Cruuunch!

Real-Acorns-On-The-Ground-WallpapersCrunch. Crunch. Crunch.  Cruuuuuncch.

Ah. That lovely sound of acorns and their caps being crushed beneath your heels. Crunch.

It’s October and as the leaves just start to think about turning to a bouquet of color, the acorns have been on the ground for a couple of weeks now. Crunch.

Every time I walk home I am for those little caps that are like thimbles. Crunch.

Oh, I missed one. Should I back up and make sure I crush that one as well? Crunch.

It’s so incredibly satisfying to hear that crunch below your feet. Crunch. Crunch.

Every year I look forward to it. Like stepping into ice puddles and shattering the glass water. Crack!

Welcome to day one of my 31 days of October, entitled Fun, Fanciful & Factual. Which just means that I will be blogging my regular things: flash fiction, book reviews, and anything that catches my fancy.  I shall attempt to keep up with every day typing. Gads, I’m already sorry I thought I could do this. Someone, stop me now.

I hope to be able to bring a bit of freshness to this blog, and my plan at the end of the month is to do a bit of housecleaning and revamping of the blog. It’s gotten a little cluttered, a little disorganized, and it would be nice to have it a touch more streamlined.

So, here’s to a month. Happy October everyone!

hello-october

Signing off
Kate

Accomplishments

Despite the month of August being a smoke filled month (say hello to California wildfires and forest mismanagement) and the constant fill of farming and watering and working more than I care to think about, I was able to accomplish some pretty nice things this month and I thought I would share them.  So drum-roll…… Well, you can add that in if you want. I’m doing it in my head….

 

  1. I started running again.  Okay, so that might not sound like a lot, but I had to give it up for all of July because it was so hot I could not stand being out in the dark running. I just had to put it on hold until the evenings were cooler and not so intense. I do not do well in the 90’s.
  2. I ran three miles. Whoo Hoo! This is huge! I rarely can run more than a mile, mile and a half at at time.  Last week I ran three miles, and two of those miles I ran in straight mile stretches. I hope that makes sense.  What I mean is, most of the time I can only run a quarter to a half mile before I have to walk a while before completing the mile. Miles 2 and 3 were an entire mile before stopping.  Again, this is huge. Granted, I hurt like crazy and my knees weren’t too happy, or my shoulders, but it felt so amazing. The endorphins high I got was incredible.  And last night I did 2 1/2 miles pretty easy.
  3. I can fit into my size two Ann Taylor sheath dress.  An LBD in some ways. Now, I’m not a size 2, but Ann Taylor dresses must have been invented with smaller sizes to give women a boost. Because I can say I wear a size two. Which is funny since my previous post was about not being a size two…..
  4. I wrote a short story that is semi flash fiction, but my parents love it! It was all inspired by Boris and his trip to Atlanta and I teased him about taking his xs-214 double barreled ray gun. The fact that this story has potential is just exciting. I’m going to need a couple beta readers, so if anyone is interested, drop me a comment with a valid email.  I only need a couple readers since it’s so short. Just over 600 words, but it’s periodical/literary magazine worthy, I think.
  5. I finally solved the yeast infection in my dachshund’s ear after 11 years! Who knew that just plain povidone iodine swabbed daily could clear it up? I didn’t. My vet never said to do this. I gotta tell the vet. This has been something that has driven me nuts for years. My dog hasn’t enjoyed it too much either.

 

Okay, so maybe those are small accomplishments, but small doesn’t mean inferior or not important. It’s the little things in life that count, right? I have to take little things and enjoy or savor them. The running is huge. The short story is huge. So, I’ll go with it.

Anyone else have some accomplishments that made them want to dance around?

Signing off

Kate

Oh Look, The Jealous Factor Creeping In

Oh lord, there it is. You are reading along in a blog then you come across a comment, or something that tells you that another person is a writer trying to get published. And in that instant, boom! You have the green eyed lady smacking you in the face and making you see, well, green. You know this has all happened to you, right? The jealous factor that you have more competition. It isn’t enough that you have your own neurosis to deal with, but now you have that added pressure that someone else might get published before you do. And it’s even worse if you see that they are trying to get an agent, a publisher, a query letter, in your field of writing. For that split second you want to dash their dreams into the ground because, hey, writing is a cutthroat world and YOU want to be published first.

Image by citris blossoms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had this happen to me the other day and I almost screamed for that one moment when I realized I was just one of tons of people trying to publish and I’m not putting in the every day work required to do this. I’m blaming several bloggers I follow, who’s general writings are putting pressure on me. It’s all your fault, people that have ambitions.

Ironically, I just started reading a post by J. Sander of Don’t Delete Me, about our day jobs and wishing our day jobs were writing jobs. First thing tackled is about how you are just one person and there are millions out there that are doing the same thing as you. Gasp, hold on while I take a moment to breathe. BREATHE! That can make anyone panic. Does it make you panic and think you might as well give up now? It makes me for a flash moment.

I even panicked today when I was reading Cassandra Clare’s bio and realizing that I will never, let me stress, NEVER, be that good. (I know, I’m already self destroying myself) Along with the panic was to work on my cover letter, but still, I am constantly panicking that I will never be good enough, that I will always be striving for the impossible, that I might as well give up now. There is the drive to succeed, and the fear of falling flat on my face. I think the fear is more 80% instead of a more level number. (it shouldn’t be that high, should it?)

And there is the constant jealousy that while I’m super happy for anyone that can be published, I also want them to fall flat on their face and make way for me to be published. It’s sick and twisted.

But I bet I’m not the only one, am I?

So, how often do you feel the green lady’s gaze clouding your judgement? Do you get panicked and want to just throw in the towel? D

Signing off

Kate

Hey you, did you know I am writing about you?

Hey you! Yes you. No, not you reading this blog, I’m talking to the people who I base my characters off of. Colin O’Donoghue, did you know you are my lead male in a romance I’m writing?  Martin Freeman, did you know you are part of the love triangle that involves Colin?  (FYI, you don’t win, sorry) Tyler Hubbard of FGL, you are a lead male too.  Ladies? You are all models from clothing catalogs I love. You wear fashion like there’s no tomorrow.

What am I getting at here?  I’m talking about having a model for my characters I write about. Just recently I’ve added two to my list of people for characters. The interesting thing is, as you can see from my above list, all my characters are not ‘real’ people. By that I mean, they are actors and not someone I interact with on a regular daily basis. The newest edition to this list is the singer Mika. I first heard about him when I found his song “Big Girl (You are Beautiful)”, then he wore this most glamorous dark blue velvet suit on Dancing With The Stars singing “Popular” with Ariana Grande. That right there kind of cinched it. (I really thought he looked quite cute in that blue suit). And recently I’ve just taken to listening to more of his music and I really like it.

And I need to have him as one of my characters! I can so see him being this super cool best friend to one of my gals. Like Phaedra who lives in SanFran and is a photographer. Or Mia who works in a book store. Or Kate (who is not me and I had her as Alyssa but I don’t like that name so she’s back to ‘Kate’ till I can come up with something better) who is a hotel manager’s personal assistant.  I just need to use him.

So, while all of my character models listed are not people I know, I do have to add that I just told writer Shawn Bird  that I just have to base a character off of her. Check out her blog and look at that super cool, edgy picture she has! I love her hair! That blond, blue and purple  is just rocker chic and I just know that I could come up with something great about that, right? The thing about this, Shawn wrote back and said “That’s funny. I’m used to turning people into characters, not to be turned into one myself! ;-)”shawn bird tweetWow, I’d never thought about how strange it would be know someone was basing a character after you. I don’t know of anyone who would write about me, and I wonder if I would want to know? I had never thought about this because I’m always ‘borrowing’ people from life for my novels. We’ve all done it right?

Well, I have two other people in my life that I have as characters. Calvin, my first crush when I was 5 and my ideal ‘man’ for years, is the hero of “Kate’s” book.  Then there is Mimi. Mimi has become Coco in my Phaedra novel. She is this voluptuous, sassy, curvaceous, redhead that owns a flower shop and she’s just super cool. Hey Mim’s, did you know you were a character? Well you do now!

So, while I stick with mostly famous people, watch out, bloggers. Someday I just might write about you.

Okay, so readers, do you use people in your life as character models? Do you stick with famous people or do you write about that somebody you saw at the coffee shop or bookstore, or market? How do you get your characters?

I really want to know. So comment below and I can’t wait to see how you create your characters.

Signing off

Kate

Icy Writing Prompt

This has got to be the best prompt I’ve ever heard. Well maybe not iciclebest, but pretty incredible.

I was talking to an older woman who’s a semi friend today and she was mentioning she and her late husband used to winter at their cabin in the mountains. Every evening they would have their cocktail hour and he would mix up drinks. He loved to go outside and break off an icicle to stir the drinks with to chill them.

Isn’t that great? And icicle cocktail stirrer and chiller.  I love it and I had to share.  Now, people, run with it!  I want to see Flash Fiction, short stories, or a blurb or something with this.  Please, pretty please.  :)  I know you all can come up with something great.

Link back to me so I can read them all. I might come up with something myself too!

Signing off

Kate

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Hold Thy Tongue

Michael Connelly at Bouchercon 2010 in San Fra...

Michael Connelly at Bouchercon 2010 in San Francisco. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have this thing. It’s called wanting to be right. I always want to be right. In an argument, I want mine to be the one that ‘wins’. I just have this need to be right.  It’s not a very good  personal trait to have. Not that being right is wrong, but feeling the need to be right all the time. It’s kind of hard to explain. And I want to go on a rant when I feel I am right. Hence the title of this post. Do I say something or hold my tongue? Since this is my blog, I’m going to say what I want.

Why am I bringing this up?  Well, I’ve been following this blog of a young author/writer. By young, I mean he just graduated from college last year, I think. So for me, when you are ten years younger than I am, you are still a baby in my eyes. Partly because I swear, anyone under 25 seems to act like a child half the time. So this young writer doesn’t believe you need to read older books to learn style, yet he is a reader of James Patterson, Robert B. Parker, Michael Connelly, etc. Where do you think those author’s got their inspirations? From new books? By disregarding older books, you are disregarding the newer author’s inspirations, and by default, the new authors.

Darkly sparkling Chandler dialogue inspired 4 ...

Darkly sparkling Chandler dialogue inspired 4 radio plays and a TV-film remake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For instance James Patterson was inspired by The Day of the Jackal , a thriller novel by English writer Frederick Forsyth. Michael Connelly was inspired by Raymond Chandler as well as Robert B. Parker. You can read each of the interviews/articles where I found this information, below.

James Patterson – His Story

Crime Master’s Career has Chandleresque Origins (Michael Connelly)  

Robert B. Parker Author Interview On Writing Mysteries

And in the process of researching these author’s inspiration, I read a brief bit on Raymond Chandler cited by Wikipedia as “Chandler had an immense stylistic influence on American popular literature, and is considered by many to be a founder, along with Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain and other Black Mask writers, of the hard-boiled school of detective fiction.”

Whoa. So, without Raymond Chandler, two very well known authors might never have been. So, clearly it’s not necessary to read anything of his.  He couldn’t possibly know anything.  Can you sense the serious sarcasm here?

I’ve noticed a trend with younger writers. They think they know everything. Especially if they have written something or self published. Did you know that Albert Einstein knew everything about relativity? (again sarcasm) Einstein could just disregard Sir Isaac Newton because he was sooooooo old. Newton couldn’t have possibly known anything about anything. Einstein had it all figured out by those scientists that had just figured out things recently…………………………………………………………..

Great argument.

Image via My Soul Doth Delight

I know next to nothing about writing. But I don’t act like I know everything and if someone a decade older than me were to tell me something regarding writing, I’d listen. I find it counterintuitive for a young writer to tell someone, in their own way,  that what the older writer is saying is, say, wrong. By saying you disagree with the thought that it might be a good idea to read older books is not a really wise statement or frame of thought, in my opinion. I think this goes in line with my post the other day about reading the classics. See HERE

Now, again, how does all of this apply to being right or wrong?  I know I’m right. I know that you need to read older books to know how to find a style and to, GASP, learn a thing or two about writing.  What would this young writer say if  Michael Connelly told him to read a Raymond Chanlder book? “Oh, I don’t need to. It’s old and I don’t read old books?”  That seems foolish and immature in my opinion.

And my opinion is right. As you can see —>

For those interested the blogger I’m discussing is Write me a book, John! and you can read his blog at this address http://johnguillen.wordpress.com

I’m not hyperlinking because I don’t want to connect directly to the blog through this post. Just copy and paste.  The current post in discussion is ‘Genre, Which Genre?’ and I have commented a few times on the post. This is all if you are interested.

Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy his posts, but this is a follow up to my post about the classics the other day. And it just leads me to wonder how you can be a really good writer if you are not willing to read , and read, and read, and that includes old books. Pardon for the long post and semi rant. If this becomes a regular occurrence, I may have to stop reading this blog. Whew!

I would love some feedback and opinions on whether you agree or disagree.

Signing off

Kate

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Should I or Not? — Flash Fiction

Have you ever wanted to kiss someone that you really didn’t want to date? Someone that who is not in your league or inappropriate? Someone that you’ve watched for years and just sort of wondered what it would be like to kiss them? I have. For years I’ve watched Jace as he’s flirted with me despite my less than enthusiastic response; watched him as he worked; watched him as he dated woman after woman, slightly jealous of those women, but not really wanting to date Jace himself. But, oh! There is part of me that really want’s to know what his kisses taste like.

I’ve kissed several men in my life. Boyfriends, whom all I could say did not know how to kiss, and a couple spur of the moment times where the kiss was good, I liked the guy, but it never went anywhere. But there are a couple men I’ve fantasized about just sampling a kiss.

Jace has probably been the one that sticks in my mind, and it’s there right now as I watch him walk across the street to get into his truck. He’s been logging so he’s covered in dust and dirt and probably sawdust. I’m sure he smells like chainsaw oil or gas and that all guy smell of work.  You know: sweat.  But here I sit wondering like I have for quite a while, what it would be like to have him wrap his long arms around me, tip me back and kiss me.  One of those romance fantasies, you know?

The wishing has gotten out of hand. I’ve been dreaming about him as well.  Long vivid dreams where it’s just us. Where I finally relent and decide we should be a couple. Where he wears me down with flirting and teasing and kissing.  Because, oh yes, there is always kissing involved. Clearly I have an over active imagination because those dreams are vivid. I wake up befuddled and practically giddy, reveling in really good kissing. I flush when I think about how unashamedly bold I am and half the time I remember I initiate the kisses.

What is wrong with me? Should I just walk up to Jace one day and grab him around the back of the neck and pull him down for a kiss? I know it would surprise the heck out of him. I mean, I have turned him down every single time. And I don’t want to date him. I don’t. You believe me, right? Consequences. There are always consequences for impulsively jumping in to something so intimate as a kiss.

My coffee’s cold, and Jace has driven off. Well, there’s always tonight for another dream……

 

 

Isn’t it funny how real life is what makes fiction come alive? Or it is what makes stories to write about. Or it makes you wake up wondering about a dream you had.

Semi autobiographical, I hope you enjoy this nameless girl’s musing about a guy named Jace….. who is very similar to someone I know, and well, let’s leave it at that.

Writing on

~Kate

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Utter Crap

the persephone bookshop

the persephone bookshop (Photo credit: this lyre lark)

I probably should be writing this over on Escaping the Inkwell, but I’m going to be utterly lazy since this post is about utter crap. Seems befitting. Though I feel I should say ‘utter rubbish’ instead as it’s so much more polite and I’ve been reading British things. (How did I not know that Persephone Biannually was so interesting? I have about 8 different ones!)

Moving on.  So last week I ‘finished’ my short story about jars of hearts, lipstick, et cetera. See the post here.  I was so wired to finish it and for those first few hours, even though I knew that it was going to need serious editing,  I was quite thrilled with it.

Then the reality set in. Or maybe it’s writer’s reality, or whatever you want to call it.  Anyways, there I was the next morning going, “this thing is terrible! it’s crap. There is no way I could ever hope to submit this to a literary magazine (because yes, I am considering it). I should just toss the whole thing in the garbage and start over.”

Never mind that I wrote the whole thing out longhand with purple ink (new fountain pen and ink. If I have the inclination I shall write a review on the Lamy Vista which has become a favorite pen!) Never mind that I have told my sister she can read it when I’m done.  Never mind that I was quite hopeful of it.

Now is it really that horrible?  Honestly, I don’t know because I’m looking at it through my eyes. No doubt it needs a lot of work.  Heck, in just the first two paragraphs I have already added a bunch of things I left out. Meaning I started typing it up to have a more readable copy and started editing in the process.  I’m sure it will be fine. (Repeat again and again, self) I’m sure my friend will enjoy it if I ever get it typed up and edited before having her take a looksie.  But my own self doubt.

I just read something in my Bianually about the author Dorothy Whipple how she thought that her novel Greenbanks was never going to amount to anything then low and behold it became a best seller and is now being sold by Persephone Books.  I’m not saying I’m a Dorothy Whipple (whom I must confess that I’ve never read any of her books) but self doubt is high.

I am still going to work on the darn thing. It really needs a title.  I want a bit of horror in the story (because it is a bit like horror in some ways) Not the creepy kind, but just a life type horror.  Once I’m willing to share you will see.

But for now I feel that it is utter crap!  Why am I a writer?

Signing off

~Kate

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A Note To My Readers Regarding My Book Reviews

I’m sure all of you think by now that I only read Christian books since that is only what I review. On the contrary.  I rarely read Christian books of any sort other than the ones I review, and that is due to a contract I have with Book Look Bloggers a subsidiary of Harper Collins Christian Publishing.  I signed up for their service quite a while ago, IE you can tell by my first book review, and as part of the contract, they send me a book free of charge for my honest review of the book.

It has been interesting delving into more religious based books considering that even though I grew up a Christian, I did not read a lot of Christian based books other than my school books.  And the only books that I read that are Christian based happen to be the ones I review.

When I am reading on my free time, my book choices vary like the market place in Marseille.  I joke that I keep my library in business by ordering the random assortment of books that I’m forever reading.  Recently I’ve been on a Maisie Dobbs theme or anything that deals with WWI and WWII.  I’m reading All Quiet on the Western Front, and I have several other books stacked up in various places I’m reading. In fact, I have way too many books to read. I just recently remembered that I was reading The Forgotten Man… apropos since I forgot it.  I need to start that up again.

I read Janet Dailey‘s Americana series when I’m in a romance mood, or my beloved Emilie Loring‘s, which have also been in my rotation as of late. I read classics, poetry, cookbooks (cookbooks are not meant to cook out of but to read in my opinion), gardening books, how to make wine, the architecture through the ages, essential oils and related.  My tastes are as varied as my music likes….. I was listening to Jason Derulo‘s “Talk Dirty to Me” and One Republic‘s new song on the radio today, grooving along, while a few days ago it was all folk and BroCountry.

So, why do I only write Christian book reviews?  Because I’m too lazy to write any other book review. I have to force the reviews out of me in the first place. I’m just not into the whole ‘book report’ thing. I’m trying. Really hard, because hey, a career in writing book reviews is good, but I just don’t think it’s for me.

So, that’s just what I do.

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A Writer’s Film

The-Magic-Of-Belle-Isle-Morgan-Freeman1Often, I keep track of films I watch that have a serious writer’s theme to the storyline.  Most recently it was The Magic of Belle Isle staring Morgan Freeman and Virginia Madsen. First off, I highly recommend this to any writer.  It’s a charming look at how imagination can and is a part of our lives, along with the story of a struggling writer. Plus it ends well and is a charming, charming story.

f03e818295b65975c3f4c94054b4314dOne of the things that got to me most about the film was the relationship Morgan Freeman’s character, Monte, has with his typewriter. At the start of the film he says “She’s a black-hearted whore, and I’m done with her.” Slowly, with the pushing of nine year old Finnegan O’Neil, he starts to write again and by the end of the film, you know he is back in sync with the machine.  There is a line where Finnegan asks Monte why he doesn’t use a computer.

Monte’s response. “I’m going to answer your question in return for blessed silence. Look at that machine. I like that you have to write a bit slower on a manual, I like the way it sounds, I like the way the letters bite into the paper, I like that you can feel as a genuine human being doing the work.”

Sometimes I forget the magic of using my typewriter. I haven’t had the inclination to pull out the Royal (he/she needs a good name instead of just Royal unless I want to envision Royal Wilder from the Little House on the Prairie series).  I actually haven’t had the inclination to do a lot of writing to tell you the truth.  However, whenever I see typewritten words or poems I just inwardly sigh in happiness. When I see someone using a typewriter I want to hug them. And when I see the love of a typewriter expressed in a film, it just makes me want to write to the screenwriter and thank them for making my day.  It doesn’t happen often, because honestly, there are not that many writer-esque films. So when I do see one, I pay attention.

1002004004848400Another film that made me want to start using my Royal (somebody help me name the darn machine) was Shadows in the Sun staring Joshua Jackson and Harvey Keitel.  Along the same lines as Monte, a line by Harvey Keitel’s character says Weldon Parish: “Typewriters make you think about the words you choose more carefully, because you can’t erase them with the push of a button. ”   (side note: great ideas, very cheesy film)

For some reason, even though I know all of this it’s nice to hear it in a film, or a book, or some random post. Little writer’s reminders are nice.

liberal_arts_2012Lastly, just because we are on the subject of writer’s films, I want to mention a new film that I HIGHLY recommend along with The Magic of Belle Isle.  This film is an independent film by actor Josh Radnor titled Liberal Arts.  I won’t go into a description because you can read about online everywhere. Just watch it.  If you love inspiration from all around, classical music, good humor, humor on life and college, and just an all around good feeling when you get done with a movie, then you need to see this.  It’s charming and you just want to meet Josh Radnor when you get done, especially since he wrote, directed and starred in the film.  So so very good.

One last thought.  I think the typewriter used in The Magic of Belle Isle was an Underwood.  I had the opportunity of having my grandfather’s machine, but it didn’t work and he ended up finding someone that liked those kind.  While I still wouldn’t really want one, man, those have got to be one of the coolest looking typewriters around.

Signing off

~Kate

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