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The Skeletal Bird – Now Available!

This post is an unfortunate month late, but that is what happens when you try to balance work with writing and a whole other sundry of fun activities!

Book 2 of The Code Series is now available for purchase at the finest Amazon retailer near you! That includes Kindle (Huzzah!) I’m very proud of the end result. Writing is about evolution of skills, and I’m proud to say that I, at the very least, can tell that I am slightly less awful at putting sentences together. I hope those of you that enjoyed Between Fire and Pines might be intrigued enough to consider picking up a copy of The Skeletal Bird! There is less gratuitous violence because I got that out of my system, but plenty of lovely explosions and biker gangs to keep you occupied if you have a short attention span like m-

And for the weekend, the price for both Between Fire and Pines and The Skeletal Bird will remain at $1.99 for Kindle users because I am too lazy to change the price, so grab it while you can! Links to purchase are below the break

Three months after the Siege on Alcatraz that almost took her life, Natalia Artison returns to New York to confront the evil that has relentlessly pursued her since her parents’ death. With her reluctant new guardian in tow, Natalia learns that her parents legacy, one steeped in blood, is endangering both her and everyone she holds dear.

As her enemies begin to converge, Natalia struggles to manage her survivor’s guilt and find her place in the world of the Special Operations Initiative. When her guardian’s family is taken hostage, Natalia must choose between what is safe, and what is right. She will have to push her fears and insecurities to one side, and prove to all those who doubt her that she will not be broken.

Natalia Artison is no victim.

Not then. Not now.

Not ever.

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

Kobo

And once you’re done, please consider leaving a review on Goodeads! It helps other potential readers find The Code Series and, in turn, assists in my life goal of not having to wear pants to work because I work at home and at home I don’t have to wear pants.

Happy reading!

-Kathleen

Happy New Year – Introducing the Idiomatic Podcast (Coming Soon)

I haven’t met some of my closest friends in person. I’ve only spoken to one or two of them through Skype, and another handful on text message. But I love them.I love talking to them about writing and reading and the triumphs and failures of the craft. And for a while I’ve been playing with a thought…

What would it be like to share these thoughts with other people? To share our comedy and our wins and losses and our anger at Keith who never gets off his ass to write even thought he totally should and we are so disappointed in you, Keith.

What would it be like to podcast?

Tough, I think is the proper word. Hard as hell, even. It involves time, which I do have a bit of. It involves money, which I now have more of thanks to a new job. It involves knowledge of software, of which I have zero. It involves patience. And patience? I have that in abundance.

I can’t say what spawned it. Maybe being back at the chat room, talking about New Years writing goals. Amber brought it up, reminding me that I had this idea.

It exploded from there. Ideas thrown about. The purchasing of a microphone and a Mumble Server. Reading, experimenting with this and that. Downloading Audacity and wondering why I had the, ahem, audacity, to think I could do a podcast. it would be classic Kathleen. Invest time and money into something. Give it an honest go. Flounder. Fail.

Not this time. We have a plan. And hopefully, starting the second Sunday in February we will be able to share it with you. The Idiomatic Podcast. A group of rotating authors, some early in their careers, some just lifting off, some veterans, talking writing, books, tropes, and more. The first couple won’t be perfect. We’ve promised ourselves we’re only allowed one F-Bomb per episode. The dreams are big. Could we get local authors on to take part? Could we interview people? What all do we talk about? Well we have that covered enough. There isn’t enough time in the world for us to talk about everything on our minds, so hopefully my audio editing skills will magically present themselves.

Get ready, you idiomatics. We’re coming for ya’.

A Brief Existential Crisis

I am the girl with the twisted spine. The girl with the chronic pain. The girl with the five spinal surgeries to her name.

Or at least I was in the past. When your body undergoes that sort of augmentation at a young age, it becomes a very defining part of you. Ironic, because you want to be anything but what everyone else says you are. You beat your fists on the ground and declare that you are so much more than just a walking medical disaster. Notice me. See that I am something else. But people don’t, because more often than not we are limited in how much information we can take in about other people. He has brown eyes and is a fan of the Mets. She loves red shoes and Eminem. Facts obtained; initiating mental image of person. She is the girl with the wonky spine. Image Obtained.

When I started going to the Chronic Pain Centre, it was as much about learning to master my pain as it was to find a way to define myself in a way that went beyond my pain. Who was I, if not the girl with the 17 inch scar? I don’t know if I ever figured it out, but I left those group therapy meetings realizing that for all the times I have been defined by others as the smarmy, sarcastic girl with severe scoliosis, I kept them at bay by throwing my love into something else.

I am the girl who games. I am the girl who sings. I am the girl who loves to read.

It didn’t matter that there wasn’t any room in their interpretations of me to know more. Others could, and can, know me as Sergeant Scoliosis, while I continued to craft a deeply personal and vivid image of myself as something, not other than that, but something along side that. Because there is not point in denying such a monumental part of yourself. You do not exist in spite of, or because of, but you simply exist, and that is just another aspect of yourself that you must content with on the both the good and bad days.

I guess I wasn’t content with that. I knew I was more than my health issues, but they have always overwhelmed all the other bits and pieces. But then the other day something amazing happened.

I finished editing.

I started writing The Code around the same time I was diagnosed with scoliosis. It was a means to distract myself, I suppose, or just to do something because suddenly I couldn’t do a lot of things I enjoyed. I could have stopped at any point, I’m sure, but I didn’t. As I grew up, the story grew with me, and somewhere along the way I stopped being just The Girl with That Spine to The Girl with That Spine Who Writes Way Too Much. 

I loved it. I always had a notebook with me at every family occasion while my cousins and uncles pestered me about what I was writing. Explosions I would tell them, or Spies, because it seemed easier to sum it up with a single word than face the embarrassment of trying to explain how intricate my story was. It was something so very different from me, from the personality that had developed over the years. I didn’t want anyone to think poorly of me.

And two days ago I finished it.

It will never be done, not really. There are a half a dozen different things I would still change if I could, but two months ago I made up my mind that if I didn’t put a stop to it, I would never be done, never feel like I could move on to the next story, the next idea. I made a promise to myself that when I finished my giant list of edits, that would be it. It had to be it.

And I finished them.

It was crazy. In one day I went from 65 items to 0. I guess I was inspired. But here’s the problem. I feel like I’ve lost a piece of my identity all of a sudden, as if the last thirteen years I’ve spent writing, developing, crafting this one story are suddenly erased and I’m back to the Girl with that Spine, Holy Hell What is Wrong With Her?

Go to the next book, they said, keep writing. I can, I should. Now I’m sitting around for beta readers to get back to me and I feel like I’m lost. Yesterday I Lysol’d the entire condo because it hadn’t been done in weeks. I took out flip cards, made notes, tried to write, but I just wasn’t compelled to do it.

But I don’t want to go back to being That Problematic-Vertebrae Girl. I want to always be The Girl Who Wrote Too Much. I like that identity. It fits me so much better, especially these days. Maybe I just need some time off from The Code, from Natalia and her misadventures, her terrorists and bullets and agony. Or maybe it’s because somewhere in the midst of all this rewriting and editing I learned to deal with my own problems, with who I am. I no longer identify with the girl who started this project thirteen years ago. I suppose as I grow up, so much Natalia. The thing is, I know she’s a different person now, and I’m not sure which way she is heading.

Connections

I think we’re by-products of our connections. When we’re born, we exist as an empty slate, but the moment the doctor touches us, the nurse swaddles us, and our parents hold us, we begin to form. We’re impacted on a daily basis by these connections. We don’t always see them or feel them or understand them, but they exist and they tweak who we are and how we exist. That makes us a constantly shifting physical being, as our minds make sense of all around us. We are never static, and we don’t exist in a vacuum.

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The Pros and Cons of Writing on a Computer vs Writing by Hand

The third instalment in the now named Writer-Not-Author series of blog posts. Previously we addressed the pros and cons of traditional publishing versus self-publishing and the pros and cons of pantsing versus plotting. Now we shall take another step back in the creative process and address why No Pants Everyday is applicable to both categories.

There is this remarkable trend in post-secondary education where every professor seems to think it is their sole responsibility to remind the student population that statistics, research, and even the Pope have declared that it is more efficient to record information by hand instead of a computer. They fail to take into account the highly elaborate slides that they use each class and refuse to post online for the students because “it encourages you to attend class”. Fortunately, I am at least partially deaf to these recommendations. However, it does seem vital that we question whether or not the same can be applied to creative writing. Are we better authors when we write by hand? Do we get more done when we are at a computer screen, or is porn the distraction they claim it to be? Let’s break it down!

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