Tuesday, March 31, 2009

We are family; I got all my ...bloggers...with me!

( GMR painted this - I told him one day how I'd know I "made it" when I became an M&M cartoon *laughing*.... so, this is what he did...haw!)

Last day to vote for our Angie Gumbo Writer! Y'all just take a moment to click on that little thumbs up *smiling* CLICK HERE She's neck and neck with another blog! vote vote vote!

It is dark outside; I'm up quite early this morning: before Fat Lazy Lab Jake, before Good Man Roger, before the birds. It is silent, as our cove at Killian Knob can be - but through the closed windows and doors I still hear our creek -- the rains have brought it back as it was before.

I am overwhelmed at the support I am receiving from you all. To think, people I have never met face-to-face have become an important part of my life. You "see" them if not daily, then weekly. You are sad for them when they are sad, happy when they are happy. I can see some of us sitting around a table in a cafe, sharing coffee and something sweet, laughing and talking, and as we do, we are marveling at all the places we come from: here near far there yonder.

There will be no way I can do anything but say THANK YOU for all your support with Tender Graces - I only hope my words do your support justice. For TG is a love letter to everyone who reads her. As I wrote my Virginia Kate saga, I thought of all of you and all the hands that would hold her and that kept me writing and writing and writing. The thought it will soon happen just overwhelms me, but in that surreal but good way.

These days, publishing is a strange business. One never knows what will "work" and what will send books gathering dust on shelves and what makes them best-sellers. I hope the love and sincerity of my words will sell my books. I hope the story will sell it. The writing and language. I hope I do you all Proud; that is my wish.

Word of mouth - all of you - telling others about a good book you've read is, to me, one (or THE) most important thing when it comes to our books. A person reads your book and loves it and then tells someone and that person reads it and loves it and tells another and on the chain goes.

Never Ever Ever discount the important role that you, Dear Readers, have in the writer's life. I mean that in so many ways.

One day I hope to sell enough books to buy up land on this little mountain at Killian Knob so that all destruction - the cutting down of too many trees, the putting up of lights(blasphemy!), the postage-sized lots, My Muse Trail One decimated, Kayla's creek: gone....I hope that one day I can preserve what's left. I believe in having Goals - even if they seem too "out there" and lofty and hard. Maybe it'll happen, who am I to say it will not? But, I dream of walking Muse Trail One again, where the forest has taken over again, and Muse Trails Levels Two and Three remain wild as they are right now still. It is a "hard" goal, for writers do not make much money from the sale of their books: which is why we do it from Love. You may be surprised at what we make per book -- love...love....it is Love that keeps ups writing.

One more thing I have in mind: I contacted some libraries here in Western North Carolina about carrying my book and received very positive interest, but was saddened to learn that many small county libraries do not have a budget for books! Can you imagine? One of my other dreams is to help libraries --- those sanctuaries of my youth --- I am going to donate my book wherever I can; I do realize I can't do this at every library in every county (or parish of Louisiana) in every city, but, I can start somewhere. I urge you all to try to help your local libraries: donate books - it doesn't have to be mine (laughing!) - or find out how you can help. We need our libraries! We need our Independent Booksellers and Independent Presses....together, we are a strong force.


Monday, March 30, 2009

These here are a few of my fav'0'rite things, and they make me feeeeel realll glaaaaaad

My friend Mike made this "wolf's head" arrowhead necklace just for me and I adore it. His wife Tanya is a photographer and one day I'll ask her if she'd like to post some of her beautiful photography here. I believe if you click on the images, they are larger so you can see better.

Fat Lazy Labrador Jake sleeping

morning through my bedroom window and the sun catcher not quite catching the sun

My wolf painting we bought in Waynesville, at the Blue Owl on Main Street. Go see them if you are in WNC!

my "totems" and if you look closely, you'll see Fred the Spider who has taken up residence and whom I leave there and say hello to when I think about it. These came from Asheville's Woolworth Walk - worth the Walk. Except the round bowl shaped item came from a friend who lives in Australia!

My hornet's nest taken from Muse Trail Level Two - abandoned hornests nest - and GMR put it in our living room - I kept it on the limb it was on and he was able to put it up like this, how I wanted it.... so I can see it every day. It's over our television console. Lovely...to me anyway! A part of our mountain.
My rocks in the bowl didn't turn out, so next time. My books were blurry - so next time. They would have been right here:....

And, my good friends "The Hart Theater Regulars" Mark, Christy, Francis, Charles gave me this after my Good Old Girl Kayla, Fat Dog, died....*sob* -- I love this tribute....

and of course, my deep creek blend coffee in one of my favorite mugs sitting on the salt container that I also love. Deep Creek Blend is roasted at Smoky Mountain Roasters in Waynesville: if you are in the area, go there and get some.

So, every so often, I will have a "these are a few of my fave things...." What about you? what are your favorite things? If you post pics of them on your site, let me know and I'll go look! Happy Morning all!

NOTE FROM OUR ANGIE GUMBO WRITER!!!! "I need your thumbs up vote today and tomorrow, and appreciate your continued voting. The contest ends tomorrow night...so please visit this link today and tomorrow and click on the thumbs up under GUMBO WRITER---> " http://bloginterviewer.com/education/gumbo-writer-aka-angie-ledbetter

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Who stopped de raiinnnnn......? Don't matter; the cove sopped it up like biscuits and gravy

Last night it rained again. But, I'm happy for the rain. See This Post at our YOG (year of gratitude). We needed rain. The creek is filled again. Despite a tossing and turning beginning, when I opened my eyes this morning, it was already daylight: good, I needed the sleep as much as our creek and cove needed the recent rains -- and Sun now pours into our little log house at Killian Knob. Oh!

Have you met our Fat Lazy Labrador Jake?

Well, Good Man Roger is painting a series of paintings that just make me laugh or smile, or go "awww!" He calls them: Le Chein Rouge. Have you ever seen "the blue dog" paintings? This is GMR's version *teehee* ... Fat Lazy Lab Jake is unfazed by the attention. As my brother Tommy says, "Jake has about one expression..." and he proceeded to show me those "one expressions" ..."Here's happy; here's sad; here's contemplative; here's 'I'm hungry'..." (and those expressions are as you see above) while I laughed...it's true! Unless FLLJ sees someone he thinks is an intruder - oh! Then the sharp white fangs are exposed, the lips drawn back in warning, the low growl: it's quite terrifying to UPS people and other strangers come round the cove. He is a good watcher of the cove and all his domain.

The Le Chein Rouge are at top of this post- and I am not giving them much justice as I took the photos in a hurry (I am the most impatient person...geez). GMR gave these LSU collars, since these are for someone(s) who loves LSU.

I spoke with the most beautiful person yesterday! She has a soft southern accent. Her voice is filled with energy. She is a sincere and thoughtful person. Someone I would feel comfortable around. Hmm, maybe I should use this as a contest to win a book! Every day I'll give a hint and see if y'all can guess who I am talking about *laughing* --unless this person has said something on her blog about how she talked to this weird Kat Mountain Woman who cackles when she laughs and says things like "huhn...." and "Lawd!" and "Well, la tee dah!" teeheehee. We talked about books and writing and publishing, etcetera. I have a hard time talking on the phone - it's weird, but it's hard for me to follow conversations and I sometimes accidentally interrupt - my brain needs to either write conversations, or I need to look at someone in person to follow the convo properly. Huhn. I hope I made any sense at all....haw!

Now, on to Sunday Breakfast; then, I want to come visit you all. It's too late to do anything else with Tender Graces manuscript....in spite of the fact that I woke up at 2:00 AM, was it Friday?, night in a panic and emailed Bellebooks and said "Oh no oh no!" and they said, "oh too late too late!" *laughing* So, that's that. La Tee Dah. Huhn.

UPDATE!: OMG! Just received an email from BB: BelleBooks is the BEST! They did go in and fix that thing I woke up at 2AM worried about - no one would have known what it was, no reader would have known, but it was something I'd wanted to have at the beginning...and they did it! They put that in! Even though they said they couldn't, and I said, "I understand" because it would be extra work and time and etc - but they DID IT! This is the beauty of the small independent press - they love you and work with you. *BIG GRINNING*

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A link link here and a link link there.....

This is a forehead butt. This is MY forehead butt. This is Olay Pro-X:

So forehead butt + Pro X = ??? ...Huhn. We will see in 28 days! ha! But, I will say this: I do notice my skin has been feeling and looking better since I've been trying a few things - the aforementioned splurge on ProX (I only bought that one tube and not the others, yet) has made some difference, and I've been using Olay Regenerist serum (not as expensive) and can tell a diff in my skin- so! who knows! There you go, Kat's beauty tips for the day...haw!

Since I've missed links day on Fridays for a while, I'll do it today.

First - Go vote for Angie! And if you haven't read the Guest Bloggers, scroll down below for Brian of Eazy Cheezy, Angie of Gumbo Writer, Kimmi of The Unbreakable Child, and Jessica Bern of Bernthis. Thank You to my Guest Bloggers!

Author Deborah Leblanc has blogged about Tender Graces; made me smile and feel really special, and very grateful. Angie Gumbo Writer, Mary Ann Ledbetter (who wrote the Book Group Reader's Guide for Tender Graces!), and I attended her P2P conference in 2008 and came away with some nuggets! Pen to Press will be back in 2010; read the reviews, watch the videos.
I thought this was a cool site: The New Author
And I like to go by the Best Sellers and Literature forum every now and then and say, "hi there!" and read or post: a friendly supportive bunch of folks!
My Tender Graces Trailer is still getting some hits. If you haven't been by there, go take a look - okay, I admit it: every morning (just once a day, though, so I don't skew the numbers!) I open it to see how many hits I have had...teeheehee. It was at 599 last I looked! Wow! Pre-orders for Tender Graces are still coming in and I'm so grateful, humbled, happy - THANKFUL...I have no way of knowing who orders unless someone tells me they've pre-ordered, so if you have and I've not thanked you, know that I just do not know (or if you emailed me and didn't hear back, it means I did not get that email!).
I was invited to join Universal Questions/Cold Coffee - and I did. I'm just getting to explore it, but seems the members of it ask questions and members go in and answer them. It's been fun so far!
And if you haven't signed up for the R&T newsletter, here's the link. I'm getting ready to go work on that right now!
Oh, I came back in because I forgot - I ordered some booksigning bookplates from A Friendly Spirit! Love them, and they got to me fast and accurate! Check them out. Now, I can sign some and mail them to BelleBooks for those pre-orders. I'm writing each one with a short sentence or two just for y'all *smiling* -- not all the same, either - although there's only so much I can say on a bookplate, so some are similar or the same, but, it's not just me signing my name and writing, all best.... I really am trying to make them personal!

tootles everyone -- going to take a mountain walk in the mists and fog first, then work work and work! MUWAH!

Friday, March 27, 2009


Over the weekend, I went to see a dance showcase. It was the work of 250 kids from inner city schools that had been studying dance as part of an after school program for the last year.

Of course the audience was made up mostly of various family members, so imagine my surprise when the lights began to dim and the father/uncle of one of these children decided at that very moment to get on his cell phone and call El Pollo Loco and put in a take-out order. The man spoke only Spanish but I know for sure he got two orders of chips, 2 somethings of guacamole (I'm guessing they were sides) and then proceeded to read out the numbers of what sounded like a either a credit card or the VIN number on his truck because there were A LOT of them, many of which he had to repeat over and over again because of the noise from the show that HAD ALREADY BEGUN.

Now if that wasn't bad enough, midway through the performance, the guy (late teens), sitting next to me went on to answer a call from what was clearly his girlfriend, with whom he proceeded to continue an argument that seemed to have started prior to show time.

GUY: I didn't call you like a b*th. I just said you were b**thing about me. I went to the party.....B**ch, listen to me, okay? I'm tellin you how... I gotta go, my Aunt is hittin me to get off.
You'd think that would be it, but no. This guy just hung up on a woman he's been screwing, who is of the belief that he called her a b**ch and hell if she gave a damn where he was or who he was with, this woman wanted an explanation so, for the next ten minutes the scene went as follows:

GUY: So what? You're like not into me now?......Well, what did you want me to do?.....No way, that's no way....

(Aunt hits his leg)

GUY: I gotta go. (Guy hangs up. Phone rings)

GUY: So where you at now? ....I'm not saying nothin....What? So you sayin you don't want me goin?" .....I'll go. I'll come pick you up. We can hang out..

(Aunt hits his leg)

GUY: I gotta go. (Guy hangs up. Phone rings.)

GUY: So do you want me to come or not?...What?...why you like hmmmm, like you don't know? You got some other dude?....Yeah? Well, Sabrina's a b**ch too..... Yeah, but so why you listenin to her and not me?.....

The Aunt hits his leg but this time the guy doesn't say anything and instead just hangs up the phone. Not but two seconds later the phone rings again but instead of answering it he FINALLY decides that perhaps it would be better to continue the conversation outside and so he, very politely, I might add, turned to me, excused himself, apologized and exited the theatre. I didn't say a word because I was both shocked and amused at this guy's audacity and was somewhat sorry to see him go because at this point I was curious to see whether or not these two were going to end up together.

Twenty minutes later the show ended and when Phoebe and I exited the theatre the guy was STILL on the phone. I purposely walked by him to see if he'd made any progress towards getting back into this girl's life and more importantly for him, her pants, but Phoebe was already dragging me across the street at 8PM telling me she was tired and therefore I should take her for ICE-CREAM.
Visit Jessica Bern and read stories of Jessica's Journey through her weekly visits to her therapist's office.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I gots a joy joy joy joy up on Kilian Knob, up on Killian knob to-dayyyy

I'm peeping in quickly! Tommorrow I'll have a guest blogger: I have one more peek at Tender Graces before it's out of my hands ....eek! I can't change any of the text and all that, this is just to make sure the things we caught and listed were fixed. If there is anything else in there, well, consider it Human Error .... thing is, you'll know me now and you'll read it and say, "Hey! Here's one of Kat's unfound errors! I found one I found one!" then you can email me and we'll laugh about it....haw! Um, I think we'll laugh...hmmmm....teehee.
Then, I also have to finish The Rose & Thorn newsletter; get my next book review done, and etcetera.
This morning, I was walking Fat Lazy Labrador Jake in the cove at Killian Knob and as I turned the curve in the road where the creek stays on my right, I passed where the water rushes down from the mountain into the creek and I felt a sudden Joy....as sudden as the wind that came tearing down the ridge and across FLLJ and me - the wind pounded my face and I laughed because it didn't hurt at all-the wind laughed too - The sounds of the singing creek, the rush of the water runoff from our recent rains, the wind washing over us and blasting through the still-bare trees with a roar, the spring birds that had earlier woke me (oh, I recognize the ones who have been gone and now returned!) -- all of this brought up my sudden joy.

I thought, as I rounded that curve, how lucky I am. Farther down, I glimpsed the distant Smokies - awe awe awe awe awe-some Grandfather and Grandmother mountains. There are ancient souls here - I feel them sometimes; I see them in orbs and once the Shadowman came to visit me; I am not afraid of them, in fact, they comfort me. (Which reminds me - while I was sitting by Frank in the hospital, I saw something pass over him - it was misty and had no shape, but it was SOMEthing -i t passed right over him....and then a few days later while Tommy was lying in the emergency room, I saw an orb race across the room and arc over him and then away---imagination? lights playing tricks? my exhaustion? our brother? our granny? someone else? I don't know, but I know I saw something).

So, I am feeling lucky and awed and wonderful and it struck me that No Matter what happens with Tender Graces, I am still loved and wanted and so very lucky to live where I live. If you took away my writing life (oh, I can't imagine that - but let's entertain it)...if Tender Graces weren't being published, if I'd never published anything, if I was "just" this Mountain Woman living in my little cove at Killian Knob, walking Fat Lazy Lab Jake, being loved and spoilt rotten by Good Man Roger, hearing and seeing all the things I do, well then, my good friends, that is a pretty dagum wonderful life, isn't it? That is the Dream Life I once dreamed about when my life was in disorder and pain. I am blessed? lucky? whatever you want to call it, this is a wonderful life I live.

I smile. I enjoy. I appreciate. What a lovely place. I give you my peace and serenity this morning. Yes, I must get to work, but I start my work with a feeling of joy - for how lucky am I? Not only do I have my little log house and my little life here at Killian Knob, but my novel IS being published, and I do have some little things out there published, and people ARE enjoying my work and my fur is being rubbed off so that I feel loved.
Namaste. *muwah!*

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

And I said to myself: what a wunnerful world, unless it stops spinning or the sky falls or the stars quit burning or the sun hits the moon or....

Osondu's Booksellers is sponsoring a Book Signing Party for TENDER GRACES at the bookstore on April 17th! How exciting. It'll be from 7-9pm and there will be champagne and food. The cut-off is fifty people. She has ordered enough books to accommodate that number. If you are in the Waynesville North Carolina area, call Margaret and reserve your spot! I'd love to see you there.

Now. This is where Kat Magendie begins to fray at the edges and starts blinking into the headlights and her stomach tumbles around like an old-timey ferris wheel gone mad. Because Kat starts worrying, "What if hardly anyone shows up? What if I'm standing in the bookstore trying to pretend it doesn't matter that only a couple of people show and there are all those books sitting there and the food congeals and the champagne un-bubblefies." Then, Kat will have to grab the champagne and upend it and pour it down her throat and glub it down and drown out her sorrows...oh geez.
This is just some of the terror of realizing your dream. But, even saying that makes me hit myself upside my pea-head: one thing I can't stand is whiney writers - not wine-y writers, those are okay - WHINE-Y writers! I mean, all the time I dealt with rejection and another writer realized his/her dream and if he/she whined about it? Well, that just made me mad! SHUT UP, I'd think - you are getting your book published...sheesh!
Okay, Picture It: You write the book; long hours alone and neglecting family and friends. You suffer rejection time after time. Finally, that glorious day comes and you find someone who loves your book and even says, "we are proud to publish this book..." Oh! Oh! The heavens clear, the skies blaze with sunlight and moonlight all at the same time, the birds start singing like on a Disney movie, all is right with the world! And, you live happily ever after, right? All worries gone, right?

Well, not for this old girl. Do NOT get me wrong: this is a wonderful problem to have. These are wonderful problems to have and I am grateful and I recognize this is HOT DANG YAY TIME; because these "problems and anxieties" mean I am realizing my dream of having You hold Tender Graces in your hands - I can't tell you what that means to me (I am trying to tell you, but words won't for a change - you'd have to see the sincerity in my eyes, feel the warmth radiating - the hope you will love Virginia Kate and all the others: Micah, Andy, Miss Darla, Bobby, Rebekha, Mrs. Mendel, Amy and Mr. Husband Campinelle, and even love Katie Ivene and Frederick, and love to hate mean old Aunt Ruby, and despise Uncle Ar-vile. The thought of all those hands holding the weight of my words overcomes me ...truly...the gratitude is realized upon awaking and before sleeping and all in between - know that.)

So, the Dream is arriving, or has arrived, but all those anxieties slip in under the skin and slide around anyway, because that's what they do, that's their job!
You may remember this one: What if I only sell four books -- well that one was proved wrong! Bellebooks said that pre-orders are coming in DAILY! They are happy and that makes me happy! SO THANK YOU ALL; If I could send individual thanks, I would - believe me. So, I can lay that particular anxiety aside for now -- I've sold more than four books. I won't EVEN start thinking: "Hmmmm, NYT bestseller list? ...hmmmm, what about....." nope not going there.

What if no one comes to my first booksigning party?

What if no one comes to any of my booksignings - and how many should I do? and are booksignings really even done anymore? and where should I have them? and should I do "virtual blog tours?" and etcetera etcetera etcetera

What if I get a bad review?:::What if no one else reviews it?

What if there is a HUGE error in the book I didn't find?

What if the sky should fall? what if the earth should stop turning? what if a big black hole should suck me up and I'm lost forever and my molecules are ripped apart and a gamillion pieces of me rain down on the earth and no one even notices it is a gamillion pieces of me raining down and I soak into the earth and weird flowers come up with my pea-head on them (um, what? okay, Kat, take deeeeep breaths - go do some yoga girl; you're losing it....teeheeheehee).

What I'm trying to say in my weird way is: Dreams coming true are wonderful, but full of their own stresses -- good stresses, "bad" stresses....If you are like me, you begin to attach THINGS to yourself that perhaps you should not. I should instead go back to the original feeling of accomplishment that I'd written a novel, and then that feeling when BelleBooks said, "we want to publish Tender Graces...." and then the wonderful feeling of my friends and family (my blog friends and family included) telling me how happy and proud of me they are: that's the thing right there -- that, and the original feeling of YOU holding my book in your hands and loving the language, the words, the characters....ahhhh, now I feel much much better. Deep Breath: done.
I always want to say "writers are weird" but I realize it's probably just Me that is weird and the writer part is only the excuse I use for my eccentricities....haw!
*MUWAH* .... (now, on to work on The Rose & Thorn newsletter that I've been neglecting and is due to go out soon! It will distract me from my weirdness for a while....haw! Here's where you can sign up for the newsletter. And, I need to do a review for Kerry Madden's Maggie Valley Trilogy. And I want to visit you all again. And what else....la la la la tee dah! I really do love my life! *BIG FAT GRIN*)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

With a tweak tweak here, and a oh no! there, here a error, there a typo, everywhere a Eek Eek!

First you write the book. I could say: first you come up with the idea and then think about it, write notes, do an outline, etcetera - but that's not how I 'work' - everyone has their way. So, you write the book. There it sits: your first draft (or shitty rough draft as Anne Lamott writes). Then come re-writes and re-writes and all that jazz. So, all these things happen and by time you have the Completed Manuscript, it's darn near perfect, right? Well, probably not, but who needs perfection, huh? (I do! I do! Kat says as she jumps up and down raising her hand and wiggling it wildly! teeheehee)

Flash forward to when you have a publisher. So, early on, the publisher sends back their edits/thoughts. Luckily for me, I'd polished the manuscript within an inch of its language so there weren't a lot of things to haggle over or change or fix, very few (BB has been happy with me *smiling*). After that's done and everyone agrees to changes/edits, etc, and they've been implemented, the manuscript goes to the person who fits it to look like the book will look and this is the galley that is to be proofed: this galley I had was in PDF form. This is what I've been up to since I returned home.

When you get that, that is the time to SCOUR it for tiny missed errors. Now, think about this: you've already polished that manuscript, maybe you've had a couple of friends who have eagle eyes to scour it, you read it with a fine-toothed eye before it even goes to the publisher/agent/whatever- you think there cannot possibly be errors left: the publishers get it and they find some things -- okay, so you go through it another time, fix their found errors and in the process find a few more and you fix those: but, now - well now there just can't be errors! The book has been scoured clean. Nuh uh, think again....you get the galley and start reading and, well, huhn. So, the copyingediting is done at the publishers, but for me, nothing beats my own eyes - I read the galley and so did Good Man Roger. You would not BELIEVE the little things that hide from you - after all those readings and scourings, there were so many little tiny errors that were missed!

Things like: it's and its (even when you know the difference, things happen), or your Momma versus your momma, or even a big SNAFU of a date or age of a character!...eeek!....or backwards quotes, or missing dialogue end or beginning quotes, or you find where the character is sitting and then you have her sitting again and you go "HOW HOW DID I MISS THAT? ARGH!!!" It's scary the things you find. The only way I could read my galley was to read it Word by Word - different from 'regular reading.' I found things even Good Man Roger missed, and he has Eagle Eyes.
Yes, the publishers have their own copyediting they do, but, I felt it was my responsibility as the author of Tender Graces to make sure I scoured my own book for errors - it does help I am an editor and used to scouring things for errors...but when it's your own, you have to see the WORDS not the language and story - does that make sense?

When you make marks on the galley, you don't send them back to the publisher like you do on the earlier one; instead, you make a list: Page 101, line five from the top, there are two periods at the end of the sentence. Page 205, line seven from the bottom, it's should be its.... et-cetera! Then when you have the list done, you send it back to the publishers and someone there plugs in the corrections. Then, if I understand right, I get to peep at it one more time, quickly....then it is out of my hands. Error-free, or not error-free. It is Out.Of.My.Hands. *gulp* -- and soon into yours.
Yet, despite all this, I know something was probably missed. Or somethings. Or that when it is all set up in the final form and ready to go to printers, something could go awry: a paragraph wonky or whatever. I am going to have to do as you all have said and Let It Go.

Here it is: I have much more understanding and sympathy to authors now; when I now read a novel and find errors, I won't think: well, what's going on here? (a caveat to that is sloppy work; I'm not talking about sloppy books - I'm talking about errors that slip through here and there) -- because I now see more clearly how easy it is to miss something. How you can go in to fix one thing and it messes up something else - how deadlines and exhaustion and seeing the manuscript so many times and all manner of whatevers happen....
Know this: if Tender Graces has an error (or two or three?) in it, it won't be because BelleBooks and Kathryn Magendie did not SCOUR it and SCOUR it good. Stuff happens.
One thing I know that is going to drive me crazy, and now I know for the second Virginia Kate book to say something ahead of time: In all my stuff and when I edit, I always ask for the first paragraph of a chapter or new section to be un-indented-flush with the left margin: it's a pet peeve of mine...oh oh, Oops - I didn't know to specify this. It's too late now. It will be indented and it will made me nutty, and it's such a small thing *LAUGH* There is another small thing, so small I won't even mention it -- just Kat's Things She is Weird About.
Despite all of this madness -- while I was scouring Tender Graces one night, propped up on pillows in bed, just for a change of scenery (and exhaustion), I suddenly grinned - a big fat grin - because it occurred to me just what I was doing at that moment: I was proofing the galley to my Virginia Kate novel. It is happening, I said to myself. I grinned and nestled into the pillow, held my pen, made a mark: there, there, and there....my words, imperfect, but Mine....and soon to be Yours.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Photographs and mem....um...messories

This is the mess I left in my little writing/editing room in the little log house before I went to bed last night - exhausted, spent (see the sun peeking in!). Now, obviously there is a bunch of papers on the floor, etc, but if you look closer, you'll see some other things. Like, the "children's" books I'm going to review for Kerry Madden: Gentle's Holler, Louisiana's Song, Jessie's Mountain: my first time to review children's books - these books are so charming (if you have kids - these books are wonderful chronicles of a mountain family - from Maggie Valley! my town!), and I very much enjoyed them: well done, Kerry! There's a marble horse's head on the table and wrapped around it is a gift I received from an old neighborhood/school friend of mine, when we lived on Drusilla Lane (on Singletary) in Baton Rouge--Mike and his wife Tanya are wonderful - Mike, bless him he knows me well after all these years!, made me the most perfect necklace from an ancient ancient "wolf's head" arrowhead (I'll get a better photo later and the story), and I keep it by me as I write. There is a bookmark from Angie Gumbo Writer, and one from my friend Charles Mills. There are other little gifts and thoughts from friends and family (including more from Angie!) - and things I've picked up from the mountain or other places.

In this photo, you can see the MESS that is on my dining room table. There is a month's worth of mail I have to get to. In that mail are some wonderful beautiful thoughtful gifts from some blogger friends, like Lisa and Maria-Therese and Barbara that I want to take my time pouring over instead of the fast way I had to when I arrived home; and there is a book I won in a book giveaway from Katrina, and there are the other books I have on the table for my own give-away that are still there from the last contest (Barbara chose her two Deborah Smith books, and I have her one to grow on *teehee*). There are also my birthday present surprises from Good Man Roger - some are under the boa he got me to replace the one the critter took (because they are 'personal' - haw!). If you look closely, you can barely see Fat Labrador Jake's head peeking up.
And, if you could just see my INBOX(es) on my emails (yes, plural) - I have email to answer, read- and as well, I want to take my time reading all your comments from previous posts while in Texas, etc, that I haven't had time to get to - some of them, but not all! I will read every last one of them; with pleasure, too.

The tax information I still have to do...gawd! I'm So Behind.

Lastly, these are the magazines I have not had time to read that are on my couch - well, on the soft soft throw (not real fur!) on my red couch.

Last night, I finished the galleys - almost. I will do a quick check and then send them on. I will get one last peek and then that is IT. I want to talk to you all about this process and what it has shown me, means to me, what I have learned- and, how it will change not only how I read books, but how I review them.

Tommy was back in the hospital briefly for one night, but it was all okay and he's back at home (whew). Frank still in hospital, but doing better. Your continued thoughts mean so much to us.

Pre-orders are coming in - THANK YOU! My first booksigning party will most probably be April 17 - but, I best get my butt in gear and stop playing here.

*MUWAH* (I wrote this ninety to nothing lickity spit so I hope it makes sense and there aren't errors! ha!) And THANK YOU to my guest bloggers: Brian at Eazy Cheezy, Angie Gumbo Writer, and Kimmi Richardson - scroll down if you haven't read them.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Guest Blogger: Kim Richardson, Author of The Unbreakable Child

Hi. Kimmi here from over at Writer in Waiting filling in for Kat while she’s busy getting her wonderful book, Tender Graces, ready for us! Go Kat!!

I’m thinking about Spring today. Winter’s brutal is all but gone as I look out my window and see color. Yellows, green, green and more green. Bold red and blues from the cardinals and blue jays. Lovely colors!


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Pea-headed Kat Boops workin' on the weekend....

(photo taken of signs of spring at Lake Junaluska as I walked the other morning...ahhhhh)

I am peepin' my pea-head in here to say hello very quickly before getting back to work. I am reading the galley proof of Tender Graces and to do that I have to actually read it "word by word" --which means I can't read as I would normally. It's verrrryyyy sloowww but, if I don't do it that way, I won't catch errors that are hiding in there. Bellebooks does their reading of it, the author does hers, and I am having Good Man Roger read it as well. And, despite all of our efforts, I just know there will be a mistake or two in there - erk! It won't be because we didn't scour Tender Graces with Eagle Eyes, more than once. I did visit you all the other day, hope I didn't leave anyone out, and if I did, call me on it! Until I make this deadline, though, I'm going to be locked in this room and working, um, teehee, er, except I am here right now and I need to be there...so, I'll make this quick. Please continue to bear with me for not visiting and posting as I usually do.

I so appreciate Gumbo Writer Angie Ledbetter and Brian Mongold of Eazy Cheezy (click and read if you haven't) for being my Guest Bloggers. THANK YOU!

Also~! Brian of Eazy Cheezy interviewed me on his "Ten Questions..." series: he made me feel like a celebrity....teehee. If you haven't been by there and read, well, here's the link: Kat's Interview with Brian.

I do have this news: My book will actually be in at least one library in East Baton Rouge! Okay, maybe that doesn't sound so exciting, but it is to me! I love and adore libraries and am so excited. And, my local indie bookseller just ordered a very nice number of books so we could have a book-signing party - complete with champagne! and she's making this signing "reservation only" -wow! If you are in the area, let me know if you'd like to come...*smiling* -- if you have an indie bookseller you love in your area, let me know about it: that's what I'd love to do, have signings at indie's, at least where I can.

I send you a big ole Hug and Kiss - *MUWAH* -- send me positive vibes that I'll catch all those errors and make my deadline!

And for those who've pre-ordered, I want to take a moment to say I thank you...I am humbled and honored: THANK YOU~!

(PS -Hey, for you girls - I bought some Okay Pro-X cream in a tube - I splurged - I'll let y'all know if it is worth the extra bucks I paid for it!)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Guest Blogger: Gumbo Writer Angie Ledbetter

I'm honored to take a whirl at guest posting for Kathryn (aka Kat, Boop, 'Thryn) whom I've had the great pleasure and blessing to call friend for almost...[Kat, can this be right?]...TEN years now in RL?
I can never hope to match her totally original voice and, ahem, talent/thought patterns, but being a crazy southern writer like Miz Magendie (yeah, she's a GRITS - Girl Raised in the South - too), we do have a lot in common besides growing up NOC (North of Choctaw/the wrong side of the tracks). Hey, sidebar, I never noticed how much I love initials and acronyms. *cackle*
"How'd y'all meet?" you might ask. Well, probably not with those exact words or accent, but anyway -- we met at a Barnes & Noble writers group and had an instant connection and spark of recognition. I'm not talking for Kathryn; she may well have been totally repulsed and just masked it. Turns out, we'd attended the very same high school a few years apart. (Wanna take a stab at the name of said school? Tara! *ha*) We had an affinity and appreciation for each other's writing and style, and to make a long and boring-arse story a little shorter, we left good ol' B&N to form our own writers group of people with similar "talent" and goal levels. And the rest is history.
Oh, Lordy, y'all. I could really spill the beans here --- WITH photos! *mwahahahahaha* But I won't, because I love Kathryn too much. If she gets bored one day or needs a blog post topic, perhaps she'll tell you of some of our past road trip and GNO (Girls Night Out) adventures.
So with all those juicy possibilities aswirl in your noggins, here's a list to file away for the very near future~~
TOP 11 REASONS YOU MUST READ TENDER GRACES (Why 11? Because I like deviatin' from the norm, and these lists usually contain 10 reasons...LOL):

11. Because I say so. And y'all know I wouldn't lie to ya.

10. Kathryn has trouble tootin' her own horn, so in case you missed the news, it's a debut novel of top proportions.

9. I am Tender Graces' (formerly known as Virginia Kate) godmother, or nanny, as we say here.

8. The book is both tender and graceful, yet so much more.

7. Kat's writing is totally fresh and innovative. You will be captivated and enjoy some good escapism while reading.
6. It's calorie- and sugar-free, so you can indulge without guilt!

5. In this hard publishing industry, anybody who's got the strength and perseverance to come out with a book despite the odds, deserves good support.

4. Kathryn's the best kind of friend a person could hope and pray for, and Tender Graces shows some of the reasons why.

3. Now here's a selfish reason -- The more copies of Tender Graces that are sold, the more book signings Kat will be forced to do, therefore, I will get to see her in person again when she travels here with her Big Important Author Lady hat on!

2. You won't be able to put it down. Yeah, you'll lose some sleep probably, but it will be SO worth it. ...

And the #1 reason to read Tender Graces...

1. It's a dayum fine book. Period.
(photo from freegreetingscards.blogspot.com)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Guest Author, Brian Mongold of Eazy Cheezy

Hello Kat fans! I'm Brian, a Kat fan who was lucky enough to get an invite to talk with you a bit. I'm currently residing in Sunny Florida with the wife, while the rest of our families are living around the mountains in good ole West Virginia. I know Kat loves the Mountains, but I like wearing my flip flops year round under the Florida sun. I'm admittedly not a fancy, shmancy writer like Kat and many of you are. My thing is finding stuff and splattering great resources in my blog, Eazy Cheezy. I like to think I'm pretty good at finding things, which makes life a bit easier, but the wife would probably tell you I'm better at losing things. I don't even want to talk about those car keys. :)

Kat's been so kind to invite me over as a guest blogger, while she's circling the mountains. I'm extremely honored, but a bit overwhelmed since Kat's brilliance is consistently displayed here at TENDER GRACES. Trying to live up to the expectations of Kat and the Kat Fans is quite a bit to live up to. Bear with me and let's just wing it a bit and go for it.

So here I am sitting on the couch with the trusty laptop placed carefully on the left armrest of my loveseat. Typical writing environment for me. Lights are off, laptop is popping and the TV is serving as my backup dancer. The wife just made some tasty Tossimo coffee and I'm ready to go! My two pooches, Sienna and Miku are playing the usual "need more attention" game as they're fixated on my every move. As I glance over at Miku, I notice her attention has shifted. Her head in now lying comfortably on her backside. She has this talent she does that involves twisting her head to her lower backside and resting it there as she awaits a surprise. That's how we know when she's a bit gassy. Her head will be assuming the position as her nose is sniffing away. As Sienna sighs and Miku is now side-tracked, a thought comes to mind. How about sticking with what I do best and show you some resources that may hopefully bring a bit of value.

From hanging out at TG, I've gathered that many of you are writers of some sort and there's a ton of resources on the net that could increase your efficiency, make you a better writer and just flat out help you get organized. Two articles in particular stand out to me. Mashable.com provides a WRITER's TOOLBOX: 35 Best Tools for Writing Online and CollegeDegrees.com brings us even more categorized tools with their article, 100 Useful WebTools for Writers. Between these two, you should find quite a few helpful tools and ideas. Another link I'd like to share is Nerd Business' 5978 High Quality Icons for the Web. Nothing like some free, pretty vector images to include within our writings. I use this site for many of my blog posts.

The time you take out of your lives to carefully organize your thoughts on paper and the web is very personal and important to you. Unfortunately there are many on the net who believe that content you publish online is free game. Plagiarism on the net is far too common. I've personally had my proudest work, 50 Free Sites to Watch Movies and TV Shows Online, copied and pasted to its entirety. The author then began to add additional content to the work. The time I took to find these sites and post them took weeks to finish. In the end, I spent a good 30 hours on the series, while the content thief swooped in and grabbed it all in just a few minutes.

There are many great tools to help protect your work online, because unfortunately it may be stolen without giving you any credit whatsoever. The anonymity of the net makes it easy to do this and get away with it. Copyscape, a professional plagiarism search, lets you type in your URL and hit the search button as it searches for your content that's been copied. It's free to conduct a search, but to get the full results, you'll need to go premium which will cost you 5 cents per search. Though a bit dated, The Boston Herald provided a nice listing of The 20 Best Free Anti-Plagiarism Tools. A good site to keep up with related news and learn more about plagiarism is Plagiarism Today.

Hopefully the listings and sites I provided will help you today or someday in the future. I could probably go on forever and milk my 15 minutes of TG Fame, but I think it's time for me to head on back to Eazy Cheezy and get back to my flip flops. I want to first give a BIG thanks to Kat for setting up the spare TG web-room to let me write this. The brilliance of her writings here at TG is just amazing. I just pre-ordered my copy of TENDER GRACES and am so excited to get it when it comes out!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Take me Home, oh winding roads....Home

My friends - I am Home to Killian Knob in my little mountain cove with the creek singing. I feel as if I'm still dreaming a bit - such is the surreal feeling when one has been gone too long.
I have much to tell, but since I need to concentrate on those Galley Proofs, catching up, visiting a bit, et-cetera, I think I will make this a short post to say: home home home; I am home.

I also will have a guest tomorrow - Brian of Eazy Cheezy will be here. I love his site and all its resources - he's fun and personable and I could go on, but I'll let you all get to know him tomorrow, if you haven't already been by his place and come to know him! I want to have other guests, and will get round that soon as my head clears from its discombobulation.
More later - need a mountain walk to clear my head.
I will always love you all for all your thoughts and prayers and vibes and energies and love while my family went through all this...
Back later - tomorrow Eazy Cheezy, then I return~...
PS -- I just opened packages of Pure Sunshine and Love and Happiness - you know what I'm talking about to those who do -- I am smiling - I want to pour over everything carefully and I'll be emailing you all .... I am smiling so wide.

Monday, March 16, 2009

How do you mend a broken heart? how do you stop the clots from forming round?

(My family - when we were an intact family - now, mom is married to Frank; dad is married to Norreen - I love Frank; I love Norreen - so...well - things work as they will.)

There is not a more heartbreaking sound than the rapid, terrified breaths of a mother who thinks she is about to lose her son, especially when she has already lost one to the same kind of thing, and especially when she almost lost the other. The sound is breathless and quick and it cut to my marrow. I still hear it. I close my eyes at night and I hear her breaths...breaths....breaths...breaths...breathsbreathsbreathsbreathsBREATHS....

That was my mother's breathing when she ran out and said, "call 911..." I never knew how calm I could be, as if I were a robot. I calmly picked up the phone, pushed numbers, spoke into the phone, "Hurry, my brother is...." I look at my mother, for I don't know what's happening....her breaths panting... she said, "He's having heart attack...Tommy said this is how it was before, he said..." And...I spoke something, and then handed the phone to my mom...opened the door to ready for the emergency techs to enter, as Tommy came to sit on the stairs leading to the upstairs - the ones that face the front door, his face a mask of afraid...he said, "sister...." and my heart broke in a million pieces at that sound, but my face remained impassive...calm...surreal. I said, "Does it hurt?" he said, "yes..." I said, "they'll be here soon..." Calm. Impassive. Surreal. I hear distant sirens, too distant it seems. Tommy said, "I'm hot..." I opened the door wider, eyes scanning for the emergency techs, and let in the cool Texas air. I said, "Soon. They'll be here soon." I cautioned one look at my brother again - he was looking down, concentrating on his body, concentrating on hope that it wouldn't be like it was in 2005 when he coded several times (he told me death is peaceful, beautiful - but it isn't when you are still alive, is it?). I remained: Impassive. Calm. Surreal. Another heart attack? But a few minutes ago, he was laughing and talking. How? But...

He did - a "minor" one (and to me, no heart attack feels minor to those waiting, to Mother's with breaths breaths breaths breathsbreathsBREATHS). When my dad walked into the hospital emergency room, his face was folded in worry, drawn in - for once, he looked his age. Oh daddy!

Tommy's blood simply will not flow freely. When he has "procedures" - like his hernia surgery - where he had to get off the plavix (blood thinner), his blood just clots on up inside of him. I remained Passive. Calm. Surreal until he was settled in the emergency holding room and seen by a doc--then I broke down and cried. My brother has been through too much for a 46 year old man. And it's not like he hasn't tried to be healthy: he's thin, he quit smoking, he eats healthfully -- but his blood is just too thick, too clotty. The heperin shots he was taking in place of the plavix and aspirin saved his life. Next time he has a procedure, he needs to be on something stronger, however.

Right now there is good news and happy news and all is well-mere moments ago, he just had a stint put in, and all his other stints look good and he's doing great

But I'm not there with him today as he recovers from getting his new stint. I was chased away. I was told GO HOME DANG IT SEESTOR!

My friends. I am writing to you from a hotel in a cute clean little town of Bartlett Tennessee. I left Texas at noon yesterday, but not without crying and worrying. Tommy and Frank (frank is home now and we spent some time talking while my mom lay exhausted on the sofa, her breaths breaths breaths turend to exhausted moans in her sleep); both he and Tommy said, "Go Home! You've been gone almost a month -- there will never be a right time to leave." And then they both said I need to work on the book. I said family is important. They said, "family is proud of you and that book - are you going to let us down by not getting it done?" I struggled struggled. Tommy does not want to feel the "guilt" of thinking he "kept me" from what I am supposed to be doing. It's all tangled in familial love and worry and pride and ...all of it. I received promises from Tommy that when he left the hospital he'd go to our mother's house until he was all clear. He rolled his eyes, but he'll do it - because I told him I'd fly back down to Texas and kick his ass if he did not. Big Sisters Rule.

Now, I must go; get back on the road. I don't have my glasses -left them in the boopmobile - and can hardly see what I'm typing, but I wanted to come in to tell you what's been up. If you see my Boopmobile in your town today as I wend my way back to Killian Knob - give me a honk and a wave -- as i said, you'll know the Boopmobile when you see it.

Thank you all for being patient and for still coming round even though I've been away and involved and thank you for all your thoughts and....well -- *kiss and hug* -- thankyou.

Friday, March 13, 2009

On the road again, soon I'll be on the road again....

(All I got was the arse-end, but this is a neighbor's horse and rider in my mom's neighborhood....)

My friends! I have my first review of Tender Graces! I cried when I read it. I'm posting it here quickly, and then going to try to go visit. Soon Soon I'll be on the road back home. Home.

Kitties had another Kitty Party when I went to Mom's. Lawd, those feline brats! They jumped into the "mother in law tongue" plant, pulled out a load of dirt, and spread it about. They had their kitty toys all over the place, they had their food bowls in four different rooms and one of their water bowls spilled out and pulled into the next room. *laughing* I cleaned it all up and just shook my head...snirk, bad kitties.

Frank had a "spell" yesterday, but it was "just" the pacemaker -- they adjusted it and though he didn't make it home today as we hoped, he will by tomorrow. Brubber Thom is feeling much better and getting around okay. So, my time here should about be at an end. Soon I'll be home home HOME!
Here is the review of Tender Graces--you'll maybe see why I cried; I mean, they dreamed about it after they read it.... *sob* -- a wonderful review, and I'm proud of it, because I adore libraries and libarians - anything to do with a Library...libraries were my sanctuary for so very long and I still cannot walk in one without feeling overwhelming calm, safety, and nostalgia. Thank you to this Ms. Laird--I hope to meet her one day and shake her hand.
Poignant, heart wrenching, heartwarming, haunting. When I finished the book, I dreamed of it; TENDER GRACES stays with you.

The cover of the review copy uses the phrase “gentle yet unflinching.” A perfect phrase for this coming of age Southern novel.

I can see, feel, smell the settings in West Virginia…they are wonderful. Since I live in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Kathryn Magendie captures the “southernness” of Baton Rouge.

[Tender Graces] makes my heart weep with sorrow and joy.

Mary Laird, MLIS, Library Consortium Analyst
LOUIS: The Louisiana Library Network

Thursday, March 12, 2009

He ain't heavy - he's my lil brubber!

First, I have the final pre-print version of Tender Graces that I, and the publishers, will have to scour for typos, mistakes, etc (the galley proof)-- this is the part that (also) makes me nervous: I don't want a typo in my book! But, I must tell myself that it happens, despite our eagle-eying it.

Second, and this is really embarrassing *laugh* -I mean, how much of a newbie can I be? but my acknowledgement page is so long, they had to stick it in the back because it added so much weight to the front (blush-snirk). I just told my brother, "Tommy, I thanked the guy at the grocery store in Baton Rouge who's always so nice to ask about my book when we visit there." He thought I was kidding and laughed. I said, "no, really..." and he looked at me with this funny expression and then said, "well, Sister; you wouldn't be YOU if you didn't do things like that, and anyone who knows you will expect nothing less than some big chaotic gigantic acknowledgement page!" Laughing...gawd.

As for our two patients: Tommy's surgery went beautifully. He has to walk about like an old man, and is having a little pain, but I really liked "Dr. P." Thom is doing so good! I took him to his surgery, stayed with him as long as I could and joked with him and kidded around like big sis's do with lil brubbers, and after surgery brought him home, picked up his scripts and 7up and all, made him lunch and doted on him, etc....et cetera ... et cetera.
I told Tommy I was going to post photos of his surgery on my blog, but dang! for some reason the docs and nurses wouldn't let me take pictures during his surgery ...haw haw! But I did get that one snapshot of us by holding the camera up and snappity snap before they wheeled him off.

Meanwhile, Mom is at the hospital with Frank - who had the pacemaker "installed" to regulate his heart after his "episode" of his heart stopping -- all went well! They will have several "checks" and if all those "checks" go as they should, our Frank will be home tomorrow. (Although, while I was away from mom's helping Tommy, her kitties had a Kitty Party and the house was strewn with party yeehaws....I found a bra under the dining room table, a pair of socks in the living room, a shirt in the bathroom, some bric-a-brac in the kitchen, the food bowls strewn from one side of the house to the other, a drawer opened in mom's bedroom with the clothes hanging out --how did they get in a drawer???--, a blood pressure machine on the floor in three pieces, a clock dragged across the floor, and etc. Some cat party that was *laughing* BAD KITTIES!)

Sooooo - Ms Kat should be on her way back to her mountain cove at Killian Knob very soon - and since it is a 15 hour drive (at least), I will be dividing it in two days - I'm simply too exhausted to try that drive in one gulp. My Boopmobile will soon be climbing climbing up up to my little log house and to my Good Man Roger and to my fat old lazy labrador Jake. I will, of course, miss my family - just as I miss my friends (Angie Gumbo Writer! *sniffle*) in South Louisiana.

I've received emails that I've pre-sold some more books - teeheehee - I am so tickled! If you could see the little grin on my tired old face right now....lawd! How the "tired" shows up so much more on a 50+ face than it did in the younger days. You can see from the photo above how that applies....

I do think I am babbling? Exhaustion makes one a bit jittery sometimes, yes? -- so, I will close this post, calm myself, and go see if my baby brother needs anything from his big Seestor.

To you all: THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH for your thoughts and vibes and prayers and energies....it is appreciated from the bottom and top and sides of my heart. And thank you for ordering Tender Graces *smiling*- it means so much to me...I just know you'll love my Virginia Kate! And Micah, and Andy, and you'll love to hate Aunt Ruby. And you'll be endeared to Rebekha...and you'll feel sorry for Katie Ivene even as you would love to stomp your foot and tell her to grow up. And you'll want to shake your head at Frederick. And then there's Soot and Marco, and oh - Miss Darla! you'll love miss Darla. And little Bobby *smiling* (I had a friend who read Tender Graces in its earlier draft and she said she had a crush on Micah ....teeheehee).

I hope to be back by here tomorrow to do some visiting...but if you don't hear from me - know that I"m busy "nursing" and then wending my way back Home. Home....HOME!

*MUWAH!* to all of you, my friends.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

One Two, buckle a shoe, three four, shut that door! Five six, pick up after cats, seven eight -when can I lie down straight? Nine Ten, a big fat grin

( Texas at sunset on I-20)

Chicken soup. Jello. Pudding - and not the "instant pudding" but the kind you cook on the stove. Those are the things I cooked yesterday.

Because - ! First, Frank's heart stopped for 13 seconds yesterday. OMG! His poor heart started back on its own, but it scared us all greatly, as you can imagine. They are going to put in a pacemaker tomorrow. They said it is "minor surgery" - but in matters of the heart, well...if I can be so bold as to ask for more of those prayers, vibes, thoughts, energies .... you have all been so kind. Thank You. Frank just gave me a big grin the other day when I told him people from all over the world were rootin' for him...Mom and he both said, "Please thank them for me."

In the meanwhile, my brother Tommy had a "procedure" yesterday (some biopsies-which we expect to be clear), and it was found out he has a hernia. Said hernia has to be repaired immediately, so he's going in Thursday morning: the same time that Frank's having his surgery! Lawd! *laughing hysterically and wide-eyed and exhaustingly*

I will take care of Tommy, while Mom takes care of Frank.
Good news is they expect Frank to be home by this weekend. Good news for Tommy is the surgery is relatively minor and he should be fine.
So. Chicken soup. Jello. Pudding. Stir. Stir. cook cook. Put the old fruit cocktail in the jello like Mom used to do. Add a pinch of this and a pinch of that to the soup. stir, bubble, taste...hope it tastes almost as good as mom's does.

I have become such the nurse! Who knew? I'd forgotten how exhausting it is, but at the same time, it feels rewarding - there is a sense of purpose that is very simple and direct in "nursing" someone, or in taking care of someone's house and critters while they are nursing someone - seems I'm doing both - taking care of Mom's Place and her cats and critters and will be "nursing" Tommy after his surgery. But, the simple acts of patting a shoulder, or pushing back hair from a forehead, saying "I'm here- don't worry about a thing...," cleaning and laundering, and yes, making chicken soup, jello, and pudding will not be regretted.

I hope to be traveling back to my mountain cove at Killian Knob this weekend. Much as I am honored to be helping here in TexasLand, when I talked to Good Man Roger this morning whilst he was on the porch, I heard the chimes blowing in the wind, I heard the creek sounds, I heard my birds singing and suddenly the tears are burning in my eyes: I miss Home. I miss my critters. I miss my mountain. I miss my creek. I miss Good Man Roger. I miss fat old labrador Jake. I miss my leather chair where I write and edit. Yet, despite all that Missing, I do not regret being here - don't misinterpret my seeming "whining" for actual Whining and Complaining - because, as I also said, there is something direct and satisfying when you are caring and helping loved ones -- it takes one outside of YOU and opens one up. For a self-indulgent reclusive writer, it is a test of mettle and patience and humility and unselfish behaviors. I hope I have passed my test.

It's a rainy morning. For this moment, it is quiet. I am taking this quiet moment to catch up on visiting (I hope!) and posting this and breathing. Perhaps some yoga is in order this morning.

Oh! Tender Graces news: I am all a-giggle because I have sold at least three Tender Graces books! *laughing!* Three people have emailed me and said they have pre-ordered the book straight from BelleBooks Publishers. *haw!* So! Remember when I said I was afraid I'd sell only 4 books? Well, I've sold at least three and when I buy one (for I must! I must buy one!) that will already be four, before it's even released next month! *LAUGHING!* Ah, how I amuse myself....
Update Update! (laughing at myself) - someone just emailed me: I sold FOUR! I have reached my "fear goal" - so when I buy my copy, that will be Five: one more than my "fear goal" *laughing!* *whew* now I can relax and enjoy the process....gawd, I am too strange sometimes...teeheehee
I am sitting here just a-laughing: Five! five books sold. one two three four five ah ah ah ah (that's supposed to be The Count from sesame street counting...teeheehee.)

So, I wanted to step back in here quickly and say, "THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU...a thousand thank you's!" Just think, as I write this, I may be up to Six! 1 2 3 4 5 6 - ah ah ah ah

Okay, I promise (well, maybe promise isn't a good word *laughing* ) that I won't come on here every time I sell a book and write, "ten! ten books sold... one two three four five six seven eight nine ten....ah ah ah ah ah." *snork*
Okay, back to what I was doing - which is laundry, and finishing up some pudding for Frank

Monday, March 9, 2009

Mountain Momma, take me home oh boopmobile...

It is a quiet Monday morning.

In the blurred photo (I was laughing as I held the camera up and snapped the photo) you can see Angie Gumbo Writer, our friend Cynthia, and just my eyes peeking out from below - laughing. Hi Angie! My last evening there, we went to a Mexican restaurant.

I am looking out of Mom's window at a beautiful redbud tree, at a feral kitten eating the breakfast I placed out on the patio, at the inside cats mom has rescued and is looking for good homes (yes, my brothers and I are now calling our mom The Cat Lady! lawd! laughing...), at my cup of coffee, my cell phone in case the hospital calls (for now I'm not staying 24 hours at the hospital as I did for a little while--but Mom is still there), at a blackbird flying across a grayed sky, at my hands that are strong and nimble-fingered yet are not smoothed by youth as you can see from the photo I took whilst driving to Louisiana on the 19th; yes, i'm weird like that-taking a photo of my hand while driving...teehee (a woman in her fifties is not considered young, but we are not old either - we are tweeners).
If things progress as they are, and it seems as if they will, I will be home later this week. Perhaps on my travels home, you will see my Boopmobile (and you will know what I mean if you see it). If you do, honk honk at me!

I have not been home since February 19th! So long gone from my mountain cove at Killian Knob! I wonder if the Mountain Spirits miss me?

I haven't forgotten to send the second place winners of the book give-away their mountain thought, but I haven't been home to do it! But, Barbara, your books should be on their way, if not there by now! I hope to have another give-away later, once I am settled back in. (And, Marie T - no! I haven't been home yet- but will ask GMR if I have mail! *smiling*)
I went to the Bellebooks site, and it seems there is a "buy now" button for Tender Graces! I emailed Bellebooks to see if this was a pre-order thing and if anyone can pre-order it whenever, etc. Of course, it wouldn't be ready to be shipped to anyone until it is ready to go to print, and we're not yet ready for printing (but close so close!). That did make it seem so much more real! Of course, it will be available other places, too, but that time has not come yet.
Fat bluejay at the cat's bowl outside, flying away with a chunk of food in his mouth. The photo is of the Big oppossum who comes to Mom's door every night looking for food. I went outside to refresh the water, and he didn't even move, just kept eating. ha! I took the picture from inside through the window, though, so it's blurry.

Last night I dreamed all but a few of my followers had left me - isn't it funny how y'all can even enter my dreams *smiling* -- I was so upset at the loss of friends, but I can't recall the outcome.

(Debbie - I am so ready for our meeting, too! lawd! fresh mountain air, singing creeks, grandfather and grandmother mountains cradling, a skyline of mystery and beauty and awe, mists gathering, silent cove, my rocks ...)
Oh! yes -- PS! - My friend TechBelle has about finished my new website! I'm loving it - she did a wonderful job. Stop by and take a look, see what you think. We're going to add a "contact Kat" button, and maybe later some other things: http://www.kathrynmagendie.com/ *smiling*

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Somewhere over the rainbow, there's a Woman Doing What Needs to be Done

(Downtown Dallas, on the way to the hospital.)

When you live on a mountain in a little cove in a little town, the lights and buildings and people of The Big City can be overwhelming. Never mind that I lived in Baton Rouge for many years; it doesn't take long for one's body and brain and psyche to adjust to quiet mountain living, esp after a bit over 4 years. Big Cities frighten me just a little, and the noise and lights and crowds swarm across my body attacking nerve endings, and my brain that causes my synapses to fire off Bam Bam Bam Bam Bam! But! at least the headache is long gone. Funny those headaches I used to get long ago- I'd forgotten how they come mysteriously fast and just as mysteriously fast they leave.

All of your thoughts and prayers and vibes have helped Frank again! He is over the Hump! I did not stay at the hospital with Mom yesterday and last night - we didn't want to over-stimulate Frank, and he very much needed to Rest more than anything. So, I just talked to Mom and Frank is doing so much better. We were quite worried from Friday night until this morning. Thank you all!

Thank you for your words about my uncle--so true, yes. I will spend a few moments this morning with him on my mind and let my west virginia hillbilly blackfoot indian german italian celtic blood rage through the airwaves and straight to him.

Meanwhile, my 71 year old biological momma is Dating. She is giggly with Dating. She is in the flush of infatuation at 71. My biological momma is and was a beautiful woman. After her Coy died, I knew it wouldn't be long before Men were circling her like ...I was going to say vultures, but that isn't exactly what I meant *grin* She is in denial of her brother--it will be the third one she has lost. We cannot deny death -it always finds us. Always.

But, as for Life-- right now Life is all around. In Texasland it is spring - I took a photo, below, whilst going to my daddy's house yesterday. Spring! It's warm. Oh, but I miss my mountain at Killian Knob.

And, I am all a-blush with happy reading your emails about Tender Graces - so! Maybe I have sold more than four copies after all! *laugh* -- however, I have taken your message -- that the sales amount is not the thing to focus on. Thank you.

Now, my friends - I will sometime today go to the hospital with my brother Tommy. Yesterday I fiddled about my mom's house - making sure everything is neat and clean and sparkling. Bed linens freshened for when they return, dishes all done, plants watered, cats fed and etc. Mom won't have to do a thing when she returns. I will cook some things to put in the freezer, too. It is what we do - we Women -- it is how we control the uncontrollable: we clean and/or cook and/or fuss over and/or straighten and/or wash and dust and vacuum and launder. We bend over beds and kiss foreheads. We hold hands to warm them. We rub aches. We place bandaids on boo boos. We say, "you look good today" even if they do not. We say, "Everything will be okay" and then when we are away from them, that's when we have a cry or let the worry frowns settle - but not where they can see! We put steel in our backbones! We have electrical impulses firing into our marrow that keeps up moving moving moving as long as we need to move! We Women know what Has To Be Done and we do it - even when we are afraid or unsure it does not stop what Has To Be Done. I never thought of myself as this kind of woman - thinking myself as "self-indulgent chaotic reclusive writer" - but perhaps I have some of that inside me, as well? I know my mom does. I know many of you do, judging from your emails and comments. Women. Women. Proud to be a Woman, that I am.

(PS! - Some of you have asked about getting signed copies of Tender Graces - and if I will have a way to order them from the blog -- or my website -- I will be putting up a link or links for that - and as for signed copies, I would be so honored to sign your books---I guess we'll figure all that out as we get close to press date! *smiling* - thank you for your interest - it means a lot to me.)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Time - it's flowing like a river...to the sea....

(photo - one of the big rocks from the side of my driveway on my mountain in the cove: hello rock - miss you).

Ah friends. It's warm here in Texas. I had to go buy flip flops and t-shirts from Target. Silly me forgot about the deeper south and how warm it can get even in February and early March. My snow boots I wore when I left my mountain cove sit untouched, of course!

Frank's surgery went well and he was quite strong. He was out of ICU by yesterday, only one day after the surgery on Thursday! He was talking and alert and feeling fine. Then, this morning he is having a little bit of a setback - but not from the heart, for the surgeon said his heart is fine. So, I am back to ask for a bit more of your wonderful thoughts and prayers and vibes and all those things you do so he can get over this "hump."

Hospitals are the strangest of cities. Long corridors where my mom and I took turns and turns and seems we went a different way each time. The hotel within the hospital was a relief - although we ended up at a door trying to put the room key in the slot and wondering why the slot had disappeared and Mom is holding the room key to where the slot is supposed to be and I'm standing there and she's standing there and suddenly I look around and then burst out in hysterical laughter - we are in the wrong section - this was doctor's offices (closed for the evening)....we both went into peals of exhausted laughter. Then went searching for where we were supposed to be. No matter how many times we went to ICU, we seemed to take the same wrong turn and ended up heading in the wrong direction.

There is much suffering in Hospital, and the faces of the loved ones reflect the suffering, the hope, the devastation, the surprise, the delight when a loved one recovers, the tears and sagging of faces when they may not. There are doctors and nurses and other staff hurrying through halls. There are smells that follow and settle on clothing and hair, constant reminders as you toss about trying to sleep - sleep that seems to come and go in short snatches. Dreams that wake you - real? no, only a dream, it's okay, go back to sleep.

I will say this: for anyone who has been or is a care-giver, I am in awe of you. I've only had short snatches of being a care-giver or one who stays at the hospital to make sure everything is okay--this time and when GMR's mother was gravely ill. One becomes unaware of time and space and reality. The hospital, or the home where the loved one is, becomes this bubble - one doesn't know what is happening out in The Real World. Everything becomes about doctors, nurses, techs, outflow inflow, breathing, ....life....death...somewhere in between...hope...recovery...loss...found. Shuffling the hallways between fast-moving staff--staff who avert their eyes, less one asks an unanswerable question--then there are the question answerers, soft-voiced and dewy-eyed. It may feel as if time bends and alters, and when you emerge for breath, maybe only a day has passed, or two, but it feels as if everyone on the outside has moved on far ahead! When you step outside, the air on your face feels fresh and alive - and you feel a bit guilty that you are walking strong on your legs to gulp in that fresh "un-hospital" air. I have never eaten so much fruit in such a short time! I became enamoured of the hosptial cafeteria's fruit and yogurt parfaits, and the fresh salads, and jello, and fruit and cheese trays - things that keep one feeling more alert and not heavy and tired. Then I found "mexican cornbread" last night - Oh! Heaven! With hot soup! Something hot! Oh! I ate with gusto, fast and furious and without restraint.

I have never been around a loved one when they have the hallucinations from surgery meds and anesthesia! Of course, my writer brain was twirling with thoughts, but my stepdaughter brain was taken aback....so real it seems to them!

Again, I thank you all for stopping by - I am trying to visit you a little at a time when time is there. I have but a minute here, but will be back soon. I hope this post makes sense, since I am typing it so fast!

And for those of you who said you will buy Tender Graces so more than four are sold *laughing* -- thank you! *big grin of relief here....laugh...* My gawd, but the time is coming so close for Tender Grace's release....I can't think of it, my stomach is flip flopping around! *pant pant*

(PS - I almost forgot - my biological mother called - I have an uncle dying from liver cancer. I feel so strange - knowing i have blood kin out there who is dying and I am not at his side. I've only met him a few times - but we are bound by blood--West Virginia Hillybilly blood. I feel saddened - I don't know what to think or feel about this. I am here with my Frank and my family - but there is another family out there with my blood, dying, and I'm not there...strange lives we lead sometimes, full of ironies and metaphors and ....all.)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Bang Bang goes the drums...in my head....

This photo is of a hornet's nest up in the tree in my cove on my mountain. I almost cry to look at it - so, I guess my emotions and all are on the surface, since I'm not a cryer - I'm an old toughie - really, ask Angie Gumbo Writer...oh, she'll say I'm not tough at all. Perhaps I have an outer shell and a soft noughaty center, teehee. But, I so miss the quiet of my mountain. The creek, the hawk, Boo Boo the raccoon, the tiny red squirrels, my dog, and I guess I miss Good Man Roger, too (laughing). We see this hornet's nest on our mountain walk every morning.

Oh, my friends! I keep thinking about my book - the Tender Graces book with Virginia Kate and how close it is to the time she comes out! It sends my stomach to fluttering. Sometimes I place worries on myself: what if it doesn't sell many copies and I feel "failure" as an author? what if I get a bad review (everyone must, I suppose!). What if only four people buy my book and three of those are me and the other one is my mom? *laugh* - then I calm myself by reminding myself that no matter what happens, I will have written an entire book with beautiful characters and that book will have been printed and have a cover and I can hold it in my hands and smell the pages, see and read and feel my Virginia Kate come alive! Now, that in itself is an accomplishment, right, my good friends?

The surgery has been delayed because of a Snafu with the hospital or doctor or something, and that just makes us all the more stressed. Each day someone has to stay in a hospital bed makes them weaker! Although, he has been doing quite well, under the circumstances. But, I've told Frank how people all over the world were wishing him well and sending thoughts and vibes and prayers and all manner of good things his way. He was very pleased, as was my mom; and both said, "Thank you so very much."

My head is pounding - it's been forever since I've had a headache, and especially one that takes over my head and will not let go since yesterday. I imagine this little creature wrapped around my brain - sort of like that creature on Twightlight Zone that was destroying the plane -pounding away, being a little snit about it all!

I know Tender Graces is on track, but there's something about being away from home and the schedule that has me all worried and discombobulated - as if I'm missing something I need to be doing! It will be ready to go next month! And, I've not had time to work on the second one--but I will. I know right now the headache monster, worry over Frank, and being away from home and off my eating and working schedule has me feeling out of sorts. Oh, stop whining, Kat! Geez....pah! There, now I feel my old toughie self emerge...ha!

Perhaps while it's a quiet morning this morning, before I head to Dallas to the hospital, I can visit you wonderful people. Sometimes I think about all your faces and I smile...you don't know (or perhaps you do!) how much it means to me to read your comments - thank you - and yes, I am reading each and everyone, even when I don't have time to come visit. I cooked yesterday for mom and whomever may be coming in town or whatever. And I made her kitchen sparkle and vacuumed and the like -- it's a woman thing; you know, you walk into your house and everything is sparkling and fresh smelling and clean and it just makes you feel better.

We are hoping the surgery will be at least by tomorrow. I'll be back with an update.

PS - I was visiting everyone and suddenly every time I go to a blog, the screen flits all over the place and then goes blank! ?? I have no idea what that is - so, if you see me on another blog and not on yours, that's why - will try again later!