The Magic of Creativity

by Kathryn Jane

The creative process is different for all of us. But I’ve recently realized that mine is magically the same whether I’m writing fiction, or painting a picture.

When I’m writing a story be it short or a novel, it begins with a vague image of an opening scene, and the story grows one word at a time. Some people find this hard to fathom and describing it adequately has been difficult. The closest I get is to say the story unfolds for me, just as it does for the reader…like magic.

Painting works the same way for me…mostly. The exception being when I do commissions of people’s pets. But even then, I can’t think about the finished product. Instead I concentrate on one stroke at a time and somehow in the end, I have a remarkable likeness that amazes me.

But recently, after seeing a friend’s photo of a famous door set between two large trees, I was itching to create it in a painting. I grabbed a small canvas board and set to work. And…minute by minute I got farther away from the original inspiration of this:.

The final result was a fairy door at the base of a tree.

And then I knew I needed to paint what was behind that door.

I imagined it would be something like the adorable little scene always at the end of the Friendly Giant TV show. Yes, now you have an idea what generation I belong to!

For the fun of it I posted a photo at the end of each evening to show the progress I was making, while not sure what I would add the next night…just like when I’m writing, and proof that for me, the creative process is always by the seat of my pants.

The final product took almost 2 weeks and every day I looked forward to sitting down with my brushes and setting my imagination free.

  

Want to see more of my creativity?  Pop on over to my website to check out my books and art.

Cheers!  And Happy Holidays to all.

Kathryn

 

 

Self-care. What if…

by Kathryn Jane

Something we all, yep ALL, need to pay attention to no matter what our circumstances, is self-care.

We live in a world brimming with information, watching bad news from around the world, and being exposed to a great deal of negativity minute by minute. In some ways this is good as we can see that in the grand scheme of things, a roof over our heads and food on our tables puts us among the fortunate.

Still, there is pressure. Pressure to be the best we can be at our jobs, and within our families. Employers and family need us, depend on us in every possible way. We can’t let them down. But apparently, we are letting ourselves down.

We stay late at work without extra pay, we stay up long past bedtime doing laundry, and we get up earlier than the rest so we can prep lunches. We eat the burnt toast, the stale crust, and the smallest portion of desert.

We are super-women, and we shine at it.

 

Until.

Until the tank is suddenly empty and we don’t know how it happened.

Until we find ourselves at the wrong place to pick up a kid, in the wrong chat group to vent about our boss, or getting pulled over for speeding through a playground zone—because our thoughts were somewhere else.

Until we’re tossing and turning at three in the morning unable to shut our minds down so we can sleep.

Time for some self care.

Sure, right, okay, but how the heck can we combat the burnout if we can’t give up any of our responsibilities?

Self … care.

Which means?

Many things.

Self-care can be getting a massage once a month, , stopping for an ice-cream, dancing to a favorite song, or taking ten minutes every day to just sit in the garden and do nothing.

Or it can be as simple and silly as a game I started for myself the other day.

What if.

What if a genie popped out of a bottle and granted me one very specific wish which was:

You have up to 3 days to enjoy a single experience as long as it is not about meeting or talking to someone… as part of the wish, you will be granted whatever physical ability you will need.

Here’s a list of ideas I built for myself in about ten minutes.

  • Ride in the Kentucky Derby or the Grand National
  • Go on an African safari
  • Swim with whales
  • Interact with lions or tigers in their natural habitat
  • Attend a Streisand concert
  • Hike Machu Picchu
  • Attend the Edinburgh Tattoo

 

And this is a list I built while trying to guess what my friends would choose:

  • A Broadway show
  • A Paris fashion show
  • Climb Mount Everest
  • A Vegas show
  • The Great Wall of China
  • The Pyramids
  • Superbowl
  • Olympics
  • Ski the Alps
  • A French Chateau
  • A Scottish Castle
  • Desert Island
  • Great Barrier Reef

So… how about you? Join in my little self-care game and share what you might choose if my genie granted you the same wish.


Kathryn Jane, novelist, artist, educator.

Kat loves crisp sunny days, the warm breath of a horse, cats with a sense of humor, the briny scent of the ocean, and her very own charming prince—in no particular order.   http://kathrynjane.com

Want to know what else I’m up to in my life? The books, the painted rocks, the workshops?  Click here to  visit my website.

I disagree!

by Kathryn Jane

 

I disagree with lots of what goes by me on FB.

But instead of lashing out, shaking a finger or fist, unfriending or blocking, I sit back and wonder…

Why is this person’s opinion so different from mine?

How can she not see what I see?

Why does she not think like I think?

How can she be so wrong?

 

That’s when I stop and regroup.

That’s when I suddenly wonder if that person has the same reaction to what I post?

What if she thinks my opinion is way off the wall. My beliefs are out in left field.

What if she decides to unfriend me because my view of the world is so obviously different than the view she has?

Then I smile, thinking about the things we have in common. Things that have nothing to do with our religious or political beliefs. Things as simple as recognizing that although we differ in some really important ways we are still able to be friends. To enjoy other parts of what make us who we are.

And there lies the beauty of being able to disagree, without it being earthshattering and friend ending.

I thoroughly enjoy much about the people in my life who I disagree with “emphatically” over several subjects, and that, my friends, is just way cool.

 

 

What about you? Do you have friends with whom you carefully avoid some subjects? Or friends you actively argue with?  I’d love to hear some of your stories, so please share!


Kathryn Jane, novelist, artist, educator.

Want to know what else I’m up to in my life? The books, the painted rocks, the workshops?  Click here to  visit my website.

Thieves… plagiarists and scammers

by Kathryn Jane

Yesterday was my day to blog, and I tried, really tried to write about the recent blowup in the writing world. I wrote and deleted two long, wordy attempts to address the horrors of people stealing a writer’s hard work, and how thieves and the dirty underbelly of the writing world affected me personally…then I gave up and put it away for the night.

Here instead, a day late, is the simple version.

Around a week ago, a plagiarist was caught stealing the work of over thirty writers. Bringing this to light also exposed other scammers and thieves preying on readers and writers, and the entire situation was mind-boggling enough… and then I discovered my books being offered for free on a pirate site.

And I started to wonder whether this writing gig was worth what it was costing me–literally, and figuratively.

Is it worth my time to try and compete for readers in a world where scammers hit bestseller lists with fake books? Where book stuffers collect thousands of dollars while real authors barely scrape by? Where readers have been conditioned to search for free or 99 cent books and don’t care if they are stolen?

And what about the dollars? Each book I publish costs me at least $2000 for editing, cover design, and basic marketing. Can I make that money back? Probably. But can I make enough to pay myself for even a small portion of the hundreds of hours I spend writing, revising, formatting, uploading, advertising…

Not when I can’t get my books noticed because the market is flooded with fake books, plagiarized work, and other scams.

So I’m considering other options right now. Considering going traditional. Giving up the creative control I cherish, for a chance at having a big publisher marketing my work.

Why? Because I love writing, I love giving readers an emotional experience, and I don’t want to quit. But seven years into self-publishing I’m still operating at a loss, and it is time for a change.

In the nature of one last ditch effort to get my work out there, I’ve put a six book bundle of books on sale for just 99 cents.  Yep, the first SIX full-length books in my Intrepid Women series, for a grand total of $0.99 … Grab them HERE right now.

If you would like to find out more about the plagiarism and other scams, go to,  Nora Roberts blog, Fall Into The Story.  A kickass woman I have always admired, Nora lays it out beautifully…such a way with words!


Kathryn Jane, novelist, artist, educator.

Want to know what else I’m up to in my life? The books, the painted rocks, the workshops?  Click here to  visit my website.

 

 

Life Changing

Gratitude and Positivity

 I’m often asked how I manage to stay positive in this crazy world. How I can ignore the horrors we’re bombarded with through social media and television.

This is my story.

Some years ago I worked twelve hour shifts on the receiving end of  9-1-1 calls.

I spent long hours talking to people having really, really bad days. Perhaps the worst day of their life. I listened to the horrors of fights in the background, to mothers screaming because their child’s life was in danger, to fathers demanding someone come and fix their sick child, to people angry because the ambulance was taking too long.

I had to tell people the ambulance dispatched to them had been diverted to someone with a higher level emergency. I talked people out of pulling the trigger. I gave CPR instructions over the phone.

And then at the end of twelve grueling hours I got in my car and drove home. Had a meal and tried to go to sleep so I could go back in less than twelve hours and do it again.

As you can imagine, sleep didn’t come easy. Sometimes it didn’t come at all. Sometimes I’d be lucky to sleep for a total of ten hours in every four day block. (That’s two, 12-hour-days followed by two 12-hour-nights).

As you can imagine this takes a great toll on the body and I needed to find a way to let go of my work day and clear my mind so I could get sleep on a regular basis—and I wasn’t willing to use medications.

That’s when I stumbled upon the idea of a gratitude journal. However, I wasn’t very good at sticking to the program and writing in it every day. That’s when I got the idea of doing it on facebook, so I was kind of publicly accountable.

It worked.

I mean it REALLY worked!

Driving home from a long dispatch shift, instead of reliving all the bad calls of the day, I would have to search for something I could write in my Gratitude post. It made me look around. I began to notice the sunrise, dew on the grass, a hawk soaring in the morning or evening sky.

Occasionally I would think back to a “good” call. To a person I talked out of pulling the trigger, or the wail of a baby who hadn’t been breathing when the call first came in.

And when I got home, before going to bed I would do my Facebook Gratitude post. And I started to fall asleep more easily.

I no longer work in ambulance dispatch, but I’ve never stopped my daily posts. They keep me focused. They make me search for the good inside the bad. They show me hope.

And they show me love, because people respond to my posts. Sometime it’s just a like, and other times it’s a thank you for being a bright spot in a stranger’s day.

I have learned to find some spark of positive in any and everything. Do I see the negatives? Darn sure, but I don’t let them have power over me. Even in the worst of times, I can, and will, find a positive.

I will find hope and I will find the positive.

Kathryn Jane, novelist, artist, educator.

Want to know what else I’m up to in my life? The books, the painted rocks, the workshops?  Click here to  visit my website.

 

What’s your 2019 word?

by Kathryn Jane

New Year’s Resolutions? Nope, never been a thing for me.

But five or six years ago I stumbled upon the idea of having a word for the year–something to focus on–and I liked it.

Gratitude, Love, Kindness, Smile, and Joy were among my choices between then and now,  and I honestly don’t remember the order except that Joy was last year’s word.

2019 however, became a bit of a conundrum because I just wanted to rehash the old ideas I’d loved so much. They were easy to embrace, and they actually changed how I live my life. They are the backbone of who I am.

But I still needed a new word for this year.

I tossed around be as in, be strong, be real, be me, be bold…. And open, as in open-minded, open-hearted, open to new ideas, open to discussion…

They both seemed to be “good” choices and I could feel righteous with either one of them, but is that what I wanted?

I pondered while the days were counting down, and mentioned my dilemma to a friend who wisely said I shouldn’t worry, because it would come to me when the time was right.

And it did.

This morning, while I was driving through beautiful farmland on my way to feed a colony of feral cats, the word “laughter” popped into my head. I said it out loud, and then I laughed. And laughed again. It was so perfect.

Laughter is wonderful for the soul, and the mind, and according to science, for the body as well. I feel lighter when I laugh. The world seems brighter, and a little laughter often leads to lots more.

So that’s it. My savvy friend was right. What I needed came to me and now I’m looking forward to a  year filled with laughter!

And what about you? Have you chosen your word yet? Please share with us!


Kat loves crisp sunny days, the warm breath of a horse, cats with a sense of humor, the smell of the ocean, and her very own charming prince—in no particular order.   http://kathrynjane.com

 


Caleb Broughton is a man’s man, and the last thing he needs is a greener-than-grass new partner—especially a woman he’s been avoiding for months. But when a plane suddenly vanishes, nothing else matters.

Grab this exciting story now!   AMAZON  | APPLE & NOOK

go go go STOP!

by Kathryn Jane

Just when I thought I had everything under control…life happened.

I got so sick with the flu that I could barely speak or make the twenty-foot trek to the bathroom alone.

Did I mention I NEVER get sick? Yeah, well, I guess I can’t say that anymore. On day five, I managed a 3 minute shower, and a whole cup of soup (in two sittings).

Sucks.

But here’s the thing,

I was apparently on the list for wakeup calls. Running around as though I was invincible, taking on project after project, putting in eighteen hours at the computer, seven days a week. I thought I was in control… of everything!

Today when the haze of illness began to lift and I was simply sitting still, doing NOTHING, it became very clear. I had been spiraling out of control for several months.

I suppose it began to escalate in September with my conference season. Each one I attended sent me home more energized, more excited, and filled with more ideas.

I was ready to tackle whatever came my way—with the tiny cheerleaders in my head thrusting their scrawny arms skyward to shake their tinsel pompoms and egg me on…

I’ve published three new books since August and have a forth set to publish soon. I’ve painted dozens and dozens of rocks for my fundraising auctions as well as many private commissions, and others just because. Blogs have been written, and several hundred authors guided through my online or in-person workshops.

None of this feels like work, because of the tiny cheerleaders… but…

I sailed past my sixtieth birthday a few years ago, I’m skinny. And apparently, I don’t have unlimited resources.

Microscopic critters somehow gained access to my bloodstream and proved that.

Knocked me down good and hard, and with no extra meat on my bones, not eating for days meant resources got seriously depleted very quickly.

Tuesday morning I called my friend to cancel a riding date, because even though I only had a sore throat, and felt great, I didn’t want to share germs if this was more than an allergy issue.

Four hours later I could barely stand. Six hours later, I was flat on my back wishing I was dead.

I’ll spare you the gorey details but suffice to say, I had the stuffing knocked out of me.

And today, when I looked for the positive, I realized I’d forgotten to allow myself time to relax. Sure there were the lovely rides in the park, and the wonderful visits with the feral cats, but these were worked into very tight time slots which took a great deal of the good away from them.

Another crazy thing that happened on Tuesday morning was a message from my editor. She had a computer melt down, and was going to have trouble making deadline. I responded blithely with, “Don’t worry. The universe must have a plan for this. We’ll just ride it out.”

Ouch, Universe.

Talk about a brick upside the head.

I get it.

My wellbeing is more important than the date a book is ready for release. Yes, some people will be disappointed, and some sales might be missed, but that’s life, right? I could no more work on getting the book up and ready next week than fly right now, so CATS #5 was obviously not meant to be released in print form before Christmas. Got it.

Instead, as soon as I’m able I’ll work on painting the rocks already commissioned, and if the dates get tight, I’ll send them by courier to make sure they reach their destinations on time. With the current state of my health, that’s the best I can do. And I’m good with that. I hope everyone else is too.

While I get back on my feet, I’m going to remember to stop and smell the coffee and enjoy the man in my house who has been such an exceptional caregiver this week.

And I’m going to give myself the gift of time every single day to do absolutely nothing, for an hour or two.

Wish me luck!

For anyone interested in how this pans out, or wanting to know more about me and my books and stuff, here’s a link to my website  kathrynjane.com

Have you lost your mind?

by Kathryn Jane

I keep asking myself this question.

Why?

Because I’ve been told many, many times that a writer should always stick to one genre, yet in the span of just a few months I’m releasing four books, in three different genres.

Why?

Because I write what I want to write. What I feel. I don’t write to the market. That is, I don’t write a book based on how well that particular genre is selling, or because that “subject” is hot right now.

Nope.

Can’t do it.

I have always written for the sheer joy of it, and now, even though I have a following of readers who love my Romantic Suspense series–readers begging for the next book–I still follow my heart and write for the joy.

Somehow, that seems to work, and my readers are happy with my choices, so it’s a win for all of us.

How do I choose what will give me joy?

I don’t choose. Stories show up in my head as an opening scene and simply grow from there. Sometimes the scene is simple, sometimes complex, but they are always interesting.

MISSING, came to me as the simple, crystal clear moment when a mountain climber pops his head up over a ledge and comes face to face with a mamma bear and her two cubs…

 

DIAMONDS TO DIE FOR, began with two people sitting on a bench in front of a barn full of racehorses. It was early evening and all was peaceful, quiet but for the sounds of contented horses chewing hay, rustling about in their straw…

 

CALLISTA GOES COUNTRY began with a funny scene I can’t resist sharing with you.

“Get off!”

Under normal circumstances, Callista Fontaine was mild-mannered, adjusted easily to whatever came her way, frequently laughed at herself, and only once in a blue moon raised her voice.

But normal was gone and her life in the city but a distant memory. Here she sat—at the butt crack of dawn—doing something she had never in a million years dreamed of doing.

Milking a goat.

And the baby goat, which she actually—God help her—delivered into the world only a few days earlier, was dancing a jig on her hunched back while nibbling on the tendrils of hair sticking out from under her hat.

 

CATS: A Heartwarming Collection of Furry Tales, Volume #5  began here:

Rain dripped from the edge of the overhang, barely missing Eddie where he was hunkered down, waiting out the storm.

He didn’t like storms, and really didn’t like being alone while thunder rolled and rain pelted from the sky.

Water was beginning to cover the ground and creep up toward him, making him feel like he would soon be sitting in a puddle.

He should have left when the other cats did.

 

In total, two Romantic Suspense, one Contemporary Romance, and one Collection of Short Stories.

Have I lost my mind?

Nope.

And better still? I have a new opening scene tugging at me, and although I think it will be a mystery, I won’t know for sure until my fingers hit the keys and words become sentences…

Want to check out more books and other stuff I’m doing these days?  (Yes, I’ve just added more author services to my list, and I’m having great fun helping out my fellow writers.) Pop on over to my website: https://kathrynjane.com/

 

 

 

Refusing to get my knickers in a knot!

by Kathryn Jane

Lately I am rushing, scurrying, and barely on the brink of being on time.

Why?  Oh, that answer is simple. Because I’m a procrastinator and tend to overbook myself. So here I am, a day late with my blog post, and this time it is because I’ve been fighting to get my latest book published.

I had a deadline to upload to Amazon. Midnight on Sunday. And when I arrived home from doing a live event, skidded in the door and fired up the computer at 6pm, I got a nasty little message box that informed me I could not upload because the account was locked for pre-order.

What? No!

I still had six hours!

So the messaging began. And all the Kindle Direct Publishing reps who have responded insist that I can now upload, but nope, when I push the appropriate buttons I get this

So…… What to do?  Panic? Scream? Stomp my feet?

Nope.

There is nothing constructive I can do but wait and work with the system. And promote book sales through the other channels. Yes, the book is now live with Apple, Nook, and Kobo, so Yay!

What book you say?

The first book of a fabulous new Shared World project called Copper Mills.

These are novellas by a whole bunch of different authors all writing about the same quaint town in Arizona. Releasing one a week for the next few months, mine, Callista Goes Country, is up first. Second and third are, Only this Tuesday by Melissa Keir, and Finding Her Way, by Deb Julienne.

   

Lisa Huffman is one of the authors in the group and is designing all the amazing covers for us, too!

So.

Getting back to my dilemma.

What about the release date and plans for Callista?

No problem.

The book is up and available live on three sites, APPLE ,  NOOK,  and KOBO, AND still as a preorder at the other. Here’s a little bit about the story you’ll get when you click on one of the links.

Callista Goes Country

Falling in love was not on the agenda.
Advertising executive Callista Fontaine has never backed down from a challenge and isn’t about to give in now. Taking over the operation of a small farm while her sister recovers from a spinal cord injury seems like the right thing to do, until she comes face to face with a dozen or so very smart goats, and a henhouse filled with more attitude than eggs.
Physiotherapist, Kevin Baker prides himself on getting his patients back up and running—literally—and is more than comfortable with being the guy everyone looks to for help. But the woman he most wants to impress doesn’t want or need his assistance and he’s challenged to find a way into her heart.
When a modern day damsel doesn’t need a knight in shining armor… Will love still work if they’re standing shoulder to shoulder? And what kind of magic will it take to keep her from going back to the city?

APPLE | NOOK | KOBO |

preorder AMAZON

 


Author Kathryn Jane writes the kind of stories she loves to read—fast-paced, and crammed full of love, life, laughter, and suspense. To find out more about her eclectic background, kindness projects and her wacky world filled with painting and writing projects slide on over to her website and check out the photos.

Would A Real Man Say That?

by Kathryn Jane

Good question.

I am a woman, and therefore, as enlightened as I like to think I am, I still have a female point of view…which can sometimes be annoyingly skewed.

As a writer, I am often writing in a male point of view and like to think I do a damned good job of it because throughout my life I have worked side by side with many men, and have a decent understanding of how the male mind operates. Or so I thought.

But here’s the thing.

Readers constantly say they love how real, how authentic my male characters are. But are they?  Or do I follow the myth of what women generally believe? Perhaps the men I create are the kind we would like to have in our lives.

The question then becomes, does it matter? Fiction is fiction after all, and creating characters a reader can love and relate to is what matters, right? Right!

But every once in a while I feel a need to validate my hero’s thoughts and actions and that’s when I do the scary thing. I ask a man. A real live, breathing male what he would have done in the same situation. What his thoughts might have been.

Sometimes I get the answer I want. Sometimes I don’t. But I always get something I can add to my understanding of the male mind, and often I get an answer that makes me laugh.

My hubby is my go-to guy for these questions because he’s one of those men who is totally stumped by a female perspective, which means I never get an answer tempered to fit the question.

Just now I did a test, for the fun of the blog.  I asked him what color these scarves were. He said one was blue and the other was red. I see turquoise, and a reddish orange pattern on apricot which creates and overall burnt orange, but his male mind sees only the straightforward, none of the nuance.

Last week I had an important question for him. I came out of my writing cave and leaned on the door jamb. “Question,” I said, and he instantly gave me his attention because although he doesn’t read my books, he’s right into my writing and loves to help.

Me: “The hero has spent months trying to track down the woman he loves and finally finds her far from home, down and out, bone thin, and living on the streets. When he gets her to the safety of a hotel room, will he jump her bones?”  (I asked this because it happened sort of like a celebration in the first draft of the story, but when I was editing it seemed insensitive.)

Hubby: “Is she asking for it or is he?”

Geeze, I hadn’t thought of that. Okay, I roll with it.

Me: “She wants it, but she’s skinny and looking pretty rough. Not attractive at all.”

Hubby: “He won’t say no.”

Me: “If she doesn’t want/ask/push for sex?”

Hubby: “He’ll look after her first. Wait until she does.”

And that, my friends, changed an entire scene in the book, and made it better. Much, much better! I realised that the heroine was going to want sex for validation of their relationship, to feel connected again, and that was yet another flaw in her I could explore.

It also added another facet to Jason’s personality. He was already a nurturing kind of man, but now he became aware of Kate’s need to use sex as…  LOL…  I’ll stop here and just say the title of the book is DIAMONDS TO DIE FOR, and it will be out at the end of September.

 

Meantime, MISSING—Broughton and Alexandra’s story is coming out in less than a month and is available for pre-order now.

Caleb Broughton is a man’s man, and the last thing he needs is a greener-than-grass new partner—especially a woman he’s been avoiding for months. But when a plane suddenly vanishes, nothing else matters.

Grab this exciting sequel to Dance With Me, now!

AMAZON  | APPLE & NOOK

 


Kat loves crisp sunny days, the warm breath of a horse, cats with a sense of humor, the smell of the ocean, and her very own charming prince—in no particular order.   http://kathrynjane.com