Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Fall Family Fun Weekend! #Staunton #VA #MD #Travel

Selfie with my brother
I'm back from a whirlwind trip that included seeing a bunch of different family members, celebrating joyous occasions, and reminiscing about the past.  My journey was filled with train and car rides, loads of laughter, and two family events.  Oh, and because it's me, there was also one trip to a haunted building.

I started off making my way from Massachusetts to Maryland via a long but peaceful train ride.  I love the train, actually--I always choose the "Quiet Car", where talking and cell phones are prohibited, and I get to read uninterrupted (with the exception of naps) for hours on end.  It's a mini-vacation in and of itself.

One of the pics I took exploring
Glenn Dale Hospital
From Baltimore, I needed to hook up with my brother and sister, so I took a car to my sister's office.  Like me, she loves all things spooky, so we had to take a quick side trip to the Glenn Dale Hospital,  an enormous, 216-acre campus of abandoned buildings that once served as a tuberculosis sanatorium and isolation hospital.  Built in 1934, it hasn't been used since 1981.  I went into a few rooms (not exactly legal) to snap photos, and while I don't think I encountered any ghosts, it was certainly eerie.  It reminded me a bit of the tour I received of an abandoned prison here on Cape Cod.  In fact, as we get into the Halloween season, I'll probably do an entire post of the history of Glenn Dale hospital and the legends surrounding the facility and include the rest of my pictures...who knows, maybe it will even serve as inspiration for a new book--seems like a perfect setting for one of my stories!  

From Maryland, we hooked up with our brother and continued on to Staunton, Virginia, located in the Shenandoah Valley between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Allegheny Mountains (both parts of the Appalachian Mountains).  We know it best as the hometown of both our cousins on our mother's side and The Statler Brothers, a country music group we used to see in concert every year when we'd visit for the Fourth of July.  Since it was just a sibling road-trip--we left the spouses and kids behind--it felt like we were time traveling, back to the past.    

Staunton, Virginia

My cousin's wedding was lovely, an all-day event that brought us together with family and friends we hadn't seen in years.  We had a great time reminiscing and the two days we spent there went by too fast.  

We took some of the wedding flowers
to use at the Baptism - love these

Then it was back in the car to my sister's house, for the Baptism of my youngest niece.  I got to see more members of the family and play with my nephew and nieces, whom I adore.  

I was back on the train on Monday, exhausted but thrilled to have been a part of the family celebrations.  It may not have been the easiest trip to make, in terms of timing, logistics, and convenience, but I know it was important too.  Now I'm slowly trying to get back into my usual routine, and it's not easy after five hectic days away!  So, time to get off my computer, and get back to the laundry.  Thanks for stopping by! 

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!