Monday, March 11, 2013

Food and Romance Make a Perfect Pairing in Kimberly Kincaid's New Release, Love on the Line

Food is sexy.

Who could forget Mickey Rourke and Kim Bassinger, at the height of their hotness, feeding each other fruit and honey in 9 ½ Weeks? Jennifer Beals taking indecent liberties with a lobster tail in Flashdance? Alan Bates peeling and devouring a ripe fig at a Victorian garden party while scandalously comparing it to an intimate part of the female anatomy in Women in Love?

Few commonplace human activities stimulate all the senses to such a pleasurable degree as eating. Taste is the most obvious, but the other senses are equally involved. The vivid colors of fruits and vegetables delight the eye. The delicious aromas of savory herbs tempt the nose. The crisp sound of biting into an apple is every bit as delicious as the burst of sweet, juicy goodness that follows. The unique gritty texture of pears or the silky slide of oysters over our tongues is as much a part of the experience as the flavor.

All things considered, it’s no wonder Kensington Press recently signed the talented Kimberly Kincaid to write a series of contemporary foodie romances. The first in her Pine Mountain novels is scheduled for release in October, but that’s not the only thing cooking for Kincaid (sorry, I couldn’t resist). Her debut novella, Love on the Line, was released this week to rave reviews. She recently collaborated on a Christmas anthology, The Sugar Cookie Sweetheart Swap, with Donna Kauffman and Kate Angell. It is scheduled for release this fall and is available for pre-order on Amazon. Kincaid is a 2011 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart® finalist and an active, enthusiastic member of the Washington Romance Writers, a chapter of the RWA. She and her husband live in Northern Virginia with their three daughters.

I interviewed Kimberly this week about her blossoming career, cooking habits, and her guiding philosophy in life… food is love. Kimberly is giving away a copy of her ebook Love on the Line to one of the commenters on this blog. The winner will be chosen at random.

Kate: Why did you choose food as the connective tissue for your Pine Mountain series?
Kimberly: In the very beginning, it happened quite selfishly! I love to cook, and I love-love to eat, and I needed my heroine to do a total 180 with her career as a real estate analyst. Becoming a chef worked, but as soon as I added it to the manuscript, it took on this whole new life and snowballed from there.

Kate: How many books are planned? 
Kimberly: The Christmas anthology kicks things off with a novella (does that count as half?) then there are three books in Kensington’s lineup for 2014. I do have more characters planned for the series, but it’s down the road a bit, so I don’t know how that will shake out. I’m hoping for six. For Love On The Line, my e-novella, there will be two. I’ve been a busy lady!

Kate: Tell me about the main characters.
Kimberly: The main characters in Love On The Line are gruff, rough police detective Noah Blackwell and sexy, soulful personal chef Violet Morgan. Violet is Noah’s partner’s twin, which makes things interesting when the kitchen heats up!

Kate: Have you been telling stories since you were a child, or did you come to it as an adult?
Kimberly: Oh yeah, I’ve been a storyteller since about birth. But my first big moment was when my 7th grade English teacher chose my writing prompt to read out loud in front of our class. We were asked how we might feel if we were the main character in the book we were reading at the time. I wrote mine from first-person, pretending to be the character. It just felt right to me. From there on in, I knew I had stories to tell!

Kate: What is your best food-related memory?
Kimberly: I come from a big Italian family on both sides, so there are too many to have a favorite. But I remember cooking with my mom a lot. She always let me help, even when it got messy. And I remember my grandmother Frances’s huge Italian dinners. I have never had eggplant Parmesan quite like hers.

Kate: What was the first thing your husband cooked for you? Were you impressed? Did it turn out to be the only thing he knew how to cook?
Kimberly: True story! I married my husband for a PB and J. I’d had a horrifically bad day, and when I came home from work, he made me the best peanut butter and jelly sandwich I’d ever had. We were living on a shoestring, and it was total comfort food, and I knew right then and there I was going to marry him. And I did!

Kate: Do you remember the first romance you ever read?
Kimberly: It was Forever, by Judy Blume. I read it so many times, the binding fell apart and I had to tape the pages back in. I wish I still had that copy.

Kate: How do you research your novels?
Kimberly: It depends on what my characters are up to. For Love On The Line, I actually did more non-food research because Noah is injured and I needed medical advice. But for The Sugar Cookie Sweetheart Swap, I took a truffle-making class to play with the pastry angle. But mostly, it’s trial and error in my own kitchen.

Kate: How has writing changed your life?
Kimberly: I’ve had many jobs, and most of them I’ve loved. But being a writer is part of me like my eye color. It just…belongs. And even on those writer’s block, crazy-bad days where I end up with negative word count and things fall apart, I still wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Kate: Are you addicted to the Food Network? Which shows do your DVR?
Kimberly: Okay, yeah. I really am! I love Iron Chef America and Chopped, and I have a secret crush on Guy Fieri. I want to ride around in his Camaro and go eat burgers with him one day on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives!

Kate: That's funny! My kids love that show. We were surprised one day when my husband's uncle showed up on an episode at a diner in Georgia. Last question. Who is sexier, Anthony Bourdain, Rocco DiSpirito, Jamie Oliver, Kayne Raymond, or Eric Ripert?
Kimberly: Oi! All of the above! No, really… I think Jamie Oliver (although they’re all really good choices). Jamie has a natural outlook on food that really appeals to me. And that mischievous smile doesn’t hurt him, either!

Use the following links to connect with Kimberly.

Twitter: @KimberlyKincaid

To preorder The Sugar Cookie Sweetheart Swap:
To order Kimberly's novella, Love on the Line:

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Visit Kate's website for the latest information on her books:
You can find her on Facebook at
Send her a tweet @KateWorth2 or email her at

The Promise is available at Amazon at the following links:

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Queen's Youngest Daughter Finds Love in Mary Hart Perry's Victorian Thriller, Seducing the Princess

Kathryn Johnson, aka Mary Hart Perry, has released another title in her series of romantic Victorian thrillers inspired by the life of Queen Victoria’s daughters. I interviewed her this week about Seducing the Princess. She has generously offered to gift the first three readers to comment on this blog with a Kindle ebook copy of Seducing the Princess.

Kate: In your first novel of the series, The Wild Princess, you featured Princess Louise, a middle sister from among Queen Victoria's nine children. Who stars in your new book?

Mary: In Seducing the Princess, readers get a glimpse into the life of Beatrice, the youngest princess, referred to as "Baby" by the royal family. Because she was the last child, born just three years before Prince Albert died suddenly, her mother sheltered her to the point of smothering the poor girl. Worse than that, the queen made it clear that she expected "Baby" to remain unmarried and stay at her side as her companion until Victoria died. So... no love life, no sex life, no man at all in her life. That was the plan.

Kate: Did Beatrice object to these demands of the queen?

Mary: Not at first. It wasn't unusual for a youngest child to be expected to care for aging parents. But to give her entire life over, never being able to find a mate, that was the unfair part.

Kate: You said, not at first. I assume something happens to change the situation?

Mary: Yes. Although Beatrice didn't know it, her mother had actively worked to keep suitors away from her youngest daughter. But one young man, Henry of Battenberg, was persistent. He fell in love with Beatrice despite her awkwardness in public and her appearance, which was less than glamorous—thanks to the queen's insistence the poor girl dress in the most drab fashions and always in black or dark colors, in honor of her father's death so many years before. Henry saw something very special in Bea, loved her deeply, and did all he could to woo her, despite the queen's resistance.

Kate: How does a love story like this become a "thriller"?

Mary: That's where the fiction comes in. While researching Queen Victoria's extended family, I discovered that she not only didn't like her first grandchild, she feared for what he might do to hurt England and his father's country of Germany when he grew up and inherited their throne. Willy was rash, unpredictable, and cruel. He threw temper tantrums as a child and when he was a young adult, both his grandfather and father died within one year of each other, leaving him as the Emperor of Germany and Prussia. Although they were blood related, Victoria considered him dangerous. I took his real character (already quite villainous) and added fictional elements, imagining what he might do to spy on his grandmother and her court.

Kate: How did this espionage scheme involve Beatrice?

Mary: We see Willy (Wilhelm II) sending a young man who is just as ruthless as he is off to try to seduce Beatrice, the only unmarried daughter. If this young man, a Scot, can convince Bea to marry him, Wilhelm will have eyes and ears permanently placed within Victoria's family and court. As it turns out, the Scot will stop at nothing to get the job done.

Kate: So it's up to Henry to come to Bea's rescue?

Mary: In part, yes, but a lot of what happens is the result of Beatrice coming of age at this rather late point in her life. She's 27 years old, and very naive. But she's smarter and stronger than most people give her credit for. Ultimately, she will have to thwart Wilhelm's plot to infiltrate her mother's court—but if she succeeds, it will be at great cost.

Kate: Thank you for visiting today, on launching this latest Mary Hart Perry book. Will there be others?

Mary: Yes. I'm working on the third novel which will feature Vicky, the Crown Princess, eldest child of the family. She'll have a lot to deal with in her story, not the least of which is Jack the Ripper, the famous serial killer who terrorized all of London. If you enjoy the BBC series Ripper Street, this should be a fun story for you. Like the other two books, it involves a love story, royalty, and rich nineteenth century setting details with a rapidly paced plot. I'm looking forward to sharing it with readers—but first I need to finish writing it!

To order Seducing the Princess from, go to:
To follow Kathryn on social media, use the following links:

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Keeping Score...

NOTE: These numbers are running totals, not daily word counts.

I started NaNoWriMo November 1st, so I had 3,020 words already by the time I took the Fast Draft workshop on the 5th. Sunday I prepped, Monday I wrote, Tuesday was a total loss with voting, etc. On Wednesday, Nov. 7, I worked on 20 pages to submit for my critique  group in Fredericksburg, so I'm going to call Thursday, Nov. 8, my official start date.

Need a little NaNo inspiration or a good laugh to keep you going?
November 5 — 3,020 — Saturday in Midlothian all day, Sunday cleaned all day.
November 6 — 3,750 — Election Day! Couldn't tear myself away from coverage.
November 7 — 3,750 — None, Dr. Appt. in C-Ville, worked on 20 pages for critique group
Official Start of Fast Draft Attempt
November 8 — 4,115 — Not exactly 20 pages, but hey, I'll take it
November 9 — 4,819 — Candace says, "No excuses!"
November 10 — 5,650 — I've yet to do 20 pages, still waiting to get into the "Zone"
November 11 — 6,154 — Tomorrow is Monday. A new week. Focus, focus, focus.
November 12 — 6,154 — Jack squat. Spent day going over critique partners' work for tomorrow.
November 13 — 6,743 — Critique group until 3:00, wrote in evening. Aargh! I'm way behind.
November 14 — 7,850 — Decent day, not stellar. Will do better tomorrow! (Yeah, right...)
November 15 — 9,114 — Didn't hit 10,000 :( :( :( Dragging butt this morning. I. Need. Coffee.
November 16 — 10,028 — Yay! Numerical milestone reached, but I'm still way behind.
November 17 — 10,028 — Spent all day in hospital. My mother-in-law is weak, but improving.
November 18 — 12,300 — Wrote all day. Started new story. This is a bad habit.
November 19 — 12,876 — Trouble concentrating. House is a mess.
November 20 — 14,250 - Decent day, but not stellar.
November 21 — Kids are all home, didn't do much writing.
November 22 — Thanksgiving, spent morning cooking, rest of day with family.
November 23 — 15,435
November 24 — 16,247
November 25 — 16,890
November 26 — 18,001
November 27 — Will probably have to spend most of day cleaning for company

The Promise 
reviews: 28
ratings: 50 (avg rating 4.34)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Can Fast Draft Get Me Over NaNoWriMo's Finish Line?

Look at the images in this collage, an incomplete pastel painting, a half-finished seashell frame, and three brand-spanking-new novels. What do they have in common? Here’s a hint... it has something to do with a lamentable personality trait that far too many of us share.

Give up? I started the pastel painting about a year ago, the shell frame two years ago, and I bought the books to support my VRW and WRW sisters, but have not finished one. To the list I could add my husband’s shirts that need buttons and a crocheted fragment of blanket for my newborn niece who is now two years old.

And most distressing of all, a dozen manuscripts in various stages of completion from 5,000 to 75,000 words.

I begin projects with great enthusiasm, but too often move on to some shiny new thing before I’ve finished. They say the first step is to admit you have a problem. I freely admit it... I am a procrastinator.

On Saturday, I was given a set of tools to help me vanquish the procrastinator within.  At least I devoutly hope so. Virginia Romance Writers (VRW) held its annual meeting, the highlight of which was Candace Havens' Fast Draft workshop. Although Midlothian is a hike, two hours south of my home in Culpeper, I really wanted to attend.

I’m ecstatic that I did! Now the onus is on me to apply "The Rules" to my writing.

Candace's program featured insightful “tough love” for writers delivered with dry wit and physical comedy. At times she was hysterically funny, like when she described some potentially career-damaging misbehavior on the part of an unnamed colleague that involved way too many cocktails and a close encounter with a publishing executive. When telling a story, her face becomes as rubbery as Jim Carrey’s and her physicality rivals Steve Martin's. Truly, the woman could be a professional comedienne. She kept the audience laughing while she imparted excellent advice on writing, revising, and marketing, peppered with cautionary tales plucked from her own career. 

It is too late for me to heed one particular bit of Candace's advice... to present myself as a professional at all times because, "You never know who's listening." I have already blown this one in a rather major way, so I'm not going to worry about it too much at this point. My entire blog revolves around the countless mistakes I've made along my writing journey, punctuated by the occasional success. I have primarily addressed my musings to other newbie writers and my fans, not agents or publishers. I haven't the slightest notion what they would make of it if they did read it.

I do plan to heed the rest of Candace's pointers, however. She gave great tips for staying positive, ignoring your internal editor, making a commitment to the process, and creating accountability. She's a big advocate of journaling and recommends keeping one close at all times. You never know when inspiration will strike. There was much, much more, including a detailed list of rules that would take too long to go over here. If you would like to take the class, visit Candace Havens' website. The link is at the end of this post.

The workshop was well timed, from my point of view. I signed up for NaNoWriMo because I have been treading water in my latest WIP for weeks, editing the same words, over and over. I didn’t want to abandon it and move on to another project and end up in the same place a month or two down the line. Instead, I spent too much time on Facebook, napping like a bear, and aimlessly rooting around in the fridge… anything to avoid facing my manuscript. I've spoken about Cameron's story on my fan page and readers keep asking me when it will be done. I'm feeling a great deal of self-imposed pressure to wrap it up. I don't know if I'll try to get an agent with this one, or self publish again. The pros and cons of that question might be adding to my procrastination. If I finish it, I have to decide whether to enter the grueling, frustrating, gut-wrenching query process.

No more procrastination! Fast Draft made sense to me and I’m going to give it an honest shot. I’ve already begun to implement Candace’s rules… beginning with clearing my workspace of clutter to help me focus. My office doubles as my art studio and writing cave, so cleaning and organizing took most of Sunday. But I'm done and she's right... I really do feel less scattered in an uncluttered space.

I'm setting aside the next two weeks to produce an entire rough draft using Fast Draft’s “rules” to write 20 pages a day for 14 days. Candace says commitment and accountability are important, so I’m going to post my word count every day on the VRW critique partners loop, Facebook, and my blog before I go to bed each night.

I can’t do the Fast Draft workshop justice in this short blog post, but believe me, Candace Havens gave great advice, not only on cranking out a rough draft, but surviving the revision phase, and marketing through social media. If you need strategies to power through your first draft, sign up on her website @ The cost is $20, a bargain in my estimation.

I found a testimonial about Fast Draft from writer Angela Quarles, a converted skeptic, @

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Visit Kate's website for the latest information on her books:
You can find her on Facebook at
Send her a tweet @KateWorth2 or email her at

The Promise is available at Amazon at the following links:

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Update on my bad review blog post. I am pleased to report that this business of getting your first bad review is a lot like losing your virginity. It only hurts the first time. Well... it hurts the worst your first time. After that you become philosophical. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, etc, etc, etc.

Here are some samples of my art. The top one is a hand built clay sculpture and the bottom is a pastel painting of Sharp Rock Road in Rapphannock County near Sperryville, one of the prettiest country lanes anywhere. And it leads to Sharp Rock Winery! Worth a visit, y'all.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Sweet Memories of a Smile, a Song, a Favorite Story

Dad with my baby sister Erin, me in the middle, and my sister Belinda.

For ten years I have interviewed and filmed hospice patients for video legacies, sometimes at the patient’s request, but more often at the family’s.  Many times I have been contacted after the patient was already in the grip of dementia, heavily medicated, or so depressed that they couldn’t participate.  When this was the case, I came away with very little useable footage despite spending hour upon hour with the patient.

Because of this, I have become an evangelist of sorts, telling people how important it is to record their grandmother’s beautiful smile while she is still healthy and happy.  No one wants to remember a loved one during the saddest time of his or her life.  Better to film grandpa fishing with his grandsons, or grandma picking blueberries with her granddaughters, or sitting side-by-side on the sofa talking about the good old days.  We all have those cherished stories that no matter how many times we hear them, we still want to hear them again.  The ones that are recycled endlessly at family reunions and holiday get-togethers, yet still make us laugh or cry after countless retellings.

Ironically, I did not practice what I am now preaching.  In 2006 I lost Dad to pancreatic cancer.  Although I have many photographs, I would give anything to hear his voice again singing Danny Boy three sheets to the wind, or recounting my favorite stories about his early childhood in a Catholic boys home and later, when he and his brothers grew up wild and poor on a farm in upstate New York.  It seemed as if every single moment after he was diagnosed was consumed by doctor visits, tests, radiation and chemotherapy, crestfallen visits from relatives, and finally hospice.  He was overwhelmed, frightened, emotionally distraught.  It just didn’t seem right to ask him to reminisce on film, so I didn’t.

At Thanksgiving this year, take the video camera you use for your kids’ soccer games and recitals and spend a little time recording your older relatives.  I bet they’ll tell you things about your family history that you’ve never heard before, things that could be lost to posterity if you don't catch them on film.  Ask them about things mundanely precious... the moment they first saw their husband or wife, where and when they realized it was love.  Ask them vague questions; I found these bring out the most unexpected responses.  What brought them the most joy in life?  What was their greatest disappointment?  Greatest triumph?

Because of confidentiality agreements all hospice volunteers sign, I cannot tell you the specifics of my interviews, but I can say I often think about the people I was privileged to know at an intensely vulnerable time in their lives.  There was one in particular who, although elderly, was still sharp as a tack.  I spent four hours with her, laughing and crying and learning about her long, fascinating life and how proud she was of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Despite the small amount of time I spent with her, I thought of her as a friend.  

As I was packing up my gear, she told me if she got to heaven and discovered her husband had another wife, I should expect a thunderstorm the likes of which the Earth had never seen.  She had waited for him for thirty years, and he better have returned the favor.  She laughed when she said it, but there was a martial gleam in her eyes.

I was going to share filming tips and techniques, but this post is already too long.  If you’d like to know the finer points of creating video legacies, send questions to  The most important things to know are 1) use a tripod with a smooth swivel arm; DO NOT hold the camera in your hand 2) find a comfortable, uncluttered, well-lit spot and 3) threaten your children with bodily harm if they make noise while you’re taping, or better yet, send them outside to play.

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Visit Kate's website for the latest information on her books:
You can find her on Facebook at
Send her a tweet @KateWorth2 or email her at

The Promise is available at Amazon at the following links:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Thoughts on Instant Karma & My First Bad Review

Instant karma's a bitch. Yesterday a friend in my Facebook writer group started a discussion.  She was feeling down after a negative critique.  It had sapped her motivation to write and made her doubt herself.  I pondered the subject then imparted some rather trite and pompous (in retrospect) advice about not taking criticism too personally and learning what she could from it. It wasn't terribly helpful and truth be told I handle criticism worse than just about anyone I know, so I really should have kept my mouth shut.  Karmically speaking, it was an invitation for the Universe to smite me.  And smite me it did in short order.

I logged off, went to Goodreads, and immediately read my first really bad review since I published three months ago. I had gotten some ambivalent reviews before, but nothing truly bad. This one was bad.

The first thing I saw was two stars. My brain imploded.  Jesus! Oh no! Oh God, no! Not that. Two!  Two!!! Aargh!  I closed my eyes Tupperware tight and took a deep breath.  I opened one very slowly. It was still there. Two stars.  After I purged a week's worth of meals and cracked open a Corona, I logged back onto Facebook and shared the ironic timing. The conversation that ensued was half wise, half hilarious. Thought you might enjoy reading it. 

(The times are off because I worked on the graphics am and pm. Condensed entries.)

Before I read THE REVIEW:

After I read THE REVIEW:

I was so thankful to have these wonderful writers to talk me down and make light of this painful rite of passage. I've always known my time was coming sooner or later.  But I had gotten comfortable since readers had generally seemed to like my book up to this point.

Now I'm going to practice what I preached to Charlotte. Learn what I can from the review and move on. But damn, it hurts. It really, really does.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Nurse Annie, a Dose of Morphine, and Some Light Flirtation

One morning nurse Annie came into his room with a twinkle in her eye.
She shut the door behind her, slinked up to his bed and smiled as she
slowly unzipped her skirt.
  Max stared at her in shock as she shimmied
out of her clothes and lifted her slip to expose… a colostomy bag.

In the 1960s, my father-in-law Max worked for NASA at the Cape in Florida.  He was among a group of talented young engineers who sent the first rockets into orbit with little more than slide rules and gumption.  It was the height of the Cold War, Kennedy, Castro and the Bay of Pigs crisis, the era of miniskirts, bullet bras, and sky-high beehive hairdos.

While in boot camp, Max, who hailed from rural Georgia, fell in love with Eleanor, a blue-eyed beauty from Providence, Rhode Island.  They overcame the Yankee-Cracker divide, married quickly, and started a family.  After my husband Jeff and his sister Lisa were born, Max quit his job to concentrate on getting his Masters in Engineering at the University of Florida.

He was only 29 when he began to experience severe abdominal pain and bleeding.  After a series of tests, he was told he had the worst case of ulcerative colitis the doctor had ever seen.  His prospects were not good; Max was advised to put his affairs in order.  To save his life, he would have to undergo a colostomy and there was a fair chance he would die anyway, leaving Ellie a widow in her twenties with two small children.

The doctor showed Max the black rubber bag he would have to wear for the rest of his life.  Max reacted with horror, initially refusing to even consider the surgery.  He was young and handsome, in his prime.  He spent his weekends swimming and playing in the sand with his lovely wife and children.  How could he do those things with a colostomy bag?  And how would it alter his relationship with Ellie?  Another patient in the same hospital ward as Max, a young, single woman, despaired for the same reasons.  Fearing she would never find a husband, never bear children, she refused the surgery and died.

Ellie says it was gut wrenching to see someone she loved in great physical and emotional pain.  She talked to Max’s doctor and his favorite nurse Annie, a pretty blonde who cheered him up each day with a dose of morphine and light flirtation.  Together they came up with a plan.  One morning Annie entered his room with a twinkle in her eye and shut the door behind her.  She slinked up to his bed, smiling as she slowly unzipped her skirt.  Max remembers staring at her in shock as she shimmied out of her clothes and lifted her slip to expose… a colostomy bag.  She worked in that area of the hospital because she had experienced all the same things Max was going through.  The next thing Max knew, Ellie slipped into the room as he sat, slack-jawed and perplexed as to how he should react in this unprecedented situation.  Mortified, he took a pillow and covered his head while the two women laughed until they cried.  Eventually he joined in the laughter, too.

He says that moment was a turning point for him.  If a beautiful, funny, sexy and vibrant young woman like Annie could find joy and purpose in her life after a colostomy, who was he to dwell in self-pity?  He had the surgery, finished his degree, and returned to NASA where he worked in the Saturn program and met real live astronauts Alan Shepard and John Glenn.  Max and Ellie went on to have another daughter Kim, and a set of twins, Christopher and Kristen.  They have been married for fifty years.

We went to visit them yesterday at their home in Burgess on the Chesapeake Bay where they retired nearly two decades ago to a smaller house with a dock and a sailboat.  Max and his cronies race their “nutshells”… small sailboats they make themselves.  Ellie plays mahjong with friends, volunteers at her church’s thrift store, and dotes on her grandchildren.

I had never before heard this wonderful story about Annie and I found it so touching I asked for permission share it on my blog.  Writers are observers and storytellers.  We must take note of the little nuances and easily overlooked details that others might miss.  Human tragedy, everyday triumphs and failures, dramas big and small.  By dissecting these things, turning them over in our minds and understanding them fully, we enrich our work.

Human frailty is something we all have in common.  I have struggled with my own challenges.  In my twenties I suffered debilitating bouts of anxiety and panic attacks.  Whether my body chemistry has changed, or I’ve accepted myself enough to let go of the angst, I don’t know, but things are better now.  I’d still rather stick my hand in a jar full of spiders than go to a cocktail party, but at least I can go.  Wonder of wonders, I can even have a good time.  There was a period when I’d have to either get totally sloshed or curl up in a fetal position in the ladies room until the party broke up.  Neither choice was very ladylike or dignified.  As we age, we discover everyone is screwed up in some way or other and that knowledge helps — at least it helped me.  Nobody skates through this life unscathed.  We are all a little weird.  Our “isms” and peculiarities are what make us interesting.  It takes some age and wisdom to see that, I think.

Last week my twelve-year-old son Pierce started middle school.  He was terrified.  Oy!  I still remember the fear, the stomach full of wriggling snakes, the belief that everyone in the entire school was laser focused on the mammoth stress zit I sprouted overnight.  I feared I wasn’t wearing the right clothes and nobody would sit with me at lunch.  Every night I had that going-to-school-naked-and-forgetting-my-locker-combination dream!  Lord have mercy… you couldn’t pay me enough to go through that again!

I have finally begun to appreciate the little things.  I no longer live in suspended animation between Now and Then.  I’ve stopped worrying about reaching goals, or obsessing about what comes next.  Life is such an amazing gift.  As corny as it sounds, the simplest things… a sunset, a smile, cuddling up with my husband on the sofa and savoring the moment… these are the things that make life worth living.

And helping others when we can.  I thank Max for permitting me to tell his story.  He has shared it on an amazing website called where sufferers of many diseases and disorders seek advice from people who have dealt with the same issues.  In this virtual support group they chronicle their journeys in dialogue that is stark, honest, and poignant.  It's worth a visit.

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Visit Kate's website for the latest information on her books:
You can find her on Facebook at
Like her to keep up with the latest releases and giveaways at her Fan Page
Send her a tweet @KateWorth2 or email her at

The Promise is available at Amazon at the following links: