Thursday, July 31, 2014


If this was August 1, some of us would be counting the fogs. Old folks say to count the fogs in August and you'd know how many snows we'd have during the winter. If this was August 1 instead of July 31, we'd have one. I remember July 31, 1967.

I was very pregnant with our second child and our VBS started that night. I could barely waddle caring a 9 lb. 3 oz. baby boy. He was born at 1:10 a.m. the next day. I remember the surge of energy you have as you go into labor. While my husband and almost three year old daughter were at VBS, I mopped the kitchen, baked a cake and went into labor. I have no idea why I remember that labor and I can't remember the other two. It's crazy, but tomorrow, my boy will be 47. Happy Birthday Larry! I love you so much! I had a less than three hour labor. Not my shortest labor. It was also the only one the doctor came in with a guitar and serenaded me during my labor.

This week has been busy. Proposals are still coming in and I'm about to stop asking the Lord to send more. Today I'll get A Most Precious Gift ready to send to the company that prints and distributes my books. The book will probably be on sale by the middle of next week on Amazon.

There's always a book waiting to be published. I want to format A Shadow of Fear to be ready to publish the last of September or the first of October. This is a children's chapter book and I love it because it tells how a little boy addressed his fears.

The next book will come out in November/December. It's a Biblical Historical. Can't wait to get started on it in the next few days. The cover isn't made yet, but my cover designer is working on it. This is a busy time for her and I hope she waits until her daughter gets settled in college. Then, she'll have more time.

It won't be long until we'll be through with this year. It's been a good year for me, but we've had some heartbreaks. That's life, isn't it? Not everything can be like we want it. It's also been a busy year.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Sometimes we look at the calendar and say, "Where did that month go?" That's what I did this morning. Where did July go? Where did the last seven months go? Before we know it, it will be Christmas and I'm not through with summer yet.

July has been a busy month. We always raise a large garden and usually in June and July we are canning and freezing. Yes, I'm old fashioned. I love my veggies either canned or frozen. My husband put out more corn than he usually does, so we have a lot of corn. We've frozen it and given it away. There's till more in the garden.

Besides the garden, we've been busy at Mantle Rock Publishing with submissions. We received ten signed contracts this month. That's more than I ever dreamed of. One is a suspense, one a children's chapter book and a series of eight Biblical historical fiction books. The Biblical books are scattered through the next two years.

On top of the submissions, we will publish a book in a few days. I first planned to publish it in September, but I'm thinking it will come out in August. A Most Precious Gift .is a historical romance and I love it. I plan to format it today and tomorrow. I can't wait to see it in print.

Book publishing is time consuming. Everyone stays out of my office when I'm working. I've already told my husband to "Get Out!" I have to concentrate on what I'm doing. As I do more, it's easier. Now that I have several books coming out, it will be much easier to remember what I'm doing.

In a few days it will be August. It's beginning to feel like fall here in Kentucky. Today is cooler than normal, but it's a welcomed change. I love fall of the year and it looks like it will be early this year. Summer has been great. So much has happened in our family this summer, so much to look forward to in the fall.

God is so good and He knows what we need. I'm so thankful for all He does for me and for my family and friends. No one could be better to me than He is.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


Last week-end I went to visit my daughter in Nashville, TN. One reason was because my granddaughter will be going off to college in a couple of weeks. Although she's going to college in Nashville, she'll be living in a dorm. I knew when I saw her later in the fall, she would have changed. It's amazing how much parents learn in the first couple of months your child is in college. We experienced it twice. The other reason was to try to find shoes.

Now, how do we connect writing and feet? It's really easy to do.
Product Details
I have a narrow foot and no department stores carry narrow shoes. After a couple of hours being told the stores wished they carried narrow shoes, but the they were never sent any, we decided to go to a "shoe store." The shoe store we chose, and I'll do a commercial for them, was Jensen's on White Bridge Road. This is an orthopedic store with very expensive shoes. Those $300 and $250 shoes felt wonderful. The first thing the clerk did was to look at my feet. He told me all my problems, then he measured my foot. I had to have been a teen since I'd had my feet measured, but it felt good to know what size I wore, and I'd been wearing shoes too short. It feels good to wear shoes that are the correct size. I could only afford one pair, but they are so comfortable. The picture is a little dress flat I ordered for $21.00, and it fits!

It's also a wonderful feeling when what we write fits us. So many times do people try to fit their writing into the wrong genre, the wrong size. Their writing hurts like my feet hurt. They are not fulfilling what they can do. They come up short and they feel cramped.

I have a friend who started out writing historical fiction. After about four books, she started writing suspense. that's her niche. She's a wonderful suspense writer and an all right historical writer. She's selling books right and left now, but she had to try on historical fiction before she found the right genre.

Our life is like that. We don't always fit in a place. We have to find our friends who encourage and support us. I thought I wanted to write, but now I know I'm meant to publish books for other people. I enjoy it so much more, except getting it together to print. I'm a nervous wreck on that day, so everyone stays far away from me. I know where I belong and the shoe fits.

If you're a writer, try other genres. Try to find the right fitting shoe. When you do, you'll have no pain, but hours of enjoyment.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Nicola Furlong is one of my favorite authors. She wrote for the Christian market years ago in a Guidepost series. Now she is trying her hand with Christian contemporary novels. I wouldn't call Heartsong a real chic-lit, but it's a good Christian contemporary.

Everyone likes to know about the authors, and I'm no exception. One reason why People Magazine and others are so popular is because they let us go inside the celebrities. Personally, I  want to know what makes someone tick. As they would say on tv, "I sat down with Nicola and we chatted about things you might be interested in." Here goes. I think you'll enjoy knowing more about her.

1) Readers love to know about writers, so tell us a little about yourself, family, dogs, cats etc.

Some say life’s a competition. I say, Yeah, maybe, but since we all cross the same finish line, why not buzz along with family, sports, blossoms, suspense and chocolate? You see, I’m the sixth of eight Furlongs. In horse-racing parlance, that drops me just round the last bend. Where the thoroughbreds break for the finish line. An exciting spot. Fits me like a lucky horseshoe. My siblings around me, my goals large and looming, and my hands on the reins. Anything can happen. In my fiction, it does. Game to find out?

2) What are some of your favorite activities?

I’m kind of a summer / winter gal, activity wise. During the sunny season, I’m on my bike wheeling round the rural roads of my seaside town or digging about the gardens, tending my favorites, like poppies, bamboo and succulents. When the days shrink, I duck inside an arena thrice weekly, streaking along a sheet of ice after a flat little disc, stick handling past a bunch of old-timers. I love scoring against the guys!

3) What made you want to be a writer?

I’ve always loved reading and stories, encouraged by both parents from an early age. Happily dove into the battered green Penguin mysteries handed down from my father, via my older siblings. After my dad died in the mid eighties, I yearned for a creative outlet and thought he would be proud if I scribbled a whodunit.

Now, after having written a number of mysteries, I’m embracing the challenge and opportunities offered by writing the Sisterhood of Shepherds, a family saga with quirky characters, inspired by members of my family.

4) If you could do anything that you are not doing now, what would it be?

A 2D mixed media artist. My university degree is in Fine Art and I’m often hankering for another chance to create life with more than words. I’m now fiddling with landscapes, crafted from a combination of ceramics, nutshells, bamboo and poppy pods, and calling them ‘growing scenes’. 

5) If you could live anyplace besides where you live now, where would it be?

Nowhere else on earth is better than southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. I wasn’t fortunate enough to be born or brought up on the isle considered by most as the Canadian Mediterranean, but now that I’m planted, nobody’s ever gonna ever dig me up.

6) Are you a morning or evening person?

Depends on what I’m about. For creativity, morning is dandy; for blowing off steam and calories, afternoons are peachy; and for indulging in chocolate fudge, nothing beats the evening. Any evening. Dare I say, every evening?

7) What do you like best about writing?

Having total control of a distinct world, of giving life to anyone you wish, and jamming them into tricky situations and watching what erupts.

8) What do you dread most about writing?

Marketing. Trying to flog your own work is a disagreeable task. Makes me feel like a slimy mix of Uriah Heep and Vincent Crummles, two of Dickens’ most unctuous characters.

9) How many times have you been known to re-write a scene?

Not that often. I usually have a plan in mind for the beginning, middle and button-end of a scene, so find extensive re-writing thorny. I will admit to some self-inflicted fine-tuning, and if forced by a prickly editor or publisher, will sigh start over.

10) Do you read your manuscript out loud?

Often, especially the dialogue. It’s shocking how dreadful poorly-written sentences sound and how grueling they are to read. When the words sing, though, you hear a heavenly choir.

11) If I met you for the first time, what would I like best about you?

This’s tough to answer. If pressed, I hope it would be for my ‘go for it’ attitude, though it’s hard not to immediately cotton on to someone who hands out chocolate fudge.

12) If you could pick a time to live, when would it be and why?

I’m blessed to live right here, right now. Though past epochs, like the early nineteenth century in Great Britain, are alluring, I couldn’t brook the shackles society adopted to hobble and diminish women.

I am free to work, compete and play alongside men and women, and though roadblocks and discrimination persist, I know I am more privileged than my female forerunners.

13) What is your favorite vacation place?

As you may already guess, Vancouver Island is truly super natural with a plethora of vacation outings within easy reach, but a smidgen of my heart will always beat on my mother’s birth place of Prince Edward Island, unfortunately located on the opposite side of Canada.

14) Do you have a bucket list? Can you tell us a few things in the bucket?

I have an ad hoc list of stuff to see and do, though I accomplished much in my youth. I backpacked round Europe and Great Britain reveling in many travel icons, like gaping at the spectacular beauty of the statue of David in Florence, unsuccessfully tracking down 221B Baker Street in London, sprinting along the beach at Biarritz, and dropping a peck on the Blarney Stone in Ireland. Other check-marked activities include growing Himalayan Blue Poppies, writing published mystery novels, and mushing with sled dogs in the Canadian Arctic.

Still lounging in the bucket are tramping through the Grand Canyon, spotting a cougar in the wild, piloting a long boat through English waterways, and playing with the Canadian Women’s Hockey team in the Olympics. Yeah, I know. Some are more reasonable than others. 

I hope you enjoyed learning about Nicola. You can purchase her book at Amazon, most book stores and Thanks Nicola for a great interview.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Covers, Covers

One of the first things a reader sees is the cover. A lot of sales depend on that cover, so covers are important. Yes, we could use stick figures, but what would that tell us about the book. A cover should tell you a little about the book, not just the title and author.

I love the cover for Jacqueline Freeman Wheelock's book, A Most Precious Gift. I know it's about the South. I can see the girl is probably a slave and works for the house behind her. The box on the bottom should tell us there's something involved with the box. I won't tell the secret, but when you read the book, you'll know. Roseanna White did the cover and she's a great cover designer.

This book will release middle to late August. This is a picture of the actual house the story is written about. I think the girl, Dinah, is beautiful. The cover is not too busy and tells a story.

This is a new cover for Callie's Mountain. I had always envisioned Callie young and pretty with long blond hair. The mountains represent the mountains where she moved to and found "her own true love." I like this cover much better than the one on the right of my page. I always thought that Callie had a smirk and I didn't like it. This shows a much kinder Callie, one I want to be friends with.

This cover was made by my daughter, Diane Turpin. She is an award winning scrapbooker and graphic artist. With her one and only daughter leaving for college, she needed something else to do. That's a joke. She has a successful Etsy shop and is very busy from now until Christmas with orders for Christmas stockings, tablecloths and a number of other things Christmasy. She is also an artist, painting in oils and acrylics.

 I cannot tell a lot of difference in the two book covers. I do feel I have a better book cover with Callie than I did before. Give me your opinion. Leave a comment. I'm interested in knowing how you feel about covers.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


There's nothing I like better than homemade ice cream, especially the good kind. By that I mean no eggs. I'm not a fan of raw eggs in ice cream. Because of my dislike of eggs, I came up with a recipe without eggs and it's delicious. But let me tell you some homemade ice cream stories.

I believe making homemade ice cream is a lost art. We got our ingredients Sunday afternoon for "Butterfinger Ice Cream." My hubby said on the way home it would have been cheaper to buy a couple of gallons than what we paid for all the stuff to go into it. That's all right, we only do it a few times a year, so why not splurge.

Years ago I found a recipe for Peach Ice Cream. It was very easy and no cooking. You stirred up peaches, milk, half and half, evaporated milk, sugar, salt and vanilla. Now what can be easier? It was very easy until my friend, Betty Craft, told me she had eaten 3 Musketeer Ice Cream and we ought to try it. We didn't "try" it with just our families, but invited the whole church to eat it with us. How stupid can you get?

Betty had no idea how they made it, so I was on my own. Instead of putting the candy through a blender, before the time of food processors, I just stuck 3 large bars in the ice cream canister. Yes, they froze and froze hard, but the chocolate made them okay. We all had a good laugh and my face was red, but not so red to retell the story. I did learn to put them through the blender.

We decided to make Butterfinger Ice Cream Sunday. Again my brain went on a trip. I broke up the candy and put it in the food processor, but I added too much milk and my processor was too full. Into the candy and milk, I added the sugar. Okay, so I'm not very smart, but I wanted it to mix up well. It did. All over my kitchen counter. I think my husband became upset with me and he drug out the hand processor that I use for smoothies. I wanted a little larger chunks than he did, but it turned out all right.

It only takes about thirty minutes for the ice cream to make. We covered it up and took it to church for our annual Ice Cream Supper. We brought home three teaspoon spoonfuls. The canister was almost licked clean. This ice cream has such a smooth texture and I love it. I'll share the recipe if you want it. Email me at kathycret at yahoo dot com.

I'll have to make another freezing. Granddaughter Josie loved it, so we'll have chicken and dumplings and Butterfinger Ice Cream. Yum-yum.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Mantle Rock Publishing received a signed contract from Dr. Patrick Johnston for his book Eva's Sacrifice. This is Patrick's first book with us and I'm excited about it. The publish date is January 2015. If you like suspense, Amish/Old Mennonite and a little medicine mixed in, you'll love this book.

September 1 brings the publication of A Most Precious Gift by Jacqueline Wheelock. I'll put a picture of the book cover and a blurb soon. This is a story about slavery at the brink of the Civil War. A historical romance with lots of thrills and suspense.

So things are moving at Mantle Rock. I'm busy writing on my novel, plus reading submissions. It looks like 2015 will be an exciting year. This year our goal was to publish four books, and when September is over we'll have met that goal. Next year the goal is for six books, but I'd like to do more. I'm also learning more about marketing and publishing. It's a fun experience.

We've been honored to have three of our grandchildren spend time with us for the last couple of weeks. It's always fun to have them around. Our garden is coming in with beans and corn. I've canned beans and will freeze corn today. That's life on our small farm.

Each day I'm so thankful for what God has done for me. So many people don't appreciate what they have. Take time each day to look at your blessings. You will be a happier person and learn something about yourself.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Today I sent my second newsletter out.If you would like to receive one, please leave a comment and I'll be glad to put you on next month's list.

Last week, Nicola Furlong's' book, Heartsong, was placed on Nook. I know everyone does not own a Kindle, so this is something Nook customers can use. I'll be putting more on Nook in the future.

Today and tomorrow Heartsong is on sale for .99 on Amazon and Good time to get a book to read on vacation. Maybe I'm the only one who reads on vacation, but it's a good relaxing book.

Last week, I also signed up to put our books with This is a place where you can buy ebooks. Heartsong is listed now and I hope to have Susannah's Hope listed there soon.

Right now I'm going through Callie's Mountain and making some corrections and a new cover. My daughter has agreed to make the cover for me and the mock-up is beautiful. I hope to get this completed by the end of next week.

The 4th of July will be here before we know it. We're having a cookout with family. Our oldest granddaughter turns 18 on the 4th. Where did the time go? She grew up much too fast. If you get the newsletter, you'll see an all grown up picture of her at her graduation.

I'll be attending Blue Ridge Mountain Novel Retreat outside of Asheville, NC in the fall. I haven't been in a while and I'm looking forward to seeing old friends and making new. It's a great time for writers to learn new things and write. This is one of my favorite conferences.

We're all busy right now, so this is short. I'll have more to come later in the week.