Friday, September 28, 2012

Stick With What You Love- Healthy Writers Post

Today I want to wish a Happy 40th Birthday to my wonderful husband.  I don't know how I was so lucky to find my perfect soul mate.  Happy Birthday sweetie!

Stick With What You Love

I joined Shallee McArthur's Healthy Writers Club last week as a way to help promote fitness in myself and throughout the blogosphere.

Here's what I'm doing to stay fit:

Even though I'm a figure skating coach by day, I don't get much time myself to skate or work out.  When I'm home I'm sitting in the chair writing or helping the kids with schoolwork.  I decided that had to change.

For awhile my husband and I tried to go to a gym together.  It was actually fun when we made it there.  But our schedules are so crazy that we couldn't make it more than about once a week.  We canceled our membership.

I tried running a couple of times, but I'm sorry, I'm just not going to ever go out running in the rain or snow, so that ended that.

Then I realized, what I really wanted was to skate.  It is the one thing I have always loved and it is great exercise.  But I have to admit, I feel a little silly sometimes as a 40 year old doing the same things as the kids.  (Don't worry, I don't wear the little skating dresses.)  Not because I'm afraid to look stupid by falling, (I'm a pro at looking stupid), but because skating is a showy sport by nature and I don't want my co-workers to think I'm trying to get attention or show them up.

But I've decided life is too short to worry about how other people will take my actions.  I have to do what I love if I want to stay motivated. (I find the same with writing, I have to write what I enjoy and not try to please others, or it becomes flat.)

So I'm setting my sights high and I'm going to work toward passing my remaining tests:
Silver and Gold Moves and
Bronze- Gold Freeskate.  (Moves are what replaced figures and Freeskate is all the fun stuff including jumps and spins)  I had already started working on it in January but I haven't been very good about making time to practice.
 I realize I may not complete this goal.  It's kind of like saying you're going to finish the Boston Marathon.  I surely won't reach it by the end of this year.  It might take until I'm 45, but at least for me, the slippery road is the journey I want to take, I'll leave running on pavement to someone else.            

 Weekly Stats:
Spent an hour on Monday practicing the Silver Moves test
Tuesday, started stretching again
Wednesday- very sore!
Thursday 15 minutes of off ice jumps

Have a great weekend everyone!

Kathy :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What Are You Waiting For? Blogfest!

One of my good blogger buddies, Fairbetty over at Fairbetty's World is hosting a blogfest today. Called, "What are you waiting for?" 

There is still time to sign up.  Here are the details from her blog:

"When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin.  It works not because it settles the question for you, but because in that brief moment when the coin is in the air, you suddenly know what you are hoping for."

I really love flash fiction, so in 300 words or less, tell me about a character you are writing (or make one up) who faces a choice... and have him/her flip a coin to make a decision.  

Just post your entry Wednesday 9/26 and leave a comment on her post so she can find you.  Two lucky entrants will receive a free 30 page critique. (She's starting a new editing business called Writing Refinery)

SO get writing!


Here's mine. It's 277 words.  This is a character from my current novel, The Hidden Truth:

Jedrik stared out the window.  There was only darkness.  He was surrounded by it.  It was better that way.  He needed darkness to think.  He waited, hoping the answer would come to him.  It was time to act, but he had two choices. 

Which one to choose?  Either one would change the path of his life forever.  Darvan had told him it was his destiny, it wasn’t a choice.  But Jedrik didn’t believe in destiny.  There was always a choice.  He just had to decide what he was willing to sacrifice.  

He wanted it all.  He wanted revenge against of all of them.  They had to pay for what they had done.  Rage burned within him.  With the power of the Pranya  he could destroy them.  If it failed, there was the chance he could lose everything.  Then again, he had nothing left to lose.  

Or he could play it safe like Darvan wanted.   It would take longer to bring them to their knees but eventually they would fall.  And Jedrik would take over all they held dear.     

The gold sheen of a coin laying on his black desk, caught his eye.  He turned it over in his fingers, entranced.  Would he really trust his fate to the flip of a coin?  Why not?

He tossed it high in the air.  Heads and he would utilize the power of the Pranya, tails and he would play it safe.  He watched the coin spin in the air.  In his heart he knew now which one he hoped it would land on.  


He smiled and let the blackness of the night seep into him.  To fill his soul.             


Hope you liked it.  

Kathy :)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Healthy Writer's Club

I found this on Friday over at Shallee McArthur's blog and wanted to share it because I thought it was such a great idea.  She started this to help us get up out of our chairs and get moving.  Here's what she has to say about it:

As writers, we hear a lot about the "butt in chair" tactic, which is great for our manuscripts, but not so great for the actual butt in the chair. Hence the Healthy Writers Club. If you're game to join the fun, you can run, walk, bike, make a healthy dinner, play tag with your kids, etc. Then, post about it on Friday (or whenever you want)

So join the fun and sign up here.  I think it will be a great way to keep each other motivated to get moving and still finish our manuscripts!

Kathy :) 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Interview with Sally Stackhouse-KoMF Winner

This morning I have the pleasure of introducing you to Sally Stackhouse from Sally's Scribbles.
Let's get right to it.

It's great to have you here Sally, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I was born in a small farming village in the South East of England in the Weald of Kent. I used to go with my mother and grandmother during the school holidays fruit picking, mainly blackcurrants and then later apple picking.

Oh I love apple picking in the fall.

My grandmother worked nine months of the year on the hops, starting with training them right up
to picking them and sorting them standing at the great big machine. I still love the smell of hops.
We used to have strings of hops on the ceilings of the ‘outhouse’ (a building attached to the main
house but with a sink and counter tops and toilet).

We moved to a large market/railway town when I was 16 when my father retired from the Royal
Navy and had to find employment in Civvy Street.

I've never smelled hops before.  That sounds like a wonderful setting for a story.
Speaking of stories, when did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I always had aspirations of writing but it never came to anything as jobs and family filled in all
my time until recently.

It's so hard to carve out time for writing.  I'm still struggling with that. When you do find time, what  inspires you to put pen to paper?

Ordinary everyday life and people, I love people watching whether I am out shopping, enjoying a meal out or generally observing people.

Oh me too!  My husband says I listen in to people's conversations far too often, but there is so much good material, I can't help it!
What books have influenced you the most?

The classics from my childhood, Heidi, Black Beauty (I cried and cried), Treasure Island (rather
violent I thought) and the classics from school, Dickens, Shakespeare, Pride and Prejudice,

Wuthering Heights and a personal favourite Louisa May Alcott and Little Women (I cried again)
and the follow up books. Then I moved on to Agatha Christie and mysteries, detective stories
and whodunits.

My favourite authors at the moment are Phillippa Gregory, Louise Penny, Jodi Picoult, Joanne
Harris, Jeffrey Deaver. Science fiction and fantasy, Arthur C. Clark, Ann McCaffrey and the
Dragon books and various others.

A real favourite is Jean M. Auel and her Clan of the Cave Bears series, they are fantastic books.
Oh to be able to write anywhere near some of these authors would be a dream come true.

Wow you have a lot of great books on your list.  Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorites and I've been wanting to read Clan of the Cave Bears.

What are you working on right now?

I have an idea for a book (don't we all) and have actually started it but I must admit I really
haven’t got very far. I love writing poetry but am now enjoying trying my hand at flash fiction.

We are certainly glad you are writing flash fiction! :)
I started doing some flash fiction pieces with my characters from my WiP, as back story and that helped me figure them out enough to keep moving ahead.

Other than finding time, what is the most challenging aspect of writing for you?

Wondering if other people will like what I am writing. Self doubt is the bane of most writers’

Hmm, yes I think we all struggle with that.  But I think if you write what is in your heart, you will find an audience.
Blogging is a great way to get your work out there and begin building a following.  How long have you been at it and what is the best part about being in the blogosphere?

I am a very new blogger and only started a blog because I wanted to join the A – Z challenge this
year which is where I came across some lovely helpful people. The best part is ‘meeting’ people
from all over the world and from all walks of life and all ages. The help bloggers give each other
generously and freely is an unexpected bonus of the blogosphere community.

I agree.  There are so many people who eagerly give their time and knowledge to help others.  It's very inspiring.  I'm finding that the best part about co-hosting the Knights of MicroFiction challenges is that I have an excuse to contact the winners and really get to know them better.  :)

Do you have any big goals for this year?

I’m not usually one for setting goals except in my head. I think the biggest one is to try and stay

Oh that's very important.  Without health it's hard to accomplish anything else.  Good luck. (and eat your veggies!) :)
What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I knit. I’ve just made 20 hats with bobbles to go on top of the Innocent drinks for AgeUK – every
bottle of drink sold ‘wearing’ a hat will have 25p donated to AgeUK.
I’ve just made a knitted lacy scarf for my god daughter and a chunky cardigan for my step
I also make and create greeting cards and Christmas cards.
I love to cook and bake.
I also have to do have to work to earn some money and I work from home as a transcriber.

Oh neat. I always wanted to learn to knit, but never got around to it.  AgeUK sounds like a good cause.
Is there anything else we should know about you?

Two years ago I had a heart attack which made me re-evaluate my life and my lifestyle and I
am so grateful to the medical staff who helped me recover and to my wonderful husband who
is such a support to me and my family. I am enjoying this period of my life as I watch my
grandchildren grow up.

That's scary.  I'm glad you have such a wonderful support system.  Friends and family can help us overcome so much.  It's great that you have time now to spend with your grandchildren, your perspective on life will help them grow to be better people.

Thanks Sally for being with us today.

Have a great weekend

Kathy :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hottie and the Beast- YA Highway

I had lots of fun with Alex's Genre Favorites blogfest on Monday.  It was great to read what everybody's favorites were.  And I met lots of new people.  Thanks Alex!

Today I'm participating in YA Highway's Road trip Wednesday.

This Week's Topic is: In honor of this month's Bookmobile book, Marissa Meyer's CINDER, name a fable or story you'd like to see a retelling of. If you're feeling creative, come up with a premise of your own!

This was surprisingly difficult.  There are just so many retellings of fairy tales out there that I couldn't come up with anything good.  Then Jess and I were talking and she gave me an idea.

  Hottie and the Beast

Gorgeous and brainy Josh Martin, an astrophysics student at Stanford University, discovers a portal to a new world.  He can't resist exploring it, but while in this strange land he is abducted by a monstrous woman with a dragon-like head and talons for hands.  He's dragged back to her enchanted lair and discovers there is something more to her than simple beastliness.

He finds himself falling for her and decides he must find a way to tame her wild side.      

What do ya think?  Well I'd better get writing!  What fairy tale would you retell?

Have a great day!

Kathy :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Genre Favorites and KoMF Winners

I hope everyone had a great weekend!  We sure had beautiful weather here in Ohio.
This morning Jess and I are announcing the two winners from the 7th Knights of MicroFiction.

Congratulations to T.Z. Wallace and Sally's Scribbles!  

Ladies we will be emailing you with more information so we can feature you on our blogs.  Thanks so much to everyone who played along this time.    

And now for the main event of the day...
Alex J. Cavanaugh is hosting another blogfest.  This time it is all about your favorite genres.  So head on over and sign up if you want to join in on the fun.  It's a great way to meet lots of new wonderful people!

One blogfest, four favorites!
List your favorite genre of:
And a guilty pleasure genre from any of the three categories!

Favorite movie genre:  Action/Adventure

Growing up with two brothers influenced me more than I thought.  When we went to movies it was either James Bond, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Star Wars/Star Trek.  I fell in love with the fast pace and quirky moments of humor.  My current favorite:  Avengers

Favorite music genre:  Almost anything except Jazz

This one was really tough for me because I love all sorts of music.  Classical and opera top my list but I don't usually listen to those while I'm writing.  Lately I've really gotten into the music of Red, Evanesence and Within Temptation.  For some reason they speak to my writer's soul and get my creativity flowing.  My current favorite (I keep putting it on repeat):  Hymn for the Missing by Red

Favorite book genre:  Historical non-fiction

Even as a kid I soaked up history.  I was enchanted by the Arthurian legends and while that might not be history, it got me excited about all things in the past.  I moved on to Middle Age Europe and then the French Revolution.  Lately, I've added some Asian history to the mix.   But recently I've been trying to widen my horizons and I've really enjoyed some sci-fi and fantasy as well.  Current favorite:  Taj Mahal:  Passion and Genius at the Heart of the Moghul Empire

My guilty pleasure:  Comedy movies

Anything that makes me laugh so hard that I cry.  It could be romantic comedies or spoofs or even stand up comedians.  Current favorite:  Jim Gaffigan's King Baby

Make sure you check out Alex's blog to find all the other participants.  Have a great Monday!

Kathy :)         

Saturday, September 15, 2012

KoMF -Morning News

Before I get to the KoMF I have to wish my daughter Jess a Happy 16th Birthday today!  I'm so proud of you Jess!!

Ok now on to business.  Today is the deadline for the 7th Knights of MicroFiction.  Here are the prompts again in case you missed them.  The object is to pick one TELLING sentence and turn it into a scene where you SHOW it instead.

Here are the sentences to choose from:
  • It was the most interesting birthday ever. (This is in honor of Jess's 16th birthday on Saturday! Happy Birthday Jess! :))
  • He/she's so obnoxious.  
  • It was dark.
  • The meal was delicious.
  • He/she was in a bad mood.

You have until the end of today (11:59 pm) to post if you want to join us.  Just add your link to the list on the previous post.  Jess and I will pick two winners by the 17th and  they will be featured on our blogs.

Here's mine:

Morning News

The bittersweet cafe au lait brought me to life.  The little coffee shop on Walnut Street buzzed with the morning rush.  I pushed my way through the crowded room and sat at my usual table, the one with the little heart scratched in the surface which surrounded the names,“Chad and Amy”.  It seemed out of place in an upscale java joint, that’s why I liked it.  

I scrolled through the headlines on my tablet.  Not much going on in the world today.  The top item was “Reality star, Jennifer Joyce brings judges to tears and wows America.”  1 million hits. Wow.

I glanced at the time.  It was only 7:00 am.  El would be here soon.  I hadn’t seen her in years. Why did she wanted to meet me?  I couldn’t imagine.    

A flurry of activity caught my attention.  I looked up.  El was at the door sporting skin tight black leather pants, a gold tank top and 5 inch heels.  In her arms she carried her Gucci bag and a miniature maltese puppy dressed in a cashmere sweater and a pink bow.  

A college kid with a backpack rushed forward to open the door for her.  She flashed a grin at him.  “Oh thank you,” she said strolling in and swaying her hips like a runway model.  Every head turned to gawk at her.  She pretended not to notice and called out to me, “Sami, how are you dear?”

I cringed at the volume.  It was like she wanted everyone to hear her.  I motioned for her to come over and sit, hoping the excitement would die down.  Of course it didn’t.  She sauntered toward me and picked out every good looking guy on the way to put her hands on and say, “Oh excuse me.”

I could almost see the drool slipping from their lips.  Ugggh.  I wanted to melt into the wall and hide.

She sat down and promptly displayed her left hand in front of my face.  The glare off the giant diamond almost blinded me.  Oh that’s why she wanted to see me.  I smiled and took her hand pretending to inspect it.  “Wow El, congratulations.  Who’s the lucky guy?”

“Oh Sami, I can hardly believe it.”  Her smile was so big I thought her the top of her head might fall off.  “It’s your brother...we’re going to be sisters! Yay!”                

     It was way too early for that news.


Hope you enjoyed it. Can you guess which prompt I used? Have a great weekend!

Kathy :)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Knights of MicroFiction #7 Prompt

It's time for another round of the Knights of MicroFiction.  The Knights of MicroFiction is a bloghop hosted by me and Jess on the 15th of every month (except April, becasue the A-Z Challenge makes things crazy!).  We came up with it as a way to meet new friends, help build the blogging community and (hopefully) spark your creativity! 

We reveal the prompts on the 13th and you have until the end of the 15th (11:59 pm) to post your reply.  Just sign up on the linky list below. 
By the 17th Jess and I will choose two winners to be featured on our blogs.  We really hope you guys have fun and meet lots of new people!  We can't wait to read what you come up with!

This time we are giving you 5 TELLING sentences to choose from.  The object is to pick a sentence and create a scene in 500 words or less that SHOWS what the sentence is about.

For bonus points, don't include the sentence you chose (or any alteration of it) in your scene. Your readers should be able to guess which one you described!

Here are the sentences to choose from:
  • It was the most interesting birthday ever. (This is in honor of Jess's 16th birthday on Saturday! Happy Birthday Jess! :))
  • He/she's so obnoxious.  
  • It was dark.
  • The meal was delicious.
  • He/she was in a bad mood.
We can't wait to see what you come up with!

Kathy & Jess :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


We had a wonderful time in California!  I thought I'd share a quick photo journey with you.

We started off by driving from the airport to Monterey.  While driving we listened to the book on cd the Life of Pi, about a boy's journey as a shipwreck survivor in the Pacific.
In Monterey we enjoyed the sea and its many creatures.  We got up close and personal to otters, seals, sea lions and we saw dolphins and whales from a distance.
Braving my fear of the sea to go Sea Kayaking  


Mariposa Grove looked like Endor!

Next we headed to Yosemite where we hiked among 2000 year old trees in the Mariposa Grove.  It was a long and rather steep trail for our younger ones especially on a 95 degree day, they really wanted to turn back before we got to the end.  Despite complaints that they might perish on the trail, we convinced them to push on.  By the time we finished they were amazed and proud of themselves that they had made it.
Finally at the farthest point in our hike
Alyssa and Ryan aren't quite as thrilled
This is Tunnel Tree which fell over.
We rewarded them with a nice lunch and an ice cream (and my normally small eaters ate everything on their plates!)

The kids loved an afternoon we spent on the Merced River banks in view of El Capitan.  A little duck befriended us.  She waddled right up and hung around like she was part of our family.  We named her Ethel.  The water was beautiful and no one else was around.  It was like our own little private beach.

The girls enjoying the views of El Capitan
in the Merced River.
Tunnel View

For the last part of the trip we drove to Palo Alto.  Here we visited Stanford University, where Jessica and Ryan want to go to school.  Alyssa is still undecided.  My husband and I had lived here 16 years ago when he went to graduate school.  So we showed the kids all around campus and where we lived, we even saw some of the people I had worked with.  We also had the chance to meet up with some old friends.
Stanford  from Palm Drive
Stanford Memorial Church in main quad

In Alcatraz Prison

We went up to San Francisco and hopped on a boat to go see Alcatraz.  The kids were fascinated by the audio tour which uses the voices of the real prisoners and prison guards to guide you and tell the story of the prison.  They were certain we would encounter the ghosts of the three escaped prisoners.  We made sure to get back on the boat before it was dark.

Golden Gate Bridge
We drove back to the airport and were spellbound by the end of the Life of Pi.  If you haven't read it we all highly recommend it!

All in all we had a great trip.

Kathy :)

P.S. I had been hoping to get around to your blogs while relaxing, but the internet was so spotty for most of the trip I couldn't, so I'll try to make it up to all of you in the next couple weeks.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

IWSG Characters in the Mist

It's the first Wednesday of the month which means it is time for Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group.  It is a place where we can come together to voice our fears, insecurities and also share our succeses? Check out all the other entries this month here.

Well we're still in California but between the sea kayaking and hiking, I've had a lot of time to think about my character development.

Some of them are still hanging in the mist.  That's the way I explain it anyway.
They are there but I haven't uncovered their complete souls yet.  They're foggy and ghost-like.  I don't have the power to see their entire form, only a whisper of their existence.  I'm blinldy groping for them.

I have to make myself see.  They deserve to be known.  But how do I breathe life into their flesh and pull them from the fog?

I don't know.  I'm attempting to write back stories for most of my characters.  I hope this helps me uncover who they really are.

Do you have tips on how you bring your characters to life?

Have a great week!

Kathy :)