Thanksgiving – A Time for Giving

What are you thankful for?

I count my blessings every day. There have been too many to count or list. Whether large or small, they’re all important.

Thanksgiving is a special day to listen to my heart and be thankful for what God has given me. I’m thankful for everything, but most of all, for His love.

My family means the world to me. We’re a large family and sometimes there may be squabbles, misunderstandings and rifts. But in the long-run, those issues are worked out.

We’re family after all.

What family doesn’t have their problems? I don’t know of any that hasn’t had difficulties at one time or another. My family is no different.

When there are struggles to deal with and I have no answer, that’s when I have to let go of what I can’t control, because we can’t control other people. We can only be true to ourselves, forgive and forget.

Then we can move forward.

It’s a special time to remember loved ones who are no longer with us, and be thankful we were blessed to have them for the time we did. Those memories will last a lifetime.

Here are a few things I’m also thankful for.

Tough upbringing, because it made me strong
Hugs when my heart was weary
Angels to watch over me
Nonstop faith
Kindhearted, because kindness builds up others
Freedom of worship
Unbelievable blessings
Loving family

I wish you and your family the best. That you have wonderful and safe Thanksgiving. Enjoy time with your loved ones on this  special day. 

My Geometry Lesson

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.

I remember this lesson, but I don’t always follow it when I should. I don’t mind taking the scenic route when there’s time, but those leisurely “Sunday drives” down back streets and past horse farms aren’t for deadlines and time crunches. They’re supposed to be used when there is no hurry. Unfortunately, we may use these pretty distractions when we need to complete a project and then have difficulty getting back on the main road.  (Ex. What starts as video research for a book turns into a night of binging on sitcoms.)

We fall behind and end up scrambling to try to make up for lost time. It doesn’t always work. Think about the speedsters who pass you to weave in and out of cars only to end up stopped in traffic beside you. You can’t get back 15 minutes by shaving 25 seconds off your drive down the street. The simplest way to prevent the possibility of that problem would be to leave ahead of the time you estimate is necessary to get to your location. However, in order to do that, you must plan ahead (even if you’re a “pantser”).

That brings me back to my geometry lesson. As much as I loved math, I struggled to last through that course. It felt like every other class was straightforward, but geometry had me going through mazes just to move forward five feet. It was like a pottery session on my brain every week. I didn’t know what shape it would be when we finished. But…for all the struggle I went through, my logic and problem-solving skills increased.

“The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.” It sounds simple enough, right? Point A ___________ Point B. It’s direct.

student and ruler

One of the things I learned from all my rules, theorems, and proofs was how plan my trip from Point A to Point B. I know where I’m starting, and I know where I want to go. The only thing I need to do is figure out the most direct route, which should (depending on other variables like traffic) get me to my destination in the quickest time.

We can apply this lesson to other areas of life. I remember challenging my kids once with this idea. I said, “I have hidden a white barrette somewhere in this room. You may ask me any five questions you want, and I will answer truthfully. You job is to find the barrette.”

One child asked a couple of questions and looked around the room. The other child stayed in one general spot and waited. After a moment, I heard the golden question, “Where’d you put the barrette?” Bingo! I held out my hand to show her that I had been holding it the entire time.

We can make our lives unnecessarily complicated by doing all the work, trying to examine 5,000 possibilities, or even avoiding the obvious because it seems too simple. But simple may be the only thing required…and less stressful. (Independent doesn’t mean you have to do any and everything by yourself.) So, the next time you’re facing a project and aren’t sure where to start, start with the simplest thing and what you know.

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.

NaNo November, and Writing

tough writingWriting is hard. At least it’s hard for me. I love the flow of it, once I get there. I love going where the characters lead – especially when I don’t know that the path I’ve set them on is the right one.

Invariably (so far) I have to rewrite my first few chapters. Rarely am I right about what makes an amorphous story idea great at the beginning of the first draft.

deadlinesDeadlines help. They help me get out of my head and just write. That’s when the magic happens. Words get written. Stories evolve.

I am a better writer when I write every day – even if what I’ve written is only one page. I don’t know why that’s true – maybe because the story stays alive inside me when i write each day.

However you write, whatever your process, it’s the writing and the resulting story that matter.

NaNo write MoI’m thankful for NaNo. Not because I follow the rules, I don’t, but because it forces me to just sit and write.

Happy writing. Happy Thanksgiving

May your November be filled with joy, productivity, and writing (or reading or both).

Leigh

A Journey of Reading

Keeping with the unintentional theme of experiences for this month’s blog, I thought I would share my memory of the first time I was able to read and how it has shaped me.

I was approaching the end of first grade and there was a strong chance I was going to fail. No matter how hard my mother and teacher tried to explain it, I couldn’t even read a simple two-word sentence. I wish I could express to you how difficult it was for me, but since I was six, I don’t really remember.

What I do remember is that just when we were about to give up, I got a phone call from my father, whom I hadn’t seen often since my parents divorced when I was two. He had just moved to VA, and I was back in CA where I had been born. That long distance call from one side of the United States to the other was what I needed. I distinctly remember sitting on the toilet while I read to him The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein without making a single mistake. It was one of the proudest moments of my childhood.

My mother was, of course, a bit bruised that my father got me to do something with one phone call that she couldn’t with months of hard work and coaching. I’m still not sure how my father calling me helped either since the conversation did not include him encouraging me. I had actually asked if I could read him a story, and he said he would love it. I recently mentioned the memory to my father, and he informed me that he hadn’t realized how big of an accomplishment it had been at the time. But with every book I pick up, I’m reminded of that moment. Maybe all that was holding me back was stubbornness, at least that’s what my mother thinks.

Three years later, my mother remarried and we moved to AL. I was in fourth grade, and my reading teacher was named Ms. Swann. Having read The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B White, I loved the name. Her class was my favorite too, and she encouraged me to read anything I wanted. I’m not sure how many can say this, but Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling (apparently a 7th grade level book) got me kicked out of her class and sent to an Advanced Reading one. There, another teacher informed me that ‘the author of a story I can’t even remember made the curtains blue to express the character’s depression.’ I, for one, have never colored a scene to suit my character’s emotions. Maybe their personality, but that isn’t the same.

Despite my lack of interest in breaking down stories to find a hidden meaning where there isn’t one, I kept reading “advanced” books and eventually stumbled across The Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop. My mother had found them in a stack of used paperbacks the library was selling and bought them for a cheap price since the covers were coming off.

These books shaped my love for fantasy and made me want to write my own stories. I was captivated by the way her heroes weren’t completely good and how they were constantly mistaken for being the enemy. The female was not a damsel in need of saving from a strong man either. She was a powerful adversary who would not allow anyone to harm those she cared about.

 My current taste in books can be generously described as eclectic and I often re-read The Black Jewels Trilogy, which has expanded beyond the original three books. I read almost anything and have difficulty not buying a book when I walk into a bookstore. The smell of paper and coffee just might be my weakness.

It never fails to amaze me how a good book can make the reader feel as if they are with the characters. My ultimate goal as a writer is to touch upon this phenomenon. I don’t expect to become famous or make millions, but if my books can touch a person’s life and transport them, even for a moment, I will be happy.

Last year, my seven year old son discovered a passion for reading, and I’m proud to say I am raising a bookworm who would rather buy a book than something else. For his birthday, he received some spending money to buy anything he wanted, so I took him to Walmart. He quickly found a Pokemon towel and said he would get it since he had enough. Before we left, we went to the book isle where he found a book he had been wanting. After some adding, he realized he could only buy one, and I watched him debate over the choice between the towel and the book. It must have been difficult for him, but his response warmed my heart.

“I’m going to get the book since I have lots of towels, but I don’t have this book.”

Every time I catch my son with his nose in the latest book, I’m reminded of The Giving Tree and how it started my own path in reading. Isn’t it amazing how a story can shape you?

Writing feminist fiction

Signing books for Rosie, who came to hear me speak.

I launched the print version of my latest historical romance earlier this month. A local bookshop, Almo’s Books, hosted me, and laid on the supper. The photo above shows me, the book (Unkept Promises), and earlier books in the same series.

I really enjoyed meeting fans, and talking about my writing and the romance genre in general. One thing I said struck a chord with several of the people there. Romance, I told them, is inherently feminist. Here’s my logic.

Most of the people who write romance are women.

Most of the people who read romance are women.

Last, but by no means least, a romance story isn’t over until the woman in it gets what she wants.

The final point is probably the reason why the patriarchy has been putting romance down and trying to prevent women from reading it since before Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters. Romance acts as if men are not the most important people in the world. Romance thinks that what women want is an important plot point–no, more! THE important plot point.

Does that mean that romance is necessary to be a fulfilled woman? Of course not. I know many single women who lead interesting, productive and happy lives. But neither is romance a second best, a sell-out, a retreat from feminist values. If women can do anything, falling in love is one of those things.

I don’t write chick lit, or Mommy porn, or bodice rippers. I don’t buy into any of those demeaning labels. I write romance, and I’m proud of it. I write stories about two people who find one another, and in doing so, find a helpmate with whom to walk through life.

They face problems (which is what makes it a story), but they solve them together. They respect one another. They co-operate. Truly, what’s not to like?

I write capable women, and men who are strong enough to respect them. What could be more feminist than that?

Christmas Contest

Christmas Box set

Help me tell the world about my new release and enter to win a KINDLE FIRE!

There are a bunch of ways to win. You need to REPLY to THIS email with what you did. I’ll count all the entries and draw a winner at midnight EST November 30th!

Like me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KristyTateNovelist/ (1 point)

Follow me on BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/kristy-tate (1 point)

Buy or download in KU – The Christmas Collection: https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Collection-Th…/…/B07ZJVQDQ4 (10 points)

Leave a review on any of my books: https://www.amazon.com/Kristy-Tate/e/B005YF4ODA (10 points extra 5 points if it’s on my Christmas Collection. https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Collection-Th…/…/B07ZJVQDQ4 You don’t have to read all three books to leave a review, just mention it’s on your favorite.) Post a link to the review.

Forward this email to your holiday romance loving friends. (1 point for every friend.)

Tell me the title of your holiday movie (1 point)

Tell me your who’s your best book boyfriend! I like Atticus Finch, Gilbert Blythe, Rhett Butler, Mr. Darcy (1 point)
https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Collection-Th…/…/B07ZJVQDQ4

The Peanut Butter Airplane

In the fifth grade, Mrs. Whitaker would give us a title for the weekly story we had to write. Two of my favorites, that I still remember to this day, were The Runaway Chevrolet and The Peanut Butter Airplane. I guess even back then I needed a title to get going on a story.

We had to write at least two pages in our notebooks. No writing big. No repeating the same word for a whole sentence. I always wondered why my classmates complained all week about writing those two pages. By Monday night I had two pages and then some more, no problem at all. It is amazing how freeing writing is when you don’t know there are rules!

At least one time in the school year you had to stand in front of the class and read your story aloud. I was terrified. I didn’t want to go first and I didn’t want to leave it at the end and feel the pressure. I tried to time it so some people had read their stories but everyone wasn’t bored after hearing half a dozen of them with the very same title on a late Friday afternoon.

I so wish I still had that composition book from the fifth grade. Everyone read their stories of planes made of peanut butter. Obviously, even at ten my imagination didn’t work that way. Maybe one or two of them became fantasy writers. LOL My peanut butter airplane delivered peanut butter to starving children all around the world. See, even then I wanted a happily ever after.

Thank you, Mrs. Katherine Whitaker for opening up my mind with just a quirky, little title. Thank you for believing storytelling was just as important as math and science.

Do you remember a favorite story from childhood?


Jill James, writer

Sugar Sprinkled Memories coming soon in the
Authors of Main Street Christmas boxed set.