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.

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.

 

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.

The Magic of Story

by Kathryn Jane

Authors are frequently asked where their story ideas come from, and I usually shrug and say, I have no idea. They just happen somehow.

Then I heard Nora Roberts say, it’s magic.

Brilliant.

And it’s true! I have no idea where the words com from,  how they form and become a story, but here’s how they showed up for me the other night.

Unable to keep my eyes open, I went to bed super early. Yep, was dead to the world almost as soon as my head hit the pillow at 8pm. But at 11:00 I was suddenly wide awake, tossing and turning , but loathe to get up and disturb the sleeping hubby.

Instead, I spent two hours letting words race around in my head–a jumble of everything from song lyrics and poetry, to potential book titles.

Then I started to think about the characters in the next book of my Intrepid Women series. Up until that night, whenever I tried to write Broughton and Alexandra’s story, the words I put on the page were as uninspiring, lackluster, and limp as old socks.

Until a couple of hours of trying to be still, and not thrash about.

Like magic, Broughton’s words (the book’s opening line), came to me and I nearly laughed out loud. “Yes!” I shouted inside my head, then slipped into my comfy sweats and heavy sweater, pulled on woolly socks, and crept to my laptop in the living room.

I quickly opened a new word doc and typed the fabulous line. But it didn’t stop there, because the magic happened. Words poured forth while I fought off the gleeful laughter (still trying not to wake up my sleeping hubster in the next room).

When I crawled back into bed at four in the morning, my fingers were tired and my mind empty, but the book is well under way.

I can’t share the amazing  line yet, but here’s a picture to stir your imagination 🙂  … oh and when the story begins, Caleb Broughton is mountain climbing, and just about to come over this ridge…

 

 

 

 


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.

#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.

 


The Sisterhood of Suspense's

ENTER HERE

Enter the Sisterhood of Suspense’s Rafflecopter #Giveaway for your chance at some page-turning reads!

The Intrepid Women Collection (books 1-6) by Kathryn Jane (e-copy edition)

Maggie’s Revenge by Jacquie Biggar (e-copy edition)

Partners: Odyssey of The Phoenix by McKenna Sinclair (e-copy edition)

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

A Midnight Clear by Jeannie Hall (e-copy edition)

Too Many Women in the Room by Joanne Guidoccio (e-copy edition)

Truth Be Told by Marsha R. West (e-copy edition)

$10 Amazon Gift Card donated by Marsha R. West

Betrayed!

by Kathryn Jane

Betrayed:

Powerful Stories of Kick-Ass Crime Survivors

Some months ago I was asked if I would like to contribute a short story to an anthology. But not just any anthology. This one was being produced to benefit survivors of violence, and ALL the proceeds would be going to help those in need.

Seemed like a good idea for a worthy cause, so I said yes.

That’s when things got really wild because I started to see the names of the other authors participating. OMGoodness! Cream of the crop thriller writers were signing on.

Surprised is a mild word to express how I felt. But really, considering the woman at the helm was Pam Stack, of Writers on the Air, I should not have been surprised. Pam interviews amazing upper echelon writers all the time.

But pinch me, I am part of this team, and my story is one of twenty-two between the covers of this awesome project.

And speaking of covers, isn’t this one by participating author, Elle J Rossi, spectacular?

Oh, and besides the short stories, did I mention a complete novella by the amazing Allison Brennan is also included?

I hope you pick up a copy so you can enjoy a great read. Every cent of the purchase price goes to a wonderful charity that supports survivors of domestic violence.

Buy now as an eBook

Available in print within 24 hours.


Sisterhood of suspense'sBountiful HarvestGiveaway

ENTER HERE

Enter the Sisterhood of Suspense’s Rafflecopter #Giveaway for your chance at some page-turning reads!

Print Edition of Cats, Vol 1, by Kathryn Jane

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

$5.00 B&N Gift Card donated by Marian Lanouette

Season of Promises by Vicki Batman

A Midnight Clear by Jeannie Hall

$10 B&N gift card donated by S.A. Taylor

$10 Amazon gift card donated by Marsha R. West

Vermont Escape by Marsha R. West (e-copy edition)

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.

 

Don’t forget to enter our monthly giveaway!

 

happybirthDay

ENTER HERE

 

More Than I Wished For by Marian Lanouette

Unexpected Holiday Bonus by Marian Lanouette

Spirits of the Heart by Claire Gem

Partners: Odyssey of the Phoenix by McKenna Sinclair

Second Act by Marsha R. West

A Midnight Clear by Jeannie Hall

Touch Me by Kathryn Jane

Bug Stuff and Other Stories by Vicki Batman

Too Many Women in the Room by Joanne Guidoccio

Snowed by Veronica Forand

Hold ‘Em in audiobook format by Jacquie Biggar

$10 G/C by S.A. Taylor

Photographic Notecards by Sharon Wray

Disasters, 2, 3, & 4…

Wow! What’s Mother Nature so angry about? The last post I wrote on Aug. 30 was about Hurricane Harvey hitting the Gulf Coast of Texas.  Now here we are not quite two weeks later and Hurricane Irma has torn up the Caribbean and the entire state of Florida, followed close on its heels by Jose and then Katia. That doesn’t even mention the category 8 earthquake in Mexico, or the never ending horrific fires engulfing our friends in Western Canada and the US. Whew! 2017 will be in the record books for sure, but not in a good way.

Can we just go back to watching Disaster Movies instead of experiencing them?

I do realize this is hurricane season, and it’s common to have a number of them hurling themselves around, but WOW! This is bizarre and scary.

(And yesterday was September 11 and the 16th anniversary of that disaster. Here’s a link to offer support for the museum site. info@911memorial.org   You can also  listen to podcasts of people’s memories of that day., Our City, Our Story.)

Amongst the horror are all the wonderful stories of heroism and people helping others regardless of who they are, the color of their skin, or their religion. Those behaviors are the only thing that make these disasters at all bearable.

Plus, as I said on Aug. 30—a good romance book to take you away and to give you hope in a happily ever after.

So into all this mess, on Sept. 21, I’m releasing my sixth book, ACT OF BETRAYAL, Book 3 in the Second Chances Series. Right now, you can pre-order it for $1.99 before it goes live for its regular price of $4.99. It’s on three major sites, Amazon, B & N, and KOBO.  The print will be available soon thereafter. ACT OF BETRAYAL Pre-Sale

Here are direct links:

Amazon  http://amzn.to/2wuqPFc  

B & N        http://bit.ly/2wAWqnT

KOBO    http://bit.ly/2wkBfGW

The setting for this book is Dallas, but my characters are much nicer than those in the TV show named for the city. Oh, I’ve got a really bad guy, of course, and my usual generational thing going. I did not grow up in that kind of situation, but as an adult that’s the life I’ve experienced. So, family is important to me and that shows up in my stories. When I began writing, I didn’t realize I’d write about older characters or that families would play such a strong place in my stories.

Do you like stories about families or do you prefer reading a story just about the guy and the girl? Do you read or write disaster stories? Have you or your family and friends been impacted by this rash of recent  disasters? I hope you take advantage of all the opportunities to give support, and I hope and pray all your family and friends are okay.

Don’t forget our fall Giveaway.

happybirthDay

And check out my links:

Newsletter http://eepurl.com/bBcimz , marsha@marsharwest.com  http://www.marsharwest.com 

https://authormarsharwest.wordpress.com/ Blog

https://www.facebook.com/marsha.r.west @marsha.r.west

http://www.twitter.com/Marsharwest  @Marsharwest

https://www.pinterest.com/marsharwest/

https://sisterhoodofsuspense.com/blog

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.