Saturday, December 27, 2014

Calling it Quits

I'm a chronic quitter.

Recently, a conversation at dinner with relatives about this problem of mine bothered me so much that I -- guess what? -- got up and left the table.

Don't get me wrong -- if I have a responsibility, I follow through.  You can count on me to do what I say I will.  That's a fact. 

However, give me a task that no one is waiting with bated breath for me to finish and I...well...I usually won't finish it.  When the going gets tough, I get going.   For example:

Getting my permit to drive a boat on Lake Leman: I took one boating class listing all the ways one was to hang a flag to communicate with other boaters and knew I wouldn't continue.  It was too much like learning a new language.

Learning Swiss German (Bernese dialect): Listened to three tracks on the cd and figured I'd forget it.  This was learning a new language.  I'd had a hard enough time with French, but Swiss German was a tongue twister.

Driving stick shift: 10 lessons with a driving teacher that could make Satan seem lovable.  I actually broke into tears every time I reached an intersection.  Thank God for automatic.

Making macarons:  I got a fancy macaron kit and a ton of brightly colored food dye.  So far, I haven't even gotten as far as whipping up egg whites.  I mean, yes, it looks good, but it also looks like work.

Playing any and all Super Mario games:  Hit with X. Jump with A. Spin with Y.  Boost your power with B.  Uh, no.  I prefer the letters of the alphabet to spell something. Ciao, Mario.

Learning Jass:  Have you ever played this Swiss card game?  No?  Then don't judge.  Yes?  Then you should know why I quit.

Using a pressure cooker:  Let me just say it took days to clean the kitchen. Never again.

So why not add writing to that list?

Today while I was suffering in front of the computer, trying in vain to write, it occurred to me I could just quit. I could just forget writing completely.  I mean, it's what I usually do when things get difficult.  I wrote two books this year that have yet to see a publishing contract. Writing the third has been nothing but slow and steady torture. It's not like the world is waiting for me to pen something else. 

So why haven't I quit?  It might make my life easier.  Hell, it might even make my life better....

Writing is hard and I ask myself every day why I do it.  And every day I decide to continue even though I don't exactly know the answer. There are times when writing is fun and fulfilling.  But most often, I find writing an awful, difficult ordeal because I want to do it well.   I don't know if I write because it heals a gaping wound in my gut or if it's the act of writing that's created an ulcer. Do I write because when I see the word count stacking up, I finally feel worthy or I finally know it'll be finished?  Or do I do it because when I don't write, I don't like who I am?  But when I don't like who I am, I often don't want to write.  

I'm not sure what the real reason is.  But maybe it doesn't matter. Whatever the reason I write, it is vital to my being.

I'm a chronic quitter. I've given up on sewing, dancing, accounting, biking, running, tutoring and (luckily for all of you) singing.  But I never intend to give up on writing.

Just don't ask me why.


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Blazing Indie Collective Giveaway!

Welcome to the Blazing Indie Collective Giveaway!

Get to know the authors of the Blazing Indie Collective
and enter to win piles of prizes, including gift cards and ebooks!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct Link:

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Worth Quoting

If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy. – Dorothy Parker

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Another "DUH" Moment

Meet stupid response girl right here.  Yep. That's me. *waves*

Here's my latest DUH moment. 

My manuscript has been with publishers since April.  And I'm super impatient to have news -- positive or negative.  I just want things to move so I can organize my life and state of mind accordingly.   So, when my agent told me my novel was still out with several publishers, I freaked.  In my mind I was going,  Is this a good sign?  A bad one?  Is there anything I can do to make this go faster?  This is killing me!  Please help!  

Instead, I responded: Why are they so slow? Do they have a lot to read?

Um. Yeah, Katie.  They're editors at publishing houses.  If they don't have a lot to read something is really wrong.

No major damage done apart from a major mental eye roll on the part of my agent.  And a nice little facepalm to myself.  Again.

What's your latest DUH moment?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Celestial Anthology

Woot Woot!  I've been waiting to share this news with you.  I was lucky enough to get an invitation to be a part of a short story anthology with nine other YA authors.  We had a common theme -- a comet -- and then were let loose to write a story about it.  What came out is ten completely different stories to entertain and make you think.

Right now it's an e-book, but in a couple weeks the paperback will be out if you have to have a hard copy.  Check it out and tell your friends!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Even Cloudy Days...

Even cloudy days can be beautiful.  Here's to becoming adept at finding the light in all sorts of darkness.  Yeah.  I'm working on that.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Guess Who's an Indie B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree?

I opened my e-mail to some great news the other day: Untethered was awarded an Indie B.R.A.G. medallion! What does that mean, you ask?  The Book Readers Appreciation Group is an organization of readers around the world.  According to the website all books sent to them go through a serious selection process :

" ... an initial screening to ensure that the author's work meets certain minimum standards of quality and content. If it passes this preliminary assessment, it is then read by members drawn from our global reader group. They judge the merits of the book based on a comprehensive list of criteria, including;

  • Plot
  • Writing Style
  • Characters
  • Copy editing
  • Dialogue
  • Cover/interior layout
One final factor our readers use to judge a book is whether or not they would recommend it to their best friend.
On average, 50% of the books submitted to us fail to pass the initial screen and another 40% are subsequently rejected by our readers. Thus, only 10% of the books we consider are awarded our B.R.A.G. Medallion."

On their website they have a large list of books that have already gone through this process and been awarded a medallion.  Check them out and get some awesome indie books:

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Chocolate Book Challenge

The absolutely awesome Wendy Storer tagged me in the Chocolate Book Challenge.  She figured with my living in Switzerland, I should know a thing or two about chocolate.  And I do.  Like most Swiss, I eat it all the time --the Swiss eat an average of 12 kilos of chocolate a year!

I also read books.  While eating chocolate (and popcorn!).

The challenge is to list one book for each type of chocolate -- dark, milk and white.  I'm going to list one book for each but add more chocolate types, because there's a variety of chocolate out there that deserves to be covered.  As for authors, I'm sticking with mostly indies here, but there are a couple more well-known ones thrown in.

Dark Chocolate is for the adult in us.  It's rich, but somewhat bitter.  Right away, The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood comes to mind.  Adult in intelligence and theme, bitter in outlook, but sooooo rich in language.  A classic, but I had to list it here because it is a book that I read twenty years ago but that still sticks with me.

Dark Chocolate with Hot Pepper.  Adult in a very spicy way.  Deer in Headlights by Staci Hart combines mythology with some adult action.  It's hot and satisfying.

Dark Chocolate covered Caramel.  Less adult, but very, very dark.  You'll want to chew on it for a while.  Angelfall by Susan Ee is probably one of my all-time favorite YA books ever. It keeps you turning pages and it also makes your skin crawl.  

Dark Chocolate filled with Liquor.  A mix of taste and texture with an attitude.  Chasing the Star Garden by Melanie Karsak is a steampunk adventure that involves airships, absinthe and opium.

Dark Chocolate (can you tell I like dark chocolate?) with Lemon filling.  You'd think the two don't go together -- the super sweet lemon and the bitter dark chocolate -- but they're divine together.  Until the End of the World by Sarah Lyons Fleming is a zombie apocalypse novel that is full of lovable characters.  Zombie but not horror.

Milk Chocolate is all about indulgence and fun.  Obitchuary by Stephanie Hayes is a romp in the world of chic lit crime stories.

Milk Chocolate with Krispies.  Fun with some snap, crackle and pop.  Miss Hyde by Imogen Bold is an historical romantic YA take on the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story.  

Hazelnut Milk Chocolate.  Fun and a little nutty.  Waking Up Dead by Margo Bond Collins is about the ghost of a young woman who wakes up in Alabama.  It just gets crazier from there.

White Chocolate is for the younger crowd.  It's sweet but rich and good to savor.  Where Bluebirds Fly by Wendy Storer is a middle-grade novel about a girl in a school for kids with emotional problems.  Deep and heart-warming at the same time.

White Chocolate with Nougat.  Still young, but the nougat adds an adult aspect.  Someone Different by Kate Hanney is a tasty upper middle grade romance about two kids from opposite sides of the tracks.

So there you go. Go out, buy a variety pack of chocolate, and fire up your kindle.  Time to read....and time for me to tag the next round of chocolatiers:

I tag two of my favorite book bloggers, Lexxie at (un)Conventional Book Views and Toni at My Book Addiction.  And author Stephanie Hayes.    


Monday, June 16, 2014

Killer Cute

So we all have those days, right? Well, I've been having a few weeks of those days.  Maybe even two years of those days... (but who's counting?)  I figure I am in total need of a Killer Cute Fix.  And while I can find all sorts of adorable animal pics on Pinterest, I was looking for the cute in my own life.  My real life on the other side of the screen.  So, here it is.  Nothing but my pics to make you smile:

 My fave kitties.  I know.  I take too many pictures of them.  But, come on, they are pretty darn cute.

Getting these two was one of the best decisions we made all year.  Seriously, it's crazy the amount of joy they've brought into our life.  (Although they've also brought huge vet bills and a good deal of chewed through wires, shoes and clothing.)

 And my favorite kiddies.  I take lots of pics of them, too, but am less apt to post them online.  They are everything to me.

Mommy's jam.  Made by Elodie. 

Have a sweet day...

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Seven Things

I cannot say enough cool stuff about Margo Bond Collins.  She's an author I discovered via the Rave Reviews Book Club who writes paranormal and who just plain rocks.  Her new book, Legally Undead, is coming out on May 27th and she has several more titles on the way. Margo is a gracious and generous writer who is definitely Very Inspiring.  She just tagged me on the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.   
Check out her blog HERE.

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award is given by bloggers to bloggers.  Here are the rules:  

1.Link back to the person nominating you for the award
2.Display the Very Inspiring Blogger logo
3.Reveal seven things about yourself
4.Nominate seven others to receive the award

Okay.  So seven things about me that you won't find on my profile:

1. I was reading YA as an adult way before it was considered cool.  I started off reading Lois Duncan (love her love her -- her stuff inspired Untethered) when I was a teen, but continued reading all things teen all the way through my twenties, thirties and, uh, beyond.  It didn't take Twilight to turn me on to what YA has to offer.  It took Stranger with My Face.
2. I cannot write with music on.  And I really don't understand those people who can.  I need either silence or white noise in order to work.  Same thing to sleep.  Hmmmm.....Which may be why I often fall asleep on the keyboard.

3. If I ever become a millionaire, the very first thing I'm doing is hiring a chef.  I adore eating but I loathe cooking.  Baking? Fine.  Cooking? Absolute torture.  For me and for those at the table. 

4. I'm a home makeover show addict.  Maybe one day if we can get out of our rented apartment and buy a place, I'll get my fix by making over my own home.  *sighs*  I can always dream.

5. I'm becoming an amateur expert on living with someone with minor brain trauma. My husband had a ruptured brain aneurysm two years ago and we're still dealing with the fallout.  Who knows, I may just write a book on it.

6. It's not a party if there is no dancing involved, IMO.

7. I speak fluent French (I need to here in Geneva), but my accent is cringe-worthy. My kids have to "translate" my French words into better enunciated French words for their friends all the time.

So there you go, seven things about me.  Now here are seven writer/ bloggers who inspire me. Maybe they will inspire you, too:

Wendy Storer, author
Daniela Norris, author
Sarah Lyons Fleming, author
Toni, My Book Addiction
Lexxie, (Un)conventional Bookviews
Kindle Ninja, Kindle Ninja Reviews
Darcie and Rudi, Slush Heap

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mean Girls

When I finished obligatory schooling, I thought I'd finished dealing with "mean girls" forever.  I breezed through university and most of adult life without coming face to face with those vile beasts.   I focused on feminism and the ever-present enemy of misogyny and inequality rather than railing against girls taking down other girls for no good reason.

And then I had children.  Two girls with gentle hearts and naive ideas. Not angels, no.  But NICE. Then I put these two in school with other kids.  And low and behold...those base creatures called mean girls were there -- claws out, teeth bared, sniffing for prey.  Right now, they're making a meal of my eldest.

Forget feminism.  Forget female empowerment.  Forget girl power. We're back in the dark ages.  A part of me wants to see these kids burned at the stake for ruining my own daughter's love of life.  Another part of me wants shake their eyes open so they can see they aren't helping anyone.  Not even themselves.

But most of me doesn't understand why being mean is just so... prevalent.

It's a question that pops up in my writing -- whether it be Untethered or The Mask Between Us (that will hopefully be published soon).  What makes us act evil?  Does it come from our own fears and weaknesses, or does it run deeper?

Why are there so many people out there who take pleasure in hurting others?  I'm talking from small emotional barbs to bigger issues of abuse all the way to taking a life.  My mother, a devout Catholic, would say it's the devil.  My good friend, an atheist, would say it's a degree of mental illness.  I don't know what I believe, but either way, it scares me. 

Yes, the mean girls are only a minute drop in the bucket.  Among the horrors in the world, calling someone "stupid" or "fat" or throwing things at her may be insubstantial by comparison. It's a nearly invisible fissure in the dam that holds back evil.  But enough fissures weaken the dam and evil dribbles in through the cracks.

Girls taking down other girls for no good reason cripples feminism.  Girls taking down other girls for no good reason cripples our sense of worth.  Mean girls cripple their victims socially and they even cripple themselves when it comes to learning how to love. 

Unfortunately, I now have to arm my daughters against the mean girl attacks.  I have to train them for a warfare of words and hope their emotional defenses hold off any lasting damage.  Thing is, I'm not very skilled at that.

So my goal will be this:  Get them through alive.  And get them through knowing not all girls are mean girls. 

There are plenty who are kick-ass awesome.  My girls are two of them.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

New book by Sarah Dalton

Several authors are coming together to publish short stories in an anthology later this year, and I'm one of them.  So is Sarah Dalton.  Sarah has just released a new YA horror novel and it looks deliciously creepy.  You may want to check it out.  I know I will.

Not many seventeen year old girls have a best friend who’s a ghost, but then Mary Hades isn’t your average teenager.

Scarred physically and mentally from a fire, her parents decide a holiday to an idyllic village in North Yorkshire will help her recover. Nestled in the middle of five moors, Mary expects to have a boring week stuck in a caravan with her parents. Little does she know, evil lurks in the campsite…

Seth Lockwood—a local fairground worker with a dark secret—might be the key to uncovering the murky history that has blighted Nettleby. But Mary is drawn to him in a way that has her questioning her judgement.

Helped by her dead best friend and a quirky gay Goth couple, Mary must stop the unusual deaths occurring in Nettleby. But can she prevent her heart from being broken?

The first in a series of dark YA novels, Mary Hades follows on from the bestselling Kindle Single My Daylight Monsters. A spine-tingling tale with romance, readers will be shocked and entertained in equal measure. 

Buy Links for Mary Hades

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

"All the Rave" World Book & Copyright Day Giveaway for RRBC


I recently became a member of the super supportive RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB. Through RRBC, I've connected with other authors, read new books and gotten in on some of their great perks  -- like a chance at being the Club’s Book of the Month or a Spotlight Author or a #PUSHTUESDAY Winner.  It's free to join.  Just go to the RRBC website.

World Book & Copyright Day is April 23 this year.  It's a symbolic date for world literature, celebrating books and their authors. Formalized by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization), this day pays a world-wide tribute to the art of writing by encouraging everyone to discover the joys of reading. UNESCO created this day to not only promote reading and publishing, but also to make authors aware of their protection under copyright law.

The members of RRBC have compiled gift packages of books, both in Kindle and Nook formats. There are a number of ways to gain entries and many chances to win! Visit the RRBC website, go to the WORLD BOOK & COPYRIGHT tab and use the Raffle-copter to enter. This is open to everyone, members and non-members.

The giveaway will run from Wednesday, April 23 through Saturday, April 26. The winners will be announced on Sunday, May 4 in the Rave Reviews Online Newsletter.

(The governing board of RRBC would like to thank those members that have so graciously donated to this special giveaway):

Alex Jones, Atoyia Pencil, Beem Weeks, Bette A. Stevens, Bruce A. Borders, Christopher Pepper, Clarissa Simmens, Dale Furse, David A. Kimmel, Doris Dancy, Garrett Addison, Jacob Quarterman, Jane Yates, Julia Barrett, Karen Ingalls, Kasper Beaumont, Kathryn Treat, Kish Knight, Leisl Kaberry, Lorraine Pestell, Michelle Abbott, Michelle Weidenbenner, Nicholas Rossis, Peter Muller, Rebecca Nolen, Rea Nolan Martin, Rhani D’Chae, Roderick Davidson, Sahara Foley, Sara Furlong Burr, Seve Verdad, Shelley Young, Shirley Slaughter, Stevie Turner, and V.C. Arran.

Rave Reviews Book Club Information: