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Posts Tagged ‘scotland’

As many of you may know already, I went on an adventure this past August. I spent a week in Scotland. While I did do some normal touristy things, a good portion of the trip was going where I needed to go.

For my entire life, I’ve always yearned to go home to Scotland. Where this came from, I didn’t know. The music, the history, the very land called to me as sure as the south calls to birds during the fall. I went in hopes of finding the one spot that my soul yearned to go back to.

I found three.

One of them was outside of the town of Rosemarkie, on Black Isle. This is just slightly north of Inverness, across the Moray Firth. It’s not a big touristy spot, but well worth going to.

The name and the photos appealed to both me and my traveling companion, Tara. After doing a dolphin tour (yes! baby dolphins!), lunch, and a few other unexpected stops, we made it to the head of the trail.

It wasn’t even five minutes into the hike when I turned to her and said, “I can’t stop smiling!” And I couldn’t. I’d found the second place that called to me, and the first that was unexpected.

The entire hike was exhilarating. Not in the sense that it was a hard hike but the energy that surrounded me, seeped into my pores and invigorated my very soul. The Wiccan part of me was home. My soul danced with joy. My cares, worries, and stresses melted away. And I let myself hear what the woods were telling me.

Then, we came to the end of the trail and found this:

FG 11 BI 8.13

I sat on a rock and closed my eyes, opening myself up to the sounds around me. The rushing water, changing tone as it moved downstream. The light rustle of leaves being moved by the wind. The smell of damp earth. The feeling of being welcomed, and at peace.

As we headed back out, I heard music. Not just any music, but something that bordered on magical. I turned to Tara and asked, “Do you hear that?” I needed confirmation that I wasn’t the only one who could hear it. That it was in the air was not in doubt. Simply if I was the only one meant to hear it, and heed its’ call.

She nodded. She heard it as well. It would stop for a time, then start up again, as we hiked out. Eventually, we caught up with a pair of hikers. She had been playing traditional Scottish and Irish music on a fife as she and her companion walked. We thanked her for the music, as it was the perfect accompaniment to the afternoon.

We got back to the car park, and I leaned against the driver’s side door. Looking back to the trailhead, I said a silent thank you for all creatures. Both the visible and unseen. For they had welcomed me home as a kindred spirit. I had been found, but I was never truly lost.

BB

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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

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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

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Good morning!

So, vacation’s this week. We’re off later this morning to get the a/c fixed in my van. Not a terribly fun thing on vacation, but it also means I don’t sit at the dealership for 6 hours. LOL

The house is still quiet. Right now, it’s just me and the cats awake. And some of the felines may have gone back to napping. That, or they’re into mischief. General rule with toddlers and kittens: if it’s quiet, go check. LOL

A lot of good has happened lately, even with some bad. It’s 13 days until Ayrshire College Comicon in Scotland. Hopeful that my donation to the silent auction does their local food bank some good. I have a surgery date. My 40+ year battle with obesity will be coming to an end, before I develop more serious complications. My desktop died (the fan and/or power supply quit on me), so we went and bought a new tower. Gotta say, the Geek Squad where I got it rocked the data transfer. Original estimate was 3-5 days. I had the new machine home, all files intact, in under 30 hours.

Then, there’s the big news. I’m going to do a signing at a Barnes & Noble in Federal Way, WA! Not only that, they’ll be stocking 4 of my titles!

Internationally renowned

So, yeah. Lots of good mixed up with a little bit of bad. Which is how life should be. Not everything is going to go our way. And,yeah, sometimes things pile on you all at once. If you can take a few deep breaths and remember where you came from, however, you’ll see growth. 5 years ago, B&N was a no go for me. No one in Scotland would’ve asked me to donate to an auction. I’d be trying yet another diet or exercise program. Okay, so my van’s a/c was working then. LOL.

What I’m trying to say is that any success takes time. It doesn’t happen a day after your book goes up for sale, or even a year. It’s growing into yourself as a public person and trying new things along the way. It’s learning who you are, as both a person and an author, and what you’re capable of doing.

It’s not how fast you push the boulder up the mountain, but the way you gather readers to help you move it.

BB

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Hey! It’s Saturday! Last week was hectic as anything, but I managed to survive. No one likes almost $700 in car repairs, but they were necessary. Now to try and sell some books and recoup at least part of that.

I had a couple of really good things happen last week. One just came to pass last night. My blog’s now a syndicated one on Authorsdb!

Authorsdb blog badge

The other one…well, it started coming about earlier in the week. But I’m still grinning about it.

I was checking my email late one night. There was a message from a gentleman who was part of a comicon at a community college. They were going to do a charity silent auction at the con, with the proceeds going to a local food bank. And he was hoping I could donate a book or two.

Oh, and the school was located in Scotland.

After I got past my momentary glee and sense of wonder for being asked, I did my due diligence. Made sure that the school was legitimate, that the con was listed on their website on the day he mentioned, and found social media information about the contact person and con itself.

Here’s where things got a little sticky. The con’s on April 25th. In order to get any books there, on time, it was going to cost a lot. I couldn’t find shipping options lower than $35 for a single book. I asked if they could help cover part of all the cost, as the abovementioned van repairs were still pending. Nope. Wasn’t going to be able to help.

So, I thought about it. And asked him what he thought of me doing a digital prize. He loved the idea!

I’ve sent him my covers, bio, headshot, and the Solstice Publishing logo. He’s going to come up with a display using those. The winning bid will be able to email a code to me and I’ll send them .df versions of all 18 titles I currently have out.

To sweeten the pot, I suggested he set a minimum amount (high enough to really benefit the food bank, but not so high that no one would ever bid on it) and, should the winning bid be at that point or higher, I’ll either name a character or dedicate my next book to them.

I don’t consider being an author as a money making scheme. I don’t necessarily want to hire bodyguards or an assistant who screens my emails. Because it’s not all about me. It’s about the stories, the readers, and the good that you can do by being a public person. I’m still relatively unknown. But if I can do something like this and help a food bank out, yeah. It’s worth it.

BB

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Hey.

It’s Wednesday, not Monday. And I haven’t exactly been on the ball each week with posts here.

I did a big push and wrapped up “Emile’s Blade” earlier this week. It’s with my beta readers now, and should be under contract/with my editor at Solstice Publishing shortly after the first of September. Now I’m starting to connect all three Amari stories (Fin’s Magic, Alaric’s Bow, and Emile’s Blade) into a single book that we can release in both ebook and print formats.

I’m working with two different cons now! I’ll be a guest at Renton City Comicon in October, and a panelist at RustyCon in January. Love that these new opportunities are starting to open up to meet readers. And help authors.

There’s been other things going on, though, beyond the books. I’ve had some real issues lately with feeling like I have too many balls in the air. Work, writing, house, college (oldest heads that way in a few weeks), high school swim practice for the youngest, promoting, doctor and dentist appointments, vehicle maintenance, and about a dozen other things. It’s led me to spend more time just sitting and not wanting to participate in much of anything over being excited for the future.

A lot of this is related to my parents both passing away within seven months of each other. My dad’s death hit me really hard. When I was there the last time, I brought home one of his sweaters just to have something that still had a bit of his scent on it. My mom was morbidly obese. So am I. And I won’t die the way she did, so I’m looking into having surgery.

Our insurance won’t cover it, so I need to sell some books. LOTS of books. We’re looking at $20,000 to get this done.

So, yeah, things haven’t been the best. I never set out to lie to anyone reading this blog. If anything, I wanted to be brutally honest. To live past the age my mom was, I have to do something now. And current book sales aren’t going to get me there.

Still, it’s moving forward with the planning. It’s getting the preliminary testing and visits done now so, when the money is there, we can do this.

Oh, and I’m going to take a dream trip to Scotland when it’s done and I’ve recovered from the surgery.

Ever so slowly, the door on my past is closing. In some ways, I’ve kept it open for far too long. I don’t think I’m done grieving, which is one reason why I had to force myself to finish up ‘Emile’s Blade’. When you read it, and I hope you will, you will understand why. I’m probably going to have bad days ahead of me. When the desire to call him and give him some exciting news will remind me that he’s not able to answer any more. And there will be days where the juggling act I do will want to come crashing down. But I hope, and feel, that those days will be farther and farther apart. That the good will outweigh the bad, the memories give me more smiles than tears.

The stories that still need to be written will come to pass. The surgery, and Scotland, will eventually happen as well. And maybe, possibly, hopefully, the future I want won’t be as far away as it seems.

BB

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