Sunday, September 17, 2017

Emotional Roller Coasters + #WritersBlock ~ #amwriting #writerslife

"Writers Write" -- until they don't, or can't, for some reason.  This is a re-post of the story I shared originally on fellow author Casi McLean's blog, as part of her "Authors Bare All" (ABA) series:

There are a lot of posts and articles about various tricks and exercises which can be used to combat writer’s block, but this isn’t one of them.  It’s really more my personal story of fighting my way back to writing after walking away from it for a while.

A lot of authors are very prolific, turning out several books a year, but I’m not one of them.  It usually takes me an average of a year’s time to write a full-length manuscript.  It takes a lot out of me, too, even though I do derive pleasure from the process when things are going smoothly.  But, of course, writing, and life, don’t always go smoothly.

My new release and an event with
some literary stars were some of the
highlights of the summer of 2016!
My fourth novel, Haunted Souls, came out the summer of 2016, and I spent a lot of time doing promotional events that summer—including signing books with an author idol, Mary Higgins Clark!  Then suddenly it was October, a popular month for my combination of ghost mysteries and romance, and as usual, I over-scheduled myself with both online events and author panels and talks.  My writing, which had taken a back seat to a new release over the summer, stalled out completely.

For me, once that happens, it can be a challenge to get back.  I had the idea, I had the first few chapters, I had an outline, I’d done the research…but I couldn’t seem to force myself to sit down and actually type words.  So I decided I would participate inNaNoWriMo…not with the goal of actually finishing the novel, but with the goal of getting the required word count in daily, which would equate to 50,000 words in a month’s time.  This has worked for me before, and as I get on a roll, it gets easier.  And so I began.

It was going great.  And then my Dad found the tumor, around Thanksgiving.  My inspiration for word counts dwindled.  I kept trying for a while, but by the time I found myself thinking “just write 100 words today”, and still dreading it, I decided enough was enough.  I have fans who are looking for my next book, and I’m eternally grateful for that and loathe to disappoint them.  But I’m also not locked into any million-dollar contract that says I have to submit a book at a certain time, either.  So I closed the Word document and threw myself into other things.

One of those things was going through the final part of the college decision-making process with my older son…college visits, campus tours, etc.  Then there were also the senior class events which became more frequent as the spring went on.  I spoke with my Dad a lot, visited him in D.C when I was able, and tried to hold it together.  He lost the battle in April, and then I set about helping plan a funeral while grieving.

My older son graduated in June, and I was determined to spend as much time with him, and the family, as I could the summer before he left for college.  Occasionally I thought of my unfinished manuscript, but even looking at it seemed too overwhelming.  Losing the only parent I had left, having a son finish high school and prepare to leave home…it was an emotional roller coaster and all I could do was hang on tight, savor the memories, and work on making new ones.

After my son was successfully set up at his new home away from home, I started thinking about writing again.  I missed it.  My characters still wanted their story told.  I had over 50,000 words done already.  But I was scared.  Could I even still write?

I told myself I’d just read it.  One chapter a day, to get reacquainted with the story.  I liked what I had.  And while I didn’t exactly “write” every day, I did make changes, take notes, edit, etc., all the while letting the pieces of the plot sink back in, along with the finer details.  And when I got to that last sentence, right in the middle of a scene, I just picked it back up.  Slowly at first, but then I gained momentum.

So, I’m back at it, going strong, and I’m really excited about that.  And very relieved that I haven’t “lost it”—I just needed time.

Back at it!
Please share your story, fellow authors!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Signing #Books in #Falmouth Cape Cod #CapeCod #Author Events #amwriting

I have lots of events coming up this September, both writing-related and personal!  This week brings both an online event and a local 

event.  On Tuesday the 12th, I'll be a guest author at Casi McLean's Beyond the Mist Facebook party--a celebration for her newest release, with 12 author offering giveaways and giftcards!  Check this post for more info on that...all you need to attend is a FB account.  Then the next night, Wednesday the 13th, I'll be in Falmouth. at a Bingo Night Fundraiser.  This is always a good time.  The suggested donation is $20 (proceeds this month go to Walk MS Falmouth, ALS Cliff Walk, and Walk to Defeat ALS), and that gets you 20 games (wear orange OR blue and white for a bonus card!).  Complimentary light appetizers and a cash bar too!

Where do I fit in to this event?  There are a whole bunch of local artists and vendors setting up for shopping before and in between the games, and we've all donated to the cause as well as offered prizes for raffles.  The complete list of vendors is below, so if you're in the area, please consider stopping by!  

Wednesday, September 13th

5:30 to 9:30 at the Holiday Inn Cape Cod
291 Jones Road Falmouth

Shop with local artists and vendors:

PartyLite, LuLaRoe by Brooke, Thirty One, The Pampered Chef, Arbonne, Ruby Ribbon,
Paparazzi Jewelry, Reine’s Creations, Nanny’s Knits, Younique, Pruvit, Tupperware, Mary Kay,
 Dragonfly Dreams, LuLaRoe by Heather, It Works, Limelight by Alcone, Avon, Usborne Books,
Athenas, LuLaRoe by Stacy, Steeped Tea, WarmShades Widgets, Touchstone Crystal, doTERRA,
LuLaRoe by Trina, Allison Asher – Realtor- Kinlin Grover Real Estate, Kathryn Knight Books,
CyAnOriginals, Beautycounter, Jamberry & More! 

Then I get to spend a long weekend away from work, visiting with family for both my cousin's wedding in Virginia and my niece's Christening in Maryland.  The negative...I'll be missing my older son's first Parent's Day Weekend...but we're close enough that I'm making up for that by visiting him this weekend.  And his Dad and brother will be with him for that tailgate while I'm away.

Finally, when I get back from my travels, my latest Fiction Writing and Publication class begins in Falmouth on Tuesday, September 26th. More info on that can be found in this post.  And then comes October, with all the usual haunting-related events I do...but between all that, I hope to finish my latest all my free time????  Wish me luck!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

#NewRelease Party! #Giveaways #Giftcards #Books #Paranormal #Romance

I'm excited to be one of the guest authors participating in the Facebook party celebrating the release of Casi McLean's Beyond the Mist this Tuesday night!  Casi and I write for the same publisher, and we both write within the paranormal romantic suspense genre.  With a total of 12 authors participating in the fun, there will be loads of games, fun, and giveaways! 

The best part is that you can attend from your house--the only thing you need is a FB account!  Sign on any time between 6:00 p.m. EST to 9:00 p.m. to chat with authors and enter the prize drawings.  Or stop by later and enter, as the many of the contests stay open until the next morning.  You'll find new fall reads--many with paranormal elements perfect for the upcoming Halloween season--and potentially win awesome prizes.

For a detailed schedule of events, check in on the FB event page, and come join me during my 8:35-8:50 spot for some discussion on steamy romance and spooky suspense!  Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Fiction #Writing Course in #Falmouth! #CapeCod #amwriting Cape Cod

Ready to write that novel?
I'm thrilled to be teaching a new "Fiction Writing and Publication" course this September, back at The Lawrence School in Falmouth.  For the last few years, I've taught this popular class for both Cape Cod Community College's Center for Corporate and Professional Education and for the Town of Falmouth's Community School in a number of locations, and I've met so many aspiring authors and hopefully helped them on their writing journey.  I've even read some of their finished manuscripts and visited their writing groups, which has been so rewarding.  If you're interested in writing a novel, or exploring publishing options, and you're in the Cape Cod area, consider joining us!  The press release is below:

Ready to Write That Novel?

A course offered this fall in Falmouth provides instruction on writing fiction and guidance on publishing options.

For many writers, a quote by Nobel Prize-Winning Author Toni Morrison summarizes the beginning of the journey: “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”  Many people dream of writing a novel, but aren’t sure how to begin.  Even once a manuscript is finished, the choices within the publishing industry seem to grow every day.  Literary agents continue to seek clients for the big publishing houses, smaller electronic presses have become a force in the new digital world, and more options than ever exist for those looking to publish independently.  Unfortunately, this type of growth has also resulted in many sites looking to take advantage of authors eager to publish and promote their work.  The entire process can become overwhelming quickly.

A five-week evening class offered by Falmouth Community School aims to offer guidance to aspiring authors.  “Fiction Writing and Publication” will be held at the Lawrence School on Tuesday evenings, September 26—October 24, from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.  Bestselling author Kathryn Knight will teach the elements of successful fiction writing and outline the various options in the rapidly changing publishing industry.  Key concepts such as voice, POV, the hook, Goal-motivation-conflict, and character development will be discussed. Idea inspiration, common pitfalls, and query letters will also be covered.  Finally, avenues to publication - from self-publishing to small and digital presses to seeking agent representation - will be explored.

Lawrence School is located at 113 Lakeview Ave.  Pre-registration is required; please visit Falmouth Community School online or call 508.548.5739 to register.  Cost is $149, no materials or experience needed.

One of the reviews left by a class member!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Exploring Washburn Island #CapeCod #vacation #travel Cape Cod

A sailboat washed ashore on Washburn
I love exploring new places, whether far away or close to home, but it's especially exciting to "discover" the hidden gems in your own backyard (for me, that's now Cape Cod).  A few summers ago, we visited Cuttyhunk, a secluded oasis in the Elizabeth Island chain only accessible by private boat.  It was like being in another world.  People do live there year-round...about 86, to be exact.  This summer, we spent a day on Washburn Island, a completely undeveloped island located in Falmouth.  Again, this is an island only accessible by private boat, and there is almost nothing there except for some primitive camping grounds.  Well, not nothing, really.  There's history, beauty, and undisturbed nature.  In fact, nature has reclaimed the remnants of the human intervention of the past, and it's slightly eerie to walk amongst the "ruins" and imagine the structures that once carved out space on the island.

Washburn Island is located in Waquoit Bay, and has, at times, been connected to the mainland via man-made bridges or changes in geography.  The Native American name for the island was Menauhant, and in the 1700 and 1800s, it was used for livestock grazing and small farms.  In the late 1800s, the island was acquired by Henry Bryant, who built a house and facilitated the installation of a hand ferry for passage to the mainland.

A small part of the house that once stood on Collin's Hill

After Bryant's death, his widow eventually sold the island to a group of investors.  The only property developed was purchased by Fred and Fannie Collins, and the remains of their summer home is visible on Collins' Hill.

One of the investors, Henry Washburn, purchased the remainder of the island, and he and his wife Florence moved into the Bryant House.  A fire destroyed the property in 1926, and after Henry's death, Florence allowed the island to be used for recreational purposes.

Rusted remains of military vehicles
When the United States entered WWII, the need for amphibious training became tantamount to military success.  The Federal Government leased the area and reconnected Washburn Island to the mainland via a sand causeway and a wooden bridge.  The island was soon the home to roads, buildings, drill fields, parade grounds, obstacle courses, docks, and piers.  After the war, the island was returned to Florence Washburn, who again allowed locals to enjoy the location.  Eventually, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts acquired the island, and it's now part of the Waquoit Bay Reserve.  Visitors may enjoy the beach, hike the trails, and camp (with reservations).

The one time I did camp there, we had little time for anything but setting up camp and then tearing it back down for our one-night stay.  But during our recent day trip, I was able to see so much more of the island, and really appreciate this historic and pristine piece of Cape Cod. And, on our journey, we found an actual message in a bottle, washed up on the sand!  The letter inside asked for a response, and as a writer, I was thrilled to comply.  Already, ideas about a character finding a message in a bottle are providing the inspiration for a new novel.

In the meantime, my latest Work-In-Progress, tentatively titled Dangerous Currents, does involve the Waquoit Nature reserve, if not Washburn Island itself.  I love drawing from local history for my stories, as I've done with Gull Harbor and Haunted Souls.  If you'd like to visit Cape Cod via my novels (along with some steamy romance and spooky suspense), check out the links!  And if you get to visit here in person, don't miss the beauty and history of Washburn Island.  

My husband walking the trail that was once a paved road
used by army vehicles during WWII

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

"#Paranormal #Romance Perfection" 5* #Book #Review! "Deliciously Haunting"

The tweet's caption read "yes, 6 stars" ~ woot!
A review of my reunion romance + ghost mystery Gull Harbor is up at Nom de Plume Reviews, and it's going down as one of my favorite reviews of all time!  The first I saw of it was on Twitter, and the tweet caption called it a "6 Star" heart soared as I scrambled to click the link.

I do a happy dance any time I hear someone enjoyed one of my stories, because that's why I write.  Not for myself, but to hopefully give a reader the hours of pleasure and entertainment that I feel when I find a book that really grabs my attention and never lets go. My goal is always to put readers into the story and connect them with the characters so deeply they feel the emotions: the pull of chemistry, the roller coaster of falling in love, the fear of danger, the pain of betrayal, the adrenaline of suspense, the heat of a kiss.

This review really made me feel that I'd succeeded in that: 

"This electric current in my body is unbearable!  Kathryn Knight has this way of manifesting spider-chills up my arms!  I can't help but let these emotions engulf me."

"Gull Harbor is deliciously haunting.  My favorite passages keep reverberating through my mind reminding me of the journey 
Max and I are on Claire are on."

"Here I am living vicariously through Claire; I was bitter toward Max and now I am vulnerable."

Check out the review in its entirety here: Nom de Plume Book Reviews - Gull Harbor, and if you enjoy steamy romance mixed with some spooky suspense, give Gull Harbor a try!  And if you'd like to see more of Claire and Max, download Haunted Souls as well...these characters make an appearance in Haunted Souls, and the hero and heroine of this story, Brett and Emily, have an equally intense journey to their Happily Ever After.  Happy Reading!

A dangerous ghost and an ex-boyfriend await Claire in GULL HARBOR...
~ A #1 Kindle Bestseller ~

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Celebrating #blackcatappreciationday + researching #superstitions! #cats

Max and Jinx - 2 yr. old brothers
It’s black cat appreciation day!  I absolutely love black cats…I have had many in the past, and I have two right now.  Most people ask if this is due to my fascination with the paranormal, as most of my novels involve spooky ghost mysteries.  And that’s probably part of it—but a few other things weigh in.  For one thing, I think black cats are beautiful.  But I also am a strong supporter of pet rescue and adoption, and black cats are over-represented at shelters, which could be in part because many people are consciously or even subconsciously affected by the superstition surrounding black cats.  So, today’s post is dedicated to how this idea that black cats are unlucky came about.

The ancient Egyptians believed cats had magical powers, and regarded them as sacred.  In fact, they worshiped a feline goddess known as Bastet.  On the other hand, Druids feared cats.  All cats are nocturnal and appear dark as they creep through the night, sure-footed and stealthy even with no light to see by.  This gave all cats a mystical aura, but the color black has often been associated with sinister forces.

Black cats, along with bats and spiders, have long been considered by some to be bad omens.  Some cultures believed witches could turn into cats in order to avoid capture.  Black cats were also thought to be familiars—low ranking demons tasked with serving and protecting a witch.

Even with a limited understanding of diseases, societies throughout history were also able to see the connection between cats and outbreaks of plague.  Cats control rodent populations, and rats are carriers of many diseases deadly to humans.  This added to the idea that cats had powers beyond human comprehension.

Thus, an association with witchcraft and the occult, superstition, fear, and awe combined to make black cats a symbol of Halloween, the night when the barrier between the paranormal and physical worlds grows thin.

So, there you have it…a few reasons black cats are considered unlucky by some.  Personally, I cross paths with my Max and Jinx dozens of times each day, and so far I’m no worse for the wear.  So celebrate your beautiful black cats!  And, if you enjoy a little spooky suspense like me, try one of my books…there’s some steamy romance in their as well, so something for everyone!