Sunday, March 23, 2014

New Day, New Release

Honored and pumped to announce the release of Book #3 in the "Faith Box" series. Its name is WHEN THE ROSES BLOOMED. Join me in 1485 England, when life wasn't too merry. You see, as we start our tale, Richard III is on the throne. Despite recent efforts to rehabilitate his memory, my read on him is of a suspicious-to-the-point-of-paranoia, weak-minded schlub. To say nothing of his less admirable qualities...


Imagine what life might be like in a land where if you backed the wrong party in a dispute, you could be named a traitor, lose your lands, your heritage and your head. Imagine the US in such a state -- if the Republicans won the White House, every Democrat in the country could be considered a criminal.


This is what supporters of the Lancastrian party faced in Richard III's reign. Richard was a Yorkist, and the two parties hated each other's guts. For four generations the throne had bounced back and forth between York and Lancaster like a soccer ball between house players.


Into the tail end of the conflict comes Henry Tudor, exile and last known heir of the Lancastrian line. He has a claim to Richard's throne, and is so keen to accede, the struggles end with the Battle of Bosworth. And into the tumult between the party that was in power and the party that now is, stumble young Margery Dashlyn and her noble fiancé, Robert Alleine, heir to the earl of Weston.


Robert and his family backed the wrong horse.


In fear of his life, the affianced lovers flee. Facing life on the run, pretending to be middle-class tradesmen, all the while making for London and anonymity, their path runs across those who can help them and those who only want their meager possessions.


These star-crossed lovers have to make their way carefully. Unlike Romeo and Juliet, they do find a way to muddle through. But what will it cost them?


WHEN THE ROSES BLOOMED, now available from Desert Breeze Publishing, in all known Terran e-formats.























Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Change of Direction

Yes, it's been a very long time since I posted here. Not for lack of activity, though!


In August, a song brought me some inspiration for a new contemporary romance--something I had no intention to work on at that time. I sat down to write "just one scene, to get it out of my head." Then I had to write another. And so on.


It drove me crazy in the sweetest possible way.


It all but wrote itself; it felt as though I was just observing actual events in the lives of these people, and just jotting things down.


Six weeks later, the complete first draft. I've never written so easily or so enjoyably. It's called LOVE ONLY KNOWS and it released last month.


That gets me to the tricky part. Although I love Jon Dolan, a pop crossover singer, and his roller coaster lifestyle, and I fell in love with Becca Tillman, up and coming mystery author, the characters just wouldn't play ball.


No. They refused.


I tried to make them do cool believer stuff. I tried to fit them into the "almost perfect character who makes a couple of tiny mistakes" mold that Christian fic seems to demand. Jon and Becca refused to go there.


What's to do?


I let them have the story. Okay, the outcome wasn't a sweet-cute Christian romance, as my readers are accustomed to expect from me. It's a little raunchy in parts. Jon and Becca are not Christians of the stripe many expect in C-fic. They're nominal believers at best. When life turns the heat up under their frying pan, they do pray, but they're not churchgoers and they don't toe the line.


So I'm left with them and their story. Not the usual thing I write.


However, an early reviewer seems to like them, saying: "In a departure from her usual brand of story, Ms. Kinnard here takes on a flight of fancy with the pairing of Rebecca, brand-new bestselling author, and Jon, superstar entertainer. It's a blend of sweet and spicy, propelled by an attraction between the two that neither can explain and at least one of them (Rebecca) wants to fight...but, of course, she can't. And who can blame her? Jon is a forthright, honest, and thoughtful character, a man who readily admits that there's a gap between their two lifestyles but who also tries to bring Rebecca into his world as gently and as smoothly as he can. Becca, for her part, is no shrinking violet: she's a strong woman, usually comfortable in her own skin, but one whose feet are on the ground almost the whole time.


"Romance fans will love the sweet interplay between these two, the special gifts they give each other, and the strength of their commitment; and, although this is not a Christian romance, it shows characters who have a viewpoint on life colored by each's relationship with God and not a little prayer. Above all, this is a book that keeps you turning pages--which I did, several times, long past my bedtime. It's sweet, it's a little spicy, and it hits all the right romantic notes."


Can't argue with an opinion like that.


So if you want to read something a little different, something that kicks out the sides of the box just a wee bit (warning: Jon and Becca do not always close the bedroom door before intimacy), this may be the book for you. If my earlier stories are sweet shortbread cookies, this one's more of a ginger snap.


B00H2IN05U, for the Kindle at Amazon.com


Product Details

Sunday, August 04, 2013

A Long and Busy Time


It's been longer since posts than I imagined! I can't cop to not keeping busy -- that hasn't been the case. Here's proof: photo (taken by me) of my daughters when we climbed the White Cliffs north of Dover, Kent, England. We had a marvelous two weeks in the U.K., touring while driving on the other side of the road (yipes!) It was a constant delight to share my love of England with my husband (again) and with our two grown girls (first time).

When I got back, of course I was anxious to finish my work-in-progress. Seeing some of the places through which my characters move inspired me to get back on fire for this story. I can "see" the area around Bath now, and the hills that encircle Frome, Trowbridge and the roads over which Robert and Margery travel.

Instead, I'm struggling. Getting BICHOK (bottom in chair, hands on keyboard) is a strain and a real job now instead of something I can't wait to get to each day. The story feels balky and doesn't want to move. I like my characters, my setting, the whole smash, but the fire isn't there and I can't delude myself that it is. I can sense the lack of richness in this narrative, as opposed to the others where the words simply poured forth.

How about you? Can you as a reader tell when a writer has lost touch with "story" and is typing words onto a screen in order to get to word count? Can you as a writer re-fire your storytelling if this authorly-ennui creeps up on you?

Thoughts?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Rants, Revisited

Yesterday my local writing group critiqued a number of pieces, some long, some short. Yes, one of them was mine. I appreciate the feedback the other members give me, the "this doesn't work for me and here's why" or "I'm liking this more all the time".

One post, however, was labeled an essay. It read more like a blog post...or a rant.

Now, I'm an apologist for rants. I believe constructive ranting can clear the air; can find like-minded folks and maybe inch a step further toward rectifying the ranted topic; can open one's eyes to the view that's a hundred-eighty degrees off yours; can generate, and nuture, mutual respect.

But a rant, like other pieces of writing, must do Job One: communicate. This rant didn't. Most of us seemed to feel the same way, and the writer of this rant made the mistake of defending it.

That should be a no-no in all writing/crit groups. You don't defend. You may ask questions about someone else's viewpoint, but you may not defend in the strictest sense.

Our colleague defended. When we told him his post made several points that he did not support with proofs, he said they were opinions and didn't need support. Well, then, we said, you should cite examples. No, he said, it didn't need examples.

You get the drift. It deteriorated from there, and we ended without a meeting of the minds or with any idea our fellow writer left inspired to make his piece better.

If you're not ranting to make something better -- why rant at all? And if you don't come to a writer's group and take away something constructive -- why come?

Just wondering.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Kathie's Rant

Deb writes: some of you may remember AJ Mercer, whose story was told in ANGEL WITH A RAY GUN. Her New-Age, ex-hippie, anything goes mother has been champing at the bit to talk, and I finally relented and let the insistent flower child have her moment.

Here's what Kathie says about recent developments:

Since she left home, I can’t remember a time that I haven’t been able to write AJ with all that’s going on. It’s definitely weird. Yet, I sit down and start: “Dear Pooch” and can’t seem to put down another word.

It’s so far out. The vibes are not feeling positive, and yet they don’t feel negative either. I can’t read them.

Giselle says I should blame it on midlife crisis.

Yipes, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start at the beginning instead of the middle. Maybe jotting this down will help it make sense.

Now, you know AJ’s getting married. Married. Imagine a daughter of mine wanting to shackle herself for life to another human soul.

I’m not saying Matt’s not a good sort. He strikes me as good to the bone. The aura around him is a soft greenish-blue, and the vibes ring very true. From the first time we met, I had the feeling that you get what you see, and he utters no word other than the truth.

This is a very good thing in a male. They tend to throw up verbal smoke screens, and lies as thick as fleas on a squirrel. I haven’t met one who’s in tune with the Earth Mother at all.

Until last weekend, I never thought I would. Then I met Matt’s ex-boss. Whoa. The aura was such a pale lavender, I thought I was meeting a woman. But Dr. Jonathan Hale’s no girl. He’s all guy, and yet tells the truth…

“Call me Jon,” he says on first meeting, and although it doesn't seem dignified, he makes me want to. His handclasp is willing, firm for a man his age. My age. His eyes assess without judging, warm without ogling, welcome without coveting.

He’s very attractive in an Establishment sort of way.

Of course, he’s a Christian of Matt’s stripe. And AJ’s now, she insists. Such lack of harmony, believing there’s but one God (and they use He, not She!) and not multiple paths to the Great All.

I remember a conversation the night I met AJ’s fiancĂ©. Funny how it’s stuck with me. True to form, she and I squabbled. We’ve been doing this for years, in one form or another.  AJ claims I’m reactionary, but actually she’s stodgy. Lately we’ve seen plenty of advances in understanding the human spirit.  The age of Aquarius was real, why doesn’t anyone see that but people like me? We could have greened America.

But Matt, Jon, and the way they believe…AJ thinks it’s real. She claims I’m just into anything that’s up to date, or interesting, or popular. She says my way lacks stability. No roots in any one place.

I say with different people come different levels of spiritual attainment.  Everything can work in its place.  What works for me might not necessarily work for someone else. Obviously it hasn’t worked for AJ, or she wouldn’t embrace this whole Jesus and Pearly Gates ya-ya.

Matt did get me on one thing. He challenged me that with my way comes the idea there are no absolutes, and no ultimate truth. That one was a poser. I do believe in Truth—haven’t I spent close to five decades searching for it? And yet…it seems like this boss of Matt’s has some acquaintance with Truth.

I want to have nothing more to do with this Jon Hale. But I’m the bride’s mom—her whole family, actually—and since Dr. Hale will be hitching my daughter for life to another human being…

I’ve decided to cut him some slack. Even New Agers can wait and see.

 

 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Whaddaya Luv?

Love the middle ages? The Cymry (Welsh) people? Battle? Reluctant heroes? Spunky heroines? Dastardly Vikings? Twuue Luurve?

If you love any of these things, you may want to check out a book...

PEACEWEAVER releases this Friday (yes! this Friday!) from Desert Breeze Publishing (www.desertbreezepublishing.com). Get ye there and check out the cover awesomeness.

Seriously, I love this story as it came together. It was a joy to write. I hope my readers will enjoy it, too.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Whose Fault? -- and Announcing...

A post the thoughtful and smart Chila Woychick made on her blog this spring has had me thinking hard ever since.

Who should we blame that the general market finds Christian fiction to be banal and bland? Where does the responsibility lie that quality is not the first thing that comes to a reader's mind when thinking over our work?

You guessed it. Ours. The writers.

We cannot blame the publishers for this. What, exactly, could they do if suddenly all the Christian novelists decided not to submit the junk-food-for-the-believer's-brain that has passed for good C-fic all these years? What if they decided, say, to submit only novels that push the envelope a little? Only those stories that ask tough questions? Only those stories set in eras or places that are not completely and immediately recognizable by a 21st century audience with the attention span of a gnat?

Now, of course, this isn't possible. There will always be those writers who will simply shovel into the maw of the larger publishers any type of stories "they want." This translates to, "This will sell well for us with minimal work of any kind on our part. Keep the bland stuff coming--we love it!"

There are writers thinking outside this paradigm, which in my usual shorthand, I call The Box. There are quality Christian publishers who don't care to publish Box Stories. There are writers who've been told "no, we can only publish fiction set in the 18th or 19th century, which has a certain type of heroine and a setpiece hero, and you'd better not mention denominations, or dancing, or alcohol, or sin, or, or, or..." Some of these authors are frustrated, and rightly so. Some of the best of these writers are taking their work direct to their readers, or "indie" publishing.

I celebrate the freedom of self-expression, and the expression of truth for Christ, that the new electronic world gives us. I hope the banal, the easy, the repetitive, the non-challenging will soon be a footnote to Christian writing history, much as the monks' work on medieval vellum is now.



That said -- I'm striking my own blow for realism in Christian fiction. With ample and expert help from my publisher, that is. Desert Breeze Publishing will release the first book in the "Faith Box" trilogy on September 21, in print and digital formats. Take a gander at the cover and tell me if you think this is a "usual" book!