsetting for you.

Go back, read the areas in question, look at your work with your professional eyes and weigh out the options. Get your creative juices flowing and ask yourself, “If I make this change, how would I go about it?”

Maybe you would have a dynamite idea that would propel your novel to a different level altogether?

We are invested in our work, and ultimately, we decide what the final outcome will be. Be true to who you are as a writer. What is your goal? There are many ideas out there about what sells books, but will making a decision to follow them destroy the essence of your vision or will it be the answer to your very dreams?

Only you can answer this. I, myself, am sitting down and editing the crap out of my story with the hopes I will meet the expectations that I have for myself. I write to please my muse and pray some will find the result worthy, enjoyable, suspenseful, romantic and totally awesome!

“Start your day right — eat well, stretch your legs, kiss your loved ones, read a good book…” ~~ Kate

Category 4

When I woke up this morning, the sky was gray, and it was raining. I burrowed under the covers wishing I had some sunshine to warm my day. I did get up and ventured downstairs in my workout clothes for a healthy breakfast. (I thought I’d be more likely to exercise if I was dressed for it. ((shrug))

Per my routine, I flipped on a news channel and was immediately bombarded with news about Hurricane Michael and its rapid approach towards Panama City Beach, Florida. It brought back memories from twenty-three years ago when my family lived there.

Hurricane season is typically from May to October, and the residents along the Gulf of Mexico pay close attention to the weather reports during this volatile time of the year. In 1995, three hurricanes of varying strengths made landfall or affected our area. I had a tee shirt from the hospital where I was employed with the paths of the storms that year.

October storms tend to be the strongest because the water temperature of the Gulf is at its highest levels after the long hot summer, and hurricanes gain their strength from the warm waters they travel over.

Hurricane Opal was our Category 4.

We’d gotten a phone call at midnight from the Navy base. The base was closing and all military personnel and their families were ordered to evacuate. We got up packed some belongings. My husband filled the SUV with gas, and we packed some of our camping supplies, just in case we came home and found we didn’t have a home.

While my husband packed, I took our other vehicle and proceeded to find an ATM with some cash. He had tried two places without luck. It took me ten more stops before I could find a machine with cash available.

By four in the morning, we had our boys and our dog tucked into the vehicle and proceeded to leave the coast behind. We drove for over 6 hours (about 365 miles) before we found a hotel room in Huntsville, AL.

After we returned home, we found neighbors helping to put the shingles that had been blown off of our roof back into our yard. We were lucky. A few doors down, some neighbors came home to over two feet of water damage inside of their home. According to reports, our huge backyard had been completely covered by flood waters, including our inground pool.

We found our pool half-empty. Odd. We are uncertain if a tornado spawned by the storm damaged the roof and sucked the water from the pool. It remains a mystery to this day. The storm surge had hollowed out many buildings and residences along the coast. We were without power for several days. I cooked our meals on our camping stove, and we slept in the screen porch area due to the heat and lack of air conditioning.

I used these experiences and those I had while living in Corpus Christi, TX to write scenes for my first novel (short excerpt below).

My prayers are with the residents of my former home. Stay safe! ~~ Kate

Excerpt From Exodus (Clare Thibodeaux Series, Book 1 

Running back and forth from the closet to the bathroom, FullSizeRender 6 - CopyClare stuffed the last item that would fit into her worn duffel bag with a sigh.  She glanced around the shamble she’d made in her bedroom for anything she didn’t wish to leave behind.  There was one thing she couldn’t forget, she thought, as she reached into the bedside table drawer removing a .45 and some extra ammo. She clicked on the safety after checking the chamber to make sure it was empty.

A sterling silver frame with a black and white photograph of her family caught her eye.  After she stripped the back from the expensive frame, Clare removed the photo and shoved it into her purse.  Her throat tightened, and she swiped at the lone tear sliding down her face.  Abruptly clearing her throat, she returned to the task at hand.

“Oh, my God,” she groaned as she hoisted the weight of the overstuffed bag over her shoulder.  The perspiration on her forehead stung as it dripped into her eyes.  Clare mopped at the sweat with the back of her hand and headed for the door of the apartment.

“Get your head in the game, Clare Thibodeaux,” she mumbled.  She set her bag on the floor and eyeballed the landing through the peephole making sure everything was clear before she opened the door.  Not able to see anything she considered suspicious, she bent over and picked up the duffel.  The door swung open with a blast of sweltering heat that made it difficult to breathe.  Coastal Florida temps often left one feeling like you’re standing too close to a bonfire.  It was only 6:30 AM.

Angry, dark clouds littered the predawn sky.  Hurricane Emmitt swirled its way across the Gulf of Mexico with The Weather Channel anticipating landfall along Florida’s panhandle.  The residents of this stretch of the Florida coast were familiar with the preparations a tropical storm or hurricane required.  People were boarding up their windows, getting ready for a hurricane party or hightailing it out of the path of the storm.  In the past, Clare had ridden out most of the hurricanes or near misses at the hospital.  Any staff able to stay would remain at the hospital 24/7 until after the worst of the storm was over.

Circumstances were different at present.  She planned to evacuate with the thousands of other residents as they left their homes and belongings to avoid the devastation the landfall of a Category 4 hurricane would bring.  Trees could be broken or uprooted from the ground.  Power lines would be downed, and the electricity might be off for days or weeks.  With so many leaving the coast, she could get lost in the stream of vehicles heading north.  It was probably the best time to disappear.  Maybe the only chance she’d have.

The warm red glow of the rising sun peeked through gaps in the clouds as the storm front advanced towards the coast.  Its weakened light glinted off the corrugated metal carports.  The roaring tide crashed onto the beach, and an occasional car door or trunk closing were the only sounds.  Taking the steps down to the parking lot, she looked across the road to the shoreline.  Lines of white-capped waves swelled larger rolling with power as they slammed into the shore.  Who knew if her apartment building would be standing in another day?  Not that it mattered to Clare, she wouldn’t return.

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.)


What Kate’s Reading…

Definitely check out the #OneMillionProject’s Blog by #OMP Blogger, Mark Huntley-James. In his blog, “Something to Talk About”, Huntley-James discusses his reasons for becoming a member of this organization of writers, artists, musicians and interested volunteers.

His story about how he discovered his mother’s support of one of the OMP’s charities — Cancer Research UK — shows how cancer touches so many lives around the world. Sometimes, we are intimately involved on the battlefield of this category of diseases, but this is not always the case.

Each person deals with their cancer diagnosis in their own way. Some reach out and let those close to them know what is going on during their day-in, day-out fight with it. Others prefer to keep their illness to themselves.

Our bloggers have brought wit, knowledge, compassion, and their own heartaches and battles to the One Million Project. Please take the time to read their blogs and join us in our efforts to support the work of Cancer Research UK and EMMAUS Homeless programs.  ~~ Kate

 

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.