Kisses and Cigarettes

staticdesign-mart-scholliers-unsplashI dream about really good kisses as much as I dream about having a cigarette. I crave really good kisses as much as I crave that first drag on a cigarette. Funny thing; I’ve never smoked. Unless you call that one puff my father let me try  of one of his really good cigars. Trust me, it wasn’t that good. In fact, after swirling the smoke around my mouth, I wondered why anyone would want to do this.  And I didn’t even inhale.

But ever since then, I want a cigarette so bad. Not all the time, but after that dream where I can’t find my pack of them and I need a smoke, I’ll wake up wishing I could light one up. An insatiable desire for the forbidden.

After that dream with an incredible kiss, I swear I wake up , lips tingling, heart racing, wishing it had really happened and I’ll be getting another one soon. An insatiable desire for pure, unadulterated pleasure.

Neither have happened. I wake up, go about my day wishing for one or the other……… or both if the dream was so nice as to grant me with two cravings. Oddly, both cravings involve the lips. Weird, huh?

I’ve had one good kiss in my life. One so good I refer to it here and there. I dream about it, write about it, think about it. It’s kind of like that one taste of tobacco smoke. That kiss kine of opened my eyes to what a good kiss is like. Especially after two boyfriends and countless bad kisses from them. At the time, I didn’t know they were bad kisses. Now that I’ve had good bourbon, why would I go back to cheap crap?

How could two very simple things take control of my life? Currently I’m thinking about both cravings days after two very vivid dreams. Personally I think the only way to cure either is to go have a smoke then have a really good kiss. But then, would it cure the disease or make me need a fix that much more?

Signing off

Kate

31 Days of Autumn in the Mountains

31-days-of-autumnGetting this post up last minute, but life has been crazy. Like the two previous years, I will be participating in Write 31 Days which you can read about if you click that link. Or you can also check out my past years of of Write 31 Days.  Previous Write 31 Days in October

Basically it is a challenge to write every day for the month of October. Due to Writer’s Digest having their November Poem a Day chapbook challenge, I didn’t want to burn out my writing in October, so I am going to be doing photography of autumn/fall images for the next 31 days of October.  Anything that is autumn related here in the mountains. Be it the mountains engulfed in clouds or autumn crocus, or falling leaves, or anything else that strikes my fancy. I hope you enjoy the images and the quotes I hope to post with them. So far, there isn’t any theme to the month, unless I decide on one. Basically, what image I can take that day, or a couple previous ones, and how nature and life goes.

Looking forward to October. Do you plan to do the challenge? Let me know if you do!

Kate

Life is Better at the Beach – A Review

089689Life is Better at the Beach by Christina Vinson, published by Thomas Nelson, is a beachy, devotional-y, inspirational-y charming book. Truly beach and nautically inspired, the book gives you fifteen rules for living life like the beach. Not so much as making sandcastles every day and picking up seashells, but more along the lines of “life is [blank]” but let’s take some ‘rules’ from being on the beach and apply them to life.

For instance, life at the beach is sandy, but at home dirt must stay outside, hands must be clean and the house must be just so, but Christ didn’t live in perfect, clean conditions, and it’s okay to be a bit dirty. Dig in the dirt, make cookies and let the flour spill. It’s okay.  Rules for beach life: Read a book, watch the sunset, pick up shells, make a sandcastle, soak in the sun, take a nap, walk barefoot……

There are gorgeous pictures of the ocean, sea, waves, sunsets, sandcastles, sand, shells, coastlines, everything beach related. There are inspirational quotes and verses that apply to life in a simple way. I think the book is perfect to pull off the shelf, or to leave out for a daily jolt of reminders how to take the simple things in life. Small enough to slip into a purse or book bag, it’s a nice book to take along with you.

This book is lovely with a host of sea colors, pictures that inspire and make you want to be at the beach. The quotes are both Biblical and non- Biblical and all apply in a nice way to compliment the pictures and each section of the book. The segments are short so you can read just a little at a time and be inspired. I find this book to be one you want to leave out on a table to constantly pick up and read a little excerpt or reminder to take a breath, notice the little things in life, remember Christ, and just ‘chill out.’ One of my favorite sections is Rule #11 Read a Book. I mean, I can’t imagine people not having time to read a book, but it’s such a nice reminder, and since I love books, well, it totally applies to me. (Honestly, anything beach related applies to me as well.)

I would give this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars. A few less stars just because I was expecting a bit more of a devotional book and found it to be just a little less ‘devotional’, but still a really charming book. The colors and images alone are my thing. I don’t get to the beach hardly ever, so this is like a little retreat to have in hands. One I will find myself picking up over the years to just be reminded to calm down.

Kate
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com&gt; book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html&gt;

Where’s The Writer Been?

I realized that I’ve been a little unfocused when it comes to blogging when I got a notice from the book review site that my account had been deactivated. Just as I was working on a new review! Crazy summer. I’ll blame that. And that I have been spending more time writing within my actual writing instead of blogging. You have to give up a lot of stuff to be a writer. Even your sanity at times.

That being said, I have some posts in the works, and a couple of reviews coming down the pipeline. Along with that, in just 10 days I will be doing another Write 31 Days. This year’s theme will be 31 Days of Autumn Photography, or something titled like that. Then come November I will be participating in Writer’s Digest PAD challenge again. So things are coming. So sorry to be behind the times. And gosh, I hope I get my Gold status back again on the BookLookBloggers.

Kate

In Remembrance of 9/11

Today we remember the fate of so many souls lost on September 11th. We remember the towers crashing to the ground and the plane that was stopped from destroying our White House because of brave people that stood up to terrorism. Today we mark our calendars and minds and hearts with remembrance of that horrific day 15 years ago.

But we must not forget those souls we lost 4 years ago in Bengazi, Libya. Our ambassador, a state employee and the two brave men trying to save both of them. We mustn’t forget the men who went in to protect our ambassador and put their lives at risk not knowing what was in store for them on that fateful day. We must remember Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty.

And we must not forget that according to one of our candidates running for president says that we did not lose any lives in Libya.

Yes we did. And they were good men sent to an area that was rife with terror.

Let us not forget our fallen men in Bengazi.

Let us not forget those we lost in the Twin Towers and Pentagon.

Let us not forget.

 

Respect the Reviewer: How to Find, Contact, and Stay on the Good Side of Book Reviewers

I was recently contacted by an author to review his books. It’s in the pipeline (meaning I’m reading it) but these are some really good tips for people who want a review. I might need to make up a submissions page.

A Writer's Path

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by thehappymeerkat

Here’s the second Respect the Reviewer article I’ve written (the first can be read here).  This is for all authors out there.  While some tips might be obvious others you may not have thought of, either way I hope some of these tips will help you find a reviewer and go about contacting them the right way. :)

All authors know the importance of getting book reviews. Not only can a good book review encourage others to buy your book but if you get enough of them your book will be listed higher on amazon (or so the rumour goes). But how can authors go about contacting reviewers? And what’s the right or wrong thing to say and do when asking and waiting for a review?

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Curio – A Review

_225_350_Book.1802.coverCurio by Evangeline Denmark is a new steampunk-esque, alternate universe, young adult novel set in a time period of late 1800s in Colorado in the wonderfully named Mercury City.  A city of miners, rules, regulations, members of the opposite sex who are unable to touch each other if unmarried, curfews, and Chemists. The people are ruled by the Chemists who control them with a potion that is their only way to have nutrition, instead of food, yet there is Grey. Grey, a young woman, has a secret. She is able to eat solid foods unlike others.

When Grey’s friend, Whit is taken away for improper behavior towards Grey, and the Chemists come after Grey, her grandfather sends her to the hidden world in his shop….Into the Curio.  A place where porcelain and clockwork people exist. Running off of water, steam and magic.  It’s a place she will have to learn to navigate to save her friends and family.

I was so excited to read this book, but as it has taken me nine months to post a review, that should say something as to how well I liked the book…. Unfortunately I have struggled trying to read this book and figure out what is going on half the time. The first part about Mercury City and all the things going on pulled me in, and I was excited about this young woman in a red coat that can’t be touched even by her young male friend. I happen to love steampunk, specifically things a la Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger, but this style of steampunk left me with a blah taste in my mouth. Creative at points, but losing me quickly to the slow-ish story-line, I have just struggled to like this book. I especially don’t like the porcelain sentient beings being called Porcies. It reminds me of pigs (called porcine) and it annoys the heck out of me. That’s my own personal thing, nothing against the author.

Also, unfortunately, as I write this review, I am in the DNF (did not finish) category with this book. I have plans to finish it at some point, in which I might change my opinion, but if I can’t even get through the first 22% of the book( Kindle for PC) without being bored out of my mind, then I don’t have a lot of high hopes for it to get any better.  Due to the inability for the author to really keep me interested, I’m only going to give this a 2 out of 5 star rating.  I really hate doing that, but this book is just not to my taste. I’d say the biggest issue is just not having a clue what is going on.  There isn’t enough detail to really explain anything and I’m left wondering about a lot of things.

This book was provided to me for my honest opinion by BookLookBloggers. I was in no compensated for my opinion.

Kate

My Little Part in the Local Summer Reading Program

I have been involved with donating a prize for the Summer Reading Program to our small town library for the past few years now, and this year I decided to go big. Past years have seen jars of little origami stars, yarn pom-pom bookmarks, there was a set of books and a wooden cobra.  Little things. Nothing that was terribly extravagant because I could never get my butt in gear to get anything done.  Running the produce business with my mom during our busiest season didn’t afford a lot of time for making things, and I rarely like to purchase anything for reading programs, coming up with something fun on my own. The origami stars in a jar were always fun, especially with little quotes about  the stars and such. Easy to do, since I spent my tv watching time folding them and it was something I had jars and jars of.

But this year, I decided that I wanted to go big. I was flipping through a Southern Living  or something along the lines of that, I can’t remember now, and in one of the articles, there was this image of a Jenga game. And not just any Jenga, but a giant one. One made with two by fours. One that was super classy looking with nautical colors, being played on a lake dock, mind you. It was so cool.

So I started hunting for two by fours at our local cabinet shop since they tend to throw out a lot of scraps. No dice. I found nothing but some two by sixes or eights. It would have required a lot of ripping and sanding and futzing with. As it was, I was enlisting Mr. B’s help in the process because hey, he’s the one with all the tools.  So I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, because purchasing the wood isn’t cheap. They say it might cost you around $25, but that’s only if you are probably getting the inexpensive, twisted 2×4’s.

Then serendipity struck. Mr. B has been hard at work cleaning out his garage filled with, well, stuff. A lot of stuff. Mostly wood stuff. Boards, trim, blocks, wood.  And he had been collecting really pretty plywood with nice veneers for a while. We are talking cherry, oak, birch, poplar, douglas fir, etc. Nice stuff. Really nice stuff.  Well, he was going to just burn it or chuck it, when I asked, “hey, could you use this?”

Turns out you could. So, after a lot of cutting (57 blocks because hey, he thought we needed more) and a lot of sanding (a LOT of sanding) and painting (after I finally found what paint I wanted at our 2nd hand store) and painting some more (and having my librarian ask when the heck I was going to have my project done… okay, she was a lot sweeter about my dilly dallying than that statement) and finally making a carrying case (Mr. B couldn’t just make a box, no, we ended up with a snazzy tool box carrying case)….. And almost a month into the whole thing, the project was done.

This is a heavy , outdoorsy, cool game that turned out so cool. I mean, I wanted to keep it it was so cool, but I was also afraid to play it because if you know Jenga, you know it eventually topples.  And I’m working with a stack that is probably around 10-15 pounds. (the case and game all together are pretty hefty)

But this thing turned out so incredibly well! I’m excited to have made it. I may never do it again, but still.  It looks soooooo cool. And I have specific family I hope wins the thing since their kids are readers….. But we shall see.

What do you think? You can see several stages of the game below. Pretty nifty, huh?

 

So, I’m pretty happy with the whole thing. Now I need to start now, thinking about what I’m going to do next year….

Kate

It’s A Rabbit Hole of Wonderland Writing Prompts

Rabbit Hole

Now that is a mouthful of a title, but after someone in my writing group said she got writing prompts off of Pinterest, and another in the group telling me the same, I decided to check it out.

Down the rabbit hole was the mental hashtag that came from looking at Pinterest.


Oh my gosh! I just typed in ‘writing prompts’ into the search and hours later I think I had collected several. Way more than I would would ever need. But not enough.  And that was just with a simple search. (by hours later, I mean, I collected them over several hours, not necessarily sitting there for hours. That would have been silly…… plausible, but silly)

So clearly I never knew of this world of really, really cool prompts. I mean, I am forever writing things regularly and I have way too many things started, so why I would ever need a prompt, is beside me.  That being said, I NEED these prompts because somebody needs to write about them. Right? I mean, they are too cool to give up. Someone has to do the dirty work of writing a story on these. And if that dirty work falls to me, well then a writer’s just got to do what a writer’s got to do…..

Currently I have various things floating around in my head, and I have been writing at all kinds of things that I haven’t shared here, probably won’t share here, and even some things I won’t share with anyone.  But sometimes it’s fun to break out a mode of writing and do something totally different, and that’s where these prompts are fun. So you only write a short story to nothing. So it is something you dabble in just for fun. Such is life. Why do we color in coloring books? It doesn’t get us anywhere. It doesn’t do anything but relax us. For me, silly nothing stories relax me. Heck, running a pen full of in over the pristine page of a new piece of paper is relaxing. I want to mark it up!

The woman in the writing group who said she used Pinterest, well this last week she wrote something totally amazing, using one prompt from there, and a couple prompts I bring to the group every week. I have my ‘grab bag’ of prompts I’ve made. Words, feelings, colors, dates, numbers.  Things that could get the ideas flowing. Not so much an actual  ‘A boy walks into a bookstore, sees a girl he likes, sidles up to her and says, ‘Quick, they’re coming to get us. We gotta run.” Now how would you finish this idea?’ That is a Pinterest prompt. (one I made up, so feel free to use it anyone. I don’t care because I personally think this is a crappy idea, but hey, whatever floats your boat.) No my prompts are much more ordinary. I’ve gotten some amazing stuff from them, and so have several of the other writers from the group, but on the whole, rather boring compared to what I have just seen.

Point being, after that longish ramble there, but the woman, gosh let’s call her Sandra Dee, well I’m not sure her story is ever part of her books or anything, so I’d call it relaxing writing. Candy writing. Fluff.  But so much fun.  Some of my fluff writing has gone on to actually be something.

So prompts. I find them terribly helpful and fun and a way to break out of your mind. The backlog of stuff crowding you up and making it so you might not be able to write. People talk about writer’s block all the time.  It’s writer’s block from what you are currently writing, not necessarily writer’s block. I have writer’s block all the time, but it’s only on something I ‘Need’ to be writing. Not so much as writing goes. I can plop down anywhere and start writing just about anything. So Prompts are kind of that slap in the face inspiration, oh, well let’s write about this. And sometimes they can take you places you would never imagine.

Three months ago I pulled ‘pink flamingo’, ‘traveling trailer’, and the word Crowder from an author of a book.  I now have 8 short stories about a fictional town in Texas called Crowder.  It has serious potential to become a book of stories from this town. All humorous in some way or another.  All because I pulled three word prompts. I mean, think what you could get if you used an actual plot prompt?  Who knows. You might write the next Hunger Games or something.

So curious. How do you feel about prompts? Do you use them or mock them? What are some great places you get prompts from?  I just found this great WordPress blog for them; Promptuarium.  Check it out. A lot of them have been reposted on Pinterest, but hey, you might get some great ideas.
Enjoy the prompts I’m posting here. If you get something great and want to share on your blog, link back to me so I can read it.  And also, check out the prompts on my Pinterest board. Maybe they will inspire you to create great things.

Kate

Getting Smacked in the Face by Censorship in Today’s Society

Over the years I’ve read about censorship with books, from the Nazis burning books, to various other books being banned throughout our country for various reasons. Books, like Harry Potter and Maya Angelou’s ‘Why the Caged Bird Sings’.  Books that were banned for their content, for no other reason than the content made someone uncomfortable.

But I thought in our ‘enlightened’ time of free speech (though I have seen plenty of instances where even that right is protested by the youth of today…) that censoring books was gone. Don’t get me wrong, I have had people gasp that I read and like Harry Potter, yet they are perfectly okay with The Lord of the Rings……. crickets chirping…….. really people, there is no difference other than J.R.R. Tolkien was a catholic…   I never thought I would run into ‘hiding books’ because they were a certain kind of book.

Last week I wrote about my book display the librarian allowed me to set up, see the post Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys, and how the prudish women volunteers (yes, I am going to call them that even if the title hurts) were uncomfortable with romance books being set up on a table that had, in the past, been used in the children’s section. See the display made them uncomfortable…….

Censorship at its best all starts with someone being uncomfortable.

‘I don’t like what that book is about’,  ‘I don’t want to read about racism in our country’,  ‘I don’t like hearing about childhood rape’, ‘Sorcery is a bad thing, children can’t read about that’, I don’t have a romantic life, I don’t want to read about romance and possibly hot sex’……..  The last line is my own addition to what I feel might be the root of the problem in my case. Am I trying to be mean? No, just making an assumption. Because not wanting romance sitting out where everyone can see it, (Come on people, children are oblivious to A LOT!) says to me that you have a more psychological problem with sex and romance.  Which is rather ironic in my mind because I can bet you, had I put a display of Shakespeare’s plays out, no one would have said a thing.  Or maybe a display of Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and John Steinbeck, who are considered some of our greatest writers who wrote about love and sex! I’m sure a display of those would have been fine.enhanced-buzz-11259-1379943626-5

Again, it goes back to one’s perceived discomfort with something. As a whole, people don’t want to be around something that makes them uncomfortable. We avoid it and try to stay as far away from it as possible. As a voracious reader, one whom the volunteers at the library have dubbed ” one of our best customers”, I have read my fair share of things that have made me uncomfortable.  Eli Wiesel’s ‘Night’ comes to mind as a book I highly recommend and everyone should read it, but it gave me nightmares and a case of depression for weeks.  See, the things that tend to make me uncomfortable tend to deal with the sufferings of mankind. Not a sexy bed scene. Sure, I have read graphic murders in a mystery book— won’t read about that again— and some sadistic sorcerer murders in another young adult book — definitely won’t read that again— but that’s all you do. You put the book down.

You say, “Oh, I can’t read this anymore.” You don’t go out and try to ‘burn’ all those books you don’t want to read. You don’t tell someone they can’t read such and such because it makes YOU uncomfortable. You just deal. Life is about dealing with uncomfortable things, not letting them define you, but realizing that they are out there.

There will always be books that are going to make you uncomfortable, and books you don’t want to read.  That is your choice. Your freedom. But it is also the freedom for others to read those same books and for you to not tell them they can’t.

CensorshipNow my display was ‘ruined’ and the attitude of those involved with removing the display and the librarian compromising to the point of a form of censorship, is not okay. Granted the books are still out, albeit, high on the top shelf where no child could, gasp, reach them, but still….. Children are going to be confronted with romance books. Go to any grocery store and, gasp, the romance books are where children’s books are. The grocery store isn’t going to hid the adult books from kids. And we are not talking porn magazines and such.

This image was borrowed from Melville House, where it illustrates an article  if you click on the image. garydrobson.com

Romance, love, sex, are all part of life…… uh and the reason we have kids…..   Hiding it in itself is childish.

Again, I will clarify the fact that I kept the more questionable romances in the back of the library, I.E. Fifty Shades, etc. But to remove the other normal ones from any child’s eyes is so ridiculous. Again, it is showing your issues.

People tell me to keep fighting, Mims and Shala, thank you, and others, Dona, who understand my not wanting to offend people. My first post/rant was not posted on Facebook because I’m connected to the librarian and others that are part of the library. But as someone reminded me today, none of these volunteers cared about offending me. SO this is one post that is going up on Facebook because this is a bigger issue than just my feelings getting hurt or my display and ideas being moved.

Censorship is clearly alive and well, unfortunately so. And there is a good chance you will find that in rural areas people’s ideas and beliefs trump the right o read what we please without interference.

Not that anyone has ever stopped me from reading whatever the heck I want, but I don’t need to be judged by it either.

Oh, and the whole point of the library is to encourage people, not just children, to read, including books that have been banned……….

Kate