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Happy Saturday everyone!

I’m working on a new project while I plot out the next Waystation Guardians book in my head. I’m joining this century and importing all of our cds to our iTunes accounts. After that’s done, it’s purging the physical discs time.

We’ve got around 400 cds, so this is not a quick project. LOL

I’ve been processing everything I experienced on my trip to Scotland. When you go to a place that you’ve always wanted to go to….when you make connections to a land and culture that transcends lifetimes and imprints your soul….it takes time to really understand and articulate it all.

One thing I’ve come back with is a new sense of the global society we’re all part of. It’s beyond having pride in your nation. It’s the idea that there’s countries….ideals….people outside the borders you’ve grown up in.

I’ve spent my entire life in the western US. Outside of a few vacations in Canada, that’s been it. For 50 years, the only real concept I had of the world was that it was a huge place and my country was big.

Heck, Washington state is larger than some countries in Europe.

While I was in Scotland, I grew into a more global citizen. It wasn’t all about me or the US. It was seeing how the rest of the world saw things, related to each other.

I met people who regularly made trips to other countries for the weekend to enjoy a hobby. The same hobby that, here, I could do just as many events over the summer and never leave the state.

I met people who got that I was a tourist, driving under new rules, and were happy to give me pointers (parking places are wonderful things on single track roads, but you gotta use them the right way).

I found out that citizens were okay with their government saying they believed in climate change and banning gasoline powered engines (all new cars sold were to be hybrids or electric) because they wanted to preserve the earth around them.

I discovered that people still read. A lot. That libraries, books, bookstores, and knowledge isn’t frowned upon. People spoke in complete sentences, without a lot of slang.

I heard more languages being spoken in the breakfast area of my B&B in Inverness than I did in a year around Seattle.

I met people who didn’t hesitate to follow their dreams, take the trip they’ve always wanted to do. That didn’t believe in waiting for ‘the perfect time’. Who realized travel has an impact on us beyond the money spent and the souvenirs we bring home.

I realized, deep down, that this earth we all share is connected in a way that border walls, oceans, customs kiosks, and guards can’t separate.

Will I travel overseas more? I don’t know. I’d like to, but there’s places in the US I’d like to see. The trip I took taught me a lot. About myself, how I fit into the world, and that the best way to interact with other cultures isn’t from behind a computer screen.

We need to experience life to write about it, after all.

BB

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Happy September everyone!

I’m someone who adores the fall. Yes, I’m drinking pumpkin spice coffee already. LOL. Give me days with crisp air, leaves on the ground, and cozy sweaters! I bought myself a sweater while in Scotland that I plan to practically live in for the next six months.

To celebrate the coming change, I have a guest today! Please welcome author and friend, Cyn Ley!

Hi KateMarie! Thank you for the opportunity of visiting with you today!

What genres do you write?

 I write multi-genre—short stories mainly, but am venturing into longer works. Paranormal, horror, social satire, humor, scifi light, general fiction, and stuff that’s rather odd. I’m currently working on the second installment of a new cozy mystery series, the first having debuted in PINK FLAMINGOS & OTHER FOLLIES (It’s A Mystery I: The Lost Boys). I also have several new short stories in the works.

Tell us about your books!

I’m delighted to say that I am a top-reviewed author on Amazon for all of my titles. Never saw that coming! LOL

There are currently three available in print and Kindle editions, and one short which is available on Kindle only. The first book, ENCOUNTERS TALES RECOUNTED AND REBORN has the best of the stories published between 2014 – 2016, and ranges all across my spectrum, including several written for other Solstice Publishing anthologies. There are 20 stories in all. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MUYCFBC

Encounters-001

The second, THE OSSUARY PLAYGROUND AND OTHER TALES, has a special place in my heart. Published in 2017, I was living very close to the Veil, my Beloved Husband having brushed through it a few months earlier.  I wanted to explore the Afterlife as I’ve experienced it, seeing it from the Other Side as well as this one.  Consisting of four stories, the book has been described as “literary fiction,” and contains some of my best writing to date, I think. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071JMBPZM

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Next came PLOT TWIST, a weird and funny tale about what happens when a demon on assignment shows up at a science fiction convention.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078YC35LX

plot twist dna-001

After THE OSSUARY PLAYGROUND, which is fairly intense reading, I felt I needed to lighten things up a bit as well as introduce something entirely new to me. PINK FLAMINGOS & OTHER FOLLIES (2018) is funny, quirky and engaging, consisting of five tales. One of these, “It’s A Mystery I: The Lost Boys,” is the first installment of a cozy mystery series. I hope to release the second installment later this year. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BR15J71

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Favorite part of writing? Least favorite?

They’re actually the same thing: when my Muse whacks me upside the head at 2am and orders me to write stuff down. LOL Be that as it may, she’s always right!

 What’s your process? Do you outline or just let the story unfold as you write?

I don’t have a process per se. A lot of times stories come to me in bits, then build on themselves. I have yet to use an outline. For me, writing is very organic—it will happen where and when it wants to. While I’ll have an idea of where I want a story to go, sometimes the story has other ideas! I usually end up writing all kinds of alternatives. The story will shake itself out. Even if I Have A Clue where it’s going, those alternates are still important to write down. I might be able to use them at another time, and if they’re not written down, they’ll be lost forever.

Most surreal moment since you were published was?

It still is! Reading reviews of your work is always a little surreal. I love hearing from my readers, both good comments and not so good comments. I think it’s essential for authors to keep an open mind and learn from the feedback they receive, whether or not they like what they’re hearing. This is not to say one has to concede to the reader–after all, they’re not living in your head–but they can draw your attention to areas where you may need to tweak how you communicate your story.

Name three places you’d like to visit so you could incorporate them into a story/book.

 For me, it’s not so much places as it is things I’d like to do. Go ziplining. Take a helicopter trip over Mt. St. Helens. Visit places where the residents may be dead but are not sleeping. See a Sasquatch, and remember to bring fresh fruit with me as a gift. Stuff like that. As the saying goes, “Life is a banquet!” Maybe I’ll sit down and share an apple with a Bigfoot.

Thanks for stopping by, Cyn!

Readers, if you want to connect with Cyn, you can find her via social media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CynthiaLey2@cynthialey2

Blog: https://authorcjl.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Cleyfiction4/

A top reviewed author on Amazon, Cyn takes much of her inspiration from the part of the beautiful Pacific Northwest she calls home, where fire (the active volcanoes) and water (the many rivers and the Pacific Ocean) actually do mix. Among her many interests are history, embroidery, folklore, and things that are generally rather strange.

Hey everyone!

If you read my last post, you know I recently did something I can’t remember not wanting to do. I took a page from Bilbo Baggins and went on an adventure.

Today, I came home again at last. The plane ride happened last Friday. I’ve technically been home for almost a week. But I was still processing everything I saw and heard and experienced.

We’ve had sucky air quality around here, as it seems like half of the west coast is on fire. Today, though, the air has cleared to healthy levels. I was able to open the curtains and windows, inviting the outside in for the first time. And I started to clean the house.

Keep in mind, the air has had so much smoke and ash in it that they were advising against vacuuming or sweeping in your house, as it would kick up even more allergens/pollutants. The weeds in the yard are in dire need of decapitation, but they’ve got a short reprieve. Those will be mowed down tomorrow.

Anyway, I’m wandering off topic. I’m a writer. It happens. As I was cleaning, I started to put the last remnants of my trip away.

Jewelry came out of boxes (though those were saved) and put in my jewelry chest or where they needed to go. The Jacobite Rose pin went on the green merino wool sweater, which is where I plan on always wearing it. The compression bags were refolded and put in their box. The suitcases were put back together.

And two packages, with gifts for family or friends not nearby, were sent off.

Scotland’s never going to leave me. The experience of going, of daring to do something I’d always wanted to do, will forever live in me. Even now, wearing the necklace with a bit of moss from Culloden, the contentment I gained…the peace in my soul….is still there.

By putting things away, sending them to their new homes, I’ve finished the process of coming home again.

Isn’t that what going on an adventure is all about? Finding your way back home?

BBCastle MacDuff 2 8.14

Hey everyone!

Yes, I know it’s been a while since I posted here. As per normal, life happened. This was a good thing, though.

I’ve touched on this before, how the last 2 -3 years of my life have been chaotic. Too many things to list, and most weren’t good. Death came to visit far more than anyone should have to deal with. There were other things, too, that drove me even deeper down the rabbit hole.

I’d climb out some, start to feel normal again, and have something else come up.

In mid June, my husband looked at me and told me I needed something to look forward to. Something that would be a boost to my soul. At his recommendation, the next day I booked airfare for a trip I’d wanted to take longer than I could remember.

I was going to Scotland.

The trip was last week. I just got home on Friday. I’m still readjusting to this time zone. LOL. But my soul found three separate places it called home. Three places where I made a profound, deep connection that stretched back hundreds of years. And I returned home with a sense of peace, of contentment, of wholeness, that I’ve never felt before in this turn of the Wheel.

‘Guarding William’, the 3rd book in The Waystation Guardians series, came out right as I left. I also took books with me, to leave in hotels and B&Bs as thank you gifts. The B&B host in Inverness now plans to put my photo on the wall in the room I had, along with the caption of ‘American Author KateMarie Collins slept here!’. A restaurant, Hootananny’s, suggested I put a version of their beef stew in a book. Which I fully intend on having characters eat, should the manager actually send me the recipe (yes, it was THAT good!). A restored 14th c castle B&B I spent one night in plans to leave them in the Great Room, for future guests to read.

I found myself. And I may have found a few readers along the way. In going home, I’ve rediscovered myself. I’ve made peace with the chaos, and am armed with a renewed sense of direction.

Watch out, world. You tried to push me back down, and almost succeeded. But I’ve reconnected with that stubborn Scottish streak in me. I will find my readers.

If you’re wondering about ‘Guarding William’, here’s the link: mybook.to/guardingwilliam

BB

Hey everyone!

No, I haven’t disappeared off the face of the earth. Life has been, well, life.

One of the things I’ve found most interesting lately is the whole ‘cockygate’ situation. You know what it breaks down to? Someone who was so totally insecure about their own writing that they chose to not do the work necessary to reach the level they wanted and they decided to exert authority in a really bad way.

Authors are not privileged in that we own fonts. We don’t own words that have been around for centuries. And we don’t own readers.

Damn it all, PLAY NICE WITH YOUR FELLOW AUTHORS!!!!

Stop leaving bad reviews because you think someone ‘slighted’ another author you know. Don’t plagiarize other authors works. Don’t go full on diva and claim you know what it takes if you’re not willing to listen to the people who do.

In other words, check your privilege at the door.

This industry has a camaraderie to it that I’ve never found anywhere else. I’m not competing with any other author but myself. I only need to make the next story more interesting. I don’t have to hoard readers. I don’t want them to defend me by slandering other authors.

You want to write a book about Charon? Go for it! I DON’T OWN THE MYTHOLOGY!!!

What I own is my own behavior, the worlds and stories that I have created. I don’t own the words I used to create them.

There’s been lots of books about Charon. There’s been main characters named Kate and Amber and Grace. There’s been dragons and elves and orcs.

You could read 30 books with ‘Guarding’ in the title. You’d only think 2 of them were written by me, because I’m listed as author. The other 28 could be by other authors, who have a totally different voice than I do.

If you’re smart enough to read a book, then you’re smart enough to read who wrote it.

By the way….’Guarding Charon’ is at a lower price! Seriously, the series is a good one. I’m working on book 3. Honest!

myBook.to/guardingcharon

BB

I had a great time visiting Leigh Podgorski’s blog today!
 
Check it out and show her some love!
 

Yes, we can

I know, it’s been a while. Not just for my blog, but writing in general. Life has a way of doing that.

On Friday night, the hubby and I headed to a baseball game. We’d planned to take our youngest, but he got sick. So, I offered the ticket to a friend of mine. She was super excited (and repaid us in bath bombs – thoroughly addicted to her stuff!), so off we went.

I was feeling happy by the time we got to our seats (first row, too!). I’d been able to walk from the train to the stadium, then down to our seats, without stopping. A year ago, that wouldn’t have happened. Amazing how much difference 60lbs can make.

Anyway, at some point my friend wanted to go get some food. Back up to the concourse we went. One of the things she got was fried grasshoppers to put on her tacos. We arrived back at our seats, and I agreed to try one.

Not high on my ‘need to eat this again’ list, so you know. More like ‘nope, never again’.

After I finished washing the taste out of my mouth with some hot cider, I said something in passing that a single grasshopper wasn’t nearly as scary as submitting my first book to a publisher. If can do that…if I can go through surgery and finally start get my weight going in the right direction…a single grasshopper is nothing.

That’s it, right there. The simple act of finishing writing a book takes dedication. Checking on the submission requirements, doing our homework, and having the courage to hit send on that email – not just once but dozens of times – is bravery.

When you get that contract, you’re not at the end of the work. There’s still the promoting and marketing. But we’re scared to get out there and make cold calls. Get disappointed when sales don’t meet our hopes. And we give up.

Thing is, you did the hardest part and wrote the book. You did the work to find it a home. Giving up now because you don’t want to put the time into promoting it is like that fried grasshopper.

You’ve come so far. This is the easy part.

BB