Friday, April 29, 2011

Stalemate in My Story

There is a stalemate in the book I am writing. Whether to hire two carriages to take the families with the brides and grooms, or let the two couples go by stage.

In the South, mixed marriages have only recently been accepted. But in my book, I have two couples who will be marrying, and they will both be mixed couples. The book is set in 1804. In fact, at that time, it was against the law for a white person to marry a person of color. They will have to go north to marry.

The families want to be present for this occasion, but there will be too many for a stage. The parents have important jobs in the community. One is a store owner, another an apothecary, and the other a midwife. It would take them away from home for about two or three weeks. Travel was very slow at that time. About 20 miles a day would be all you could do at best. You have to consider Indians, robbers, mud, rain, snow, and stagecoach problems.

So after much consulting with Lynn Coleman, who is a genius on travel, I have decided the two couples will chaperon each other and go by stage. It will take longer, but it will leave the most important people of the community at home.

Now that it is decided for me, I can go on with the story. I appreciate all the comments Lynn made to help me through this. It is wonderful to have good writing friends.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Southern Storms

This is our second spring in Kentucky and I hope we don't have another one like this. I know God has a reason for these storms, at least the allergy count is down. Maybe that is the reason, to clean the air.

My hubby is a big gardener. He plowed the garden back in the late fall getting ready for early planting. Not one thing is planted and won't be for a while. We have nice rows of water. We might have a rice patty. I've said that several times, but it will be a late garden this year.

The rain is not too bad, but the wind is what I'm scared of. I've lived through several tornadoes and I don't want to go through another one. I can do it, it just would not be pleasant. The rain was really bad last night. The sirens went off at the fire station, which is close. My husband slept through it, I didn't.

We had an early evening service Sunday at church. We went to lunch with our son and his family. While we were sitting there, someone said, "It's starting to rain." Usually the hard rain is through in a few minutes, but this was not. It seemed the closer we came to the end of the meal, the harder it rained. Our son brought the van as close as he could get and we ran to it.

Usually with metal roofs, you don't hear much rain, but we did at church and then when we got home. When we left church, one street was closed. We had to detour, but the street beside it was full of water. We finally did get home and we stayed in the dry.

The Weather Channel says we will have more storms today and tomorrow. Thursday is supposed to be dry and sunny. If you are in these storms, stay safe. The weatherman is using "historical" and "catastrophic" to describe them.

Friday, April 22, 2011

I Love The South

Yes, I do love the South. I love the history of the South and I love living in the South. My family all lived in either East Tennessee or Southwest Virginia. I am truly a southern girl or woman.

My great-grandfather was a sheriff in Southwest Virginia. My grandmother was a storyteller. I guess that's where I get my gift from, if it is a gift. She would tell me stories about growing up in the mining towns.

Coal was the king back in the early 20th century. There were mines all up and down the hills. The mines were not safe, but the people who mined them were interesting. There were Irish, French, and Hungarian all mining in one mine. Each nationality had their own sub-community. There were probably Germans since her maiden name was Cress. On her marriage certificate it is spelled Krauss. It is so interesting to watch the way the names changed through the ages.

I'm sure the names were changed because of the census taker. Most early American's could not read or write and had no idea how to spell their name. I know that is what happened in my husband's family. There are several different spellings of his last name.

My grandmother told one story about the hangman staying the night with them. Since her father was the sheriff, the hangman stayed with him. No one knew the identity of the hangman and he came and went to the house at night. He carried a bag with the noose and the head covering for the man to be hanged.

Grandpa Cress could throw his voice. Granny said the kids were all acting up one night when the hangman was there.Grandpa threw his voice so it sounded like it was coming from the hangman's sack. It scared all of the kids and they went obediently to bed.

It was so different back then. People worked side by side, even if there were prejudices. Everyone in the family had a job to do. I'm glad Granny gave me so many good memories.

Friday, April 15, 2011

New Thoughts

My books are about the south in the late 18th century and the early 19th century. I especially like pre-Civil War.It must have been a wonderful time to live. The Colonial Period is my favorite. So much happened at that time.

The town I lived in for many, many years is the second oldest town in Tennessee. Jonesborough is first and Rogersville is second. It is a quaint little town with loads of history. There were Indian skirmishes, Civil War battles, and just plain fighting on Main Street. Jesse James even rode through and spent the night south of town.

My husband has always called me his tour guide. I will listen to anyone tell about the history of this region. I write about it and love to tell stories. My favorite is about Andrew Jackson.

Andrew Jackson was a prankster. He often stopped at Hale Springs Tavern in Rogersville to spend the night on his way to Washington from the Hermitage. One night a fancy English fellow came in and asked for a private room. The innkeeper, Joseph Rogers, told him they only had a common room where he and his attendant could sleep. That would not do, the man said. Andrew Jackson told Mr. Rogers he would prepare a private room for the guest.

Later in the day, Mr. Jackson walled up to the man and said, "Your private room awaits you." He led the man to the barn where he had prepared a stall with new hay. He bowed to the man and said, "Your private room, sir." Needless to say, the man stayed in the common room.

Now that we live in Kentucky, I'm learning a whole new history lesson. Mantle Rock is an amazing place for me. I see where hundreds of Indians spent the winter during the Trail of Tears. I am awed by the sight. Most slept in the open during that winter and many died. There are so many new things to learn and I am enjoying my history lessons all over again.

Have a nice day and enjoy the world around you.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Tomorrow's Garden

Tomorrow's Garden, by Amanda Cabot, is the best book I have read by Amanda. Each book in the Texas Dreams Trilogy has been good, but this one is wonderful I give it five stars.

This is about Harriet Kirk, a school teacher raising her five brothers and sisters. Everyone in the town of Fortune thought she was rich, but she wasn't. Her father had drunk and gambled the money away. She takes a job in Ladreville, TX. Ladreville was settled by both French and German immigrants.

Most of the characters in the other two books, Paper Roses and Scattered Petals are in this book also. The one who takes center stage is Lawrence Wood, a former Texas Ranger. He is now mayor/sheriff of this small town.

I loved the ups and downs of this book. Something would happen to make me get excited and then there would be a calm moment, like Christmas day. Then excitement would happen again. That's what keeps me interested in a book.

The research Amanda does, is phenomenal. That helps to make a story come to life. I loved the map in the front of the book. It helped to show the town of Ladreville.

Very good writing, Amanda. The first book in her next series, Wyoming Winds, will be out in the spring of 2012. I can't wait that long, Amanda.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tessa Stockton

Tessa Stockton is a new published author. Her first release was April 1. I had the honor of reading it early and it is a very exciting book. Of course, I love adventure and romance.

An American quilter does a quilt show in Argentina and meets a very mysterious, handsome Argentine man. The only problem is that he is hated by most of the people for crimes he did during the Dirty War. There are many variations of what he did to people, but she knows him now, not then.. She is willing to forgive and then things happen to her. Does she love him enough to forgive his past sins?

You'll have to read the book to see. But, in case you want to know Tessa better, here is the interview. By the way, we both love chocolate.

Tessa and I have been friends for several years. It is a great honor to interview her on the release of her first book, The Unforgivable.

KA: Tessa, tell us a little about yourself.

TS: I’m a former contemporary dancer. I served for over twenty years in the Christian performing arts, and directed the International Christian Dance Theater under the auspices of missionary organization, Global ministries. I traveled worldwide in performance and outreach endeavors. At the same time, I also contributed as a writer and editor to various Christian, as well as political organizations. Now, I enjoy crafting Christian Political Intrigue novels at home.

KA: How did you come to know about the Dirty War in Argentina?

TS: About 16-17 years ago, I was involved in human rights groups. I even choreographed a dance suite in honor of Dirty War victims. However, at the same time, when those around me angrily desired to bring war criminals to justice, God was asking me to pray for these individuals, to love them. I became conflicted, and so took a step out in order to follow the path I felt God was leading me on, that is, to bring spiritual comfort to those who battle an assortment of ethics. Because (and here’s my spanking new branding statement, Katt, which, if you remember, is something I had drawn a blank on while we worked on these in our local writers group meeting way back when) “No one is immune from redemption.” Also, I’ve always been drawn to South America, especially Argentina. This is something the Lord simply placed in my heart—I can’t explain it fully. I’m an avid reader and have perused, over the years, probably every book that has been written on the Dirty War.

KA: What is your favorite time to write?

TS: It changes. I’m at the mercy of my family—especially my 4½ year old son. If I can get it, I’ll take any time when it’s quiet. This usually means early in the morning or late at night. Although lately, I’ve been on an aggressive deadline schedule, and with everything else I’m juggling, others have mercifully stepped in so I can work through a few day(s).

KA: Are you fully dressed, p,j.’s, makeup?

TS: Sweats. Did I just admit that? Oh, and I’m not that fond of makeup in general, so unless I have a photo shoot, or a television interview or something, I don’t wear much. Ooh, did I just admit that, too? What’s happening to me, Katt?

KA: Where do you write?

TS: Usually in my office, where I can close the door to the rest of the world. I do a lot of research with what I write and I prefer to have access to my resources, books, notes, etc, which are all compiled in one place. Occasionally, I’ll take my laptop and run to a coffee shop for a change of pace, but I find noise distracting. I may get a great cup of coffee, but I don’t think I’m as productive with writing in public places. Plus, I get tripped up in people-watching.

KA: What is your favorite food?

TS: Thai food, especially curry—hands down. I also like a good gourmet hamburger, or a colorful, crisp salad. Does dark chocolate count as food? How about popcorn?
KA: What are your annoying habits?

TS: I have conversations with myself. They come out especially strong and argumentative while I vacuum. Yeah, I don’t know where I get that from. If you ask those closest to me, I’m sure they could come up with a loooong list of annoying habits.

KA: Are you a plotter or a seat-of-the-pants writer?

TS: I’m naturally a seat-of-the-pants writer, that’s how I prefer to create a story. Sit down and see where typing fingers take me. However, ever since I’ve contracted for a series I’ve had to learn how to plot, because overviews and outlines are now due and need approval before I can begin writing in the manuscripts. And the timeframe to turn them in is relatively short. This has been a challenge for me, but has helped me to grow as a writer. I believe my publisher is developing me in a professional sense, and honing my literary voice. It’s scary sometimes, but I’m thankful for it and for them!

KA: What is the worse advice you have ever been given regarding your writing?

TS: I don’t think I’ve ever been given bad advice. In fact, I think all the advice has been good, sensible, and realistic—I just may not have listened well. I started out many years ago wanting to see instant success, but have learned through a lot of disappointment that for most of us things don’t happen overnight. We develop readership one blog at a time, one post at a time. Eventually we get there. I would have enjoyed the journey to publication much more had I…well…enjoyed the journey, instead of being so consumed with getting from A to B.

KA: Are there anymore books in the future?

TS: The Unforgivable is the first book of a series, Wounds of South America. I am currently wrapping up my second installment and getting ready to turn the manuscript in to my publisher in a few weeks. While The Unforgivable is set in Argentina, the second one is set in Colombia. Each book in this series takes place in a different South American country, focusing on some of the political conflicts that have plagued the continent. They each portray a story of redemption and love in the midst of desperate circumstances.

KA: Where can the readers find you?

TS: Please come harass me at!

Thanks Tessa for finding the time to answer these questions. I know our readers will feel like they know you better. Good luck on your first publication.iew.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Tater Day

Today is Tater Day. Never lived anywhere that the good old potato was celebrated. This is supposed to be one of the longest festival in Kentucky. Apparently, it started in the 1800's when people would bring their seed potatoes to town to swap them. Most people don't know what a seed potato is now.

No one brings potatoes anymore, but they do have booths set up to sell food, crafts, and just about anything. There is usually a Tater Day Parade. Today it got rained out or maybe I should say stormed out.

We have had storms until around 1 o'clock this afternoon. The tornado watch was lifted a few minutes ago. The siren at the fire station went off twice, plus my weather radio went off about twenty times. I can't concentrate when this is happening. I'm almost like a dog. My ears hurt from all the noise.

Did I partake of Tater Day? No! I don't like crowds and I don't like the hot sun. I've been to a lot of festivals in my day and I don't go to them anymore. My home town in Tennessee has a large one. It's called Heritage Days and there used to be around 100,000 people attend. I went the first few years when it was small, but not anymore. My class reunion is scheduled around Heritage Days and I guess I won't be going to it either.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a sunny day. I'm ready for it.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Good Intentions

Yesterday I had good intentions to write on this blog. Things got in the way. I needed to write at least 1,000 words yesterday, but I only accomplished 800. This morning I wrote 400 more, so I am on course. I usually don't write on Saturday and Sunday. If I get behind, I can catch up on Saturday.

Finally, our Income Tax is with our CAP. It's good to have a son who is a CPA. I hate doing this each year and I put it off as long as I can. I say each year, next year will be different, but it isn't. I don't like to do this.

I'm still waiting to hear from an agent. It's almost three months since I sent it in. The company said if you did not hear in three months, consider it rejected. I'll probably write on the three month date and find out for sure. The agent has been nice to correspond with me before.

I finished reading a book that was released yesterday. It's The Unforgiven by Tessa Stockton. This is her first publication. I want to review it Monday and interview her. It was a very interesting book.

At least I did get this done, even if it is a day late. I am trying to get more writing done. Then, my house needs a good spring cleaning.