Friday, September 24, 2010

Here is the new HD logo and soon I'll have t-shirts and sweat shirts available. I have no clue if this is something y'all would be interested in or not but I'll have to have one in every color and a few of my friends requested one. I want to test the waters with the t-shirts first and if they go over well I'm going to have denim jackets embroidered (my mom is a pro). I'll talk more about that later. Drop me a line if it's something you might like - (the t-shirts will be cute and fitted, not a basic tee)
Remember this beautiful gal?

My husband and I went to meet her. It was love at first sight and she is a major possibility. If I had my way we'd move in tomorrow, but of course Mr. T is the practical one. Wait and see what happens!
Until next time,

Monday, September 20, 2010

If you think being a writer is glamorous...

then allow me to show you the flip side of the coin.

I've had amazing book signings, sales and reviews. Here's what my publicist told me to expect as an unknown, first time author. Unless you're a political celebrity or a NY Times bestseller the average books you will sell at a booksigning event are - get this - 3. With that said, I have been selling anywhere from 16-50 per event. I've had awesome reviews on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

But THEN last Saturday rolls in .....

First of all let's back up a bit. I have kept my promise to you. Remember? The one to bring you along every step of the way from writing the story, to finding a publicist, publisher and the whole nine yards? The promise to tell you the good, the bad and the ugly?

Well Saturday was ugly. I won't tell you where the book signing was because 1) they were kind enough to have me, and 2) my bad day wasn't their fault.

The positive aspect was that 7 friends showed up and supported me and I love them dearly for it! Thank you Whitney, Jennifer and Che, Sean and Anita, Carol and Bob.

When they weren't there I sat alone. For 4 hours. No one speaks, smiles, makes eye contact or acknowledges me. Well, except for the lady that snarled at me. Does that count?
I don't want to give aspiring writers out there the notion that people are just waiting behind a velvet rope with tons of security and I'm strutting in on the red carpet to sit down and sign to thousands of cheering people.
I'm not crazy about signings to begin with. Those first few minutes are evil. People are curious but they're afraid you're going to give then a hard sell. Usually I have my assistant come with me to pass out push cards that give the synopsis of the book in one short paragraph. She gently chats with them about the book, lets them know the move rights have been sold and Discovery filmed a documentary.
But alas my trusy sidekick couldn't make it Saturday so I was on my own. (JQ I missed you!!) I couldn't wait to get outta there!
A very large lesson in humility, right? But wait! More lessons on the way.
I check my ratings today. One 4-star and nine 5-star ratings on Amazon and the reviews are awesome. Yesss! Then I click over to Barnes and Noble. Yesss!!! Two more 5-star ratings and two great reviews.
Now over to Goodreads to see those rave reviews...huh?
Two, 2-star ratings. And one bad review. And since I have vowed to be honest with you I'm even gonna share the review.
"Interesting story. Poorly written." Ouch.
(She also hated bestseller, "Eat, Pray, Love" so at least I'm in good company.)
So what do you do when your ego takes a double whammy in one short weekend?
Pout. Analyze it. Vow to never write again. Pout. Blog. Did I mention pout?
Then you pull yourself up by your boot straps and ask yourself this one burning question.
Do you love to write? Do you exist to write? Is it the first you think about in the morning and the last thing you think about at night? If you can answer 'yes' then you take out pen and paper and you write again. And again, and again, and again.
Which is what I'm preparing to do. Full time. "False Victim" is doing well enough that I'm able to leave my job behind and make writing my full time career.
So no more time for pouting. I have a new manuscript that needs to be finished by December.
Until next time....

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lord help me, I'm having an emotional affair!

And it's with this house.

I want this house.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Dear September 10th,

Here we are again for the 25th year in a row, staring each other down like mortal enemies. Maybe it's time we have that talk that's long overdue.

First of all, I don't like you - that's no secret. But this next admission just might surprise you;  You see, I have come to realize that my dislike for you isn't totally fair. You're not the only day to blame. Nope, September 9th needs to 'man up' and share some of that burden as well.

After all, September 9th you were the one that started this. Don't look at me like that - you know what you did! It was YOU we were marvelling at with the golden autumn sunshine, warm temperature and your blue cloudless sky before you sucker punched us with the news that our baby's heart had stopped beating. It was YOU that continued to happen as the world spinned on it's axis, while ours came to a screeching halt. You went on and on with your beautiful self just like everything was perfect while we waited to give birth to a little boy that would never breath your air. It was YOU that passed by so slowly, holding onto him until you could force him out into the wee hours of an innocent, unsuspecting new day. How very clever, thinking you could shrink away and be forgotten as if him coming into this world on a different day would absolve you of any wrong.

But on the other hand September 10th, it hasn't helped your case that every year - and it doesn't matter how deep of a sleep I'm in - my eyes fly open at exactly 30 minutes past midnight - the exact time that sleeping angel entered our world.

Every year the week leading up to you I beg God for something wonderful to happen on September 10th This Year. Something that we can remember for all time - that magical 'Something' that will fill that awful, empty void you left us with.

'Please Jesus - let me win the lottery.... get that promotion.... that house.... or at the very least make me thinner on this day.'

This year I decided to 'get tough' by prepping myself and repeating the following over and over.

'You need to let this go, Kath. He was only a baby - it's not like you really knew him. It's not like Cheri Allison's Nathan, or Maretta Smith's Shawn - young men that were taken in their prime - Jayson was 'just' a baby.'

Yes, but he was my baby.

So you see, Sep - I can call you Sep, can't I? Unless you know somethin' I don't, we'll be meeting here again next year - and the next, and the next...

But here's a cold hard fact - you won't win at this game. I may die tomorrow, or I may die at 105. But when I get where I'm goin' there'll be only 'happy tears' and you won't even be a memory.
And looonnggg after you're gone - don't look so surprised - you know what the Good Book says - time (that's you) will pass away - and our relationship will come to an abrupt halt. But until that happens I suppose I'll just deal with you the best way I know how. I'll go ahead and feel what I feel and gather up a years worth of strength until our next meeting. After all, it is what it is...


Monday, September 6, 2010

Hillbilly Debutante of the Month (September)

I am so excited to introduce you to the very first ever

Hillbilly Debutante of the Month.

Magical - that's the first word that came to mind when I brought my vintage, pink bicycle to a screeching halt in front of Kit Gulyas' Alexandria, Virginia home. Nestled between stereotypical WASP-y Federal style homes on a shady, tree-lined street, every evening I would ride my bike back and forth hoping to catch a glimpse of the person who called this precious cottage home.

I knew the owner had to be someone confident because they hadn't succumbed to the pressure of conforming to the cookie-cutter decor of the large and stately homes surrounding her. She was someone who paid attention to detail, but threw decorating rules out the window. Someone clever with an overactive imagination - and oh yeah. She was cool, too. I was sure of it.

I was not disappointed.

When I arrived at Kit's door on a hot, sultry August afternoon she greeted me at the door with a frosty glass of fresh lemonade. Casually elegant in a pair of faded blue jeans and worn-out cowboy boots she gave me a quick tour of the house before we sat down for her interview. (Afterward she gave me free rein to roam through the house and shoot photos.)

(Kit Gulyas)

(One word says it all)

Kit's storybook cottage is a reflection of what she calls a storybook life. The oldest of nine children in an Irish/Catholic family she was raised in New York City in a neighborhood where her maternal family was on one street, and her paternal family on the next. She describes her mother as having tons of energy and one that always saw the cup as 'overflowing.' The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

(her cowboy boots are leftover from her college days. Best friend Phoenix is never far away)

It's hard to imagine now, but when the Gulyas' bought their cottage

in 1984 it was dark, confined, and very small.

"This was two rooms," Kit says as she points to the desk behind me and then motions her arms to the other side of the room near the stone fireplace. "We removed the wall and added these heavy wooden beams to the ceiling and made it into a great room."

After painting the walls a light, airy beige she set about decorating.

"It's been heart and soul. Everything is flea market and thrift shop finds."

In the day-to-day fast-pace of the Washington, D.C. area, Kit has made a conscientious decision to live life simply and surround herself with things that mean something to her.

Among her prized possesions is her assortment of colorful, vintage camp blankets.

(more camp blankets)

She had no clue that that 'heart and soul' attitude toward decorating and her obsession with antiques would soon carve out a new lifestyle. After almost 30 years of working in non-profit, like many Americans, Kit found herself jobless.

"You know I wasn't the least bit concerned," she muses. "I'd always been able to find a job easily and I thought with my experience I'll find another job in no time."

But with the current economical down-turn, Kit found that she couldn't even get a foot in the door for an interview.

"I found that every H.R. director in the city had at least 5,000 applications to weed through and most of them were willing to do my job for next to nothing. It was impossible to compete. "

Not one to sit around and wait for opportunity and with the energy no doubt inherited from her mother, Kit wasted no time. While her husband, George was out of town she listed both spare bedrooms for rent. When George returned home two days later he was introduced to two new 'members' of the family.

So now with some of her income made up and extra time on her hands, she devoted more time to decorating.

"It's a good thing I'm not blind," George said. "Everytime I come home something has been moved."

Kit admits to often waking up in the middle of the night with an idea and will jump up to completely redecorate the room while it's still fresh in her mind.

It was during one of her midnight tirades that the idea of a new business was conceived.

"Vintage Skout" was created to serve several purposes with the most important one being giving Kit something to do to burn off her excessive energy.

"The first year after I lost my job I read books, which was fine for a while, but I was so used to being productive that it was very difficult for me to just 'settle down.'"

So she decided to turn her love for decorating and shopping for antiques into a business.

Kit serves as a personal shopper for the homeowner who is too busy or simply doesn't have a clue as to where to begin. Soon, clients will be able to host 'Vintage Skout' parties in their homes where Kit loads her latest booty up and puts it on display in the hosts home (by invitation only).

Once a month passers-by can take advantage of the loot during a tag sale on Kit's front lawn, which is how I met Kit.

Next on the agenda for Vintage Skout is making her cottage available for wedding showers, baby showers, rehearsal dinners and small parties.

(a few of the primitive dolls Kit creates - she also has a line of primitive ornaments)

This room divider which stands in front of the fireplace is decorated in son Barret's childhood artwork)

(another look at her primitives on display)

This is a view of one of the guest bedrooms (currently being rented out) from the threshold.
Make a pivotal turn and this is what you see:

It's all one room!

Master Bedroom

My favorite - I am such a sucker for a sun room.

View from the sunroom into the great room.

Nothing is left untouched by Kit's creative hands! Even the back yard fence oozes charm!
If you've been searching the world over for something specific and it's alluded you why not drop Kit a line? Chances are she has what you're looking for or she knows exactly where to find it!
Until Next Time,
P.S. If you'd like to nominate someone for November's Hillbilly Debutante of the Month send to:
(October's has already been chosen!)

The season of new beginnings

Tomorrow you'll get to meet your first ever "Hillbilly Debutante of the Month."
I've been meanin' to do this for quite some time and thought why not September? For me after Labor Day marks the season of new beginnings. New school year, new season, weather starts to change a bit, the city jumps back to life as the 'beachers' start to file back in - and I mean that in the literal sense. Unless you've seen Highway 95 backed up from Virginia Beach to Washington, DC you don't really know the term 'file' - as in single. Bumper-to-Bumper. Not moving. For 120 miles. Uh-uh.
Anyway, I'm getting off track - why do I always do that?
Hillbilly Debutante of the Month?
Who is she?
HDOM is sassy, independent, living life as she chooses, not the way others think she should. She's a high school girl, college girl, single independent woman or married mother of 12. Maybe she is similar to the 90 year old woman in my neighborhood that rides her bicycle every day in her wellies (love it!).
Hillbilly Debutante of the Month can be the woman who gets in the car and drives to the office or perhaps her home is her career. She is any and every woman who stands out - is unique and lives life on her terms. The one thing Hillbilly Debutante of the Month isn't? Boring.
And here's the best part - YOU will get to nominate who you'd like to see wear the HDOM 'crown' in the future! That's right - starting now send in your nominations for the upcoming months. Just e-mail me a short paragraph of your nomination, along with some photos attached and I'll forward them on to the committee! (It would be great if that person has a blog, but it's not necessary).
You're in for a real treat when you meet "September."
Oh, and did I mention there will be a little surprise gift for each Hillbilly Debutante of the Month?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Baubles and Sequins, Country roads and fishin'

So the above necklace, I know, is probably overkill with the sequin collar, but guess what? I don't care. It was a gift from Ruthann from SugarPie Farmhouse and it's now my favorite piece of jewelry. Besides, it fits my personality. Baubles and sequins. Together. Over the top and too much. Just like me.

Oh, I've tried to change, trust me. I've finally learned to embrace it and keep myself in check at appropriate times. For example, I would never wear baubles and sequins to a funeral. My cowboy boots, yes...but never baubles and sequins. To my own, heck yeah! - I expect to be all dolled up....but that's another story.

While I was travelling the Midwest sweating over a hot pen signing books, my family was takin' it easy...
But just between you and me it wasn't all work and no play.
A huge part of the simple life is taking the road less travelled and I do that every chance I get. On the way to my Kansas City appearance I decided to drive down an old dirt road I used to live on when I was a little girl.

The weather brought a slow, gentle rain. Everything was so peaceful, so quiet. Absolutely nothing had changed in the past 40 years. No buildings, no sprawl, no paved roads. Just solitude. And corn. Lots of corn.
If it was a perfect world this next scene would always be in my front windshield - not in the rearview window.

Oh well. God didn't promise 'perfect', did He? Even though I'm 'stuck' in the city, I still think my life is as close to 'perfect' as it could possibly be. Hallelujah!
Until Next Time,

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Book Tour pictures - Part one

Missouri Book Tour

Barnes and Noble on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City - a great turnout for a Tuesday night.

Me and the fantabulous crew at ABC Books in Springfield, Missouri. First of all I gotta tell you that store managers and their staff are always amazing. I have never (knock on wood) had a bad experience, but Valerie Earheardt and her employees are just soooo, genuinely nice. There is just something to be said for a locally-owned business. They're different. I compare it to being in someones home and they've invited all these people to come and browse through their books.

If you live in the Ozarks or you're passing through - it is a popular vacation destination, after all - why don't you pop in to ABC at 2109 North Glenstone, Springfield, Missouri and pick out a book to read poolside. (Ahem! May I suggest "False Victim" - I hear it's an intense, quick read and I know the author would be pleased if you bought it).

(signing a copy of False Victim for Mike and Carla Green)

The BEST part of this trip? Meeting facebook friends and bloggers I'd never met before. Mike Green (above) is an 'accidental' facebook friend that I decided to 'keep.' (me on the phone with Mom: "Did the Mike Green that I graduated with leave Patty for some woman named Carla that has a bunch o' kids that look just like him?")

And when this beautiful woman walked through the door - oh my! - you'd have thought Elvis had just entered the building! It's RuthAnn Winans aka "Aunt Ruthie" from the wonderful, wildly popular
"SugarPie Farmhouse".
It was a dream of mine to meet here and there she was - at my book signing.

I made a such a fuss that I think it embarrassed her (she's very gracious and down to earth) but I couldn't help it! And with every book I signed I added '' so everyone else could see why I am so star-struck.

Basking in the warm beauty of a sunlit Kansas City sky!

At Borders in Springfield, Missouri with my very dear friend Susan Kennemer (we were both in radio together too long ago)

and so were we!
I co-hosted the morning show with my former boss Rod Kittleman at the Christian Station KADI, Rock 99. That 2 and 1/2 hours was just like old times, like we'd never stopped working together. Rod is still someone I call when I'm making changes in my life and I want to know what he thinks. Love, love, love him! Andthe best part about Rod? Radio is an uber-competitive, back-stabbing, claw your way to the top type of business and not once did I see him act anything less than the Christian gentleman he is.

Before you head up and move 'em out please check out my new author website:

Until Next time,