Saturday, August 17, 2019

Celebrating #BlackCatAppreciationDay and Researching Superstitions ~ Love My #BlackCats #Rescue #Cats

Max and Jinx <3
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!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

My Teen is Reading Again! #Books for Boys #amreading #YA

My son reading one of the ASOIAF
books on the London tube during a 2016 trip

Hands down, reading is my favorite pastime, and I love books so much, I write them as well.  I've always tried to get my two sons into reading, with varying results.  My younger son, who is now 17 (!!!!) was always the bigger reader, but they both could be hooked with a really great story.  The problem is, I can't always find those really compelling novels that will pull them in immediately.  And because I'm an author, they know terms like "the hook", "the conflict", "the author's voice", etc.  It's hard to argue if they tell me they can't connect with the characters or the pacing is slow. 

So, five years ago, I started blogging about some of the books and series they really loved (links to those posts are below).  I have three posts over the years with titles they've enjoyed.  My oldest son is now in college, with a summer internship in full swing as well, so his time is limited.  But my younger son has a lot of downtime this summer, and I really wanted to get him reading again.  I say "again", because we hit a roadblock a few years ago.  In 2016, he read the A Song of Ice and Fire series (Game of Thrones), tearing through all five enormous books currently out (and I'd read them as well, so I do know there are adult scenes but my feeling has always been if my kids are reading, I'm happy, whatever it is).  The problem arose because those books are so incredible, so intricately plotted, so full of danger and battles and dragons and betrayals, so exciting and action-packed, that nothing he started reading afterwards could compare.  I tried several books that are similar in theme or genre, but he just kept saying they weren't as good and losing interest.   

I'm sad to say this went on for almost 3 years.  We tried The Dark Tower series, other Stephen King books, River God, Swan Song...all great books that I loved.  He would put them down after the first chapter.  The only novels he read were for school, and I generally don't find our school makes very compelling picks.

But this summer, I said we're going to get back into reading for pleasure.  I started with an Amazon search of books related in purchase history to the Quarantine series, which both my kids loved and couldn't put down.  I found a title called Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne.  He loved it!  This is a YA thriller revolving around a busload of kids of different ages trying to survive in a supermarket after an apocalyptic event.  Thankfully, there were two more books in the series, so we had July covered.

A few of my next picks didn't grab his attention, but another thing happened...he rented the first Lord of the Rings movie.  I was surprised he hadn't seen those movies already with his brother or his friends.  But now he's saying he'd like to read the books too (despite already seeing the movies)...yay!  That's how he got into the Game of Thrones books, so I'm hopeful.  And when a series is *his* idea, and not mine, it makes it all the more likely he'll keep reading.  And here on Cape, the kids don't go back to school until after Labor Day, so we have a few more weeks of beach reading relaxation!

Other recommendations over the years:

Books for Boys

Books for Boys 2

Books for Boys 3

Friday, August 9, 2019

5* #Review! "Passion...past hurts...Brilliant" Reunion #Romance + #Ghost Mystery #FridayReads #Paranormal

Sharing a review of Silver Lake I *LOVE* from the Nom de Plume Book Review site!  This book has a special place in my heart, as it was my debut novel and I lived with the characters and the plot growing in my imagination for years before I decided to try to write it.  Then I spent years editing and revising it until I received my first publishing contract (December 16, 2011...not that the date is seared in my brain or anything :) )

Silver Lake is a reunion romance and ghost mystery...a story of second chances, painful secrets, friendship, loss, and the desire to solve a five-year-old disappearance, even in the face of frightening paranormal activity.  

I've pulled out a few favorite quotes (I wish this review had been around when my editor and I were working on the novel's blurb and tag lines...NDP Reviews has a real talent for creating enticing summaries!).  

"Chills, people!"

"Kathryn Knight is my go-to author for romantic suspense because this is just WHAT. SHE. DOES. BEST."

"Brandy had disappeared years before, and it tore their group of friends apart.  Rain, Allie, A.J., and Jason all went their separate ways, unable to face the trauma of their loss.  Now, though, it's time to find the truth, even if that means facing the truth of their own lives as well."

"For Rain, seeing Jason again means facing their inescapable attraction and the reality that he will likely never forgive her.  While mysterious puddles of water appear, doors slam, and the ghost appears again and again, Jason and Rain wade through the intensity of passion and past hurts to find justice for Brandy."

"How does someone come up with a plot like this?  This isn't normal.  It's brilliant."

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Bathroom Makeover ~ From 90s Mauve to #FarmHouse Coastal! #FixerUpper Style Cape Cod #Remodel

So thrilled with how it all came together!  Wall color is Hale Navy.
After months of delays, the glass for our master bathroom shower was just installed, which means the entire remodel is officially DONE!  I couldn't wait to post the pics of the bedroom, so they're already up, but now I can share the bathroom pics as well.

One of the things I asked to have to
remind me of my grandparents...for
reason I always like this painting, and
if the medium was right, so did my
Grandma Renie.
I can't find any before pics, which is a was just as bad as the master bedroom in both decor and design.  For one thing, I still had the ratty (but frequently washed) shower curtain from our first house...I couldn't seem to part with it because it matched this watercolor painting I'd brought from my grandparent's house after my grandmother passed away.  And I was so attached to the painting...not just because I liked it enough to ask my uncle, when they were cleaning out the house, if I could have it.  But also because it reminded me of my grandparents, and even more compelling, because one time when I was at a psychic medium show (researching my main character's abilities for Gull Harbor), a medium picked me out of the crowd and told me my grandmother "was happy I had the painting."  My mind was blown...I'd never seen this medium, I hadn't signed up for anything, it was cash at the door and an auditorium full of people.  And I don't think it was a lucky guess, as she also talked about the charm bracelet of my grandmother's that I held on to as well.  

So, the shower curtain and painting matched, although they were both a somewhat dated combination of mauve and green.  Our vanity was small, one sink, and my husband had long since relinquished all the counter space to me and moved his things into the hall bathroom, sharing space with our teen boys.  As the only female in the house, this struck me as fair.  But our bathroom sink didn't work very well, and the shower itself was a nightmare that I can't bear to elaborate on.

As I mentioned when posting about the bedroom, decorating doesn't come easily to me, but researching things does.  Again, I relied a lot on Pinterest!  Here's a link to the specific board for the bathroom.  Pics below...thanks for coming by and let me know what you think in the comments section!

I'm proud of the tobacco basket/wreath design...I found the
metal tobacco basket at a vintage re-sale shop, and the
wreath came from Luckett's in Virginia.

Bottles collected from flea markets and antique shops.
Terrarium and faux plant from Marshall's.

To view the bedroom pics, click here.

And I should not forget the closet space...the before closet and after is below!

A photo from demo-day. 
That narrow space under the eves was the closet...sloped ceilings and
a hidden window, with folding doors that took up space.

New closet area in a different part of the room!
So much more storage, better use of space, and a little
bench and window <3  Color is Lakeshore Green.