Friday, June 29, 2012

Vacation Update

Thank you so much for all the great birthday wishes!  What a great way to start off being 40!

In other news, I will be away for a few days as we are heading up North to Michigan.  I'm hoping to spend my time relaxing, fishing, reading, writing and hanging out with the family.  There's no internet where we're headed so I'm planning a couple posts in advance.  I'll try to respond to everyone when we return.

Have a wonderful 4th of July holiday !  

This is what I hope to be doing: fishing with my 90 yr old grandpa!
Kathy :) 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mile Marker 40

We all pass big mile markers on our drive through life, this morning I sped by number 40.  Some days it seems my car is racing past the blurred landscape of time; but I don't really want to slow down.  I love the wind in my hair.
I don't feel any different than I did yesterday.  I never do.  I don't feel wise; only now do I realize how much I don't know.  My son asked me if it was good or bad that I was leaving the 30s behind.  I don't know.  I'm neither sad nor happy.  I am thrilled that I'm not the 20 year old me anymore. (well maybe I'd like the 20 yr old body back)  Now, I have more confidence, more experience, and more focus.
As a birthday present to myself I've decided to come up with a short list of goals for my 40th year.  Here they are:

Finish writing and editing my novel
Work toward passing my last two skating tests
Read 60 books
Work on actively gaining knew knowledge every week: by watching iTunes U courses, studying a new language, or working on Khan Academy exercises 

I'm sure new goals will pop up throughout the year, but I would be delighted if I accomplished all of these by the time I pass 41.  

Have a great day!  

I'd love to hear your goals for the year!

Kathy :) 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Weekend Fun and Booker Award!

Happy Monday everyone!  I can't believe that June is almost over!  Where did it go?  

I hope everyone had a great weekend.
We decided to do something a little different yesterday.  We drove down to a biking/hiking path in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and took the kids on an 11 1/4 mile bike ride! I know it's not much for avid bikers, but we are not what you would call experienced. It was the farthest any of us had ever ridden.  Ryan had just learned to ride his bike about 2 months ago!  

It was a beautiful ride through forests, river basins and meadows.  We saw a number of turtles, some ducks, 2 blue herons and 2 bald eagles.  

The kids did a fantastic job!  Ryan fell off and skinned his knee once, but after a little hug from me he was back up and leading us down the path again.  On our drive back home they all fell asleep.    


 Last week I was given the Booker Award by Alyssa. Thanks Alyssa! To accept this award I have to share the top 5 books I've ever read and pick 5 others to receive the award.  I hope you have a chance to enjoy reading some of them.  

1. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
This biography is a fantastic look at one of our greatest Presidents and the men he surrounded himself with.

2. Elizabeth I by Margaret George
In this in depth novel, Margaret George tells the fascinating story of the virgin queen through the eyes of Elizabeth and Elizabeth's conniving cousin Lettice.  

3. Freedom at Midnight by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre
A heartbreaking historical work documenting India's struggle for independence from Great Britain.

4. Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution by Michelle Moran
A wonderful novel, showing a different side of the French Royal family than we usually see.  It's a heartbreaking tale of what occurs when insanity rules.

5. The Great Upheaval:  America and the Birth of the Modern World by Jay Winik
This historical work by Mr. Winik weaves together the important events happening in  America, France and Russia during the period 1788-1800.  It leaves us with a new perspective of a time past that was as interconnected as our own.    

And here are the 5 lucky bloggers who I will bestow this award upon:

McKenzie McCann
Lynn Proctor
Tobi Summers
Rosalind Adam

What are you reading this summer?  What is your favorite book of all time?  Did you have some fun this weekend?

Kathy :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Interview with Nick Wilford

Today Nick Wilford, from Scattergun Scribblings, is here as one of our Knights of MicroFiction winners.  

Here's Nick on his recent cruise!
It's great to have you here Nick.  Let's get started.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Probably about age 16. I'd always written little stories and plays, but my dream was to be an actor. I slowly discovered that I preferred being behind the scenes to centre stage! For the next ten years, though, I would start a lot of things but rarely finished them because they didn't live up to what I envisaged in my head. I finally took the plunge and started my first novel in March 2007, wanting a big project that I would have to commit to. That book took me nearly three years to write, and I don't think it will ever be published, but what I learnt was that you have to get past the fear of writing rubbish if you want to get anywhere!

I hear you're working on a new novel.  Can you tell us a little bit about it?

I find it really hard to categorise my work, but the best way I can describe it is as a psychological thriller. It's about a woman who runs a man over causing him to suffer amnesia, then tries to pass herself off as his wife. There's no title yet - I'm the absolute worst when it comes to titles! If I have a sudden brainwave on that front, expect a breathlessly excited blog post. :)

Wow!  That sounds exciting.  I'm sure a great title will come to you when you least expect it.  So aside from titles, what is the most challenging aspect of writing for you?

 It's the letting go and not worrying about fine phrasing in a first draft - just getting something finished. I'm at that stage now with my WIP and there's still quite a lot to resolve. So, my answer is letting go and endings!

It is difficult to let go and just get your ideas down, but so important.  You can always take things in new directions after that.  
Has your blog Scattergun Scribblings, helped improve your writing in any way?

I started my blog in October 2011, on the advice of my sister who works in PR. She also told me to join Twitter but that's something I have yet to get round to! I think it is hard to say if it has improved my writing, but I certainly try to pick up as much advice as I can and there are certain things I now bear in mind, or try to avoid, based on posts I've read. What's been the biggest change is the support I now feel from fellow writers and just being able to converse with people who are going through the same things as me - the camaraderie is amazing. When I was writing my first book, I knew zero other writers. I'm glad I started the blog because sometimes, a kind comment can be just what you need when things feel hopeless!    

We do have a great community of writers here, don't we?  It is amazing what one nice comment can do for your soul.   
So do you have any big goals for this year?

Finishing this book is the immediate goal - I'm going to try to get it polished and edited over the summer, and I've been fortunate enough to meet some CPs online to help in that regard. Depending on their feedback, a total rewrite might be in order, so I can't really set an end date for when I'll be completely finished! However, I really want to try NaNo in November. I never thought I could do that before but now I'm at a stage where I feel it could be within my grasp.

I've also got a modest number of short stories, some published, that I'd like to collect into an ebook and publish over the summer. Depending how that goes, I might well end up self-publishing this novel, but I haven't made a decision on that either way yet. I'd also like to write a few more short stories too!

Sounds like a great plan. Good luck and make sure to let us know when that ebook collection comes out so we can add it to our "To Read" lists right away.  
Speaking of reading, what books have influenced you the most?

Books that I read as a teenager seem to be the ones that have made the biggest impact on me - 1984 by George Orwell, Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut, and The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks. I don't think they're anything like what I write, but I look to them as examples of what is possible in literature. 

Great choices.  I loved 1984.
So what do you like to do when you're not writing?

I am generally doing all the things a stay-at-home dad does - ferrying children to and from school, mopping floors, loading and unloading the dishwasher. And of course, reading, blogging and catching up with my wife, who works a very stressful full-time job. My life is very average, so I like to let my creative side out in the form of written words!

That sounds a lot like my normal day.  
Is there anything else we should know about you? 

 I'm a sucker for game shows, pub quizzes and any form of trivia. Pointless information seems to occupy most of my brain. Things like remembering when someone's coming to service the boiler - not so much

Maybe you just remember the interesting things.  :)  
Well that's all the time we have for today.  It was great to have you here Nick, thanks for stopping by.

Thanks for having me.

Make sure to stop by Nick's blog and tell him "hi".  And don't forget to check out  Jess's blog for an interview with our other winner Esther Jones.

Have a great Tuesday!

Kathy :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Breakthrough Breakout Party!

Today is the Free Kindle Download party for Stephen Tremp's book Breatkthrough!  Congratulations Stephen! You can download it for free on Amazon today and tomorrow.  Head on over to his blog for a big celebration.

In a world where the Information Age is moving at breakneck speed, breakthroughs in areas of science that were once fodder for science fiction are now becoming a part of our everyday life.
A group of graduate students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology have stolen a breakthrough in opening and stabilizing Einstein-Rosen Bridges, or wormholes, as they are commonly known, that allows them to transport people from one location to another. Their goal is to assassinate any powerful politician and executive controlling the world's banking system that would use this technology for their own greedy gain rather than the advancement of mankind.
Synopsis from

This is the first book in a trilogy of fast paced sci-fi adventure.  Grab your copy today!

Do you follow Stephen?  What books are you reading right now? Did you have a great Father's Day weekend?

Kathy :)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

KoMF Winners!

Yay! It's time to announce the winners of this month's Knights of MicroFiction.  Thanks to everyone who participated!  Jess and I loved reading everyone's entries.

The winners are:

Nick Wilford and Esther Jones!

Great job!  As a prize Jess and I will be featuring them on our blogs either Monday or Tuesday!  So head on over and congratulate them.

and  HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all those great dads out there!

Kathy :)

Friday, June 15, 2012


It's time for the Knights of MicroFiction!  To join in, just post your entry by 11:59 EST on the 15th and leave a comment here with your post link.  Then go check out as many entries as you can.  By the 17th Jess and I will choose two winners to be featured on our blogs.

Here's the prompt:
Write a 200 word or less, flash fiction beginning with this phrase:  Her eyes shot open....
You are free to change the gender and the POV if you want to. 

Here's mine.  

Her eyes shot open as consciousness flooded her mind.  She remembered where she was.  The sounds of battle raged on around her.  But she was alive and aside from a nasty bump on her head, still in one piece.  Springing to her feet she grabbed her sword and scanned the battlefield.

There, not 100 yards away, was Jedrik.  Rage burned inside her as she watched him bark orders from safety while men were slaughtered in every direction.  The field between them was strewn with the bodies of her people.  She would avenge them.   She no longer feared him. 

Dodging arrows and flailing swords she sprinted across the ground slippery with the blood of her countrymen.  She was almost there.  The tip of her sword raised, she lunged at him.  But he had seen the movement and spun around to face her.

"There is nothing you can do, I have already won," he said waving his hand as if dismissing her, "this battle is simply a formality."    

 "You will not take another breath," she hissed.

A twisted smile crossed his face.  Had he manipulated her again?  Could he win even in death? 
She had no other choice.  She swung her sword.    


I hope you enjoyed it.  Make sure to check out all the other great entries.
These awesome people have already entered:

Aldrea Alien
Fair Betty
Nick Wilford
Ashna Banga

If you're joining in today, just leave your link in the comments of this post.  

Do you have any fun plans for the weekend?

Kathy :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

KOMF Prompt and Construct a Couple Launch Day!

Today is the 13th of the month which means, Jess and I reveal the prompt for the Knights of MicroFiction!  To join in, just post your entry before the end of the 15th and leave a comment with your post link.  Then go check out as many entries as you can.  By the 17th we will choose two winners to be featured on our blogs.

Ok here it is:

Write a 200 word or less, flash fiction beginning with this phrase:  Her eyes shot open....
You are free to change the gender and the POV if you want to.

Have fun!  I can't wait to read what you come up with. :)  


In other news, today is launch day for the lovely Talli Roland's new book Construct a Couple.  It's only .99c on or.99p on, or you can enter to win an e-book copy at Trashionista.

And check out my new page titled Author Buddies.  I wanted to create a place to showcase all of your talent (I got this idea from the Ninja Captain Alex Cavanaugh).  SO if you have a book you would like me to add please let me know.

Are you joining us for the KOMF?  Have you read any of Talli's books yet? Do you have other news you'd like to share?

Kathy :)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Further Behind

I love going to the library. Being surrounded by adventures real and imaginary. I feel like a hungry mouse in a cheese shop staring up at all the different flavors.  There are so many to choose from.  All those stories waiting to be read.  I grab all sorts of books until my arms are bursting.  A little history, a dash of science, a pinch of fiction.  

But every time I leave I feel further behind.  Further behind because while searching the shelves I've discovered new areas of interest or deeper analysis of current pursuits.  Now, not only do I have a huge stack of books waiting for me on the nightstand, but I also am aware of what I have left behind.   Adventures that will have to wait.

Kathy :)

Oh don't forget to stop back for The Knights of MicroFiction this week!  Jess and I will be posting the details on June 13th.

I did finish Alex Cavanaugh's book CassaStar, this weekend.  I loved it!  If you haven't read it yet make sure to get a copy.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Phone Messages

Ok I realized what I'm really insecure about yesterday...leaving phone messages.

I had to call an acquaintance whom I hadn't talked to since we'd moved out to Seattle and back in October.  I'd been meaning to call her for quite awhile, but hadn't gotten around to it.  Now it seemed awkward to tell her "Hi we've been back for 7 months, but this is the first time I'm calling you."  I don't know why I procrastinate, it only makes things more difficult.

Anyway, I picked up the phone and called her.  I listened anxiously to the ringing.  Before I could prepare a message in my head, her answering machine beeped.  It was waiting for a reply.  I awkwardly stumbled through my words.

"Uh, hi, just wanted to let you know we're back, give us a call and uh we can have a chat."

I glanced up at my daughters and they were rolling with laughter.  With all my strength, I suppressed my own laugh.

"Our number is still....." I had to stop, take a deep breath, and focus "...uh ###-####".  Finally I finished the message and hung up.  I must have sounded like a moron.  We laughed until we cried....and I cursed the answering machine.  

Have a great weekend!

Kathy :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Insecure Writers Support Group

It's the first Wednesday of the month so that means it's time for the Insecure Writers Support Group, started by Alex J. Cavanaugh.  It's a place where we can share our fears and successes and help encourage one another on this wonderful journey of writing.  Click here to join or read all the other great posts.

Today I have a success!

This morning I hit the magical number of 50,000 words written in my YA fantasy (50081 to be exact)!  I'm over half done!  I can't believe it.

When Jess encouraged me to start this project, I wasn't sure I would make it this far.  I don't get a lot of uninterrupted writing time, but somehow I managed to carve out a little bit each day.  Some days the words poured out of me, other days they had to be extracted from me like pulling wisdom teeth.

Those difficult days made me wonder whether or not to keep going.  But I did and now I'm determined to finish.  I just hope I don't have 50,000 words of garbage! (ok that's my insecurity coming in!)

What recent successes have you had? How do you manage your time to get your writing in? Do you ever fear you have a lot of words, but not much substance?

Kathy :)  

Monday, June 4, 2012

Birthday Boy

My son turned 8 yesterday.

He's a little man now, with his own interests and ideas. I don't know how it happened.  Only yesterday he was a tiny wrinkly bundle swaddled tightly in a blanket.

Now he teaches me computer keyboard shortcuts and builds Lego ships in ten minutes that would take me hours.

I don't want to wish the years away, they already pass too quickly, but I can't wait to see what kind of man he becomes.

Happy Birthday Ryan!  Hope all your wishes come true! :)

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend.  Did you do anything special?

Kathy :)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Pushing the Boundaries

I'm not what you would call a daring person. Sure I push the boundaries every once in a while like when I went white water rafting down the Ganges River, but for the most part I choose the safe bet.

Take yesterday for example.  I was driving Jess and me home from her violin lesson, a 45 minute drive.  The little gas light had bleeped orange on our way to the lesson.  But I knew we had enough to get us back home, so I wasn't too worried.  Until we got stuck in rush hour traffic. We sat on the road inching along and I watched the orange needle continue to sink past the red line.  I thought, we have enough to get us home, I'll just get gas there. I was in an adventurous mood. What's the worst thing that could happen?  We would run out of gas...and that would make for an interesting blog post.

But was it worth the risk? Did I really want to make a life decision so I could write about it?  I let fate decide.  There was only one gas station left.  The next one was 30 minutes away.  If I could work my way to the right lane and turn into the gas station I would, if I couldn't get over,  I would trust that my tank was big enough.  Just as I needed to pull over, the big truck beside me turned off and left a large gap for me to get in.  I pulled into the gas station.

I examined my decision.  If life is about experience, had I made mine less full by being cautious? or was it simply the smart choice? Did I avert disaster by playing it safe?  Maybe I "experienced" it in my mind anyway by visualizing the scenario of being stuck on the side of the road.

I'll never know the answers to these questions but the rest of the drive home was much more relaxing.  Jess and I talked and I didn't have to even glance at the gas gauge again.  I'll have to push the boundaries another time.

Do you play it safe? or are you the big risky type? Have you taken a risk you wish you hadn't, or vice versa?

Have an awesome weekend!  And Happy June 1st! :)

Kathy :)