Category Archives: about me

Sex!

Now that I have your attention, hello!

I just put a review up on Goodreads about an urban fantasy book, and then, like I often do, started poking around for ideas of new things to read. Cherie Priest has another series (I’m currently on #4 of the Clockwork Century series, fun stuff). This second series involves a vampire cat burglar. I may pick it up, I’m not sure.

My reading is split between sf/fantasy, mystery/thriller with a generous sprinkling of spy vs. spy (or spy vs. his or her own government, a popular theme). Most recently, I read a book that was labeled Urban Fantasy (modern times, magic exists as do supernatural creatures. The most popular of these are, of course, vampires and werewolves.  It had a little too much sex for my taste. When reading a review about the aforementioned Cherie Priest book, one reviewer said it was bad because it didn’t have any hawt, smutty, sex.

The characters in the Bloody Murder books have sex, but I like to think it enhances relationships and isn’t completely gratuitous. To me, it’s a natural part of human existence and the circumstances can vary as much as the participants. As long as everyone’s consenting.  I don’t write romance, but romance is often an important part of someone’s life. Witness James or Marie, who regularly commit serial relationships. Zo hasn’t had as much practice, but considering how important Michael has become to her, it’s now a big part of her life.

Will there be more? Probably? Though one of the reviews I read of Post Parcel reads, in part,

Kate’s sex scene writing is really first rate — no heaving bosoms and sweaty descriptions — more is conveyed by letting the reader fill things in.

Tamara, thank you. I really appreciate the compliment. When I’m writing sex, I’m going for stimulating the senses much more than the organs. Erotica vs. porn, if you will.

Though isn’t the biggest sex organ in the body the brain?

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Life is what happens when you make other plans

Hi everyone.

A lot has been happening in the life of this indie author. I’m not quite sure where to start.

I have finished my Project Management classes. I did reasonably well on the assignments, but there’s s, still one assignment and participation to be graded. I should hear in a couple weeks. The textbook, while extremely dry, I think is the best resource for helping study for the exam.

The exam. I have been studying test questions (there’s an app for that. Actually, there are several), I have a couple of books and I am hoping to be ready to attempt at least the CAPM in March. Wish me luck.

BloodyMurder #3 is on its way to the editor as of Monday. It takes place in January of 2004 and takes Zofia to a few places she doesn’t usually go to. You’ll also find out a bit more about Michael and why his relationship with his dad is strained at best.

I was in the path of Hurricane Sandy, but was extremely lucky. The streets just south and east of us lost power, but we were generally okay. Just to be on the safe side, we put our biggest Rubbermaid plastic container in the freezer for ice, and filled up the tub in the guest bath in case we needed water for flushing. We also at the ice cream, because it might melt.

The week before Thanksgiving, I had surgery, specifically a hysterectomy. I was sent home in a scant 48 hours and have been slowly recovering since. I have a scar that looks like a question mark on my abdomen. I’m not in a lot of pain (yay Percocet!), but that cuts two ways. I keep feeling “all right” and then I move the wrong way. Bending and twisting are not the order of the day, let me tell you. I expect to try and drive again this weekend.

I’ve been neglecting poor Zofia and friends because of narcotic fog and because I am terribly tired all the damnn time. I have made a good start on #5 (#4 is in revision and will be for a while). I have quite a few more stories to tell, and I thank you for sticking with me.

While recovering, I have been doing a lot of reading. I’m back into Laura Lippman’s Tess Monaghan series. Lippman writes deeply real characters and has a talent I’m trying to cultivate–making the scene function almost like a character.Chandler did it with LA in the Philip Marlowe books. Colin Cotteril and Tim Hallinan both do it with Thailand and Laos.

Dani Amore has a new Mary Cooper book out. Buy it.

November was great for other new books as well. I polished off the new Harry Dresden book in two sittings and whipped through the available October Daye books by Seanan McGuire. On tap is Kevin Hearne’s latest in the Iron Druid series. If you like sarcasm, there’s plenty of it in the form of an Irish Wolfhound. Trust me.

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Just call me Hamlet

I’m dithering, I admit it.  I think I’m done with the next Bloody Murder mystery and I find myself as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs (if you’re reading this out loud, make sure you do that last part with a Southern accent).

I’ll be announcing the title and the publication date on 7/29. Stay tuned!

Where the dithering comes  in is a lot of internal pressure. This is my second published work and all kinds of questions fill my brain, but the biggest one is:

“What if it’s not as good as the first one?”

Bloody Murder has a five-star rating on Amazon, and I promise you I didn’t ask a single friend to write a review.  I am proud of my work and very grateful to anyone who took the time to write a review. Reviews are not easy to write. You want to say what’s good, but you don’t want to give away the really nifty stuff. If you hated it, was it simply not to your taste? Or perhaps the subject matter wasn’t your cuppa? Or was it so technically bad, as Dorothy Parker put it, “this is not a book to be set aside lightly,it should be thrown with great force.”

Anyway, since people have liked my work, I want to especially give  those readers something special. I want them to want to continue following Zofia’s adventures without getting bored or having me suspend their disbelief too much.For example, with Borders out of business, and Amazon being so prevalent I have had people ask me how I can rationalize an independent bookstore breaking even in the twenty-first century economy. I’ll save that for another entry, because there are a host of reasons, and I have a surprise coming in book 4 that will also help.

And now I’ve been dithering about dithering. The book is almost ready to go.  It’s been professionally edited (and if you need a book edited for an affordable price, ping me and I will introduce you to Kimberly), and tweaked to within an inch of its life. But I’ve been putting off the date because I’m afraid of disappointing my readers especially because the size of the novel. It’s considerably shorter than Bloody Murder  (and  will be priced accordingly).

I never realized the tremendous pressure involved here before. Is it good enough for the people who’ve taken the time to read the first one? I owe them. I earned some cash on that first novel (and promptly spent it on novel-writing software). It’s a little awe-inspiring, even if I’m not selling like James Patterson’s books do.

Taking this to my cohorts at the Indie Exchange, I got some excellent advice: When it’s done, it’s done. After letting that stew in my brain for a bit, last night, I finally decided to pick a date to announce the title at the publication date. I’m hoping to generate a little anticipation.

I also realized that while size matters in some cases (I liked the expanded version of Stephen King’s The Stand better than the original, for example), being an indie author and publisher I am not locked into a contract that says, “you must produce X novels at 100K words between now and 2020.” There’s a certain freedom in that. A dear friend of mine, and a fabulous writer, JD Rhoades, has put up shorter works and they’ve gotten some great response.

So I think I’m done with dithering, at least for right now. My current Project Management class wraps up in two weeks, which gives me time to find a cover design, do any last-minute edits and decide on the shotgun vs laser publishing approach.

Thank you for reading and staying with me. Knowing there are people out there waiting for the next novel makes me ready to take on the third one.

Cheers!

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In praise of the Unitasker (with apologies to Alton Brown)

No, I didn’t goof and put a Knives, Fire and Fun entry under bloodymurderbooks. I firmly feel that you can’t talk about unitaskers without talking about Mr. Brown. If you’ve ever seen Good Eats, you’ve heard him say that the only unitasker permitted in his kitchen is the fire extinguisher.

For the past number of years, it seems that people’s attention span is shrinking (I’m not referring to those who have ADD, I’m discussing a societal issue not a medical one). Garry Trudeau made some satire about USA Today presenting news in quick, easily digestible sound bites. News stories are rarely in-depth unless you are listening news radio. Movies, which commonly ran for three hours when I was a kid, usually top out at two these days.

The akamaireader (you may have noticed we talk a lot), sent me another article about the publishing industry. In this one, it appears that publishers are more pessimistic about future book sales and part of the blame goes to tablets. Why just read a book when you can play Angry Birds? Or watch a movie? Or check your bank balance, look up the sports scores, time your tea steeping, listen to music, you get the idea. Distraction city.

There’s a bunch of us that love our early Kindles and Nooks and Kobos (though I think Kobo,isn’t long for this world) because they do little else but provide us with reading material. I use five functions on my Kindle–the reading of books, the storing of books, the shopping for books, the changing of the font size and the dictionary. I will stipulate that text-to-speech is a great feature, though I don’t use it. I can, if I wish, update Facebook with my favorite quotes from something I’m reading, but I do not feel the need to stop what I’m doing to share a quote with my friends. Neither do I web browse while reading, or listen to music.

There is a certain joy in immersing myself mindfully while doing just one thing, whether it is meditating (which I need more practice at), reading, cooking, making love. Being THERE, totally in the moment, it’s just beautiful. I think the world would be a better place if we stopped trying to be everywhere at once and slowed down and enjoyed the moment (especially me).

So I don’t want to be distracted by Angry Birds. I’ll play it later on my phone.

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A brief moment of self-indulgence

If you’ve been around the web for the last ten years, you’ve come across some of the memes that tell you what color you are, which superhero you are and just where you might fit inside some of the hopefully iconic pieces of popular culture.  You have to, of course, take these with a grain of salt,  some lime juice and if you’re a drinking sort, a shot of very good tequila.

Last week, I found Who Do You Write Like? I could not just ignore this one. I plugged in a few paragraphs from the beginning of Bloody Murder and got the below results.

<!– Begin I Write Like Badge –>
<div style=”overflow:auto;border:2px solid #ddd;font:20px/1.2 Arial,sans-serif;width:380px;padding:5px; background:#F7F7F7; color:#555″><img src=”http://s.iwl.me/w.png&#8221; style=”float:right” width=”120″><div style=”padding:20px; border-bottom:1px solid #eee; text-shadow:#fff 0 1px”> I write like<br><a href=”http://iwl.me/w/8ccf5154&#8243; style=”font-size:30px;color:#698B22;text-decoration:none”>Kurt Vonnegut</a></div><p style=”font-size:11px; text-align:center; color:#888″><em>I Write Like</em> by Mémoires, <a href=”http://www.codingrobots.com/memoires/&#8221; style=”color:#888″>journal software</a>. <a href=”http://iwl.me&#8221; style=”color:#333; background:#FFFFE0″><b>Analyze your writing!</b></a></p></div>
<!– End I Write Like Badge –>

I am not worthy of such an honor, but it’s fun to think about. My characters do not come unstuck in time, there are no visits from friendly Tralfamadorians, Kilgore Trout is not an author sold in Zofia’s bookstore.

I’ve loved most Vonnegut I’ve read. My favorite is probably The Sirens of Titan, tied with the short story of Harrison Bergeron.  Both are dystopic and highly thought-provoking and are told in not a heavily threatening style like 1984 or Brave New World. Instead, there is a lightness, a flippancy almost, the narrator seems delighted in the world that is being presented.

I can only hope to be so thought-provoking. Flippant, on the other, I think Zofia and I have down pat.

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What I’m reading

I wasn’t really bit on non-fiction as a kid, unless it had to do with animals and nature.  My parents had a Time-Life series of books about the natural world as it was known mumble years ago. I did read some, but mostly I looked at the pictures.

Most recently, at my boyfriend’s urging, I downloaded 1491 New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus which I’m really enjoying. Charles Mann discusses a lot of the history my generation was taught and some new and interesting facts about the native cultures in North, South and Central America. I didn’t know, for example, that the Inka had a road system that covered most of the continent’s west coast. What’s fascinating, is they were built for a culture that used llamas (watch out, they spit), so they could build roads that were literally steps in the mountains. Pizarro and company had a hell of a time leading horses over these.

I’m also on the verge of finishing The Jew in the Lotus, which is a fascinating story of a group of rabbis who travel to India to meet with the Dalai Lama for a sort of cultural exchange. What commonalities were there with these exiled cultures? It’s a great read, no matter what your religion.

For fiction, I’m hanging out in Asia these days. Since I never read the whole series, and in fact lost track of where I was, I stared Laura Joh Rowland’s Sano Ichiro books again. The series takes place in the seventeenth century, mostly in the district of Edo. Sano is a samurai with an academic background who is charged with solving murders. He has to navigate through a world of politics and class distinctions,  and be blunt where normal behavior is very polite and often indirect.

If you want to escape to more modern Asia, there are a variety of ways you can visit Thailand. Google any of the following names; Jimm Juree, Vincent Calvino, Sonchai Jitpleecheep. Adventures galore!

In the fantasy realm, I’m currently reading Mistborn: the Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson. I really like the metal-based magical system, and the main character who was supposed to be dead at the hands of the Lord Ruler is planning a revolution that just might work. Might. I don’t want to give any spoilers.

If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll follow me on Twitter @katekulig. When I reach 100 followers, I will release the title of the second Bloody Murder novel.

Thank you for reading!

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Reading as a social pheonomenon

Some of you are already friends with me on Goodreads. You might have noticed that while I read voraciously, and am happy to rate, I don’t do a lot of reviewing. Today, I think I figured out why.

I started reading early. I remember being utterly stunned at starting first grade and there were kids there who couldn’t read. Their parents didn’t teach them, instead saying, “you’ll learn it in school.”  I doubt very much that happens these days, but in 1972, it wasn’t that far out of the ordinary.

In several years of elementary school I was either sent to the next highest grade for their reading classes, or given a more advanced book of my own. This meant I didn’t have anyone to talk to about what I was reading.

There was a brief period when I was in junior high that everyone was reading either Danielle Steele, John Saul  or VC Andrews. That was a fun time, being able to swoon,shiver or say “eww” as appropriate, but it didn’t last long. I outgrew the traditional romance novels, as a lot the other fiction I read had its share of romance, but also adventure.

In high school, I had a great crowd of friends. As a college friend put it, they were “the right people masquerading as the wrong people.” We read a lot of Science Fiction and Fantasy, we could (and probably still can) quote entire passages of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, some of us played Dungeons and Dragons. These are some of the best-natured people I’ve known in my life, but to the rest of the school population, we were considered weirdos. So for a while I could talk about books with this select group. It was like coming home.

When I got to college (at a midsized university in Long Island made famous by a Bill Cosby routine), so few people seemed to have time to read for pleasure. I was the one who would have a stack of required reading and one or two mass-market paperbacks atop (I couldn’t fit everything in my backpack). More than once I was asked, “How can you read for pleasure when you have so much other reading to do?” My answer was, “How can I not?”

I’m also an only child, which lends itself to generally being happy in my own company. What it comes down to is I’ve always felt that reading is a solitary activity, but that is changing.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time working in retail bookstores (may Borders and Waldenbooks rest in peace). While the extra money never hurt, and neither did the discounts, there were two other perks to working there that I’ve never had anywhere else: I could borrow books, and I could talk about them. My favorite part of working would be (and you’ll see Zofia, James or Feliz do this)  helping a customer who has come up to me and said, “I like X Author and X author, who is similar?”

I’ve tried a few book clubs, but I’ve never totally relaxed into one. First, there’s the feeling of “forced” reading. I know way too many people who hate reading because of all the “literature” they were forced to endure in school (and these weren’t even the liberal arts majors). Movies and TV, I’m happy to tear apart with a group, but I guess the formality of it is a little off-putting, no matter how cool some of the people are.

It still delights me that I can chat books easily with some of my current friends (check out Opal the Akamai Reader, who’s been putting out some great reviews!). LizziBabe, who you’ve seen commenting here, got me started on my fascination obsession with mysteries taking place in Asia, specifically Thailand. She introduced me to John Burdett, I introduced her to Colin Cotteril This is thrilling for me.

I have a Kindle, which I love, but I still pretty much use it as a unitasker. I don’t feel the need to quote parts of what I’m reading and share them on Facebook. I don’t listen to music while I read. I don’t even lean on  my darling boyfriend when I’m curled up on the couch or in bed reading, bless his heart for trying to understand. Reading is still solitary to me.

I’m thinking writing and reviewing here might open up some of that solitude. Thank you for reading and I hope you’ll stay tuned.

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How it all started

I have only vague memories of my mother teaching me to read. To her credit, I don’t know that she had any reference books telling her how to do so. I certainly don’t remember seeing textbooks of any kind around the house. I was probably three or four. I remember feeling so proud that I could carry a book under my arm on my way up the stairs to bed so I could read before I went to sleep. It was probably Dr. Seuss, but hey, you have to start somewhere.

For the first thirteen years of my life, we were living in Wilmington, Mass. I utterly adored the library and we probably went every two weeks. It wasn’t long before I was picking out my own. My heroine when I was first of library age was Pocohontas. I don’t remember who introduced to me Esther Averill, but the Jenny Linsky books were an early favorite. Enid Blyton was probably my first mystery author. I went through the Secret Seven and the Famous Five at a rate of one or two a week. There was Nancy Drew, of course, then the Hardy Boys, and once I went through those, I got to read the Young Adult fiction, even though I was about nine. I was not allowed in the rest of the “adult” library just yet.

My third grade teacher at Shawsheen School was Mrs. Jane Merrill. If you’re out there, Mrs. Merrill, I have to thank you for some perennial favorites. Roald Dahl, Narnia, and Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth all have very special places in my heart. I have been known to buy the last for my adult friends because I think everyone should read it.

Even when we moved to Andover, the next town over, we continued to be patrons of the Wilmington library. It might have been my nana or my mother or one of the librarians or I might have picked her up on my own, but when I found Agatha Christie’s Nemesis, I was hooked on Miss Jane Marple. Hercule Poirot was a natural segue, but my favorites were Tommy and Tuppence. I always wanted more of those.

I wish I could remember the librarian’s name. One evening we were headed out and we were stopped by the librarian. She handed me a grocery bag full of slightly beat-up Agatha Christie novels. They had been considered too damaged to keep on the shelves, and she thought I’d like them.

Of such kindnesses addicts are made. Thank you, ladies.

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Hello world!

Welcome to Bloody Murder books. I am your host, author and currently the publisher of the first in the series, Bloody Murder. It’s available for KindleNook and Kobo. I’ll be posting about my adventures in writing, rewriting and marketing.

I’ll probably also share what I’m reading, which can range from Jane Austen to Roger Zelazny. My favorite genres are mystery and scifi/fantasy, but I’ll give almost anything a shot. Some of my favorite authors are Tanya Huff, James Lee Burke, Neil Gaiman, Tim Hallinan, Guy Gavriel Kay and Agatha Christie.

I hope you’ll come back and see me often. I will be dropping hints about future books and possibly doing some giveaways as well.

If you are a reviewer, please email bloodymurderbooks@gmail.com with some links to your reviews and your preferred format.

Enjoy!

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