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When you said “never will I leave this place/ideal/way of life” . . . and then you do

I’m sitting in a closet right now typing this. Yeah, a closet. Because it feels quiet and contained and intimate. I will need this closet, I now know, very often, as I write my books, as I edit mine and other authors’ books, and maybe just when I need to hide myself in work and thought.

002For ten years I lived in the cove at Killian Knob in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. Right smack in the Smokies. One of the most beautiful places in the world. And, with some of the oldest, most ancient, mountains in the world — once as tall as those younger ones in the west but worn down by time’s winds and rains. It was quiet there, serene, and I could go weeks without seeing a soul. I was an aging Rapunzel in her tower, locked away, both ignoring and curious of the world outside of my cocoon but somehow unable to escape my self-imposed captivity. But that way of life served me well: I wrote five books and a novella, and many short stories, and many personal essays, and some really bad poetry, and took photograph after photograph of nature.

deep creek hike 044Yet, as the years went on, a restlessness was rising up, pushing against my chest, churning in my gut, filling my brain with wants and desires and needs. It was only when the pressure exploded and imploded and all kinds of plodedes that I knew I had to take action.

arlington-tx-solar-panel-installerBut in all my imaginings, I never imagined I’d be moving to Arlington, Texas. I have family here, yes. And they need me (and I them). But still. The flatlands? The people? The noise? The lights and sounds and crowds – oh dear.

10274015_10152437219614176_2351572946895967498_nConsider this: Arlington has about 400,000 people. Maggie Valley has about between 1000 and 1100 full time residents. The biggest city closest to Arlington, Dallas, has about 1.3 million, while the biggest city closest to Maggie Valley, Asheville, has about between 85,000 and 90,000 people.  Oh.Dear.Lawd.

Snake_strike_coiled_HIBut remember my post(s) below about “Never Say Never?” How it bites you on your ass? Yeah.

So here I sit in my closet — which is really my kind and supportive brother’s closet, which is on loan to me as his “resident guest” until I am on my feet and find my own place. What I took from my mountain log house easily fits into two rooms–or one and a half rooms. That includes boxes I stored  for when I do find a place of my own. I left much behind–big pieces of my heart for one, and a husband I separated from for another, and the two do not entwine.

10262044_10152427873924176_3093475397210212123_nWhen someone we love dies, a piece of our heart is carved away that leaves a hole that will never ever be filled by anyone or anything–we can try to fill it with sex or drugs or rock and roll or things or alcohol or time or distance or pets or other people or other family or — etc — but it will never ever be filled; sorry to tell you this if you are trying to fill it, because it will not. It will remain a hole for the rest of the days you walk upon the earth. And really, that’s okay, for our loved ones deserve an unfilled space that is all theirs. Place can do this, too. Place can leave a hole in your heart that won’t be filled by all those things. And this is how I feel about my cove at Killian Knob. There is a hole in my heart that will never be filled.

rainbows and lollipops and la la la tee dah

I will find happiness here. I will find Home. I will be with family who needs my help. I will meet friends. I will meet men who I will date. I will settle in with all these thousands and thousands of people here. But that hole will echo with the beauty and serenity and loneliness and isolation and ancient callings and my pet crow and my other critters and my chimes in the mountain winds and my walks in the deep woods and my creek singing and . . . all of it. That echo will follow me all the livings of my days until my livings are no longer. And as sad as that may feel, I’m glad that hole will be there, that it will never be filled.

So, here I am in my closet, while outside my world has changed and it is as if someone stepped upon an ant bed and there all these ants go scurrying hither and thither and beyond while I stand aside with my mouth gaped open.

 

A new life. A new journey. Endings. Beginnings. Never say never.

——————————————————————————————————————————————

1461250_496657083765127_1387255473_nNow, for a bit of business while I’m thinking of it: thank you to readers and friends for sending The Lightning Charmer to several Number 1 spots on the best seller list at Amazon, including No 1 in Women’s Fiction (and No 1 in fantasy and fairy tale or something like that I can’t remember, and another one I can’t recall, and number 4 on another one – I should remember these things but I do not). As well, it went to No. 30 in the overall Top 100 best-sellers. I missed all this excitement as I was on the road moving. Appreciate you all.

!cid_ii_hvb68sfn0_1460b2a0d019105b

 

Just some Smoky Mountain Eye Candy for all y’allses out there . . . .

 

 

 

 

deep creek hike 001 deep creek hike 003 deep creek hike 044 deep creek hike 059 deep creek hike 061 deep creek hike 130 deep creek hike 148
winter sunrise 007 march 2014 001 lake junaluska march 2014 004 lake junaluska march 2014 008from the air 002 005072 134 149 151after storm 2014 clearing skies over mountains 001 after storm 2014 clearing skies over mountains 014

Shoveling it (writing it)

snow storm 2014 cove walk and shovel 004

*UPDATE! : Can anyone tell me “what’s wrong with this picture” here to the left? *laughing* — Let’s make that around 10 inches on my driveway. *dumbass me* Yeah, the stick is upside down and the big numbers are not inches. Teeheehee.* There has to be a metaphor/analogy for the writing in this :D

Gawd. What a winter it has been. Ice, snow, sub-zero temps — my cove once dove to minus 8.5 degrees. This latest dumped fourteen inches on top of the driveway I’d just cleared 3 inches from. Welp, good, cause at least I didn’t have to shovel 17 inches. Huhn. Right? Riiight. And, as I wrote on Facebook (where I’ve been uploading photos of the snow and the beauty of Western North Carolina), how does a 111 pound 5’2″ woman clear 14 inches of snow from her longish driveway in less than 2 hours? One GD shovel at a time. I put my head down and did the job. I didn’t whine. I didn’t complain–no really, I did not. For what good would that have done? Just made me irritated and negative about it. I shoveled and I didn’t think about how much was left before me. I shoveled and I didn’t stop except to drink some water and stretch out the kinks. I shoveled and I didn’t think about my worries or my troubles or what lay ahead or what I would do next or if it were boring or if I’d rather be doing something else–nope, I kept my mind to he task. I shoveled and shoveled and shoveled some more. Until, at last, I had a pathway for my Boopmobile to clear out of so I can get out snow storm 2014 cove walk and shovel 028this weekend, and then, just to be sure, I shoveled a bit more–a sort of SO THERE! kind of thing.

snow storm 2014 cove walk and shovel 026I thought, at the end: Okay, Mother/Father/Grandm/f Nature, you bitch – I’m a bigger bitch. I’m a badass bitch. I’m a toughass kickass mountain woman, stubborn, too much pride at times, determined. I had a goal. I completed it. My arms were shaking afterward. My back and shoulders protested. But those things actually felt good because they felt like work; they felt like progress; they felt like I was in the real world doing real things; they felt like, actually, that Mother;/Father/Grandm/f Nature and I were at a truce. Oh, I know Nature can dish out some more if it wants to, and it could take me to my knees. It has done that to many of us–storms, and floods, and snows, and ices, and tornadoes, and hurricanes–and what do we do? We “shovel” out from under it one “shovel” at a time until we are done with the job.

Just Do It

Just Do It

Often people ask me: how did you write so much in so little time? What is your writing day like? How do you keep writing? I am pretty prolific. I have had published five novels and a novella, and published myself through Amazon some short stories, and I’m writing under two different pen names — one is C.W. Pomp, and the other is a secret. And you may be guessing already what I’m going to say after reading the above: I write one word at a time. I put my head down and get the job done. When I am working, snow storm 2014 cove walk and shovel 028I don’t think ahead or how much I have done or how much more I have left to do. I don’t worry about the future when I am working. I am a badass toughass stubborn determined novelist/writer bitch. When I am done, I may be shaking a little; I may let those worries creep in; I may falter because I don’t know how it’s all going to work out or if people will love my work; I could be taken to my knees by disappointment (and I have been!). But, then . . . I sit down and do it all over again, just as if it snows again, I will pick up that shovel and dig myself out from under what is dished out to me.

1461250_496657083765127_1387255473_nNow, I do not want to hit you good people over the head with this – my pride and my sense of “not bugging people” often have gotten in the way of me talking about my books, but, if I want to keep doing what I love, then I have to promote my books at least sometimes, and the sometimes is usually when I have news or deals. I thought The Lightning Charmer would be off its $1.99 sale, but it’s still hanging on – shhh! maybe they forgot to take it off! ha! So, if you haven’t tried my work, now is the time, or if you have and liked my other books, then give T.L.C. a try. I will love you for it – well, hell, I already love you all :D .

three set_edited-best_edited-1As well, my little short stories are on Amazon. I don’t talk about them much because they’re just little story snacks – things you can read quickly. Simple little things. I adore the artwork on the cover.

Okay, that’s enough of the car salesman pitch *haw!*

MUWAH! y’all. Pick up that shovel (sit down and write) . . . get busy.

The Lightning Charmer – so it begins . . . Aw Lawd! *Jittery Jittery Jittery* LAWD!

The Lightning Charmer coverY’all know how much I detest the “author spamming” stuff, so it’s difficult for me to go on my FB page or to come here and talk about my novels, and if you scroll down my blog posts and FB updates, you will see I rarely do that. However, it’s difficult, no it’s impossible, not to say “It’s here!” when a new book is released, or if I have other good news — like promotions or whatever.

And so, now I can say, at least for Amazon, The Lightning Charmer is here! Amazon always jumps out of the gate first, it seems. The “official” release date is November 1, but Amazon already has The Lightning Charmer up in print and e-book.

I’ve always been excited about a new release, but I find this time it hasn’t fully hit me yet. Perhaps when I receive my author copies I’ll hold one in my hands and do my usual writing a personal note to myself in it and feel it – FEEL IT – F.E.E.L. I.T.. But for now? I’m caught in a surreal weird-land of Not Yet Feeling It. I went to the Amazon page and stared at it – yup, it’s there; it’s real; it’s happening, but still – LAWD!

What is my hope for my book out with Amazon first? Well, that it will climb in the charts of course, and that it will receive good reviews of course, and that it will do well on Goodreads, as well, of course, since Amazon and Goodreads are combined (from what I understand). But will I be looking at my ranking and checking reviews? Nope! Not I, says the Kat! *haw* – Because I don’t keep up with reviews and rankings, and I believe that reviews are for the readers, not for authors to go poking her head in and looking around and commenting.

 

As well, I learned from my wise editor Deborah Smith (who is a best-selling author herself and please google her and check out her books!) never to go hunting up reviews, and stop looking at rankings. The only time that it may be advised to celebrate rankings is if someone contacts me and says, “Your book is climbing the charts and is in the top 100 and writer's blodkaclimbing!” Then I can go “Whoohooooooo!” *laughing* yeah. That happened with Tender Graces — made it to Number 1 and caused The Help to be Number 2 -sure did, but at the time I didn’t understand what was happening, so I didn’t talk about it – Duh, Kat!

So, y’all, if you want use Amazon as your book source, and you think you would like to read my latest, then I invite you to it. If you only want to say “Congrats, Kat!” and not to read my book, that’s fine, too! I never expect everyone to be interested in what I write–even friends and family! If you want to send me chocolate and vodka to help me to control my jittery, well, that’s awesome! *laughing*

Now, I’m going to try to control the jitters in my stomach–this book is different from my others and I admit so much nervousness in the hopes my “Regular Readers” who have been such wonderful “fans” of my work, will love TLC and be happy with the new direction I took.

A little more about The Lightning Charmer Here on my website.

Y’all are awesome. All of you.

Moonshine and Santy Claus . . . a timeless Appalachian tale

maggie valley, north carolina blue moon

wrong moonshine, right? – haw!

Moonshine and Santy Claus - yup, chil’ren, it’s that time of year again – time for Moonshine & Santy Claus, that timeless Appalachian tale of Santy, Canadian Reindeer, and drunkenness -

Old Moon shone over the mountains, over the valley and hollows, and over my little log house. Snow drifted willy-nilly, until a sharp wind blew flakes around in an Appalachian clog dance. And on that splendorious Christmas Eve night, I tossed and sweated in my merry old bed. That night, something wasn’t right. I sensed it. Women my age Know Things. I got up and sneaked down the hall to the living room. And there he was. And that red-suited, white-bearded, jolly son of a fat bastard was eating the chocolate-chocolate chip cookies — the ones my spouse in residence baked for his theater friends.

 
I exclamated, “Santy, what the hell?”

He stuck his finger upside his nose and twinkled his eyes, but that stuff won’t work on women who Know Things. We’ve seen men try everything under the Moon and we aren’t tricked one speck. I tapped my foot and glared. He tried the old, “Ho Ho Ho!”

“Don’t get tricky with me, Santy.”

Santy shook crumbs from his beard. “Well, Kitty Kat, most people leave out cookies for me.”

“Not these cookies, buster. Yours are over there.” I pointed to the sad-looking cookies resting on a paper plate I’d baked out of a mix. They were supposed to be reindeer-shaped, but looked like horned elephants without trunks.

Cataloochee Elk, Tobacco Barn & Caldwell houseSanty looked at me as if I were a bit Grinchy.

I grabbed the cookie tin. “Okay, come on, have another cookie. Maybe Roger won’t notice. I’ll make coffee, too.”

“I have rounds to make, you know.” But Santy sat at my table and helped himself to another cookie while I brewed the Deep Creek Blend.

pash the 'shine, *hic*

pash the ‘shine, *hic*

Santy and I chatted about commercialism, and when the coffee was ready, I also added a bit of homebrew in our cups. I sat across from him and asked the same old same, “Santy, I don’t get it. How can you go all over the world in one night? And don’t give me that pixie dust crap. I’m of an age. I Know Things. I’m not easily fooled.”

Santy held out his mug for more, and I filled it with more hooch than coffee. Well, how’d I know about the Santy Claus Handbook (of which I received a copy from Mrs. Santy the very next week — she sure was hornet-mad at me). It reads, “Warning! Never mix alcohol with Santy Claus. If accidental ingestion occurs, please administer the anecdote of two parts elves’ tears to one part syrup of ipecac and then stand back.”

We ate more cookies. We drank more white fire lightning. Santy giggled. Now folks, when a grown man, even Santy, giggles, it sounds sticky, gooey, weird. But I was all full up with how I got Santy to sit down and drink a few with me.

Santy finally answered me. “Ther’sh lotsh of Shanties. I got cou-shins.”

“Wha’ y’all mean?” I splashed us both another dollop.

“An American Shanta, an Italian Shanta (hic) a Frenchsh Shanta (hic).” (You all get the idea with the boozed-up dialect, so I will translate both mine and Santy’s slurs from here on out into regular language). Santy burped and said, “They’re my cousins, twice reproved.”

“Y’allses all cousins? You shittin’ me?”

Santy nodded, grabbed the jar, swigged right from it, held it out to me, and I did the same. I was feeling gigglied up myself by then. I moon-shined my eyes at Santy. His beard had more sweet crumbs in it, and his eyes were toddy-warm.

scrollSanty was strangely handsome in a red-suit-white-beard-I’ve-had-too-much-booze kind of way. I’d also forgotten something important: the Woman of Age Handbook reads, “Consumption of alcohol by a smart, savvy, intelligent, perceptive, all-knowing woman will render her completely idiotic, and worse, she loses all her powers gained from the ages. Plus, it rips through the retina to where even Santy looks hot.”

I asked, “Well, how you allses do it then?”

“It’s the big secret in Santa Land. But, pixie dust?” He brayed and snorted. “How bi-zarre!”

“Well, you got those reindeers flying around, don’t you? Huh?” I grabbed the jar from him and took a good-sized glub. It burned fire down my throat and I began to feel invincible. And by God, if I didn’t feel prettier, smarter, sexier, and to top it off, full of know-it-allism (but I didn’t know it was an ‘ism’ then). “Tell me, what’s that about, Scanty Pause, as if I don’t wanna know.”
Well, Santy fell out laughing. He slapped his knee and his belly really did shake like a bowl of jelly. It was flopping and a-going and looked so cute I had to pinch it, which I did. He said, “Mrs. Santy wouldn’t like that!” But I knew he wouldn’t tell her. They never do, do they? He said, “The reindeer come from Canada!” Then he rolled his eyes as if I should know what all that meant.

Time for Video/Photos No/Few Words: Jingle Dogs Reunion & Secret Places & etcAnd, golly gee, it did make sense. I nodded my head and said, “Oh yeah, Canadian Reindeer!”

He slugged back more and banged the empty jar on the table. Then he let out a big whistle. Next I know, there’s clattering and thumping and all sorts of racket, and I’ll be-damned if his eight not-so-tiny Canadian Reindeer didn’t come tromping into my living room. They knocked over things and sniffed around. Santy said, “There’s Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen.”

And I sang, “But do you re-calll? Where the hell’s the most famous Canadian Reindeeerr of allll?”

Santy just looked at me as if I was stupider than a worm. Then he snapped his fingers and the Canadian Reindeer tromped on out. Now, listen, I know those of you who are still around are thinking, “How come Roger hasn’t woken up with all this noise.” And I’ll answer by saying, “Well, hell if I know. I’m shrugging.” Anyway…

I got another jar and Santy grabbed it right out of my hands and drank it with throat-glubbing sounds to the tune of Deck the Halls. It was pretty cool. I asked, “Hon, how come you and your cousins don’t visit everywhere. Some kids don’t get presents.” I mean, there we were all comfy-cozy sweet, but there was
that problem there. It brought a dark old nasty cloud in the room that wasn’t the Canadian Reindeer’s fault . . . To read the rest, click HERE 

 

 

(Author’s note: I love to read my bio from when that story was published pre-2009- at the time I wasn’t a  Publishing Editor nor was I a published author! kewl! Thanks to VAGABONDAGE PRESS for publishing this silly but fun-to-write story! I will be mostly unplugging for much of the Christmas Holidays until after New Years – y’all have a wonderful season!)

Gallery

Photos: No words . . . Fall in the Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina Haywood County

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Friday Photos – No Words. Music Video for all y’allses

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(music goes with the “soundtrack” in my pea-head for my next novel “The Lightning Charmer” )

Friday Photos: No Words-old barn, house, church, and a Happy Go Lucky music video for all y’allses from Me’ses. . .

 

 

Now go kick some ass  . . . write your ass off, edit your ass off, – shoot, knit your ass off! Just live live live a kick-ass life! (and if you didn’t read the post below, and you don’t like cussin’ then do like I told my facebook buddies – pretend the cuss words are cute lil bunnies. Later y’all.)

Friday Photos: No Words – Mountains & Flowers: different perspective of same

Friday Photos: No Words . . .

maggie valley birds

maggie valley, north carolina

maggie valley, North Carolina nature

Maggie Valley, North Carolina - cove at Killian Knob

Maggie Valley, North Carolina - cove at Killian Knob

(more can be found on my Facebook Page – come join in on our discussions and photos and etc!)

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