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.

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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.

 

Writing Process- as Individual as a You Are

by Veronica Forand

Quantity over quality. That is the debate. To write a million words or several brilliant words.

In this market, even the top authors who had been getting by with one book a year are feeling the cry of their readers for more. Some writers have mastered the art of writing fast. Their brains are wired to spew words onto the page with relative ease, or they have the discipline to sit their asses in their chairs for long stretches of time and meet their wordcount goals nearly every day. And the results are solid, and in some cases great.

Then there is me.

I can not spew. I obsess, cross-out, obsess some more, and then somewhere in the middle of the night gain inspiration and type three thousand words in one sitting. The next day, instead of forging forward, I obsess over the words I wrote and usually re-write them. My pace on a good week produces two thousand words per day. On bad weeks, about two hundred words. Overall, I need three months to create something I want my name on. For some, that schedule seems fast. For others, I’m driving in the slow lane. It doesn’t matter. That is my method. It may evolve over time, but for now. I’m content with that pace.

Last year, all writing stopped while I dealt with life issues. It left me with four weeks to draft an 80,000 word novel. I did it. I’m a total people pleaser and wouldn’t have missed the deadline for pretty much anything. The result? The worst book I ever wrote. As a thriller writer, logic needs to be immaculate in my books. This book, however, didn’t just defy logic, it mocked it. The result was confusing, and the language was basic, as there was no time to add complexity. Jane didn’t heave open the door, punching a perfect circle into the drywall from the doorknob. Jane opened the door.

The problem was not only that the story lost flavor and heart, but I had stopped enjoying the process when I rushed. I love spending an afternoon playing with words, placing the perfect verb in a sentence or rephrasing something that sounds ordinary and adding something special to it. A unique metaphor or one of those fancy literary devices I can never pronounce.

After a well-deserved rejection by my editor, I tried to fix the book with two rushed rewrites neither of which were much better than the original because again, I didn’t spend time on creativity and art. In fact, writing had become such a chore, that impatience was woven into my words. Readers, however, are adept at knowing when an author writes with heart, and when they aren’t.

My goal is to never create a story that lacks my passion for the story again, even if that means writing a few fewer books. I spent months fixing my story. The same characters are more fully developed and the plot is complex and intriguing. It’s a book I’m proud to send out into the world.

So the moral of the story? Try different methods, but when the story begins to suffer, go back to your own process, no matter how slow or crazy it may seem to others. Stories need heart and whatever your process, never lose that one key ingredient.

 

Veronica Forand … romantic  thrillers to keep you up at night.

 

Workshops For Writers

Hey there, I’m Kathryn Jane, and I have a passion for sharing information with other writers and authors.

How many times have you said, wow, I wish I’d known that going in. Or muttered, isn’t there an easier way to do this? Or, how was I supposed to know this already? Why didn’t somebody tell me? Or, how the heck did I miss that that extra word?  😉 (you caught that, right?)

Sucks, doesn’t it? Been there, done that, bought many T-shirts…

That’s why I started sharing what I’d learned the hard way, by creating online workshops for my fellow writers. Yes, it’s time consuming, and there’s not a great deal of money to be made, but it feels good! (Apparently, I love teaching, who knew?)

I’m constantly updating my lessons with the latest information, and always happy to answer questions. The workshops are also archive friendly for those on deadline without time to actively participate.

Added to that, because the feedback from writers has been quite wonderful, I’ve recently added more workshops to my roster.

Pop over to the workshop page on my website for class details and availability.

1. SELF-EDITING “HOW’D I MISS THAT?”  Embarrassment Prevention
2. SELF-PUBLISHING —  “WHERE THE HECK DO I START?”  An Introduction
3. marketing — BACK COVER COPY “SHOOT ME Now!”
4. marketing — PRESS KITS – BE READY WHEN OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS
5. research — WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN A HORSE SHOWS UP?
6. research — PTSD FOR FICTION WRITERS 
7. EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS for you and for your writing

 

Are there other workshops you wish someone would offer?  On what topics? Let me know and maybe I can help! 🙂

Hope you all have a great day, week and month. When I come back to visit in April, I’ll be sharing my brand new Women’s Fiction novel with you, and maybe some pics of my spring garden if Mother Nature cooperates.

Cheers!

Kat.



psst ….. check it out…

the Sisterhood of Suspense Rafflecopter #Giveaway

march-madnessENTER HERE

for your chance at some page-turning reads!

 

What Would You Do? #FosterAbuse #FamilyMatters @jacqbiggar

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What would you do if you saw children being abused?

The sad truth is many of us care, but not enough to get into the middle of what could be a dangerous or embarrassing situation.

We don’t do it out of meanness, as much as self preservation.

If we don’t get involved, we can’t get hurt, right?

 

This is a video from ABC News. It illustrates why many parents enter the foster system and how those children are mistreated.

 

 

Happily, there are those who will step up and help those in need, though in some cases this can cause an escalation in the violence these kids endure.

The CBC News in Canada did a post on the crisis children face within the foster system.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/canadian-foster-care-in-crisis-experts-say-1.1250543

Some children are placed in foster care without full safety checks while others wind up in supervised apartments or overcrowded homes, say child advocates who warn of a deepening crisis across the country.

In one case, a four-year-old girl was removed from the care of her aunt in 2006 after she was found to be neglected, malnourished and suffering from recurring physical abuse. An investigation found that the aunt had not been appropriately screened.

 

If you know of a case like this, or see signs of abuse please do the right thing and contact your local child protective services.

And if you are a child in need of help:

Childhelp® is a national organization that provides crisis assistance and other counseling and referral services. The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline external linkis staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with professional crisis counselors who have access to a database of 55,000 emergency, social service, and support resources. All calls are anonymous. Contact them at 1.800.4.A.CHILD (1.800.422.4453).

If you need help with personal or family situations, you may wish to visit our resources on Where to Find Help.

If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, or if you are a child who is being maltreated, contact your local child protective services office or law enforcement agency so professionals can assess the situation. Many States have a toll-free number to call to report suspected child abuse or neglect. To find out where to call, consult the Information Gateway publication, State Child Abuse Reporting Numbers.

This material may be freely reproduced and distributed. However, when doing so, please credit Child Welfare Information Gateway.

 

My new book, Summer Lovin’, explores this issue.

Two young boys are left in the care of a neglectful uncle after their mother dies. All he’s interested in is the monthly allowance he receives for their care.

When school secretary, Rebecca Sorenson, meets one of the kids and is threatened by the uncle, she decides to seek help from the sheriff.

 

JacquieBiggar_SummerLovin_HR

 

Here’s a short excerpt from Summer Lovin’

Tommy cried all the way home. Not great hiccupping sobs like he’d done in the past when they’d first arrived at his uncle’s house and realized they were worse off now than when their parents died. No, these tears were silent. A steady stream that ran down his face and dripped unheeded off his chin. Tears of despair, of a childhood lost, of faded dreams.

Just for a moment today with that pretty schoolteacher he’d felt something close to peace. Her scent when she’d held him in her arms reminded him of his mom and he hadn’t wanted to let go. But then his uncle had shown up.

He reached the edge of town and looked for the overgrown drive. A broken down gray wooden fence and a lopsided Keep Out sign pointed the way to the old cabin hidden amongst tall spruce trees. The dirt lane was rutted so bad it tossed his bike from side to side but he refused to walk; his uncle had warned them there were snakes in the grass just waiting for little boys. Tommy wasn’t taking any chances.

He pulled up next to the sagging porch and slowly laid his bike on its side, listening for his brother. A soft humming led him to the corner of the building. Jasper sat in the dirt, his scrawny bare back bent over a little toy truck he was using to make roads with in the sand. Tommy sighed his relief, no new marks that he could see. He’d gotten here in time then.

“Hey, brother, whatcha doin’?” He let Jasper know he was there before moving forward.

Jasper jumped up, ready to flee, then realized who’d spoken and cracked a mile wide smile. “Tommy, Tommy you’re back.” He ran and wrapped his arms around his brother and Tommy frowned at how thin they were.

“Did you eat the food I hid for you?” he demanded.

Jasper shrugged, his chin digging a hole in Tommy’s chest. “I wasn’t very hungry,” he mumbled.

Tommy frowned and set him back so he could look him in the eye. “Jas, you gotta eat. We ain’t ever gonna get outta here if you ain’t strong enough to run.”

Jasper’s eyes lit with hope. “Can we go now? Can we, huh?”

Tommy cursed his big mouth. Why’d he go and say anything? “No. We can’t go until we have a plan.” Jasper’s lips wobbled and Tommy changed the subject. “Show me the roads you’ve been building.”

It worked, for now. Jasper trotted over and sprawled out on his belly, reaching for the little blue car he’d been playing with. “Wait ‘til you see this. I made a hill and my car flies,” he said, his voice filled with excitement.

Tommy followed more slowly, his mind on that nice teacher. Why couldn’t someone like her have taken them in? He missed his mom so bad and yet sometimes he got scared because he couldn’t quite picture her in his head anymore. The teacher reminded him of her though. She smelled good too and had a pretty dress. His mom always wore nice clothes; she said she liked to look pretty for her boys. Man, he missed her. She’d know what to do right now because he sure didn’t. The only thing he did know for certain was that he’d promised to take care of his brother and he darn sure was going to.

The rumble of a vehicle coming up the drive had both boys scrambling for cover. A ratty blue tarp hanging over a pile of scrap metal nearby did the job, though it was a tight fit. Their uncle had warned them often enough to keep outta sight of strangers.

“Who is it?” Jasper asked, his voice squeaky with a mix of fear and excitement.

“Shh, we’ll know soon enough,” Tommy whispered. “Just keep quiet, okay?”

The rattle as the engine shut down told him who it was even before the tinny door slammed shut and his uncle stomped around the corner looking like the axeman from Snow White.

“Where the hell are you hiding, you stupid little shits?” he roared. His heavy work boots kicked up tufts of dust as he circled the yard in search of them. He glanced at Jasper’s toy car, reached down, picked it up, and sent it flying into the bushes.

Jasper whimpered but thankfully held silent, his body vibrating so hard the tarp rattled. Tommy jerked him away, pulling him up against his own shaking body. He was so scared he needed to pee.

“You come on out of there or your stupid ass brother is going to pay the price.” The edge of the tarp lifted and a hand reached in and latched onto Tommy’s arm in a death grip. Jasper’s eyes grew big as pie plates and welled up with tears. Tommy cried out in pain but shook his head viciously at his brother, warning him to keep quiet and stay still.

And then he was yanked out and thrown to the ground. Uncle Pete stood over him as he lay in the dirt, lips twisted in a snarl that sent shards of fear through Tommy’s gut.

“You better explain yourself, boy.” He nudged Tommy with his boot. “What did you think you were doing at the schoolhouse today?”

Tommy thought fast. There was no way he was going to tell this man the real reason. He had to come up with something to defuse the anger brewing in his uncle’s eyes. He reached into his pocket and reluctantly withdrew the gold chain he’d taken from the teacher lady’s purse.

“I was getting you some money, Uncle.” A beefy hand reached out and swiped the necklace from his hand. His uncle eyed him suspiciously for a moment before lifting the cross on the chain to the light.

“You aware this is stealing, boy?” He gave the chain a little shake and the cross glinted so bright it practically blinded Tommy.

“I did it just the way you showed me, sir.” Tommy lifted himself to his elbows. “She won’t know who it was.”

Uncle Pete frowned, his brows like bats wings over his eyes. “You better hope the hell not, kid. Your brother doesn’t like when you screw up.” He laughed, his belly jiggling under the dirty plaid shirt. He turned and strode toward the shack, hollering over his shoulder, “Git in here and make me some grub, I’m hungry after chasing you all over creation.”

Tommy waited a few minutes, knowing full well that it was his uncle’s routine to go into the house, grab a bottle of booze and flop down on the ugly green sofa for the night. He had time to make sure his brother was okay now.

He pulled back the tarp to let Jasper out, then went searching for the toy car, the last thing Jas had from their mom. A few moments later he found it under the edge of a blackberry bush. Careful to avoid the painful spikes, he managed to retrieve it with only a couple of minor scratches.

“Here you go, buddy, I found it.” He turned and offered it to Jasper but his attention was on the house. “Don’t worry, I won’t let him touch you again.” And when his brother looked at him with eyes that knew more than any five-year-old kid outta know about pain, Tommy’s gut tightened with a white-hot rage.

He fingered the wallet in his pocket he’d also stolen from the teacher. Soon. Soon he’d have enough to get them far away from here. And they weren’t never coming back.

I hope you try Summer Lovin’ and if you enjoy the book please consider leaving a review. I’d appreciate it, thanks!

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There is No Greater Blessing than a Father’s Love #RSsos #Writer

Father’s Day is a time to reflect on all the little things your dad did to make you into the person you are today.

Whether it’s teaching you to ride a bike or drive a car. Which hook to use to catch the biggest fish, or how to change oil in that beat up car you work on together.

Your dad is your biggest supporter and the person you count on to pick you up when you fail. He makes the silliest jokes and is the first person there when you get hurt.

 

 

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