Wednesday, October 03, 2012

The Wolves that Watch

I have changed the name of my novel again. I'm still getting use to it, but I like it better. It comes from an obscure line from the book itself. In the book Sarah has a dream at a particularly critical time in her life and it is interpretted by Nick to mean something other than what she thought it meant. Most of us would see it as a nightmare, to be eaten by a pack of wolves. But Nick interprets the dream as being spiritual in nature and tells her that wolves are symbolic of her family since wolves are family oriented beings. There is not a pack of wolves in her dream but just two. One wolf eats her while the other watches. These, he tells her are representative of her two families.

At first she mistakenly thinks he means her father's side of the family and her mother's side. But that's not right. He means the two families are first the one that we come from, our family of origin, going back to all our ancestors. Not just the family that we share blood with but everyone who has had a hand in raising us, teaching, and shaping us into the person we become.

The second family is the family that we create. Our spouses, our children, grandchildren and on down through the generations.

The first family nourishes us. The second family we nourish with our bodies and our hearts. We give our all to the generations that come after us until there is nothing left but dust and memory.

The dream is one of hope for the future and inspiration about how to continue from this day forward.

In the story Sarah is at a crossroads in her life. She is just beginning the family that she will nourish, and she has suffered a horrendous trauma. Nick is at a loss as to how to help her get through this trauma and turns to his step-father for help. His step-father reminds him of the dream and tells Nick, "We are the Wolves that Watch."

Nick then knows how to help her.

In other news: I just signed up for another year of Nanowrimo. In November I will be writing another book. I spent several months this past year re-writing the book that I have just been discussing, "The Wolves that Watch" and now I think I am nearly ready to begin sending it publishers.

I self-published my first book "A Haunting at Mackinac" because it had made the rounds to publishers to no avail. I have bigger hopes for this next book. For one thing, it's a much better book!

In resigning on to the Nano- website, I editted my author's profile and realized that there was some info there followers of this blog should know about. So I opened a new side bar. Check it out!

The picture up top is of Munising Falls. It is visible from the highway outside of Munising Michigan. I love the waterfalls up by the Picture rocks National Lake shore. Views of the U.P. are always in my mind when I design quilts. This one is no exception. And that's dear old hubby, Jeff who never fails to try to climb onto rocks that may or may not hold him, just to get into the picture! God love him, and so do I!

Summer is just so busy, but I hope I can post more this winter. I have some hefty goals for this winter. More on that later,

Cindy K.-K.

Haunting the Nanowrimo site!

Monday, March 05, 2012

Snow and being Sequestered!

Grand Traverse County has been deemed a disaster area after Saturday's snow storm. More than 30,000 people were left without power when an average of 18 inches of heavy wet snow was piled on us in one 24 hour period. Today is Monday now and we are still trying to get ourselves unburied. Branches came down in my yard, pictured here. Also
my neighbor had several trees just pulled right over because of the snow. This one landed on her roof. And the last picture shows one of the trees from her yard bent over the fence and our cable line literally holding it up. I had Jake go out there and hit the snow off the tree to get it to stand back up. Saturday while we were outside trying to shovel the wind would come up and the snow would fall in big wet clumps down into the tops of our jackets, sliding all the way down our backs! We all needed hot bathes when we got the cars unstuck.
It took all our ingenuity to get them out too. There was no power so the electric starter on the snow blower wouldn't work. We had to shovel. We have an electric stove so we couldn't cook any food. We thought about the gas grill which would have worked except we went ahead and had sandwiches for lunch and by dinner time the power was back on. In this we were fortunate. Our friends were without power for more than 48 hours some of them. They were keeping warm in front of fireplaces and gas ovens.

This is the first major disaster I've ever actually been in when my life was in danger, and I must tell you, I got a little scared. It's making me see that we rely way to much on electricity.

On the lighter side, with out the Internet to distract us, my family gathered around the kitchen table and played a game of Scrabble. I got interested in a good book that I've been meaning to read and everyone took a good long nap. The DVD player began to blink when the power came back on, and my husband's computer started making noises. That is what gave us the first clues that the power was back. We sighed with relief and turned the heat up!

We'd had a few days before this relative nice weather, but I was sequestered nonetheless with my writing. I managed to finish the book I had begun during last November's Nanowrimo. It is the pre-quel to "A Haunting at Mackinac." It's called "Blackburn" and is about a man who fights the war of 1812 on Mackinac Island. Those of you who have read my first book will recognize some of the characters and events. It needs a lot of work though, it needs fleshing out. There are a lot of Telling details in there, and it would be better if I could figure out how to Show them instead!

So I've put it away for a couple of months so I can get back to it with a fresh eye. Meanwhile, I'm getting back into Tessa's Travels and will do more Blogging on that sight as I get into it. So keep an eye out for that. I'm learning Scrivener now so I can be ready to use it in April for Scriptfrenzy.

Speaking of Scriptfrenzy, there is still time to vote on which project you would like me to pursue first. I'm thinking that the second choice will be a vehicle for that great actor of small stature Peter Dinkledge who most of you will have seen in the Movie Station Agent, if you missed him the HBO series "Game of Thrones". Of course I will write it two ways, one for him addressing the special problems short people have with dating, and one for normal sized actors in which case anyone from Brad Pit to Zach Ephron could play him.

While I've been sitting here updating my Blog, I noticed a yellow throated bird out here at my feeder. It's a yellow-throated Vireo. Only took about 15 minutes of Internet research to figure it out. I tried to take a good picture of it through the window but my camera is not allowing it.

Have a nice winter! In my neck of the woods it's going to last at three more days, but rumor has it it's going to be 60 degrees by Thursday. Ah, Michigan! don't you just love it!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Inspirational half week at Caroline's Sewing Room!

Welcome to Caroline's Sewing Room. This is a big front porch area that is all glassed in and very comfortable. Through the door to the left of this picture is Caroline's Bed and breakfast, and through the kitchen is the door to her quilt shop. We had the luxury of living there for three days this past week and six of us from TC enjoyed it immensely! Sue is in the picture putting up one of her latest finishes. We hung things in front of every window as we finished project after project! It was fabulous.

Caroline is a wonderful Grandmotherly type of lady who is funny and earthy and warm. She is easy going, often telling us that we could use anything we found in her kitchen or pantry while we were there, and always coming out with jars of pickles, and beets and whatever else telling us in no uncertain terms that we had to try this! On top of her very giving hospitality she also is a very faithful woman thanking God daily for her life and her prosperity.

All in all I was totally inspired by this woman and her "family" of employees. Rose, runs the store, and is from Scotland. Brenda who does the Long Arm Quilting at the shop and who bakes such special enticing treats such as bread for the soup and fruit filled coffee cake for Mardi Gras! Carolyn (not to be confused with Caroline) is the bookkeeper and the wife of Caroline's minister. Caroline always keeps her cell phone handy in her pocket so she can call someone at a moments whim to ask them a question or to get advice, like when we accidentally blocked the sink with an orange peel, and when someone wanted to know if there were cloves in the pickles she was serving us.

Then there is Cubby! Cubby is the cutest little Terrier mix that I've ever encounter since my own terrier mix died when I was in my twenties. He was the most well behaved dog I've run across since Lassie! He was just as quiet as a mouse and as easy going as his mommy. The only time we heard him bark was when someone came to the door after the shop closed. He knew they didn't belong there and he was making sure we knew that. He kept whimpering the whole time until the person left.

We decided to go for a walk on our first day and Caroline asked us if we wanted to take Cubby. Someone said, yes, they would love to. So we went out to another fabric shop two doors down and after a quick glance through I realized there was nothing in the shop I wanted so I went out to spell the lady who was walking Cubby. I took his leash and let her go into the shop. I waited there for a while but then I thought, oh why not, so I walked down the road slowly with Cubby and he did his business. We were around the corner in a very few minutes and we kept going slowly around the little block. Well by the time we got to next corner the others hadn't even gotten to the first corner yet. So Cubby and I finished out walk together. He was very good. When a car came along he came right back to my side, just like he was supposed to. Then when nothing was around I would let him go and explore. He'd sniff around once in a while so I could stop and catch my breath. Then we'd keep going. Along the highway I had him heel so that he wouldn't get too close to the road. He knew just want to do.

The next day Caroline comes down into the sewing room and tells us this story:
"I woke up in the middle of the night and Cubby was asleep on the bed. I couldn't wake him up and was getting a little worried about him because usually he wakes up when I get up in the middle of the night. So I shook him and eventually he woke up. I let him out to do his little business and he came back in and fell asleep again on the bed. You must have had a real good walk, cuz you wore him out!"

He had the cutest toys too. He had a little duck and a rooster that actually crowed when he shook it, and several other things. He brought them out into the sewing room to show us. If I had a dog like him I would walk him daily just to spend quality time with him. Oh well!

Gas was cheaper in West Branch, they have a store that sells quality cuts of beef for less than I've seen anywhere, and it's the home town of Kaye Wood, of TV fame. I could live there, for no other reason than to be near Caroline! If you would like to schedule a retreat at Caroline's here is her website:

But I really shouldn't be promoting it, because I don't want her to overbook, I may not be able to get back there if she is!

More on this whole topic later! Love you guys down there in West Branch. Hope to see you soon.

Cindy K-K

Thursday, February 16, 2012

More about the Poll

At your right you can see the poll I am speaking about. I plan to write all of these stories in one form or another. I just wish to know which of them you would most like to see first. Here is a larger description of each of them:

1. Hell to Pay--Actually I also began to call this one Frozen Hell as in Hell Freezing over. A comedy about a married couple in their fifties who have always been in debt. In the opening scene we have the woman pouring herself coffee in the morning. Her husband is heard groaning in the next room and then we see him appear as well. They are both overweight, both are looking a bit low key with their morning ritual. Woman says: Hey, do you remember when we were young and first married? We used to talk about growing old together.
Man: (underwhelmed) Yeah?
Woman: (brightly) Done! Accomplished that goal! What do you want to do next?
Man smiles at the joke, then says: Get out of debt?
Woman nods dejected and goes back to sipping her coffee.

They talk about their bucket list, now that they can check off growing old together. But everything else on the list costs money. Whether its a hot air balloon ride or a trip to Yellowstone Park. So they have to conclude that the next thing on their bucket list will be to die debt free. So what are their conflicts? Everything from their son's student loan debts, to rising prices on gas and groceries, to their own poor health, until it seems they will never be debt free.

I have a lot of funny lines and some poignant moments between these two characters and I believe there is enough there to build a lot of scenes from. Just keep in mind that any resemblance to persons living or dead or who belong to my family are strictly coincidental. ((NOT!!))

MDQ (Major Dramatic Question): Will they get out of debt? More to the point, what keeps this particular couple struggling all these years together without their soul crushing debt tearing them apart?

2. Decisions: For those of you with my particular background in Literature or who have subjected themselves with Thomas Hardy's writing even by accident, you might recognize this story as a retelling of "Far From the Madding Crowd." But I didn't intend any such thing really.

It's about a woman who moves into a small town outside of Chicago for two reasons, one because it was the only place she could find a job that would pay enough to cover her rent. She is an artist and spends all of her spare time doing Multi-media found object art which is her passion. She shows her art in a consignment shop in Grand Rapids Michigan. Early on in the story she is excited because she finds that one of pieces has sold from the shop.

She works as a bartender doing the late shift four nights a week. She lives in a boarding house in a basement studio apartment. She chose this place because her landlady is allowing her to use the rest of the basement as her work area, but she has to share it with her landlady's nephew who does handyman work for her. As the weeks progress it seems that he has no other job and little job ambition.

One night at the bar she sees a young man about her age who is very handsome. She serves him a drink and he seems very kind. He looks her in the eye which is unusual for the men who frequent this bar. Usually their eyes don't get above her chin. She is intrigued and finds out that he is the manager of a computer store in town. Smart, well-to-do, and handsome, he seems to be just the kind of guy she would like to be with. Except all her new female friends think he's a light-weight and talk about him being such a geek in high school. They inform her that he was literally the guy that wheeled the projector cart from place to place. Because of that they could not see the handsome successful guy that he has become. She begins to date him.

Just after she starts her relationship with this guy, yet another fellow comes into her life. He is an older man with a southern drawl and very sexy for his age. He buys one of her pieces at an art show and strikes up a conversation with her. He wants to see more of her work so she invites him to her studio. He pulls some strings and gets her into a Chicago gallery where her work will get more exposure and he makes it financially possible for her to produce more work by paying off her credit card and setting up an account for her at a wholesale art supply distributor. At first she takes his help because she is convinced he only wants to patronize her. But all along he makes comments about how lovely she is and how he would not be opposed to a more steady relationship.

Meanwhile the nephew hangs out in the basement with her more and more often and she is getting used to him being around. They talk as friends and to most observing eyes it is apparent that he has fallen for her.

The MDQ: Which will she choose? Rich patron of the arts? Handsome, smart well to do business man? or friend with little job ambition? Which would you choose? There is a secondary MDQ as well concerning the sale of her art from the place in Grand Rapids. Who could have bought that piece? Was it one of her new friends from this small town? And if so who? (A question that has been on my mind since I began to sell books. At first I could tell you every person who bought one, but no more. Now I have no idea who could possibly be reading my stuff.)

3. Fate: Woman and her Autistic brother move to a small Northern Michigan community after the death of their parents. She is in her mid-twenties. Her brother is fairly high functioning but not able to live on his own. They move there because they have inherited their grandmother's house in this town. This woman knew she couldn't afford to keep the big house in Chicago that her parents owned so she sold that so that they could live more simply for a time until they establish themselves in the new town.

Meanwhile there is a man who has lived in this town his entire life. When he was 14 a fortune teller told him that one day he would meet a woman and from the moment he saw her he would not be able to take his eyes off her. But to beware of her because she would be keeping a secret from him.

Two days after she moves to town she goes into the grocery store and he sees her there for the first time. He literally cannot take his eyes off of her. He works at the deli counter and when she sees that he is noticing her, she goes up to him and orders more from the deli than she and her brother could eat in a week. But he is not intimidated, he just watches her as he is filling her order.

She decides to buy her groceries in the bigger town 20 minutes away from then on. A few weeks later she is walking downtown in this little town. She's decided she has to try to find some sort of a job, she wants to get herself established in this community and she thinks that a job will get her out into the public and meeting people. A brand new deli has opened up next door to the grocery store and there is a help-wanted sign in the window. She goes in to apply for the job and sees that it's this same man who has now opened up his own deli. She gets the job, needless to say. And the two of them start working together. But what is the big secret? He knows there is one, but he is too in love with her to worry about what she could be hiding from him.

MDQ: What is the secret? Is it something that will tear them apart or once shared bring them closer? And what impact will it have on this little town?

I've extended the dates on the poll, so come back and vote again and often (this isn't a national election). Tell your friends!

Cindy K-K

Sunday, January 29, 2012

I Finally got some honest feedback!

Two people have now told me some honest feedback about "A Haunting at Mackinac." I find this good for two reasons:

1. People are reading it, actually reading it!! And paying attention to it!
2. So far I've heard how good the story is, and how interesting it is, and everyone is encouraging me to get out a print version. But before the print version comes out I wanted to make sure it was as perfect as it could be. Well, each time I go through it I find more to change. It's never going to be totally perfect, I began writing it almost 20 years ago or more. It's just not ever going to be my best work. But some of the things people have come up with are continuity errors that should have been caught by a previous read through. The funniest one is this: apparently in the first four days they are on the Island, they hire the same carriage driver for a week at time on three different occasions. Each time they are pleased and surprised to see it's the same carriage driver and at the end of the trip they pay him for a whole week. Now, even the most greedy cab driver will let someone know that they already paid him a fair wage. This was clearly a problem with me forgetting as I was writing that I had already had the characters hire the guy for the week.

So I am in the process of reading through it again for continuity errors before I put it out in print. I will also update the Kindle version. So anyone else who buys it for Kindle will get the corrected version. I don't know how it will work for people who have already bought it. So I apologize about that but I can't do anything about it.

I have also added quotations to the beginning and a glossary of Ojibwa and Algonquin words and phrases. So I will keep you all informed as to when this whole process will be finished so you can go to your local bookstore and ask for them to order my book for you in the print version! Can't wait to hold it in my hand!

On other newsy fronts: I have three new ideas about screenplays that I could write for April's Script Frenzy. I'd love some feedback about which one would interest you the most. See the sidebar for a short synapses of the three projects.

Thanks for your input!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Was today wasted? You decide!

I started out today with the simple mission of getting enough ink to print out my next novel manuscript for my Editor Clover McKinley. She's read 250 manuscript pages of it out of about 1500 pages. I went to Cartridge world and got three new refills of ink. Came home and installed one. Started printing and managed to print about half of the first part before I had spooler problems. After rebooting the computer and the printer both about three times, I finally got so it would print the rest. But while waiting for all of those reboots, out of habit, and out of pure joy, I began to read what was in front of me.

What was in front of me was my own novel. I just started picking it up and reading right where it was.

I got the printing done and kept on reading. Now, let me tell you. I have re-read this book about fourteen times. Each time I was in some mode, clear the clutter, read for typos and misspellings, read for wordiness (yeah like that works!) I even read it through once to find out if the dialog was plausible. You have to read that out loud to discover it.

But today I just kept on reading out of the pure pleasure of it. I wonder now if Stephen King ever picked up a copy of Cujo by accident in a library and just opened the book at random and at once was pulled into that world and got caught, a world of his own making? Or maybe Dan Brown in a hospital waiting room happens to see a copy of Angels and Demons in a staff book exchange shelf and started reading chapter 16, just to have something he wouldn't have to concentrate on and then get caught. Or maybe Dickens, in one of the endless handwritten re-writes looked at David Copperfield with new eyes and lost himself in the text instead of copying it.

All at once Jake came out into the living room and said, "Hey mom, are you busy?"

I didn't know how to answer him. I wasn't doing anything I needed to do. I've been through this manuscript a dozen times. Now it's up to the professional editor to have at it. One part that I had read this afternoon had already been printed out for the editor so any changes I made on it would not be on her print out. How useless is that? I went to see what my son wanted and he suggested that the bananas I was saving for banana-nut muffins, were already at their optimum amount of black-peeled ripeness and should be made toot-sweet or they may soon turn into garbage. So I quickly made a double batch (I do nothing in singles) and as I put the first pan of them into the oven to bake, I realized that I had been hurrying that job so I could get back to the book.

I don't know why this book has me this captivated. Unless it's the two main characters. Nick and Sarah. Nick is a very hurt man. He was betrayed by his friends and took the rap for them. He did two years and eight months in prison on a five year sentence for breaking and entering. He admits to being there but wouldn't say who else was in the building with him. When he gets out he clings to the one thought that he never wants to go back, not for any reason. Yet, within a year he is again arrested. Why?

Then there is Sarah, she has also been hurt, in the worst way a girl can be hurt and still survive. She wasn't even able to confront her attacker because she was whisked away from the area without even putting forth an accusation. When she meets the hurt man, Nick, she is at a crossroads in her life. Nick too is at a crossroads in his life. Will he be able to make it outside of prison, and keep his word to himself? Will he find something to live for and be happy about? Will Sarah be able to heal herself from her abuse and go on to lead a productive life? I already know the answers to all of these questions, but still I found myself drawn up into their stories, and wishing to experience it again.

Is this vanity? Is this like that one girl in high school looking in the mirror and saying, "Oh my, I'm so cute today!" Is this me saying I'm God's gift to literature? Maybe? All I know is I love what I write. I was experiencing pure joy today re-reading the most emotional parts of this book.

I have never been in a position of self-aggrandizement before this. I was never the cutest girl in school, or the smartest, or the most talented, or the best dressed. But I know one thing, and that is this. I love this book!

So did I waste my time today, re-reading just for the joy of it? Or did I need to do this today to boost my self-confidence and self esteem. Now that I'm out there, being read, (and I am being read. Someone shared with me that they got their book club to read my book) maybe what I really needed was to reassure myself that what I write is good, enjoyable, worthy. Maybe I needed this today. Tomorrow it goes to the editor.

Cindy K-K