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

 

 

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.

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.

 

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

Spreading Love WILL Change the World

by Kathryn Jane

I’m a creative. I write, paint, make things with my hands. This means I spend a great deal of time in my own head.

When I’m writing, my characters occupy that empty space quite nicely, but when I’m painting and creating other things like reality tend to seep in, and whatever is going on around me gets a lot of airtime.

The horrible event in Florida last week has been front and center in my mind and all over social media, and while I could have blogged today about the book I’m writing, I would rather talk about our very human reactions to what happened in a school that was for many of us, far, far, away. (I’m even in a different country, but this tragedy has been all over our news for days.)

While Facebook has been filled with anger and panic-generated rhetoric, I did come across links to a few well written blogs that resonated with me. Gave me food for thought, and I agree with some of what I found.

Below, I’ve shared a tidbit from each of three which stuck with me–mostly because of their different perspectives–and gave me food for thought.  I hope you find the same.

From:

Engineering, Parenthood, and a Solid Attempt at Adult Status

“FUCK YOU, I LIKE GUNS”

“Military style rifles have been the choice du jour in the incidents that have made our country the mass shootings capitol of the world. Formula One cars aren’t good for commuting. Cheetahs are bitey. Professional grade fireworks will probably take your hand off. All but one of these are common sense to the average American. Let’s fix that. Be honest, you don’t need that AR-15. Nobody does. Society needs them gone, no matter how good you may be with yours. Kids are dying, and it’s time to stop fucking around.” For the full article:

https://agingmillennialengineer.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/fuck-you-i-like-guns-2/

From:

SLATE

“How to Stop Violence

Mentally ill people aren’t killers. Angry people are.

By Laura L. Hayes

Violence is not a product of mental illness. Nor is violence generally the action of ordinary, stable individuals who suddenly “break” and commit crimes of passion. Violent crimes are committed by violent people, those who do not have the skills to manage their anger. Most homicides are committed by people with a history of violence. Murderers are rarely ordinary, law-abiding citizens, and they are also rarely mentally ill. Violence is a product of compromised anger management skills.” For the complete article:

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2014/04/anger_causes_violence_treat_it_rather_than_mental_illness_to_stop_mass_murder.html

From:

Rob Myers

“There’s a Way to Stop Mass Shootings, and You Won’t Like It

“Notice those around you who seem isolated, and engage them.”

If every one of us did this we’d have a culture that was deeply committed to ensuring no one was left lonely. And make no mistake, as I’ve written before loneliness is what causes these shooters to lash out. People with solid connections to other people don’t indiscriminately fire guns at strangers.” Full article here:

https://mystudentapt.com/2015/10/06/theres-a-way-to-stop-mass-shootings-and-you-wont-like-it/

 

And then there is Emma, a student who was there. She lays it all on the table, with passion, and I find myself rooting for her, wanting her to one day become president.

From:

CNN

“Florida student Emma Gonzalez to lawmakers and gun advocates: ‘We call BS’”

“Every single person up here today, all these people should be home grieving. But instead we are up here standing together because if all our government and President can do is send thoughts and prayers, then it’s time for victims to be the change that we need to see.”

http://www.cnn.com/2018/02/17/us/florida-student-emma-gonzalez-speech/index.html?sr=fbCNN021718florida-student-emma-gonzalez-speech0446PMVODtop

 

In conclusion:

I am one small person in Canada without any way to change what happens to my friends in the USA. I don’t know the answers to the problems. But I’m still certain of one thing which has been deeply ingrained in me for many years, in spite of what many might call an unusual upbringing.

People spreading LOVE will change the world.

Yep. One at a time we will make a difference… and yesterday in my own community, I saw proof of that.

Somewhere close to me, an unnamed entity set something in motion which drastically changed the ambience and landscape of what used to be beautiful. First houses and businesses were boarded up, and then just a couple of days ago a company was brought in and all the trees were stripped from the property. What used to be green and beautiful became barren and sad.

But.

Instead of angrily ranting about the person/people who set this ugliness upon us, instead of crying over the weeping stumps, a group of us got together, and fought the ugliness with positives. We took one lone section of fence, and painted a message of LOVE to be seen by anyone passing by, and especially for those made sad by what had happened to a neighborhood.

The remarkable thing was that all of us felt better and better as we worked, AND, bonus, everyone passing by stopped to remark on the project and tell us they were impressed by our attitudes and message. Neighbors walked over to chat, and cars slowed while their drivers smiled, waved, and gave us a thumbs up.

It was a win.

And it changed the atmosphere in a very positive and uplifting way.

After days of watching the horrors in Florida, aching for the loss of children–and the adults trying to protect them–and being battered by the online vitriol, we had a lightening of the heart. Not much in the grand scheme of things, but it changed our little piece of the world.

Here’s the project as we left it on Friday… since then, it’s been added to several times, and we will continue adding until there is no space left at all 😀

 



My latest book, Into the Sunrise, is a story about a woman who takes all the cr*p life flings at her, and finds her own way out of the dark. In the sunrise, she not only discovers a passion for saving children, but even finds her way to great love.

I am not my childhood

by Kathryn Jane

I’ve taken a side trip from my Romantic Suspense series by writing a Women’s Fiction.

A novel about a woman of heart, courage and integrity. A woman who could have been irreparably damaged by the man who raised her.

But wasn’t. At least not for the long haul. Oh, she made some monumentally  bad decisions as a teenager and young adult, but she eventually learned from them.

And when she became privy to the details of her own childhood and the secrets she’d unknowingly lived with, instead of breaking under the weight of what she learned, she built herself a new life.

She found purpose. And she found a way to realize her lifelong dream in spite of all hope being stripped from her soul.

She became a warrior for her cause. And she changed lives.

She fought for her dream and she won.

She is a testament to women everywhere who do what needs to be done, say what needs to be said, and live with the consequences. Who overcome what appear to be insurmountable odds and obstacles.

She is much more than a survivor.

She is not her childhood.

And neither am I.


Award winning author, Kathryn Jane writes the popular Intrepid Women Series. Novels filled with mystery, suspense, adventure, psychic abilities, and romance. Think MacGyver, Criminal Minds, and James Bond…with a dash of I Love Lucy.

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


 

Soul destroying questions and equally stunning answers have Dusty digging deeper than she ever thought possible, and when she discovers her Self, in an entirely foreign landscape, she begins anew, more determined than ever to achieve her lifelong dream.

I’m addicted to words

by Kathryn Jane

I love words, and I’m constantly amazed when they’re put together so perfectly an inspirational quote is born… therein lies my addiction.

I can spend hours pouring through quotes, drinking in meaning, and occasionally making memes to share.

It’s a weakness.

Today I’ll share a few of them with you, just because I think it’s a great way to start off a new year (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it) .



“Be the change you wish to see.” Unknown


“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” ~ Dr. Seuss


“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it.” ~ Edith Wharton


“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, I used everything you gave me.”~  Erma Bombeck


“If not us, who?  If not now, when?” ~ John F. Kennedy


“Live as though life was created for you.” ~ Maya Angelou

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~ Maya Angelou

“Do the Best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” ~ Maya Angelou


“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting, ‘Holy shit…what a ride!” ~ Hunter S. Thompson


“You are so much more than your mistakes.” ~ Bryant McGill


The road of indecision is paved with flat squirrels. ~ Unknown



I bet you have favorite quotes of your own… please share them with us!



Author Kathryn Jane,  loves words, homemade bread, the Pacific Ocean, and cats!

Cover - KathrynJane_AllSheWanted_1400pxKathrynJane_DanceWithMe_800px

Website   |   Amazon


 

combat-those-winter-blues-giveaway

The best of 2016

With the sun about to set on another year, I asked my fellow authors the same question I’m asking you.

What is your favorite memory from 2016?



 

Vicki Batman:

A Baltic cruise with Handsome. And my annual fun day when my second book released.



Claire Gem:

My favorite memory from 2016 is my “rerun” trip to Florida, a special lunch with my daughter after a frightening medical diagnosis disturbed our traditional mother-daughter day at the Ringling Museum. Now all is looking very hopeful.SOS - Claire Gem.JPG



Marian Lanouette:

By far it would  the email telling me I got a four book deal from Kensington/Lyrical for my Jake Carrington Mysteries.



S.A. Taylor:

I’d have to say meeting several of the SOS sisters at the RWA conference was one of my favorite memories of 2016. I don’t have a picture of the whole group, but did find a good one with Vicki at the KOD Death by Chocolate party.  Great times!sos-vicki-and-steph

Oh, I also became an aunt for the 1st time this December. Pretty special. sos-steph-auntie


Jeannie Hall:
Definitely this one: became a published author!
sos-jeannie-hall


Kathryn Jane (that’s me):

A laughter filled weekend spent with my sisters, and becoming a member of the TinyKittens team, which means I get to work with feral cats like Calvin.DSCN4452.JPG



Jacquie Biggar:

Making the USA Today, bestseller list with this set!

sos-jacquie



Marsha R. West:
My best memory is moving into the Lakehouse and waking up every morning to this phenomenal view that’s always changing. It’s like having a giant painting in front of my eyes and one that subtly changes. It’s very seductive. Easy to find myself just staring, but it’s also inspirational from a book writing perspective. Looking forward to many years here.


Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair:

I can relate to what many of you said. Like Steph, I really enjoyed getting together with you guys at RWA. (There was also the KOD presidency. Although I enjoyed it, it was way more work than I anticipated). Like Kat, I made a big move from California to Colorado. I love it here and it’s a great environment to follow my dream of being a (mostly) full time writer. The book I sat on for a very long time finally got published, then another. The third one is getting really to go up now and I’m working on #4. Progress! The best part is being involved with all of you!




Okay, now it’s your turn…  What is your favorite memory from 2016?



oh, and don’t forget to ENTER HERE for a chance to win a book prize happy-holiday-book-giveawayfromthe-sisterhood-of-suspense

Kindness doesn’t suck

 

I nearly went on a rant the other day, but dialed back, sat back and thought about the message gnawing at me.

It was a good message. But how would it be received if I was ranting? Not well, I’m sure. Or at least not as well as a different approach might. (And seriously? I’m just not a ranter!)

So I thought about it some more, and tried to figure out how to turn a negative into a positive–an exercise I learned a while back, and it’s been making a difference in my life.

Here’s how it works. Identify the negative, LOL, that’s easy because it’s what’s making me mad. I wanted to scream at people on Facebook, “Stop judging other people! Just. Stop. It!!!!!”

Hmmm. I bet that would have stirred up all kinds of action, and probably little of it would have been positive, which would have made me all the more angry, and I HATE being angry. For me, it’s a waste of energy, and nothing good ever comes from it.

First step: I had to figure out what I could do to make the “judging” go away…without focusing on the judging. It didn’t take a whole lot of figuring, but it did feel a bit like a light bulb moment, and when it happened, I even said it out loud. One word. One simple concept. No shouting required.

Kindness.

Yep. That’s it. Plain and simple. Instead of trying to stop the meanness of people judging other people, I could promote kindness.

So here I am. Spreading one simple yet magnificent word as far and wide as I can.

Kindness is cool. Kindness feels good from both the giving and receiving ends. Kindness is free. Kindness can be as little as a smile, or as much as giving someone financial support.

Kindness can be listening to a story you’ve heard a hundred times already, (because the teller doesn’t remember that). Kindness can be tossing a peanut to a squirrel, or keeping your hummingbird feeder full. Kindness can be accepting that not everyone lives the same way or has the same beliefs as I do. Canva - Kindness is like hot coffee and warm mittens on a cold day

Kindness can be turning a blind eye when someone makes a mistake. Kindness can be accepting that maybe the poorly written, self-published book you downloaded was someone’s dream of a lifetime, ultimate accomplishment, proof that they did something special, finished something they believed in. Kindness is not sharing your negative opinions.

Canva - Kindness can be as simple as sharing the last cup of coffee

Kindness is letting other people live the lives THEY own. Kindness is quietly walking away from what you can’t accept. Kindness is knowing you are not responsible for someone else’s hurt, but maybe you can make them feel better.

canva - a single smile can change a life

Kindness is smiling at your fellow man, even if his socks don’t match.

Kindness…doesn’t suck.


What does kindness mean to you?  Please share!


profile beach 1 cropKathryn Jane writes the popular Intrepid Women Series.

Novels filled with mystery, suspense, adventure, psychic abilities, and romance. Think MacGyver, Criminal Minds, and James Bond…with a dash of I Love Lucy.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Kickass women and the men who dare to love them. KathrynJane_DanceWithMe_800px

 

Cover - KathrynJane_AllSheWanted_1400px

Baby Boomers Rejoice the birth of Seasoned Romance!

 

KathrynJane_DanceWithMe_800px

I was born at the tail end of the baby boom. I grew up in the sixties to: the tune of the best music; girls finally being allowed to wear pants at school; and slightly less expectation that we make one of only three choices for our future–become a teacher, become a nurse, or get married and have children.

I sense nodding among the crowd.

Graduating from high-school in the early seventies meant I was the generation riding the wave of freedom hard won by my sisters just a few years older… Not that I went out and conquered the world, but the possibilities were there, and devouring romance novels set me up to dream.

Fast forward forty years, and here I am still in love with reading. Okay, so what’s the rejoicing part you say?

Seasoned Romance … because love is ageless!

For those of us who aren’t interested in reading about romance between twenty-somethings, there is a new, burgeoning genre. One where the heroes and heroines are at least thirty-five, and (hallelujah) much older!

I’ve heard from plenty of readers who feel no emotional connection to stories about people the ages of their children and grandchildren. These are women who glance at the bookshelves and ask, “What about us? Why can’t there be stories about older women who’ve kicked butt as executives, pilots, wives, mothers, jockeys, nurses, doctors, dog walkers, and everything in between. Why can’t we read about the kind of women we are or want to be, and the heroes we’d love to meet.”

Good news, older generation heroes and heroines do exist in the world of romance books.

Better news, a group of authors already writing this kind of story have banded together to get our Seasoned Romance genre recognized by agents, publishers, and booksellers.

Meanwhile, there are Seasoned Romances already available. Great stories about women finding love for the first, second, or seventh time, single moms, empty-nesters, divorcees, widows, financially secure women looking for adventure, married couples rediscovering each other after retirement…

My own brand new book set to release in a few weeks, Dance With Me, is about a married couple in their early sixties. Julia and James, the mother and father in my Intrepid Women series have some serious issues to get past, plus a mystery to solve before they can get on with a romantic reconciliation.

I’d love to hear what you think about Seasoned Romance. What is your favorite age range to read about? Young, to relive your youth? Older to feel a connection to the characters? Tell me, tell me, so I can get the word out to other authors 🙂

If you’d like to be kept up to date on my new Seasoned Romance releases, as well as those by the Sisterhood of Suspense authors (and many others), hop on over to my website and sign up for my newsletter. Easy peasy.

Website  |  Facebook  |  Amazon  | Pinteresthead shot from RWA14

Addicted to the ocean, award winning author Kathryn Jane lives on the west coast of Canada with her fabulous feline assistant, and a devoted mutt to keep her charming prince company while she’s busy penning fast-paced mysteries and adventures about Kickass Women and the Men who Dare to Love them…

 



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