10.01.2014

To Say That I Am Fine Is Ridiculous

“To say that I am fine is ridiculous. I am not. I trigger back to my past in all sorts of ways and probably will all my life. Dark forests, fog, empty cupboards, disorganization, ugly rooms, chaos, dog kennels, ropes, even loneliness and aloneness will set me off.

New What I Remember MostI still have to control Alice, My Anxiety. I will probably always need my black charcoal pencil and my sketch pad to push the past back.

But I like me again. I like making collages and paintings. I like using whipping cream in my coffee, and I like whipping it up and using it on Kade.

I know who I am.

I’ve had tragedy in my life, and miracles. But isn’t that life for all of us?

Some darkness, some rainbows?

Some fear, some courage?

Some love, some loss?

Yes to all of it.

It is life.

I am Grenadine Scotch Wild.”

From my book, “What I Remember Most.”

09.29.2014

On Puzzle Pieces That Run Off With New Lovers

A few weeks ago I went on a hike with Innocent Husband and Youngest Rebel Daughter.

We hiked into the gorge here in Oregon to a place called Devil’s Punch Bowl. It is unclear to me whether or not the Devil has ever drunk from the punch bowl, but I did not dwell on the Devil’s drinking habits.

It was stunning, like walking into a postcard, only we could feel the crisp wind, smell the pine trees, and touch the craggy mountains.

 

On the hike, the trail became skinny enough, and high enough up, with an intimidating cliff – like drop, that we had to hold onto a steel rope attached to the side of the mountain.

I am no fan of heights. I don’t like clinging to a cliff. But one does not want to be a wimp, especially in front of a daughter who is young and fearless and willing to kick some ass if she needs to. So I did it, I clung, and did not look down, heck no, I did not.

Devil’s Punchbowl actually does look like a huge blue – green punch bowl. The gorge around it is shaded by mountains of trees that roll off into the blue horizon forever. It’s a place of magical nature and a ton of young people jumping off cliffs and diving into their own “punch.”

Janelle Rachel Travis baby photos 2014 041(I did not jump off a cliff, but I think I should get credit for watching.)

Youngest Rebel Daughter read her kindle when we had lunch and Innocent Husband and I sat down and pretended not to look wiped out as we rested near the treetops, the emerald gorge spread out for miles below.

But I was stressed, up there above the crashing waterfall.

It had been quite a summer. All the little sweethearts were home, which I love. It was always busy and noisy with people coming and going and a mind numbing load of housework.

I was trying to write another book and meet word count and edit goals.

What I Remember Most, my eighth novel, had just been released. There was lots of marketing/facebooking/social media types of things that I needed to do.

I am not so good at all these social marketing types of things. If I wasn’t a writer, I don’t think I’d even be on facebook. I like to be in my head. I can be social, but I have a very strong loner streak and social media doesn’t like loner streaks.

My mind was a zinging mess when we left for the cliff – hugging hike. I was not calm. I was not settled. In addition, Oldest Warrior Daughter and Youngest Rebel Daughter will be taking off for shores far, far away soon, and so I am a bit nervous, and missing them already, even though their sweet smiles are right in front of me.

But up in the treetops on Sunday, I eventually started to simmer down.  I thought, I hoped, I would have some revelation about the book I am writing now, the one that is a tangle and a maze, the one that is confounding my poor brain. This novel is, as usual at this point, a literary puzzle and there are puzzle pieces that are missing, ripped, and a few that have run off with new lovers and I can’t find them at all.

Janelle Rachel Travis baby photos 2014 043I had no revelation about my new book on our hike. None.

But what I did have a revelation about was nature, and how much I love it, how much I love being in it, and how it soothes my raggedy soul.

So this is what I know today:  Daydreaming is relaxing. Walking takes the stress jiggles away. And nature puts you right back where you need to be.

Nature is a bridge to peace, even if you are hiking towards the Devil’s Punchbowl on a scary cliff.

Wishing you many quiet, serene, exciting trips into nature this year.

And books, of course. One can not do life without books.

 

Janelle Rachel Travis baby photos 2014 051

 

09.24.2014

Author To Author Interview: Brandi Megan Granett

Brandi_proof_12I am filled with a passionate desire to share one key idea with the world.  This idea is that thoughts are things.  The very stuff we fill our minds with spills out and fills our worlds.

By learning what we are thinking and where those thoughts come from, we can change our experiences within the world.- Brandi Megan Granett

Cathy Lamb: Hello Brandi, thanks for joining me here for an Author to Author interview. I have many questions for you, but tell us first about your latest book, “Cars And Other Things That Get Around.”  What is it about? What was the inspiration?

Brandi Megan Granett: “Cars and Other Things That Get Around” is a collection of my early short fictions.  My students inspired me to put this work together.  I wanted them to see what I published before literary journals went digital.  Also, I wanted to experience the tools of self-publishing to share this knowledge with my writing students.

You have written two other novels, too, My Intended and Floaters.  Not to cut you off at the literary pass, so to speak, but give us a sentence each on what those books are about, too.

cars“My Intended” is about a woman who married her fiancée posthumously. It is really a story about how the people in her life allowed her to grieve and reconnect to the world.  “Floaters” is the story of a newly married woman questioning her life’s decisions.

I am always curious about people. Maybe that’s why I became a writer. But I’m curious about you! Tell us about your life. For example, where do you live, what are your interests and hobbies, what did you do last weekend?

I live in Stockton, NJ, a town on the Delaware River.  My biggest passion next to writing is archery.  I recently switched to compound archery, so I spent my weekend learning all about my new equipment!

I am very impressed with your archery skills. If you are ever upset with me, I will remind myself to run away from you in a zig zag sort of pattern. Not that you would actually point a bow and arrow at me, of course.

 

floatersWhat just drives you crazy about writing? What’s the hard part of it all? 

What drives me crazy about writing—that is a great question!  I have to say that creating chapters makes me nuts.  I usually write the novel straight through and then need to go back and figure out where the chapter breaks belong.  I love sharing my writing process with my husband; he reads and comments on all of my drafts.  The characters in my books become our family friends.

All my characters live in my head. Some I like. Some I don’t. Some are friends of mine, some aren’t. But back to you. 

You have several different jobs. You are so busy I feel like laying down and taking a nap FOR you.  Can you tell us about what you do?

I like to keep several irons in the fire.  I mainly work as an online writing professor for several colleges.  I also have a private writing mentor practice; I want to help authors that are either new to writing or removed from a community of writers to hone their craft and reach their writing goals.

I understand you have a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University in Wales, an MFA in Fiction from Sarah Lawrence College, and an M.Ed in Adult and Distance Education from Penn State. (That’s a lot of degrees!) What degree did you most enjoy receiving and why? 

Not to disrespect my creative writing degrees, which I enjoyed immensely, my M.Ed challenged my boundaries; I had to pass Statistics!  And it taught me how to be a better teacher, which I value every day.  From my PhD, I learned the value of being ruthless with revision.  In order to graduate, I needed to revise some elements of the non-fiction elements of thesis.  In a very short amount of time, I learned how to kill my darlings with lightning speed.  I was shocked to find that this translated to my fiction writing.

intendedOh, I love that line, “I learned how to kill my darlings with lightning speed.” 

What are three rules you live by?

This is probably my favorite question.

Thoughts are things—what we dwell on shapes our reality.

The universe sides with love—if you follow your heart’s passion, the universe will work together with you.

The moment of power is now—in any given moment, you can choose differently.  You can change your life.

Fun quotes written by Brandi:

Day dream believer but never a homecoming queen.  Writing mentor, novelist, and archer. (In describing herself) 

 

Perhaps the biggest lesson of all from my archery experience is the power of standing up straight. In archery, if you don’t keep the same physical stance from shot to shot, you ruin your chances of shooting arrows that hit the mark. If you hunch over, you wind up pulling with your fingers and plucking the string. You may even strike the string against your arm, which can, even with an arm guard, hurt enough to make you curse like a truck driver. As in all things in life, if you stand up straight and keep your balance (however you decide to do it — because like life, a good archer’s form has some uniqueness tailored just to them) you will hit your mark more often than not.

 

 Shoot like You Aren’t Afraid to Miss

 

Connect with Brandi Here:

https://www.facebook.com/BrandiMeganGranett

Twitter: https://twitter.com/brandigranett

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brandi-megan-mantha/

brandi.granett@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

09.18.2014

An Excerpt from “What I Remember Most” #2

Grenadine Scotch Wild: That night I thought of my interview with Tildy. The, “Tell me about yourself,” question always throws me. What should I say about myself? What should I not say about myself?

I’m a crack shot and can hit damn near anything.

New What I Remember Most I’m a collage artist and painter.

I used to have a little green house. I sold it. That was a huge mistake.

I can smash beer cans on my forehead.

I fight dirty. Someone comes at me, and my instinctive reaction is to smash and pulverize. It has gotten me into trouble.

I love to decorate. Things must be pretty around me or I feel like I’m losing it.

I have a temper, my anger perpetually on low seethe, and I have struggled with self esteem issues and flashbacks for as long as I can remember.

I can wear four inch heels and designer clothes like wealthy women, make social chit chat, and pretend I’m exactly like them. I am not like them at all.

Some of the kindest people I have ever met were missing a lot of their teeth and loved their guns and pickups.

Some of the worst, most narcissistic, uncaring people I’ve met drove Mercedes and belonged to country clubs.

I survived my childhood. Now I’m trying to reinvent myself to survive once again.

Who am I?

Where did I come from?

Those questions I can answer easily: I don’t know.

 

09.15.2014

Talking To Myself While Shopping

POWELL'SYesterday I went shopping.

I hate shopping. The crowds, the lights, the noise, and all these pant sizes that I am SURE have shrunk in the last year.

I am not into fashion and I can’t find anything unless my daughters pick it out and tell me what to wear.

Unfortunately, I needed to get something to wear to my presentation at Powell’s Books that night and Rebel Oldest Daughter and Rebel Youngest Daughter are away at school.

Way to wait until the last minute, right?

I dragged a bunch of dresses into the dressing room at Macy’s. It was like entering fashion hell for me, complete with a hot flash and bad lighting that emphasized cellulite and a grumpy face.

I groaned and whined and moaned.

I didn’t realize I was talking OUT LOUD to myself in the dressing room until I heard someone thunk the wall between us. I’m sure she thought I was an utter loon.

I should have been embarrassed at talking to myself at such loud volume, but I am too old for embarrassment anymore.

These are the things I said before The Thunk.

1) That dress looks good on your boobs but not on your butt.

2) You need Spanx.

3) Where do we buy Spanx?

4) Would Spanx give me a hot flash? I don’t want to have a hot flash at Powell’s.

5) Your butt is too big.

6) How did your butt get that big?

7) Please stop eating chocolate.

8) You look like you’re sort of pregnant.

9) Why are you even trying on this dress? What are you, Pollyanna?

10) That is way too expensive. We’re not buying that!

11) Take that off. Just take it off.

I know. Pathetic.

I didn’t find anything to wear for Powell’s.

what I remember Most 350I called my friend, Karen Calcagno, who I was supposed to meet for dinner before the presentation. I canceled because I was going to have to raid my closet for something decent to wear. Karen and I have been friends for twenty years. We have seen life together. Lots of it beautiful, some of it harsh and sad, and it has knocked us on our butts.

But we laugh  a lot and it has been a staple of our friendship. Karen is also very wise. She told me after I had blubbered on and on, “Cathy, go home. Put on your favorite pair of jeans. Put on a t – shirt. Get that beautiful lace shirt you have and wear that. Be comfortable.”

And that’s what I did.

I was trying to find something fancy to wear to Powell’s, but I don’t do fancy. I do jeans. So I wore my favorite jeans and the lace shirt to Powell’s, exactly as Calm Zen Karen told me to do.

I spoke about my latest book “What I Remember Most.” Lots of people came. They were all friendly and fun. My journalism teacher from high school was there, as usual.

I don’t think they cared what I wore, but I felt better in my old jeans than a dress, that is for sure. I would have felt like I was suffocating and hot flashing in Spanx.

Once again I learned my lesson: Be you. You’re best being you.

 

(If you were next to me in the dressing room at Macy’s and you heard me talking to myself, don’t be alarmed! I talk to myself, and my characters, all day long. I am safe to be around, now don’t you worry.)

08.28.2014

USA Today on What I Remember Most

Thanks, USA Today and Joyce Lamb!  This is pretty darn exciting for me! I shall now go out and celebrate with a piece of chocolate cake. It is as good of an excuse as any!

— Cathy

We’re talking ‘The Good Lord Bird’ and ‘what ifs?’

Today’s featured authors: Cathy Lamb (no relation to Joyce that we know of!), author of What I Remember Most, and Lecia Cornwall, author ofWhat a Lady Most Desires. They’re talking keeper books and what helped inspire their writing.

Cathy Lamb, author of What I Remember Most

Three books on my keeper shelves:

Now that is a mind-boggling question. Limit my favorites to three? Is that even fair, Joyce?

All right. If I must. But I’ll break the rules and switch it a bit. These are a few of my favorites from 2014.

• The Good Lord Bird by James McBride. National Book Award winner and well deserved. One of the best voices ever.

• Whistling in the Dark by Lesley Kagen. Reading this book put me behind on my own writing schedule because I could not put it down.

• City of Thieves by David Benioff. World War II. The siege of Leningrad and the brutality of the Nazis. Finely drawn characters, gripping plot.

My new novel, What I Remember Most, is about a woman named Grenadine Scotch Wild. Yes, she’s named after the syrup that goes into Shirley Temples and hard alcohol. As soon as I had that unique name in my head, I felt like I had the story … at least part of it.

New What I Remember MostGrenadine, a collage artist and painter, is on the run. She has been on the run before, the first time when she was six. She remembers her panicked parents yelling, “Run, Grenadine, run!” on a foggy night in the mountains, but not much else.

Although her present-day story is told through her eyes, Grenadine’s childhood, spent in foster care after that disastrous dark night, is told through Children’s Services reports, police reports, report cards, letters, and a court transcript.

Grenadine was falsely accused of helping her new husband, an investor, steal and embezzle money. As she says, she can’t even balance her checkbook, so how could she embezzle money? After a raucous stint in jail where she gets in a fist fight, she heads to the craggy mountains of central Oregon with $521, cash, and ends up living in her car for weeks, in winter. She eventually finds work as a bartender and as an assistant to a smokin’-hot ex — L.A. gang member/furniture maker with a huge heart and talented hands.

Living under the threat of serious time in the slammer, Grenadine builds a new life, finding an apartment to live in above a red barn, making new friends, one of whom she is willing to sacrifice her freedom for, and piecing together a past she can’t remember.

And, oh yes. She falls crazy in love.

What I Remember Most is about memories, the old and the new, starting over, and daring to live.

Find out more at cathylamb.org.

08.26.2014

Excerpt from “What I Remember Most”

My book, What I Remember Most, is out this week! Here’s an excerpt…

 

New What I Remember MostChapter One

 

I hear his voice, then hers. I can’t find them in the darkness. I can’t see them through the trees. I don’t understand what’s going on, but their horror, their panic, reaches me, throttles me.

They scream the same thing.

Run, Grenadine, run!

It’s them.

 

Chapter Two

 

I needed to hide for awhile.

To do that, I had to change my appearance.

I went to a cheap hair salon and had them cut six inches off, to the middle of my shoulder blades, then I had them cut a fringe of bangs. I went home and dyed my hair back to its original auburn color, from the blond it had been the last ten years. I washed it, then dried it with my back to the mirror.

I turned around and studied myself.

Yep. That would work.

For the last year I had been Dina Hamilton, collage artist, painter, and blond wife of Covey Hamilton, successful investor. Before that, for almost twenty years, I was Dina Wild. Now I would be Grenady, short for Grenadine Scotch Wild, my real name, with auburn hair, thick and straight.

Yes, I was named after ingredients in drinks. It has been a curse my whole life. There have been  many curses.

I am cursed now, and I am packing up and getting the hell out of town.

 

 

Central Oregon was a good place for me to disappear from my old life and start a new one.

I drove south, then east, the fall leaves blowing off the trees, magenta, scarlet, gold, yellow, and orange. It would be winter soon. Too soon.

Rose Garden July 2014 019I stopped at the first small town. There were a few shops, restaurants, and bars. It had the feel of a Main Street that was barely holding on. There were several storefronts that had been papered over, there were not a lot of people, and it was too quiet.

Still, my goals were clear, at least to me. Eat first, then find a job.

I had $520.46 total. It would not last long. My credit and debit cards, and my checking, savings, and retirement accounts for my business and personal use, had been frozen. I had the $500 hidden in my jewelry box and $20 in my wallet. The change came from under the seat of my car. To say I was in a bad place would be true. Still. I have been in far, far worse places than this. At least I am not in a cage. Sometimes one must be grateful for what is not going wrong.

I tried not to make any pathetic self – pitying noises in my throat, because then I would have pissed my own self off. I went to a park to eat some of the non perishable food I’d brought with me.

I ate a can of chili, then a can of pineapple. When I was done, I brushed my hair. I pulled a few strands down to hide one of the scars on my hairline. I put on makeup so I didn’t look so ghastly. I put extra foundation on the purple and blue bruising over my left eye, brushed my teeth out the car door, and smoothed over my shirt.

I was presentable.

I took a deep breath. This would be the first job I had applied for in many years. I started selling collages and paintings when I was seventeen, and I had not required myself to fill out an application and resume.

I looked into the rearview mirror. My car was packed full of boxes, bedding, bags, and art supplies. My skin resembled dead oatmeal. “You can do it, Grenady.”

My green eyes, which I’ve always thought were abnormally and oddly bright, were sad, tired, and beat, as if they were sinking into themselves.

“Come on, Grenady,” I snapped at my own reflection. “You got a moose up your butt? Get it out and get moving.”

 

08.08.2014

Excerpt from IF YOU COULD SEE WHAT I SEE

 

IF YOU COULD SEE WHAT I SEE is selling for $2.99 on Kindle through Aug. 24th.

 

COVER IF YOU COULD SEE WHAT I SEEHere’s an excerpt… Meggie O’Rourke, with her family, owns a lingerie company called Lace, Satin, and Baubles. This is her grandma’s speech at the fashion show they have just put on. Grandma Regan is in her eighties. She immigrated from Ireland as a girl after a disaster and grew up in poverty. Grandma has just revealed part of that past.


“Lace, Satin, and Baubles is not only about lingerie and negligees. It’s about women. It’s about how we want to live our lives. It’s about what we think about ourselves and how we think. It’s about valuing ourselves enough to wear something stunning, something lacy, not to show it to someone else but because we know that we deserve it. We know that we can get out into a world that is sometimes cold, and sometimes dangerous, and be someone in it. We can become who we dreamed of becoming, we can leave a bad past behind, and we can look beautiful doing it.

“I am not defined by my body or what has happened to it. I am not defined by beatings or an arching whip or a dangerous man, or by the wreckage of prostitution. I am not defined by my age. I am not defined by what others think of me. I am defined by myself. I will define myself to me. I will live, I will laugh, I will love. I will not be silenced. I will not be invisible. I will be me until the very end. And I will look beautiful.

“I dared. I dared to found a company that would leave a legacy. I dared to live the way I damn well wanted to live. I dare you to live the life you want to live and to leave your nightmares behind you. I dare you to dance, I dare you to sparkle, I dare you to wear gold tassels. I dare you,” she shouted, “I dare you” – she pointed to the audience – “to be you.”

08.07.2014

How Would You Describe Yourself?

  • New What I Remember MostHow would you describe yourself? Be daring and honest and do share! 

  • This is how Grenadine Scotch Wild, the main character in my book “What I Remember Most,” out in late August, describes herself:
  • “I’m a crack shot and can hit damn near anything…I’m a collage artist and painter…I used to have a little green house. I sold it. That was a huge mistake…I can smash beer cans on my forehead…I fight dirty. Someone comes at me and my instinctive reaction is to smash and pulverize. It has gotten me into trouble…I have a temper, my anger perpetually on low seethe, and I have struggled with self esteem issues and flashbacks for as long as I can remember…I can wear four inch heels and designer clothes like wealthy women, make social chitchat, and pretend I’m exactly like them. I am not like them at all…”And you? Answers below are from my facebook friends. Come join us!
  • Barb Dowdell MacKenzie I manage a book store and I am a mother. But I was more than that before. I was an abused child who loved to sing. I learned to fight like a boy and later learned to shoot a gun- and fairly well, I might add. I am intelligent, have a great sense of humor and hold my hurts very close to the vest. I was once creative and crafty but when laughed at too many times, I hid it away. I once married someone who did not value me or the relationship and our kids and left me to clean up the mess. I learned that I married that person because when you grow up in an abusive home, you think that is what you deserve. I learned how to diffuse my explosive anger-which was much easier after the last source of my anger left me. I am, now, a force to be reckoned with and never back down. Now, I am nearly content.

Cassie Dandridge Selleck I am a rebel with too many causes, an extrovert climbing the walls of isolation, a voice looking for a welcome place to land. I am the daughter of misogyny and its devastating effects, and I’ve learned to shoot first and to hell with asking questions. I am a bridge burner, a home builder and a road warrior. I have never met a stranger, but I have met some strange! I have a look that kills, a heart that fills, and hands that heal. I answer most questions with, “Well, there’s a story about that…” I am the YaYarazzi – (a grandmother who follows her babies around with a camera). I am Cassie, the unheeded prophetess, Safety Patrol, counselor, encourager. I am also easily annoyed. My mother points that out to me sometimes, and that annoys me. She also always tells me, “Tell ‘em who ya are, honey…” That’s good advice anytime you’re sending your child out into the world. So, I am a writer, poet, artist, scrapbooker, activist, storyteller, warrior, teacher, friend. I am also known for being long-winded. I don’t get it…

Rose Garden July 2014 060Jane Connell Fischel I am a mostly nice wuss. I get a lot accomplished but usually at the last minute. I will do almost anything to prevent a confrontation as I also wear my heart on my sleeve, and most the time cry too easily. I can be athletically competitive, having been trained by only sons about winning and losing but I personally am only average at the sports I have tried. Love being a 3rd generation Californian at my age. Very rare. Will always offer to bring home-made dessert to any event-the richer the better. Can make a mean mess in the kitchen baking.

Juliyanne McLemore I am still cooking

Anne Marie Anderson I am a woman who has recreated herself after being lost. I hold tightly to my Montana roots, which means I love guns and trucks and know how to use them both. I am a lover of the world and fiercely protective of my family and friends (and since I know how to shoot, messing with them would be a BAD idea!) I’m super feminine at times, but can hold my own when it comes to tools. I get my strength from my much loved Montana mountains as well as my recently discovered North Dakota prairies. I am spiritual, but wild, and down-to-earth while up in the clouds all at the same time.

Rose Lynn Beyke I live in the heart of coal country. I enjoy storytelling and front porch sitting. I lived in over 50 homes before the age of 50. I have wanderlust like my father did. I was put under the bed on my birthdays in my grandparents home. (some old custom around here). My great grandfather shot a man through the titty and killed him. Genealogy is a passion for me. I believe in Ancient Aliens. My dogs are rescues. The oddest things happen to me and my daughter. Ocean waves soothe my soul. I have to enjoy each day because I figure I only have 50 years left.

Marta Jackson I am a farm grow KS girl that moved away to find out I will always be a KS girl. I am a rebel that speaks my mind and wears my heart on my sleeve for all to see. I can make a mean cinnamon roll and have since high school. I love bringing my gal pals together for strong female bonding memories.

Amelia Romo Kansas Girls, for the win!

Aron Carleson I am a Gemini. Everything I do comes back to the good twin/bad. Organized/disheveled. Family/loner. Gemini

Judy Waters Gallagher I am quite a feisty redhead battling multiple issues all at once. I have experienced some extreme losses, my beloved sister, father, brother and several friends. I battle several chronic illnesses (they never hit you with just one) but I refuse to give up. or give in! I find great solace and comfort in music of all types and would do anything necessary to protect those that I love and cherish. I raised three beautiful children, along with several of their friends, and love to cook massive meals for anyone who stops by. I was raised in a house with a beloved grandfather who had been in a concentration camp during WWII along with a couple of uncles who returned from Vietnam as changed men, and have dealt with a son who served five years as a Marine on a flight crew with a humanitarian unit who struggles with issues as well. I divorced a horrible husband after 15 years of verbal abuse and have now found my voice and refuse to be silent. I may appear to be mild mannered…..but cross my children or my loved ones, and the gloves are on! I am also a hippie to the core as are my children, and I could not be more proud. I have never met a stranger and will go out of my way to provide any assistance that I can to those that are hurting or lost. But I also have my weaknesses – I spend some days curled up in a ball just weeping…….but not too many people know about that or see it. I am Judy – she who is praised with an inner desire to express myself.

Cathy Lamb I think I’d say that I’m a serious daydreamer. A traveler in my head.

Dana Kennedy Criger I have a smart mouth and a sarcastic tone. I’m open minded and easy going. I love people and cherish my friends and family. I’m responsible and serious yet I love a good joke or prank. My kids are my greatest accomplishment so far. I make things happen when I’m told they can’t. I’m not tall, thin or rich but I feel good about who I am.

Vanessa Mitchell I’m a woman that’s loved too much, given entirely of herself way too often; yet I’ve stood up to adversity and told life to go eff itself because I’m not done.

Silverton Tulips 203Gillian Dorrance Fish I am frequently wrong but never in doubt, play hard but by the rules, and am loyal to all things family and the underdog.

Heidi Schaefer I am a woman that loves God

Joleen Wheeler I NEVER wear heels! I’m 6′ tall! If I wear heels I tetter and fall! If I wear tennis shoes, I am so clumsy, I have to look around to see if anyone is watching me as I trip over my own feet! I laugh at myself freely, I love to laugh, dance, and I work with children all day. Secretly, I feel that is where I can be myself freely being able to let my hair down and love more freely! Special needs children love openly, honestly, and EVERY single day! God bless their hearts! I am the most blessed person on the earth

Simone Gonzales I’m smarter than most, but perfect at pretending I’m not. I am confidence; a leader, but I will follow the right person when necessary… I’m a red-headed spitfire with a temper that I’ve (mostly!) tamed… I’m a midnight run in the rain, and kisses under the stars… I play to win and I’m good at it; I am confident, and I don’t give up… I’m an old penny from the bottom of a jar, shined up and new but still scratched in places… I’m mom of two and a pretty dang good wife… I’ve traveled all over, but I always come home… I live to be outside: sun, rain, snow. Running barefoot one minute, dressed to the hilt the next… I am energy, constantly on the go… I am no part of this world, and that’s exactly how I strive to be.

Katy Shandil I am like a piece of candy….hard and crunchy on the outside, soft and sweet on the inside.

07.29.2014

My Goodreads Interview

Enclosed are a few questions I answered for Goodreads. If you would like to ask me any other questions, feel free to ask them here, or go to my Goodreads page and scroll down to Ask The Author.

0Ask the Author: Cathy Lamb

“I love books. I love reading and writing them. Ask me anything…” Cathy Lamb 18 days ago

How do you deal with writer’s block?

Cathy Lamb I don’t get writer’s block.

What I do suffer from is, “I Would Rather Play Than Work Disease.” It’s a real problem. These things are distracting to me, in no particular order: My kids. Innocent Husband. (I call him that because I don’t want anyone to blame poor Husband for crazy things I write or say). Girlfriends. Walking. Running. Daydreaming. Reading. Being outside. Being in our drift boat on a river fishing. Falling down a ski slope. More daydreaming.

So many fun things to do.

If I do feel stuck in a book, I journal. I work it through. I don’t let myself go to bed until things are figured out. I work the problem, twist it around, think it through.

And I write. Even if I know the writing is going to be poor, I write. I can’t fix a blank page but I CAN fix poor writing.

What’s the best thing about being a writer?

Cathy Lamb The best thing about being a writer is that I love writing.

From the time I was sixteen, I knew I HAD to be a writer. I wanted to write a column, write for a newspaper or write books – preferably books. I worked for years to publish, with many rejections and crushing disappointments.

I just couldn’t see myself doing anything else so I kept going. Except for teaching school (I was a fourth grade teacher for almost eight years) there is really nothing else I’m skilled to do and teaching school is exhausting.

I love that I can day daydream and put those daydreams on paper. I love telling stories. I love creating characters and relationships. I love living in my head. I love hearing from readers and how my books have effected their lives.

And, frankly, I have loved being a writer while raising my kids. They probably want me around the house less, though…

What are you currently working on?

Cathy Lamb: I am currently working on my eighth novel.

Here’s a hint: Friendship. Letters. Scotland. Lies.

Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?

Cathy Lamb: Ah ha…

Where did I get the ideas for my most recent book, What I Remember Most, out in September 2014…

Grenadine Scotch Wild is my main character’s name. As soon as I had her name, I felt like I was on a roll, writing wise. Why that name? Whose idea was that? Who likes Scotch?

Grenadine is a collage artist and painter. I decided to make her an artist because I have always wanted to be an artist but have zero talent.

Grenadine is also on the run. Her husband was an “investor” who lost his clients’ money. She was implicated in his schemes, though she had only been married to the jerk for a year and was completely innocent.

A Different Kind of NormalI was interested in what it would feel like to have your whole world collapse, to be arrested and jailed for a weekend, to lose your home and have your bank accounts locked up.

Where would you go? How would you survive? How do you start over? How do you avoid jail for a crime you didn’t commit?

And, I was interested in Grenadine’s back story. When she was six, her parents disappeared on a foggy, scary night in the woods. She was put in foster care and never knew what happened to them.

Though the story is written first person, through Grenadine’s eyes, I tell her back story through children services reports, police reports, a court transcript, police reports and letters. I was interested in writing through a different structure.

Hope you like it!

What’s your advice for aspiring writers?

Cathy Lamb: My advice for aspiring writers is to read. Read fiction, historical fiction, memoirs, non fiction, thrillers, etc. Read all over the place. Also read in the genre in which you wish to publish.

Julias chocolates (1)Then STUDY what you read. WHY did you like the book? Was it the characters? Was there someone you related to or did you sympathize with their journey? Was the pace smooth and gentle or did it grab you by the throat? What did you like about the structure? Why did the plot or setting interest you? What about the language and word choice? Simple or complex? Did you laugh or cry or get angry? How did the author pull out your emotions? Did she make you think?

Conversely, if you did not like the book, why NOT? Study that, too. Was it boring? Were there no characters to grab onto? Was the writing non descriptive?

My second piece of advice is to write. Write all the time. Think about writing when you’re not writing. Plan on writing time. Stick to your writing goals.

I write 2000 words a day when I’m in the first draft of my book. If I don’t write 10,000 words a week I don’t go to bed on Saturday night. I edit my books eight or nine times before I even send them to my agent and editor. I edit them 12 times altogether.

So, write like your hair is on fire the first time around. Don’t worry about making the word choice and sentences perfect. Just write. Then edit the hell out of it.

the last time I was meMy third piece of advice involves a bit of my own story. Many years ago, for years, I tried to break into category romance writing. I would write a synopsis and mail it to the publishing house. They liked the synopsis and asked for the first chapter. I sent it. They liked it. They asked for three chapters. I sent it. They liked and asked for the book. Then they rejected it. This happened four – five times.

Terrible.

After a rejection when the editor waited about two years, after asking me for many edits and after implying they were going to buy the book and then she REJECTED it, I called it a day on category romance. I was so unhappy I could not do it again.

I then wrote about forty pages or so of Julia’s Chocolates. I sent it to four agents. They all asked for the book. I told my favorite agent, the one I’m with now, that I had to do a “little editing.” It was a tiny white lie.

I then wrote from ten at night until two or three in the morning. I had three young kids at the time and I was freelancing for The Oregonian. I was busy but desperate.

My agent loved the book, I signed with him, and Julia’s Chocolates sold within a couple of weeks.

The First Day of the Rest of My LifeHere’s the moral of that story: If you keep getting rejected in one genre, switch genres. I went from category romance to women’s fiction.

Don’t quit too early, don’t quit when you get a few rejections, don’t quit when you’re having a temper tantrum, don’t quit unless you have done your best and are now unhappy with what you’re writing and want to bang your face against a wall.

BUT, keep in mind that the first genre you attempt to publish in might not be best suited for you. You may well be better suited in a whole new place.

So, read, write, and live life. Have fun. Have adventures. Meet new people, go new places, travel.

Good luck. Truly, I mean it. I hope you publish.

 


Cathy Lamb
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