Spellbinding stories of mystic love and soulful hope . . .

Posts tagged ‘smoky mountains’

The returning . . . the Cove at Killian Knob

misc dale and kat etc 147So, my friends. I have been gone from here a while. Other things and people and places grabbed hold of me, of my attention, of my time. But it has all been for the most wonderful beautiful of reasons: I have returned to my Cove at Killian Knob. Home. I am Home. I came back almost a year to the day I drove away from my Cove–thinking I may never be able to return. But my Cove was not about to let me go. My mountains knew I’d return. The creek shouts out to me–Welcome Home, Wild Wolf Woman Kathryn.

misc dale and kat etc 223I had to pinch myself every day for the first few weeks, and then, now a little over a month since my return, I at last do not fear I will awaken from some gorgeously warm dream. It is real. It is tangible. As real as my Crow cawing outside my window–he, Big Boy, tells me all the secrets to the cove; all the things I missed while I was gone from here. Each morning, and evening, I toss over the rail to the ground below some tidbits for him to eat, whistle for him, and there he comes, sailing on stretched wing, oily black and handsome. He now will, as he used to do, sit on the branch of the Tulip Poplar and watch me as I sit on the porch drinking my coffee, or maybe later my wine–at first, he did not trust that I would be here to stay and he was shy. Now? Now he knows. Just as other critters know I am here to stay: the coon, the squirrel, the bird, the rabbit, the turkey–all of them. Even the ones who hide and watch: the bobcat, the coyote, the bear, the deer.

misc dale and kat etc 170As always before, I turn my head slightly to the left and what fills my eyes is wild beauty. I glance down at my hands as they type upon my old trusty laptop, turn my head back slightly to the left, then gaze around my writing room, my library, my study, where someone special turned it into a warm and beautiful sanctuary with which to write and read and dream. I am filling my little log house back up with my Things–yes the knickknacks and doo-dads and furry throws and rugs and lamps that golden glow the rooms, but also bone and rock and bark and stump and twig and feather. It is as if I am in some mystical movie where the character steps from one realm of noise and confusion and crowds and discombobulation into an enchanted world: she closes the door behind her and doesn’t look back, for that near-year she spent away from her Cove was only an enterlude, only a miniscule slice of a luscious pie–she ate a tiny bite of that miniscule slice of pie and it did not taste of anything at all–now, here, the rest of the pie coats her tongue, slides down her throat with a slight tang and burn, and fills her belly–she is satiated now. That is how it is. And more.

misc dale and kat etc 094I did not come alone. Who knew? Who knew what life takes from us and gives to us. Even when we do not want it. Even when we fight with claws sharpened by what we think is best for us, never knowing that we do not always know what is best for us. Sometimes people come back into your life after many many years and you think, “Why, where have you been all these years?” and they say, “I was going to ask you the same thing.” And then you both laugh at the absurdity of it all. At the luck and timing of it all. At the luscious luscious wonder of it all. And there curled beside you is a little bitty dog. All your proclamations of “Never again! Never! I cannot bear to take into my life another sweet creature and have it die. No! NO!” and the little dog curled warm beside you huffs in his sleep, and if awakened would look up at you with his wonky teeth and you would Know. You’d just Know that he knows what he has done with you and to you and for you. And what his man has done to you and with you and for you. What both of these Living Beings have pulled you kicking and screaming into what you never ever believed in; what you scoffed at; what you considered ellusive and illusive and never ever for you.

We often proclaim not to believe in the very things we most want.

Love is the greatest of things. Love is your granndaughter. Love is your son. Love is your family. Love is your friends. Love is what comes into your life when you do not want it or need it or expect it. Love sneaks up and smacks you upside your head and then laughs at the amazed fearing wonderment that makes you slack-jawed with surprise. It is not to be ignored. Who knew? Who knew?

misc dale and kat etc 066So I sit here, my good friends–those of you still here; those of you who have always been here; those of you who drop by; those of you who wonder by accident or fate if you believe in those things and I do not and I do; those of you who read everything I write and I am amazed by you–I sit here and I am humbled by everything. Everything. EVERYTHING. I am humbled and grateful and beside myself.

I am not lonely anymore.

I am not an island.

I am writing again.

I am here. I am Home. I am back to my little log house at Killian Knob in Western North Carolina Smoky Mountains.

Life is a circle that we either complete or we do not. Or we go round and round it faster and faster until we are so dizzy we do not See anymore. What do you want? How do you want to travel your circle? Ends meeting and then begin again.

(well, look below at the previous post they link to – it was when I had to leave here — ha! what a coincidence)

Monday Classroom: The Comma (sending us into comas) . . . .

. Write write write! write with abandon; edit with a keen critical eye!

. Write write write! write with abandon; edit with a keen critical eye!

Commas, those squiggly little cuties, cause more torn out hair and gnashed teeth.  I’m not the perfect Comma Momma (teeheehee), so I do invite you to use the links below to learn allllllllll about those tiny little trouble-makers–particularly The Comma Splice, for which I do not talk about here, but if I did I would, have an example right here–see what I did? I put a comma between would and have that does not belong because it breaks up the sentence when it should not: the heinous comma splice. Really, there is simply too much information about that little teeny bitty itty squiggle than I can place here in one post without tearing out my own hair. In fact, that teeny bitty itty squiggle’s size is deceiving, for it makes Big Arse Trouble for so many out there, and not only writers.

Thing is, folks, it really is not so difficult once you Pay Attention to what you are writing and how the sentence “flows” and the rhythm of your words/sentence. I’ve written those two words before: Pay Attention. Because when you do, you learn. As I write this post, I am using commas without thinking about it. If I this were my novel, I may go in and remove some of my commas, just to make sure everything sings along musically to where there are not a lot of choppy sentences that leave the reader’s brain squeezing. Ungh. Squeezed brains hurrrrt. When you Pay Attention, you begin to see how the comma interacts with your work. How the comma sets things off. How the comma groups things together and separates them. How it considers the natural pause—where you take that bit of a hitch of a breath after an introductory phrase.

Once you have a basic idea/knowledge of comma use, feel free to play around with it.

Sometimes I leave them out because I want to keep the sentence moving along without any pauses as if one is talking all at once and does not pause even to take a breath because they are in OMG OMG OMG mode *gasp for air* . . . folks, use this sparingly or else your readers’ eyes may fall out and follow someone to the door, and in fact, their eyes may not return for many a week because you simply exhausted them and they needed a long long vacation and I think I am doing it again, oh dear! *Eyes falling out of my head and traveling to the door, suitcase in hand (hands? Do eyes have hands? Well, if we’re giving them a suitcase, guess they best. Yes, I am talking about when people write “his/her eyes followed him/her” etc etc – the disembodied body parts – a post for another day).*

Consider the sentence below as an example of a pause.

Introduction: Once you have a basic idea/knowledge of comma use (a natural pause) feel free to play around it.

Now read that sentence aloud with and without the comma and decide for yourself what happens:

Once you have a basic idea/knowledge of comma use feel free to play around it—does saying this aloud without a pause make you feel rushed or a bit breathless?

Once you have a basic idea/knowledge of comma use, feel free to play around it—does the natural pause here give you a chance to hitch in a breath?

If you think, “Well I like both ways.” Fine, go ye to write it how it works for you! In fact, when I’m reading something that doesn’t have commas where I like them to be, I insert them myself. Yeah! I do! Ha! You can’t escape my Comma-ndo!

Though, again, there are times I leave out commas because I want the sentence to move along without a pause. I don’t want the sentence to be broken up or choppy. But when I catch myself pausing after that “introduction,” I add a comma. Because. “Because whyyyyy, Kat?” Because I said so, that’s why.

The comma separates incomplete sentences—another form of a “pause” – like a parentheses.

Kathryn has, and always has had, a tiny pea-head. Kathryn has (pause to say/qualify: and always will have) a tiny pea-head.

Kathryn has—that’s an incomplete sentence that is separated by “and always has had” and then another incomplete sentence “a tiny pea-head” – I paused in the middle of those two phrases to tell you something else. I used commas to pause. Bless my wittle tiny pea-headed brain.

What you don’t want to do is to stick commas everywhere willy nilly. Those commas, small as they may be, will chop up your sentence and make them read stoooopid. Do you want choppy stoooopid sentences? Of course not! I’d rather see fewer commas than a litter of them crawling around all over the page mewling and making a mess all over creation. Listen to the rhythm of your words/the language. Listen for those pauses. Those parenthetical pauses. Those introductory phrases that then lead to a little hitch of breath before going on to the next part of the sentence. That’s where the comma goes.

Commas as lists or grouper-togetherers:

I like cornbread, cookies, beans and ice cream. But I do not like this sentence—ewwww! (Intro)If you want beans in your ice-cream, (pause/hitch breath) go right ahead.

But I do like the serial—not cereal—comma. Although wouldn’t that be cute? A bowlful of punctuation-shaped cereal for grammarians/writers? Haw! *Kat considers giving up novel-writing to create a Punctuation Cereal and becoming a millionaire* Anyway, *back to reality, Kat* the serial comma makes sense in the world of grouper-togetherers.

I like cornbread, cookies, beans, and ice cream.

See how each list of food has its own place in the sentence world?

I like cornbread. I like cookies. I like beans. I like ice cream.

is not:

I like cornbread. I like cookies. I like beans and ice cream. Ewwwwww!

I can also do a grouping, thusly,

I like cornbread and beans, cookies and ice cream, and serial commas. Teehee.

Notice above how each little family of words has their own little neat home to live in. Their own little grouping. The items that go together are placed together. Those that do not go together are separated by commas.

Clear as the mud on the bottom of your boot, ain’t it? Or maybe you are beginning to understand. Maybe I am a Geeeeenius at explaining the teeny tiny wittle squiggly and suddenly the clouds are clearing and you shout EUREKA! and you name your dog after me or something. *Kat has dreamy expression thinking of puppies running around named “Kat” because that sounds contradictory and funny haw haw haw—at least to her pea-headed brain—stop judging me!*

Look folks, here’s the thing: commas are irritating little shitters and they always will be. I mean, geeeezzzz, I have a headache just trying to explain them. And even as I type these words, I know I will miss one, or I’ll place one in the wrong spot. I’ll be in a hurry and someone out there will gloat and scream how I messed up. Ungh!  I’ll go back and read this and think, “This could be better.” But isn’t that the Thang about writing? How we always should be growing and learning. How we should think: “This could be better,” and then we make it better—until it is Done, for at some point we must be Done, right?

Below are some grammar sites that talk about the comma and may be a better help to you than my pea-headed self. I invite you to visit and then study them. Pay Attention. When your AHA! moment comes, you may then begin to manipulate the language with Knowledge, and folks, that’s when the real fun begins.

This first one has whole-lotto comma madness—lawd!

Guide to Grammar & writing

Grammar Girl

(this is a repost!)


1461250_496657083765127_1387255473_nTouty Plug of the day: The Lightning Charmer
The spell was cast when they were children. That bond cannot be broken. In the deep hollows and high ridges of the ancient Appalachian Mountains, a legacy of stunning magic will change their lives forever. 

Laura is caught between the modern and the mystical, struggling to lead a normal life in New York despite a powerful psychic connection to her childhood home in North Carolina—and to the mysterious stranger who calls her name. She’s a synesthete—someone who mentally “sees” and “tastes” splashes of color connected to people, emotions, and things. She’s struggled against the distracting ability all her life; now the effects have grown stronger. She returns home to the mountains, desperate to resolve the obsessive pull of their mysteries.

But life in her mountain community is far from peaceful. An arsonist has the town on edge, and she discovers Ayron, scarred and tormented, an irresistible recluse who rarely leaves the forest. As her childhood memories of him surface, the façade of her ordinary world begins to fade. The knots she’s tied around her heart and her beliefs start unraveling. Ayron has never forgotten her or the meaning of their astonishing bond. If his kind is to survive in modern times, he and Laura must face the consequences of falling in love.

You are mine and I am yours, dear Reader: how I love you.

002What shall I do with my gift? For I am not quite sure what direction I want to take with a new novel. Unfinished work sits in my computer. For I imploded my life over a year ago–I exploded it–I ripped it asunder–I left my marriage and my life on the mountain. I pummeled myself stupid with one decision after another until I sat dazed for months. Now, now I am ready again.

But I hesitate. Which one? Or a new one? “Listen to your heart, Kathryn,” the cliched voice inside me rages.

Once, years back, I printed out my novel and held its heaviness in my hands, and as I read, I loved Virginia Kate all over again, but I wondered if there were more I could do to her: make her shorter, tighter, smaller, for I’m told readers have a short attention span now and expect things to be more dramatic, to move faster, to have more and more tension and action and –is this you, reader? Are you really like that? Where you expect things to be fed to you so fast, crammed down your throat, where you expect quick-reading works that can be gulped down like fast food, or, do you sometimes enjoy the dinner at a quiet nice restaurant, where each course is served to you gently and with full attention, each course a delicate taste, but with undertones of spice and heat and with the hint of something dramatic to come. Each course comes just a moment after you’ve finished the last one, and in that moment, you savor what you have just completed.

I am smiling at you, smiling with imagining you reading my words and how you would think this is something different, yet something quite familiar that you are reading. Something to take to the back porch, to the beach, to a rocking chair.

I have so much to tell you all, dear readers! So much! My mind won’t be still and there are times when I want to hush it up, to tell my thoughts to stop its mad rushing about! When I think I shall go insane with all the words to tell you.

How do I reach you all? I could put my novels away and concentrate on other things to show you, and then one day, when I am ready, I will come to you, and you will not forget me. I could write what isn’t in my heart to capture the market and perhaps place much needed funds in my bank. But I hesitate. For when I tried that before, it felt so wrong, so alien, so rubbery.

213I have a restless mind. I have a mind full of images — bones of dogs attached to leashes while the old man calls to me to write him, for he is lost, and he needs me to find him, and there is a boy, a dark-haired boy who parts the bushes, parts the thistles, and sees the bones, and a voice comes to him and says, “I am near, too, come find me . . . .”

And there–a group of women, all over sixty, crossing the street, and two of them help one who is weak weaker weakest, while three more are a bit ahead, chatting about anything but their youth, because they do not care about those days any longer, they have stories, so many stories to tell, and as I watch them cross the street, I hear their words, and I hear the inner words of their story and I must tell it! Words slam into me, and I take them in, bam bam bam bam bam slam.

And there is the woman, who wakes up beside her husband, and goes to the bathroom, and as she relieves herself, she stares at the stain of the night’s sex on her panties, and sighs, gets up, washes her hands, washes her faces (yes, faces), and tries not to look in the mirror, but she does, accidentally she looks into the woman in the mirror, and all the days of her life slam into her, and she pushes back her hair, and listens to the loud breathing of her husband, and suddenly, suddenly, unexpectedly, the world tilts and rearranges and she becomes the woman she was meant to be. I think about this woman, and she thinks about me – for she knows I will have to write her story and she waits, staring into that mirror, turning away from that mirror, out of the bathroom, down the hall, out the front door, down the sidewalk, her feet slapping against the cement–where is she going?! I have to find out! Words. Images. Ideas. Characters.

Whispers – is that the wind, or a character speaking to me? Last night, my legs were restless under the covers as I held a book of short stories. I opened it, and read and enjoyed and wondered about the author, what they were doing and thinking and if they knew how beautiful they are, and that at that very moment, I was reading their words and they’d never know me, never know I smiled, and then closed the book with satisfaction, turned out the light, and dreamed of my own words on the page. Deam. Dreamer. Dreamest.

008 I will never again be the same because you, dear readers, have touched me and read me and come to know me through my books. I can never go back to how I was in the days before this happened. I am yours now. I have no choice but to give you more of me. For anything less feels wrong and empty. My life wrong and empty without the words and language. I love this writing, my characters, the idea and reality of you all holding my words and loving my characters, as much as I love my arm, my leg, my tiniest of baby toes.

Stay with me. For I need you.


51dZqZYheqL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Touty plug of the day. My very first published book. Tender Graces, the first in the trilogy. Where I introduce to you my beloved Virginia Kate. It is one of my most popular books, with only Sweetie being just as popular.

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.



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!)


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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

Tag Cloud


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,847 other followers

%d bloggers like this: