Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Borders is no more. But the Border Babes will go on forever!

New Book available NOW!

Patsy is having a bad week!  She finished Machine quilting her latest quilt only to turn it over and see a long crease sewn into the backing.  This puts her over the edge.  She goes into the bathroom and swallows all the sleeping pills she can find.

She wakes up two days later in the hospital on suicide watch and surrounded by her friends, a quilting group that meets in the local Borders Bookstore cafe, who call themselves the Border Babes.  One by one these women tell her their stories and help her find the strength to share her own reality, a past that would have killed a lesser person, which is now intruding on her present life.  The Border Babes remind her about what's important in life, Love, Friendship, Helping, Caring, Artistic Expression, and feeling all the emotions in life, both good and bad.  Quilters know the meaning of Life, and they aren't afraid to share it with whoever asks.

The Real Border Babes!

This book is a tribute to the Real Border Babes, those women who through the years have met at Borders ever week, and continue to meet in that spot even though the store is now called something totally different.  I started this group around 2003 or 2004 because I had a whole lot of Applique and handwork to accomplish and I wanted two hours per week dedicated to getting it done.  I sat in the store for a month, every Thursday from 10 am to Noon hoping that someone would come sit with me.  Finally after a month, two women came in and sat with me.  For a long time it was just the three of us.  Then a few other people started getting the word and they came.  Within a year our group had grown to a dozen people.  Always there was a core group of about 6 to 9 people who came every time and had regular seats at the table, and then others would show up at intervals.  Most of us were from the quilting group known as Rumpled Quilts Kin which was a guild that met in Interlochen once a month.  But others from the community who were not RQK members started coming by as well.  We welcomed everyone.

Some of the characters in the book are based on the core group of women who first came to Borders.  Alana, Barbie, Audrey, and Zoe, undoubtedly will recognize themselves in the book.  Linda Sue is an amalgam of several characters in the original Babes but her story is made up in my fevered brain.  I wanted to depict a mother and daughter who were both into quilting so I made Linda Sue Audrey's daughter.  The real Audrey has only artistically inclined sons.  And as an aside, I have Linda Sue married to our famous Quilting Doctor from Traverse City whose work has been in many of our Quilt shows over the years.

As for Patsy, I named her for the next door neighbor that Audrey had who did indeed commit suicide.  So she is a tribute to this poor soul whom I personally have never met.  The character of Patsy is about 75% autobiographical.  I never had an abusive father and my mother, although she caused me much embarrassment over the years, never abandoned me.  I have made peace with my brother in our mellowing of old age even though in the book I depict him as unchanged from his youth.  He's really a good guy now, and sibling rivalry when it's not dealt with in a positive way in childhood can be far reaching into adulthood which I think was the case with us.  Most of the abusive situations in the book are exaggerated for dramatic effect.

Upcoming Events:

I will be in Dixboro at the General Store on October 28, from 3:00 to 5:00 PM to sign books.  I will have both "The Ghost of Dixboro" and "Border Babes" for sale at the event along with a few copies of my other titles as well.  Even if your not a reader and would like to say hi to me come on in.  I'd love to say hi to old friends!

Then also on November 5th I will be back in Bellaire at the high school for the annual Bellaire Gift show.  That event is from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM.  I look forward to seeing my Elk Rapids friends there.  You know who you are!!!

Also I will be getting my act together this winter and maybe doing some Library talks and more Bookstore signings.  So stay tuned!

Thank you to Susan Bouwsma, Terese Gavar, and my son Jacob Krol for coming with me to various shows over this past summer to help me out.  I'm grateful for the support I've gotten from friends and the community.  And of course, I want to put a big shout out to my husband Jeff Krol for supporting me in every way he knows how.  Without his support I could not have done any of this.  Thank you Honey!!!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Buzz on the Latest Book

The Ghost of Dixboro is now up and ready to be downloaded onto everyone's Kindle.  Or if you prefer actual print books you can purchase a copy through Amazon.

This book represents a departure for me, since it is the first book that is a fictionalization of actual events.

Check out this post to get the scoop on where the story comes from.

I am grateful for the support I've been getting from the Dixboro Facebook page.  I think it was my cousin Kris Koch-Jones who first posted about the book.  And since then many people have commented.  Keep the buzz going guys, I love it!  And hopefully the Dixboro General Store will be carrying it soon, if they aren't already.

Events coming up

I will be at the Bellaire Harvest Festival on Saturday, September 24 signing and selling books.

Then on October 1st, I will be in Grayling at the Arts and Crafts show.

On October 29, I will be in Dixboro at a quilting retreat and hopefully I will be doing a signing there as well, at the Dixboro General Store.

Then on November 5, I will be back in Bellaire at their Holiday Gift Fair.  Books make the greatest gifts!

This winter I will be stepping up my schedule and branching out to do library events.  I can certainly talk for 45 minutes about writing in general and mine in particular.  I will have to limit my comments, because once I get going I don't stop.  

If you have any suggestions as to libraries where I could come and speak, please contact me through this site.  I will get back with you at once.

What's been on my mind?

This summer has been busier than a bee in a clover field.  I had some good events in Elk Rapids, Frankfort and up at the Straits in Mackinac City.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself except for one rainy day in Mackinac City.  But there is nothing that will spoil an outdoor Art Fair faster than rain.  

But all in all, I love getting out to these things because I truly enjoy speaking with people who appreciate the written word.  I am getting so that I can tell if someone is a reader or not, because their eyes go right toward printed material as if they are hungry for it.  Once I recognize my kindred spirits I can easily get them to walk in under my tent and talk with me about my work.  In Mackinac City, I actually had a line of people waiting for me to sign books.  It was great!  I had two women who bought four of my six books the first day of the show and then came back the second day to buy the other two.  It was fun!

That's why I came straight home and signed up for three more events before the end of the year.

My biggest problem is that my employee (who doubles as my personal chef (and my son)) has another job now working at Qdoba up the road from us.  So now I may have to do some of these events on my own.  It's OK, Qdoba is paying him more than I could.

New Projects:

I've already decided which book will be next.  "Border Babes" is being Beta Read right now by two people and as soon as I get their feedback I will be publishing it.  So be on the lookout.

Nanowrimo is coming up soon and I will be writing a book about two people who meet a bus station.  The working title of it surprisingly enough is "The Guy at the Bus Station."

Zach is a hard working medical student who is studying in Chicago but who hails from Marquette Michigan.  Amber is an angry young woman who had to take a few years out of her life to nurse her dying mother but who now is on her way to college in Marquette.  They meet at the bus station in Gladstone and spend the next weekend together.  Zach goes back to school and things are going well for him.  But Amber finds things falling apart around her. After having her life put on hold for four years she finds it's not just falling into place now either, but rather than live through another holding pattern, she gets angry and finds another solution to waiting.  She embarks on an adventure, flitting from one job to another, a dealer in Vegas and then awaitress on a cruise ship.  However, Zach, totally smitten with this lovely girl, comes home to find  her gone.  He goes a little insane and starts stalking her.  His obsession turns into a self-destructive spiral until he finally finds her.  She has been having the time of her life.  And barely recognizes the young man who has chased her around the world at the cost of his own dreams.

New Poll:

OK, here are the books that I still need to Edit.  I will set up a poll as to which books you would most like to see me come out with next.

1.  Blackburn--An Historical novel that takes place on Mackinac Island before, during and after the war of 1812.  Blackburn, thwarted in love has turned into a surly youth who hates everything and everyone.  Life doesn't matter to him any more so he joins the Pennsylvania Regulars who are stationed on the frontier between the new United States and Canada.  There is about to be a major disagreement between not just the U.S. and Canada, but also the tribes of Native Americans who have been promised their own nation consisting of what is now all of Michigan's two peninsulas.  The problem is that the promise was made by the Canadians but was never agreed to by the United States who had already begun to enforce their manifest destiny over all the lands owned by the indigenous peoples.  Samuel Blackburn is thrust into this and must fight for what will one day be his. 

2.  Roaming Tide Creator--Cathryn's family is dying.  Her mother has been dying since she was in grade school, but it looks like the Breast Cancer that she's been fighting is going to metastasize in Cathryn's senior year.  But Cathryn is self-sufficient, and she has a couple of very good friends who love her and want to help her.  So her mother prepares her for the worst while still fostering her hope for the future.
Lance on the other hand, thinks HIS life sucks.  His father is an Astronaut.  He has two older brothers who have made it their life mission to make sure he has no self-confidence at all.  And the one thing he wanted above all other things in the world is a dog that is so big that no one can handle it.  Then the worst thing possible happens to him, His father retires from NASA and they come back to Michigan where Lance had to get used to a whole new school and make all new friends.  But with no self-confidence how is he ever going to introduce himself to the cute girl on the track team?
Lance thinks his life sucks, but Cathryn's life really does suck.

3.  The Artesian Quilt Shop--Casey, Ar, and Daisy have been best friends for a long time, but now that their husband's are all retired it's time for them to pursue their dream of owning a quilt shop.  They buy a huge building in the Upper Peninsula and renovate it so that the main floor is the quilt shop complete with long arm room class room and office space and the upper story is their combined living quarters and individual apartments.  They sink all of their retirement money into this endeavor and get some of their family members involved in it too.  When it's all accomplished and they have moved in they discover the building is haunted.  

4.  The Life and Times of the Notorious Jedrick Jaxon--"My name is Molly Jaxon.  I was a nineteen year old sophomore in college when the 20-minute war happened."  This is the first line of a post-apocalyptic book.  Molly rises to see all the problems with the world and works to solve these problems.  The book is filled with common sense solutions to a world gone haywire.  Molly is a heroine for the new era.  This incredibly complex book may have to come out in more than one volume.  It is probably longer than the Wolves that watch.  I have to rewrite it before I begin the edits. But it is looking like it could be my masterpiece.  More on this later.

So which should I work on next?  

Take the Poll to the right.

Monday, January 04, 2016

In Focus

Instead of making New Year’s Resolutions this year I decided that I was going to try something new.  I’m going to focus on four things.  When I think of the word focus, it has a general meaning, but it also has a specific meaning in photography.  You focus on your subject.  You can have a wide variety of focus points, depending on where you are looking at your focus.  We’ve all seen the movies where the cameraman focuses his lens on one thing in the foreground and then the focus shifts to another thing in the background, it’s a way of getting our attention on different elements in the frame.  We might see a girl in the foreground minding her own business and then focus changes to a man in the background looking at the girl.  Depending on many different visual clues this could mean anything from the man is in love with the girl, or obsessed with the girl, or he means the girl harm, or he is the girl’s father or husband, or anything!  We only know that the man is looking at the girl because the cameraman has given us the visual clue.  What we make of it depends on how the scene is acted, the context of the scene the roles, what has come before and what comes after.

So here are my 4 things that are coming into focus for me this year:

   1.  My Career--I’m an Author.  I want to promote the books that I have out now, and keep building my titles.  I ran across a good piece of advice a while back.  Even if the first book isn’t selling, keep writing and adding to your titles on your author’s page because if someone does like what you write, they will want more.

   2.  Reading--As  an author, I want to continually become a better author for myself and for my readers.  One way to do that is to keep up with reading other writers and learning from them.  I might find that I want to be the kind of writer that Pat Conroy is rather than the kind of writer that John Steinbeck was which is who I thought I want to be.

   3.  Happiness/Contentedness--I am old enough now to know what makes me happy and what does not, and I want to be contented in my old age.  I don’t want to live with doubts and regrets.  So I want to focus on removing the things that make me crazy and focus on things that make me happy and contented such as the things that are pictured below.  Knitting socks, reading, learning new things, watching good movies and TV shows on Netflix with no commercial interruptions, and playing words with friends on my Kindle.  I no doubt will write another Blog on this topic in the very near future.

  4.  Simplicity--In years past I have made lists, calculations, step-by-step procedures, strict schedules, and in depth goals that I then just ignored.  This year I want to adopt a new form of simplicity.  So what I'm going to do is just keep my spaces clear and if there is something that needs to be done, I will simply lay it on the table.  Then as soon as I have time, I will do the thing.

So there you have it.  And again, I plan to do some more Blogs on these four focuses as I go through the year.  So stay tuned.  Follow my Blog, follow me on Facebook.  Check out my Pinterest Boards, Follow me on Twitter.  Check out my Author pages on Amazon and Goodreads.  And stay in touch!  I would love to hear from you.

Cindy Koch-Krol, 1/4/16.