07.29.2015

My New Novel, My Very Best Friend

Greetings from Oregon!

My new novel, My Very Best Friend, is now on the shelves.

So what is this story about?

 

 

An old stone cottage in Scotland.

An overgrown garden. A man in a kilt.

Lingerie bike riding at midnight. Tea and crumpets.

Two best friends.

One is missing.

 

I truly hope you like it.

I will be speaking at Powell’s Books in Cedar Hills in Beaverton, Oregon on Tuesday, August 4th at 7:00, and I would love to see you.

I am wishing you a wonderful summer filled with books, chocolate, coffee, and time to daydream.

07.25.2015

I See My Sister And I In This Picture…Do You See Yourself?

In a few decades, my sister and I will probably be just like these two.

Tulips, chocolate, books and more books, cackling and laughing together under a table.

And what’s in that coffee they’re drinking? A bit of kahlua?

 

 

 

07.13.2015

Castration, Sex And Studs, and Chicken Cacciatore. My Second Newsletter

Castration, sex and studs, chicken cacciatore, and advice on writing. Those are a few of the articles that are in my newsletter.

This is my second newsletter in ten years. I’m on a roll, as you can see. If you are feeling dare devilly (Did I just make up a word? “devilly” is not a word in the dictionary, I don’t think…) and want to sign up for my next newsletter, click on the link below.

https://www.facebook.com/cathy.lamb.9/app_100265896690345

 

 

Wishing you excellent books, chocolate, and long summer days.

View this email in your browser
         
Greetings from Oregon where I continue to eat too much chocolate, drink too much coffee, and daydream as if I have nothing better to do than marvel at clouds.In the last two years I have found another hobby: Gardening. I believe I may now be addicted to hanging flower baskets. This is, indeed, an odd addiction.It is amazing what goes on in a backyard when one is determined to sit in a chair and not think. Squirrels chase each other. Hummingbirds and blue birds hang out. Frogs hop. Garden snakes try to frighten me. Geese fly overhead as if they own the place. Late at night, even though I live smack in the middle of suburbia, I even hear coyotes “singing.”

On another topic…This is my second newsletter since I sold my first book, Julia’s Chocolates, in 2005. Two newsletters in ten years. I’m on a roll.

So what’s in it?  Read an article where I talk about my childhood dog, Frisky, who regularly took off like a lightning rod and tried to eat other dogs. His punishment? Castration.

I also discuss how I love writing romance scenes in a USA Today article with this line in it, “It’s Not About The Sex, It’s About The Stud.”

There are photos of hellfire crowns, book club ladies who like their wine, and a brownie in the shape of a heart. I had to eat it. The brownie, not the hellfire crowns, just to be clear.

I have included my interviews with wonderful bestselling authors Liane Moriarty, of The Husband’s Secret; Graeme Simsion, of The Rosie Project; Mary Kubica of The Good Girl; and Pam Jenoff of The Winter Guest.

I’ve also included snippets of books that I have already written and edited twelve times. Each.

I will not tell you that in writing every single one of my books I have wanted to toss my computer and head to the wilds of Alaska where I would settle down in a cabin, by myself, and count polar bears. Which would have been more relaxing.

No, I won’t say that at all. I will pretend I am a rational and sane author who writes her books with a cup of tea nearby (I hate tea), her home completely clean (How funny!), her hair washed (takes sooo much time), her makeup on (must I?), a joyous tune in her calm heart.

Ha.

Happy day to all of you.

Of a Delusional and Daydreaming Writer

I was invited to make a “Gather Your Hellfire Crown” with a group of women in Portland recently.

The term “Gather Your Hellfire” comes from my book The First Day Of The Rest of My Life. As you can see HERE, we had a fiery good time.

KC, The Intellectual Cat
I write, which means I spend a lot of time alone with my cat. She is very patient and smart, as you can tell by her glasses.
 
New diet trick! 
If you make brownies, then cut a heart out in the middle of them, the heart will lovingly take away all of the calories.

Articles I’ve Written, Thoughts I’ve Had…

These articles and blog posts are about castration, sex and studs, chicken cacciatore, and advice on writing. Not in that order, exactly. Avoid the article on Frisky, the biting dog, if you don’t want to read about his castration.

1) It’s Not About The Sex, It’s About The Stud

2) Cooking, Cancer, and Chicken Cacciatore 

3) Frisky, Castration, and Adventures 

4) For writers… a bit of advice. I wish I could call it “wise” advice, but I can’t. Take what you want, toss the rest. 

5) A Fairy Godmother And Three Wishes

Four authors, four books, one date. July 28th.
Book giveaway.

My writing gang (We are a GOOD gang, not a SCARY gang, by the way) Pam Jenoff, Mary Kubica, Kimberly Belle, and I are teaming up. Like this page and we’ll enter you into a contest to win a book…or four, if you are incredibly lucky.

Author to Author Interviews

I beg and plead and am honored to chat with some of my favorite authors. Here are a few interviews with authors I think you might love…

Liane Moriarty, author of The Husband’s Secret

Graeme Simsion, author of The Rosie Project

Pam Jenoff, author of The Winter Guest

Mary Kubica, author of The Good Girl

These are some of the more amusing comments I’ve heard over the years at book groups:“My husband is an asshole. He’s like Slick Dick in The Last Time I Was Me.”“My husband gets irritated sometimes with how much time I spend with the kids but I say to him, ‘The kids hug me and want me to read them stories but you always want to have sex. Of course I’d rather read stories.’”

“The guys from the fire department came to take care of my husband, AGAIN, but I knew they thought he was crazy. He thought he was having another heart attack. His third that week. They didn’t say it, but I heard it: My husband is anxious about his anxiety. That’s what causes his heart to beat too fast.”

“Should we take off our tops like they did in Julia’s Chocolates?”

“Pot is now legal in Oregon. Do you think we should get a joint for the next book club meeting?”

“Did you run naked by a river, Cathy, like Jeanne in The Last Time I Was Me?”

“Oh, my gosh. We finished ANOTHER bottle of wine!”

“You know that sex therapist in your book, Cathy? How did you learn all that?”

I’m happy to visit your book group if you live in the Portland, Oregon area, or we can skype or chat on speakerphone.

Excerpt from The Last Time I Was Me. On running naked along a river. Would you do this?

Excerpt from Such A Pretty Face. On being the size of a small, depressed cow…

Excerpt from Julia’s Chocolates. On Your Hormones and You: Taking Over, Taking Cover, Taking Charge Psychic Night

Excerpt from A Different Kind of Normal. On herbs, spices, and having witches in the family

A final thought….Wishing you love, joy, peace, chocolate, and excellent books.

 

Contact me to chat
Email CathyLamb@frontier.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/cathy.lamb
Another Facebook: www.facebook.com/profile
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/bookwriter12
Twitter: @AuthorCathyLamb

My new novel, My Very Best Friend, is out July 28th. Here are a few hints about the story: Two best friends. One is a time travel romance writer living like a hermit on an island off the coast of Washington. She has no romance in her life. She gets the irony of that. The other best friend is missing. Set in Scotland. Mysterious disappearance of a priest. Man in a kilt. A special garden. A stone cottage. A grandma with the Scottish Second Sight. Crazy activities with a new group of friends including lingerie bike riding at night. Love. I hope you like it.

            

Beach Season has recently been reissued! My story,June’s Lace, is about a wedding dress designer who lives on the Oregon coast and makes bold, wild, colorful, artistic wedding gowns. June used to be an attorney, and she used to be married. She doesn’t miss either one…until a country song writer moves in next door.

Read chapters one and twohere.

            

                    
                    
                    
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07.11.2015

The Curse Of A Healthy Eating Diet

My daughter put me on a Healthy Eating Diet.  It’s a terrible curse.

This is what I had for dinner recently.  I explained to her that popcorn is healthy.  The popcorn is from corn kernels. Corn grows on a stalk.  Corn is a vegetable, and in the vegetable group, so popcorn is healthy.  

Same with the melted butter. Butter is from milk.  Milk is in the milk food group.  Also healthy.

I don’t think she follows my rationale.  I will sit down with her with chocolate (milk group, antioxidants, mood enhancer) and explain it to her.  Duh.

 

07.08.2015

Author to Author Interview: Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

Cathy Lamb: Liz and Lisa, welcome to my blog.  Let’s get crazy. Introduce yourselves then tell us about one of the craziest things you’ve ever done in your whole life.

Liz & Lisa: Hi Cathy! Thank you so much for having us. We’ve been best friends for over 25 years and have co-written two novels together, Your Perfect Life and The Status of All Things.

The craziest thing we’ve ever done? Not sure we could say that here as we have kids that can read, but a semi-crazy thing we’re willing to admit to publicly is: We both interned at The Family Feud while in college—and yes, of course, we both got a kiss from host Richard Dawson, who was famous for smooching each and every contestant!

I don’t think I’ll ask you what that kiss was like…So! Moving on, crazy ladies. (And tell me all the juicy stuff later, okay? I won’t tell a soul.)

I know that you all have been friends forever. How did you meet?

Liz & Lisa: We met in high school when Lisa walked into Liz’s freshman English class wearing red eye glasses and overalls. Let’s just say, Liz was intrigued by this girl with absolutely no fashion sense!

And from overalls and red glasses to best friends. Excellent.

Years later you decided to write a blog together and a book. Do I have the correct order? Why did you decide to jump into both?  Was it a double dare?

Ha. It wasn’t a double dare. Although Lisa may have threatened Liz at one point that they’d better start writing that book they always talked about “or else!”

We still can’t believe we’ve pulled it off without killing each other. But we just read an article about when you’re “friend married” to your bestie. And one of the signs is that you bicker about many things, but rarely fight. That’s us.

And we think that’s why we’ve made it. The reason we wanted to start a blog was to chat it up online with other people who wanted to celebrate books. Then we started writing our novels.

Glad to know that the bickering has not led to fights which can lead to body blows, women tossing other women over bars, and sword fighting. That could get messy, although it would give you all another topic to write about.

Can you give everyone a short summary of your book The Status Of All Things? And, by the way, I loved it.

Liz and Lisa: It’s about a social media obsessed woman who discovers she can literally rewrite her fate on Facebook.

After she’s jilted at her rehearsal dinner, she goes on Facebook and writes a status about something she wishes she had. Then it comes true. She starts to realize she can change the course of her life with her statuses.

The book deals with our social media obsessed culture and also focuses on fate– should you tamper with it?

I loved the magical element to it. I am a sucker for magic.  What was the spark for that bit of magic? How did it come to be a plot element?

We love books with magic in them. And we were intrigued by the idea of being able to use Facebook to make wishes. Who wouldn’t want whatever they wrote in that status box to automatically come true?

Oh, now that would be fun. Then I could eat chocolate without calories.

On your website, and in your book, you talk about how people post photos to Facebook that make life look perfect, yet none of us have perfect lives. It’s like we’re creating an illusion. 

Liz & Lisa: We are so glad you addressed this.  We very rarely post anything too personal to Facebook, like when we’re having a really lousy day, but then we realized that, we too, portray only the “good stuff.”

What made you want to address this?  Was any particular day, or time, the impetus for it?

Liz  & Lisa: We discovered that we each have what we call a “Facebook nemesis”, that person we love to hate online. Every picture they post is perfect, every status amazing. We knew these people’s lives weren’t actually as perfect as they seemed because we were also posting only our most filtered photos and only our best news. But this idea intrigued us. Why do we only put our best self out there?

I don’t put the hard stuff on facebook, usually, because it involves other people in my life. It’s a privacy issue, but it does present a certain image when only the happy pictures are posted. I had an interviewer tell me recently that, in looking at my website, it seemed I had a perfect life. I about died laughing. 

It seems like you’re both very busy. You write books, you manage and write for your website, you’re married and have kids. What guilty pleasures do you indulge in to relax?

Liz & Lisa: Omg. We both LOVE the Bachelorette. Especially this season. It’s getting quite scandalous in a good way. And Liz has recently discovered the show Flip or Flop and is now secretly wants to quit her job and start flipping houses! We’re also partial to wine and Lisa has discovered she has recently discovered she has a chocolate sorbet problem she might need to get help for.

Don’t get me started on The Bachelorette. How ridiculous is that show? Yet, I look forward to it every week. I have opinions on the whole thing…and yes, scandalous fun.

What are you working on next?

Our next novel to be published in 2016 is called THE YEAR WE TURNED FORTY.  It’s the story of three fifty year old women who get the chance to go back in time to the year they turned forty–a year they all made decisions that altered the course of their lives.

I love it. If we could ALL go back in time, just once, to fix things…

Three places you want to visit before you are 100.

Lisa: China, Japan and South America.

Liz:  Ireland, Italy and Greece

Three people you want to meet, or go back in time to meet.

Lisa: Can I say Ryan Gosling three times? And does that make me super shallow when I should be saying the name of a Pulitzer prize winning author?

Liz: I want to meet Reese Witherspoon-I’m a bit delusional, but totally think we’d be BFFS! And that couple from Flip or Flop, Tarek and Christina. They could show us how to flip houses and then we’d have them over to BBQ at our house. Oh, and Judy Blume! Because, she’s Judy Blume! Lisa recently met her and I’m so jealous!

Hello God. It’s Me, Margaret!
And thanks, ladies, for the chat.

 

A snippet of The Status Of All Things:

Chapter One

 

In less than 24 hours, I’ll be walking down the aisle.

Something borrowed, something blue? Check.

Something old, something new? Check.

The love of my life? Double check!

 

#whatcouldgowrong

 

(To everyone reading this: What could go wrong? Answer: A LOT.)

 

Friends, this is from Liz and Lisa – you have to read it.  It’s about our facebook personas…and our REAL lives.

 

Picture (im) perfect: What life looks like when we pull back the filter…

Let’s agree on something. We are all guilty of uploading a photo to Instagram or Facebook that, with just the right angle, lighting and filter makes the image look damn near perfect.  What we don’t post are the twenty pictures we took just to get the one that we then triple filtered and cropped before we uploaded it.

Understandably so, we all want others to see us in the best light (pun intended) whether we’re nestled up to our spouse looking hopelessly in love on our anniversary or our child is smiling angelically in her Sunday best or the rescue dog we adopted is greeting card cute as he pants for the camera.

And, while there’s nothing wrong with wanting to put our best self out there, the photos we share typically represent the way we want our lives to appear, not the way they actually are. So in honor of our upcoming novel, THE STATUS OF ALL THINGS, about a social media obsessed woman who gets the chance to literally re-write her fate on Facebook, we decided to post the photos that we’d typically delete faster than you can say #nofilter or #blessed.

This is our #reallife.

Click on the link for more info. http://www.lizandlisa.com/2015/05/picture-im-perfect-what-life-looks-like-when-we-pull-back-the-filter/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LizFentonandLisaSteinke

Instagram: lisaandliz

Twitter: @lizandlisa

website: http://www.lizandlisa.com/about/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

06.25.2015

The Eternity Wars by Elle Marie Bradford

Our 21 year old daredevil daughter wrote The Eternity Wars, Part One. Novella. $1.99. That cool kid self published it on Amazon Kindle. Writing under the name Elle Marie Bradford, this is what it’s about.

Good job, Rebel Dancing Daughter!!

http://www.amazon.com/Eternity-Wars-Part-1-ebook/dp/B010CHS0Z2/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1435260492&sr=8-7&keywords=The+eternity+wars

Nineteen-year-old Adriel has decided to trade her freedom for 100 years of youth.

After the cure to aging was discovered, the world spent a century warring over the right to live. The violence only ended when the Age Regime mandated that parents purchase lifespans for their children at birth. Price tags rise drastically with every additional year so that only the richest live for centuries and the poor die young.

There’s one loophole…

Born with an Expiration Date of 20 years, Adriel knows that becoming an Eternity, an elite soldier devoted to eliminating traitors of the Regime, is the only way she’ll see her twenty-first birthday.

Without a second thought, Adriel throws herself into her training as she prepares to take the cure. Stigmatized for her slum upbringing, Adriel finds herself in a constant series of fights until she befriends Dailen, an attractive and enigmatic fellow recruit who is determined to earn her trust.

But Dailen has his own agenda for becoming an Eternity, and when Adriel learns the truth she’ll have to decide whether she should continue fighting to live forever, or if she’s found a cause worth dying for.

This is the first installment in The Eternity Wars novella series.

To visit with Elle Marie Bradford email ellemariebradford@gmail.com.

06.23.2015

Beach Season, June’s Lace

Need a beach read? This is a snippet from my story, June’s Lace, from our “Beach Season” anthology. My fellow fearless writers are Holly Chamberlin, Lisa Jackson, and Rosalind Noonan.

June, a wedding dress designer in the middle of a divorce who no longer believes in marriage, is a worrier. From her blue beach cottage on the Oregon coast she writes…

 

Seven Things I’m Worried About

1. Another sneaker wave.

2. Sharks in a tidal wave that might land on my desk. What would I do?

3. My business failing because no one wants to get married anymore because they realize it is a silly thing to do, akin only to prison.

4. Not being able to resist the Greek god.

5. Never being able to divorce Grayson, the process dragging on and on until I give up because I am too broke and too much of an emotional wreck to deal with it anymore. Then Grayson gets what he wants, and I will be tied to him for life until I am an old and feeble woman collecting plastic bags and chatting with spiders.

6. The article. What if the reporter thought I had a sponge for a brain and said so?

7. Estelle. Is she lonely living alone? I think I’ll make her a lace shirt.

I played online Scrabble.  I play online Scrabble with anonymous other people across the world.  I almost always win. I did not win a single game that night, though I did spell these words:  nymph, lust, and green.

I could not get the gentle eyes of a man on a chariot out of my head to save my life.

I ate a Pop Tart and a teeny, tiny handful of buttered popcorn.

Okay, two Pop Tarts.

beachseason250

06.21.2015

Driving With Rebel Dancing Daughter And My Father

I am teaching my oldest daughter, who I have nicknamed Rebel Dancing Daughter, how to drive.

She is a bit of a rebel, and she does like dancing, so the name suits her.

I am not sure that driving suits her.

I now have minor whip lash.

My foot has darn near ground a hole into the floor of the passenger seat where the “second” brake should be.

We have driven through a stop sign. We have rolled up on a curb. We have come within an inch of demolishing our mailbox. Today we nearly hit a parked truck. We took a corner on almost two wheels. I shrieked. We flirted with driving straight into a ditch.

My hair is turning white, I know it.

When Rebel Dancing Daughter is driving she jokingly calls people walking on the sidewalk “Targets,” because she doesn’t want to hit them. She calls oncoming traffic, “The Enemy.” She calls any cars behind her “Stalkers.”

I remember when my late father taught me how to drive. I learned on a stick. It didn’t go well. We lurched, we stalled, I cried. Driving with me at that age could only be compared to a slingshot. Catapult forward, sling back. Repeat.

My father was endlessly patient. He talked in a calm voice. He was encouraging and kind. One time I was going too fast as I took a corner. I passed the island with the trees in the middle and careened up the wrong side of the road.

I got flustered and made mistakes. I was moody, temperamental, and snappy.

He responded with more patience. The man was a devout Catholic, honest as could be, and had at one time thought of becoming a priest.

He decided he wanted a wife and kids more.

He had a degree in engineering, specializing in nuclear engineering, from UCLA and an MBA, also from UCLA. He flew jets for the Navy and when his eyes went bad and he had to quit, he was devastated. But he met my mother, the love of his life, at UCLA.

He worked in information technology in management, starting when computers were as big as a room. I know the stress of working a corporate job wore on him, day after day, though he never complained. He believed that a man should provide for his family and protect, and that’s what he did.

And when it was time to teach his four teenagers to drive, some of us more wild than others, he did it.

In fact, he taught us more than how to drive a car. He taught us how to drive in life, if I can be completely sappy here.

He taught us about unending love, kindness, loyalty, and faith. He taught us to value hard work and academics.

He taught us how to treat others, especially others who had tough lives. He taught us how not to judge harshly, to speak with respect to everyone, and to never think we were an inch above anyone else, because we weren’t.

He taught us how to make homemade vanilla ice cream and buttermilk pancakes and to love camping and hiking. Into his sixties he could still run a seven and a half minute mile, so he taught us how to love speed – on foot.

My dad could always cut through the emotional tangles when I came to him for advice, which I often did. He could boil my problem down to simple answers. All of his answers circled around what was the right way to respond, the moral way.

He made it seem simple, but that’s because he came from simple goodness.

I still miss him, and I have been thinking about him a lot these past week as I teach Rebel Dancing Daughter how to drive.

It’s a frightening experience, but I hope she will look back at me, as I look back on my father, now long gone, and believe that not only did I teach her how to drive a car without hitting any “targets,” I taught her how to drive through life.

Meanwhile, I will hang onto the door handle as if my life depended on it.

06.17.2015

Author to Author Interview: Katie Rose Guest Pryal

Katie Rose Guest Pryal makes me tired.

I’ll tell you why.  She’s a novelist, lawyer,  AND journalist.

Her new book, Entanglement, which I highly recommend, is out now.

She writes textbooks.

She wrote a great book called, “Writing Isn’t Sexy.” I agree, friends. Writing isn’t sexy. It’s sweat and tears and, hopefully, no blood. Or not much of it.

Katie writes for Huffington Post, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Dame Magazine.

She has a B.A. in English. A master’s in creative writing. A law degree (Obviously. See above. But Katie is a NICE lawyer.) and a doctorate in English.  She is married and has two young boys who like to laugh and run. 

She is also a wonderful and generous person. I know this first hand as we are bosom buddies.  Well, not really “bosom” buddies, but you get the point.  Before we begin our interview, I will sit down (tired) and have some coffee while we chat…

 

Cathy Lamb: Katie, I am always so curious about authors, so I assume others are, too. Before we talk about your book, Entanglement, tell us about you and your life, your former life as an attorney, how you came to be a writer, and all the writing projects that you seem to juggle so calmly.  

You are so busy with your writing career, it makes me want to lay down and take a nap FOR you. And I would nap FOR you, as we are pals.

Katie Rose Guest Pryal: I was a writer, first, actually, before practical concerns got in the way. In college, I majored in English with an unofficial focus on creative writing, and after working for a couple of years, I went to Johns Hopkins for my master’s degree in creative writing. But then I had a moment of how-will-I-get-health-insurance fear and went to law school, and worked as a lawyer and earned a doctorate in English, too. (Those last few things happened rather quickly.)

I taught at UNC Chapel Hill for seven years before finally stepping back and writing full time. If you look up my name in Google Scholar you’ll find plenty of academic articles there, and I do believe my creative writing work made it easier to write them—the words just came easy to me. Writing textbooks, which I continue to do, is honestly a joy because they combine writing with teaching, but unlike teaching, I have the freedom to work on them on my schedule and I don’t have to grade stacks of papers.

Tell us about your book, Entanglement. Give us the guts of the book, so to (crudely) speak.

Entanglement tells the story of two friends fresh out of college: Greta, hyper-analytical and self-sufficient, and Daphne, empathic nigh to the point of extrasensory perception and effervescently beautiful. Both left behind unbearable families, and they are best friends. They move to Los Angeles together to start new lives, but quickly those lives fall apart.

I love the title Entanglement, and as I read the story, it fit more and more perfectly. People are a mess. Relationships are a mess.  Friendships are a mess. What did you find most interesting about the relationships you developed in this book?

The relationships in Entanglement really prove the truism that the harder we try to hold on to someone, the more easily we lose them. But if we let someone be the person she’s supposed to be, she’ll be loyal to the end.

I loved this line, “Everyone she’s counted on has betrayed her.”  So gripping. Did you know that betrayal would be a theme from the start? Also, there seems to be a theme of forgiveness, too, from Greta to Daphne. Can you address this? What were the other themes and why did you choose them?

At the beginning of the book, Greta sees the word in far more simple terms than she does by the end. So at the beginning, she has a hard time forgiving people who hurt her—who betray her. As she starts to understand peoples’ complexities better, forgiveness comes easier to her, because human weakness finally becomes a phenomenon that she can wrap her intellect around.

Love the depth of that explanation, Katie. I had to sit back and think about that…

Which character was your favorite and why?

I love my two main characters, Greta and Daphne, each for different reasons. Although neither one is perfect, each loves the other so completely.

Katie Rose 2

Tell us about your writing process. For example, did you write character sketches on each of your characters first, before you started to write, or did the characters develop on their own? The dialogue sounded so realistic, the people felt so authentic, it made me wonder…Did you write an outline? How many times did you edit the book?

At the beginning, I had the idea in my head of a book about two friends whose lives fall apart, set in Los Angeles. I also knew the peak point of the book—but not how it ended. In fact, the exact ending that the book has now, which I love, I didn’t figure out until very near the end of the revision process.

Regarding character sketches: I love writing those, and I live for them when I’m writing. I create a document for each character and just make lots of notes about who she is, where she’s from—literally and metaphorically—and so on. I may never use the material in the document, but I know what it is, and the material helps me ensure that the character’s motivations stay true.

Katie, I understand. My characters are living, breathing, temperamental, crying, loving, scheming, desperate, joyous, screaming, laughing, falling in love people in my head who I watch and listen to. It’s the craziest thing, isn’t it, to have full blown people in your head?

But back to you.

What is your day like?  How do you blend being a mom and being a writer? Any tips for all the moms out there who are now trying to build writing careers on how to balance time and children and career?

My day is nuts. I have two small boys, ages four and six. During the school year we’re all up at six (or earlier) to get ready for school and work—my husband owns his own company, so the buck stops with him. I now own my own company, between writing books, freelance journalism, working as a writing coach and editor, and my other income streams.

I make sure my husband is able to leave for work by seven, then I load the kids in the car by seven-fifteen and drive them to their schools. (One more year, and they’ll be at the same school. One. More. Year.)

Then, I go to meetings, write whatever I have due that day, hold Skype conferences with clients or co-authors, and more.

When it comes to being a parent and a full-time writer, I just make sure that my family knows I love them all the time and no matter what, and I also take the time I need to get my work done.

My advice for others is to figure out what organizational method works for you and then use it. Don’t hold back: use it like crazy.

I live for two pieces of software—my calendar application and my to-do list application. They keep everything organized. But calendars and to-do lists only work if you use them all the time. You have to use your method, whether it is a pen-and-paper planner or an online calendar, for it to work.

I also recommend, strongly, scheduling blocks of time for writing, and treating those blocks of time like you would any other event on your calendar—as scheduled events that can’t be rescheduled or scrapped. Those blocks of time are just as important as anything else someone might ask you to do.

That’s what I should do – schedule blocks of time to write. Often I get everything else done on my “to – do – now” list, THEN I write. I should do this the other way around. Thank you.

Any other advice for writers?

Don’t be afraid to work on multiple projects at once.

I always have more than one thing going on: some journalism pieces, a textbook (or two), and a novel. Sometimes you run out of fuel for a big project, but finishing a short piece can help you get back in the groove.

And having two types of big projects to work on, two types that are very different from one another, can really make a difference in both your productivity and your ability to stay fresh. You might only be able to work on your novel for 2-3 hours per day before losing focus. But you might be able to work on a different kind of book for another 2-3 hours in the day. Before you know it, you’re writing full time.

Love that. Very inspiring, Katie. I didn’t think of it that way, but you’re completely right. You can be done with a project for the day…and then you move to the next project.

Three places you want to visit in your lifetime.

I love to travel. Before we had kids, my husband and I traveled all the time. We’ve put our travel plans on hold while raising kids and saving money for retirement and college. Once the kids are older, though, we plan on traveling again.

The strange thing about me is, the location doesn’t matter; what matters is how the trip is planned. I like to go to one city, rather than city-hopping. I like to stay in one hotel, right in the middle of things. And I like to stay a while, at least a week. I leave my days completely unplanned. And then I just wander around, getting a feel for the city, for how people live there, doing the ordinary things that people do, trying to be as unobtrusive as possible.

If I had to pick three cities, at this point in my life they’d be Copenhagen, Berlin, and Athens. Once the kids are older and can come with me, we’ll go to Spain, because they speak fluent Spanish.

Three things you love to do.

I love to have a full day in front of me to write. I love being woken up by my kids in the morning, especially when they’re being particularly silly. I love going to dates with my husband when we end up at a place that’s completely empty except for us.

A snippet of Entanglement I loved for our readers here…you have to read that last line. So intriguing.

She blinks once to clear her vision, to refocus. She knows she probably won’t die of her head injury, although she had trouble maintaining consciousness when she first awoke twenty-four hours ago.

A concussion, the doctor said. You’re out of the dark, but this is going to hurt like hell.

She appreciated his honesty. It seemed to be in short supply in her life.

The hospital reminds Greta of her daily vigils at her dying mother’s bedside when she was in high school. She glances at the empty chair next to the bed, grateful no one sits there out of obligation or duty. Marcellus, her landlord, who came with her to the hospital, left soon after the doctors whisked her into radiology. Even Daphne and Timmy have left, sent away by Greta after she woke.

She couldn’t stand to see their guilty faces.

 

Another snippet I found intriguing…

But Daphne would never tell Sutton she grew up in a 900-square-foot manager’s cottage attached to a low-lying motel that looked like it would be swallowed by sand dunes during the next hurricane. That she grew up sharing a bedroom with her three sisters, and that the six members of her family shared one mildewy green bathroom. That their carpet was polyester shag from the late 1970s and smelled like old dog even though they’d never owned a pet.

She’d told Sutton she lived in Wilmington, in one of the new subdivisions south of Market Street…

 

Links to excellent articles Katie has written…

 

Being Counted: Reporting My Rape at a School Under Title IX Investigation.” The Toast. 16 Sept. 2014.

 

The Trouble with the ‘No-Matter-What’ Rule.” Chronicle of Higher Education Vitae. 13 Oct. 2014. (Co-Author Kelly J. Baker)

 

A Manifesto for the Freelance Academic.” Chronicle of Higher Education Vitae. 31 October 2014.

 

Letter from the Weird Mom at Kindergarten Orientation.” Huffington Post. 24 February 2015.

 

Breaking the Mad Genius Myth.” Dame Magazine. 23 April 2015.

 

Katie’s Huffington Post Articles

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/katie-rose-guest-pryal/

 

Chat with Katie here:

 

katie@katieroseguestpryal.com

web: katieroseguestpryal.com

writing: katieroseguestpryal.contently.com

twitter: twitter.com/krgpryal

news: bit.ly/pryalnews

Purchase Entanglement:

http://www.amazon.com/Entanglement-Katie-Rose-Guest-Pryal-ebook/dp/B00YMKLAY4/

 

Blog

http://katieroseguestpryal.com

 

Book Website:

http://entanglementnovel.com

 

Newsletter:

http://bit.ly/pryalnews

 

Facebook Author Page

https://www.facebook.com/katieroseguestpryal

 

Twitter

https://twitter.com/krgpryal

 

Goodreads Author Page

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5768742.Katie_Rose_Guest_Pryal

 

Entanglement Pinterest

https://www.pinterest.com/katiepryal/entanglement-novel/

 

Katie’s bio…

Katie enjoys her three professions—novelist, freelance journalist, and lawyer—for one reason: her love of the written word. Fiction or nonfiction, Katie thrives on putting thoughts to paper and sharing them with the world. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where the energy of the campus and cafes inspires her writing. Her first novel, ENTANGLEMENT was published in June 2015 by Velvet Morning Press. You can read the free prequel novella now, LOVE AND ENTROPY, and grab a free copy of Katie’s writing guide, WRITING ISN’T SEXY, by subscribing to her email list.

Katie contributes regularly to THE HUFFINGTON POST, THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION, THE TOAST, DAME MAGAZINE and other national venues. (You can view her writing here.) She earned her master’s degree in creative writing from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins, where she attended on a fellowship. Katie has published five books on writing, the most recent with Oxford University Press, and although she has impeccable grammar, she would never correct yours.

 

06.16.2015

Missing My Father, So I Made A New Flower Pot

Do you know what this is?

It heats up charcoal when you’re out camping.

With Father’s Day coming up, I started missing my dad more than usual. I haven’t camped in a long time, so I decided to turn this, well, whatever it’s called, into a flower pot for summer. Sometimes ya find new uses for old things…I thought my dad would get a kick out of it.

He loved God, my mother, his kids, his grandkids, and his friends.

 


Cathy Lamb
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