Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Memories, clog the corners of my mind, misty Maw Maw colored memories . . .

The changeling-water laughed, and whispers flicked my ear. Whispers that I ignored. My head hula-hooped, but it began to feel good in a dangerous sort of way—maybe that was the magic. I was beginning to feel right happied up all a sudden. All my fear flew out to the wind with a big whoopee. Virginia Kate Book 2

Though Tender Graces is fiction, there were moments when real life slipped in, sometimes on accident, sometimes on purpose. Sometimes old memories worked their way into Tender Graces, and I'd manipulate them. Though, most times I just made things up. Sometimes I'd later read what I'd written and feel as if it was familiar, but I couldn't recall to mind an event.
This photo "inspired" a photo I did use in TG, except the kids, Micah & Andy & Virginia Kate were sitting on the couch in the living room in the holler. I'm not sure where this real photo of me and my two brothers was taken.

Then there is this photo! This woman inspired Mee Maw. The photo says it all. My Maw Maw would have a fit if she knew I as plastering this photo for all to see. For, she didn't have her wig on, which is probably what she is doing here, saying "I ain't ready -- what do you think you are doing? I don't have my wig on....!" My Maw Maw was quite the character and I get plenty of Mee Maw stories and inspiration from her - even thought Mee Maw is her own person, she carries the spirit of my grandmother Eunice.
Of course, I had the made up photos that I inserted in the story, but I wonder sometimes if they come from an embedded memory.
Here is another review of Tender Graces; thank you, Gautami.
I am rushing by this morning. 80,000 words and growing. Of course, I add in and sometimes I still take away, but I am making good progress on VKBook2. So, hi ho hi ho it's off to work I go. . .

Monday, June 29, 2009

So we gotta say goodbye much this summer....

I haven't been blogging about all the "celebrity" deaths, because I don't blog about "celebrities" and because, well, there is so much of it I tend to pull away from it. It's just not my thing. Then yesterday I'm watching the news and see that Billy Mays died. I think I was just as shocked about his death as I was with Michael Jackson's death....yes, MJ is a much bigger than life icon, but all the same . . .

I turned the channel every time Billy Mays came on - or I'd "mute" the button, but it was always with a bit of a wink and a grin. And, well . . . I feel sadness at his death. Young, verile, strong looking Billy Mays. Younger than me by two years. Healthy looking . . . at the top of his game. *sigh*

I used to write these "letter to" days on Wednesdays on my old MSN blog. I wrote one to Mays- it was all in fun, as those letters were. I was reading it last night . . . just made me feel more sad. The wink and laugh, and now . . .

Well, now I wish I could hear that big loud voice again. Damn. What a world; what a world. It's not that I can grieve over these "celebrities" as a friend or lover or family member, for I do not and cannot and do not pretend that I ever could- I have lost my own and losing your own is a feeling all its own, a feeling that is uniquely YOURS when you lose one of your own; no, I do not feel that kind of grief or sadness . . . the sadness comes from people who are removed from us, yet so very There in our lives. We see their faces, hear their voices, come to know only a part of who they are: their personifications. We do not know these people, not really. Yet, we can mourn for how they make us feel, or what they represent, or as a part of an era or time in our lives.

Ah well. What a few weeks this has been, eh?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

On the blog road again, just can't wait to get on the blog road again!

I'm coming 'round to visit you all this morning. If you don't see me, then know it's some glitch with Blogger.
Many times I'll get an error message that kicks me out of a blog, but someone gave me the advice to just hit the back arrow to take me back to the blog, and it work! However, sometimes there are other glitches and I don't know what to do about those (like the multiplying page -that's the most frustrating one -I have to restart my computer to stop it!).

So . . . I'll see you all soon. Jumping in my virtual Boopmobile and vrooom vrooom vrooom . . .

PS GMR is in a world premier play called "Til Beth Do Us Part," and here's an article in the Asheville Citizen Times.
PSS - already I am having problems getting to some of your blogs! I just went to Barry's and to Writer's Porch and both blogs gave me a mostly blank page or all blank - argh! Blogspot has been really weird lately with all these glitches.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Isn't she loverly, isn't she mud-erful? isn't she pweshush....

Ah, mud packs. Except when mudpacks dry, and you are watching something funny on TV you find that laughing is a bit of a problem...haw!

This mudpack is a nice shade of green, but I don't that that lovely green came through in the photo much....teehee....

So, I've been trying different things. Like, the "self tanner" by Jergens. I've been using the Daily one, and after a couple days I saw a "tan" emerging, and after the week it suggested, there was a "tan!" I was surprised at how natural the color looks, but since it reacts to your own skin, that makes a difference. When I used to tan "back in the day" I rarely burned and would get a really dark color. It's the first self-tanner I have tried since the early 90's when they were much messier and much orangey-er.

I also bought this thing where you attach a pad to it and it vibrates and you rub it on your face. It's the cheaper version of the one I really wanted - huhn, I think I should just buy what I want but sometimes it is hard for me to spend money on myself (is this a woman who has been a mom thing? or a woman who has been in poor circumstances before thing?), but the cheaper version does at least massage my face and I feel all soft after, the cheaper version is Nutrogena Wave.

I painted my toes a bronze color - although the bright blue they were was nice *grin* I was ready for a change. I never used to paint my toes until a friend looked at me with one eyebrow raised and said, "You should be painting your toes - bare toenails are blah and ugly . . . " Huhn, well...so, I painted my toes and after I began doing that for a time, my bare toenails just look....wrong! *haw!* However, I never paint my fingernails- and if I do, they always end up chipped and ugly, so I just leave them bare.

Every night I wash my face and put moisterizer on it. I used to just grab whatever and slap it in, but lately I have been trying to get into a regular routine. I've been experimenting with some of the Olay line, and am pretty pleased with it. Their Daily Regenerating Serum is really nice - when you put it on clean skin, your skin feels so soft; nice stuff!

I'm not a 'girly girl' but I am finding that I like taking care of my skin and trying new things. And believe me, I am "no fuss" and have always been no fuss, but at 52, my skin has changed some and I'm trying to accommodate those changes.

I take calcium capsules twice a day, and a B-complex, a cranberry capsule, and a fish oil once a day.

So, what new product have you tried lately and liked or wish you'd never spent money on? Do you have a routine for your skin care? What's new out there you've tried, or do you have old favorites? Do you take vitamins? Is there something you splurge on - like facials or massages (I have never had a massage and the one facial I had I have mixed feelings about.) Do you get pedicures or manicures or do it yourself (I've had two pedis and one mani my entire life!)? I'm curious!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday Shoot Outs: Colors of the Rainbow

I have been trying to do the "Friday Shoot Outs" for weeks now, and finally I am going to attempt this. The"theme" is Colors of the Rainbow. Barry at an Explorers Life has a blurb explaining about the Friday Shoot outs and how it started small and has been gaining momentum...I think it is a fabulous idea. More links and things about Friday Shoot outs later.

Here goes, my first try at Friday Shoot Outs! Colors of the rainbow. . . Now, since I didn't see the theme until this morning (laughing - okay, I'll do better with the next one) - I will have to interpret it with the photos I took yesterday and a few I took last week . . .

This was actually a mistake I made with my camera! But I just loved the colors so I kept it.

Flowers at Lake Junaluska walk & the sunrise from my porch - what color!

Lake Junaluska Walk . . . Somewhere over the rainbow, Kat lives in her cove!
What are the colors of the rainbow you see right now?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

You put this word in and you take that scene out, you put dialogue in, then you shake it all about!

VKBook2 is framed out. I have the beginning roughly formed; I have the middle that needs filling out; I have the ending chapters and even better--an ending sentence!--which surprised me as I never have ending sentences until the end but this is the ending sentence and I knew it when I saw it. I have around 77,0000 words now and would like to have more, but it is what it is. I want to add at least 20,000 more, but I am not going to think of "words" but instead just write. However, it's nice to see that number, since it seems not that long ago I threw out 30,000 words and at that time had less than 50,000. la tee dah....wheeeeeeeeeeeee!

Now comes the filling out and the adding and subtracting and multiplying and dividing. This is a fun part, too - I'm not at the stage where I am looking at it with too critical an eye; it is still a creative fun part. I add dialogue, scenes, etc. But with a "beginning, middle, end" I have more of a hindsight and foresight so to speak, and in that way can better see the entire picture of where Virginia Kate is going and has been in this second book. I have to keep in mind a few things in Tender Graces (VK book 1). I can move things around if I need to or whatever. It's a living breathing manuscript.

It is almost the end of June and I can't believe it. Thank you for continuing to stop by. I do try to visit everyone at least on Sundays - I hope you will bear with me as I try to complete this second novel and get it to Bellebooks by summer's end!
My brother sent me a photo of my adoptive mom, my dad, two of my brothers, and me one summer in Shreveport, La. Look at the teetored mailbox! Look how rumpbled and wearied we look. I wonder why we look so rumpled and weary in this photo? Do you have a story to tell about us in this photo?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

you got to stop, listen, what's that sound . . . (whispers . . .)

. . . there is a woman, who wakes up beside her husband, and goes to the bathroom, and as she relieves herself, she sighs, and gets up, washes her hands, washes her faces, and tries not to look into the mirror, but she does, accidentally she looks into the woman in the mirror, and all the days of her life slam into her, and she pushes back her hair, and listens to the breathing of her husband, and suddenly, the world tilts and rearranges and she thinks of the woman she was meant to be...she pulls on old clothes not fashionable...and she slips out of the bathroom, down the hall, out the front door, down the sidewalk, her feet slapping against the cement--where is she going?
Where is she going? . . . you tell me . . . I want to know . . . where do your words take this woman? Listen to the whispers . . .

Last night, I held a novel to read. I opened it, and read and enjoyed and wondered about the author, what they were thinking since they'd sent their words to the world and if they know how beautiful they are, and that at that very moment, I was reading their words and they'd never know me, never know I smiled, and then closed the book with satisfaction, turned out the light, and dreamed.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I love it yeah yeah yeah, I love it yeah yeah yeah, and with a job like that, I know I should be glad....

“I often think that the best writing is done after you’ve forgotten what you wanted to say, but end up putting something down anyway just as though it were the actual evidence of your original intention.”—Clarence Major

This has happened to me with my fiction, and with the columns/restaurant reviews I used to write for publications. When I sat down to write, the idea would not come, the original thought would not work. The words stuck. Nothing revealed from the original thought. But…I kept writing, putting down the other words that wanted to come anyway, and soon something else emerged, something that did work. I kept going until I “finished” and when I was done, I went back to the beginning and took out what I needed to of the original thought and left the rest as the revision for my finished piece. Sometimes this happens. Sometimes our mind is changed before even we know it needs to be changed. There are many times when we must follow where we are led. What a journey! This is living, folks. This is writing. This is manipulating the language without constraint—ah.

The use of point of view is to bring the reader into immediate and continuous contact with the heart of the story and sustain him there.”—Tom Jenks

Your reader will see and feel and be through the eyes of the character(s) who is(are) speaking. To me, the characters are not just the heart of the story—they ARE the story.

The poor novelist constructs his characters, he controls them and makes them speak. The true novelist listens to them and watches them function; he eavesdrops on them even before he knows them. It is only according to what he hears them say that he begins to understand who they are.”— André Gide

Those who know me have heard me say and I will say over and again say—listen to your characters. Let them show you where they want to go. Yes, sometimes we must manipulate as the author, but only when you allow your characters to be who they are, and not who you wish them to be, will everything begin to make sense, to pull together. This goes for non-fiction, as well—don’t try to tell us who you are writing about, show us through their actions, and play with the language, fudge a bit if you have to. Just because it is non-fiction, doesn’t mean you can’t embellish a bit—for isn’t life one big story told a different way with each telling? (And don’t be afraid to use dialogue in your essay.)

Surely the test of a novel’s characters is that you feel a strong interest in them and their affairs,—the good to be successful, the bad to suffer failure.”—Mark Twain

If you are not interested in your characters, why should anyone else be? Alternatively, If you do not believe in your work, why should anyone else?—believe me, it will show. The reader always knows. Give them your best. Give them the truths—and this word “truth” means more than what first appears to you.

I was never too interested in starting with “ideas” and applying images. I wanted the stuff of it all, the pillow, the mint leaf, the crust of paint. Let the little things lead.”—Naomi Shihab Nye

Another thing those who know me have heard, and I will say over and again: those “little things” – those images, those sensory details, the little details and images make your story or essay come alive. Don’t be afraid to add something small as a curled leaf, a spot on the bedroom wall, tracks of freckles across a nose, a single red bird in a field of white snow (as long as you watch for cliché!), or images/sensory details, such as a woman chopping onions and then sautéing them in melted butter, a boy watching his father shave/work/laugh/cry/spit/scratch/leave, a girl placing a bare foot in the water and shivering—the foot is only the beginning of the entire body’s immersion in what will become…, a moment of discovery, a glance, a sigh, a well-placed touch with just the tip of the second finger from the left—play with your images, think of the big things, yes, but those little things, little images, will make your work live.

“….You start out putting words down and there are three things—you, the pen, and the page. Then gradually the three things merge until they are one and you feel about the page as you do about your arm. Only you love it more than you love your arm.”—John Steinbeck.

There are those times when the world as we know it goes away and our own inner world takes over, and soon the words are coming and the characters speaking and the story or essay is forming and there is nothing else but that, nothing but this world, this place, this feeling we as writers are creating. Hours can pass, and we lift our heads and, wait! It can’t be three o’clock, just a little while ago it was eleven o’clock—we have been to other-worlds, alternate universes, going gone, and the coming back is surreal—seemingly less real than the inner world we’d just come back from.

Not every writer loves his craft. Not every writer always enjoys writing and manipulating the language. Not every writer (and I doubt any of them…) is deliriously happy every time they sit down to work—especially when it comes to revisions revisions revisions. Well, if you do not always love it, so what? If you want to write—then write. I love it, but I get frustrated at times. There are times I say, “I wish I weren’t a writer. I wish I didn’t love it!” but I know I’d not have it any other way. I know I’d wither and wilt and die a bit if I could not write, create, do what I do—as clichéd as that sounds, it is what it is.

By the way, if you worry about what the editor or publisher wants, you will drive yourself crazy. Instead, why not write for an audience of one: you. The rest will work itself out, one way or the other . . . That’s what I did with TENDER GRACES.

Now . . . go do the day. Love, Kat

Monday, June 22, 2009

With a cliche here and a cliche there, here a cliche there a cliche don't use a cliche!

You can find "writing tips" all over the web, in books, on blogs, under rocks, in the refrigerator behind the mayonnaise. But there are general things I think about as an editor, as a writer, and as a reader and from time to time I'd like to share them.

I want to talk this morning about things I see as "cliches." I try double dip hard not to write cliche-ingly. Those cliches can be tricky; they can be sneaky. It's not always the obvious cliche of "soft as a cloud," or "hard as a rock," etc. There are other things I think of as "cliche." Those things that are over-used or unimaginative or sometimes just, um, "lazy writing." And this does not mean one must try to be clever - if you are trying to be clever, it will show that you are TRYING to be clever. If one is constantly THINKING about what they are writing and how they are writing it instead of actually just writing, then the work will be stilted or the work won't be done or one could freeze up and feel as if they will "fail" - there is no failing, there is doing what feels right for You--and if writing with the cliches below feels right to you, then for gawd's sake write that way.

Some things I think of as "Cliches" (and yes my word "cliche" doesn't have the emphasis mark but I'd rather have none that use a ' ):

Please don’t end your story with “it was all a dream.” Or, set me up with a situation and then I find out it's a dream. As I always say: Rules are meant to be broken, but you dang sure better be good at it and convince me! I love reading dreams in a story, but I like to know they are dreams and not feel as if the author is trying to fool me or say "gotcha!" Those "gotchas" better be done in a way where I think "oh! I didn't expect that! Cool!" and not the gotcha that has me rolling my eyes and feeling frustrated and "fooled."

Watch those descriptions of characters where they look into mirrors and then describe themselves, for example: “Betty looked into the mirror and studied her strong determined chin, her curly red hair that framed a pale winsome face, the freckles across her haughty nose.” Who does that? Who thinks about themselves in that way? I can see something natural, though—the character notices something that we really would—hair all messed up or lipstick smudged or a spot of dirt on a cheek, etc. Just be careful that your character looking into the mirror to describe their physical characteristics to the reader doesn’t become a cliché--if you describe your character in a mirror, then it already is a cliche.

This is my own personal pet peeve, but, watch phrases such as when something floods a character’s mind or body or whatever, as in “Relief flooded Betty’s body,” or “Anger flooded her veins," or "Happiness flooded Betty's mind." It's just a personal thing for me - maybe it's been overdone, but mostly I'm looking for something more compelling to describe the feelings Betty is having .

Oh well, those are just a few things I am thinking about this morning. More important for you is to get the words on the page; the more you practice, the more things that come to you naturally or instinctively or through an awareness, the more you will automatically do them so that in re-writes you have less work in front of you. If I knew what I know now back when I first wrote Tender Graces, that novel would have been completed and ready to go much sooner. Do I sometimes make mistakes - hellvitica yeah! Do I sometimes mess up and write out my own pet peeves? I do and I try to catch them. Will I ever stop learning how to be a better writer? Heckles no! Writing-words and language-is alive and breathing!

Now, I am going to go work on Virginia Kate Book 2. See y'all later!

google image: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_WTtnAYyqVog/RnquAL19y1I/AAAAAAAAA9I/Vmj8mBEiAx4/s400/cliche-bingo.jpg

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Presenting: Barry of An Explorers View of Life

Barry says about his blog: Welcome to this highly eclectic blog. It began its little life as an lighthearted look at the events of the world around me, especially the adventures of my dog Lindsay. However in March of this year I was diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer which, as you might suspect, changed the nature and tone of this blog considerably. It now, for the most part, chronicles my search for a healthy life both within and without conventional medicine. However, I continue to post about my dog Lindsay on Wednesdays, and participate in "Our Town Shootouts" on Fridays. And every now and then, I just post what I want.

Okay, I admit it: I am in love with Barry. I can just stand in line, because that line is as long as my mountain is high. Over the last few days, I have picked up rock after rock, putting it in my hand, seeing how it "felt" - so that I can send to Barry a special "healing" rock from my mountain cove. I'd like to send him two - - one that comes from the cold running creek, and one that comes from the mountain itself. Of course, who knows if my rocks really heal in a physical way, but, I do believe by holding them in his hand and feeling the ancient quality and mystery and wonder of them, he will feel better. For , as his profile reads, Barry has cancer and is going through some rough times right now. Oh, you wouldn't know how that suffering must weigh upon him, because his spirit of strength and his love of beauty and of family and of life, of his wife Linda, his energetic and full-of-personality-and-spunk(Like Barry!) dog Lindsay, his respect and love of nature and exploring--all of these things are Barry the Man. The cancer is not Barry. The cancer is an interloper, an alien that has attached itself to Barry's body. A parasitic bastard. It does not define him, but it is shaping him and his moments. It is calling attention to itself as it is its nature to do. Right now, I have a hate upon all hates of that cancer. But, I won't go on about that, because I'd rather write how much I love Barry.

I go by Barry's place and there is always much going on since I missed my daily "drive by Barry's Place;" so, I scroll down to catch up, gulping Barry's adventures in big hungry bites. I want to make sure he is okay, too. To make sure he's not hurting or feeling unwell. I want to see what Lindsay is up to, or his wife Linda (she has her own blog and I like going by there as well). I laugh at Lindsay's antics . . . I smile at Barry's way of seeing his world and the world of his Lindsay. I know this: The world is a much much better place with Barry in it.

Barry has 611 friends on his blog--think about that number: 611! Yet, when he comes by here and says hi, I feel as if I am special, as if I am thought of and thought about.

I could go on and on, but you should go read Barry, go meet him, go say hello. If you have not gone by Barry's place, go there...right now! Click HERE.

Barry said about Tender Graces: Tender Graces is a complex novel of powerful characters in exotic settings wrestling with life's relentless and all too puzzling demands. It is by turns horrifying and exhilarating, hilarious and all too real. It has one of the most unlikely heroes in modern fiction. I know you've heard that before, but this hero isn't a ghost or a man from Mars, it is a woman who emerged from her own troubled past and became through her own efforts a normal human being. Normal in a clinical, not a statistical sense. A woman whose very normalcy transforms, and challenges, all the other characters in the novel. And maybe the reader as well. [...] Despite its appearance, Tender Graces is not a woman's book, at least not exclusively. It is a very adult book in which very real characters wrestle with life's complexities and come to their own conclusions....for the rest go HERE

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I'm a VK dreamer, a distant VK dreamer, dreaming VK far and away. . .

Mount Hood from the airplane
The ending of my book came to me yesterday. I never know the ending to things. I never really know the middle. I usually just know a Starting Place and I Start there and then see where the character(s) will take me.

However, since I've already written and published Virginia Kate and Tender Graces, I already know some things. From TG, I knew some things had happened to her because she said it in the first book: that she was married and then she wasn't. That she had an "empty womb that wouldn't be filled." That she had an adoptive daughter. That she didn't know where she would end up (in her present day life)--the mountains that called to her, or where she lived for so long and found a new family. So, this is different from how I usually write, knowing these kinds of things ahead of time and writing around them. I had to figure out how much I wanted to write about in this 2nd book - since there is a planned "trilogy" of Virginia Kate Sagas (and I don't know if there will be more than 3, I can't think beyond book 2). I also need to make each book stand alone--the reader should be able to read any of the VK sagas and feel a completion, but I also hope they will want to pick up the other books just by reading one! of course . . . laughing . . .

So, I have decided on what kinds of things I'll address in the second book and am dealing with those - some very sad, some funny, some cathartic. Virginia Kate is growing up in this second book. It takes her from about 18 and in college and until maybe I think she is in her early 30s - we'll see about that, but I believe that is where she'll end up in book 2 (of course, she is still the 50something woman writing her memories down - she's still in WVA at momma's house where I left her in book 1).

I know some people may want to know some thing(s) that aren't answering in book2, but if I tried to answer everything, the book would be so heavy. It's not to "trick" the reader into buying the next book, because I don't like that (that's why I am not writing a "Series" where you MUST purchase every book or else they aren't "complete") - instead, I am going for balance and not having so much going on that the book feels heavy.

So yesterday I was writing a letter that Micah sent to Virginia Kate (or I should say, VK was reading the letter Micah sent) and it was based on something VK says in the Tender Graces book near the end in the "present day (Today)" chapters. After I wrote out the letter from Micah to VK, the next day, the scene that dealt with the letter began to emerge, and suddenly, I knew that was the end of the past chapters in book2 - I just "knew" it - it would be the perfect ending and I hope the perfect Past Chapters ending for readers.

I wake up every day grateful for my life. My writing life. My mountain life. My wonderful life.
I'll have a "Presenting" probably tomorrow...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Is everybody working for the weekend (and the Red Hat Society Ladies . . . )

While he was in the kitchen, I opened the photo album that set on the coffee table. I couldn’t get enough of photo albums. They told stories. The way a person looked at another, or didn’t look. The way they stood together or apart. The gleam in an eye, or the glitter in them. The set of a mouth, or the loose smile of one. Pictures told the true stories; all the moods and manners of people caught before they could hide it. And even if they tried to hide it, the truth was apparent in the moment the camera snapped its shutter closed. Sometimes ghosts were in the photos. They showed up as shiny orbs, or as misty shapes. I liked to study those, too. --Virginia kate, VK DRAFT book2

My luncheon with the Red Hat Society Ladies went well. I find it hard to talk about myself, though. I think that's the hardest part for me to be an author, talking about myself. I tended to deflect and asked people things about themselves, and since all of the RHS ladies are also writers, that was easy enough to do. But it was a lovely lunch at the Herren House (a Bed & Breakfast) in Waynesville. Good food and wonderful company. I actually have a red cowboy hat that I bought while traveling with my brother Johnny and his (then) wife to the SC coast - we thought it was funny, that funny red cowboy hat. I never knew about the RHS back then. But I didn't wear it yesterday because I forgot about it; however, the Ladies had their hats, or red bows on their head, or read hairbands . . . teeheehee -They looked so jaunty and bright.

Y'all have a great weekend! Any plans? What will you be doing? Let me live vicariously through you - ha!

(google image from: http://www.renc.igs.net/~tcollier/Red%20Hat/red%20hat%20lady%20new.jpg)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Stormy (mountain)weather; it's been raining all the time, been really raining allll the ti-immme

Last night a storm came full on strong. I was alone, as GMR had something he had to do in Asheville. I was already in bed, early (for I love to go to bed early and read a good book for a few hours. Bliss!) and when I heard a particularly LOUD clap of thunder - a clap that meant business, a clap that was as if two planets rammed together and their sonic boom sounded through the heavens, I looked for the flashlight beside our bed...it can be quite dark in the little log house without Moon to shine over us. Then I rose and padding through the house, I found a few candles and a candle lighter, brought them into the bedroom, and lit the candles Their fragrance is Japanese Cherry Blossum (of which I have some lotion of the same name: it carries a spicy scent that I like, not too sweet).

The fragrance drifted in the room, the candle-lights flickering from the ceiling fan. I climbed back in bed, picked up my book.
Three more BOOMS thundered, shaking the little log house--Jupiter and Uranus crashing their chests in a display of power! Poor Lazy Fat Labrador Jake came into the bedroom, put his head on the bed and stared at me. I petted his big head, telling him it would be okay, not to be afraid. My old fat dog girl Kayla used to bark at the thunder--she hated it so and I used to have to calm her just as I was Jake. When he was calmed, he made his way back to his bed in the other room. He has two beds now - we kept Kayla's bed and he sleeps in it and in his own--one is in the living room and one is here in this room where I write.

I read my book, inhaling Japanese Cherry Blossom, feeling the cool breeze falling into the windows and laughing across the bed, hearing the rain storm over the roof and the trees and the cove and the ridges, the candle lights warming the nutmeg-orange walls and the golden log-walls and the quilt my mom made me with reds and greens and tans and browns and the ruby sheets and the light wood floors and the garnet throw and the dark wood furniture and the black iron bed - the room is fall even in summer.

The storm stormed furious, but I didn't mind. I was tucked into my bed. I thought how lucky I am and I recognized it then and I recognize it now.

The lights didn't go out, and I'd read until I heard GMR's car roaring up the steep road, the garage door opening - -without my knowledge of it, I'd fallen asleep to the sounds of rain, the scent of blossoms, the snoring of Jake in the next room, the whisper of wind stirred by the ceiling fan - my book still held in my hands as if I were reading in my sleep.

Such was the evening in my little log house in the cove.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Gonna sit right there and write herself a letter


Dear Inspector Number 22343484JH5TW2,

I found your note in my pocket and just had to write you! Your succinct message of “inspected by 22343484JH5TW2” came through clear—I read between the lines; I get the love…yes.

Of course the garment fits perfectly, each thread lined up like little children before recess—is that a nod to the innocence of our budding but virtuous relationship? Although, I have a teeninesy bone to pick with you 22343484JH5TW2; there were two hanging threads on the left sleeve! Could not you have taken just a moment to snip them so that my garment would have been more than perfect? Don’t you see our connection by garment, tag, and little tiny slip of paper as an expression of our affair in that perfection? Oh, I suppose you were distracted by something…something…oh!—but wait!—who distracted you? Were you flirting with Inspector Number 456748GH8583J4? I can’t bear to think about it. Your eyes lifting to meet hers, just as you were about to scan the sleeves of my garment. Oh sigh! Oh Heavy Sigh~! What wounds we mortals partake of!

I shall forgive you that indelicate glance at the winsome 456748GH8583J4. In fact, I snipped the threads myself and placed those threads against my heart before tossing them away—why, they floated in the wind for a moment before touching down in the waste receptacle! Ah, light threads of my love, 22343484JH5TW2.

Oh! I can imagine you right at this moment, inspecting another garment—perhaps a jacket, a shirt, a pair of pants (or even shall I say it, under garments!?)—your keen eyes resting on a flaw, and upon seeing said flaw, you toss the offending garment into the rejection pile, or into the Big Discount Store pile, shaking your head at the messiness of life itself! Then, you turn to the next and it is silk and you rub the silk between your fingers and it is so soft and lovely and is that when you think of me, 22343484JH5TW2? Oh that it were so; oh that it were so. I think not. I think you are not thinking of me. I think I have been forgotten! Damn these mortal coils of hell!

In fact, I bet right now you are staring at that damnable 456748GH8583J4! I bet right now the both of you are sharing a lunch break together! I bet you have asked 456748GH8583J4 to inspect the shirt upon your own back (a private joke between you! Oh oh oh!) I can-not stand it. In fact, I am not wearing your garment again, 22343484JH5TW2! *SOB* I cannot bear to look at, to have it upon my body knowing you inspected it and then rejected its wearer. I will tear it asunder! Rip it apart!

But wait, it is a nice garment, after all. And with the two threads gone, well, it’s quite nice. And well, it seems there is another inspector on the horizon. Seems Inspector Number 67BD547584375SM8858548JFG48488FMN (see how much LONGER his number is and with the hidden naughty codes in it?) has sent me a secret message in a nice hugging pair of slacks!

So, I close this letter, Inspector Number 22343484JH5TW2. Never more. Never more. Alas.

With deepest sorrows to what might have been but too bad you messed up and missed out and now I’ve found another and too late for you,

One Who Shall Remain Nameless
(google image www.eventective.com)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Oh give me some more hair, sorta kinda longer beautiful hair - HAIR HAIR HAIR HAIR HAIR HAIR HAIR!

I never thought I'd say this, but I'm bored with my hair. It's been short for a long time now...eight or ten years, I suppose. Suddenly, I'm bored. I have said I'd never grow it out, but I'm considering it. Maybe because instead of the really short funky style I've always had, there has been a change and it's now too, well, boring! Here's a photo of something I'm considering - still short, but something different with razored edges and razored ends. I think maybe a tad shorter than this photo, just at my earlobes. I don't have hardly any gray yet, and my hair is quite shiny, so this may work well for me. What do you think? Either that, or I want a "funkier" more fun short short cut.

I want to tell you all that a good friend of mine just won the Bram Stroker award for first time author for her novel The Gentling Box - I am so proud of her. Her writing is unique and lush and beautiful. Even though this is not my genre to read, and I admittedly had to close both eyes and not read parts of her novel *laughing* I appreciated the skill she has as a writer - beautiful language. CONGRATULATIONS LISA MANNETTI! Lisa is the short little one with the print dress...*smiling*

The 2009 Bram Stoker Award Winners:
NOVEL: DUMA KEY by Stephen King
SHORT FICTION: "The Lost" by Sarah Langan
ANTHOLOGY: UNSPEAKABLE HORROR edited by Vince A. Liaguno and Chad Helder

Monday, June 15, 2009

All around me are familiar spaces....familiar faces, going all-where going all-whheerree

When our tea was emptied, the cookies nothing but crumbs on our laps, and Sophia Loren snored on a patch of clover, Miss Darla finally turned to me and said, “A frog jumped through my back door this morning. A dragonfly landed on my head. I heard three crow caws. All that happened at the same time.” She looked at me.

“What does it mean, Miss Darla?”
She turned and looked out at her garden, where things grew that didn’t even have names. She said, “It means sometimes life will just have its way, Girl. Sometimes it just does.” VK Book 2

I went a-visiting yesterday and so enjoyed seeing all of your "faces and places" - if you didn't see me, it is only because of a glitch. One blog I visited knocked me clean out of everything and I had to re log on and everything. And another one did that weird thing, again, where the blog keeps reproducing itself over and over and I had to completely shut down my computer to stop it! Who knows why that happens sometimes with some blogs on some days and not others!
I thought of you all the other day: guess what? I'm not obssessing about going to Amazon and seeing Tender Graces stats anymore! yay! I sometimes go by to see if anyone has written a review, but I finally do not pay attention to the rating number. I figured out how fickle those numbers can be. One can be at one end and then the other within a day. It's nice to "let go."
Looking around at the "nest" I've made around me where I do most of my writing, I wondered about your spaces - your writing space, or reading space, or painting space, or that space you go to when you want a quiet moment. What is your space? What surrounds you? Do you have a favorite chair? Do you have a ritual? A cup of tea or coffee beside you? I want to see it.
Now, go do the day . . . Namaste.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I screamed they screamed we all screamed for ice cream with blueberry sauce!

As we headed out the door, Soot called out, “Y’all come on back soon. Dontchoo stay away so long next time!”

I gave her a little wave and walked out with Dylan into the dark. The air was close and wet, settling on my skin. My clothes rubbed against me until I thought I’d go insane. I wanted to throw off everything and run howling at the old moon. I watched Dylan from the corner of my eye, watched his mouth forming all those words. My body itched and jittered. I didn’t like that itchy feeling one little bit.-- Virginia Kate Book 2

My signing went well. It was an informal thing where I just sat at the front of the bookstore at a little table with my books. I met some wonderful people, signed some books, was invited to lunch with some ladies, had one very nice woman come by just to tell me she'd read Tender Graces and was recommending it to her friends (yay!), met one of the wonderful vivacious Book Club women whose book club I'll be speaking to and answering questions from next month, and etcetera!

I am thinking of doing a "virtual reading" - I have this webcame on my laptop - it's not all that great, but it works. What do y'all think about that? If I record a reading of VK...or does that seem boring? Wouldn't it be cool if somehow we could do it "live" where people could ask questions or whatever and we could talk? I'm sure somewhere somehow this can be done, but I'm not savvy enough to set it up.

Here is what we had for dessert Friday night when we had two friends come over - I used to call them "GMR's Theater Friends" but they've become our friends- two of The Regulars came over and GMR prepared a jambalaya pasta. I made dessert and all I did was this:

2 cups blueberries
2/3 water
4 tablespoons of sugar (or sugar to taste)
4 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons of water (and lemon juice to taste, but I forgot to put the lemon juice in mine and no one noticed a thing!)
Put the blueberries, water, and sugar in a pot and bring to a boil (I stirred the water and sugar together first, then added the berries)...after it comes to a boil simmer it for 3 minutes, then add the cornstarch slurry - cook 4 or 5 minutes until thickened.

I served that over some Creole Cream Cheese ice cream that GMR had brought back from South Louisiana - if you've never had Creole Cream Cheese ice cream -ohhhhh! It's sooooo gooooood. You can use whatever ice cream you want to use - but I put the scoops of ice cream into a "balloon" wine glass and then ladled out the blueberry sauce on top - and that's it! Easy easy and so danged good you'll jump up and do a jig.
Y'all have a great Sunday - see you later!

images from google images:

Saturday, June 13, 2009

VK says - hey, wait a minute mr postman...

Jinksy is receiving the two Virginia Ellis books! Send me your address Jinksy!

Today I am signing books at Osondu Booksellers at 11. Wouldn't it be great if my hand ended up looking like my hand did at my book release reception? Ah, probably not, but that magical night will always be a special one.

For right now, I want to leave you with a little bit of Virginia Kate, from Book 2. Now, you have to remember this is all rough draft stuff, so any excerpts I put here from the second book will be rough draft...

I wondered if Micah remembered her birthday, and even if he did, I figured he’d not take the time to send her a card, note, or anything but a thought that said, You can take your birthday and shove it, Momma. I’d asked Andy if he wanted to sign the card, but he only gave me a look as if I were wasting my time, and in fact, he’d said that, “Virginia Kate, you are wasting your time. I bet she throws it in the garbage after she sees there’s no present or money in it.”

I put the card in the envelope, along with a photo of Andy and me that I’d had Bobby take with my camera, sealed the envelope, addressed it to the little white house down the long road in the little holler where my mountain shadowed it, licked the stamp and pressed it, put my return address, and walked it out to the mailbox, even though the mail wouldn’t come until Monday morning. That way, it would set in there and wait, and I wouldn’t change up my mind about sending it.

I pictured it riding in mail trucks. I pictured it being delivered. I pictured Mrs. Mendel picking up the mail and taking it to Momma. I pictured Momma looking at the envelope. Then I forced myself to picture Momma opening it, reading it, and then smiling. I pictured her picking up the phone to thank me, but that’s when the picturing turned fuzzy and far away, as far away as my mountain. ..
VK Book2 excerpt, rough draft

Friday, June 12, 2009

Hello I'm boring my old friends, i'm here to bore you all again!...laughing...

"I feel like a boring experiment." - Virginia Kate

Sometimes, I feel boring. I do believe my blogging has become boring. I feel boring. I am boring. Bore bore bore! What can I do to spring life into my blog? Well, I don't know - right now all my focus is on getting the 2nd novel done.

Sometimes, I go so deep inside my own thoughts and my own world and the world of my characters that I forget Good Man Roger is there. Suddenly, there is this man standing there looking at me. I say, “Huh? Wha?” and he says, “I just asked if you’d like some seared scallops with cream sauce and a side of risotto and a nice pinot noir?” I answer, “Oh. Um. Huh? Wha? Yeah…okay, that sounds…” and then I trail off, what was I writing? What was the character saying? For surely the character is more important than Real Life. Or not. But it doesn’t matter; it is what it is. I finally say, to his retreating back, which looks slightly slumped inward. I call out, apologetically and excitedly all at once, “Yes! OH! That sounds good! I’d LOOOOOVEE sea scallops and risotto and pinot noir and all that. I Can’t Wait! Thank you! You are Great! WOW! I am SO lucky!” Overkilling it, but dang, you know?

Sometimes, I wander about the house touching things. Is this real? Yes. Is this real? Yes. Is this real? Yes. Is this real? Yes. I touch GMR. Is this real? And he says, “You’re touching me! You’re touching me! ohhhh!” and I roll my eyes and say, “Stop it. I touch and hug you sometimes. Geez. You are soooooo (NOT) deprived. Geez.” He laughs, but I wonder: when was the last time I went over and gave him a big ole hug. Hmmm. So I do it, right then and there, but it feels forced, so I stand up quickly. Then I touch the top of his head, and then kiss his cheek.

Sometimes, I'm moody. Although the older I get, the more my moods even out. I can be silly for no reason at all. I can be sardonic. I can be negative. I can see things in ways that GMR says “I never thought of it like that! Hey!” I can tell him, “that person isn’t as they present themselves,” and then later he asks, “how did you know…” Because, I am wise, sage, otherworldly to his practical. Huhn. Right?

Sometimes, things are too cluttered around me. I am building a "nest" in this room where I am doing the most of my writing. It is beginning to look awful. Something must be done. To start: I have two books that were sent to me for book give-aways that I still have not given away - they are both Virginia Ellis books. One is The Wedding Dress and one is The Photograph - So, I've decided that the first person to tell me, in the comments, "I want those copies of Virginia Ellis's books!" will get them. Now, that's done!
Sometimes, I have to say: "see you all later - I'll try to come visit when I can..." because you all are interesting people and thank gawd you are there, for you are my lens to the outside world right now as I have to turn ever inward.
PS ... I forgot: when the 'lectricity went out yesterday during a thunderstorm, I took some videos with my camera, here's two: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuPrirHWONo

image google images: http://rlv.zcache.com/you_are_boring_womans_basic_t_shirt-p235269182458406305g0mb_210.jpg

Thursday, June 11, 2009

You say hello and I say hello ...hello hello!

Random Things:

We didn't know it until we saw the credits, but GMR may have had a voice-over character on one of the series (I think it is part 4): Appalachia, A History of Mountains & People.

Last night I used this new thing I bought were you put a pad on the circular majiggee and then it vibrates and you run it over your face. Then, I put a green mud mask on my face and let it "harden." I rinsed it off. I put on moisturizer. I felt spa-ish.

While watching King of the Hill, I had a sudden crush on Hank Hill. I am weird.

Early in the evening, there was the dreaded sound of chainsaws and the horrific crash of tree against ground. My stomach whorled and spun. This morning, I was relieved to see it was only a poor dead tree someone had to cut down. Alas, poor tree - I knew it well. It will serve someone as firewood, though - its life not quite done. Ashes to ashes.

It is softly raining, right now.

At this moment, the name Annie comes to mind. Who knows why, or who Annie is or why she comes to mind. There is a dog named Annie we see sometimes on our Lake Junaluska walk. Maybe I am thinking of that Annie.

There was a bear on our road the other day, sleeping. I didn't see it, someone else did.

Right at this moment, someone is laughing.

I love the moon.

Here is a recipe that is easy for everyone: Take two pieces of bread. Put two pieces of cheese between it. Put that into a buttered skillet. Brown both sides, get the cheese gooey. Put it on a plate. Serve with it tomato soup that has added black pepper. You will feel happy and comforted. Add slices of apple and you will feel even better.

I wonder if someone is reading Tender Graces right at this moment. I wonder if someone has just finished her, and I wonder if someone has just begun her, and I wonder if someone is looking at her wondering if they should purchase her, and I wonder if someone is missing Virginia Kate right now. I am, so I will get to work on her . . . right . . . now . . .

Google images: http://www.seriouseats.com/required_eating/images/20070522grilledcheese.jpg
http://www.nndb.com/tv/663/000049516/koth4-sized.jpg http://www.rocbike.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/rain.jpg

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ya don't have to, Cry Babbbyyyyy, cry babbbyyyy, cry babbbyy, cause you always get watcha wa-aannt

Dear Mom in That Commercial with the Two Kids and the One Slice of Bread,

Come on; admit it, Mom in the Commerical. The youngest kid is your favorite. You toss and turn about this at night, but the results are always the same: Little Timmy is your favorite and Older Brother Billy is, well, is not. You can try to pretend, what with that smarmy smile you give Billy, while all the time Little Timmy is your pride and joy and all the world to you and more. You thought, “Little Timmy deserves.”

You don’t fool me one bit, Mom. There little Billy is. He sees there’s one slice of bread. He’s thinking, “Hmm, how can I make sure I get my due?” For after all, Big Brother Billy has been slighted time and again by his shitty little brother Little Timmy. Time and again, Big Brother Billy has watched as you, Mom, slather attention and praise and extra bits of food and toys on Little Timmy. And, wasn’t there that time you gave BeeBo the Tiger to Little Timmy? Even though Billy loved BeeBo the Tiger with all his heart? You had only said, “Now, Billy. You’re too old for BeeBo now. Let Little Timmy have him.” And off you’d gone, holding BeeBo the Tiger in your traitorous hand while Billy sat in his room all alone. And didn’t Big Brother Billy hear Little Timmy squeal with delight as he most assuredly hugged and hugged on BeeBo, especially since he’d whined for BeeBo the Tiger ever since Daddy Who Isn’t Around Anymore gave it to Big Brother Billy? And didn’t you get a secret wiggly little pleasure out of knowing you made Little Timmy slap hap happy and Big Brother Billy sad? Because, after all, and don’t you deny it! After all, doesn’t Big Brother Billy look exactly like your ex-husband the lying deceitful cheating bastard? And doesn’t Little Timmy look just like You? Huh Mom? I got your number!

So, there comes the one slice of bread and the jar of peanut butter. Mom is oh so sneaky, yes you are. Instead of letting your two kids battle it out Kid Style with Kid Justice; you insert yourself between them with intent to make sure Little Timmy comes out on top! So, you sneakily tell Big Brother Billy, “I’ve spread lots of gooey good stuff peanut butter on the slice of bread *wink wink* Now, Billy Bo Dilly, you can cut the slices into two pieces *wink wink*!”

The kitchen goes silent. Billy thinks (because he is still young and hasn’t yet figured out the slinky devious workings of Mom), “Wow! For once I get ahead! Mom’s on my side! This will make up for BeeBo the Tiger! Hahahahahaha!” So, he cuts the slice of peanut butter bread into two pieces, with one piece slightly larger—the larger will be Billy’s! yes! Mom winked at him; all is well. His tummy gurgles with anticipation.

But then, you Mom! You sneaky wench! You put on that snerkity smile, hiding behind your Mommyness, behind the “This will teach them about fairness!” when it has nothing to do with fairness and all to do with Prewshush Little Timmy, and you then say, “Now Timmy gets to choose!”

Oh! How Billy’s world must have tumbled on its head. Foiled, he was. Tricked! By the hand of his own Mom he was swindled. And Little Timmy, with his oh-so-innocent grin that belied the “Nya Nya Nya Nya Nya!” he sent in secret code to his Big Brother, of course reached out his grubby little hand and grabbed the bigger slice while you, YOU Mom, swooned with delight over your favorite child prevailing!

And there, Big Brother Billy took his smaller slice, bit into it, and smiled. He smiled the smile of one who knows this is how his life will forever be when it comes to Mom. But piteously, because he thinks Mom has just taught him about fairness, when instead, and we all know this, Mom, don’t we? When instead, Mom just make sure her favorite little son Timmy received his due as Favorite Son.

After the lights on the set go out, and Big Brother Billy wipes the peanut butter from his face and runs outside to play, you, Mom, will suddenly “find” more bread, won’t you? And while Billy is playing in the dirt, his tummy lacking, you’ll prepare Little Timmy another sandwich; won’t you, Mom? WON’T YOU!

So, in closing, just know that I am ON to you. I know your game. You aren’t fooling me one speck.


Couch Sitter Uponer

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Shammy Shammy CoCoPuff, Shammy Shammy Wow!

One day A Woman Wrote Some Letters...

Dear ShamWoW Guy:

Oh dear. Where do I begin? It is always good to begin with Truth, for if one writes the truth, one never fears being “Found Out.” Yet, sometimes writing truths brings about issues of things, such as those that bite one on the hind end. Therefore, I held battle within. Who won? Well, it will be for someone else to decide, not I.

ShamWoW Guy; I shall tell you that whencly I firstly met you, oh, not personally, but on my television screen, I was repelled! Your face filled the screen and I jumped back several feet, over the back of my couch, and into the next room. That Popeye squint; and those tired, baggy, dark-circled eyes; that jittery mouth moving here, there, yonder, and back; the pale of your cheeks (and please, eat something Mister Man! Please, I worry—you’ve become so thin!). And, whilst I tried not to, I immediately compared you to Mister Billy Mays—yes, yes, not fair, for Mister Billy Mays is swarthy handsome full-bearded broad-shouldered khaki-wearing bright-eyed-and-busy-tailed demeanor, along with his LOUD VERY LOUD EAR-EARTH SPLITTING SHATTERING LOUD, fills the screen, nevertheless, with a wholesome aw shuckness that while one is quickly changing the channel so one is not rendered insane, one still sees that hearty health and eager demeanor. The comparison is liken to … to…comparing a big thick juicy steak (served to you by a very loud and obnoxious in law, however) to a piece of three-day-old chicken thigh (served by that tired old person who gets on the bus everyday as if the world is sitting right upon their shoulders).

But you, dear ShamWoW Guy. Dear dear You, when one day I watched you out of sheer pity, I saw something! There was a desperate quality, yes. There was a “Please Please listen to me! Please, just don’t change that channel! I’ll go Real Fast and you won’t even notice me hardly at all, just give me a moment and you’ll barely feel a thing!” But, beyond that, I softened towards that Popeye squinted eye and that exhausted mug, and the way you, Mister Shammy Shammy Cocoa Puff, gazed slightly to the right, and then to the left, and then up, and then down, anywhere but directly into my eyes, and there, in that moment, I said, “Awwwwww. Poor Shammy Bo Blammy!”

Now, dear dear ShamWowy, when you POP out onto the screen, with your little cloths and your little messes to clean—and your aunt Sloopy, your sister Merry-Mae, your granny Tootie, your momma, your uncle Jeb, your ex-girlfriend who shall remain nameless but was in the commercial before she dumped you, and your psychiatrist, all helping you sell your wares with the same exhausted but determined demeanor—well, I feel my heart pumping with pity and I stay and watch you, sometimes even until the end of the entire info-mercial!

In closing, You Dear Shammy Man, know that out of the thousands and thousands of people you are squinting to so endearingly, there is at least One (me!) who appreciates your beauty, your style, your relatives who shout, “WHAT EVER WOULD I DO WITHOUT MY SHAMMY CLOTH?!!?!??!?!???!??!”, your elfin-ruined face, and within all of that, I found your beauty.

With Love and Respect,

Kathryn Magendie

PS – Oh dear Shammy Man!
Look what I found! Tsk Tsk Tsk – Oh Heavy sigh! They just don’t get you, do they? Not like me~! No sir. Not lik me….

Monday, June 8, 2009

Hello Trees my old friends, I'm here to talk with you again.....

Lake Junalusa, Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge, from my cove

Lake Junalusa, Oregon

Oregon, downtown Oregon, from my cove

Tulip Poplar flower

I love trees - I snap many photos of them. They tell stories. Placing my hand upon a trees bark, it vibrates--talks to me. The leaves brush together in the wind--voices. The limbs rub in the winter and sing. I love them all. These are tree photos taken "off the cuff" in Oregon, So Louisiana, and NC, ramdomly placed.
Some of my favorite trees are the beautiful live oaks of Louisiana, the weeping willow, the tulip poplar--esp the one right off my porch, but there are so many many more. All telling their stories. All beautiful. Listen: listen. right now I hear the leaves whispering in a sudden breeze...
What are your favorite trees?