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

 

 

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/

 

 

 

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.

#UpbeatAuthors

by Kathryn Jane

I belong to a Facebook group called #upbeatauthors. It was the brainchild of an author who was feeling (like many of us) overwhelmed by the negativity on social media. Her idea was to have a safe place where we could go to share positive outlooks, and uplifting words.

A whole bunch of us jumped on board of course, and we’ve grown to nearly three hundred members.

What do we do there?

Our leader has posted a theme for every week right up to the end of the year, and on Mondays, we post something positive, related to the theme.

Want to know the coolest thing about this group? In the beginning, many of us struggled a bit to come up with something to write, or share by picture, but as the weeks have gone on, so has the participation, and the ease with which the positivity flows!

Also cool, that when I remember to put my #upbeatauthors post on my own page, it often gets shared around Facebook, so I feel like I’m contributing to making the world a happier place. (Call me Pollyanna if you must, but I’m happy there!)

Here are a few of my favorite posters:

 

Your favorite historical figure

Ways to show the important people in your life that you love them in simple ways

Places you would like to go, and why

How to work smarter


Living in the moment/mindfulness


Turning a negative into a positive


When one door closes, another opens


Ways to be kind to yourself

 

How to deal with busy holiday season

 

Watch for a new #UpbeatAuthors post every Monday on my Facebook page, and see if you can resist the good feeling that comes from a positive heart!


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.

 


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Season of Promises by Vicki Batman (e-copy edition)

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by Kathryn Jane

I had a blog almost ready for posting, but it wasn’t a good fit for today, so instead, in the light of the tragedy in Las Vegas yesterday, I will simply share what I believe to be true.

Kindness and Love are the answer to all the troubles in the world. I know, it seems way too simple, or farfetched, and some might think the idea is beyond stupid, but I believe it down to the soles of my feet.

And I practice what I believe. I do my darndest to be a good person. To never be unkind.

Hard task?

It was for a while, because I grew up surrounded by negativity. Judging other people and believing the worst about others, was all I knew. But over the last few years it’s become easier and easier, to the point I don’t have to think about it, and I rarely have to reword a comment to make it positive instead of negative.

No small wonder this Maya Angelou quote resonates so deeply with me.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

I know better, I do better, and I celebrate.

 

 


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All She Wanted by Kathryn Jane (e-copy edition)

The Rebel’s Redemption by Jacquie Biggar (audiobook edition)

Partners: Odyssey of the Phoenix by McKenna Sinclair

A Midnight Clear by Jeannie Hall

Hearts Unloched by Claire Gem

Too Many Women in The Room by Joanne Guidoccio

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Act of Trust by Marsha R. West

The Scent of Change #Globalwarming #Inspiration @jacqbiggar

desert-749692_640

It’s raining!

I don’t know about you, but those of us in the northwestern part of Canada are celebrating. Every year it gets hotter and drier and the earth is aging seemingly before our eyes.

It was always a dream for DH and I to move to Vancouver Island. We came here on our honeymoon and every year after that we could afford the trip. I craved the beautiful cedars, rhododendrons, ivy, and ferns. The lush greenness of the rainforest, the scent of the ocean on the air, the slap of the waves upon the shore… I could go on and on, lol.

Thirty years later we made the move and it was just as amazing as we remembered!

20161206-IMG_6348

Photo curtesy of Tofino Photography

I’ve made new friends, explored this magical place I’m blessed to call home, and learned to feel the pulse of the land.

And it worries me.

The birds and wildlife that count on the weather to keep the forest green and the food plentiful, are suffering.

Global warming is not simply a term-it is a view of our future. Unless we do something to change it. Not soon.

Now.

We’ve just come through the worst fire season in our province’s history. I shudder to think how many animals perished along with our forests, crops, homes–lives.

The hurricanes in the southern United States destroyed countless businesses, displaced thousands of people, cost billions of dollars.

And that’s only the tip of a quickly thawing iceberg.

I know this seems all doom and gloom, but it doesn’t have to be. I think we’re being warned, shape up, or face the consequences.

The tide is turning. Many areas now are banning plastic bags, urging economical use of gas and electricity, and promoting more green spaces in cities. This is all good, but we need to do more.

Being part of the baby boomer generation, I think much of the blame lies with us. We grew up in a time of exploration (the first trip to the moon), innovation (personal computers and cell phones), and excess. Lots of excess! Plastic water bottles, disposable baby diapers, takeout foods. You name it, we’ve done it.

I’m amazed by our growth and embarrassed with our neglect.

And I thank God every day that the new generation has learned from our mistakes. My grandson knows all about recycling, composting, energy efficient bulbs, healthy eating, exercise, growing your own sustainable produce.

And he’s ten.

This tells me that we still have a chance.

I’m writing this, drinking herbal tea and listening to the rain as it dances on my roof, and I’m grateful because Mother Nature is forgiving if we just make an effort.

 

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Kindness is the ultimate headline, don’t you think?

By Kathryn Jane

 Here most of us sit in front of our monitors and televisions, watching disasters unfold, and what I’m seeing time after time, in spite of the horrible click-bait type of headlines, is Kindness!

 I’m seeing:

 People of all races, ethnic backgrounds, and stages of financial security helping each other.

 Posts of gratitude by those reasonably well off, who have been hit by Hurricane Harvey just the same way the poor were hit

 People regardless of socio-economic background gobsmacked by the kindness offered them by fellow human beings.

 Video footage of men and women reaching out to each other in a time of need.

 Groups, whole groups of people hooking up their expensive hauling rigs and driving INTO the fire zones to rescue horses and pigs and llamas and any other critter who needs a ride out before the flames wipe out their homes.

 Facebook pages where people can reach out to ask for or offer help. Where strangers from miles away facilitate a meet up wherever it is needed.

 A woman driving 14 hours to deliver a vanload of feral cats and kittens to a specialized shelter. These are creatures only alive and on the planet due to human neglect. Yet not only was some wonderful person in Quesnel looking out for them, providing them food every day, but another wonderful human stepped up when that lady was being evacuated, went into an evacuation zone and trapped these half wild cats, then brought them to safety.

 Men and women driving long hours, then lining up on a highway, with their trucks and boats, waiting to get into a hurricane ravaged landscape to rescue strangers. Nobody seemed to care what color the rescuers or the rescued were.

 Strangers combing neighborhoods, using everything from boats to totes in an effort to rescue pets left behind due to circumstances beyond the control of their owners.

 Big strong men holding tiny babies in their arms without any apparent consideration of color, race, ethnicity, or whatever making any damn difference to how gently those babies were held, or how grateful the mothers were for the help.

 Kids selling lemonade so they can send money to other kids who’ve lost their home in a wildfire in a place far away.

 What I’ve seen and continue to see?

 Humans being kind… on my television, and my monitor, every damn day.

 And that my friends, is a good thing.

 


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.

 

 


 


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