If you're a first-time visitor here, please excuse the mess. I'm a do-it-yourselfer (can you tell? 😉 ) I've been spending the day trying to make my site look spiffier and updating a few things.
But I digress. I've also done some research on author websites and gleaning a few tips here and there. Many of them tell me I should include a blog, and I sort of already did that, except I used to call it "News". However, I rarely have any real news (except for my latest book launch!), so it's more appropriate to label this as a blog. I'm a long-time blogger, but mostly about music, so here I'll talk about how I choose stories to write, and more importantly, why I choose them.
I admit my writing is sort of a niche (is that good or bad?), in that I write mostly about small towns and the characters who inhabit them. While I live in a suburb of a big city, I grew up in farm country. That's what I know. After so many years I still find it odd that one can traverse a city (or a suburb) and never once run into anyone she knows. I used to joke to myself, in my former life, that I couldn't once go to the mall and not run into a person I either worked with or went to school with, or simply knew from years ago. Sometimes it was irritating having to stop, mid-errand, and exchange pleasantries, when all I wanted to do was pick up my Ibuprofen or my new CD and scoot home. But there was also comfort in knowing that if I ever needed assistance, lots of people had my back. So, I set my tales in small towns and I am thrilled to get to know the people in them. Yes, they're often quirky, they don't speak the King's English, but they're generally upright citizens, with a couple of scofflaws thrown in for spice. You know, the ones everybody gossips about, at least they do in a small town.
I also like to throw a newcomer into the mix and let her discover who she can and can't trust. Often the people she's initially wary of turn out to be friends for life. That's sort of how it goes in small town-- certain people just take some getting used to.
No, small-town existence isn't perfect. The citizens are often cloistered, suspicious of newcomers. It might take a while to fit in, but once you do, they'll hug you and never let you go.
So I'm never going to write about a woman living in the big city. First of all, that bores me, and secondly, the tale would be devoid of the flavor I crave.
If you simply like the idea of a small town, or perhaps you grew up in one, stay tuned. I have much more to write.
Why Do All My Novels (and Novellas) Feature A Crime?
(Well, not all of them.)
I've actually pondered that question. See, I'm that rare bird who doesn't plan out her stories. But somehow a crime always slips its way in. Maybe it's because I'm a true crime junkie. I've read everything Ann Rule and Jack Olsen ever wrote--not because I'm a glutton for gore, but because I'm endlessly curious about the "why". I don't like to read about serial killers, because I already know why they do what they do--they're psychopaths, or sociopaths; therefore their "whys" are organic. I instead like to discover the psychological impulses behind a deed that no one saw coming.
And maybe, just maybe, it's because on the rare occasion that a true heinous act occurs in a small town, it jolts the residents to their core and that's all they can talk about for months, or years. It scars them profoundly. Just in the last couple of years I learned about one of those, in the town where I grew up and haven't visited in at least twenty years, and I was stricken. That can't happen in my town! Everybody is so nice! And did I mention that's my town? Crime there is not a random entry on the police blotter. People ache, even if they never met the parties involved. They're stunned; shaken.
And that's why my small-town stories tend to serve up the unthinkable.
Yikes! I went through five different cover iterations for my latest, THE DINER GIRL! It's been a journey, but I'm very particular about my covers. Authors may not have a quite in-focus image of our characters, but their presence lingers in our minds as we're writing them. It's important that they are accurately represented. I even went so far as to hire a graphic artist to design the fourth version, but that failed spectacularly. I used it for a bit, but I couldn't get over the fact that I really, really hated it. The colors were wrong, the woman depicted was wrong; I didn't even like the font! So I went back to the drawing board and I think I've finally captured it. I can now look at the cover on my site and be thankful for my stubborn nature. I hope you like it, too.
Why You'll Like Novellas
Let’s face it; we’re busy. I myself am in the midst of reading one Kindle book and one hardcover, but I can never seem to get through one or two chapters without life demanding my attention. I’ve got a perpetual to-do list and another should-do list. Just when I’m getting to the exciting part of a novel it’s time to fold a load of laundry or my cat is demanding to be fed. (Stop staring at me like that, Sasha!)
But with a novella I can at least digest half of it before I’m interrupted, and I can finish it when my next free hour magically materializes. And a novella is compact – it’s one narrative without any annoying, oftentimes boring subplots that nearly every novel incorporates (you know, those parts you find yourself skimming). Novellas are inexpensive – you can load up your Kindle with a bunch of them for the price of a single novel, so you’ll always have something new to dig into. Don’t get me wrong – I love novels, too, and biographies and deep dives into meaty topics. But I like to switch things up, and novellas give me that option.
FACT: Did you know that several hit movies were adapted from novellas?
Movies such as Shawshank Redemption, The Birds, Total Recall, Stand By
Me, Brokeback Mountain, A River Runs Through It, and many, many more.
So, give it a try. You can search Amazon for novellas or “short reads” or Kindle singles. Better yet, you can browse my book page and choose one of mine! I’d love to know what you think.
My Book Covers
I create my own book covers, because I am a penniless author 😞. Not penniless, as in standing on a corner holding a cardboard sign, but I don't have wads of spare cash lying about. And truthfully, I enjoy designing covers. I use Canva, which is easy to work with, but it does have its limitations. I often scroll and scroll its photo selections before abandoning my initial idea and veering off on a tangent. But the hunt is part of the thrill! I've admittedly changed my covers a number of times. I'll look at them here on my site and find something that bothers me; then it's off to Canva again.
This, of course, requires me to update my books on the Kindle site and here, but my books are my children, and they deserve the best I can provide.
Today I was searching for decent images for a new version of ONCE IN A BLUE MOON and discovered that all moon photos look essentially the same. Thus, I went in another direction. Let me know which you prefer, the original or the new:
I Created A Book Trailer!
Since I'm currently in between novels, I played around with creating a book trailer for YouTube. I'm a little rusty, so please forgive the amateur quality!
New Kaitlyn Review
"Short, contemporary tale of finding love and the value of good friends.
Sweet, quirky tale of gritting your teeth while navigating the vagaries of a modern career lifestyle, the immeasurable value of good friends, and taking a chance at love."
March 23, 2022
I'd never written a novella before, and it happened rather organically, but I enjoyed it! NEW KAITLYN is a quick read and a really fun story that features some cringe-worthy humor. Click on the title above or on the Amazon link on my Books page to buy.
The Apple On Sale Now!
August 18, 2021
THE APPLE is now available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Walmart! I think you'll like it! Simply click the corresponding link on my Books page.
New Novel To Be Published Soon!
My latest tale, THE APPLE, will be published within the next month. I'm excited to share it with you. The whole COVID quarantine imbroglio set me back -- my manuscript was stored on my personal computer, which I had to mothball so I could perform my job on a company-issued PC.
When I finally returned to the story, however, I realized my unforeseen break was actually a boon for plot development.
Watch for an announcement soon!
My Latest Novel Is Well On Its Way
My novel is coming together swimmingly. As a "pantser" I begin a new novel with simply a protagonist, who has absolutely no idea how her story will unfold. I don't actually recommend this method, but it's the only way I know how to do it. Plus I like being surprised. Now after many stops and starts, the story has taken shape. In fact, I've already penned the ending. But I have miles to go - gaps to fill, meat to add to the bone. Nevertheless, the story is engaging, and I think you'll like it.
Circumstances Beyond My Control